This blog is a synopsis (with some editorializing added) of Roby Mitchell, MD’s article “Hypothyroidism, Candida & “Oximation:” Toward a New Model of Chronic Disease” from the Winter 2008 issue of Holistic Primary Care. I found it fascinating, especially the artful way of combining disparate pieces of info into a holistic picture. As we age, we often see a variety of doctors/health care practitioners, have a variety of “diseases”, complaints, problems….what if they were all connected?
Inflammation is a common denominator of many degenerative and auto-immune diseases (partial list: diabetes, most cancers, hypertension, irritable bowel, allergies, eczema, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis…even obesity and autism). There is an apparent confluence of chronic Candida/yeast overgrowth, hypothyroidism, and metabolic dysregulation creating various inflammation-related problems that many of us deal with, either in a low-level form or as a major impingement on our enjoyment of life.
There is cause to believe that microbial pathogens drive chronic inflammatory diseases…and our laser beam focus on bacteria and viruses has blinded us to the possibility of fungal overgrowth in our system (and all the antibiotics that are prescribed usually result in fungal overgrowth as they kill the “good” bacteria along with the “bad”).
The most powerful disease intervention at our disposal is our diet (and I would add herbs, as they can be both food and medicine). Regardless of the inflammatory disease state, there is almost always a positive impact when cow’s milk (especially pasteurized agribusiness dairy), red meat (especially corn-fed feedlot cows), grains (especially wheat, and other gluten-types, and even more so in bread), and sugar are reduced/eliminated. When this is combined with increasing intake of colorful vegetables, beans, and fruits, which just happen to be loaded with phytochemicals that are anti-fungal, well you can see where this is headed: starve the fungus and you reduce inflammation, and all sorts of problems can get better.
The connection between oxidation and degenerative disease goes back to the 1950’s when oxidative cell damage was observed after exposure to free radicals. A researcher named Denham Harman proposed that aging was due to an accumulation of these oxidative “hits.” Later research in immunology has shown that immune cells produce free radicals that attack and kill microbes, as well as create some collateral damage to healthy cells.
Oximation is Michell’s combination of the words oxidation and inflammation. His theory suggests that loss of cellular integrity (at 4 key sites: cell membranes, cell DNA, mitochondrial membranes and mitochondrial DNA) is the genesis of disease. As thyroid and other hormone levels decrease with age, local areas of hypoxia begin to form, which then invite fungal overgrowth. Eating a lot of carbs (which can become excess glucose in the body) feed the fungus. ENT specialists at the Mayo clinic found that in 96% of the cases of sinusitis, the baseline infection was fungal, not bacterial.
Focusing on our internal environment rather than any specific disease may be helpful. Hydrochloric acid (which often decreases with age), garlic, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, resveratrol, Echinacea, olive leaf, oregano and other spices, and probiotics: all these are anti-fungal, and add other important nutrients to the diet. So eat your colors (and that goes for beans, too); try the pseudo-grains: quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth; and consider eating yams, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and plantains as bread substitutes.