Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
Diarrhea, fatigue, fever, mouth sores, weight loss, abdominal pain and bloody stools.
If you have any combination of these symptoms, you may be one of the 700,000 Americans suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Scientists have long thought this painful and disruptive disorder is caused by many factors, including your genetics, environment and diet.
But just a few weeks ago, scientists from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, in Cleveland, Ohio, made a groundbreaking discovery that reveals there is another factor contributing to your risk of developing Crohn’s disease — the tiny microorganisms living in your guts.
Plus, when they took a closer look, they realized that not only were bacteria responsible for this uncomfortable condition, but so was another microorganism — yeast.
The Three Amigos of Indigestion
Patients with Crohn’s experience abnormal immune responses to common bacteria. If fact, these bacteria are so common they are in everyone’s intestines.
And while the researchers already knew that these bacteria play a major role in causing Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel disorders, they didn’t realize that yeast, which is a type of fungus, is also a contributing factor to the disease.
By analyzing fecal samples of both folks who had Crohn’s and those who were Crohn’s-free, they realized that the presence of one specific fungus and two different bacteria may trigger immune responses in Crohn’s patients.
The bacteria, Serratia marcescens and E. coli, and the yeast Candida tropicalis were found at higher levels in those suffering from Crohn’s than in healthy patients. Plus, those with Crohn’s also experienced lower levels of good gut bacteria, which could take a toll on digestive health.
Researchers believe that all three of these microorganisms work together to create a film-like substance called biofilm. This living film can attach itself to your intestines and cause inflammation, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue and other Crohn’s symptoms.
These groundbreaking findings could lead to revolutionary new treatments for Crohn’s sufferers, including the use of probiotics. These could increase levels of beneficial bacteria and fungi while reducing the levels of Crohn’s-causing microorganisms.
The overgrowth of Candida yeasts have been linked to other health issues including chronic fatigue, fungal infections of the nails, gas, bloating, constipation, allergies, sugar cravings and leaky gut syndrome. So it’s not shocking to hear one of the members of this family could be partially responsible for a chronic digestive disorder.
Fortunately, there are a few simply dietary changes you can make to halt the growth of Candida yeasts.
These fungi feed on alcohol, sugar and refined carbs, so it’s best to avoid foods made with wheat and sugar and skip your evening cocktail as often as possible.
In addition, adding a few servings of fermented veggies like kimchi or sauerkraut to your diet is a good way to boost your good gut flora and bring your body back to balance. Start with just half a cup a day to get your body started in the battle against Candida.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily
 Crohn’s disease