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Yeast and Bacteria


The healthy gut contains both yeast and good bacteria, in balance with each other. In many AS, however, one or the other can be out of balance. For example, yeast can overgrow and be too prevalent. Bacteria can overgrow, or there can be a complete lack of bacteria. Also, bad bacteria can develop, rather than good bacteria.

You can read Dr. Shaw's book [Great Plains Lab] online here -- Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD.

Symptoms of yeast and bacteria imbalance

For my son, yeast caused symptoms similar to phenol symptoms -- hyper and giggling, and sleep problems. Sometimes he would spin himself around in circles. When he had "brain yeast" [yeast in his brain, not his gut], it would cause other symptoms, like visual stims and sexual behavior [humping objects, playing with himself, etc]. Yeast can also cause cause red ring around the anus, "spaciness", anger and aggression, headache, head banging, sound sensitivity [holding the hands over the ears], climbing on furniture and jumping off, vestibular sensory issues, and other similar issues. Also, sometimes my son's bms went from being firm and solid, to looking "airy and fluffy", similar to sponge cake. Also, it looked like it had strings of melted cheese in it. But sometimes my son's bms did not look any different than normal, because apparently the yeast was in his brain, not in his gut.

For bacteria overgrowth or "bad" bacteria, parents report their child had poor eye contact, tantrums, hand flapping and stimming, frequent [5-10 per day] and nasty bowel movements ranging from real soft to liquid. For my son, his bacteria bms looked like diluted cottage cheese. Bacteria behaviors are commonly aggression and "being mean".

There are several different types of yeast, including candida, which appears to be the most common variety. There are also several different types of "bad" bacteria, including clostridia and Citrabacter F.

My son never had a yeast or bacteria issue so far as I know, until I began chelating with ALA, when he did develop his first yeast issue. Because ALA excretes metals thru the gut, it does tend to increase the possibility of a yeast issue in yeast-sensitive children. Some people also report an increase in yeast issues when using DMSA for chelation.

There is also an increased tendency to develop a yeast issue if your child has to use antibiotics for ear infections or other issues. So if you choose to give your child antibiotics for something, be sure to use one of the OTC remedies indicated below, or ask your child's doctor for a prescription for an anti-fungal medication to use along with the antibiotics.

Anti-virals [Lauricidin, olive leaf extract, Virastop enzyme, even vitamin C] can also cause yeast. With chelation [removal of heavy metals], my son's tendency toward yeast was entirely eliminated for about a year, until I started anti-virals. When I started Lauricidin with my son, his viral issues significantly reduced, but his yeast significantly increased. In fact, his yeast [in the brain, not the gut] from anti-virals was much worse than his yeast from chelation. More information on this below.

Yeast can be in other places besides in the gut. Yeast can be in the mouth [thrush], or on the skin [diaper rash area or feet/toes or other skin area]. My son also had yeast in his ears and sinuses, and in his brain. See ideas under OTC methods for addressing these yeast issues.


Testing for these issues can be performed at any competent laboratory, altho many parents report that "standard" laboratories did not detect their child's yeast and/or bacteria issues. Here are two laboratories with sites on the internet for your information.

The Great Plains Laboratory -- Testing

Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory

Dietary treatment options

During the "die-off" phase, when the excess yeast and/or bacteria is dying off, toxins released by the dying organisms can [altho not necessarily so] cause very severe negative reactions, so it is best to progress slowly, to minimize this die-off effect. Giving activated charcoal about 45 minutes after any yeast treatment can help absorb the toxins of die off.

The first thing to do is consider reducing the consumption of yeast, sugars, carbohydrates, and starches. This includes using yeast-free breads and other baked goods. Sugars include cane sugar, fructose, honey, molasses, fruits, maple syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and other sources of sugars. Check supplements, especially chewables. A "little" sugar is okay, but you need to be aware of, and monitor, the total sugar intake.

For reduced carbohydrates, consider your child's consumption of wheat, rice, potatoes, corn, and other grains. There is a specialized diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which removes from the diet the carbohydrates which tend to feed the yeast the most [complex carbs], allowing the body to rid itself of yeast on its own. For information on SCD diet specifically for autism, click here.

Some kids need removal of these carbohydrates AND removal or at least reduction of sugars as indicated above.

Over the counter treatment options

After considering dietary interventions, it is usually best to first try supplementing with probiotics, which is good bacteria and "food" for the good bacteria. This will not only help the good bacteria, but it also helps yeast issues because these good bacteria produce biotin, which is what the body uses to control yeast on its own. My son never really did well with probiotics, so I just added the biotin separately as a capsule. Sometimes it is difficult to determine if your child is not tolerating the probiotic, or it may be that the probiotic is tolerated, but is causing die-off effect.

Here is a very comprehensive description of what are probiotics, and a list of the different types of probiotics and what they do.

Probiotics short course and strains

Probiotics are cultured in some sort of "medium", including milk and apples and possibly other things. If you are trying to stay gfcf, be sure you select a probiotic which does not contain milk and is not cultured in milk.

You can find many probiotics at any local health food store. You can also purchase probiotics and yeast control at Kirkman Labs, Vitamin Research Products, and Culturelle.

Other over the counter [OTC] remedies you can find at most health food stores, that you can try, are GSE [I used this for yeast, it was VERY effective], and olive leaf extract [for bacteria and viruses] and oil of oregano [for both yeast and bacteria]. Other yeast remedies you can consider, are garlic, uva ursi, biotin, Candidase or No-Fenol enzyme.

At my house, biotin, Candidase, and GSE worked the best. I used GSE [grapefruit seed extract] for my son's yeast issues when it was really bad. It works GREAT! Eliminated his yeast issue in 2-3 days. I use the concentrated drops from Nutribiotic, which I bought at my local health food store. There is available a capsule form and a tablet form of GSE, which are not quite as effective but don't taste nearly as strong as the liquid. There are a few potential negatives to GSE that I know of, one is that it does have phenol effect, so start with 1-2 drops in the morning, then watch to see any phenol-type reactions. Also, if your child is using SSRI medication, then you should not use GSE, because it slows down liver metabolism and affects levels of medications like SSRIs. And in individuals with liver metabolism which is already slow, they would want to avoid GSE, or if for some reason GSE is required, it is recommended to avoid strong-flavored foods and spices, and that will help.

Some parents have found similar dramatic results for their child's bacteria issues by using colloidal silver. There is some information that it should not be given long term, but over a period of 10 days, along with Culturelle, and then continuing with Culturelle alone, produced dramatic positive results for several people. There is a possibility of argyria, which is silver deposits under the skin causing discoloration, so do consider potential negatives as well as positives, and do not use it long term. Giving silver, a metal, to children whose bodies generally are unable to excrete metals is not recommended by many people, so consider carefully whether you want to use colloidal silver, and whether any of the other natural anti-bacterials might work instead. My son's bacteria issue was not as bad as some kids, so he did well with olive leaf extract, which is an anti-bacterial and an anti-viral.

Yeast can be in other places besides in the gut. For yeast in the mouth [thrush], using GSE or other method can help. For yeast on the skin [diaper rash area or feet/toes or other skin area], you can put a diluted GSE on the skin, or go to your larger grocery store and purchase Lotrimin cream.

There are enzyme products now available, that will digest the yeast cell-wall and allow either the body's own system [along with probiotics] to eliminate the yeast, or if given along with GSE or other anti-fungal, the enzymes will cause the anti-fungal to be much more effective. These enzyme products are No-Fenol from HNI, Candidase from Enzymedica, and Candex [don't know the manufacturer for this one].

Prescription treatment options

There are several medications available for yeast and bacteria issues. One benefit of these options is that you and your doctor can choose a medication which targets the specific type of yeast or bacteria which is at issue. Medications for yeast include Nystatin and Diflucan. Medications for certain bacteria issues include Bactrim, Vancomycin, and neomycin [specially compounded oral suspension].

Lauricidin and Yeast

Lauricidin is an anti-viral over-the-counter supplement. I am using it for my son's viral issues. However, even tho it is not *supposed* to, it does cause yeast for my son, even tho he had not had a yeast issue since about round 50 of ALA chelation [chelation of heavy metals generally also helps resolve the underlying cause of yeast issues for many kids]. Because Lauricidin is *supposed* to be effective for yeast issues, my theory is that it is the viral die off which is triggering the yeast issue, and the yeast it causes is different than the traditional "gut-yeast" of many kids. My son's yeast from use of Lauricidin is not "gut-yeast", because it does not manifest in the bms at all, only in his behaviors.

I used GSE for yeast before chelation removed the yeast problem, but GSE did basically nothing for my son's yeast issue which was caused by the use of Lauricidin. I tried oil of oregano, which appeared to work better on this yeast, but not as well as I would like.

Then someone I know, whose child also developed yeast with Lauricidin, had her child tested and she sent me his test results. The results indicated that her child had two strains of yeast [albicans and parapsilosis] and those strains were susceptible to the OTC yeast killers uva ursi and garlic. So I tried those instead of GSE and oil of oregano, and my son is much better now.

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