Candida And The Musculoskeletal System

Most wholistic practitioners agree that a wide range of muscle symptoms are often seen in patients suffering from chronic candidiasis. These symptoms include muscle soreness, tenderness, aching, stiffness, weakness, cramping and rapid fatigue. In particular, the muscles of the upper back, shoulders and neck often become tight and painful. At times, sufferers state that their muscles always feel like they have just finished exercising. It's likely that the muscles may be in a heightened toxic state due to high levels of circulating stress-related hormones and a waste product of yeast cell activity called acetaldehyde.

Candida yeast cells can multiply very quickly and after a prolonged period of growth, the buildup of acetaldehyde toxins can be overwhelming to the body tissues. These toxins are then transformed into ethanol and converted by the liver to alcohol. This depletes the body of magnesium and potassium, two minerals that are absolutely essential for tissue strength and integrity. This depletion, in turn, reduces overall cell energy. As more alcohol is produced, an individual may experience symptoms of being drunk, disorientated, dizzy, or mentally confused. Panic attacks, feelings of anxiety, depression, irritability and headaches are often the results of a Candida yeast overgrowth within the body. Acetaldehyde can also cause excessive fatigue, thereby reducing strength, stamina and clarity of thought. It can destroy the enzymes needed for cell energy and cause the release of free radicals, contributing an acceleration of the aging process.

Dr. Orian Truss (author of Missing Diagnosis) has theorized that acetaldehyde may also interfere with the flexibility of red blood cell membranes. This considerably reduces their ability to make the change from the discoid shape to the fusiform shape necessary for their passage through small capillaries. He has demonstrated that patients with candidiasis have a greatly reduced red blood cell filtration rate through a micropore filter, which increases back to normal after treatment. This may reduce the rate of blood flow to the muscle tissues, impair the delivery of oxygen and nutrients (like glucose and fatty acids) to the tissues, and slow the excretion of metabolic by-products.

Defects similar to those found in red blood cell membranes may also interfere mechanically with the transport of materials through the muscle cell membranes. It is also possible that the various enzyme systems responsible for cell membrane transport are inhibited, making it difficult to keep an optimum intracellular balance of Na, K, Ca, and Mg (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium). Subsequent defects in the ability to provide enough glucose and fatty acids can impact the ability to use these nutrients to produce energy, thereby interfering with normal muscle function.

Arthritis-like pains and even formal diagnoses of rheumatoid arthritis are common in patients with candidiasis. Many times treatment of the candidiasis together with dietary changes will result in remarkable improvement in joint pain and swelling.

What Can I Do To Help Relieve Musculoskeletal Pain?

Each person is unique and finding the right combination of treatments may require some experimentation. A knowledgeable practitioner may also be able to help you put together a treatment plan. You may consider any or all of the following:
  1. Treat Candida with the WholeApproach Program including dietary changes.
  2. Introduce a good multi-vitamin/mineral supplement and adequate essential fatty acids. Magnesium and/or potassium deficiency is common in those who suffer with muscular pain.
  3. Drink plenty of purified water. Drink half your body weight in ounces (for example if you weigh 140 lbs, you should drink at least 70 ounces of water). Whether you have city water or well water, consider investing in a water purification system (i.e. reverse osmosis) or buy high quality purified water that is stored in non-porous plastic or glass.
  4. Systemic Enzymes may help to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Our WholeApproach Forums contain additional information on SYSTEMIC ENZYMES.
  5. Develop effective stress management and relaxation skills to help combat both physical and emotional stress. Prolonged stress increases acidity in the body and produces "stress hormones". Adrenaline, also called epinephrine, is released by the adrenal glands. This hormone helps to maintain increased heart rates and will tell the liver to release stored sugar for energy to the body. Noradrenaline is associated with anger and will raise blood pressure for most people. Symptoms that can be associated with this stress response might include: high blood pressure, panic or anxiety.

    Muscles that you would use to fight or flee often become very tight until released by relaxation, massage, stretching, or exercise. This is one of the most common responses to stress and has lead to everyday expressions like: "uptight", "Pain in the neck" (and other places.) Symptoms that can be associated with this stress response might include: tension headaches, tight jaw, neck/shoulder pain/tension, back pain, insomnia (including trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, or not feeling rested after sleeping), fatigue, loss of concentration (distracted by muscle pain or tension), learning disabilities, poor communication (listening and speaking).

    Long term imbalances in normal hormone levels caused by unresolved stress can affect the immune system which is normally there to fight off infections and promote healing. Symptoms that can be associated with this stress response might include: frequent colds or flu's, infections, cancer or tumor development, increased allergic responses, auto-immune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma).
  6. Massage, reiki, foot zone therapy, reflexology or other forms of body work that increase circulation of the blood and lymph. Heat treatments or sauna treatments may also be helpful.
  7. Exercise. Start slowly and consult with your practitioner. Exercise will increase circulation, "massage" the lymph system and will increase oxygen to the tissues to promote healthier muscles and bones.
  8. Eat a whole food diet with attention to possible food allergies. Keep a food diary and consider a rotation diet. To read more on food allergies read our recent article: Candida Related Complex and Food Allergies
  9. Acupuncture is helpful for chronic muscle/joint pain in some cases.
  10. Molybdenum may be helpful. Molybdenum is chemically responsible for breaking down acetaldehyde into acetic acid. Acetaldehyde cannot be excreted from the body; it accumulates. The body naturally removes acetic acid, or changes it into acetyl coenzyme A. Acetaldhyde accumulations in tissue are responsible for weakness in muscles, irritation, and PAIN.
  11. Get plenty of rest.
  12. Laughter is good medicine! Dr. Lee Berk and fellow researcher Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California have been studying the effects of laughter on the immune system. To date their published studies have shown that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexibility, and boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.
Tarilee Cornish is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner with a special interest in immune and digestive recovery including general detoxification and recovery from food allergies and candida overgrowth. She is especially passionate about pure healing food choices that have a democratic, ecological and compassionate production and distribution chain. Tarilee is a moderator on the WholeApproach Support Forum.
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