Candida Overgrowth: The New Chronic Disease Epidemic - Dr Brian Leung

Candida Overgrowth: The New Chronic Disease Epidemic - Dr Brian Leung

Dean Fountain

Horopito contains Polygodial

In today’s clinical practice, we are confronted with more chronic diseases that are harder to treat and identify.  Diseases such as sinusitis, ear infections, skin infections, vaginal infections, arthritis, chronic fatigue (systemic exertion intolerance disease), and many others may actually be a fungal infection from candida.  Many of our symptoms that we manifest, we do not attribute to something as benign as candida, which normally resides on our skin, intestinal tract, etc. in appropriate amounts.  Add a few antibiotic regimens to the mix to your history, and you start to have what we call dysbiosis or an imbalance in flora.  When candida starts to proliferate in certain regions and its visible as white film on surfaces and you experience burning pain, itching, irritation, and discomfort it’s finally time to call your medical provider to address the problem.  But what underlies all this is that quite commonly the digestive tract is also effected by an overgrowth of candida.  When this does happen you don’t necessarily have to have a full outbreak of thrush or yeast infection presently to have a gut dysbiosis of candida.  As a clinician investigating chronic diseases, a simple white coating on top of the tongue can be an early symptom of gut dysbiosis.  Other symptoms could be abdominal bloating, fullness, gas, constipation, diarrhea, brain fog, loss of attention, mood swings, fatigue, allergies, food allergies, etc.

While we have certain tools and laboratory tests to evaluate whether you have gut dysbiosis, it really lies on the type of treatment to get rid of the candida.  Even though maintaining a certain diet to starve the candida and decreasing inflammation and antigenicity in the gut from certain food groups like gluten or yeast products may help, ultimately the treatment depends on strong antifungal medications.  Many times it is quite difficult to eradicate this fungal proliferation because it too can develop a biofilm around the organism resisting conventional methods to kill it off.

Conventional methods of antifungal treatment have proven to create resistance and even more likely a superbug that is harder to kill.  Recent research has shown that certain plant compounds have a stronger ability to prevent the further colonization of yeast and are sometimes more effective than antifungal medication alone in the recurrence of fungal diseases.  Isao Kubo, a professor of environmental sciences from UC Berkeley, has published quite a few papers on polygodial’s effect on fungal organisms(1-7).  Polygodial is the active compound found in several plant species, especially Horopito and Mountain Pepper plants.  When the plant like horopito has more red in the margin of its leaves, polygodial has been found to be in higher amounts (8).

Its ability to kill candida in cases such as oral/vaginal thrush and gut candidiasis has been proven in a few studies (9-13).  While some studies prove that it has very little side effects, other studies done on rats show some neurotoxic activity by increasing glutamate concentrations (13,14).

The mechanism by which polygodial has on fungal organisms is its ability to act as a non-ionic surfactant disrupting the functional conformation of the membrane and its integral proteins (16).  Novel treatment regimes include using polygodial with current conventional antifungal treatment in allowing antifungal medications to penetrate the cells more effectively.

1. Antibacterial activity of polygodial Kubo I, Fujita K, Lee SH, Ha TJ.  Phytother Res. 2005 Dec;19(12):1013-7. PMID: 16372365
2. Multifunctional action of antifungal polygodial against Saccharomyces cerevisiae: involvement of pyrrole formation on cell surface in antifungal action. Fujita K, Kubo I. Bioorg Med Chem. 2005 Dec 15;13(24):6742-7. Epub 2005 Aug 24. PMID: 16122929
3. Naturally occurring antifungal agents against Zygosaccharomyces bailii and their synergism. Fujita K, Kubo I. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Jun 29;53(13):5187-91. PMID: 15969495
4. Effect of EDTA alone and in combination with polygodial on the growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Kubo I, Lee SH, Ha TJ. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 9;53(5):1818-22. PMID: 15740079
5. Antifungal mechanism of polygodial. Kubo I, Fujita K, Lee SH. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Mar;49(3):1607-11. PMID: 11312903
6. In vitro antifungal susceptibilities of Candida albicans and other fungal pathogens to polygodial, a sesquiterpene dialdehyde. Lee SH, Lee JR, Lunde CS, Kubo I. Planta Med. 1999 Apr;65(3):204-8. PMID: 10232062
7. Potentiation of antifungal activity of sesquiterpene dialdehydes against Candida albicans and two other fungi. Kubo I, Himejima M. Experientia. 1992 Dec 1;48(11-12):1162-4. PMID: 1473583
8. Red leaf margins indicate increased polygodial content and function as visual signals to reduce herbivory in Pseudowintera colorata. Cooney LJ, van Klink JW, Hughes NM, Perry NB, Schaefer HM, Menzies IJ, Gould KS. New Phytol. 2012 Apr;194(2):488-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04063.x. Epub 2012 Feb 6. PMID: 22309352
9. Protective effect of an oral natural phytonutrient in recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis: a 12-month study. Kumari A, Bishier MP, Naito Y, Sharma A, Solimene U, Jain S, Yadava H, Minelli E, Tomella C, Marotta F. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2011 Oct-Dec;25(4):543-51. PMID: 22217987
10. Prophylactic strategies in recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis: a 2-year study testing a phytonutrient vs itraconazole. Chopra V, Marotta F, Kumari A, Bishier MP, He F, Zerbinati N, Agarwal C, Naito Y, Tomella C, Sharma A, Solimene U. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2013 Jul-Sep;27(3):875-82. PMID: 24152852
11. Effect of a novel phyto-compound on mucosal candidiasis: further evidence from an ex vivo study. Nakajima J, Papaah P, Yoshizawa M, Marotta F, Nakajima T, Mihara S, Minelli E. J Dig Dis. 2007 Feb;8(1):48-51. PMID: 17261135
12. Preventive strategy for Candida gut translocation during ischemia-reperfusion injury supervening on protein-calorie malnutrition. Marotta F, Barreto R, Kawakita S, Minelli E, Pavasuthipaisit K, Lorenzetti A, Nishiwaki M, Gelosa F, Fesce E, Okura R. Chin J Dig Dis. 2006;7(1):33-8. PMID: 16412035
13. In view of an optimal gut antifungal therapeutic strategy: an in vitro susceptibility and toxicity study testing a novel phyto-compound. Metugriachuk Y, Kuroi O, Pavasuthipaisit K, Tsuchiya J, Minelli E, Okura R, Fesce E, Marotta F. Chin J Dig Dis. 2005;6(2):98-103. PMID: 15904429
14. The sesquiterpenes polygodial and drimanial in vitro affect glutamatergic transport in rat brain. Martini LH, Cereser L, Junior IZ, Jardim FM, Vendite DA, Frizzo ME, Yunes RA, Calixto JB, Wofchuk S, Souza DO. Neurochem Res. 2006 Mar;31(3):431-8. Epub 2006 May 3. PMID: 16733820
15. Multifunctional action of antifungal polygodial against Saccharomyces cerevisiae: involvement of pyrrole formation on cell surface in antifungal action. Fujita K, Kubo I. Bioorg Med Chem. 2005 Dec 15;13(24):6742-7. Epub 2005 Aug 24. PMID: 16122929
16. Antifungal mechanism of polygodial. Kubo I, Fujita K, Lee SH. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Mar;49(3):1607-11. PMID: 11312903
17. In vitro antifungal susceptibilities of Candida albicans and other fungal pathogens to polygodial, a sesquiterpene dialdehyde. Lee SH, Lee JR, Lunde CS, Kubo I. Planta Med. 1999 Apr;65(3):204-8. PMID: 10232062

Add a comment