YEAST-RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS
NOHA Honorary Member William G. Crook, MD, has written a wonderfully comprehensive book, The Yeast Connection and the Woman*, which describes health problems that can affect all family members. These problems are often exacerbated by the overgrowth of the common yeast, Candida albicans. Dr. Crook, an eminent author and pediatrician, writes from his many years of clinical experience with children and adults, particularly women. He covers a vast number of diseases, describes fascinating case histories, gives detailed opinions and references from many other medical experts, and concludes each discussion with his own comments.
Dr. Crook summarizes the overall yeast problem interspersing delightful drawings by his youngest daughter. Following is just the summary:
Since Candida albicans is a normal constituent of the gut flora, there is no obvious single test for Candida overgrowth as a factor in disease conditions. In other words, we can’t just have a test for the presence of Candida albicans because, in both health and disease, we expect it to be present so such a test does not give us any answer. However, when a very careful medical history is taken, many factors can point to probable Candida overgrowth. In women inflammation of the vagina points strongly to the diagnosis. For everyone, courses of antibiotics promote the yeast overgrowth. In his experience dealing with patients who do have candida-related problems, Dr. Crook has found that many points in patients’ histories do occur with "remarkable uniformity." Over the years he has developed a widely used and published adult questionnaire on these points. The seventy questions are included in this book.
Among the many people quoted in Dr. Crook’s book are quite a few who are connected with NOHA: Honorary Members Jeffrey Bland, Sidney Baker, Abram Hoffer, Beatrice Trum Hunter, Bernard Rimland, the late Linus Pauling, and the late Roger J. Williams; also, Professional Advisory Board Member Theron G. Randolph. Former NOHA President Marjorie Hurt Jones co-authored The Yeast Connection Cookbook with Dr. Crook. He also quotes from her newsletter, Mastering Food Allergies, which always includes excellent interviews with medical experts. In regard to NOHA Member Lynn Lawson’s new book, Staying Well in a Toxic World, he speaks of it as "superb" and "magnificent," stating, "It is authoritative, carefully documented and as readable as a paperback novel! " Finally, he does quote NOHA News on "Suggestion for Obtaining Safer Foods" and gives our address for further information.
Many health problems are covered by Dr. Crook. Following are brief summaries and excerpts from the chapters on three of them:
Dr. Crook gives some examples of successful treatment and concludes, "Yeast overgrowth is certainly not ‘the cause’ of infertility. Yet, for a couple struggling in vain to solve the problem, anti-candida therapy is a safe option worth considering. Such therapy should be comprehensive and should feature oral nystatin and a sugar-free special diet. I would especially recommend such a treatment program if either or both partners gave the typical history."
Dr. Crook deals with a number of autoimmune diseases that have sometimes been helped by anti-candida therapy.
When patients have symptoms of the autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, Dr. Crook and other medical doctors have started them on an anti-candida program often with spectacular success lasting for many years. Staying on the diet and continuing with anti-fungal medication seems to be essential. Quoting one patient, "I’m fine until I cheat on my diet. Even one bite of a sugar-continuing food will immediately trigger my symptoms."
Dr. Crook and his colleagues want to convince the entire medical community of the efficacy of anti-candida treatment for many diseases. A double-blind study that can be replicated by other researchers will be necessary and a disease must be chosen that has recognized symptoms. A pilot study of five men and five women with multiple sclerosis is about to begin.
A number of references are given of asthmatic symptoms improving in patients after anti-fungal treatment.
Throughout his book Dr. Crook points out time and again that an appropriate diet is absolutely essential in the treatment of the many health problems exacerbated by yeast overgrowth.
To replace sugar and other sweeteners, Dr. Crook suggests the cautious use of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) (sucrose molecules with additional fructose molecules linked in sequence). "FOS are widely distributed in a variety of edible plants such as vegetables and grains and some fruits. They’re not absorbed by human digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract or pancreas, but are utilized by your friendly intestinal bacteria." Allen Spreen, MD, of Jacksonville, Florida states: "According to the scientific literature, acidophilus thrives on FOS. By contrast the other organisms in the gut, including candida, are not able to break it down. My patients love to take it and I do seem to be getting good results with it."
Quoting from Leo Galland, MD, of New York City, who has years of experience treating candida-related health problems:
Dr. Crook does make many excellent points about diet — points that are familiar to NOHA News readers. For example, he demonstrates that relative pesticide levels are exceedingly high in meat, fish, and poultry because these toxins bioaccumulate in the fat so we should avoid these foods. [Editor’s Note: We can purchase beef and chicken that has been grown "organically" without any pesticides used either on the farms or in the animals’ feed. Also, as we have pointed out in NOHA News, wild game meat contains much less fat (actually "structural" rather than "saturated") and, as Dr. Randolph would say, it is "chemically less contaminated" than regular meat.]
Dr. Crook points out that vegetables [including, for example, beans with grains] can supply adequate protein. Also, "vegetables and fruit produce an alkaline urine [whereas] protein foods produce an acid urine and calcium is released from the bones to neutralize it. . . . . So the bottom line is that people who eat adequate — but lower — amounts of protein lose less calcium in the urine."
Dr. Crook includes excellent material on the essential fatty acids (EFAs), "good fats," pointing out that, like vitamins, the EFAs must be ingested. "They form the structural core of the walls of each of the body’s cells. They also furnish raw materials for making hormones, including the protaglandins, the short-distance message carriers that are made by all of the cells of the body." Dr. Sidney Baker "has calculated that all the cell membranes of an adult human, if they were laid out on a flat surface, could cover about ten football fields."
Problems with food sensitivities are also covered and Dr. Crook carefully describes the "elimination diet" for diagnosing them.
This review barely touches on the myriad subjects covered in Dr. Crook’s book. He deals with the many chemical pollutants that exacerbate ill-health — for example, with breast cancer and the organochlorines and with the effects of the "hormone copycats." Vitamins and other nutritional supplements are covered. Also, he explains clearly the actions of free radicals and the antioxidants that control them.
In conclusion, Dr. Crook has given all of us a wonderful source of information, which he presents in the first person from his own knowledge, from his experience with his patients, and from his conversations with many, many medical friends. We can all profit from owning this 729-page book!
*Professional Books, Inc., Box 3246, Jackson, Tennessee 38303, 1995, 729 pages, soft cover, $17.95.
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XX, No. 4, Fall 1995, pages 1-3.