Facts not fact on topic of bacteria

Sep 17, 2013 by Guest Writer

I recently read the article from the July issue of The Triton titled “Bacteria: the good, the bad and the healthy.”

Chef Mary Beth Lawton Johnson relays in detail the harmful effects of “systemic yeast infections.” I take exception to her claims.

As a medical professional for the past 30 years, I have rarely witnessed this as a common malady. This “systemic” condition she describes is so rare it is seen only in people who have severely compromised immune systems and often long histories of multiple medical problems that have led to overuse of antibiotics.

Her “facts” are cobbled together from health food gurus, nutritionists, advocates for alternative lifestyle therapies, etc., and is not based on legitimate medical facts.

Dr. Andrew Weil, a popular, well regarded Harvard-trained medical doctor, who himself believes and practices holistic medicine, says it best:

“Diagnoses of systemic candidiasis usually have no scientific basis and most of the recommended treatments for it wastes time and money. Anyone with yeast growing in the blood or vital organs would be critically ill in an intensive care unit. Despite this medical reality, systemic candidiasis remains a popular diagnosis in some segments of the alternative medicine community. My belief is that its persistence is an example of our fears of foreign invaders; it satisfies a need to blame our maladies on an external cause.”

Most of the treatments used for this "disease" are harmless except for certain drugs that can be toxic to the liver and should not be used except on the advice of an infectious disease specialist. A study reported a few years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the more commonly used drug Nystatin (Mycostatin) was no more effective than a placebo in treating people who thought they had systemic candidiasis.

Your chef should stick to her area of expertise and please stop regurgitating medical misinformation. There are many things we should be afraid of when it comes to food, bacteria and illness, but this should come from real experts.

R. Castellano, RN