The Candida Theory

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This is the theory that candida causes fibromyalgia.

Another evil agent theory of fibromyalgia is the candida/yeast theory. This theory often pops up at unscientific internet sites.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a “sister” to fibromyalgia clinically. It is known that there is increased Candida is CFS. (Increased number of Candida albicans in the faecal microflora of chronic fatigue syndrome patients during the acute phase of illness. Evengård B, Gräns H, Wahlund E, Nord CE. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2007 Dec;42(12):1514-5, partially visible online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00365520701580397?scroll=top&needAccess=true.

One problem with toxin theories is that they tend to jump from findings proving an association and to proof of causality. For example, it is possible that Candida is more common in fibromyalgia patients. This might even be expected given the fact that they sleep so poorly and that good sleep is important for immune function. However, a high candida could be an effect of fibromyalgia and not a cause.

One advocate for the candida theory is Dr. Amy Myers who was described as “a renowned leader in Functional Medicine and New York Times Bestselling author of "The Autoimmune Solution" on the MBG/Mind Body Green website. (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10103/10-causes-of-fibromyalgia-your-doctor-doesnt-know-about.html June 27, 2013) The site featured an article called “10 Causes Of Fibromyalgia Your Doctor Doesn't Know About”. It lists various deficiencies and toxins as the cause. The second listed cause is called “Candida overgrowth”. It states: “Candida is a fungus, or yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your intestines. When overproduced, Candida breaks down the wall of the intestines and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic by-products into your body and causing a host of unpleasant symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues and pain. Virtually every one of my patients with fibromyalgia has had Candida overgrowth.”

Assuming that Dr. Myers is correct in saying that Candida is very common in fibromyalgia, it does not prove that it is the cause. A more likely explanation is that it is an effect due to the impact of poor sleep and stress on the immune system.

The whole issue of candida as a cause of fibromyalgic was reviewed by a leading expert, Dr. Daniel Clauw who wrote “There is no scientific evidence that fibromyalgia or any of its symptoms are caused by candida (yeast) overgrowth. Candida is a type of yeast that most people have living in their gastrointestinal tract, such as the mouth and intestines.” (http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/tools-resources/expert-q-a/fibromyalgia-questions/fibromyalgia-yeast.php.)