Enzymes and Bacteria, Yeast, and Parasites
last updated 8.25.05
see Enzymes and Leaky gut / intestinal problems
see Enzymes and Viruses
These are listed here together because a population of one often influences the populations of the others. The other common pathogen group is viruses which are discussed in a different section.
There are some tests one can do to find out if bacteria or yeast is a problem, but these are known not to be 100% accurate. The test is run, and then the doc guesses if the pathogen is likely based on all results. So it isn't necessary to worry with testing for yeast unless you just want confirmation it is likely or it makes you (or spouse) feel better.
Our digestive tract has tons of bacteria. Some are beneficial and promote good health. These are called probiotics (meaning 'for life'). Other bacteria are harmful to our health. These are the bacteria that often require the need for antibiotics (meaning 'against life').
Probiotics are present in many cultured foods such as yogurt and kefir. Humans have consumed these foods for centuries. Much research confirms the multitude of beneficial aspects which probiotics confer to good health. These include:
However, there is also bad bacteria that can overrun out bodies and cause illness and havoc with health. There are several ways bad bacteria can get started. Using too many antibiotics without probiotics can lead to bad bacteria overgrowth. A poor diet can also encourage bad bacteria growth. Poor elimination of waste, chronic constipation, and not enough fiber in the diet can lead to bad bacteria. Here is some info on how diet impacts bacteria growth (a nice article which also promotes their product and not specifically endorsed by this site):
Bad bacteria appears to be much easier to get rid of than yeast overgrowth. Bacteria is characterized by:
- aggression, moodiness, irritability, 'anger' for no apparent reason
- sleep problems but not with the inappropriate giggling or laughter
- really foul smelling stools or body odor (we are talking incredible STENCH); bad breath; stinky sweat
- ammonia odor
- frequently occurs with constipation (infrequent painful stools, streaking/smearing in underwear, etc); see encopresis/chronic constipation
Bacteria is composed of proteins. If you are needing to treat a bad bacteria problem, you might want to add strong proteases, such as Peptizyde. Protease enzymes tend to have a synergistic effect with antibiotics making the bacteria control more effective.
Strong proteases can impact bacteria killing them off. While No-Fenol can be quite helpful with bacteria and colon problems, the die-off from No-Fenol is not nearly as pronounced as No-Fenol on yeast. No-Fenol contains cellulases which act on yeast but not bacteria. Yeast is composed of proteins and celluloses (much more cellulases involved).
Enzymes and bacteria
Yeast / Candida
Nice overview and pictures of Candida
Click here to see various pictures of candida yeast
How Could This Happen?
Chronic yeast overgrowth is a complex issues because various factors impact it and it affects health in many ways. Most people report an effective treatment involves addressing and correcting the factors that predispose an individual to candida overgrowth
Factors That Promote Yeast Overgrowth:
- bacteria infection/antibiotics without following with probiotics
- lower digestive acid secretion
- poor diet
- some medications (can be hard on gut integrity)
- low or weakened immune system function (anything that weakens the immune system)
- weak or impaired liver function
- nutrient deficiencies
- chronic diseases
- other factors
Eating a lot of processed and prepared foods can promote yeast. Many of the commonly used preservatives are antibiotics and kill of bacteria. But when you ingest these, they don't just automatically stop acting as preservatives...they can kill off the more beneficial bacteria in your gut, and leave an open door for yeast to expand and grow.
Enzymes and Yeast
Enzymes for Fighting Yeast
There are a few enzyme products on the market that are formulated for fighting yeast (Candida) problems. You want to particularly check the label and look for these types of enzymes:
- proteases (target proteins)
- cellulases (target fiber)
- hemicellulases (target fiber)
- xylanases (target fiber)
Yeast cells have tough outer shells made up of protein and cellulose. The shells may be several layers think and present a barrier to the commonly used anti-fungal medications and over-the-counter supplements. The strategy of using the yeast fighting enzymes is to decompose or break down the yeast coverings so the yeast dies. Many people dealing with yeast have found that combining an anti-fungal with a yeast enzyme product gives a powerful synergistic effect on yeast. The enzymes breakdown the coating and the anti-fungals can act more quickly and effectively in destroying yeast cells. In addition, protease enzymes can help reduce die-off discomfort because they can further breakdown the waste and residue by the dead yeast cells. You can try giving more proteases if die-off is too uncomfortable, or simply reduce the amount of enzymes and anti-fungals given (go lower-n-slower).
see The Great Low-n-Slow Method with Additional Guidelines for Yeast Control
Pick a combination of a yeast-fighting enzyme product:
These are designed for yeast control:
- Candidase (Enzymedica), online and in stores
- Candex (Pure Essence), online and in stores
- Candizyme (Renew Life), online and in stores
These are not designed for yeast control, but have shown to work on yeast because they contain higer amounts of fiber digesting enzymes:
- V-Gest (Enzymedica), online and in store
- No-Fenol (Houston), online
- Phenol Assist (Kirkman Labs), online
Add a yeast fighting herb or medication or other product (some common ones below):
- Grapefruit seed extract
- Oil of oregano
- Olive leaf extract
- Caprylic acid
- Pau d'arco
Start either the yeast-fighting enzyme other the anti-fungal slowly, then add in the other item. The combination of a the yeast-fighting enzymes plus yeast-killing medication or over-the-counter product has a synergist effect that is usually much more effective than either alone. This combination effect can often be quite powerful, so do start slow and watch for signs of die-off. Often a yeast control diet, or reducing sugars and starches, will also help.
With yeast, common indicators are:
- yeast rashes somewhere else in the body: thrush on the tongue, athlete's food, vaginal irritation in girls/women
- intense carbohydrate cravings
- inappropriate uncontrollable sudden giggling or laughter (yeast by-products include alcohol so you get 'drunk-like' behavior particularly after eating carbs or sweets)
- poor sleep, sleep waking at night
- moodiness, emotionalism you don't have a reason for
- odd behavior about 30 minutes after eating
One of the criteria for diagnosing yeast is if the person responds to yeast treatment. There are prescription yeast medications you can ask for to try (Flagyl, diflucan, etc). However, there is an over-the-counter strategy that you can try. Quite a few parents find this very effective on yeast: combine one of the herbal yeast fighters (grapefruit seed extract, oil of oregano, caprylic acid) with No-Fenol which you already have. The combination is awesome. The enzymes break the out yeast coating and then the yeast killer finishes off the yeast cell. Giving a protease product like Peptizyde will help reduce die-off symptoms too.
The yeast treatment needs to be given between meals (not with meals). This way the enzymes aren't held up digesting food, then go on down through the digestive tract and attack the yeast. Start very slowly though because this can really whack yeast (more die-off and person feels miserable). When yeast is bad it can take up to 6 weeks to slowly get through the die-off phase.
To help with die-off reactions, you can:
- give more proteases (something like Purify, Repair, Peptizyde, Peptidase Complete, Vitalzym, ViraStop, Wobenzyme, etc. between meals...like 3-4 capsules every 3-4 hours)
- give more vitamin C or other antioxidant to help with general detox
- Epsom salts baths help with calming and detox
see Epsom salts
- lots of pure water to help flush the gunk out
- rest, rest, sleep, rest
- Activated Charcoal which helps absorb toxins
see Activated Charcoal
Stair-stepping the enzymes in this way is easier to manage and just has the die-off go much more slowly and comfortably for the person. Having stools move out regularly does a lot to help detox. If constipation is a problem, consider adding some soluble magnesium to help things along.
With either bacteria or yeast problems, you might want to slowly introduce a probiotic too. With colon bacteria or Clostridia, Culturelle probiotic is wonderful.
This page has many resources for Candida:
What About Die-off?
When a pathogen is being killed, debris and material from inside the cell may squish out, or there might be by-products produced. And just like an animal is killed and leaves a carcass behind, micro-organisms leave a dead 'body' behind. These substances need to be eliminated from our bodies. The body sees them as material that is 'toxic' and much be removed - detoxification. The debris may invoke the immune system to act as well. While this is going on, the person may feel sick in the stomach, like he has a flu, headaches, chills, or other common effects seen when the body is trying to fight off invades and clear matterthat should not be inside us.
The term die-off refers to these symptoms we experience as the body tries to clean out the gunk. The exact symptoms will vary by person. This has also been called the Herxheimer effect.
When you start an enzyme, medication, or supplement to get rid of a pathogen, it can be difficult to tell if immediate adverse symptoms are due to die-off or due to not tolerating the enzyme, med, or supplement itself.
Try to see if the symptoms are similar to other common reactions the person has when they are ill or detoxing. Die-off can be expressed as a whole range of symptoms depending on the person. 'Flu-like' symptoms are very common.
A couple of the yeast fighting enzyme products say there is 'no die-off' with enzymes. After investigating this claim, this is not meant to mean there is no possible chance that die-off with ever occur with enzymes. Afterall, if the yeast is dying there should be debris left over.
Take the 'no die-off symptoms' with a grain of salt and bit a marketing. People reported die-off with various products claiming to produce no die-off. A technical person at one enzyme company relayed that the 'no die-off' is relative to the amount of die-off usually seen with prescription anti-fungals where you have a set dose that is given at set intervals. With enzymes, you can dose lower if you need to and add more enzymes in if you need to so the impact of die-off is not so uncomfortable.
You can try adding more proteases too. Protease enzymes break down the waste and debris produced by the yeast cells. The proteases are supposed to be breaking down the dead cells into small amino acids or sections and detoxifying them instead of leaving large chunks of dead cell matter for the body to detox. It was advised that if die-off is too uncomfortable...add more proteases to help relieve this.
If you use an enzyme product to fight yeast, you can see die-off symptoms if the die-off is happening faster than the given amount of enzymes can break down quickly. However, you can lower the enzyme dose and do it more gradually, or you can add more proteases to help relieve the discomfort.
Probiotics cause die-off in bacteria and yeast for the same reasons enzymes do, but also because they are good microbes that also crowd out the bad microbes. So they have other means of causing die-off in addition to enzymes. Probiotics can also have anti-pathogen properties. If a person reacts to yogurt with live cultures, it could be the probiotics at work. Yogurt contains even more pathogen fighting elements besides just the probiotics.
Enzymes, probiotics, and anti-biotics or anti-fungals work together, often synergistically. It is advised to start one thing at a time and gradually work up to recommended dosages so the impact of die-off will not be so dramatic or uncomfortable.
Parasites consist of protein and related compounds like other living matter does. Parasites are usually killed off by the stomach acid if they come in with food or drink. However, if you are low on stomach acid, this can create an opening for parasites to get through. Parasites can gain access to your body through other means as well.
Taking proteases whether alone or in a mix with other digestive enzymes can help kill off parasites.
Possible Outcomes when Adding Enzymes with Pathogens
When starting a bacteria or yeast control program and using enzymes, a key clue to reactions is if you see very good improvements with enzymes along with the negatives. With enzymes, there is a pattern that as long as you see good improvements with the negatives, the negatives are nearly always adjustment effects that go away on their own or are tied to die-off. It is when you only see negatives you really need to keep your eye on things. Sometimes the negative-only cases are still adjustments, but sometimes they are related to an allergy/intolerance and a different product or therapy is needed first.
Interestingly, with a serious bacteria or yeast infection, you get negative-only responses because the pathogens are too strong for the enzymes given and mask any benefits. The person needs a solid yeast or bacteria treatment first, and then the benefits show through. If you get positive responses only with enzymes, that's great and you are home free.
When enzymes may not be helping is when you see no change at all: nothing positive and nothing negative. Not all cases of autism and related conditions have gut/food problems. Maybe around 75% do (from estimates figures).