Saturday, June 25, 2011

Some M.D.s on the yeast/candida issue

Early on after we got the autism diagnosis, I decided not to pursue the yeast angle. There are a lot of people who think that yeast overgrowth is either a cause of autism or else that autistic children are uniquely susceptible to these kinds of issues and/or their symptoms are exacerbated. My non-autistic son has been having a lot of issues for the last couple of years (pretty much chronic diarrhea/IBS), and I have tried nearly everything except the anti-candida diet.

So I did some digging, and I found this document from the Institute for Functional Medicine. "Functional Medicine" appears to be a movement within conventional medicine that attempts to provide new ways to help individuals with chronic disease. This institute is accredited to provide continuing medical education credits to physicians who study with them, so this made me especially curious to see what they have to say.

Anyway, one thing that I like about this document is that includes some meal suggestions, which is nice.

I have a couple of problems with trying to decide how to implement this. The first one is that if your child has mitochondrial issues, then you have to make sure they get adequate energy, and eliminating starches could be a serious problem. I would not eliminate starches from the diet of a child with suspected "mito" without talking to an actual mitochondrial specialist. Since we think T may have an issue here (testing still pending), I am unsure how I could implement this anti-candida diet (primarily for S's benefit) while still making sure that T gets ample carbohydrates.

The other problem is that if you have bacterial overgrowth rather than yeast overgrowth in your intestines, it appears that the FODMAPs approach may be better for you. Here is a helpful handout on that. I do not believe you can truly combine both approaches unless you actually move to something very close to a zero carbohydrate diet, because most of the vegetables that are allowed on the anti-candida diet (because they don't have simple sugars or starches that yeast like to eat) are disallowed on a low-FODMAP diet (because they contain certain complex sugars -- "oligosaccharides" -- that bacteria like to eat).