Close to 37 million Americans suffer from sinusitis (sinus infections), with 26.9 million adults diagnosed each year. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal sinuses commonly known to most of us as sinus infections, for many sinus infections become a chronic health issue that can acutely affect the quality of life. Sinusitis usually occurs when the mucous membranes in your nose and sinuses become irritated by such things as cold, allergies, or pollution, which then initiates inflammation. Once inflamed, the movement of your cilia (the tiny hairs that coat the mucous membranes and are responsible for moving mucus over their surfaces) slows down. At the same time, the irritation encourages your mucous glands to produce more mucus than usual to dilute the bacteria resulting in mucus getting trapped in your sinuses, where it can quickly become infected.
Sinusitis (sinus infections) is usually treated with antibiotics, which may help to alleviate symptoms, but can prove to be a disaster to the microbiome when used long-term.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
Sinusitis can be diagnosed as being acute or chronic and can last for months or years if not correctly dealt with. Symptoms differ for each type of sinusitis and can include symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Nasal Congestion
- Thick, colored nasal drainage
- Head congestion
Even with continuous treatment with antibiotics, sinus infections can continue to return. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology indicates that not only is sinusitis one of the most expensive disorders in the United States, its frequency is on the rise, indicating that standard treatment approaches are not getting to the root of the issue.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology indicates that not only is sinusitis one of the most expensive disorders in the United States, its frequency is on the rise, indicating that common treatment approaches are not getting to the root of the issue.
What is the Root Cause of Sinus Infections?
According to researchers, most cases of chronic sinusitis are not triggered by infection but are actually triggered by fungus. Of the 1.5 million fungus species that exist, we have classified only 75,000 of them. Of the 75,000, only 300 are known pathogens to man. Some make two – some make 12 poisons. Some are toxic to man through the liver, the kidneys, the bones, and just about anywhere in the human body.
Orian Truss, MD, in his seminal work The Missing Diagnosis, argued that fungal infections might be at the root of many refractory ailments like stress, fatigue, depression, pain, and especially autoimmune conditions.
A.V. Costantini, MD, former director of the World Health Organization Mycotoxin Collaborating Center at the University of Freiburg, Germany, has written a series of books on fungal bionics claiming that many degenerative diseases of mankind are caused by fungal mycotoxins in the body (from the fungus organism) or fungal mycotoxins in our food supply through moldy grains and other contamination.
According to a Mayo Clinic study, as much as 99 percent of people suffering from chronic sinusitis are “fungal sensitized,” meaning they have immune responses triggered by inhaled fungal organisms.
Researchers discovered in 1999 that fungus was present in the mucus of 96 percent of patients who had surgery for chronic sinusitis, and inflammatory cells were clumped around the fungi. This meant the condition was an immune disorder, which was actually caused by fungus.
Fungus and mold spores are found in the air all the time and are usually inhaled so much so that people have fungi stuck in the mucus lining of the sinuses. But only those prone to chronic sinusitis will suffer an immune response to the fungi resulting in sinusitis symptoms.
Even though antifungal medications are usually more effective than antibiotics, most antibiotics can make fungal infections worse. The good news is that there are other actions you can take to diminish your risk of sinus infections by directing your attention to the root cause.
How to Make Your Body Less Hospitable to Fungus
According to researchers, when the body tries to eliminate fungus, the immune system injures the sinus membranes, which results in sinusitis symptoms. To fight the fungus and avoid the immune system reaction, one will need to establish an environment (whole body terrain) that makes it much harder for fungus to flourish. Below are some of the best ways to keep your body terrain inhospitable to fungus.
Eliminate Refined Sugar and Grains
Fungus feeds on sugar and grains (which break down to sugar in your body). Reducing or eliminating these foods is essential to keep fungus under control.
Add Raw Garlic to Your Diet
One of the most potent antifungals known, garlic has been used for centuries to treat everything from skin diseases to parasites. Numerous research studies show garlic to be an effective treatment for yeast and fungal infections, especially Candida overgrowth. Not only that, but garlic is also a proven immune-booster and active detoxifier. One of garlic’s most crucial antifungal agents is Ajoene, an organosulfur compound that has been shown to kill off a variety of fungal infections. Ajoene is made from a compound named allicin and an enzyme called alliinase. When you chop or smash fresh garlic, allicin and alliinase come together to form the powerful antibacterial agent, which then changes into the greatest fighter of them all, ajoene. Adding raw garlic to a morning veggie smoothie is a great way to consume fresh garlic.
Add Coconut Oil to Your Diet
Lauric acid is abundant in coconut oil. Lauric acid gets converted to a biologically active molecule named Monolaurin, which effectively kills disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It is essential to be careful with which coconut oil you choose, as many contain fungal toxins because they are frequently made with copras, or dried coconuts, which can be contaminated with mycotoxins (poisons made by fungi). Be sure to find a company that uses only fresh coconuts to make their oil.
Commonly extracted from coconut oil, MCT oil contains more than 50% of the fat in coconut oil that comes from MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides). Due to their shorter length, MCTs are digested quickly in the gut. These fats are found in other foods, such as palm oil and dairy products. (R) MCTs are shown to provide antimicrobial and antifungal results (R, R, R). MCTs are also shown to subdue the growth of widespread infectious fungus in hospitals by up to 50% (R). Many people like to incorporate MCT oil in organic coffee, salads, and healthy smoothies.
Add Wild Mediterranean Oregano Oil to Your Diet
Through the ages, wild Mediterranean oregano oil has been used for a multitude of health issues. Studies show that oregano oil has impressive capabilities as a natural antibiotic because of two specific compounds – carvacrol and thymol. Both of these compounds demonstrate both broad-spectrum anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Oil of oregano also has a dual action in that it’s naturally toxic to harmful organisms, and it’s an immune system booster.
Natural Anti-Fungal Supplements
Adding natural, anti-fungal supplements is always encouraged. Helpful anti-fungal supplements include olive leaf extract, oil of oregano, wild-crafted Jatoba bark, Pau D’Arco bark, anise seed, caprylic acid, et. al. This can work towards killing internal, pathogenic fungi. To aid in recolonizing the gut, supplementation with a hi-tech probiotic and prebiotic supplement is highly suggested.
Avoid Consuming the Top 10 Mycotoxin Foods
Below is a list of the top 10 foods contaminated with mycotoxins (fungal toxins) that need to be avoided.
Physical activity triggers the sinuses to enlarge and encourages air circulation and cleansing mucus to move through the sinuses. This aids in clearing out any particles that are causing the irritation.
A past study reported that humming could increase the amount of air exhaled from the nose and enabled the exchange of air from sinuses into nasal passages, which may lower the chance of sinus infections when done consistently.
Clearing Your Sinuses Without Medication
Irrigating and washing the nasal cavities with a solution of salt and room temperature purified water can help to clear congested sinuses. Breathing in certain organic essential oils can significantly help in naturally clearing your sinuses.
The Top-10 MYCO-Toxic Foods
Alcohol is the mycotoxin of the Saccharomyces yeast–brewer’s yeast. Other mycotoxins besides alcohol can also be introduced into these beverages through the use of mold-contaminated grains and fruits. Producers often use grains that are too contaminated with fungi and mycotoxins to be used for table foods, so the risk is higher than you are consuming more than just alcohol in your beverage (Council for Agricultural Science and technology. Mycotoxins: Economic and Health Risks. Task Force Report Number 116. CAST. Ames, IA. Nov 1989). Before you drink for the health of your heart, consider the other possible risks of drinking. There are safer ways of consuming antioxidants.
Corn is “universally contaminated” with fumonisin and other fungal toxins such as aflatoxin, zearalenone, and ochratoxin (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. Mycotoxins: Risks in Plant, Animal, and Human Systems. Task Force Report No. 139. Ames, IA. Jan 2003). Fumonisin and aflatoxin are known for their cancer-causing effects, while zearalenone and ochratoxin cause estrogenic and kidney-related problems, respectively. Just as corn is universally contaminated with mycotoxins, our food supply seems to be widely contaminated with corn–it’s everywhere! A typical chicken nugget at a fast-food restaurant consists of a nugget of corn-fed chicken that is covered by a corn-based batter that is sweetened with corn syrup!
Not only is wheat often contaminated with mycotoxins, but so are the products made from wheat, like bread, cereals, pasta, etc. Pasta may be the least-“offensive” form of grains since certain water-soluble mycotoxins, such as deoxynivalenol (vomitoxin), are partially removed and discarded when you toss out the boiling water in which you cooked the pasta. Unfortunately, traces of the more harmful, heat-stable, and fat-soluble mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin, remain in the grain. Regarding breads–it probably doesn’t matter if it’s organic, inorganic, sprouted, blessed, or not–if it came from a grain that has been stored for months in a silo, it stands the chance of being contaminated with fungi and mycotoxins.
Similar to other grains that can be damaged by drought, floods, and harvesting and storage processes, barley is equally susceptible to contamination by mycotoxin-producing fungi. Barley is used in the production of various cereals and alcoholic beverages.
Sugar (sugar cane and sugar beets)
Not only are sugar cane and sugar beets often contaminated with fungi and their associated fungi, but they, like the other grains, fuel the growth of fungi. Fungi need carbohydrates–sugars–to thrive.
Sorghum is used in a variety of grain-based products intended for both humans and animals. It is also used in the production of alcoholic beverages.
A 1993 study demonstrated 24 different types of fungi that colonized the inside of the peanuts used in the report (Costantini, A. Etiology and Prevention of Atherosclerosis. Fungalbionics Series.1998/99). And this was after the exterior of the peanut was sterilized! So, when you choose to eat peanuts, not only are you potentially eating these molds, but also their mycotoxins. Incidentally, in the same study, the examiners found 23 different fungi on the inside of corn kernels. That said, if you choose to plant your own garden in an attempt to avoid mycotoxin contamination of corn or peanuts, it does you no good if the seed (kernel) used to plant your garden is already riddled with mold.
The same goes for rye as for wheat and other grains. Also, when we use wheat and rye to make bread, we add two different products that compound our fungal concerns: sugar and yeast!
Cottonseed is typically found in the oil form (cottonseed oil) but is also used in the grain form for many animal foods. Many studies show that cottonseed is highly and often contaminated with mycotoxins.
Here’s a hint: if you see mold growing throughout your cheese, no matter what you paid for it, there’s a pretty good chance that there’s a mycotoxin not far from the mold. It is estimated that each fungus on Earth produces up to three different mycotoxins. The total number of mycotoxins known to date numbers in the thousands.
On the other hand, some cheeses, such as Gouda cheese, are made with yogurt-type cultures, like Lactobacillus, and not fungi (Costantini, 1998/99). These cheeses are a much healthier alternative, fungally speaking.
Naturally, with this list coming from a group that opposes eating food that is merely contaminated with fungi, we’d undoubtedly oppose eating the fungus itself! That would include common table mushrooms and so-called mycoprotein food products.
Other foods that could potentially make our list are rice, oats, and beans, given that these too are sources of carbohydrates. And occasionally, food inspectors will come across a batch of mold-contaminated rice or oats. However, all other things being equal, these crops are generally more resistant to fungal contamination (CAST 1989).
*Diseases Caused by Fungi and Their Mycotoxins
(Costantini, A. et al. The Garden of Eden Longevity Diet. Fungalbionics Series. 1998)
- Alcoholic cirrhosis
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Balkan Nephropathy
- Biliary cirrhosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Cushing’s disease
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Familial Mediterranean Fever
- Heart failure
- Hyperactivity Syndrome
- Hyperlipidemia (high lipids)
- IgA Nephropathy
- Kidney stones
- Leukocytoclastic vasculitis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Mollaret’s meningitis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Nephritis (kidney inflammation)
- Precocious puberty
- Pulmonary Hypertension
- Raynaud’s Syndrome/disease
- Reye’s syndrome
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Shoulder-hand syndrome
- Thrombocytopenic purpura
- (low platelets)
Even the CDC Says “Think Fungus”…For Everything
In 2017 the Centers for Disease Control website urged people to consider fungus as the underlying cause of symptoms that don’t improve with conventional therapy. In a short video, the caption reads, “Fungal diseases are often not diagnosed right away because their symptoms can be similar to those of other diseases. ‘Think fungus’ if you have symptoms that don’t get better with treatment. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of a fungal infection.”
If you experience any health concern that doesn’t improve with conventional therapy, always think “Fungus Until Proven Otherwise”. This has become my first suggestion to clients and in more cases than not, it proves to be true.
Kosalec I, Pepeljnjak S, Kustrak D. “Antifungal activity of fluid extract and essential oil from anise fruits (Pimpinella anisum L., Apiaceae).” Acta Pharm. 2005 Dec;55(4):377-85.
Raintree Nutrition Inc. Biological activities for extracts of Jatoba (Hymenaea courbaril) (PDF). Jatoba Plant Database File. 2004.
Höfling JF, Anibal PC, Obando-Pereda GA, Peixoto IA, Furletti VF, Foglio MA, Gonçalves RB. Antimicrobial potential of some plant extracts against Candida species. Braz J Biol. 2010 Nov;70(4):1065-8.