Cally L. wrote me, “I’ve been reading about candida overgrowth. Is this something you think is valid? Something I should be tested for?”
A: Candida overgrowth is a common phenomenon in persons with CFS/ME/FM, probably because NK Cell Activity is low in most patients and it is the NK Cells that are thought to help fend off candida or yeast. It is thought that candida produces a toxin that can exacerbate CFS/ME/FM. However, we do not think of yeast infections as causing or triggering CFS/ME or FM.
For several years I worked with Dr. Billy Crook, who was considered a pioneer in the treatment of candidal infections. He taught me to seek out at least two systemic yeast infections (for example monilial vaginitis + a skin infection, or a candidal skin infection plus oral thrush) before considering powerful treatment with fluconazole (Diflucan) or other antifungal agents. Otherwise he would suppress yeast overgrowth by using chronic oral nystatin, probiotics, and a low carb / low yeast diet. You can find the details in his book, “The Yeast Connection.” Dr. Crook did not recommend testing for candida since the organism is normally found in everyone’s GI tract, so most tests were inaccurate or just reflected this symbiosis.