Schizophrenia Linked To Yeast Infections

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Men who have a history of battling a Candida yeast infection were more likely to suffer from schizophrenia than those without the disorder, according to a new study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers.

Researchers also claim that women with schizophrenia and Candida tested worse on standard memory tests than those with no history of the yeast condition.

Despite these initial findings, however, researchers caution that lifestyle factors, immune health and the gut-brain connection could also contribute to the rising concern of memory issues and schizophrenia.

"It's far too early to single out Candida infection as a cause of mental illness or vice versa," said Emily Severance, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics. "However, most Candida infections can be treated in their early stages, and clinicians should make it a point to look out for these infections in their patients with mental illness."

Candida prevention

The yeast-like fungus Candida is naturally occurring in the digestive tract. When it overgrows, however, it can cause a number of complicated health conditions. In extreme cases, Candida can enter the bloodstream and pose dangerous risks.

Researchers studied Candida’s potential association with mental illness because recent evidence pointed towards a link between schizophrenia and immune system issues. Patients with poor immune systems are often more prone to fungal infections.

"Because Candida is a natural component of the human body microbiome, yeast overgrowth or infection in the digestive tract, for example, may disrupt the gut-brain axis,” said Severance. “This disruption in conjunction with an abnormally functioning immune system could collectively disturb those brain processes that are important for memory."

Typically the body prevents Candida overgrowth via healthy bacteria and a properly functioning immune system. Additional prevention methods include consuming foods and beverages with minimal sugar, avoiding antibiotics when possible and maximizing healthy hygiene habits.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine