Fungus May Be Cauing Your Sinus Infections–Here’s What Can Help
About 37 million Americans suffer from sinusitis, an inflammation of the nasal sinuses commonly known as a sinus infection, each year and for many this is a chronic problem that can seriously affect the quality of your life. Most cases of sinusitis are treated with antibiotics, which may help to cover up symptoms in the short-term but are a disaster when used in the long-term.
Sinusitis can be acute or chronic, and can last for months or years if not addressed. Symptoms vary for each type but can include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal Congestion
- Thick, colored nasal drainage
- Head congestion
And despite constant treatment with antibiotics, many people’s sinusitis continues to return. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, not only is sinusitis one of the most expensive disorders in the United States, but also its prevalence is on the rise, indicating that the common treatment methods are not getting to the root of the problem.
So what is the root of the problem? Researchers have found that most cases of chronic sinusitis are not caused by infection but are actually an immune disorder caused by fungus. In a 1999 study, the researchers discovered that fungal organisms were present in the mucus of 96 percent of patients who had surgery for chronic sinusitis, and inflammatory cells were clumped around the fungi, which meant the condition was an immune disorder caused by fungus.
Fungus and mold spores are in the air all the time and are commonly inhaled so most people have fungi lodged in the mucus lining of the sinuses. However, only people who are prone to chronic sinusitis will experience an immune response to the fungi that results in the symptoms of sinusitis.
They took the research a bit further and in the next study found that a fungicide was effective in decreasing inflammation and nasal swelling among participants suffering from chronic sinusitis. The researchers are hoping the study will lead to the development of new antifungal medications to treat the condition.
Although antifungals may be more effective than antibiotics–antibiotics make fungal infections worse–there are other steps you can take to lessen your risk of sinus infections by getting at the underlying cause.
Make Your Body Less Hospitable to Fungus
As the body attempts to destroy the fungus, the immune system damages the sinus membranes, which causes the symptoms of sinusitis, the researchers say. To combat the fungus and prevent the immune system reaction, you’ll need to create an environment that makes it more difficult for fungus to thrive.
Here are the top ways to do this:
Avoid Eating Sugar or Grains
Fungus feeds on sugar and grains (which break down to sugar in your body), so reducing or eliminating these foods is necessary to keep fungus under control.
Eat Raw Garlic
Consume a high quality cod liver oil or fish oil every day. The high order omega-3 fats, DHA and EPA are essential to maintaining and improving your immune system. Don’t get fooled by taking any general omega-3 supplement. The ALA in flax seed oil won’t give you the same benefits. Not only will cod liver oil or fish oil improve your sinus infection, but they will also improve your health and brain and reduce your risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Eat Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is known for being antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. However, be careful with which oil you choose, as many coconut oils contain fungal toxins. This is because they are commonly made with copras, or dried coconuts, which are often contaminated with mycotoxins. So in order to fully enjoy the benefits of this coconut oil, you will want to be sure that you find a company that uses only fresh coconuts to make their oil.
Avoid Eating the Top 10 Mycotoxic Foods
Below is a list of the top 10 foods that are contaminated with mycotoxins (fungal toxins) that need to be avoided.
Physical activity causes the sinuses to expand and stimulates air circulation and cleansing mucus to move through the sinuses. This will help to clear out any particles that are contributing to the irritation.
Similarly, a past study found that humming increases the amount of air exhaled from the nose and facilitated the exchange of air from sinuses into nasal passages, which could lower the risk of sinus infections if done routinely.
Clear Your Sinuses Without Medication
To help clear sinuses that are congested, you can consider washing the nasal cavities with a solution of salt and room temperature purified water. Breathing in certain essential oils can also be beneficial. The Clenzology Advanced Hygiene System can help irrigate and clean your sinuses without the use of potentially harmful antibiotics.
The Top-10 MYCO-Toxic Foods
1. Alcoholic Beverages
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 that 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 universally 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 breads, 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 that you cooked the pasta in. 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.
5. 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. In addition, when we use wheat and rye to make bread, we add two other 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.
10. Hard Cheeses
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 certainly oppose eating the fungus itself! That would include common table mushrooms and so-called myco-protein 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)