Candida and Fake Illnesses

Savvy consumers have learned over the years that the primary goal of marketing is to create demand for a product or service. This has risen to the point of inventing problems that do not really exist just to sell a product that addresses the fake problem. Who knew that my social status could be destroyed by spotty glassware.

Better yet, if you can make people worry about a nonexistent problem, something that they were not previously aware of and don’t understand, they might buy your solution just to relieve their worry.

This type of “artificial demand” marketing can be very insidious when it occurs with medical products and services. The pharmaceutical industry has been accused of generating artificial demand for some of their drugs. For example, osteopenia is a relative decrease in bone density, but not enough to qualify for osteoporosis. Osteopenia is not really a disease, or even necessarily a mild version of osteoporosis, although it is a risk factor. Merck, however, was happy to broaden the market for its drug for osteoporosis and argue that patients with osteopenia should be treated also, even though the evidence really did not support this.

Sometimes the accusations are flat-out wrong. GSK has been accused of inventing restless leg syndrome (RLS) to sell a failed Parkinson’s drug. In fact the drugs used for RLS are successful Parkinson’s drugs. Further, I found references to RLS in neurology texts going back over 50 years, and there were even older references although not using the same name.

I don’t think the pharmaceutical industry invents new diseases. It seems that they do try to extend the market for their drugs into milder and milder indications, spreading into the gray zone of evidence, but they don’t get to invent their own diseases.

Those who practice medicine outside the constraints imposed by science (and ethics), however, are not above inventing imaginary diseases and conditions out of whole cloth.


One popular fake illness is chronic candidiasis. Candida albicans is a fungus that colonizes about 90% of the population (meaning it is present in the body but not causing an infection or any problems). It can, however, become an infection, usually at times of stress or immunocompromise. The most common manifestations are thrush (a superficial Candida infection in the mouth) and vaginitis, also commonly referred to as a yeast infection.

Candida can also rarely cause serious systemic infection, but this is mostly restricted to those with compromised immune systems, such as patients undergoing chemotherapy or with advanced AIDS.

Candida became the focus of a fake illness beginning in 1986 with the publication of The Yeast Connection by Dr. William Crook. In this book Crook proposed the idea that systemic candidiasis, or Candida hypersensitivity, was responsible for a host of common conditions and non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue, sexual dysfunction, asthma, and psoriasis.

Over 25 years later Candida hypersensitivity remains an unproven claim, but popular among “alternative” practitioners. The claims have also spread, unhindered by logic and evidence. For example, in a 2009 article in The Huffington Post, Kim Evans claims:

First, an estimated 90 percent of the population has a problem with candida overgrowth, although most don’t know it. And second, candida overgrowth can be the root cause of literally hundreds of different problems in the body.


It’s also fascinating that an oncologist in Rome, Dr. Tullio Simoncini, says that cancer is a fungus and actually an advanced form of candida overgrowth.

There is absolutely no science behind the claim that 90 percent of the population “have a problem with candida” or that Candida causes cancer, or that cancer is actually a fungal infection.

Of course, fake illnesses require fake treatments, and they are numerous for Candida. One such example, ZapCandida, claims:

Fungus is the silent killer that robs you of your life-force, controls how you feel, and even how you think, this website will not only help you understand what fungus, Candida Albicans among others, and its relation to severe skin-issues, it will introduce you to a little known method to heal yourself by reclaiming your Immune system.

They don’t say what their treatment actually is – it sounds like some type of supplement with lifestyle advice to avoid Candida.

While there is precious little in the published literature about Candida hypersensitivity, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology did review the claims and evidence and concluded:

  1. The concept is speculative and unproven.
  2. Elements of the proposed treatment program are potentially dangerous.

I could only find a single double-blind placebo controlled trial of treatment for Candida hypersensitivity, which found:

In women with presumed candidiasis hypersensitivity syndrome, nystatin does not reduce systemic or psychological symptoms significantly more than placebo. Consequently, the empirical recommendation of long-term nystatin therapy for such women appears to be unwarranted.

Dr. Crook himself conducted no research to demonstrate the claims he made in his popular book. He essentially bypassed research, peer review, and scientific consensus and went straight to public promotion.


Candida hypersensitivity is an implausible syndrome, simply another “one cause of all disease” alternative claim. Such claims are useful only for generating demand for fanciful and worthless treatments.

Posted in: Science and Medicine

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74 thoughts on “Candida and Fake Illnesses

  1. Slipp Digby says:

    Candida is also a favourite for diet pushers (especially low carb) who also claim it an incredibly common condition which causes “insatiable food cravings” and that cutting carbohydrates is an effective way of controlling Candida overgrowth.

  2. One popular fake illness is chronic candidiasis.

    Perhaps you could share your methods of distinguishing “fake” candidiasis from “real” candidiasis, Steven?

    I had cases to treat of people with multi-year recurring candidiasis, resistant to multiple drugs, and found nothing fake about it. Its a frustrating and painful condition. Usually victims of antibiotic abuse by their MD.. given broad antibiotics for a cold and find themselves with private parts full of yeast a week later. We get a lot of these cases as conventional medicine doesnt seem to take this problem seriously or is unwilling to admit their reckless antibiotic prescribing is the primary cause.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      Are you referring to vaginal candidiasis? Sure, those infections are common after antibiotics and they tend to recur and be troublesome to treat. That’s not the kind of fake “chronic candidiasis” Dr. Novella is talking about.

      1. Marion says:

        Thank you for making this distinction clear, Dr Hall!

        My best friend, a woman in her late 50s, claims she had her immune system all messed up by the excessive consumption of antibiotics in her youth forced upon her by her stupid parents. Knowing indeed how stupid her worthless antiscience religious parents are, I have no doubt that they chose the least qualified doctors back in the late 1950s and probably continued giving their daughter antibiotics long past the prescribed dose. I know of no connection between an excess of antibiotics and an increase in susceptibility to fungus, but, if perchance there is, I am willing to accept the plausibility of my friend’s story.

        Indeed, my friend’s Candida (which she claims recurs at the slightest encounter with a bit of sugar) is vaginal, rather than some non-vaginal kind (?). If that makes her case less fake & more real, then I’ll be happy to pass the news on to her. :)

    2. Young CC Prof says:

      Vaginal candidiasis is very real. So is oral thrush, thrush on the nipples of nursing women, and thrush in various skin folds or in the stomachs of very young babies. The symptoms are quite distinctive, and there are visible signs and lab tests to confirm it. Most of the time, it resolves with treatment, but some women develop recurring infections.

      Be warned, repeatedly treating for yeast with negative tests isn’t necessarily any smarter than giving antibiotics like candy, since some women with symptoms resembling those of a yeast infection in fact just have a skin problem, and the yeast creams can actually make it worse.

      Fake candidiasis is the idea that some people have a chronic yeast infection through large parts of the body. Not in a skin fold, or the inside of the mouth, or the genitals, but actually inside the body, like sepsis. This can’t happen unless your immune system is nearly comatose, and if your immune system is that bad, wandering around in public for a few hours would probably kill you.

      1. Fake candidiasis is the idea that some people have a chronic yeast infection through large parts of the body.

        Yeast likes mucosal surfaces, a lot of these areas are inside the body, in the digestive tract. A person taking antibiotics, immunosuppressants, chemo, can get internal candida overgrowth. The stool test will find amounts of yeast 12x higher than normal, and poor anaerobic bacterial diversity. It causes real problems – fatigue, diarrea, anxiety, muscle aches, vulnerability to other infections.

        The science on our internal yeast is very primitive, we dont know why candida causes fatigue, is it a byproduct of its feeding, or is it the absence of beneficial bacteria that is the issue, why some people are more vulnerable to these infections than others.. conventional medicine just pretends the problem doesnt exist to maximise antibiotic sales and sufferers land in holistic clinics in search for somebody who can diagnose their condition.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          As the study you link to says, the amount of yeast found inside you is minuscule compared to the bacterial biome. Is 12x a meaningful difference? How do you know? Is this relevant to any sort of treatment or is it merely something we already know? We already know that antibiotics reduce gut bacteria and allows funguses to fill the remaining niches – so what? What’s the evidence that this causes anything worse than thrush or a yeast infection, both more inconvenience rather than illness.

          Conventional medicine doesn’t pretend the problem doesn’t exist, and it certainly isn’t motivated by the desire to sell more antibiotics. Conventional medicine has spent years studying the problem, and is in fact the source of the studies you are waving about – not whoever your quack peers are. Conventional medicine does, however, deal with the most serious problems first – let’s prevent someone from dying of massive bacterial infection before we worry about thrush, shall we? And conventional medicine also looks for proof before claiming a previously-unrecognized condition exists. Perhaps you could try learning something from them? Perhaps stop wasting your time pretending you’re some sort of cutting-edge researcher rather than a parasite on both the medical literature you represent and the customers you charge for your unproven treatments?

        2. Marion says:

          And unconventional medicine (whatever that means) has not solved my friend’s chronic lifelong vaginal candida problem, either.

          In fact, conventional (again – a meaningless term – there’s just medicine vs bullshit) medicine has in fact helped her: Nystatin powder. Extremely difficult to get prescribed, unfortunately, and extremely expensive ($180 for a pound, if I recall), but it works, nonetheless.

    3. Melissa says:

      “We get a lot of these cases as conventional medicine doesnt seem to take this problem seriously or is unwilling to admit their reckless antibiotic prescribing is the primary cause.”

      Seems unlikely to me. There are several recognized conditions caused by antibiotics like Pseudomembranous colitis. Difference is they have a legitimate etiology and can be diagnosed with scientifically legitimate tests.

  3. “For example, in a 2009 article in the Huffington Post, Kim Evans claims”
    Of course HuffPost has an article as they always do promoting woo, quackademics and the like. Woo isn’t just a right-wing thing (hey I rhymed!!) the left-wing has its share of nuts as well. Egads, the stupid! It burns!

  4. “We get a lot of these cases as conventional medicine doesnt seem to take this problem seriously or is unwilling to admit their reckless antibiotic prescribing is the primary cause.”

    Is that woo talk? You qualified your statement with “conventional medicine”, is there any other kind? While I know there has been an over prescribing of antibiotics from physicians I have worked with, I would be interested to see your evidence showing a connection of “chronic candidiasis” and “reckless antibiotic prescribing.” I know several of my patient’s had fungal infections secondary to oral steroid therapies which suppressed their immune response post transplant. And as Dr Novella stated “but this is mostly restricted to those with compromised immune systems.” So in summary post hoc ergo propter hoc??

    1. And as Dr Novella stated “but this is mostly restricted to those with compromised immune systems.”

      actually he was talking about widespread SYSTEMIC infections.. which are usually restricted to the immunocompromised. Small candida colonies are present in most people. When antibiotics are taken, the bacterial ecosystem, which is an integral part of human immunity, gets wiped out, and candida colonies can overgrow. Drug lovers deny this vigorously as it challenges their antibiotic dispensing business. The evidence of candida infections being related to antibiotic abuse has actually been known and studied since antibiotics were invented.

      1. calliarcale says:

        Yes, that’s what he’s talking about, so why are you objecting based on your experience of something else? “Chronic candida” is not recurrent yeast infections, it’s supposedly a systemic infection that occurs in otherwise healthy people — and since real doctors only see systemic candidasis in people with compromised immune systems, surely you can see it’s baloney meant to sell products to the worried well.

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        By “drug lovers” you mean the generation that initially discovered the nigh-miraculous and incredibly useful medical tool known as “antibiotics”, but then failed to appreciate every single minor consequence of their use? Because what you’re really proving with that link is that shortly after antibiotics came into existence and widespread use, doctors began accumulating evidence pointing to important but as-then-not-yet-well-understood implications.

        I mean, that’s rather like calling the discoverers of the internal combustion engine “climate change lovers” and morons because they didn’t realize that ten generations down the road, the systematic worldwide use of fossil fuels would result in changes to the worldwide levels of greenhouse gasses measured in parts per million.

        Incidentally, “minor consequence” is deliberate, because the “overuse” of antibiotics normally only results in relatively minor harm except in cases where the person’s life is at risk in the first place. And yes, “overuse” is in quotes, because in most cases the antibiotics are necessary. Unless you have evidence that most cases of thrush or vaginal yeast overgrowth are due to the overprescription of antibiotics for viral infections?

        1. Young CC Prof says:

          Well, a yeast infection is a minor consequence. There are other consequences of antibiotic overuse that aren’t so minor, like C. diff or antibiotic resistance.

          Of course, that only goes to show how amazing antibiotics are: Most of the time, the worst thing that happens if you use them too often is that they stop working.

  5. The candida diet, as it was given to me back in the early 1980s, meant no pizza, no beer. It was a case of CAM treating the entire person — to a really shitty quality of life.

    1. Just how much pizza and beer do you need to unshitty your life quality? :)

      1. DavidRLogan says:

        Also necessary: tobacco and caffeine :)

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Wrong question. The correct question is “how much proof do you need before you give up pizza and beer”? In your case, the sensitivity is calibrated wrong. You will apparently accept anything as evidence, because you are justifying a previously-held conviction that validates your decision to stop consuming pizza and beer, or make this recommendation to your customers. A real doctor asks for a convergence of clinical trials in humans under near-normal living conditions before suggesting to patients that they give up two of the great foods of the world.

        Again, your practice, applied scrupulously and universally, would result in thalidomide still being prescribed as an antinausea treatment for pregnant women, because the preliminary studies in rats and test tubes indicated it was safe. This is because you’re not a doctor, you’re a priest and rhetorician whose familiarity with evidence only extends as far as what supports the beliefs you already hold. You might even be right once in a while, but by accident rather than method.

  6. Candida Hypersensitivity is being overtaken by Gluten Allergy (or sometimes Gluten Sensitivity)–or so it seems. They are different in that GA(S) doesn’t have a “treatment” per se, just avoidance. But it has opened up a huge market for gluten-free products, which have infiltrated almost every store, restaurant, and even obscure pie shops in Door County, Wisconsin, where you can get a gluten-free cherry pie (for twice the cost of a gluten version)–which my companion happily paid to avoid the same evil gluten she had been happily consuming the previous two days.

    Ah, the worried well!

    1. Hakainokami says:

      At least the gluten free products market is helpful to celiacs.

    2. mho says:

      We found baby wipes at Costo labeled gluten free.

      1. Denise says:

        As opposed to the other, gluten-laden baby wipes?

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Presumably being eaten by the babies?

          For the fiber? Because I imagine they taste awful.

          1. mho says:

            They were also labeled nut-free!

          2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Jesus, what do people use baby wipes for?!?!

      2. ihavemydoubts says:

        I’m quoting a friend for this one, but at that point they may as well add a label that says “HIV Negative”.

    3. mousethatroared says:

      “They were also labeled nut-free!”

      Apparently, some people who have nut allergies have to watch skin care products because nut oils are sometimes used as emollients.

      Go figure.

  7. Ed Whitney says:

    We never eat cookies because they have yeast
    And one little bite turns a man to a beast
    Oh can you imagine a sadder disgrace
    Than a man in the gutter with crumbs on his face?

    Away, away, with rum by gum
    Rum by gum, rum by gum
    Away, away with rum by gum
    The song of the Temperance Union.

    1. Duane says:

      Love “the Ch ad Mitchel trio”

  8. Worried well ? Can we call them the ‘pay attention to me’ people as well ?

  9. candida is real says:

    Candida is real, and really does rob you of your energy leaving you with an array if other subtle symptoms. It’s more prevalant than you think. Anyone who calls Candida fake just hasn’t experienced it yet. Very ignorant article..

    1. duggansc says:

      {nods} Candida is indeed real, as noted in the article. Systemic infections in the non-immunocompromised is what is very rarely seen, certainly not to the degree proposed by some of the more suspect doctors. It’s conveniently undetectable, which means you have to take their word that that is what it is and not some other underlying condition. Even when the condition is real, it can be falsely diagnosed. Imagine if your dentist claimed that invisible cavities were causing your gout, so you needed to be drilled, or your palmist told you that you’re plagued with evil spirits that she can banish for a low, low cost. Wouldn’t you be a bit skeptical?

    2. candida is real I do not think Dr Novella was calling Candida fake. I believe he is referencing chronic candida “the publication of The Yeast Connection by Dr. William Crook” and more specifically candida hypersensitivity as there is no evidence of such a sensitivity is shown to exist. If you could however provide evidence to your belief in candida hypersensitivity it is welcome.

  10. Beer and pizza are highly social. Asshole.

    1. Windy says:

      Responding to FBAs flatulence is pointless. FBA is a sort of intellectual black hole sucking quality and depth from any conversation that he contacts. Cite one instance where he added something insightful to an SBM thread.

  11. Rob says:

    @FBA – the study you linked is from 1952 – is there really nothing more recent than that?
    I hear people claim they have candida overgrowth but I wonder how they know. There must be standard tests to confirm thrush and vaginitis cases. Apart from these, how would one know for sure they have “candida overgrowth” as opposed to normal, non-infectious amounts of the yeast? I don’t understand the logic of people claiming you have to avoid any kind of yeast or fermented foods or breads, etc. if you have “candida overgrowth”. How would something like inactive brewer’s yeast or baker’s yeast in food and drink contribute to the pathogenic growth of a completely different type of yeast? It doesn’t make much sense…

    1. Denise says:

      You might take this questionnaire. You will probably find that you have it too.

      I seem to remember someone I knew who was very into CAM telling me she mailed a specimen to some company that diagnosed her. This was back when it was the disease of the week, about 10 years ago.

  12. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I had cases to treat of people with multi-year recurring candidiasis, resistant to multiple drugs, and found nothing fake about it.

    Really…how did you treat it? How did you know it was candidiasis?

    One way of distinguishing between “fake” and “real” is the presence of comorbid conditions. Candidiasis exists in cases of immune problems, do you have any evidence that it’s a problem in patients without compromised immunity bar minor issues like thrush and yeast infections? They may be uncomfortable, but they are hardly serious conditions. Did you refer your “patient” (in quotes, because you give no indication of being a real doctor, so you really have customers – no quotes) to real doctor to rule out serious immune suppression? Because if you’re just treating the symptoms, your customer might die of the problem that you’re missing.

    Its a frustrating and painful condition. Usually victims of antibiotic abuse by their MD.. given broad antibiotics for a cold and find themselves with private parts full of yeast a week later. We get a lot of these cases as conventional medicine doesnt seem to take this problem seriously or is unwilling to admit their reckless antibiotic prescribing is the primary cause.

    Yeah…are you sure it’s not one of the multitude of other causes? And how do you know the antibiotics are being given ‘abusively’ or ‘recklessly’? Confirmation bias? And how do you know you “successfully treated it” since candidiasis normally resolves on its own in actual cases of antibiotic use?

    @candida is real

    Candida is real, and really does rob you of your energy leaving you with an array if other subtle symptoms. It’s more prevalant than you think. Anyone who calls Candida fake just hasn’t experienced it yet. Very ignorant article.

    Nobody is arguing that Candida isn’t real. The objection is to the belief that it causes anything but the already-recognized infections. You may notice that Dr. Novella did link to a clinical trial of candidiasis and nobody got better.

    But the rest of your statements are naught but your opinion, which the scientific evidence seems to indicate is, to use a technical term, “wrong”.

    1. What @WilliamLawrenceUtridge said!

  13. Wilson says:

    “but not enough to quality for osteoporosis.” I think you mean qualify and not quality.

  14. calliarcale says:

    I haven’t read the rest of the comments yet (will in a moment), but I had to quick point out that there’s a simpler way to tell if you’re just reading marketdroid output rather than actual medical information: the phrase “literally hundreds”. Gag.

  15. DavidRLogan says:

    On the issue of guts and diet generally, I think I remember from microbiology (btw would be interested in Angora Rabbit’s opinion or any other opinion that is not a vague recollection from my life) that some of these critters actually flip out on a low-carb diet because they need the sugar, and they bury into the guts to get some…the prof was using it as an argument against low carb.

    Has anyone heard of that or does it sound like unsubstantiated physiology gossip (about the lives of microorganisms)?

    1. angorarabbit says:

      David, this is a topic I’m not familiar with, sorry. (Mark of real scientist, happy to admit ignorance.) You might take a look at Jeff Gordon’s recent work on the gut microbiome and see if he’s found associations between yeasties and gut issues or metabolism.


  16. Kathy says:

    … or the words uncounted/uncountable. Much loved by writers of madratic newspaper articles.

  17. Kathy says:

    That was meant to be an answer to calliarcale.

  18. Stephen H says:

    I am extremely pleased to hear that you don’t consider RLS and “invention of those naughty drug companies. It can be a nightmare, from personal experience, and treatment of it likewise. Those Parkinson’s drugs are not always particularly effective, and in fact I have only encountered one drug that treated it effectively – for six weeks. After that, augmentation set in.

    At the moment I am forced to rely on some serious medication to treat the pain, and I happen to be one of those unfortunates who doesn’t metabolise a lot of the drug – meaning the dose is quite high for very little effect. It would be nice to just be able to fix the underlying cause.

  19. cphickie says:

    There was a pediatric gastroenterologist that I stopped referring to because every patient I sent him was inevitably diagnosed with “bacterial/fungal overgrowth” (He’s since left the area, and I don’t think anyone misses him) and put on some sort of antibiotic/fluconazole treatment that never seemed to work. So, thank you for being candid about candida.

    1. Sastra says:

      I have a friend who was recently diagnosed by a woo-friendly physician as suffering from a whole-body fungal/mold infestation caused, of course, by “toxins” in the environment.* He put her on an incredibly strict raw-foods die to correct it. When that didn’t work, he blamed it on her having once lived years ago as a nurse in Chicago — which was filled with so many “toxins” she had become almost untreatable.

      She had gone to him because her right arm and hand had become partially paralyzed.

      *(She also apparently had Lyme Disease. This doctor was a World Expert on Lyme Disease, certified by some sort of Holistic Medicine Board. I have my doubts on both diagnoses, frankly.)

  20. johnesh says:

    Surprised no-one has mentioned clotrimazole – isn’t that what would normally be prescribed to treat candidiasis?

  21. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    cphickie – did you actually mean antibiotic treatment? How would that help with a fungal infection? Wouldn’t that make actual Candida more likely?

    1. duggansc says:

      My read on what cphickie said is that he inevitably diagnosed people with either a chronic fungal or chronic bacterial infection, with anti-fungal regimens for the former and antibiotics for the latter.

    2. Chris Hickie says:

      He would put them on 1-2 oral antibiotics along with oral fluconazole–every time, with the belief they that had both intestinal overgrowth by bacteria and fungus. We’re not taking clostridium difficile bacterial infection, but rather this vague “bacterial overgrowth”, where the notes never did quite explain which bacteria those were. Sorry for the confusion–I should have used “and” instead of “/”.

  22. WLU – I believe in terms of some skin infections doctor’s use an antibiotic/anti-fungal combo to treat bacterial/fungal infections. Possibly the doctor was attempting to use that same method for an imagined intestinal bacterial/fungal infection.

    But it appears that he was a quack, no need for his recommendations to make sense, anyway.

  23. ^^my comment – doctors, doctors, doctors….why am I alway adding apostrophes when they are not needed? I have a hyperactive pinky with ODD.

  24. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

    “Chronic candidiasis” looks like a classic example of the parasitic memes that infect modern society.What actually makes them interesting to me is not their particular claims, but the features that allow them to survive in the space of public discourse: a little bit of science to make them sound initially plausible and clever; resistance to the application of proper scientific methods to resolve questions about their validity (ironic given that it was the methods of science that provided their initial framework and claims); financial exploitation by commercial entities; vigorous advocacy by Tru Bleevers.

    Given all those adaptations for survival it is also interesting that some crank belief systems do eventually die out. No one is likely to try to re-legitimise radium shampoos.

    I’ve read the standard discussions on SCAM, but I’m unaware of a systematic analysis of how some false ideas, like homeopathy, survive for generations, whereas others burn fast and die quickly. Does one exist?

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I always thought ideas like these were holdovers or modern interpretations of the same evolutionary impulses that led to ritual purity beliefs in essentially all religions. And possibly obsessive-compulsive disorder, in extremity!

      Be interesting to put some of these people in a brain scanner…if only it led to viable hypothesis testing.

    2. I suspect that SCAMs that have a surface similarity to common modern medicine are more compelling than the really odd ones. Some SCAMs are the medical equivalent of the Fake American Airlines Sweepstakes mailer, they’re just close enough to the real thing to catch someone who’s busy, uncritical or too hopeful.

  25. Jan Willem Nienhuys says:

    Barrett and Jarvis discuss “candidiasis hypersensitivity’ on page 148-154 of their book The Health Robbers (Prometheus, 1993). Besides Crook they also mention C. Orian Truss The Missing Diagnosis (1983) as main promotor of this disease.

    They mention that according to the promoters the following may be either be caused by candida, or candida is a major factoir (M) in it:
    – abdominal bloating
    – aids (M)
    – anxiety
    – bladder infections
    – constipation
    – cravings for sugar or alcoholic beverages
    – depression
    – diarrhea
    – difficulty in concentrating
    – dizziness
    – fatigue
    – feeling bad all over
    – hives
    – hypoglycemia (M)
    – impotence
    – infertility
    – irritability
    – menstrual problems
    – mercury-amalgam toxicity (M)
    – mood swings
    – multiple sclerosis
    – muscle and joint pain
    – prostatitis
    – psoriasis
    – respiratory and ear problems
    – rheumatois arthritis (M)
    – schizophrenia (M)
    – unexpected weight gain

    (I have alphabetized their list)
    In other words, if a person with any of the above falls in the hands of a quack, the diagnosis is easy, and the treatment lucrative.
    I refer to
    for more details. There you can find a hilarious example of a 1986 diagnostic scheme that will confirm that about 100% of the population should take the advertised remedy against candida disease.

    Note that ‘problems with clear thinking’ also count. So anyone believing homeopathy, ufos, 9/11 conspiracies, creationism, astrology, bigfoot etc etc AND all those that don’t understand statistics of course should tick that item.

    Some quack diagnostics take ‘respiratory problems’ so far that ‘dislike of tobacco smoke’ is counted as respiratory problem, hence ‘candida disease’.

    In some cases patients are treated by antifungal drugs which can have very nasty side effects (e.g. creation of drug resistant fungi).

  26. Ayn Rand says:


    1. Chris says:

      Citation needed.

  27. Brigid Keely says:

    I have hidradenitis suppurativa and pretty much every message board, forum, website, etc that mentions it has someone piping up that we’re all DELUDING OURSELVES and that hidradenitis suppurativa DOES NOT REALLY EXIST. No, what we REALLY have is CANDIDA!!! Quickly followed by a link to expensive supplements and/or restrictive diets. I’m sad that “it’s because of GLUTEN” is starting to rear its ugly head as well.

  28. Frank Odds says:

    Nice post. The chronic candidiasis-yeast connection nonsense has continued well past its sell-by date.

    In the interest of historical accuracy: William Crook got his ideas from an earlier book “The Missing Diagnosis” by C. Orian Truss (self-published in Birmingham, Alabama). Crook’s “Yeast Connection” is less dry and contains more recipes, which may account for its greater popularity.

    One article about chronic candidiasis that is often overlooked but is worth a read is by J.E. Edwards Jr. in the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 1988; 64[6]:544-549.

  29. Ben Hanania says:

    All you have to do is watch a bunch of commercial and see all the MadeUp illness and their remedies. You see so many commercials about “suffering from this? or “Suffering from that” that it’s a joke –

    Marketing at its best


  30. Lynda says:

    This reminds me of computer viruses which were originally created by the same people who started the major Anti-virus companies. I believe they still employ the people who create new viruses even today! The world is a very unethical place unfortunately.

  31. Peter Kaplan says:

    Sure they invent diseases. Attention deficit disorder was invented to market amphetamines to people whose attentional abilities were not pathological, but rather on the left side of the normal distribution. By calling inattention a disease, we can sell “medicine” for its treatment. Else, we would be dispensing a performance enhancing drug and that would be–you know–wrong.

    And don’t get me started about fibromyalgia. Invented from whole cloth and the FDA has approved 2 drugs now to “treat” it.

    1. James says:


      I disagree with what you just said AD(H)D is not real.
      Now the question is it a disease or a symptom.
      I was diagnosed with narcolepsy about two years ago which presented itself as ADHD.

      So every since I started taking my medication and improving lifestyle habits it has helped me greatly.
      I tried diet alone it was not as effective as the medication.
      I tried medication alone it was not as effective when I did not eat healthy.

  32. Carolyn Wright says:

    Steven Novella, your ignorance is appalling, I just got through suffering the last two decades (that is twenty years) with a systemic infection of candidia so bad that I was wondering how I was going to survive the severe pain, nausea and fatigue of each day; until I just recently found out there a very affective cure for it. I had labs tests that showed the presence of this stuff and doctor’s would refuse to address the problem while looking right at it. I had a bronchoscopy and it showed little white speckles all through my lung which could have explained why I suffered from chronic bronchitis so severe I had difficulty breathing. The doctor would only tell me what it was not and then my physician hid the evidence by obscuring the vivid pictures of it. When I had this stuff so bad my stools were completely white the doctor just said it was a normal overgrowth of a fungal infection. Overgrowth does not mean normal. I was so sickly looking and yet no conventional doctor would help me heal, they would only treat the inflammation with prednisone. Doctor’s act like they know everything and as I am so grateful to the doctor’s who have helped me get well, the ignorant one’s need to think before they start spewing lies like candida doesn’t exist. From my own personal experience I know it does. Through divine inspiration I felt led to the answers and finally treating it with an affective cure I am now healing from the inflammation and pain throughout my entire body. The white fungal infection could be seen with the naked eye and did not even need a microscope to see its presence. I was coughing up white globs of the stuff and it was coming out of areas in my mouth and throat.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      So…your solution to massive candida overgrowth was Jesus? It’s amazing that people have been praying to Jesus for centuries, but life expectancy and infant mortality didn’t start improving until the advent of scientific medicine.

    2. Sawyer says:

      then my physician hid the evidence by obscuring the vivid pictures of it

      Your story was semi-plausible until you dropped that bomb. I’m guessing all the local lawyers are in bed with Big Pharma and refused to help you with the obvious malpractice case, right?

  33. Dave says:

    Ms Wright, just wondering, since you insulted Dr Novella even though he’s not one of the people who saw you, did you read the references he referred to in this blog?

  34. Not so fast says:

    I have MS diognosed 15 years ago. I was on every awful amunio suppresent they prescribe for MS with little benifit and many, many disturbing side effects. For years Doctors told me there was very little to be done to change my prognosis and I was just going to have to learn to deal with my limited mobillity, depression, hyper reactive nerve responses and what ever else this disease tosses my way..?They said there was NO evidence that changing my diet would change my outcome. Well, for obvious reasons I had a hard time excepting this. I did some reasearch and discovered there is a very clear link between MS and vitamin D …So I started taking a high does of liquid D and guess what? I have not had relapse in over 5 years ( I have taking liquid D for close to five years) and the Drs say it seems the progression has halted. My point is western medical practioners are far to dismissive of nutritional and holistic methods of treating disease. And trust me, I am a devoted sceptic and don’t get taken in easily by snake oil salesmen, but the truth is, western medicine is god awful at treating chronic systemic illness, so I would not be so quick to dismiss chronic candida. I’m not saying I am 100 % sold.. but I don’t plan on giving up my probiotic yogurt either, because the fact is, Drs are not always as well informed as they think when it comes to this subject.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      You may be a bit ahead of the curve, but how would you have felt if your doctor told you vitamin D would cure you, and it didn’t? What if certain subtypes of MS get worse upon exposure to vitamin D?

      Also, is there an ancient Chinese word for vitamin D such that we could reasonably call dosing yourself with a highly-purified, pharmaceutical-grade vitamin bears any resemblance to “Eastern medicine”? And may I also point out that there is a large volume of research done by “western” scientists on vitamin D? And what’s “holistic” about giving high doses of vitamin D as a treatment for a single illness? “Holistic” is a marketing term that is applied to any treatment involving vitamins or herbs; real medicine doesn’t care whether a treatment is a vitamin, herb or highly purified monoclonal antibody – it just cares if it has been proven to work or not. Something “holistic” practitioners don’t seem to care about. You’ll note that vitamins are quite mainstream treatments for a large variety of conditions, mostly deficiencies, but also things like hyperlipedemia, and yes, MS.

      I’m glad you haven’t experienced a relapse in five years, but please give the credit where it is due – researchers working hard to determine an association, not parasitic “holistic” practitioners who care more about marketing and whether you can find a molecule in a piece of fruit than they do whether there is any reason to believe it is effective.

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