Fungi: There's A Fungus Among Us
By Dr. William R. Kellas



Do you have the following symptoms? You may have a fungus infection.

Things in this article that can change your health: - A fungus Infection is usually a sign of an imbalance in the body that must be dealt with to successfully eradicate the fungus. - If you have a fungus infection that seems to be local, such as skin fungus or a vaginal yeast infection, chances are that the rest of the body is affected. - If you have diabetes or a blood sugar problem, you may be especially susceptible to fungus infection. € Fungal and parasitic infections often go together. You may not be able to get rid of the fungus until you get rid of the parasites.

What are fungi? Fungi (singular: fungus) are organisms in the plant kingdom that are characterized by: - Having a nucleus - Reproducing both sexually and asexually (without two genders) via spores - Having no chlorophyll, the green matter in most plants Fungi vary in size but are larger than bacteria, ranging from single-celled organisms to mushrooms and toadstools. The fungi that are most important medically are single celled or at least microscopic.

What types of fungi are there? Fungi are loosely divided into two groups: - One-celled forms, designated as yeasts - Multi-cellular forms, designated as molds Most disease-producing fungi are dimorphic, meaning that they exist in both a yeast and a mold phase.

What are some indications of a fungus infection? Some fungus infections have specific symptoms. A general indication of fungus infection is allergy to: dust, grass, cigarette smoke, mildew and other sources of mold spores.

What are the basic types of fungus diseases? Fungus diseases (mycoses) in humans are of three types characterized by both amount of penetration and by seriousness: - Superficial - on the surface - Subcutaneous - under the skin - Systemic - throughout the body Vaginal fungus infections such as candida appear to be a different category. However, if you have a vaginal infection, chances are that the infection is systemic. Skin fungi may spread throughout the body, causing general symptoms such as fatigue even though the infection looks superficial. If you have the infection on the outside, there's a pretty good chance it's on the inside too.

Is ringworm really caused by a worm? Superficial fungus infections of the skin, hair, and nails are called tinea or ringworm. The name "ringworm: can cause confusion; it is named for the appearance of the infection on the skin, although worms are not involved. The fungi involved colonize in the keratin, the hard protein that is the primary constituent of hair, nails, and to a certain extent skin. The disease (tinea or ringworm) is communicable by contact. Damp or dirty conditions favor infection, and secondary bacterial infection can occur. Some common tinea infections include: - Scalp ringworm - circular bald spots on scalp - Jock itch - red, scaling, itchy areas in groin - Athlete's foot - itching, scaling lesions between toes - Body ringworm - circular patches with central scaling - Onychomycosis - thickened, crumbly, whitish nails Although on the surface, superficial fungus infections may indicate an imbalance within the body that allowed the infection to take hold. These infections may also indicate an internal fungus condition, or can be a result and symptom of immune suppression.

What are some subcutaneous fungus infections? Fungus infections that get below the skin include sporotrichosis and mycetoma. Sporotrichosis is contracted from contaminated plants and enters the body through open wounds or by inhalation or ingestion. Symptoms are ulcers and nodular masses (lumps) that penetrate the skin but do not travel beyond the local site except in people with compromised immune defenses such as AIDS patients. Mycetoma affects the feet and toenails, causing necrosis (cell death) and swelling.

What are some of the most serious fungus diseases? Systemic mycoses, the most serious type of fungus infection, include: - Aspergillosis - Rotella - Blastomycosis - Cryptococcosis - Mucormycosis - Histoplasmosis - Candidiasis - Coccidioidomycosis Candidiasis, better known as yeast infection, is probably the most prevalent and the best known. What can worsen fungus? Fungi prefer an alkaline environment, and fungi bacteria set up an alkaline condition in a vicious cycle. Carbonated beverages alkalinize the gut, promoting fungal growth. Sugars and simple carbohydrates such as white flour products provide food for the fungus, causing it to proliferate. Diabetes or a blood sugar problem can contribute to fungus growth, as there would be more sugar, their food, in the blood. Conversely, fungus can contribute to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, by taking sugar that is needed by your cells. What Can Be Done? How can you be tested for fungus? Testing for fungus includes making use of the antibody/antigen relationship to see whether your body had mounted a defense against fungus. IgAIgA testing shows whether you are reacting at the mucosal level. Stool testing can reveal the presence of some fungi directly. The type of fungus infection is less important than the fact that one exists. The existence of a fungal infection is an indication of an imbalance in the body that must be cleared up.

Dr. William R. Kellas is the co-founder of the Center For Advanced Medicine in Encinitas, CA. He is the host of a weekly syndicated show "Health Talk - A Second Opinion: heard on KPRZ and KKLA each Saturday at 11:00 to noon. He is also the co-author of "Thriving In A Toxic World: and "Surviving The Toxic Crisis.: He has authored "Toxic Immune Syndrome Cookbook. For more information call 1 (888) 244-4420 or the Center For Advanced Medicine at (760) 632-9042.

Return to the January/February Index page