About Digestion

Taylor: How often I’ve wanted to yell at a doctor who says, “Candida can’t be the problem, it is a normal inhabitant of the intestinal track!” When it gets to the overgrowth stage, like a vaginal yeast infection, or a nail infection, they can see it is a problem. Why can’t they see that intestinal yeast overgrowth is a problem too, only much, much worse?

Polly: E. coli causes food poisoning. Yet it is also a “normal” inhabitant of the intestinal track. No one considers large quantities of E. coli benign. The unwillingness of some people to consider the possibility of yeast being a problem is so sad. In fact, one person tried to prove that yeast in the intestines were benign by ingesting larger and larger quantities of it. Eventually he made himself sick. Yeast overgrowth in the intestines is not benign. It will

1) shift the immune system from Th1 to Th2. [1] This type of shift favors inflammation. It also tends to keep the infection in place by making it more difficult for the body to get rid of the yeast, parasites and viruses.

2) alter the pH and other intestinal environmental factors, which will favor the growth of different bacteria,

3) destroy nutrients like coenzyme Q10, [2]

4) over-burden the liver with poisons,

5) produce toxins that interfere with energy production, and other bodily processes,

6) and generally make a person absolutely miserable.

Taylor: Understanding how to aid the digestive process seems to be key in helping the immune system fight the candida. There is an apparent interplay between the digestive process and the immune system where

1) Food is improperly digested

2) Undigested food molecules slip through the leaky gut into the bloodstream.

3) The immune system stays busy fighting these food molecules and toxins, and so it is unable to cope with the candida overgrowth.

4) Because our food is not well digested and absorbed, we don’t experience the full benefit of its nutrients.

5) Without these nutrients, our immune system will never be able to attain the strength it needs to win the war against candida.

So it would appear that a front-line in our approach to health would be to attend to our digestion by using enzymes and/or acids to help digest the food, and using supplements to attend to the leaky gut.

Polly: Taylor, I think you are correct on every point. We need to get the nutrition in us instead of feeding the yeast, bad bacteria, and our allergies. This will help us break out of this vicious cycle. This interplay of the immune system and the digestive system is even more involved than you have outlined. A very large portion of the immune system is located in the gut, and the bacteria and yeast present in the gut interact with it. For instance, some bacteria even destroy interferon. [3] The health of the intestinal lining will determine to a large extent which bacteria thrive. This lining receives most of its nourishment directly from the food in the gut rather than from the blood supply. So if we want healthy flora, it is very important that the food is well digested.

To improve digestion, we must start by correcting the stomach acid pH, getting adequate digestive enzymes, and getting the proper flow of bile going. However, this by itself is not enough to digest food properly. The intestines must be healthy. For instance, if intestinal irritation and inflammation causes the food to flow too quickly through the digestive tract, then there would be no time for the digestive enzymes and bile to do their work. Healthy intestines are needed to secrete an enzyme, enterokinase, to activate the pancreatic enzymes. Without this activation of the digestive enzymes, food cannot be digested. The intestinal lining feeds the flora, and the flora helps the body digest food by providing needed enzymes. Therefore, we must also concentrate on creating healthy intestines if we are to improve digestion and our immune system.

Restoring Stomach Acid Production

Polly: There are several deficiencies that can cause a lack of stomach acid. Often the body is low in thyroid, taurine, glutamine, histidine and/or acetylcholine when yeast or mercury is present. (Book 6 talks about the significance of these substances and their use.) All of these substances are needed to produce stomach acid. Getting rid of the yeast and/or mercury toxicity will help restore these substances to normal, although sometimes you need to correct the deficiencies with supplements to bring functioning back. However, don’t try to increase stomach acid production until after you get a H. pylori infection under control. You may damage the stomach lining.

If your stomach acid production is too high, consider a supplement of Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane (MSM). It has been known to bring excess stomach acid production back under control. MSM will sometimes get rid of constipation too. Copper deficiency, zinc excess, or selenium deficiency is also known to lead to excess stomach acid. [5]

Sal DN, DD: Stomach acid is produced via a zinc mediated pathway. The absorption of minerals (zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc) requires an initial acid medium.

Polly: That sounds like a vicious cycle. You need zinc to produce stomach acid, but you need the stomach acid to absorb the zinc. Hmmm. Some of the people on the autism list use a zinc sulfate cream applied to the soles of the feet. Guess this gets around the absorption problem.

Marilyn in Seattle: In this book, All Your Health Questions Answered, Maureen Kennedy Salaman keeps emphasizing that the best form of mineral supplement to take is a plant-derived mineral in solution. She does not recommend any particular brand, but says that when minerals are taken in this manner, they are absorbed well and you bypass problems of mal-absorption and lack of stomach acid. She says if you have absorption problems only 1-5% of a tablet type supplement will get into your system — an abysmally low amount, I’d say.

Harold: For the last year I have been using a plant-based mineral/vitamin/amino acids liquid supplement. It is called Seasilver. I have tried other colloidal mineral supplements, but prefer this. It has 43 trace minerals, and 7 macro minerals. Seasilver contains:

Aloe Vera (which contains substantial amounts of over 39 essential minerals and all 22 amino acids.)

Pau D’Arco (a herb beneficial for those with yeast overgrowth)

Organic Sea Vegetation (10 kinds from the far northern Atlantic Ocean)

Catalyst Concentrate (to help the Aloe Vera become a finer texture for better assimilation)

Cranberry Concentrate

Colloidal Silver (an antifungal that helps kill yeast)

It comes in a liquid 32oz size and is absolutely delicious. This Seasilver is not available in the stores, but is available through a Multi-Level Marketing system (pyramid scheme basically). I don’t do this thing. I just get it for my own use. Do a search for Seasilver on the Internet, and you will find many people selling it.

Polly: That sounds better than most of the colloidal mineral products that are popular now. If you try a colloidal mineral product, be careful which one you choose. One very popular colloidal product contains strontium and aluminum although the company claims that these particular minerals in their product are not absorbed, so you aren’t to worry.

I think the ionic mineral supplements, like WaterOz or ENIVA are a better bet. The ionic form is the form found in live plants — the mineral particles are microscopic. Colloidal just means the minerals are suspended in water. That is why the colloidal products are opaque. The ionic solutions are clear. The ionic companies try to point out the difference in their advertisements. However, the response of the colloidal companies has been to merely add the word ionic to their label. I think this is both confusing and misleading. Only a portion of the minerals in the colloidal products are in the ionic form. They don’t tell you the percentage.

Many of us have decreased absorption of minerals because of intestinal inflammation and low stomach acid. Sometimes the only way out of this mess seems to be going around the digestive system — either a mineral cream applied to the skin, mineral shots, or a mineral drip in our doctor’s office.

Enough Bile?

Polly: Anyone who has had their gallbladder removed should consider taking bile salts with their meals to help them emulsify their fats and absorb the fat-soluble vitamins of A, E, D, and K. All of these vitamins are anti-inflammatory and they are extremely important for healthy intestines. Many digestive supplements contain some bile. If you want a plain bile supplement, DEWS makes one. http://www.DEWSnatural.com or phone (940) 243-2178

However, there seems to always be exceptions to every rule. Bile salts can become an irritant to the lining of the large intestine. [6] So don’t take an excessive amount of bile salts. If only a modicum of bile salts make you feel bad, you might have a parasitic infection. In the book Overcoming Parasites by Ann Louise Gittleman (page 29), she mentions that bile acids increase the growth of Giardia Lamblia, a water-borne parasite. Giardia Lamblia irritates the bile ducts and can cause gall bladder disease. A Giardia infection can look a lot like the yeast syndrome. The infection can also produce gluten intolerance.

To create bile, you need the amino acids glycine and taurine. Taurine is particularly important because it helps keep gallstones from forming. Thyroid is also important because it helps turn cholesterol into bile salts. (See section in the next chapter on the Liver-Gallbladder Flush.)


1. Puccetti P, Romani L, Bistoni F., “A TH1-TH2-like switch in candidiasis: new perspectives for therapy.” Trends Microbiol. 1995 Jun;3(6):237-40.

2. See this article by Hugh Fudenberg, MD on the “Typical course of an Autistic Patient,” http://www.whaleto.freeserve.co.uk/v/fudenburg.html

3. Valyshev AV, Zykova LS, Konnova ME (Article in Russian) “The screening diagnosis of intestinal dysbiosis” Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol 1994 Aug; Suppl 1:71-74 and Valyshev AV, Gil’mutdinova FG, Fomicheva SV, (Article in Russian)”The persistence factors of the enterobacteria in the fecal flora in intestinal dysbiosis.” Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol 1996 May;3:96-98

4. Alan Gaby, MD, “Literature Review and Comments,” Townsend Letter, Dec. 1998

5. Nichols, Trent, MD, and Faass, Nancy, MSW, MPH, Optimal Digestion, 1999, Avon Books, NY, NY, pg. 313

6. Fratkin J, OMD, “Leaky Gut Syndrome” Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory Newsletter, 1999 .

©2002 by Polly Hattemer, also known as Pauline Hattemer

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