Fungi are one of the key elements of life on Earth while being one of the least understood, at least in terms of the sheer volume of varieties and how they interact with the rest of the systems on the planet. Of an estimated 15 million species on Earth, some 6 million of them may be fungi. We are now just starting to learn about fungal networks and mycelial 'internets,' and mycologists believe that this new understanding could be a key element in our journey to better health and a more sustainable world.

When it comes to the health benefits of fungi scientists discovered that mushrooms and mycelium are more closely related to animals than plants - we share a common, unique evolutionary history. Mycologists have been documenting the anticancer and neurogenic properties of fungi in addition to metabolites that have long been used in western medicine to fight infections. There are also bad fungi, mold and fungal outbreaks like candida can wreak havoc on the body. Join us as we discuss the fungus among us.

Stay tuned for Zoya's Pet Health Segment where the topic will be yeast infections in dogs.

Running Time: 01:30:18

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Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Hello and welcome to the Health and Wellness Show everybody. Today is Friday, August 25, 2017. My name is Jonathan. I'll be your host for today. Joining me in our virtual studio from all over the planet we have Erica, Tiffany, Doug and Elliot. Hey guys.

All: Hellos.

Jonathan: So we're missing Gaby today. We wish her well. Hopefully she can join us next week.

Tiffany: She's out hunting for mushrooms actually.

Jonathan: So today's topic is Fungus Among Us. We are going to talk about all different type of fungi. Fungi are one of the key elements of life on earth while simultaneously being one of the least understood forms of life on earth. The sheer volume of how many different types of fungi there are and the range of things that they do is staggering, all the way from curing cancer to can kill you within a few seconds.
So we are going to run through that and talk about different types of fungi. Do you guys want to start with the good stuff?

Doug: Yes.

Jonathan: We'll end on a downer for everybody because we know our listeners like that.

Doug: Yeah, we don't want to change our pattern.

Tiffany: We'll start with the fun-gis and end with the not-so-fun-gis.

Jonathan: So the medicinal mushrooms thing is kind of interesting. We have things like lion's mane, cordyceps. Cordyceps is a big one for cancer, if I'm saying that right.

Doug: Yeah.

Jonathan: Okay. I'm curious. I don't have any personal experience with healing mushrooms per se. We were talking before the show about chaga and I've tried chaga in a tea but that's pretty much the extent of it. Do you guys have any experience in that area?

Tiffany: My experience is just white mushrooms, portabella mushrooms that I put in food. I am afraid to go out into the forest and get mushrooms because I'm scared I might accidentally poison myself, which would be a really sad way to go; I'm out there looking for health and end up killing my liver. So I don't have any real experience with mushrooms but it sounds fascinating.

Doug: I've tried quite a few just in supplement form. I haven't really done any kind of extensive therapies with them to try and heal a particular ailment but I've certainly tried quite a few. I've done chaga tea, like you said Jonathan. I actually tried that as a coffee replacement at one point. I thought it fell pretty short.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Doug: But some people seem to like it a lot. I used to make a tea with reishi mushroom too. I had a friend who gave me a huge chunk of reishi and reishi mushroom is great. So I made a liver tonic tea with that, that included nettle and a few other things as well. I've done lion's mane and a bunch of other stuff. It's hard to say when you just take capsules for a month and try to see if anything happens. It's always a bit difficult to pin anything down.

Erica: The Chinese use it a lot in their traditional medicine and they use it for all kinds of stuff like night sweats, sexual dysfunction, high blood sugar, respiratory disease, kidney function, irregular heartbeat. They are definitely not tasty. It's more of that bitter kind of bitterness.

Tiffany: Bitter bitterness.

Jonathan: That's what I thought about chaga too. For listeners who might not know, chaga is a mushroom of sorts. It looks like a big chunk of brown bark almost, like a dark piece of thick bark off of a tree, but it grows on birch trees but it doesn't look like birch bark at all. It's dark brown and kind of golden in some places. But I think the reason they tried the coffee substitute thing is just because it makes a brown liquid essentially.

Doug: Bitter, yeah. It's kind of reminiscent of coffee but not particularly.

Jonathan: I've never personally had any kind of drastic experiences but I think more along the lines of what you said Doug, take supplement occasionally and I don't really notice anything. There are certain herbs that are like that for me too, like cat's claw. I'll take it once in a while but I couldn't exactly tell you why. I run through a bottle of it "I guess that was good for me". I'm not sure.

Tiffany: I'd be interested in finding some already pre-prepared mushroom extracts. I just don't trust myself to go out and pick any.

Doug: If you don't know what you're doing it wouldn't be advisable to just go out and start picking mushroom. I think you really need to be in the company of somebody who knows what they're doing because it can be kind of dangerous if you have no idea.

Tiffany: Elliott?

Jonathan: Right.

Elliot: Yes, sorry, there's a little bit of a lag. On what you were saying Jonathan, about taking the odd mushroom here and there, without any sort of specific reason then it may be difficult to see if it's having any effect but if you've got something like terminal kidney cancer or something, then it's a lot easier for you to be able to see whether it works or not. I actually have a friend, someone that I know, someone that I trained with last year and he was diagnosed with I think stage 3 kidney cancer. He went for chemotherapy but he was told that he only had a couple of months to live. So he basically had a complete shift around in his life and decided that he wanted to learn about nutrition.

Funnily enough, he went vegan and started doing all the juices and everything like that, but the main thing that he actually used was something called Biobran. It's a type of fungus that's grown on rice bran so they mix a type of fungus with the rice bran and then it produces a metabolite and they isolate and use this metabolite as a treatment.

So he used this, I don't know how long for. I think he used it for a couple of months and then he went back to his doctor and it turns out that he'd completely cured himself of cancer and he's now on his way to being in remission. So he was pretty flabbergasted by this and that's why he actually chose to go and study nutrition. I thought it was amazing. I started looking into this BioBran compound a lot more because one of my lecturers actually uses it. She's a specialist in integrative cancer therapy. She uses it with every single cancer case and she has apparently had really good results with it.

So for anyone who's interested, it's called Biobran MGN-3. So I'll put it up in the chat room. I think in some of the articles that we read spoke about this particular thing. There's a couple of doctors who are out there saying that this is the most potent anti-cancer thing that they've ever come across and these guys have been studying cancer for a very long time. People are up in a rage about it because it's apparently amazing stuff.

Jonathan: I'm sorry Elliot, I know we have a lag. I wonder if Dr. Sircus has this on his radar. Are you aware of that at all?

Elliot: Yeah, I think he did mention it in one of the articles. It's expensive stuff by the way.

Doug: Yeah, it is.

Elliot: It's really expensive. I think for a month's supply it's about £300 so that's maybe $500 or something. But if it's going to save your life, go out and do it!

Tiffany: It's still cheaper than chemotherapy.

Elliot: Yeah.

Tiffany: And it actually works, at least for this guy it did.

Doug: A lot of the research out there on medicinal mushrooms is very impressive. Just one example is that lion's mane mushroom. They've actually found in studies that it will actually regenerate nerve tissue, actually remyelinate the nerves and they found that it improves cognition and improves digestive function as well. It's an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, all kinds of amazing things. It improves the lipid profile. Medicinal mushrooms are actually quite amazing when you look at them and how they're being used in particular settings for particular ailments and stuff. It's actually really impressive.

Tiffany: They've used that one for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. We can't show pictures over the radio but it's a very nice looking mushroom. It kind of looks like a brain to me and it reminds me when we had Yarrow Willard on the show and we were talking about how certain herbs and plants and things look like the body parts that they're supposed to treat. So lion's mane to me looks a little bit like brain.

Doug: I think that's referred to as the doctrine of similars.

Erica: Yeahhh! Plant allies!

Doug: Plant allies, yeah.

Erica: I'm really fascinated by this topic. What's really cool about them is this whole idea of mycelium. Everyone's heard of mushrooms but not a lot of people have heard of mycelium which are actually what grows underground, a very intricate web, a lot like brain cells or blood cells.

Tiffany: And the mushroom is just the fruit?

Erica: Yeah, the mushroom is just what comes up that we see. They usually only last for four days so scientists have never really been that interested in them but when you start to research mycelium, that part of the mushroom you don't see, you see how amazing this is. I won't go too off the deep end here, but they're the earth's internet. They call it the world wood web. They're like the neurological network of nature and so they stay in constant communication with the environment and they're information sharing.

Some mycologist believe that they are conscious, they have awareness. So when you see what they can do in the environment, to the earth, you can see what they do in humans. A lot of mycologist believe that we evolved with them, that when they found remains thousands of years ago, in the remains they found a mushroom on the remains and it was perfectly preserved because it was in ice. There's this relationship that's been going on for a long time and just now science is starting to actually look at it and see the properties of healing for the planet too, not just humans.

Tiffany: So they're like the internet of the earth, so trees can "log" on. .

Erica: Ouch!

Doug: Very good.

Tiffany: So trees can log onto the network. I think I read that they can warn each other of harm so they can produce the proper chemicals to get the bugs off of them or they can transfer nutrients to the other little baby trees that might not be getting enough.

Erica: And water.

Jonathan: I've heard about the warning system, where if a harmful larvae of some kind is attacking trees in an area of a forest and it's moving in a certain direction, that trees that are in the path of that destruction are able to be warned and they produce a chemical that wards off that attacker.

Doug: Yeah. It's all kinds of crazy, really interesting stuff. Apparently trees that are more in the shade and aren't getting enough sunlight can actually be fed by the trees around them through this mycelial network. Because the mycelial network actually has a symbiotic relationship with all these plants and they give it carbohydrates so it can digest and use them but then it can also transfer some of those nutrients from one plant to another plant. Some of the stuff that it does is unbelievable.

There was one thing I read to where it was talking about how nothing will grow. They're saying apparently it uses this mycelial network to put out whatever that substance is that keeps other plants from being able to grow there. I don't know, maybe it needs a certain amount of space or something like that, so it distributes this chemical through this mycelial network to prevent any other plants from growing there.

They did some experiments with tomato plants where they managed to make it so some of the tomato plants weren't connected to that mycelial network and they grew okay but the ones that were connected to the mycelial network didn't grow okay. They were 60% worse or something like that.

Erica: They have a symbiotic relationship with the roots of the trees. The roots of the trees have to allow certain mycelium to interweave with them. There are also not symbiotic relationships with fungus, as we'll get into later. But as you say, it's what keeps the forest alive and if a tree dies then that becomes, the detritus, the food and essentially what the mycelium do is eat the rotting tree and they produce soil. So we wouldn't have dirt on earth if it wasn't for this web.

Tiffany: So that's another reason why we shouldn't be tearing down the old growth forests.

Erica: Yes.

Doug: Let that sink in.

Tiffany: It just made me sad for a minute. But it kind of reminds me too of the living matrix that's in the human body. We have a living fungal matrix that's in the soil.

Erica: Yeah.

Doug: And these things are huge too. Mycelial networks can stretch for miles. What was the one you were talking about before the show Erica?

Erica: The largest living organism on earth is actually a mycelium mat they call it, and it's in eastern Oregon and it covers 2,200 acres, so about 1,600 football fields. That kind of gives you an idea. It's only one cell wall thick, which is microscopic and it's over 2,000 years old. You can look it up online and see aerial photos of it. What is interesting about it is it's not necessarily beneficial because when you see the aerial photos there are no trees growing where this mycelial mat is. So it's that very slippery slope between the good and not so good.

Jonathan: This might be a good time for us to play the Paul Stamets clip. What do you guys think?

Doug: Yeah.

Tiffany: Yeah. So you can't research mushrooms for any amount of time without running into this guy's name everywhere. He's like the king of mushrooms. He's doing a TED Talk here.
Paul: We are now rediscovering that which our ancestors long ago knew, that mushrooms are deep reservoirs for very powerful medicines. In the next 10 minutes I'm going to describe four mushrooms which I think are essential for human health.

The first mushroom I want to mention is amadou. Amadou was described by Hippocrates in 450 BC as an anti-inflammatory. Amadou is a birch polypore but has other attributes as well. You can hollow this mushroom out in the centre, put embers of a fire inside and keep fire alive for days. Moreover, if you boil this mushroom it delaminates into a cellular fabric and my hat is made from amadou.

Now another fungal friend I have here, which I want to unveil, is agarikon. Agarikon is the longest living mushroom in the world. It was described by Dioscorides in 65 AD as elixirium ad longam vitam, the treatment against consumption. This mushroom is a resident of the old growth forests, is now thought to be extinct in Europe. It grows in Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

This mushroom survives in the old growth forests under extremely adverse conditions. Hundreds of inches of rain per year, wind, sleet, hail, baking in the sun and yet it's the longest living mushroom that we know today.

So my partner and wife has spent a lot of time in the old growth forests looking for these mushrooms. To give you some idea how rare agarikon is, although we have 40 strains of agarikon in culture after 30 years, the largest library by far in the world, my dear professor Dr. Michael Beug discovered his first agarikon in the old growth forest just these past few weeks after looking for mushrooms in the old growth forest for more than 40 years.

So agarikon has anti-tubercular properties and we have now confirmed this working with the US bioshield biodefense program under the guidance of NIH and USAMRIID (The United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases) and sometimes we have to go to great extremes to find these mushrooms. This is a 700 hundred year old Douglas fir tree. Our team member has ascended the tree. We go a hundred feet up this tree and this is the oldest agarikon that we've found so far, approaching 100 years in age.

Now how is it that this mushroom can survive under microbial attack? And it's able to do so because the mycelium is this cellular architecture that is based on a network concept. We don't need to harvest the mushrooms. We get a small piece of tissue and the mycelium as it grows utilizes what we know as epigenesis. It has the amazing ability to adapt its host defence strategies against pathogens. Using this information, we've been able to develop some very powerful gateways to new medicines.

These are extracellular droplets that we wash from the mycelium and I'm happy to announce that we've discovered a new class of antimicrobials and antivirals call fomitopsterols after the Latin name of this mushroom which is fomitopsis officinalis. So powerful are these antivirals, that when we do a 100-to-1 dilution we are more powerful than ribavirin against flu viruses and herpes.
Now mushrooms have other properties which are interesting. So this is a group of cordyceps mushrooms. They're known as entomopathic fungi, fungi that kill insects. Insects are in a constant dire dance between dinner and death as they go through soils. Cordyceps is a source of cyclosporin. Moreover, just recently the FDA approved Novartis for a new anti-MS drug called Gilenya which is predicted to be one of the ten most profitable commercially produced drugs in the history of medicine.

But cordyceps has a different face and the cordyceps is a mold, has a mold stage and like two faces of the same organism, the spores are very infectious to these insects and most insects have entomopathic fungi that can harm them so they avoid them with great diligence. But I did something different. I took these cultures of the mold state and I morphed it in the laboratory into a pre-sporulating form. So insects avoid these spores, but I discovered that if you took the mycelium without the spores something else happened which was truly amazing.

They became super-attractants to ants, to termites and a surprising array of other types of insects. So the insects - in the case an ant - becomes mummified and then boing! a cordyceps mushroom sprouts out of his head, so this goes full circle.

Now we did extracts, again washing the mycelium and we were able to find that termites would stream directly to the location where the extracts were placed in three positive controls and the termites would tunnel specifically to where that location was. Well I started trying it against other non-social insects, flies, gnats, mosquitoes, and this is a baseline. The flat graph there is the control and the only difference is we added the mycelium to the extract and we have not just attractants but I discovered, super attractants.

So when I tried it against the mosquitoes - and this is where we get the big home run - we can attract mosquitoes roughly equivalent to a human hand with the extracts. This has profound implications for disease control, from malaria to yellow fever to West Nile virus. So what can we do? There's lots that we can do. I think we can now control disease vectors, zoonotic diseases carried by insects across landscapes. And since so many insects and arthropods vector diseases - most of you may not know that H1N1 bird flu is carried by house flies. This is something that's not widely reported. But because of climate change, subtropical diseases are now entering into temperate zones.

So being able to control zoonotic pathogens I think is one avenue that will have a positive impact in helping habitats and humans dwelling within those habitats. Moreover, insects and arthropods not only transmit disease that afflicts humans, but plants. So the implications of this I think is absolutely enormous.

So we can increase the efficiency of bug zappers. We can steer insect migrations across landscapes. This is a paradigm-shifting, revolutionary breakthrough on the most fundamental of levels. Moreover, we can attract disease-carrying bugs and blend them with expired antiviral drugs, antimicrobial drugs or the precursors that made those drugs and we can create a panoply of a mixture of these drugs so that disease resistance would not occur. We can distract the insects away from human populations, away from animal populations, away from plant populations. Or we can bring them to a locus and be able to control them. Most of you have heard that mosquito population on the east coast was 10 times greater this year than it was previously.

So another mushroom empowers the immune system and this is turkey tails. And turkey tail mushrooms have also been used for more than a thousand years. NIH funded our group with a $2.1 million breast cancer clinical study which has been recently completed. Now this breast cancer clinical study was dealing with non-ER (non-estrogen responsive) breast cancer patients, ladies, and the study has come back with some remarkable results. When the patients have radiation or chemotherapy, their immune system is oftentimes impaired so natural killer cells are decreased. Taking these mushrooms as an adjunct therapy, not as a substitution but to support the immune system, the natural killer cells increase on a dose-dependent basis. The red bar is no treatment, with three grams and six grams per day.

Then post-radiation the immune system is depressed and then on a dose-dependent basis the natural killer cells are enhanced over a period of four weeks. So this raises base immunity function, which I think is critically important.

Now this hit home to me very personally in June of 2009 when my 84-year-old mother called me up and said "Paul, I have something very serious to talk to you about but you're always so busy." It's a terrible thing to hear from a mom. I said "Mom, what's wrong?" And she's a very happy, genuine person and she goes "I'm worried." And my mother's deeply religious, has not seen a doctor since 1968. She said "My right breast is five times the size of my left. I have six swollen lymph glands the size of walnuts." Her voice started shaking and I'm not ashamed to admit that I started crying. "Why didn't you tell me sooner?"

We spent a large part of June at the Swedish Breast Cancer Clinic in Seattle. The oncologist examined her and upon the second examination she had 5.5 centimetre diameter tumour. It metastasized. It went to her sternum and went to her liver. She had stage 4 breast cancer. The doctor gave her less than three months to live. He stated that it was the second worst case of breast cancer she had seen as a doctor in 20 years of practice.

We had the circle family meeting. Many of you have gone through this. My mom announced that she bought a pine casket, the cheapest one that she could find because she was going to heaven. But then the doctor said "You're too old to have radiation therapy. You can't have your breast removed, but there's an interesting study on turkey tail mushrooms at Bastyr Medical School. You might want to try taking those. My mother goes "Well my son's supplying those."

So she was put on Taxol and Herceptin, wonderful drugs, and then she started taking eight turkey tail capsules a day, four in the morning and four in the evening and that was in June of 2009 and today my mother has no detectable tumours and I'd like to bring my mother up.
Tiffany: So that's the end. A nice happy ending.

Doug: Yeah. That's pretty amazing.

Jonathan: It is amazing.

Tiffany: Turkey tail. I guess they call it that because it looks like the tail of the turkey.

Doug: Yeah.

Tiffany: That's such a great story and it's too bad that more people don't know about the healing power of mushrooms and herbs for that matter. Their first line of defence is to just go the typical slash, cut and burn route that they use for cancer. So let's say that you did know what you were doing. You have a really good book and say you bumped into Paul Stamets at the health food store or something and you said "Hey, let's go out and pick some mushrooms" and maybe you pick some reishi mushrooms or cordyceps or turkey tail...

Erica: Oysters.

Tiffany: ...or oyster, or whatever, when you have the mushrooms, then what do you do? What do you do to get all the good stuff out of it?

Doug: I think you just eat them.

Tiffany: Can you just eat them? Well some of them, like in some videos I've watched are kind of hard like wood.

Doug: Reishi and Chaga in particular are very woody. So those ones you need to make a tea with them, or a decoction, which is a tea that you simmer for a while. I know with chaga there's different methods of doing it. You can boil it for hours if you want to, if you really want to get a very concentrated mix. Or another way that people doing it is that they just keep reusing the same piece, so they'll boil it for 10 minutes and then drink that tea and then next time they make another pot with the same piece.

You can keep doing that for a number of times because there's just so much in there. Apparently the more that you do that, the deeper the compounds you're getting out. So it's actually changing a little bit every time. It's not the same type of compounds, you're getting more of them. So that's why some people are like "boil it for 10 hours!" because you're getting more of those other kind of properties from them.

Jonathan: I think you could make an alcohol extraction too right, if you steep it in grain alcohol for I don't know how long. It's a decent amount of time and then you open that container and let the alcohol evaporate over a long period of time and what you end up with is a resinous extract. So that's essentially the base of an essential oil.

Doug: Yeah. You could just use the alcohol extract too like a tincture.

Jonathan: Right. Drop that in water or something.

Doug: Yeah. I guess it really depends on the type of mushroom. If you found a bunch of oyster mushrooms I would just fry them up and eat them. Those are delicious.

Jonathan: Yeah. I know that in mycotoxins and I think specifically aflatoxin that's found in a lot of coffees is heat-resistant. That's a negative form of mold. I wonder if the positive benefits are also heat resistant or if heat destroys some of that? As you had mentioned with chaga, the tradition has been making teas so I guess you kind of have to figure that a practice that has been around for thousands of years is most likely the best way to go.

Doug: Yeah, I think so. I think the medicinal properties for the most part are fairly heat stable.

Jonathan: Before we get into the bad stuff, getting into the idea of supplement and stuff and taking a Now Foods capsule of whatever mushroom, I would imagine that as with anything else you have to be concerned with quality. There's probably some of these that have a lot of fillers or they're lower quality mushrooms that are grown in a facility somewhere, that kind of thing.

Doug: Paul Stamets has actually worked with at least one supplement company and advised them on it. He actually recommends having a mix of the fruiting body, that is the mushroom itself that everybody is familiar with, as well as parts of the mycelium in the capsule as well. Host Defence) is the company and he's their advisor. He has a mushroom preserve. It's old growth forest somewhere in the US...

Erica: Washington State.

Doug: ...there you go - Washington State. It's like a big area, several acres and grows mushrooms there so they're not wild mushrooms because they're being cultivated, but they're being cultivate in the most natural way possible. It's very clean land. There's no concerns about pollution or anything like that because there are a lot of cheap supplements out there too. I hate to paint everything that comes from China with the same brush but it's kind of like, there are cheaper grown in some back alley mushrooms that probably are on the market. So buyer beware!

Jonathan: You can cultivate them yourself. I don't mean to be disingenuous about this because I have not done it myself but I do know a guy who grows some shitake mushrooms and he's a super nerd about it and sets up the logs and inoculates them and has these little holes and then he harvests them at a certain time and is very concerned with the quality and contamination. So you can do that yourself with different types of fungi. You can set up your own place to grow them. Legality issues, I'm not sure, like where it comes into making your own medicine kind of thing.

Doug: I would think it with shiitakes it wouldn't be an issue.

Tiffany: The magic mushrooms are the ones...

Doug: Those are the ones.

Jonathan: Those of course, yeah. With something like turkey tail that Stamets was talking about, things like that that you could probably grow in your own environment. But again you have to make yourself into a super nerd about it because it is such a delicate process and it can go bad.

Erica: Well what's interesting about him, if you watch other of his videos, he did purchase land up in Washington and it was very contaminated and where he lived they told all the residents they needed to replace their septic systems. What he did as a mycologist and a mushroom geek was to go ahead and put wood chips down all over his property and they were spored with oyster mushroom spores.

A year later the health department came back and "Oh, did you replace your septic system?" He said "No, I didn't have the money" but they tested the water coming off of his farm and he had animals and stuff, nothing major, but it was something crazy like 100 or 1,000 times cleaner, from just applying the wood chips and the oyster mushrooms. So essentially they were eating the negative pathogens out of the soil and he didn't have to replace his septic system.

But what his whole theory is - and I find it fascinating - is that he wants to start what are called institutes of applied mycology or healing arts centres where people can do just this, where they can have their own applications and not necessarily eat the oyster mushrooms. You can. He talks about how his family eats them but how you could do this thing yourself and clean up the surrounding environment. For him it was fascinating because it's a farming area they ate pathogens like MRSA and e-coli bacteria. So when you think about industrial farming and dead zones and all that, you could do these little applied mycology institutes and you could clean up the waterways.

Doug: Yeah. It's pretty amazing because the mushrooms are actually breaking down those pathogens and the toxicity. So you can apparently eat the mushrooms because they've completely neutralized it. You hear a story like that "I wouldn't eat those mushrooms!" but the thing is, they're converting them, getting rid of that toxicity.

Erica: Yes.

Jonathan: Elliot, you were going to say something.

Elliot: Yeah. I was just going to say it's really sad that our environment is so plagued with fungicides now because everything you spray in your garden or that is sprayed on the crops and sidewalks and everywhere, you have fungicides. If this network of fungus is essentially there to detoxify all of the horrible things in the environment, then what's going to happen now that we've started killing it all off? We don't think about things like this before we just come up with some crazy chemical, start demolishing environments and then it's only going to show in the next, I don't know, maybe 30 or 40 years. I dread to think what's going to happen.

Doug: Yeah, it's true.

Erica: I think the fungus will fight back.

Doug: In one of Paul Stamets' talks he talked about how they survived one of the mass extinctions. Actually there were probably several but an asteroid hit and completely darkened the planet but because fungus doesn't need light, was able to survive. It was like everything else was decimated and the fungus is just fine. Them and the cockroaches.

Jonathan: Yeah. Speaking to your point about the oyster mushrooms and being able to eat them because they break down the toxins that they're processing, I think that plays into the general fear of fungus which I'm totally guilty of, like Tiff was talking about earlier. If somebody has morels that they've picked and they know what they were looking for, things like those that are wild mushrooms that are easier to identify or they have a strong tradition where a lot of people have identified them over the years, I feel more comfortable with. But that fear of fungus plays into situations where it might be beneficial, like you were saying. But it's funny how we categorize things. If something comes to me in a capsule then I immediately have faith in that. Like it's safe, just as a subconscious program.

Tiffany: Only if it's marketed as a supplement.

Jonathan: Right. So it's just interesting.

Erica: You can be like Yarrow Willard and go out in nature and ask the mushroom if it's healthy for you.

Jonathan: Yeah. I don't know if I'm that in tune that I would read that.

Doug: I'm definitely not.

Tiffany: Another scary part of it is that some people - was it the death cap mushroom they got poisoned by, or some mushroom they got poisoned by - they were eating it. They said it was the most delicious mushroom they'd ever tasted. The symptoms didn't hit them right away. Then they got sick and they got sent to the ER and they seemed to get better. They call it the little honeymoon phase and then they go home and then after that their liver just starts breaking down and if they're not caught then, their kidney breaks down and their organs break down.

Tiffany: I think there's something in them called amatoxin that can destroy the liver. So this is just what with the poisonous mushroom. That mushroom that's popular from the Nintendo games, Red One...

Erica: Amanita muscaria I think they're called. They're red.

Tiffany: The little toadstool, white with the red dots on it and then some other poisonous mushrooms. You gotta watch out!

Jonathan: Yeah.

Doug: Always important to know what you're doing.

Jonathan: So another part of our discussion today that I think we should touch on is fungus. DUH! Mold.

Doug: Yeah, let's talk about fungus.

Jonathan: Let's talk about fungus for a few minutes then. Mold, specifically mold that is a health hazard. I think that's a pretty fascinating topic because it's so widespread. I know for a fact I lived in a house that had mold in it and I also lived in a singlewide trailer for a while.

Doug: Don't try and play it up Jonathan!

Jonathan: Just to clarify. It was damp and there were parts of the walls that didn't have the best integrity and so there was mold in there. So I know that I've gotten a dose of it in my life and I'm sure that it's resulted in some things. I know I've mentioned in the past on the show that I dealt with shingles at one point and I think that that actually came from mold toxicity; not that it caused it of course, but that it lowered my immunity to the point where shingles broke out.

So that's my suspicion anyway. But it's really pernicious. There are a lot of cases where you think that you're in a clean house it can be hiding in the walls and the spores are in the air. So if you have any OCD it can be really horrible if you think about it for too long.

Doug: If you are OCD I don't recommend watching the documentary called Moldy because you will be tearing your walls apart looking for mold. It's kind of terrifying.

Tiffany: And you can't always see it because there are some bad molds that are white too.

Jonathan: Right.

Erica: I had a similar experience Jonathan, with mold and not being able to visually see it so much. But for many years I lived in a house that was moldy and what happened was it just broke my immune system down so I became allergic to all these things that wouldn't normally cause an allergic reaction like animal hair. Once I moved out of that house after about 6 or 7 months, the allergies started to go away.

Doug: They actually say that if you are in a place that is infested with mold that the solutions to the problem are get out and leave all your stuff behind because the spores get into everything. So if you take all your stuff with you, you haven't really solved the problem they say. There was one article that I read that said "Take nothing but your driver's licence".

Tiffany: And they also recommend that you don't try to clean it yourself because that just loosens all the spores and makes them easier to inhale.

Tiffany: If you can't move what else are you doing to do?

Jonathan: That's the thing. I could see if you had cancer or some other debilitating disease where it's like "okay, I've got to get out of this house", but in most cases people can't do that. It's damaging to your health but it's not necessarily life-threatening so you can't really justify leaving all your stuff behind.

Tiffany: Yeah, just don't send your old grandpa with kidney damage or liver damage anything with mold because he probably won't be able to handle it.

Elliot: It might be just wishful thinking on my part but I tend to think or I like to believe anyway, it makes me comfortable to believe this, but if the immune system is working optimally, then it can sort of take some level of control over the fungus, the mold, all of these opportunistic yeasts and things that can get into the body. I like the idea and there are some proponents of that idea as well, the idea that your body can deal with it if it's given the right tools to do so because really, my house is pretty moldy.

There are areas where there is mold and as Tiff said, if you tried to clean it off then it can actually make it worse because you're releasing all the spores and then you're breathing them in. So what do you even do? You can't afford to get someone to come round and de-mold the house because that's really expensive. So if you're not going to move out, what can you do? Do you know what I mean?

Jonathan: I wonder on a basic level, on a budget if you could get those respirators masks for house painters and stuff that have two canisters on the side. They're not necessarily cheap. You can get those from most hardware stores. I wonder if that would allow you to clean it up and then give it a day to air out or something.

Tiffany: At least it might give you peace of mind.

Doug: Could you get a hepa filter? You get a hepa filter.

Erica: But you get all this just as bad as live mold.

Doug: There's got to be something you can spray on it or something like that, that would just kill it and then maybe get a hepa filter going in your house so that it's cleaning the air. I think there are steps you can take. Just saying my immune system is strong enough to handle it may be a little irresponsible.

Jonathan: But I think in a lot of cases Elliot is right. There's also mold and fungus and spores everywhere, in the air the second you walk outside. So it's like our immune system handles those. The problem is being in an enclosed space with something that's toxic.

Tiffany: And if you consider that - so they say - every one of us has little bits of cancer in us that our body takes care of and shunts away, and if you consider that there are a lot of practitioners out there nowadays saying that cancer is indeed a fungus, back to what Elliot said about a strong immune system, I like to believe that too, that our immune systems can handle certain things as long as we're healthy enough to do so.

Doug: Yeah, that's the caveat there though.

Tiffany: Yeah, if you're sick, forget it!

Doug: Well it's not even if you're sick. I'm just thinking of the amount of stuff that we're surrounded by on a daily basis. Many of those things you have absolutely no control over, like the pollution in your area and Fukushima radiation and the crap in our food, all this kind of stuff. It's just adding to the total burden. So if you do have something in your environment that you can have some control over in some manner, it might be a good idea to take care of that just so that you're not adding another thing onto the crap pile that is our existence.

Jonathan: That's a good point.

Doug: I don't know. I'm not chastising you or anything Elliot.

Elliot: No, no, I completely agree.

Tiffany: Especially with the crap pile that is our existence.

Jonathan: I know you guys are and I think our listeners are familiar with Dave Asprey. He's the bulletproof coffee guy. I agree with some of the things he says, disagree with some; I'm kind of that way with everybody. But he tells an interesting story about when he discovered that he had mold toxicity and kind of like what you said Erica, it triggered a bunch of allergies that he was able to recover from but he is now at this point so sensitive - and I don't know how true this is, this is what he claims - that he can tell within five to ten minutes if a coffee that he's had has been contaminated with mycotoxin because he'll have certain inflammatory reactions happen instantly and he thinks that that's because of his exposure to the mold toxicity in the past.

Doug: I would believe that.

Tiffany: Of course he has the mycotoxin-free coffee.

Erica: I was just going to say that.

Jonathan: That's the thing, yeah. He sells the good stuff. You can't deny it's a good story for his business. It may also be true.

Tiffany: It may.

Erica: Well when it comes to coffee I think a lot of people don't realize that before they even roast the beans, depending on the type of coffee you have, because it is so susceptible to fungus, it sits in vats of liquid pesticides, especially when it's shipped around the world.

Doug: Oh, no good!

Erica: And then they wash it off and roast it. So if you ever get that jittery, not-feel-good sensation from coffee that may be it. It may be just the chemical overload too. And then there's "organic" coffee and maybe it doesn't have the mold. I don't know. It's just a slippery slope.

Tiffany: What about the coffee that they grow in bat poop? Would that make you jittery?

Jonathan: It would make you batty. That's definitely a thing. Coffee that's worth drinking is unfortunately really expensive. I'm not trying to sound holier-than-thou because I drink some coffee that I shouldn't probably. But I don't drink Folgers. I try my best not to drink pre-ground coffee if I'm going to get beans or something. However, you and I really should be finding single origin coffee. It seems hoity-toity, all the fair trade/equal wage stuff. If you come from a certain point of view, fancy packaging, all of these things, why it's at $20 a pound. But in some of those cases it's not just marketing. This is actually single origin. It came from the farm. It was roasted in a certain process so it's free of mycotoxin and all that. It just makes it more expensive, which is unfortunate.

Erica: Well you pay to not have all that crap in there, unfortunately.

Jonathan: Exactly. That's the same thing with food as well. You pay more for cleaner food.

Doug: Unfortunately just having organic coffee isn't necessarily enough because the organic coffee can just as likely be contaminated with mycotoxins as the standard stuff.

Tiffany: You could just not drink coffee.

Doug: No!

Elliot: That's not an option.

Erica: Chaga tea, chaga tea!

Elliot: Apparently a safer option is to get the wet processed coffee. They process it in a different way where they spray it with water. Apparently that minimizes the amount of mycotoxin and also coffee grown at high elevations as well. I think it might have been Dave Asprey or someone like that basically saying that if you can get it from somewhere in Africa or South America which is grown at high elevation, in the mountains and is wet processed and if it's organic it's even better. But you're going to minimize the amount of the fungus that you get on the coffee.

Jonathan: Yeah, I'm sure that was Asprey. He is the guy who talks about mold in coffee if you look that up.

Doug: He's the Paul Stamets of coffee.

Jonathan: Yeah. But again, it's one of those things; yeah, it's a real issue. How much of an issue is it? I'm not sure. If you're not familiar with Dave Asprey, take a second and look him up. He's super smart and you can tell that he's concerned about health but he's an epic businessman. So I'm constantly on this back and forth between wanting to listen to what he's talking about but I'm also trying to suss out what he's trying to sell. So it's one of those kind of things. But he has a lot of good information, I think.

Doug: I agree.

Jonathan: Stuff we're not generally aware of. The mold being everywhere, I'm going to have to check out that documentary Doug that you were talking about.

Doug: Okay.

Jonathan: We'll see. I might have to stay home for a week.

Erica: There's actually a few of them to watch. What's the other one? Toxic Exposure or Exposure, about mold illness and how it's very much mistaken for things like fibromyalgia.

Tiffany: There's even some doctors who question whether fungal infections are mistaken as cancer because a lot of these cancer patients, people with leukemia for example, come up with these "secondary fungal infections". But what if the fungal infection is not secondary? What if it's primary?

Doug: Yeah, and in fact there's some cases where they go on a treatment of antifungals to deal with these "secondary infections" and end up clearing up their "cancer".

Jonathan: There's also that very interesting Italian doctor who treats...

Tiffany: Tullio Simoncini.

Jonathan: Yeah, with baking soda. There's a video of his where during an operation they showed a tumour that they had doused continuously with alkaline baking soda water and demonstrated that had reduced and reduced the tumour and it killed it very, very quickly. It was kind of incredible, within a span of a day or two. So what's anecdotal, what's true, what's not? It's hard to say. I know we're talking about fungus but to shift for a second to cancer, the idea that there's not a cure, that we're still searching for a cure, there's walks for the cure and races for the cure and they sell gumballs for the cure which is the most retarded thing.

Tiffany: Pink ribbons for the cure and KFC chicken buckets for the cure.

Jonathan: Yeah, when the "cures" exist everywhere. People are just too stubborn or too complacent to find out, in general.

Tiffany: Or they just don't know.

Jonathan: Or they just don't know. You go to your doctor, you listen to what they say and especially with something like cancer for sure. "I'm going to listen to my doctor" because it's the worst thing.

Tiffany: Yeah, that's a diagnosis that has people soiling themselves all over. It's fear.

Erica: And that was interesting about Paul Stamets' mom though, that she did go the western route with the drugs and then just added the turkey tails into it and ended up going into complete remission.

Tiffany: Yay turkey tails!

Erica: What's for dinner?

Jonathan: Shifting back to the negative fungi, the molds and toxins and stuff, I think that point about the immune system is an important one even though it won't protect you 100% of the time. The basic health for everything - and again I'm guilty of not doing this - is just keeping up your immune system because you'll be much better the vast majority of the time if you just do that basic thing.

Doug: One interesting article that was on GreenMedInfo, it was up on SOTT as well was called Research Confirms Yeast Is a Cause of Cancer and Turmeric Can Kill Both and it was actually talking about this connection between yeast, fungus and cancer. They were actually saying that it's candida, that candida can weaken the system and causes carcinogenic by-products, triggers inflammation and has a bunch of things that happen with it that can lead to cancer.

So in that respect it makes sense that people going on these antifungals might actually have some success with their cancer just because it's getting rid of one of the possible causes.

I wouldn't go out on a limb and say all cancer is caused by fungal infections or anything like that but I certainly think that in some cases it certainly could be the cause. But candida's another nasty fungus that kind of ubiquitous.

Jonathan: Yeah, it really is. It's hard to manage when it's overgrown.

Elliot: It's the most common one that people ascribe their symptoms to. Even if they haven't had it tested, you just type in online candida and your symptom and it will come up "Oops!" Any symptom that you find. It will say "You've got candida." And that's not actually the case a lot of the time. I thought that I had candida. I tested for it and apparently I don't have candida. So a lot of the time people can go on really restrictive diets and take all this anti-candida supplements, they spend loads of money and then their symptoms don't get any better because they didn't have candida in the first place.

But that said, candida is quite common in a lot of people and it generally is said to occupy the gastrointestinal tract. You have different populations of different yeasts and bacteria in your gut and normally there's no overarching species. We don't even know how many species there are. But generally a normal person with a healthy gut microbiome will have some candida in it and it's actually said to have many protective properties. But the problem is that when they say that you've got candida what they're actually talking about is when there's an overgrowth of the candida.

So for whatever reason the candida is allowed to flourish. It's an opportunistic yeast, which means that when it sees the opportunity to thrive it will and that means that it can grow out of proportion to the other species and lead to some pretty negative effects. One is sugar craving. It ferments sugar and people who have lots of cravings for sugary sweets and carbohydrates, it's said that this is sometimes due to candida overgrowth.

Tiffany: And oddly enough, there's some candida where some people may test positive for candida and they go on a very low carb or a ketogenic diet and it doesn't get better. Accordingly to - I keep wanting to say Paul Stamets, but that's not him.

Elliot: Paul Jaminet.

Tiffany: Yeah, Paul Jaminet. He says that there are certain candida that can feed off of ketones. So people are expecting relief when they go on the ketogenic diet and they don't get it.

Elliot: To take that further, there's also some people who would say that going on a really low carb diet for candida is possibly not really a good idea. It takes a very different approach because usually if you think you've got candida, if you look at a diet people will usually recommend a ketogenic diet or a very low carbohydrate diet with no fruits, no starches and really low sugar. That's based on the observation that candida feeds off of glucose. So basically the idea is that if you cut all of these things out of your diet then the candida will no longer feed off of that.

But there's a couple of researchers who actually go the opposite approach and they say "Well if you completely restrict sugar then what actually happens is the candida needs to find sugar somehow unless it's burning ketones so what it can actually do is embed deeper into the intestinal lining to get into contact with the bloodstream. So whatever glucose you are breaking down, even say you're on a ketogenic diet you are still going to have blood glucose because you're going to be breaking down proteins via gluconeogenesis in the liver to provide glucose for the various processes that can't operate via fat.

So you're always going to have glucose in your bloodstream. If you didn't you'd die. So when the candida is deprived of glucose it's said anyway, is that sometimes what can happen is that it embeds really deeply into the intestine and there it can get a better supply of glucose from the bloodstream and the surrounding tissues. So I don't know whether that is true or not. I haven't seen any research on that but I thought that was an interesting way of going about it.
There's another thing also. People say that on a candida diet one of the best things to do is to restrict yeast and to restrict fungus.

So they say don't eat mushrooms, don't eat anything containing any form of yeast or any other fungus. Now this is also debated because it works from the assumption that because candida is a fungus, by eating more fungus you are going to add to that burden. But there's also other researchers that will say that actually by consuming fungus such as yeast or other mushrooms, what that will do is counteract the level of the candida. So it will almost act to balance out the amount of candida that is actually thriving in the gut so it will hopefully lower it. Again, I don't know if there is any truth to that. I know that come people have had good results in clinic, actually feeding people with mushrooms who have got candida and it seems to help. But it's hard to say.

Doug: A lot of those medicinal mushrooms are actually anti-candida. I think the issue isn't that yeast or other fungi will feed the candida. I know a lot of people online, on the internet will say that but the problem is that if you are in a candida overgrowth situation, your immune system will form antibodies against the candida, against the fungus.

So if you take in a yeast or a fungus or mold or whatever, you'll have an immune reaction to it. So it's not so much that you're feeding it necessarily but you're having negative effects from being exposed to something similar. But mushrooms aren't really the same thing and a lot of those medicinal mushrooms actually will help with candida. I know reishi mushroom will help to clean out a lot of toxic stuff, so a lot of the toxic by-products that candida is producing will be helped out of the system by taking something like reishi.

Tiffany: Well there is this mushroom farmer that did something that's kind of like fungus killing another fungus. He said he was growing these fungal spores in an agar culture, which is just like sugar, and then spores from the air, some other fungus contaminated it. It was trying to get at the agar and the fungus that he was growing produced these metabolites that killed off the invading fungus. So it could make sense that if you fight fungus with fungus it might work in your body.

Elliot: As everyone probably knows, there's all these negative connotations with the word candida, that it causes all of these problems, but there's an interesting other take on it as well. There's loads of takes on candida. Different researchers find different things.

Doug: Yeah.

Elliot: There's too many. But one that's really interesting is that candida seems to have the property of binding with heavy metals so it can bind things like mercury, I believe, and lead, possibly aluminium, I need to check that. So there are certain people who will say that candida is actually a protective mechanism or your body allows it to thrive. It's almost like a protection against heavy metal toxicity. You could look at this two ways because you could say that the heavy metal toxicity lowers the immune system which then allows the candida to thrive. Then you could also say that okay, is the candida being allowed to thrive so that it potentially binds some of those toxic heavy metals and stops them from actually entering the bloodstream. Again, it's another one that's hard to say and maybe it's both of those things.

Doug: Yeah. And in that situation it could be quite bad to just go on a kill a candida killing spree because all those metals that have been sequestered by it would suddenly be free and in the bloodstream again.

Elliot: Yeah. For anyone who's interested to see if they've actually got candida or not as well, there's a couple of tests that you can do. One is a really common one. It's called a comprehensive digestive stool analysis and it's offered by a couple of different companies There's also a more comprehensive one which is called GI Effects and that is offered by a company called Genova Diagnostics. This will consist of three days of a stool sample and you take multiple samples, send it off.

The results show whether there was any candida growth or any other yeasts. It also tests for things like parasites and dysbiosis and inflammation. In conjunction with that, if you really think you've got candida you could also do a urinary organic acids test. The specific marker that you're looking for on that test is called arabinitol. It's a metabolite and it's excreted by the urine so if you've got high levels of this metabolite then it's a good chance that you've got some sort of yeast overgrowth. Then if the test results come back properly then you can formulate a plan or contact a professional who can formulate you a plan and target it that way.

I think one problem here - and I see this a lot actually - is that people tend to read something on the internet and assume that they've got it so they do some crazy protocol, spend loads of money and then nothing changes because either the specific pathogen they've got in their gut is not sensitive or it's resistant to the types of herb that you're using or whatever, or you've just completely gone off the mark and you haven't even got candida in the first place. To save yourself from wasting money and time and effort, it's best just to invest in the test if you can, and then see what's there and if you've got candida then you can see what you've got to do.

Doug: I think that's good advice because, like you're saying, if you go online, every symptom you can possibly imagine is attributed to candida overgrowth. So I think getting some kind of objective testing is probably the best way to go.

Jonathan: Definitely. As with anything, you just need to approach with caution and not do the "nuking the problem". Do your research.

Tiffany: Like taking a whole bottle of oregano oil?

Jonathan: I wasn't referencing that.

Tiffany: You'll never live it down!

Jonathan: So do you guys want to go to the pet health segment since we're kind of coming up on our time?

Tiffany: Sure. It's about yeast infections in dogs.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the pet health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. My name is Zoya and today's topic is yeast infection in dogs. We are all familiar with a somewhat stinky dog odor. Some think that it is normal for dogs. Well not really and it can be an indication of a yeast infection. Listen to this the following recording by Dr. Karen Becker to learn many interesting and important facts about this kind of smelly situation.
Dr. Becker: Hi, I'm Dr. Karen Becker and most pet owners have heard the term "yeast infection" before but what many pet owners don't know is exactly what causes a yeast infection and sometimes dog owners assume that their pets are meant to have kind of a stinky, doggie odor smell when really their dogs are having a yeast problem.

Yeast is a spore-like type of fungi that reproduces through a process called budding. Budding just means that portions of the organism's cell body breaks off to form a whole new yeast organism. Yeast infections of the skin and the ears are very common in dogs and are caused by an organism called malassezia pachydermatis. These organism are normal inhabitants of your dog's skin and ears. A normal amount of yeast becomes an infection when the organism begins to produce uncontrollably. When the yeast production gets out of control the organisms invade and colonize areas of a dog's body and skin beyond where they would normally live and in higher numbers.

This means yeast are opportunistic. They flourish on a body when the body isn't healthy or in perfect balance. Most dogs with yeast infections have immune system imbalances and can't control the yeast overgrowth. Yeast infections can also occur during and after antibiotic therapy when the body's beneficial bacterial levels that maintain healthy skin defenses have been affected by the antibiotic drugs.

Yeast can also be a rampant problem for pets that are immunosuppressed. Some pets are born with weak immune systems, like those animals that are born immunoglobulin deficient. There are also certain drugs like steroids and chemotherapeutic agents that suppress an animal's immune system and can open the door to yeast infections. I see yeast infections in clinical practice most commonly associated with allergies.

An allergy is an immune system overreaction. So vets use immunosuppressive steroids like prednisone, dexamethasone and cortisone to mute or turn off the body's immune system response making it incapable of managing normal flora levels. This of course can lead to yeast overgrowth. Pets with allergies who go on to develop secondary skin infections with bacteria are then given antibiotics but antibiotics destroy all bacteria, the bad and the good which can also lead to yeast overgrowth. The more antibiotics that are given, the worse the yeast infections tend to be. Allergic dogs can also develop allergies to their own yeast making the problem even worse.

Allergy testing sometimes shows that dogs are actually having an allergic response to their own natural flora as well so the situation can get very complicated.

So, pets with an underactive immune system, which is identified by IGA, IGM and IGG testing, as well as pets that have overactive immune systems and allergies can both be affected by chronic yeast infections. A yeast infection can occur anywhere on a dog's skin, including between the toes, in the armpits, and in the deep wrinkles and folds of the skin. But the most common location for a yeast infection is your dog's ears. At a minimum, a dog with a yeast infection feels uncomfortable. The discomfort can range from very mild to terrible. Almost all dogs with a yeast problem become extremely and chronically itchy at the site of the infection.

If it's a problem with her paws, she will not be able to leave them alone and the same goes for her ears. There can also be a lot of butt scooting and there can also be a lot of digging, tearing, wherever the yeast tends to occur on the body. This terrible itching can lead to desperate scratching and chewing which can then result in a lot of self-induced trauma and a lot of pain.

The other thing that most pet guardians notice is the smell. Yeast has a very distinctive odor which has been described as similar to moldy bread or cheese popcorn or corn chips. It's just this musty, very stinky smell. Some people refer to yeast infections on a dog's paws as Frito feet. In general it's a pungent, musty, unpleasant smell. Sometimes it can be really overpowering. I'm sensitive to the smell of yeast so when I have a patient come in my exam room, the owner may not know that the dog has a yeast problem but I can smell it six-to-ten feet away.

I've met many owners who have had yeast going on for so long in their dogs that they no longer recognize that their pets stink and sometimes I hear owners say "Oh I thought they were supposed to smell like that" when they just have become so accustomed to their dog's chronic yeast problem.

Other signs of a yeast infection include areas of skin irritation, redness and inflammation, especially in and around the ears, around the toes and pads of their feet, the nasal or facial folds, around the anus, under the armpits or in the neck, sometimes around the tail base. There might also be hair loss, scaly or oily skin or a greasy hair coat. Sometimes in chronic severe yeast infections there can be dark, very thick skin and sometimes there can be secondary bacterial infection as well.

There can also be a smelly, yellow-green discharge from the ears most commonly, but other areas of the body that are infected with yeast can produce raised, scaly areas or patches of skin. There can also be behaviour changes caused by the itching and pain and that can range from depression, loss of appetite to actually anxiety and aggression. I've seen some dogs where their itch is so intense that when you try and stop them from digging at their paws they will become aggressive because their itch is so intense and so overwhelming. It's a very sad situation.

Definitive diagnosis by a vet of a yeast infection is accomplished by either cytology, which is looking at a skin swab under a microscope, or by culturing, which is submitting a sterile swab of the skin to a lab where the cells are grown and then identified on a Petri dish. If there's an ear infection either diagnosed or suspected, it's extremely important to know whether the eardrums are still intact before putting any liquids, gels, cleaners or other medications down in the ears. If one or both of the eardrums have ruptured, putting products into the ear canals can damage the middle and inner ear.

Most dogs with a yeast infection have it in more than one spot. For example they can have it on all four paws, both ears, or in some cases all over the whole body. Hands down, the most important aspect of addressing chronic yeast is through diet. I'll go so far as to say that you will not be able to address a moderate-to-severe yeast infection naturally without addressing diet. Regardless of the cause of why the yeast infection is occurring, nutrition is the most important thing you can think about.

The nutrition your dog receives either supports his immune system to keep yeast growth under control or it does the opposite and exacerbates a yeast overgrowth situation. If you have a dog that has yeast I recommend an anti-yeast diet which is also called an anti-inflammatory diet which is also called a species-appropriate diet. Yeast use sugar as a source of energy and of course we all know that carbs break down into sugar so the first thing yeasty patients - human or canine - need to do is remove sugar from the diet.

Remember that dietary sugar isn't just the white stuff. It's honey, high fructose corn syrup on the back of the label. Even white and sweet potatoes can feed a yeast problem as well as the tapioca found in grain-free dry foods. I recommend an entirely grain-free and carb free diet for patients that have yeast. This step is really, really important because you can't effectively deal with the yeast problem without addressing this aspect of your pet's diet regardless of how many supplements and baths you put your dog on.

Your dog's nutrition should help keep his normal flora levels balanced. I also recommend adding a few natural antifungal foods to your pets diet. For example a small amount of fresh garlic, thyme, parsley and oregano, to help naturally reduce the level of yeast in your dog's body. Adding fermented veggies if you dog will eat them, can also be really beneficial. Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and coconut oil are also really good natural anti-fungal additions that can be added right to your pet's food.

At the same time we're addressing a yeasty pet's diet, we also need to begin a disinfection protocol to treat the areas where the yeast infection is occurring. Yeast love a moist environment and it grows in crevices, like between your dog's toe pads or in the armpit or the creases of his grown or around the tail base. It's not enough to just apply a cream or salve or anti-fungal solution to those parts of the body. The parts of the body that have a yeast infection must be disinfected and regularly disinfected.

I recommended at least once a day so that the topical remedies that you apply after you've cleaned the area have a chance to work. Applying any topical agent without removing the dead yeast on a consistent basis can actually make the problem much worse. If your dog's ears are the problem then you'll need to disinfect them daily with either a store bought solution or in my practice I use witch hazel and really large cotton balls. Use as many cotton balls as it takes to remove all of the debris from the ears at each cleaning. I don't recommend you put Q-tips down the canals of your dogs ears but you can use Q-tips for around the outside for removing that light yellow goo, that stinky goo, on a daily basis.

And keep in mind that some dogs just naturally produce a lot of gunk in their ears and that natural debris or wax needs to be removed every day to avoid yeast and other types of ear infections.

People say "How often should I clean my dog's ears?" As often as you need to, to have the ear canals clean and dry. The amount of cleaning depends on the amount of debris that accumulates in the ear. So if your dogs produce goo on a weekly basis, clean your dog's' ears weekly. But if you look in your dog's ears and you can see wax or debris on a daily basis, clean your dog's' ears every day.

By you keeping your dog's ears clean and dry you can actually prevent yeast infections from occurring and also yeast infection progressing to a full-blown bacterial infection. If the yeast overgrowth is on your dog's feet, keeping them clean is essential and that means dunking them rather than spraying or wiping them down.

Yeast grows under the nail beds and in the creases of your dog's feet which is why the paws must be actually submerged in a foot soak rather than just wiped off. Depending on the size of your dog you can actually fashion a foot soak from anything that holds water. If your pet is small you can simply stand her in the bathroom or kitchen sink. For bigger dogs you can use a sweater tub that you can fill with a hose and you can walk them through it and have them stand. And if you're in a small apartment you can use a coffee can and just plunge your dog's feet down in the can.

You want to be able to dunk each of your dog's feet in the can and then pat them dry. You can use this solution as many times a day as necessary to keep your dog's feet clean and effectively reduce itching. There's no need to rinse if you use this solution. Just pat the paws dry. Leaving the solution dried on your dog's paws provides an antifungal effect that can actually reduce licking and chewing. Remember that hydrogen peroxide can lighten your dog's fur so keep that in mind.

For skin yeast infections I recommend bathing with a natural anti-fungal shampoo. I tend to opt for tea tree oil or an herbal shampoo. You can bathe as often as necessary but honestly, minimally at least once a week. Since grains and carbs feed yeast I don't recommend using any oatmeal-based shampoos for pets with allergies or yeast infections.

The good news is that I have managed many, many patients with yeast and terrible itching solely through diet and baths 2-3 times a week. Medicated baths are an annoying, frustrating thing to have to consider as a pet parent. It takes time, but actually it's a cheap and very effective way to manage yeast and to keep your pet feeling comfortable on a common sense basis. It's also non-toxic compared to antifungal drugs that conventional veterinarians would be prescribing at this time.

I also like antifungal rinses and sprays in between disinfecting baths. A rinse is poured on your dog after a bath and may help extend the number of days in between baths to control yeast. There are several different rinses you can try. I've had success with vinegar, lemon juice and essential oils. Vinegar and lemons are naturally astringing so they're drying by nature and they're excellent for dogs with greasy, or oily coats. So you add one cup of vinegar or a cup of lemon juice, or 10 drops of peppermint oil with 10 drops of lavender oil to a gallon of water. Remember since lemon juice can also lighten fur I recommend using vinegar or essential oil mixes for dogs with dark coats.

After shampooing your dog and rinsing thoroughly you follow up with your gallon of natural antifungal rinse to knock down the amount of yeast remaining on your dog's skin. You pour the rinse water over your dog's collar from her neck to the base of her tail making sure you don't apply it to her head. You rub the solution into her coat and skin, focusing on the areas where she's yeasty. So you need to make sure that you get the solution around the armpits, down around the feet, around the groin area, around the tail base and you don't rinse the solution off. So you just pour the solution on, rub it in and then towel dry.

You can also put any of these solutions into a spray bottle and mist the itchy areas throughout the day as needed to help control itch and yeast overgrowth. Adding a dropper full of colloidal silver to the spray bottle also adds an additional all natural anti-microbial agent.

If your dog only has yeast issues in the warmer months of the year, spring and summer are the times when you'll be really focused and vigilant about disinfecting him and making sure his diet is not contributing to a yeast overgrowth problem. It's important to remember these suggestions aren't magic. It will take some time on any all natural protocol to see improvement. So if these easy, cheap solutions are effective at managing your dog's chronic yeast issues, I'd recommend you continue the carb-free, preferably fresh food diet year round to minimize your pet's likelihood of fostering additional opportunistic yeast infections in the future.

There are some supplements your holistic veterinarian may also recommend to assist in re-establishing healthy and normal levels of yeast in your pet's body. Probiotics can be very beneficial as well as the herbs pau d'arco, goldenseal, caprylic acid or the more potent 10 undecenoic acid which are organic, unsaturated fatty acids many holistic veterinarians prescribe for stubborn yeast infections.

Unfortunately some dogs have year-round yeast problems and no matter what food they're eating and what remedies their owners are trying to manage their condition, the yeast is just out of control in which case it's most likely an immune system issue. When I have patients with stubborn yeast infections that will not go away, I do immune testing to measure the immunoglobulin levels which is IGG, IGM and IGA. It's a blood test. Generally these levels are low in a dog with constant yeast overgrowth. If your dog is producing healthy levels of immunoglobulin, he should be able to overcome almost any infection, and particularly an opportunistic yeast infection.
Jonathan: Could we say those are yeast-free goats?

Tiffany: We could.

Jonathan: It's a stretch. Well thank you Zoya. We appreciate that. I don't have that much to add on our topic for today, unless you guys have any closing points?

Doug: Fungus. It's sometimes good and it's sometimes bad.

Jonathan: Awesome. That's pretty much it. We would like to thank our listeners for tuning in today and to the chat participants. Be sure to check out the SOTT Radio Show on Sunday, noon eastern time. Go to and you can see the air time in your local time zone. Check that out on Sunday. We'll be back next week.

All: Good-byes.