Opportunistic fungal infections are of limited virulence but only enter a host who is in a condition of lowered resistance.They primarily enter through the respiratory mucocutaneous (where the mucosa transitions to skin, usually enter through the nostrils). Opportunistic fungal infections vary from superficial skin to pulmonary and systemic. They are usually symptomatic with a wide variety of symptoms from bloating, gas, fatigue, metal fog, allergic response, excess mucous, anxiety and depression and are distributed worldwide but without a predictable pattern, which is one reason that they are increasingly significant and hard to contain.
However, the main reason that fungi have become an increasingly significant opportunistic pathogen is a result of weakened host defenses, which could be factors of antibiotic use (or overuse and not repopulating good flora), diabetes, cancer and other forms of immunosuppression. Common opportunistic fungi are also associated with corticosteroids, which are prescribed widely for a variety of conditions from rashes to lupus to asthma (some of the worst offending pharmaceuticals in my opinion which cause catastrophic hormonal imbalances and depletion of the adrenal gland hormones DHEA and cortisol when given in either high doses or for extended periods of time).
The human body by nature is extremely resistant to the establishment of fungi because it has so many antifungal defenses, starting with the skin, then the mucous membranes, and repiratory cilia. However the most important defenses in the body against opportunistic fungi are cell-mediated immunity (so immune function has to be strong), phagocytesis, which is a cellular process of the body to engulf solid particles and to literally “eat” pathogens, and the inflammatory reaction, which again, in an immunocompromised person, isn’t going to be strong.
I see a lot of candidiasis in my work, which is also a related secondary opportunistic pathogen. Candida albicans exists in the normal flora of the human mouth, throat, intestine and vagina. Because antibiotics kill our good flora as well as the bad, it is likely that many people who have taken either a few or several rounds of antibiotics in a row without repopulating their good bacteria have weakened their defenses to candida albicans which is when it can grow to become the pathogen, candidiasis. I did not realize how dangerous it really is to the immunocompromised person and recently read that “a patient with systemic candida infection can die if the infection is not detected and treated within 5 to 7 days”.
Thankfully, I have been studying this pathogen for several years now and have a tried and true way of eliminating with a strict anti-candida diet along with a customized supplement protocol to kill it, bring it out of the body and then a way to saturate the layers of the intestinal tract with anti-fungals to kill it deeper in the tissues. However, anti-fungals must be rotated to prevent resistance. Because candida can only overgrow in a host with limited resistance, we must figure out which other system in the body has been compromised, be it the immune system, an organ or a gland. Those other systems that are out of balance must also be strengthened for the candidiasis to be completely eliminated.
The western route is to use an anti-fungal like Nystatin, but I find as soon as one goes of it, they usually begin to experience symptoms again because they have only kept it at bay with these pharmas.
Please feel free to leave comments about your knowledge or experience of candida.
Talaro, K.P. (2009). Foundations of microbiology. New York, N.Y.: Prentice-Hall.