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The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide

Easy Bread Making for Special Diets

Easy Cooking for Special Diets




Getting to the Root of the Problem -- Dysbiosis

The presence of unfriendly microorganisms in the digestive tract can also be a factor which contributes to the development of food allergies. Intestinal bacteria, which in a healthy person will be predominantly “friendly” types, and their human host ideally should live in harmony. The bacteria do a myriad of health-promoting things for the person. This state is called “symbiosis.”

If this happy balance does not exist because of the presence of frankly pathogenic organisms, the overgrowth of unfriendly organisms that are often not considered pathogenic, or the absence of friendly bacteria, then a state of dys-symbiosis, or dysbiosis exists. Dysbiosis can be caused by protozoan parasites (Entamoeba histolytica, Entamoeba coli, other Entamoeba, Dientamoeba fragilis, Endolimax nana, Giardia lamblia, Blastocystis hominis, Chilomastix mesnili, and others); yeast (Candida albicans, other Candida species, Torulopsis glabrata, and others); or bacteria (Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni, Yersinia enterocolitica, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Citrobacter freundii, Citrobacter diversus, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, some strains of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, some strains of Bacteriodes, Clostridium difficile, and others). Some of these organisms are not considered “pathogenic” by conventional medicine. However, weak pathogens, or a predominance of “unfriendly” organisms can cause severe illness in a chronically ill, weakened, or malnourished patient.{1} The eradication of these organisms can make a dramatic difference in the patient’s health.

A very common cause of bacterial or fungal dysbiosis is often the repeated or long term use of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill both the bacteria you want them to kill and the “friendly” bacteria in the intestine and the vagina. This leaves these areas open to be colonized by yeast, unfriendly bacteria, and parasites.

Parasitic infestations are on the increase because of changes in our lifestyles that have occurred over the last few decades. International travel is now commonplace. If you are not a traveler, the world and its parasites will come to you, brought by imported produce and immigrants from countries where sanitation is sub-standard. Eating out in restaurants frequently and the close contact of day care centers contribute to the spread of parasites.

Maldigestion can also promote dysbiosis. Dr. Martin Lee says, “Colonic flora is a reflection of what it is fed.”{2} If food is completely and rapidly digested and absorbed in the small intestine, it is not available to nourish unfriendly bacteria or yeast in either the small or large intestine. Almost all that is left to reach the large intestine is fiber, which is a favorite food for friendly bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and promotes their growth.

Diet can also contribute to dysbiosis. A diet high in flesh protein and low in plant foods promotes the growth of Bacteroides species, but a lacto-vegetarian diet, based on milk products and plant foods, promotes the growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.{3} Elaine Gottshalls’s book Breaking the Vicious Cycle prescribes the “specific carbohydrate diet” for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.{4} This diet eliminates all grains, sugar, lactose, other disaccharides, and some starches that such patients may be unable to digest and absorb. This leads to a shift in bowel flora towards normal and improvement in symptoms. After two years on the diet, most patients can return to controlled eating of starches and not have symptoms return. For more information about this book or to order it from, go the Print Resources page of this website.

The ideal diet for patients with candidiasis is the subject of considerable debate. Several years ago, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, on which the grams of carbohydrate may have even been counted, were used. Then Dr. William Crook began using diets higher in complex carbohydrates for his patients. Simple carbohydrates, such as fruits, were still restricted initially.{5} When Dr. Crook was in Colorado in 1995, I heard him speak to a group of health professionals, and the question of the best diet for candidiasis was raised. Dr. Crook said that, in his many years of experience, the only absolute he had determined to be essential for the diet was that sugar had to be avoided. He said that all the Nystatin™ or Diflucan™ in the world will not eradicate Candida if a patient continues to eat sugar. Recent German studies suggest that very low carbohydrate diets may be counterproductive because they cause the Candida to become invasive and penetrate deeper into the tissues in search of food.{6}

Dysbiosis caused by bacteria or yeast can be diagnosed using a stool test called a comprehensive digestive stool analysis (CDSA) which is very different and much more complete than a standard hospital “stool culture with O&P.” For more information about the CDSA and parasite testing done by the specialized lab at the Parasitology Center (480-767-2522), see pages 19 to 21 of The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide and visit this page of Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory website. Multiple stool tests may be necessary (and it’s good to have them done by the Parasitology Center as well as Great Smokies) because a patient may have several negative tests and still have parasites.

Intestinal dysbiosis can be treated with a variety of prescription and botanical medicines to rid your body of unfriendly organisms. Your CDSA results include sensitivity testing which indicates which medicines are effective against your particular unfriendly bacteria and yeast. Treatment of dysbiosis caused by bacteria and/or yeast will also usually include supplementation with friendly probiotic organisms such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. For more information about probiotics, see pages 25 to 33 and the recipes on pages 57 to 66 of The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide. Dr. Leo Galland does not recommend taking probiotics while under treatment for parasitic infestations because bacteria are “food” for protozoal parasites: save your probiotics to take after the course of anti-parasitic treatment is completed.{7} Your doctor may also direct you to take nutrients that help your intestine heal, such as L-glutamine (the major source of nourishment for the cells lining the small intestine), N-acetyl-glucosamine (which stimulates the production of intestinal secretory IgA, a protective factor), and butyric acid (which promotes healing in the large intestine), or other nutrients.

A few supplements you may be taking can be counterproductive to the treatment of dysbiosis and are mentioned here so you can avoid them. Iron supplements feed unfriendly bacteria and protozoan parasites.{8} Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) also feed some unfriendly bacteria, especially Klebsiella pneumoniae, hemolytic E. coli, Bacteroides species, and Staphylococcus aureus.{9} As mentioned above, protozoal parasites “eat” bacteria, so your doctor may advise you to avoid probiotics during the course of anti-parasitic treatment. Cysteine, glycine, and glutathione, while important antioxidants, can stimulate the growth of yeast in some patients with candidiasis.{10} If you are taking botanical remedies for dysbiosis, your doctor may tell you to temporarily avoid all antioxidants because botanical medicines kill parasites and bacteria by oxidizing them, and thus, antioxidants reduce the effectiveness of these remedies.{11}


1. Interview with Leo Galland, M.D., “Leaky Gut – What Is It? What Factors Cause It?
What Can Be Done?” Mastering Food Allergies Newsletter, #86, July/August 1995, p. 7.

2. Chaitow, Leon, et al, Probiotics, pp. 114-115.

3. Ibid, p. 58.

4. Gottschall, Elaine, B.S., M.Sc., Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet, The Kirkton Press, Kirkton, Ontario, Canada, 1994, p. 53-59.

5. Chaitow, Leon, et al, Probiotics, pp. 155-156.

6. Naugle, Elizabeth, “Dietary Update,” Candida and Dysbiosis Information Foundation, P.O. Drawer JF, College Station, TX 77841, p. 1.

7. Galland, Leo, M.D. “Dysbiotic Relationships in the Bowel,” American College of Advancement in Medicine Conference, Spring 1992.

8. Chaitow, Leon, et al, Probiotics, p. 36.

9. Mitsuoka, Tomotari. “Intestinal Flora and Aging.” Nutrition Reviews, December, 1992. 50(12):442.

10. Chaitow, Leon, et al, Probiotics, p. 36.

11. Ibid, p. 39.


The information on this page is abridged from
The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide
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