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My Candida Hell: Chronic Ethanol and Acetaldehyde Poisoning




Face of Auto-Brewery Syndrome Patient The following article is an account of my journey through Hell as a result of auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), often referred to as simply Candida, 'intestinal yeast overgrowth, or sometimes 'fungal-type dysbiosis'. It is meant as an educational piece as well as a warning of how bad things can get for those already suffering some degree of yeast-related illness or those at risk (immunocompromised individuals, chronic antibiotic of conctraceptive pill use etc) if action is not taken as early as possible to tackle the problem. I also hope doctors and researchers reading this will take note and aside from the enlightened few, stop burying their heads in the sand.

Candida and other opportunistic yeast are often the cause of death in the severely immunocompromised such as AIDS patients. As is often the case with the medical profession however they work in extremes. Either you have AIDS and Candida can kill you or you don't and it can't cause any health problems for you at all (other than mild irritating skin infections or thrush).

As someone who was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome/M.E. aged 12, I can assure you that the immune dysfunction associated with this illness including low natural killer (NK) cell activity, TH1/Th2 imbalance, and RNase L abnormalities, are enough to allow Candida and other yeast to thrive (at least in the gut) given the right environmental factors such as antibiotic use and a high carbohydrate diet. I suspect these factors alone or combined with genetic susceptibility and/or unhealthy gut flora (due to caeserean section birth, formula-feeding etc) may be enough to allow for the proliferation of intestinal Candida and the problems I will describe, even in the absence of ME/CFS or otherwise compromised immunity; meaning people considered healthy may also become ill due to fungal-type dysbiosis.

The following is my story:


My Early Years

My story begins before my birth as my mother had always suffered from bowel problems include symptoms of bloating, indigestion, an abdominal pain...particularly after certain foods, fermented foods for example. This would be diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome by the conventional medical profession. IBS patients have been found to have disturbed gut flora with an increased risk of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).1 It is also likely that my mum had increased amounts of Candida/yeast and recurrent thrush provides some evidence for this.

Now, before a baby is born their gastrointestinal tracts are sterile, i.e. they contain no microorganisms at all. The innoculation with what will become the individual's gut microflora begins during birth. As the baby makes its way down the birth canal the mother passes on her microflora to the baby. So if the mother has an unhealthy makeup of gut microflora herself the baby inherists this and is off to a bad start. This was the case for me.

The second "hit" was the fact that for various reasons my mum was only able to breast feed me for 2 weeks. Despite what medical professionals or infant formula companies may tell you...breast milk is FAR superior to formula milk. The reason for this is that breast milk contains substances such as oligosaccharides(prebiotics) which act as food for beneficial types of gut bacteria, particularly Bifidobacteria. Research shows that the gut microflora of breast-fed infants is dominated by Bifidobacteria while bottle-fed infants have a less healthy mix containing much more Enterobacteriaceae, Enterococci, Bacteroides, and Clostridia.2,3

Now this was all very bad news for me as believe it or not an estimated 80% of the entire immune system is located in and around the gut and the gut microflora are now known to be instrumental in the development and regulation of immunity. Unhealthy gut microflora in infancy and associated immune system dysfunction are linked to an increased risk of allergic diseases as well as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), for example.

Signs of gut problems didn't take long to surface with me as I suffered severe colic for the whole first year of my life. Infant colic has recently been linked to overgrowth of Klebsiella bacteria and increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in later life (I was diagnosed with IBS in my teens and a CDSA showed elevated amounts of Klebsiella aged 20).

To further damage any hope of me establishing a healthy gut microflora and robust immunity I was repeatedly given broad spectrum antibiotic drugs throughout my childhood for repeated ear, throat and chest infections. Antibiotics wipe out all types of bacteria in the gut, including beneficial ones such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, but don't kill yeast such as Candida, potentially allowing them to multiply unrestricted by the beneficial gut microflora that usually keep them in check.

View the very BEST Environmental Illness Videos!

1. Your Health is Governed by Your Environment | Prof. BM Hegde | TEDx Talk

2. Demystifying Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

3. Social Determinants of Health - An Introduction 




Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Teen Years

In 1991 on my 12th birthday I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). It is now well established that this is an illness that involves a compromised immune system and allows for latent viruses to be reactivated, and an increased risk for opportunistic infections. Since, as mentioned earlier, 80% of the immune system is located in the gut, it only stands to reason that impaired immunity would lead to disruption of gut microflora and increased risk for overgrowth of intestinal yeasts and bacteria, as well as infection with enteroviruses (viruses affecting the intestines).

I had suffered from gut symptoms such as indigestion and bloating all through my childhood but soon after my diagnosis with ME/CFS I also began to experience severe rectal itching. I would suggest this was due to irritation of the rectal mucous membranes by toxins produced by Candida/yeast.

I am a very stubborn individual and spent my teen years resolutely ignoring the fact I was seriously Ill. I ate junk food and drank alcohol as most British teenagers do. As a result I noticed my gut symptoms of rectal itching, bloating, indigestion, flatulence, foul-smelling stools etc were getting worse. I was also rapidly becoming intolerant of alcohol. It took less and less to get drunk and less and less to cause a hangover. The hangovers were also becoming much much worse. In addition I had a burning sensation in my skin with its focus at my scalp and around my eyes. As I will explain later I believe this to be due to the poisoning of my nervous system by ethanol and acetaldehyde produced my Candida/yeast.

By my late teens I was generally in a very bad way and had gone from one of the highest acheivers in my high school to someone who couldn't concentrate at all in classes and just couldn't seem to grasp new concepts or retain new information. My grades went rapidly downhill along with my mood. I was by this time suffering from severe depression (which I attribute to the effects of Candida).


A Life Ruined by Candida

By 19 I had dropped out of university after a semester and a half after only just being given a place to begin with. Soon after is when my health and life well and truly hit rock bottom....the signs were that my liver gave way under the strain of dealing with Candida toxins day to day and I began to appear jaundiced, had pale stools, pain in the area of the duodenum on passing stools, and general inflammation type pain in the area of my liver under the right ribcage. I had an ultrasound around this time looking at my intestines but the ultrasound operator told me it looked like my liver was enlarged/inflammed. Unfortunately since my doctor had only asked for a scan of my intestines this detail was not recorded anywhere.

With the ultrasound, a Helicobacter pylori breath test, and a duodenal endoscopy all showing no abnormalities my doctor basically told me it was IBS and stress and that was that.

I spent the next few years at home. My daily schedule would be wake up at 1pm, lay in bed all afternoon watching TV or reading until 6pm (getting up only to go to the toilet or get food), then finally get dressed and sit at the computer researching my illness, playing games, or chatting to people in chat rooms (my only social life).

By this time it was clear I was in big, BIG trouble. After any meal I would experience loud gurgling noises from my lower abdomen (ileum area) as soon as I ate and then again, about 2 hours later. This would be accompanied by severe bloating and gas. Additionally, my bowel movements smelled terrible, like they had been fermented, as indeed, in my opinion, they had.

Initially if I ate foods of high carbohydrate content such as grains the symptoms above would be more severe and the next day I would have a hangover. Now let me make this clear. This is not an adjective I am using to describe a general feeling of being ill.....when I say "hangover" I mean a hangover caused by alcohol. The symptoms were exactly the same as those I experienced increasingly after drinking alcoholic beverages. I would wake up with a dehydrated, with a dry foul tasting mouth, the type of headache where moving your head is excruciatingly painful, general muscles aches, nausea, abdominal pain, aversion to light, and symptoms associated with being intoxicated e.g. dizziness, unsteadyness on my feet. Later these symptoms would also occur after any food containing carbohydrate, even low carbohydrate leafy vegetables.

If I thought things could not get any worse I was sadly mistaken. Under the advice of an envionmental medicine doctor I undertook a course of Enzyme Potentiated Desensitisation (EPD) (known in the US as Low Dose Antigens (LDA)). The idea being to lower my allergic load. Unfortunately being a type of vaccine this treatment modulates the immune system and the result in me seems to have been allowing the yeast in my intestines to proliferate even further. After just a few treatments I was now feeling extremely intoxicated immediately after meals, worsening at the 2 hours+ mark. I felt a little drunk but this rapidly progressed to a hangover. The worst part was the severity of next day hangovers had increased exponentially. I was now suffering the symptoms described previously but more severely and I could add cold sweats, tremor, and severe depression, anxiety, and restlessness.

...all of this just from eating would be considered healthy home-cooked meals. It is safe to say suicide was constantly on my mind and I even visited websites looking for the most painless methods.


Signs of Candida/Yeast Overgrowth and Alcohol and Acetaldehyde Poisoning Confirmed by Testing

Now, I should point out at this point that the following tests are dismissed by conventional medicine but I believe them along with my symptoms to provide convincing evidence that I am the victim of severe intestinal Candida/yeast overgrowth.

They led to Dr. Keith Eaton and Dr. Sarah Myhill here in the UK diagnosing me with fungal-type dysbiosis/intestinal Candida overgrowth.

Gut Fermentation Profile - Developed by Dr. Eaton and colleagues at Biolab (UK) in London, this test involves measuring blood levels of ethanol and various other alcohols an hour or two after drinking a glucose solution. Due to the severe hangover I would have experienced after drinking the solution I simply had my blood taken after eating a low-carbohydrate snack. Needless to say my blood ethanol was above the normal range anyway. Ethanol (drinking alcohol) is primarily produced by yeast. Other alcohols were elevated too and these indicate the presence of abnormally high numbers of various bacteria.

Toxic Effects Screen - Another Biolab (UK) test. This showed increased D-glucaric acid (17.3umol/g creatinine); a generic marker of toxic exposure. It also showed elevated Gamma glutamyl transferase which is a sensitive indicator of hepatobiliary (liver and gallbladder) disease. It is also an indicator of alcohol ingestion with a sensitivity of 52%-94.4,5 Finally, using a technique called affinity chromatography the lab reported that liver enzymes that deal specifically with alcohol and drugs such as paracetamol (isoenzymes 2A and 4) were raised in my case.

Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) - Performed by Great Smokies Diagnostic Lab (now Genova Diagnostics) this stool test showed that Lactobacilli and beneficial strains of E.coli which normally keep Candida/yeast under control were almost entirely absent from my sample. The test also detected abnormally high levels of bacterial genae such as Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, and Proteus. Another stool test a few years later also detected significant amounts of Candida of various species.

Now I don't know about you, but given the fact that I had not drunk one sip of an alcoholic beverage for years before these tests were carried out, I would assume anyone would find it particularly strange that my blood should contain significant amounts of alcohol and that my liver showed all the signs of chronic alcohol ingestion.

Of course anyone in the medical profession could just dismiss my account of my symptoms and dismiss the tests results as those of someone who regularly consumed large amounts of alcoholic drinks.....but this is simply not the case. There is no doubt in my mind that the lower parts of my small intestine are covered in Candida/yeast growth which feed on whatever I eat and poison me with ethanol, acetaldehyde and other toxins which are absorbed through the small intestinal wall before passing down the portal vein to the liver.


Consequences of Ethanol and Acetaldehyde Poisoning

The consequences of chronic ethanol and acetaldehyde ingestion are well known as they occur in alcoholism. So assuming I do have a gut full of Candida/yeast acting as my own personal brewery, many of the effects are the same as those suffered by an alcoholic. At this stage it is worth knowing that ethanol is first converted by the body into acetaldehyde before that is itself converted into non-toxic acetic acid.

Here are some of the effects of ethanol:

  • Ethanol metabolism interferes with energy metabolism; this results in fatigue and buildup of lactic acid, causing muscle aches.
  • Hypoglycaemia or "low blood sugar" also results from the above.
  • Nutritional deficiencies - particularly but not limited to vitamins B1 (thiamine), B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (folic acid), B12 (cobalamin ), zinc, magnesium, potassium, and molydenum.
  • Anaemia due to folic acid and B12 deficiencies.
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers and increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome). Ethanol is highly toxic to all GI tract cells. Leaky gut syndrome is implicated in many diseases including food allergies/intolerances, systemic allergies, autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome etc.

Here are some of the effects of acetaldehyde (significantly more toxic than ethanol):

  • Is responsible for most of the symptoms of a hangover. Causes dilation of blood vessels in the brain which result in the characteristic severe headaches.
  • Attacks and forms complexes with many proteins and nucleic acid (as in DNA and RNA) disrupting their normal functions.
  • Blocks secretion of proteins by the liver and causes swelling of hepatocytes (liver cells).
  • Binds and inactivates glutathione - the body's main antioxidant - thus increasing oxidative stress and allowing free radicals to damage cells throughout the body. Mitochondria, the energy producing machinery within each cell, are particularly susceptible to free radical damage.
  • Impairs the function of lymphocytes (an important type of white blood cell) and red blood cells (those that transport oxygen).
  • Increases the release of adrenaline causes heart palpitations, anxiety etc.

In addition both substances result in liver disease when the liver has to deal with them chronically and in sufficient amounts. They cause the buildup of fat in the liver impairing its function. The liver is the most metabolically active organ in the body and so an inefficient liver interferes with the production of bile (and therefore fat digestion), the production and detoxification of steroid hormones, and the detoxifcation of a huge range of substances such as ammonia from protein metabolism and gut bacteria, drugs, and pollutants.

You are obviously aware of the effects of alcohol on the brain so imagine dealing with symptoms such as confusion, forgetfulness, lack of concentration, mood swings etc, constantly, on a day to day basis. As well as the direct effects of alcohol and acetaldehyde on the brain they also have indirect effects. For example pyridoxine is required for the production of many neurotransmitters that regulate mood such as serotonin and noradrenaline, while the activated form of vitamin D is also required for their production. It is the liver's job to activate vitamin D so a poorly functioning liver due to ethanol and acetaldehyde poisoning can result in mood disorders through this mechanism.

I would also hypothesise that my development of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) a couple of years after the symptoms of severe intoxication began was a result of ethanol and acetaldehyde poisoning. It has been proposed that MCS is due to an acquired hypersensitivity to a group of chemical that would include ethanol and acetaldehyde subsequent to either acute or chronic poisoning with these or related compounds (e.g. formaldehyde).6


Subsequent Developments

There was no way I could have sustained living with constant severe hangovers for years on end, and I suspect here is where many of you reading are hoping for a happy ending but I'm afraid that's not the case. I would surely have ended my own suffering by now but for a twist of fate - My development of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) which meant I had to move out of home. Living alone my stress levels shot up with the result that ever since my intestinal muscles have always been tensed and this has prevented the large amount of fermentation that was going on. Perhaps I am able to absorb my food before it reaches the Candida/yeast now, that is my best guess. In any case, on occassions where I do manage to relax (very very rarely), the noisy gurgling, bloating, gas, intoxication, and hangovers return.

I have been unable to treat the problem as advised by doctors, nutritionists and multitudes of other health professionals - low carbohydrate diet, antifungal medication/supplements, and probiotics (an approach I agree with) because the side-effects are so severe. I mentioned poisoning of my nervous system earlier. Well, taking anything that kills Candida/yeast results in symptoms of tension, stress, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, anger, feelings of aggression, and burning scalp and skin around my eyes. These increase in severity rapidly and I even begin to get subdermal (below the skin) bleeding around my eyes as the burning sensation becomes severe. I can only assume given the other symptoms this is due to highly elevated activity of sympathetic nerves. In any case, to stay on antifungal treatment would mean I would end up throwing myself under a bus after a few months even when plied with tranquilisers such as diazepam (Valium) in high doses at the same time. At least this serves as further confirmation that Candida/yeast is the problem as this reaction only happens when taking substances with antifungal activity; I have tried many, many different ones both prescription and "natural" and the reaction is always the same.

Now at the age of 30 I am left considering drastic options. Small intestinal biopsy to confirm the extent of the yeast overgrowth and procedures such as a faecal/fecal transplant. Yes, this is what it sounds like. A healthy donor provides samples of faeces which are liquidized and sent down tubes into the recipients small intestine. The idea being the healthy stool contains trillions of beneficial bacteria that can displace the pathogen, in this case Candida/yeast, and restore balance and health to the gut and by association, the body as a whole.

One thing is certain, I will not get well while I have my own personal brewery in my gut, so something needs to be done...


View the very BEST Environmental Illness Videos!

1. Your Health is Governed by Your Environment | Prof. BM Hegde | TEDx Talk

2. Demystifying Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

3. Social Determinants of Health - An Introduction 



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Load Previous Comments
  • John - Yes Dr. Myhill is always very busy and has even more on her plate now she has to mount a legal challenge against the limitations the GMC has placed on her practice. I believe her Stone Age diet is a good approach and I follow something very close to it and have for years. It certainly limites the gut fermentation. From personal experience the EPD therapy should be handled with extreme care if you have gut dysbiosis. The official guidelines suggest any gut dysbiosis should be cleared up before undergoing EPD treatment. Unfortunately this wasn't the case for me and the EPD treatments actually made the fungal dysbiosis noticeably worse. We have to be careful with treatments that affect immune function as any suppression can let opportunistic microorganisms such as Candida become an even greater problem.

    I can strongly relate to the nervous symptoms you require. Even tiny everyday tasks cause me great stress and it feels like a mental brick wall goes up to prevent me acting - I am just very stubborn and push on regardless otherwise I'd go mad - or at least become severely depressed. The feeling of being removed is also something I know all too well also. I feel like a spectator of my own life most of the time as if somehow removed from my body but at the same time trapped in it with it's limitations. I pretty much find it impossible to have any kind of genuine relationship at the moment as so much of my energy is needed just to get through the day and my emotions are all over the place so I can't ever say how I actually feel about anything or anyone.

    I am different in the morning however. I basically wake up in a state of panic every day with my heart pounding and this slowly subsides over the course of about 30 minutes and after about an hour I can manage to drag myself out of bed.

    I hope the Bayberry supplement starts showing positive results for you soon. I will get hold of some shortly and give it a go myself.

    Thanks for your comments about the site. It started off as a personal site about my experiences and then the rest sort of just happened as I began looking at other sites, having my own ideas and discovering ways to make money at the same time. I really don't know how I've done it myself. When I have felt slightly better I have worked really hard and when I don't feel so well I just try to maintain things - plus like I said I'm very stubborn ;)

    Carla - Thank you so much for your contributions. Great to hear you're on the road to recovery! I am actually about to complete a degree in Nutritional Therapy and will shortly be seeing people suffering with Candida and recommending much of what you have suggested. Unfortunately in my case all of these standard treatment approaches have been tried many times over and failed due to the oversensitivity of my nervous system due to the chronic acetaldehyde poisoning and my resulting inability to tolerate antifungal treatment under any circumstances. I am about to embark on spending my savings on alternative approaches. It looks like I basically need to attack the yeast indirectly by restoring the ability of my immune system to fight the infection using any means possible e.g. heavy metal and general detoxification, eradication of chronic viral infections (I have ME/CFS which started with a virus), and use of immune modulating drugs and natural substances. Treating hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances may also allow me to take antifungals - DHEA supplements did in the past but were toxic to my already highly burdened liver. Anyway, I'll find my personal path to recovery eventually but in the meantime intend to use my experience to help others, hopefully before they get themselves into the mess I have! And thank you, I would never do myself in no matter how hard things get or how ever much my poisoned brain wants to think that way ;)

    I hope your health continues to improve and look forward to seeing you on the site again :)

  • Hello Maff

    Thanks to the lead to Dr Myhill - i've had a look at her site and would be keen to get some treatment from her. I read somewhere that she has a 6 month waiting list though. Did you follow her Stone Age diet? And did you try the desensitisation method she uses? That certainly looks interesting.

    I've been on a very small dose of the Bayberry since Tuesday - half a cap in the morning and half in the evening (the recommended dose is 1-3 twice a day). I've not noticed any great improvement, and because I'm in quite a mess anyway, it's quite hard to tell if it's making me worse or not.

    I'm intrigued to see how similar our stress/nervous symptoms might be. I have spent so many hours in so many surgeries and doctor's rooms trying to describe what happens in my head in the hope that somebody might recognise it....they never have. I wonder, do you have anything like this - I get this disturbing and meaningless stress sensation in my brain, just as it goes about its every day meanderings and deliberations and thoughts and reflections. Things that should just be routine ideas and functions in my head have a painful, stressed spike which distorts my consciousness. It leaves me in a permanent state of over agitation, mental discomfort and over awareness of my own thoughts and brain - thoughts about thoughts (meta thoughts in CBT).

    When I wake up in the morning, I have about 5 minutes of feeling normal, before I become aware of the stress thing, over-stimualtion, agitation gradually reimposing itself in my body and brain.

    These things going on in my head and nerves mean that I am dislocated and removed from whatever it is I am trying to do - especially work and relationships. I find that because these feelings are taking centre stage, there is no room for the finer feelings, or other emotions.

    I'm very impressed that you have managed to put together such a great site, as when I am feeling unwell I find it impossible to apply myself in any way, my brain hurts too much trying to do the simplest of things.

    It would be interesting to know if you can relate to any of the above.

    BTW did you ever try the Formaldehyde Relief?

  • Hi John,

    Just to clarify - the majority of people with substantial problems with intestinal yeast tend to have nervous system related problems that would be described as depression, anxiety, stress, restlessness, irritability etc. However, I have never come across someone who has described specific feelings and sensations that very closely match what I experience, as you have.

    The feeling of "stress distortion" as you describe it is very familiar to me. It is like I really want to do things but there is a barrier in the way that takes a lot of effort to push through. This is basically a result of the poisoning to the nervous system with sympathetic dominance (stress response) and associated changes in the endocrine system particularly involving the adrenal and thyroid glands (i.e. low cortisol, DHEA and thyroid hormones) which we need to "get us going".

    You were quick off the mark ordering your Bayberry Formula A! I plan on leaving it until after my holiday to Turkey in a few weeks. I am very interested to see if this formula is truly non-antifungal as like you say most of those herbs are likely to have a fair degree of antifungal activity. The fact is that herbs/plants in general are antifungal as they need to be to protect themselves from fungus while they are growing! However I have used milk thistle extensively and that has never caused the distinctive antifungal-related nervous system symptom flare-up. So...I am intrigued to see how this product works. Let me know how you are doing in a few days.

    Yes, I mentioned in my first reply I'd used molybdenum and it was the BioCare Nutrisorb product I used. I didn't seem to benefit from it could well be that I wasn't taking the correct dosage of molydenum or co-factors including zinc and B6 at the time. It was a number of years ago. Perhaps it would have an additive effect with the Bayberry Formula in reducing symptoms as well.

    Acetaldehyde is a very potent toxin and is responsible for most of the symptoms associated with alcohol-induced hangovers. It's really nasty stuff that can do untold damage to the body including the nervous, immune and endocrine systems which all interact in the stress response. If we could mitigate the effects of this poison we would undoubtedly feel much better. Formaldehyde Relief by Thorne Research is another option for us and contains the nutrient co-factors required for actvity of the aldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme that converts acetaldehyde to non-toxic acetic acid. There is no doubt that this formula has no antifingal activity whatsoever. Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is not included but is also important as it forms NADH which is also essential for aledhyde dehydrogenase function.

    You should certainly have your B. hominis treated as it will contribute to your dysbiosis. I wouldn't worry about Candida/yeast not showing up on a CDSA - it is often missed when other tests and symptoms clearly point to it. Not a reliable test in this respect.

    Deep breathing and practices that incorporate can be great for stress relief. I have found meditation of huge benefit and have just started learning qi gong which is based around deep breathing coordinated with specific body movements and am finding it to be really energising and stress-relieving.

    Chewing is essential to good digestion and gut health as it stimulates not only SIgA production but also digestive juices promoting complete digestion so nothing is left behind for the bad bugs to digest other than any insoluble fibre present in your diet.

    I would thoroughly recommend Dr. Myhill as someone who doesn't give up on you and will go out of her way to find solutions even when it's something she hasn't come across before. Unfortunately she has just been put in a straight jacket by the misguided GMC so she is unable to offer her full services at present!

  • Hello Maff - yes, good to know someone else feels the same way. I wonder just how similar your stress sensations are to mine. The most distressing thing for me is a kind of stress distortion in my brain that occurs with quite ordinary everyday thoughts, and kind of distorts my consciousness and makes thinking or getting anything done very difficult and uncomfortable.

    I've beaten you to it with the Bayberry Plus A - mine turned up today and I took half a capsule with lunch. I'm going to build it up slowly as I seem to react to just about everything. The ingredients are red clover, bayberry, galangal, milk thistle, burdock, wild yam. I've googled them with 'antifungal' in search terms, and all of them seem to have antifungal properties, so I'm not sure why the producers are saying it is not antifungal. It seems just about anything is antifungal, including chamomile tea and peppermint tea.

    I've also ordered some Biocare Molybdenum. Have you ever tried it? I read that it helps the body deal with acetylaldehide. I'm fascinated by acetaldehyde - is this, at last, the cause of my buggered up nervous symptoms? And when my nerves and head feel like they're being fried, if I can tell myself it's the acetylaldehide it helps.

    I have a parasite called b. hominis, picked up by a stools test. I'm not sure what part it is playing in my dysbiosis, or whether it is the reason for the candida. Candida didn't show up in the stools sample, but did in a blood antibody test, plus I seem to have all the signs.

    You say that you haven't come across people with the same nervous hypersensitivity, but a fair few articles and books seem to mention it, and if Nutriscene have a supplement specifically designed for it, then presumably it's fairly common or they'd have no market.

    A couple of things which have helped me in the past....I have found that some of the most basic things can have the greatest effect. Interestingly, chewing my food until it's the consistency of soup (Gandhi - 'Chew your drink, drink your food') seems to soothe things for me, as does not overeating and eating only when hungry. This probably has a lot to do with saliva and SIgA, which I know from tests I am deficient in, and relates to immunity in the gut. The other big help is deep abdominal breathing.

    If you had to recommend any one of the docs you saw, which one would it be? And how did they respond to the difficulties you had with treatment? Did they just wash their hands of you? Had they not come across the problem before?


  • John,

    My turn to thank you for your very detailed reply! ;)

    From how you have described your symptoms and experiences with antifungals, probiotics and diet it seems that we have very similar problems. In fact you are the first person I've met who has described anything close to what I have experienced. A shame it's not something more pleasant we have in common but good to know we're not alone I guess.

    It's actually surprising that more people don't report this kind of reaction as the brain and nervous system are prime targets for poisoning with ethanol/acetaldehyde and other neurotoxins produced by yeast/fungus in the gut. Mood disorders are commonly reported so I guess it has just gone a step further with us...

    Like you it took me a long time to tie my feelings of restlessness and general inappropriate stress and unease to gut problems. I began feeling like this aged 16 after being diagnosed with ME/CFS at age 11/12. When you said:

    But after a couple of days the nerves went ballistic - so bad that it wasn't actully possible to continue because it's so extreme and you fear doing yourself in!!!
    that immediately struck a chord with me. I can bare it for a while but then I genuinely do feel like I will lose control and harm myself or at least start throwing things accross the room - it's the most awful feeling but as soon as antifungals are stopped it subsides relatively quickly and symptoms return to an unpleasant but bareable level.

    It's fantastic to hear you had some success with the Bayberry supplement and I hope the zero antifungal activity BayBerry Formula A will be a big part of the solution for you. I will certainly be trying it myself given our similar symptoms and your previous success. I'll report back on how I get on with it.

    Good luck with Micheal Ash and I hope you're able to turn things around soon. With illness like this the solutions tend to be different for each person but I do believe that so long as we keep looking each of us can find what works for us...however far gone we might be. The body has an amazing ability to heal if we remove all obstacles to health and give it what it needs.

    On the subject of DHEA I can say from experience that it is very potent and at least in my case very helpful in countless ways. I just felt so much better in general and specific problems clearly improved (sleep, blood sugar balance, stress tolerance, nervous system sensitivity etc). But yes, it does have side-effects as I was unlucky enough to discover first hand. Most people shouldn't experience the liver issues I did at sensible doses

  • Hi John, very sorry to hear you suffer in a similar way to me when taking antifungals. I wouldn't wish it on anybody and your description of it being "too hideous to bare" is spot on!
    Yes apologies to Sue as I was a little hasty in my reply as I haven't actually tried Bayberry Formula. After reading up on it on the Finchley Clinic website it seems the original formula has mild antifungal activity so that would be no good for me but the new Bayberry Formula A has NO antifingal activity and is purely aimed at detoxifying fungal toxins - so this may well help and I will certainly give it a try. I am well aware of the other suggestions for dealing with fungal toxins suggested by the Finchley Clinic (molydenum, zinc and B6) and have tried this combination along with pantethine (which also helps break down acetaldehyde) to no avail. You can't find the answers if you stop looking however so thanks for the suggestion Sue and I'll let you know how I get on with Bayberry Formula A.
    The Yeast Syndrome was the first book I read on Candida and yeast-related illness John and I still think it is one of, if not the best, despite its age. John Parks Trowbridge was well ahead of his time! Again however I have tried many suggestions from the book including coffee enemas and most of the recommendations from the links you kindly posted such as colon cleanses, colonic hydrotherapy etc but still cannot get around the reaction to antifungals.
    The successes I have had so far in tolerating treatment have come from addressing the nervous system itself. DHEA supplementation completely blocked the side-effects but unfortunately did my liver no good so I had to discontinue and have not found an alternative. DHEA increases stress tolerance so the fight-or-flight response is not constantly activated with the associated activation of the sympathetic nervous system. It also acts to increase the activity of the brain's major inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, so again reduces nervous system activity and induces a sense of calm through that mechanism also.
    Trying to boost immunity rather than go after the yeast directly is an approach I have not yet tried but is something I have actually been considering carefully of late. I now have some savings so intend to have a battery of tests for anything specific that could be impairing my immunity e.g. chronic viral infections, heavy metal toxicity, general toxicity. If these are present I will address them and also start an immune boosting/balancing regime of supplements and medications. I also intend to have IV phospholipids and SAMe to heal my liver and restore a greater degree of detoxification capacity.
    Some of the doctors I have seen include Dr. Sarah Myhill, Dr. Damien Downing, Dr. Keith Eaton and Biolab (UK), a 3 week stay in a Mexican Clinic and various gastroenterologists, immunologists and nutritional consultants. I have also corresponded with various physicians such as Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum and Dr. Barry Durrant-Peatfield via email about my situation. All of these are very knowledgeable and skilled doctors and practitioners whom I have a great respect for, I am just a very difficult case because I ignored my obvious illness and pushed my body until it gave up completely 12 years ago when I was 19. After spending years in bed I have been running on adrenaline only ever since.
    John, since you share my reaction to antifungals have you managed to get around it yourself? Was the Bayberry Formula all you needed or have you also used the other methods you mention and addressed gut immunity? Have you self-treated or seen doctors yourself?
    Many thanks for your suggestions and take care!

  • Hello Maff - I seem to have a similar response to antifungals as you do. My symptoms are mainly nervous, and if I take antifungals the effect is too hideous to bear, and I can relate to what you say about throwing yourself under a bus.
    You didn't answer sue2001 directly about the Bayberry Formula - I found this alleviated things within about 4 days.
    John Parks Trowbridge in his book 'The Yeast Syndrome', has a section on offsetting the Herxheimer reaction by starting out with a colon cleanse. Another good resource is at, where about half way down he refers to Herxheimer and how you might get around it.
    Another very clued up chap is Michael E Ash at who seems to suggest that you might approach things by improving the immunity in your gut, rather than directly attacking the yeast/baddies and so preventing the die off effect to some extent.
    You mention that you have seen several doctors with candida expertise. Can I ask who they are?

  • Thank you all for the suggestions :). Unfortunately I have tried all the major dietary changes (including SCD) and anything that has even very mild antifungal activity (even those promoted as producing no die-off symptoms) result in the symptoms I have described in my article as my nervous system has been so severely sensitised by 20 years of chronic poisoning with yeast toxins. I plan to dose myself with antifungals and take good quality photos of the blood spots under the skin that appear around my eyes and add them to the article. I just need to find time when I am not busy since it will take me out of action for about a week. Hopefully pictures will speak a thousand words and illustrate the severity of my predicament. I also plan to spend my savings on testing and treatments to try to restore some immune function as a way to get at the problem without the inevitable problems of taking antifungals. I'll report on my progress in my blog.
    Thanks again and best of health all!

  • Hi eyedocallie,

    Thanks for your post. I'm glad both you and your children are doing well. I am still young so still have hope. If this article and the rest of the site help just a few people who visit in some way then my own suffering is not in vain! All the best.

  • Hi Bea,

    Thanks for reading my article and for your comment. Meat and greens certainly produce the least fermentation so if we stick to those foods we absorb less toxins and feel better. It's hard to maintain a healthy weight on a diet like that long-term however...

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