Drug-Resistant Candida is the New Superbug
Candida has garnered plenty of attention in the natural healing world for decades as a contributor to many chronic conditions, but a new strain is proving to be a killer – and is resistant to medical treatment.
A recent outbreak of a deadly new superbug is gaining media attention – and for good reason. Candida auris is a multidrug-resistant fungus that claims the lives of more than one-third of people who catch it, and it stays alive on surfaces, resisting most commonly used cleaners. People who do live through the infection become lifelong carriers and it can be passed on or become active again if their immune system becomes suppressed or compromised.
Candida infections are nothing new. We’ve been dealing with a variety of strains of this highly adaptive, microscopic fungus for longer than anti-fungal medications have been around. Candida auris, however, is much more aggressive and virulent than the strains we’re used to dealing with, and is targeting people who are already struggling with immune system issues. Fortunately, holistic healing approaches have been successfully addressing Candida for more than a century, and can offer hope for those who may be at risk.
How Did Candida Become So Deadly?
Candida is an opportunistic infection, which means it can be in your body for years but not cause a problem until your immune system becomes suppressed. Once conditions are right for it to take hold, it changes its form from a simple yeast cell to a hyphal form that embeds itself into mucus membranes and forms a biofilm that creates the perfect environment for it to thrive and grow. This biofilm is the biggest challenge antifungals have had to face – until the fungus itself became drug resistant.
Drug resistance in a bacteria or fungus like Candida doesn’t happen overnight. Just like overuse of antibiotics in our livestock contributed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, agricultural fungicides sprayed on our produce is believed to be a causative factor in Candida auris becoming drug resistant and even resistant to most cleaning products. In addition to that, widespread use of antifungal medicines for everything from toenail infections to skin rashes and more has led to antifungal resistance from what is probably overuse.
Candida auris has also managed something extremely difficult – it has adapted to become resistant to even the strongest of hospital cleaning products. Even after thorough cleaning, hospital rooms of patients who were infected with Candida auris test positive for the fungus on everything from door handles to testing equipment and even the windows. However, one hospital’s unorthodox use of natural remedies has them testing clean from the superbug, and this gives us insight as to where to go with a natural approach.
Candida: A Natural History
When Candida was first identified under the microscope as a causative agent of vaginal yeast infections, we didn’t have anti-fungal medications. Instead, two different approaches were commonly used.
First, a pharmacist would make up capsules or vaginal suppositories of pharmaceutical-grade boric acid, to be inserted vaginally at bedtime. The boric acid would raise the pH of the surrounding tissues enough to make the environment inhospitable for the Candida and the infection would resolve.
If the infection didn’t respond to the pH change, spread beyond a local area, or was internal, then homeopathy was used. Homeopathy was the “Standard of Care” in medicine before antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals were discovered. Homeopathy operates off the principle that “like cures like” and uses minute doses of natural substances that, if given full strength, could cause the same symptoms you’re currently having.
Once antibiotics came on the scene, homeopathy slowly fell out of favor and lost its prominent place in medical therapeutics. This doesn’t mean that homeopathy isn’t effective – it just isn’t as bright and shiny of a star as antibiotics seem to be.
Fast forward almost a century to today, and specific probiotics are used as first-line agents alongside antibiotics to stave off Candida overgrowth while the immune system is vulnerable. Not only are these probiotics taken during antibiotic treatment, but they are also continued for several months afterward, along with a high fiber and low sugar diet, to recolonize healthy bacteria into the microbiome and out-compete any remaining Candida that may try to take a foothold.
We have also become a global community, with herbs from around the world having earned their place alongside homeopathy as effective immune system stimulators that allow the body to rise up and fight infections like Candida on its own.
But what is probably the most interesting use of natural remedies is one hospital’s discovery of reactive oxygen species like ozone and hydrogen peroxide along with UV radiation to completely eradicate any trace of Candida left behind, even in the smallest nooks and crannies.
This hospital, which is currently anonymous because of their ongoing research, sprayed a hydrogen peroxide mist in the rooms that had been contaminated with Candida auris, and used localized UV radiation on equipment that couldn’t tolerate moisture.
The testing afterward revealed no Candida auris was present on any surface in the previously contaminated rooms. Even hospitals using the strongest chlorine-based cleaners still tested positive for significant amounts of Candida auris.
What I Would Do if I Were Exposed to This Superbug
Right after I read about the latest outbreak of Candida auris, I had to seek medical attention for an injury. The belt broke on the ski machine I was exercising on and the impact caused a pretty large connective tissue wound on my shin that required both deep and superficial stitches.
As I sat there watching the doctor prepare that sterile field, I knew that even despite his careful attention, I could still be getting exposure to that superbug right in that moment. The fact is, despite the CDC alerting medical establishments of their concern over this silent killer, the proper testing isn’t being done to detect it and they’re concerned it’s being spread even further.
When I got home, I decided to take matters into my own hands and do what I know works well to support my body. Our homeopathic Y-C Cleanse is designed to help support your immune health so your body can fight a fungal infection on its own, so I started taking that right away, especially because I was given antibiotics for the wound.
I doubled up on my usual dose of Flora-Key, our broad-spectrum probiotic. I took what little sugar I had in my diet completely out and opted instead for more high-fiber vegetables to feed the healthy bacteria that I want to colonize in my microbiome.
Finally, I started taking Para-Key, which is what I use to support my immune system when I’ve been traveling and I think I may have been exposed to any bugs. Hospitals and clinics are full of sick people and I’m not willing to take any chances!
For cleaning, I already have on-hand a hydrogen peroxide spray that I use on produce, so I’ve been spraying that liberally on door handles and any surface I come in contact with, especially before and after I change my bandages. I also used an oxygen-based laundry additive when I washed the clothes I was wearing while I was receiving medical care. My home already has air purifiers stationed strategically around so I’m confident I’m breathing the cleanest air possible.