Just what is candida albicans exactly? It is a plant like fungus with an absence of any sexual form. Candida begins its life as yeast, which many people, but not all, have in their digestive systems and other mucous membranes, it also lives on the skin. It is kept under control by the good bacteria that we received from the breasts of our mothers and entered our mouths as we passed thru the birth canal. These good bacteria quickly set up colonies and becomes 75% of our immune system. They keep bad bacteria, viruses, yeasts and fungi at bay so we remain healthy and happy throughout our lives. These good guys compose 85% of our bacterial colony and the other 15% is bad bacteria and sometimes yeast.
However, good bacteria are fragile, can be easily killed and only live for roughly three weeks. The flip side of that is, they also reproduce quickly and in the right environment, one bacteria can become billions in a very short time. But the modern environment that we have created for ourselves is not conducive for good bacterial growth in most cases. We are exposed to toxins and junk foods on a daily basis, both in the home and outside of the home.
The water we drink and the air we breathe are full of chemicals. The packaged foods we eat offer very little if any nutritional value and we have depleted our farmlands of nutrients. Then, if that wasn't enough, we take toxic medicines at an alarming rate. So much so that the average American is taking 3 prescription medications on a daily basis. All this contributes to the imbalance of good bacteria to yeast within our intestines.
The good bacteria can become depleted enough that candida yeast, which is a single celled organism, gets out of control. If the food supply is good candida lives as a yeast that reproduces by budding. If the carbohydrate food supply is limited it often shifts to the mycelial form and sends out root like hyphea in search of food. The mycelial form of candida is usually how it first becomes invasive and infects its host.
Candida can mate by sending out hyphea or root like legs. When two of these roots meet, they can split one of their cells and combine to form a new cell or spore. It mates with itself and passes on the genetic codes to the new spore.
The single spore form actually creates a new bud by splitting the nucleus and forming two spores. When the new spore is fully grown it breaks off from the mother spore. The single spore form is the most basic form of candida yeast. Interestingly enough candida glabrata does not produce hyphea but only spores.
It also has a form called pseudohyphae that is not a bud form or mycelial form but is a chain of spores strung together before the chain becomes a true hyphae.
Candida also has the ability to shift from a gray flat rod like colony to a smooth white colony, it also has a rough or hairy form. This switching ability and the different forms are a means of adaptation and survival and is passed on to its offspring.
Upon initial colonization, candida starts building a biofilm
as a means to protect itself. Understanding the biofilm is critically important for treatment so read that webpage.
Studies have revealed that although the 200 different species of candida are very similar, they do have slightly different dna structures. However, what is really interesting about candida is that when mice were injected with candida tropicalis and latter tested to see what species of candida the mice were infected with, they could only find candida albicans.
In invitro studies where candida was subjected to ultraviolet light but not enough to kill it, the candida adapted and shifted forms or changed species. In ideal conditions this shifting ability can happen at rates as high as 10 to the 10th power. This switching ability is what leads us to believe that candida uses this ability to infect a large range of different body sites.
The most common species of candida that infect humans are: Candida albicans, candida glabrata, candida tropicalis, candida krusei, candida kefyr, candida guilliermondii, candida parapsilosis and candida albicans has actually been classified into two types. All these species grow best at a temperature of 68 to 100.4 farenheight with 98.6F being ideal for albicans and tropicalis. They do prefer a ph range of 2.5 to 8.0 and the human body perfectly matches this environment. 1
As a matter of fact, WebMD says that a vaginal ph over 4.5 promotes bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, atrophic vaginitis and vaginal yeast infections. Andrew Cutler PHD PE, in his book "Amalgam Illness," suggests that increased alkalinity actually promotes yeast over growth. This ph information flies in the face of the acidity concept that making your body alkaline is the cure for candida, it's not, it makes it worse. This has been proven further by C Monteagudo, A Viudes, A Lazzell, P Martinez, and J L Lopez-Ribot in a study done in 2004. 2
However, over acidity caused by modern day diets that sit in the intestine for up to 100 hours and ferment create alcohols and toxins that kill good bacteria. The death of these bacteria alter the 85 to 15% ratio and allow candida yeast to get out of control. These bacteria also regulate t-cell function and as their populations decline so does immune function. Further more, candida does die at a ph range of 8.2 or higher just like cancer, but it is almost impossible to get the ph of the body that high.
The species are separated mostly on the basis of their physiological properties. Each species of candida has abilities and inabilities to assimilate various organic compounds for growth. However, the preferred compound is carbohydrates and it is the sole source of carbon for growth.
Other than needing carbohydrates for the production of carbon to grow, candida albicans needs certain vitamins as well. Candida ablicans, candida tropicalis and candida parapsilosis need biotin to grow. 3
Candida glabrata needs niacin and pyridoxine, candida kefyr needs biotin and niacin pantothenate, and candida krusei doesn't need any vitamins to grow. This would explain why people with candida albicans are usually deficient in biotin. It has been said that taking biotin while you treat candida will keep yeast from morphing into candida, but I can find no medical proof of this.
Candida albicans also likes thiamine, pantothenate, nicotinic acid, p-aminobenzoic acid and vitamin b12. Folic acid has no stimulatory or inhibitory effect but xylitol suppresses its growth. Under optimal growth conditions candida albicans, c. tropicalis, and c. glabrata can double their populations in just under one hour!
Candida is aerobic and can double its population in 2 hours when oxygen is plentiful. 4,5 Under anaerobic conditions, it takes 20 hours to double its population. 5,6 It can grow under hyperbaric oxygen medical conditions but has been found to be inhibited when oxygen pressure levels reach 2 atmospheres and above. Ultrasound in the presence of sublethal hydrogen peroxide was found to be lethal to candida. 7
Candida albicans eats by injecting the surrounding areas with exo-enzymes
. These dissolve the surrounding area so the roots can suck up the nutrients, glucose, like a plant when in the mycelial form! Candida is like a plant because its cell walls are composed of mannachitin which is composed of cellulose and hemicellulose, the same substances that make a plant wall rigid. Beneath that plant cell wall is a lipoprotein membrane like an animal. Lipo is fat; protein is meat or flesh like. Below these layers is the nucleus and they have mitochondria for energy production within the cell just like animal cells.
The candida with the injection of exo-enzymes as it tries to eat you, releases mycotoxins or poisons. These poisons can affect many areas of the body and cause the symptoms as described on the symptoms page. It also has the ability to become resistant to the drugs that kill it and eventually the drugs will not have any affect what so ever.
High levels of mercury, lead, and iron help it to survive as it attaches to these molecules and travels throughout your body. The general consensus is yeast is an immune response to mercury poisoning, because candida yeast is able to absorb its weight in mercury preventing its absorption into the blood stream. Most chronic candida sufferers go wrong when treating themselves because they do not address any possible heavy metal issues. As a result, they will fight this beast for years with no success.
Pretty interesting stuff about candida isn't it? Or is it just sickening to know that you have a plant like animal life form growing within you causing the many problems you may have? I think its both actually since this truly is its own life form.
Any questions about what is candida please contact me from the contact page of this website.
1. A Watson in 1976, J. Bacteriol; M Lopez and C Silva in 1984, Z. Allg. Mikrobiol 24; V. Uden and H. Buckley in 1970, The Yeasts; Lemos-Carolino and Madeira-Lopes in 1984, Sabouraudia 22.
2. Tissue invasiveness and non-acidic pH in human candidiasis correlate with “in vivo” expression by Candida albicans of the carbohydrate epitope recognised by new monoclonal antibody 1H4. J Clin Pathol. Jun 2004; 57(6): 598–603.
3. Meyer SA, Ahearn DG, Yarrow DG, published in Elsevier Science Publ. in 1984.
4. Iralu, Appl. Microbial 22, 1971 and CE Webster, FC Odds J. Med. Vet. Mycol. 25, 1987.
5. Growth and Respiration Characteristics of Candida albicans. S. Anand, R. Prasad
6. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. Jul 2004; 48(7): 2350–2354.doi: 10.1128/AAC.48.7.2350-2354.2004
7. Iralu, Appl. Microbial 22, 1971 and CE Webster, FC Odds J. Med. Vet. Mycol. 25, 1987.