Candida is a genus of yeasts. Many species are harmless commensals or endosymbionts of animal hosts including humans, but other species, or harmless species in the wrong location, can cause disease. Candida albicans can cause infections (candidiasis or thrush) in humans and other animals, especially in immunocompromised patients. Many species are found in gut flora, including C. albicans in mammalian hosts, whereas others live as endosymbionts in insect hosts.
Systemic infections of the bloodstream and major organs, particularly in immunocompromised patients, affect over 90,000 people a year in the U.S., with a 40-50% mortality.
The DNA of several Candida species have been sequenced.
Antibiotics promote yeast infections, including gastrointestinal candida overgrowth, and penetration of the GI mucosa.Many people are under the impression that only women get genital yeast infections. Regardless of your sex, though, prolonged antibiotic use increases your risk of a yeast infection. Also, men and women with diabetes or impaired immune systems, such as those with HIV, are more susceptible to yeast infections.
Some practitioners of alternative medicine claim that Candida overgrowth can cause many health problems, including fatigue to weight gain, but most traditional doctors reject this.
Grown in the laboratory, Candida appears as large, round, white or cream (albicans is from Latin meaning 'whitish') colonies with a yeasty odor on agar plates at room temperature. C. albicans ferments glucose and maltose to acid and gas, sucrose to acid, and does not ferment lactose, which help to distinguish it from other Candida species.
Candida are almost universal on normal adult skin and albicans is part of the normal flora of the mucous membranes of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and female genital tracts which cause no disease.
But overgrowth of several species including albicans can cause superficial infections such as oropharyngeal candidiasis (thrush) and vulvovaginal candidiasis (vaginal candidiasis). Oral candidiasis is common in elderly denture wearers. In otherwise healthy individuals, these infections can be cured with topical or systemic antifungal medications (commonly over-the-counter treatments like miconazole or clotrimazole). In debilitated or immunocompromised patients, or if introduced intravenously, candidiasis may become a systemic disease producing abscess, thrombophlebitis, endocarditis, or infections of the eyes or other organs. Colonization of the gastrointestinal tract by C. albicans after antibiotic therapy usually causes no symptoms and may also result from taking antacids or antihyperacidity drugs.
SPECIESAmong Candida species, C. albicans, which is a normal constituent of the human flora, a commensal of the skin and the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts, is responsible for the majority of Candida bloodstream infections (candidemia). Yet, there is an increasing incidence of infections caused by C. glabrata and C. rugosa, which could be because they are frequently less susceptible to the currently used azole antifungals. Other medically important Candida species include C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, and C. dubliniensis.
Other Candida species, such as C. oleophila have been used as biological control agents in fruit.
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE THERAPIESMany practitioners of alternative medicine use the term Candida to refer to a complex with broad spectrum of symptoms, the majority of which center around gastrointestinal distress, rashes, sore gums and other miscellaneous symptoms. Candida is accorded responsibility for symptoms as specific as hay fever, as vague as "brain fog" and as common as weight gain or flatulence. These symptoms are attributed by some alternative medicine practitioners to the "overgrowth" of intestinal Candida albicans, which they claim leads to the spread of the yeast to other parts of the body via the digestive tract and bloodstream.
Use of the term Candida in alternative medicine to describe this complex is unassociated with its use in clinical medicine to refer to the fungus that causes vaginal yeast infections and thrush. This can be confusing for patients. No studies have proven that having intestinal candidiasis causes any symptoms of illness.
To treat what they refer to as Candida, some alternative medicine practitioners have recommended avoiding antibiotics, birth control pills, and foods that are high in sugar or yeast, ostensibly to "eliminate excess yeast" in the body. However, there is little clinically valid evidence that these "Candida cleanse" treatments treat intestinal candidiasis effectively, or cure any of the symptoms claimed by the proponents of the hypothesis.
The probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii has been shown to diminish levels of intestinal Candida in mice. This is therefore one of the specific probiotic strains often recommended by alternative medicine practitioners alongside a more general probiotic, for anyone on a "Candida cleanse" or "Candida diet".
For more information view the source:Wikipedia
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