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The fungus Candida Tropicalis, alongside two bacteria called Escherichia coli and Serratia marcescens may be what’s causing your Crohn’s, according to latest research. A Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine-led team of international researchers published in mBio, that these 3 microbes were found in significantly higher amounts in people with Crohn’s disease, compared to healthy individuals.

Furthermore, test-tube research by the same research team found that the three species work together (with the E. coli cells fusing to the fungal cells and S. marcescens forming a bridge connecting the microbes) to produce a biofilm – a thin, slimy layer of microorganisms found in the body that adheres to, among other sites, a portion of the intestines – which can prompt inflammation that results in the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

Once again we see the connection being made between an imbalanced microbiome & digestive disease. Put simply, when we have too many ‘bad bugs’ & not enough ‘good bugs’ inflammation results causing an over-activation of the immune system within the digestive tract & also throughout the body via increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut).

Keep in mind that these microbes were actually found in all the test subjects however it was the density of those populations found that seemed to be linked with the development of Crohn’s. As Dr Martin Blaser, author of Missing Microbes, points out- even the ‘nastiest’ microbes can have a healthy place in the digestive system in the right numbers! Often, it is only when populations of these potentially ‘bad bugs’ are left unchecked where things can go awry.

A surefire way to ensure that these populations are kept in check is to maintain a high intake of probiotics, whether through supplement form or fermented food form (depending on the individual & their state of health). It would also be a good idea to avoid antibiotic use unless absolutely necessary, as echoed by the World Health Organisation.

The Crohn’s-fungal link study’s senior and corresponding author, Mahmoud A Ghannoum, PhD commented on the findings.

“We already know that bacteria, in addition to genetic and dietary factors, play a major role in causing Crohn’s disease. Essentially, patients with Crohn’s have abnormal immune responses to these bacteria, which inhabit the intestines of all people. While most researchers focus their investigations on these bacteria, few have examined the role of fungi, which are also present in everyone’s intestines.”

“Among hundreds of bacterial and fungal species inhabiting the intestines, it is telling that the three we identified were so highly correlated in Crohn’s patients,” said Ghannoum. “Furthermore, we found strong similarities in what may be called the ‘gut profiles’ of the Crohn’s-affected families, which were strikingly different from the Crohn’s-free families.”

From the release…

‘Researchers assessed the mycobiome and bacteriome of patients with Crohn’s disease and their Crohn’s-free first degree relatives in nine families in northern France and Belgium, and in Crohn’s-free individuals from four families living in the same geographic area. Specifically, they analyzed fecal samples of 20 Crohn’s and 28 Crohn’s-free patients from nine families and of 21 Crohn’s-free patients of four families. The researchers found strong fungal-bacterial interactions in those with Crohn’s disease: two bacteria (Escherichia coli and Serratia marcescens) and one fungus (Candida tropicalis) moved in lock step. The presence of all three in the sick family members was significantly higher compared to their healthy relatives, suggesting that the bacteria and fungus interact in the intestines.’

Despite huge amounts of research on the microbiome & it’s influence on health, thousands of people still suffer from Crohn’s & Crohn’s-like afflictions and arguably, they do so needlessly. With further research & more anecdotal evidence of people benefiting from probiotic & dietary treatment methods, the tide must turn…surely.


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Sources for this article include

Ghannoum, M. A. “Bacteriome And Mycobiome Interactions Underscore Microbial Dysbiosis In Familial Crohn’S Disease”. mBio 7.5 (2016): e01250-16. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.

“Case Western Reserve-Led International Team Identifies Fungus In Humans For First Time As Key Factor In Crohn’S Disease – School Of Medicine – Case Western Reserve University”. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.


Disclaimer: Remember to always work with your well qualified, nutritionally-versed practitioner when it comes to the management & treatment of illness. The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only & should not be considered medical advice.