Termed “the creature from the black lagoon” by Dr. Tom Chiller, who heads the fungal branch at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Candida auris (C. auris) is a fungus that preys on people with weakened immune systems. This “urgent threat” has been spreading globally for some time now. Impervious to anti-fungal medications, resistant to traditional sterilizing procedures, C. auris is now considered “the top” threat among resistant infections by Dr. Lynn Sosa, Connecticut’s deputy state epidemiologist.
Populations most at risk are newborns and the elderly, smokers, diabetics and people with autoimmune disorders taking steroids or other medications that suppress the body’s natural immunity.
You may ask, “why haven’t I heard of this?” The answer is simple. Medical institutions are worried that information about drug resistant microbes may ignite hysteria. They assert that they don’t want to scare people unnecessarily. They are concerned that hospitals and nursing homes may be viewed as infection hubs if they inform the public that the infection has been found within their walls. Hmmm…
For more specific information about C. auris, how it’s spread and where it’s been found in the US and globally, you’ll find the New York Times article I read in the Resources below.
I promise I’m not writing this post to scare you. Although the information is alarming, C. auris is simply another drug-resistant infection in a long line of threats. This particular one is a fungus. Previously, “superbugs,” strains of bacteria that don’t respond to antibiotics, have been at the forefront of public health reports.
There’s even a journal these days named “Emerging Infectious Diseases” put out by the CDC. Oh my!
Candida auris and superbugs. Why now?
I’ve actually been writing about “superbugs” for years. The critical question has always been “Why is all of this happening?”
Concerning bacterial super-bugs, investigative research points to doctor’s overprescribing antibiotics for minor colds and infections. Add to that, the routine practice of administering antibiotics to cattle and chickens in their drinking water. This practice fattens them up along with pre-empting infection — the unpleasant face of greed. The result – we as citizens eat these meats and are regularly exposed to low doses of antibiotics. I’m sure you can understand why I’ve been such an advocate for organic meats!
Conversely, the outbreak of C. auris is linked by many scientists to the rampant use of fungicides on fruits and vegetables. Fungicides sprayed on virtually all things edible – potatoes, beans, tomatoes, onions, almost any crop you can think of – eliminate some fungi, and leave C. auris to flourish. Cattle and poultry eat the feed crops, and the fungus is spread even further in manure. The bad news – this pathogenic fungal strain is now drug-resistant too! What’s amazing is that we’re at all surprised!
Diversity is critical!
Our mass farming practices, whether we’re producing cattle and poultry or vegetables and grains require a significant overhaul, much sooner than later. That is beyond what most of us can influence directly. However, we can support organic farming practices through our buying and voting choices.
Understanding your gut to protect your health
Do not despair for one minute! Our best defense against C. auris and other disease-causing organisms is to nourish and support our own microbiome.
“Microbiome” is the name given collectively to the roughly 100 trillion bacterial cells that reside in your gut. The overwhelming majority of them are “probiotics.” Probiotics are live bacterial organisms that have a beneficial function to the health of the body. A small number are termed “commensal.” They have a neutral effect, neither helpful or problematic. The bad guys (like candida auris) are known as “pathogens.” A healthy person has very few, if any, pathogens.
There are thousands of different types (strains) of probiotics. Each strain has a particular function. Some are most helpful with digestion, others support detoxification, and many specifically help with immunity.
Probiotics have been found to:
- Alleviate allergies
- Strengthen your innate immunity to disease
- Balance your immune system
- Maintain an environment that is unfriendly to pathogens
- Make vitamins
- Enhance digestion on all levels
- Support the integrity of the intestinal lining
And so very much more!
Similar to people who work together in a city, there are policemen (and policewomen), construction workers, garbage collectors, musicians, restaurant servers, mail people, firefighters, teachers – I know you’re getting my point. And the more diverse the population and their abilities, the stronger and more productive the community.
It is the same story with your microbiome. Research has shown clearly that people with more diversity of probiotics in their guts are healthier and more vital. They can resist disease and handle both physical and mental stress more efficiently.
How can I protect against Candida auris?
(Hint – increase diversity and support your microbiome.)
Here’s the bottom line:
- Eat organic whenever possible
- Drink clean, filtered water
- Supplement with a high potency, multi-strain probiotic that also includes prebiotics. The large quantity of probiotics will deliver strong functional support. Including many different strains will enhance your bacterial diversity. Prebiotics are specific foods for probiotics. By adding prebiotics, your microbiome gets exactly the foods it loves.
Love your gut! As the home of your immune system, it defends you tirelessly. A happy microbiome is truly your best protection.
References and Resources: