Episode 31: Dealing With Disease? Check For Fungus
Recently, scientists discovered strains of fungus in pancreatic cancer patients. This sent shockwaves through the media, but the fact that fungi can cause disease is nothing new to today’s guest.
Doug Kaufmann is the host of the popular TV show, Know The Cause, a program that educates viewers on the wide range of health problems associated with fungi. He’s also authored 12 books on the subject of fungus and ill health, including protocols for battling fungus and reversing chronic conditions. In addition, Doug has worked in clinical nutrition with various physicians for over 22 years.
On this show, Doug talks to Andrea about how he first discovered the link between fungi and disease, plus breaks down the different type of fungal infections in the human body. He also gives his theory on why this isn’t more widely discussed and why more people than ever before are struggling with fungal infection.
To learn more about Doug, including how to watch his show, head to www.knowthecause.com.
On this show, you’ll learn:
- How Doug came to discover fungus as the cause of so many diseases (1:42)
- Reactions to the fungal infection diagnosis (5:33)
- Are we seeing increases? (8:49)
- How we are fueling fungal infection through lifestyle (11:21)
- The 2 types of fungal infections (12:43)
- Is Candida overblown? (21:00)
- How does a doctor know if an infection is bacterial or fungal? (28:00)
- Are foods like mushrooms and miso off limits? (30:16)
- Supplementation and anti-fungal medications (35:42)
- Doug’s day-to-day diet (40:00)
- More about Doug’s work (44:18)
Andrea Wien: Welcome to The Microbiome Report. I'm your host, Andrea Wien, and this episode is powered by Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum's new book, Total Gut Balance. The book drops December 24th, but is available for pre order now, with bonuses. Go to totalgutbook.com to get the bonuses including a five-day gut-healing meal plan, and 15 of Dr. G's most popular microbiome friendly recipes.
Today I'm speaking with Doug Kaufmann, the host of the popular TV show, Know the Cause, a program that educates viewers on the wide range of health problems associated with fungi. Doug has also written 12 books on the subject of fungus and health. Each book tells of the diets he's developed that actually served to starve the body of parasitic fungi while simultaneously providing proper nutrition for those following his plan.
On this show, Doug and I talk about how he started to put the pieces together, that fungus can cause adverse health reactions. And we discuss the current research that's discovered fungal strains in patients with pancreatic cancer, something that Doug has known for a long time. Doug also explains the difference between fungal infections and teaches listeners how to advocate for themselves on these topics when speaking with their doctor. Enjoy the show. Doug, thank you so much for joining us.
Doug Kaufmann: Oh, it is my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Andrea Wien: I want to start out by talking about your work, which I think is so fascinating. You've really been pioneering many of these things with fungus that we're hearing about now. But can you tell us how you really came to discover fungus as a cause of so many diseases?
Doug Kaufmann: Like so many pioneers, Andrea, I didn't set out to be one. When I got back from Vietnam, I was trained in emergency medicine by the US Navy, as a Navy Corpsman, a hospital corpsman. And there we serviced a couple of 1000 marines out in the field in Vietnam. This was 1970 to 71, so I'm dating myself here.
When I got back from Vietnam, I was a totally different Doug Kaufmann than the 20 year-old kid who went. And I didn't understand this. The doctors told me it may be post-traumatic stress, they don't know what happened to me. But there were physical signs, not mental. My skin at the fold of my arms would bleed, I had horrible stomach problems. And the one thing I had, Andrea, that not many people knew about at that time, and still don't today, was jungle rot all over my arms and legs.
I hypothesized at that time, if a 20 year-old kid can do that, that may be through my skin, this mold, this jungle rot, it's called a mycobacterium is leaking, and I'm getting a mold infection. That's all I could figure was wrong with me. So I went to a library. We couldn't back then say, "Hey, Siri, tell me about this stuff on my skin." That's not the way it worked back then. And so I-
Siri: Sorry. I [crosstalk 00:02:55].
Andrea Wien: Oh, there you go. Siri is answering to you, even when you are just talking about her in kind.
Doug Kaufmann: Even though she doesn't know a thing about fungus. So I went to a library, got a library card and pulled out an old 1953 parasitology book. And lo and behold, as I began to look at it, one of the chapters was on yeast and fungi parasitizing. Man, could my ringworm from the war be contributing to these bizarre symptoms?
I asked one of the doctors for a prescription for a drug called nystatin, which was fairly new back in the '70s. And again, taking it. And, Dr. Hughes, my boss out there said, "What are you eating?" And I said, "Well, I'm 21 years old, I'm living in LA. Let's see. I'm drinking beer, I'm eating Oreo cookies, I'm eating sandwiches." And he said, "You got to change." So I switched from Coors to Budweiser, the typical mentality of a 21 year-old kid.
Lo and behold, sometime later, I fasted for a few days. And I got to tell you, Andrea, I felt great. After a couple of days, the bleeding in the folds of my arm stopped, my stomach began working again and I thought, there's a food relationship here. That was my very, very early entry into the field of mycology.
And then when I had the opportunity, I worked with various doctors, wonderful doctors who said, "Doug, if you can help me, because I can't help a certain percentage of my patients." And I thought, "Well, I'm wondering if I'm not the only person in America who has a fungal disease." I wonder if I put them on this newfound Kaufmann Diet and maybe talk to doctors into giving them some antifungals, if they're ringing in the ear, their blepharospasm, their heart palpitations, their gut problems, skin problems would clear up.
And that was back in the 1970s, continued till about the year 1991, 92. And clinically, I worked for a long time. And I've got to tell you, this is an incredible, incredible field that has been totally overlooked in science and medicine today.
Andrea Wien: We are. I think we're starting to see it now, and I believe I just read a New York Times article where they're starting to explore fungus that was found in the patients of people with pancreatic cancer. And this is really something like you've just alluded to, that you have known for decades, and you've really been helping people and working with doctors.
What was that like back then, when you would say to a patient or a client of yours, "I think you have a fungal infection and that might be causing your heart problems"? Were they able to make that jump? Or was it looked at with a little bit of skepticism?
Doug Kaufmann: You have the patient in the room, who is hungry. "Look, we the people just want to get better." But the doctor would raise the eyebrow, be very skeptical about what I was saying. And I said to the doctor, in 100% of these cases, "Doc, what do we got to lose? Nystatin doesn't have side effects. It's a gut antifungal found in soil in a ranch in Virginia. It costs 15 bucks. Let's try that." I'd have to explain to them what the Kaufmann Diet was. Basically, the Kaufmann Diet says you eat what fungi don't. Fungi thrive on sugars, carbohydrates, grains. So I developed this diet back in the '70s, and it took three days, five days.
One of the doctors I worked with who brought me from Los Angeles to Dallas was a guy named David Weekley, a Johns Hopkins graduate, brilliant man. He was on the board of psoriasis for a big group of doctors and dermatologists. And he said, "Doug, I have these people stand in a PUVA box, give them UV radiation. I give them a CC or two of cortisone in the hip, and that's all I can do. And eventually, they leave me because they're not going to keep coming in and standing in a PUVA box and getting a shot a cortisone. How can I help more of them?"
And I said, "Could I start coming to Dallas four days a month, and let's take some of your patients and see if we can help them?" The results, Andrea, spoke for themselves. Before too long, what began happening was the patients would sit down with the doctor and I, two weeks after they had been on my diet and the nystatin for a couple of weeks. Dr Weekley ordered Kleenex into every one of the exam rooms because so many of them would emote. I've lived with this psoriasis and this embarrassment on my neck, on my legs for 20 years. And I've just gone two weeks without any of it. What is this? What are you doing?
And then, Andrea, we began to hear what I call the pearls. The psoriasis is better. But once the doctor would leave the room, I heard this, eight out of nine patients, "Could this have something to do with my stomach problems?" Because I'm horribly constipated now all that's working." "Could this have anything to do with my blepharospasm? My eyelids twitch like crazy." "Hey, Doug, my arthritis is no problem now. My hip, I sleep in the same position. I can get out of bed and run now. Could this diet, could this drug, whatever nystatin is, be contributing to my overall wellness?"
"My depression is gone, my gout is gone." And so it was an eye-opener for the doctors who ... this one doctor then brought in a general practitioner here in Dallas, and we began seeing all kinds of illness, not just skin problems. And it was really that time in the 1980s, a boon for our advancement in our understanding of the diseases and the symptoms that fungus and their poisonous byproducts could prompt.
Andrea Wien: Now, are these a product of ... and maybe we should take a step back and talk about different types of fungal infections. But I'm curious, why are so many people infected? Why were they then? And I'm sure we've only increased with the standard American diet that everyone is eating today, but where is this fungus coming from?
Doug Kaufmann: That's going to be called Kaufmann Hypotheses Number One. I have my own thoughts on this. My wife and I enjoy old movies, Turner classics. You turn on dish and you got these glorious old 1930s and 40s movies. The only overweight person in those movies were the bankers, who had all the money, who could eat all the wrong food. Everybody else was thin. We suffer not only from obesity today, but mental inflammation, cellular inflammation, hypertension, diabetes, you name it. Why?
: We didn't have this until mycotoxins were allowed in everyone's stomach in America. They were the greatest development of mankind. Today, we call them antibiotics. They saved men, saved their lives in World War II. 1947, 48, when we introduced them into the civilian market, we had the same results; they were lifesavers. Someone would cut themselves playing baseball and they didn't have to die now. Antibiotics were saving lives. But like so many things, when something works that well and we could finally cure something in medical circles, we began abusing it.
Today, we have an antibiotic crisis, and it's called renew our antibiotic stewardship in America. Pediatricians, internal medicine doctors, every journal I read, says we're grossly abusing antibiotics. You see, antibiotics are fungal metabolites, and these are known to induce diseases in mammals. And we happen to be a mammal. So we've got to be more judicious with our antibiotics. But lo and behold, we find corn has always been impregnated with these fungal mycotoxins. Peanuts are often impregnated with fungal mycotoxins. Beer is the mycotoxin of borrowed yeast.
So it's our lifestyle. First, we implant the yeast with antibiotics, then we fuel it. Then we fuel it with alcohol and sandwiches, and peanut butter and so forth. So it's a vicious cycle that I don't think many of us understand, unfortunately, our healthcare providers don't, and we can't get out of.
Andrea Wien: That makes a lot of sense. And I've heard that word mycotoxins before. So to hear you talk about it in that context. And I have also heard of it in coffee, so it's really things that we're having and ingesting on a daily basis. Like you're saying, maybe you've taken a few rounds of antibiotics, and then you're really fueling it with your daily lifestyle habits.
Doug Kaufmann: I think what happens, Andrea, is we raise our level of fungal poisoning to a certain level. In other words, we're now beginning to realize that most of the people who say they're allergic to penicillin, aren't. Kaufmann Hypotheses Number Two. These people are so riddled with fungus from living in a moldy home, from eating peanuts or peanut butter, from drinking alcohol, from taking antibiotics that the next little bit of mold they get penicillin. Remember, Penicillium is the mold and the poison it makes, we call penicillin.
Thank God, it's a poison. It kills tiny bacteria in tiny doses. Unfortunately, no longer in America do we take tiny doses. So it begins hampering our own physiology. I think penicillin allergy might be my threshold is up to my nose. A little more penicillin and my tongue is going to swell, my heart is going to stop, and I could die. Same with peanut allergy. I don't think it's the peanut. I think it's the aspergillus mold that is inherent to so many peanuts that we get across this great country.
Andrea Wien: So interesting. Let's take a step back and talk about the two different types of fungal infection. So we have more localized infections, so Athlete's foot or nail fungus. And then more systemic. What are the differences there?
Doug Kaufmann: We are just beginning to find out the difference. You see, we have discounted fungus as a cause for anything. Your average 22 year-old kid in medical school learns months of information in bacteriology about those darn bacteria, they're taking us down left and right. But don't worry, there are hundreds of antibiotics. The word mycotoxin is never used. You see a medical student never hears fungal poisons. Myco means fungus, toxin is poison. They don't hear that word.
They hear antibiotics are good and necessary, because the pharmacies have hundreds if not thousands of them to sell. But there's only a dozen or so antifungals. So your average, brilliant, twice my IQ medical student learns that, well, fungus isn't a big deal because there's only 14 or 20 antifungals on the market. But, boy, that bacteria must be a huge problem. And those viruses must be huge problems.
So we're grossly overlooking the impact of what we call systemic mycosis. What happens when we inhale a lot of aspergillus mold? Well, it looks on an X-ray, like an aspergilloma. It looks like lung cancer. And nobody is testing these lumps in our lungs for fungus. There was a study done a few years ago and published in a journal called Lung, L-U-N-G. Fascinating study. There were what, 27 or 37 patients who were diagnosed radiologically, and by the clinician with lung cancer.
The hospital must have hired someone. I think it was a Spanish study. They must have hired a mycologist, a doctor of fungus. He took those 27 patients and he took those old biopsies, and he saw fungus in all them. And he went back to the doctors and said this isn't lung cancer, this is lung fungus. These are called aspergillomas. An aspergilloma is a lump. I think fungi hide from our white blood cells gobbling them up in these big sacks called ascomycete or mycetomas. The doctor put these patients on antifungal drugs, and all 27 of them recovered. Should we not be duty-bound, fiduciarily-bound to put every "lung", and I'm quoting here, "cancer" patient on antifungal drugs? And yet we don't.
Andrea Wien: That's so crazy to think about. I actually have a friend who has a pretty rare immune condition. And so she is constantly at the NIH, in different clinics and things, and working with doctors. I think there's only maybe three people in the whole country that have the same disease as she does, but it manifests exactly as you're saying, as fungus in the lungs.
So it's something that we're all breathing in. And her body, they're constantly testing, and she's on different inhalers and nebulizers and all these things to try to keep the mold down. And the same thing with her home. Do you know she has to have air filters and air purifiers? But maybe we all do.
Doug Kaufmann: You see, mold, our lung tissue as you know, mucous membrane tissues, secretory IgA, our lung tissue is very viscous. My wife and I sold the home of many years where we raised the kids in, because we wanted to downsize. We began looking, and we could afford a nice home out here. We began looking at homes with realtors, and I'm telling you, Andrea, my wife and I walked into these homes and she had to exit immediately. She has a real problem with mold.
But what about the realtors? They have no ... what about school teachers? No problem with mold in these schools. They walk right in, now they're always sick. But no doctor, no pulmonologist or respiratory therapist ever tells them to think mold. For $20 people can have their home tested. It's called an at-home mold test plate. Take the lid off, lay it out, follow the instructions and in a few days, you're going to see green fuzz or gray fuzz, or black fuzz growing in that dish.
Get out of that home. If you suffer from COPD, asthma or any one of 100 pulmonary diseases, get up to the mountains for a week. Your life is at stake here. Get up to the mountains for a week. Rent a cabin, stay up there and stay outside as much as you can. Watch what happens on day four or five to your lung and pulmonary health. I've asked doctors' patients to do this. It is dramatic.
One of them called me one time and said, "I'm in Big Bear, California. Doug, you told me not to drink anymore, and I miss my glass of wine. I'm feeling so good by last night," this was day four, "that I got a bottle of Chianti and I had a glass of wine. And I woke up this morning and I could breathe. I didn't hock up big lung balls or anything. I felt great." Yes, we patients, we humans can get sick with mold. But because our lung tissue in our throat, nasopharyngeal cavity is very viscous, the mold when we walked into those open houses, sticks to our lung. We exit the house.
If our immune system is at all compromised, it begins reproducing. And within two or three years, we got a little ball in our lung that upon X-ray, the doctor is saying, "Doug, I have bad news for you, man. You got lung cancer. See, look at this X-ray." I'm not trained in radiologic studies. Yeah, that's a lump there. The doctor never tested it as though it were an ascomycete, a sac fungus.
I have no problem with that biopsy going to cancer and having them test for it. But please, doctor, split the sample and send half of it for your patient's sake and your education sake, send the other half to mycology and let them see if they can see DNA, mycotoxins or fungus in that lump in your lung.
Andrea Wien: So in your opinion, how many people do you think are walking around with these types of fungal infections, more systemic infections? Or even in your experience in practice, how many people that you've seen was this the culprit?
Doug Kaufmann: I just wrote a woman's book that took me years to write, because I'm not one. And I had to really interview a lot of doctors and a lot of women. These fungi, once they're systemic, become endocrine disruptors. Wait a minute. What is thyroiditis? What is menopause? I feel horrible. Well, every woman goes through this.
The more fungal load you have, the more predisposed I believe you are to suffering from endocrine problems. Because these mycotoxins made by fungus and only fungus, can really halt what your thyroid, what your pituitary, what your gonads are supposed to be producing. And we see this over and over. So, how many people? How many people will see the doctor today? My guess is half of those. And the doctors just don't know how to diagnose these.
As I mentioned, these guys have twice my IQ. But if you withhold the two most important lessons any medical school can teach, diet and mycology, you withhold knowledge that those doctors need to help the majority of their patients. My guess is a third to half of people running from doctor to doctor, to doctor have an undiagnosed mold problem.
Andrea Wien: Wow, that's pretty telling and pretty ... On one hand, it's shocking, and on the other hand, it's almost empowering because there is so much that we can do if it's a mold infection, versus something like cancer where we're still running around in circles trying to find different cures for specific strains.
I want to talk about candida because this is one of those big issues that we're hearing all the time. I have so many friends who've gone and seen functional medicine doctors, who might have gut issues, and everyone's telling them, it's candida. But is that something that maybe has become a scapegoat for some of these other issues? Could it be different types of fungus? Is that whole claim overblown right now?
Doug Kaufmann: What any mycologist will tell you, and I'm going to give you some facts here that might bore you, but bear with me, there are probably a million and a half to three million fungal species that exist on Planet Earth. Of those, mycologists have identified and classified 75,000 of them. So of that few million, 75,000 we now know are fungal species. Of those, only 300 are pathogenic to man. One of those is candida.
Candida has tropicalis and auris and albicans, and so there's a lot of subspecies of candida. But because this was the first known, vagina yeast infection, candida albicans thrush, candida albicans infection, because this was the first one that a doctor actually learned in medical school and could see, that one is being in my humble opinion, hyped today. We now know that aspergillus mold makes a poison called aflatoxin B1, that absolutely 100% causes human hepatocellular cancer. Causes human liver cancer. And yet, oncologists don't know that. But it's been published for decades now.
How many other of these mycotoxins can ... we're looking at one right now called ochratoxin. Does that cause cancer also? Well, it seems to in laboratory animals, but they aren't ready to say it does in humans. Can you imagine what we're missing? But they didn't learn that this stuff can become ignited with antibiotics or birth control pills, and can begin to become quite problematic to men and women. You have to remember, 50 years ago, I became the first guy with yeast infection. I'm not talking about that.
Every guy on the baseball team I tell just laughed until he fell over. But men have yeast infections too. Candida albicans, this is a single celled fungi, and they're not stopping. But there are 299 other fungi that can impregnate we humans, off-gas these poisons called mycotoxins and make us very, very sick. Most candida infections are an annoyance. Until candida auris came on the market a few years ago, they didn't really scare us because nystatin, maybe diflucan, diflucan is called the one pill vaginal yeast cure, because it is, but it came on the market 30 years ago as an AIDS drug. Wow. Is it human immuno virus? Or is it human immuno fungus?
Andrea Wien: Interesting. You alluded to it, obviously, we've been talking about antibiotics and you mentioned birth control. But are there other medications that can make these fungal infections worse? What are some of the common culprits?
Doug Kaufmann: Any drug that alters the terrain of the intestine can initiate candida growth in the gut. Foods like corn, peanuts, wheat, we now know are sometimes impregnated with these molds. One particular…well, two. Fusarium, that makes a poison called zearalenone. Zearalenone is an estrogen mimicker. Wait a minute. Why are postmenopausal women getting breast cancer? Why are men getting breast cancer? Because they're getting into fusarium.
And then the other one is aspergillus. We've already talked about aflatoxin B1, but it makes many, many more toxic substances. So you just need to know that it's not just candida, it's not just nasopharyngeal. We now know, 20 years ago it was published at Mayo Clinic, 96% of chronic sinusitis is not due to what your doctor is handing you today. Wrong medication, doc. 96% of chronic sinusitis is due to fungus. Yet 100% of doctors today are handing you antibiotics. And I'll be darned if antibiotics don't tend to fuel fungal infections.
You go in with an acute, one-time sinus problem, and that doctor puts you on an antibiotic. I think what he's doing is assuring the chronicity of that sinus infection for the rest of your life by fueling the yeast and the mold that is at the etiology, the cause of your sinus infection. We just have to be so careful. There are many, many medications that can alter the gut terrain, and make the yeast which is passive, but lives comfortably with good bacteria, ignited and start with food allergy.
As gut permeability happens, yeast grows. Now, and mycelium, which pokes a hole through the gut, food allergy begins, gut problems begin. Nobody knows everything about this. I've tried, Andrea, for 50 years to understand it, and it changes. As you really brought up well here a few minutes ago, you got to be kidding me, they found in pancreatic cancer, fungus? We've never treated a pancreatic cancer with antifungals. And yet, in the year 2016, the toenail fungus drug called itraconazole or sporanox became repurposed thanks to the FDA. It is now a cancer drug that inhibits metastasis, and helps kill cancer cells.
But wait a minute. All that was put on the market for was to kill fingernail and toenail fungus. Are you telling me, Doug, it's now knocking out cancer cells? No. I'm telling you that doctors and oncologists now know it is. I'm not telling you, they know it is. And it's being used for many cancers. Then are you telling me there's a fungal component to cancer? They say, no. I'm shouting, yes.
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Let's say someone is listening to this and maybe they have some chronic condition that they're dealing with. Maybe they have taken antibiotics in the past. How does a doctor know if an infection is bacterial or fungal? Do they need to be asking to test for that?
Doug Kaufmann: Yeah, PCR, polymerase chain reactors, PCR testing now enables a doctor to quickly…well, let me qualify that. In the past, what we had to do is pull something out of your nose, your lung or your body and put it on a Petri dish, a culture plate and grow it out. And the lab techs, these are really smart people, the lab techs would within two to four weeks, pick up the phone and call the doctor and say, "Hey, that's aspergillus mold growing in his lung. That's not lung cancer."
Today, PCR testing makes that diagnosis happen within 48 hours. Sometimes three days, but most of the time fungus can be identified in a couple of days. So, what the patient must do, folks, if you're suffering and you find yourself running from doctor to doctor, you've got to ask that doctor to test this for fungus.
Now, you've got an educated 170 IQ guy sitting there, a woman sitting there, looking at you like you fell off the turnip truck. Do this as though your life depended on it. You could care less what that doctor thinks of you. You've heard this. This is all fact, everything I'm telling you. I've read scientific literature for 50 years. It may be you've got a nasty localized or systemic in your pericardium, in your heart, in your lungs, in your kidneys, in your bladder.
What is bladder leakage? What is chronic UTI? It's urinary tract infection. We have to start thinking fungus. Here, we call that, Andrea, FUPO. Become a FUPO head, fungus until proven otherwise. It's cute, and the public seems to remember it. Talk to your doctor about trying an antifungal drug, and the Kaufmann Diet or any good diet that starves fungus. There's a lot of good ones out there.
Andrea Wien: We talked about aspergillus, you've mentioned that a few times. And there are different strains. So I'm curious. Kōji, for example, has an aspergillus component to it. This is the mold that we would get something like sake or soy sauce from. So, how is that different, if it is? Or are those foods technically not good for us?
Doug Kaufmann: And again, Andrea, I think when you look in a mirror, you look in a mirror and can reflect yourself because of fungus. When you sit in a leather chair, it's because of fungus that has created that supple leather that you can sit. Beano, Gas-X is made of an aspergillus starter. So taken medicinally in short doses, let's go a step further, what about kefir? What about kombucha? What about mushrooms? If you're right, Doug, should we even be getting close to these things?
Therapeutically, mushrooms, look, I've read studies from Japan, I've met doctors from Japan who have done these studies, brilliant. Here's why I think yeast starters, Kefir, kombucha, mushrooms, lion's mane, why these help some patients with serious disease. I used to call it, back in my drinking days, in my 20s, hair of the dog. I had a roommate down and I had a roommate that would drink too much at night, get up in the morning and have a beer. And literally within 15 minutes be totally normal, not hungover or anything. That's feeding like for like. The rules that govern homeopathy say, you treat like for like.
If mushroom, if kombucha has really helped you, then please consider the etiology of your health problem to have been treated with like for like. The fungal or yeast starter in kombucha, the yeast starter in kefir, the mushroom itself, I believe, and again, Kaufmann Hypotheses Number Three, I believe that the reason many people get better when using mushroom extracts or kefir or kombucha is because they're treating like for like. They have identified the mold in the gut, in the brain, in the spinal column and their minor therapeutics, much like Beano or any of the aspergillus starters that we use.
Andrea Wien: But I have to believe it's similar to the war that we took on germs, on bacterial germs. Of course, there are virulent and pathogenic strains that when they're out of balance can cause a lot of disease and illness. But when taken properly, or when they're in balance in the gut and elsewhere, that we see health. So I have to imagine that it's a similar story for this fungus.
Doug Kaufmann: It really is. And that's my point. Don't not take antibiotics after what you've heard today. Take them judiciously. Always ask your doctor, now that we're moving with newer technology and there are quicker fungal diagnoses, always ask the doctor, "Hey, doc, before I go on an antibiotic, can you do me a favor? Can we rule out fungus as contributing to this?" Most doctors will scoff because medical schools do not teach this. But you're the one with the credit card, you're the one paying the bill. Feel comfortable saying, I'd like to rule out fungus here with my sinus infection.
I heard 20 years ago, the Mayo Clinic said almost all, 90+% of chronic sinusitis was fungus. And yet you're handing me a pill that is fuel to fungus. It's called an antibiotic. So many women know if they go on rounds and rounds of antibiotics, they get vaginal yeast infections. Well, we men lack that plumbing, but we get prostate problems and we get internal problems, urethritis, impotence, et cetera, by sometimes swallowing these same antibiotics. So just know that often, we're suffering from a fungal infection or infestation, and we're being erroneously treated with an antibiotic very quickly.
That's the go-to drug that your doctor learned in medical school. And we've got to start rethinking this. Not from me, Andrea. This is the American College of Pediatrics saying this. They're all shaking their finger at each other and they're talking about antibiotic stewardship. It's about time. I thought that should have started in 1952. But they're finally saying, we're grossly abusing antibiotics. And they're shaking their finger at the cold being a virus. Don't give a patient an antibiotic with a cold. Come on, guys. There's other invasive infections than virus and bacteria. The big one you totally overlooked was fungus.
Andrea Wien: Absolutely. I had this experience myself, even. I went for probably a year on this cycle of the doctor would give me Cipro for a bacterial infection, I would get a yeast infection. I would take the yeast medication. I must have gone through seven or eight rounds before I finally, like you're saying, changed my diet and made some other lifestyle changes.
And that's finally what put me on the path to health. But I've talked to clients of my own now who for five years, they've been struggling with this cycle. So I can see it in my practice. I can see it in my friends and family. So absolutely, this is a huge issue. And I'm so happy we're talking about it today.
In terms of the diet that you mentioned, I think people listening to our show have a pretty good sense of optimal gut health diets, and how refined carbs and resistant starches and all these things can play into optimal gut health. But can you talk a little bit about the supplementation and the antifungal medications? Because that's one area that I think differs a bit when we're talking about fungus versus bacterial.
Doug Kaufmann: There's two kinds of antifungals. There's a fungistatic approach and a fungicidal approach. Stat in medicine means to stop. So fungistatin is stop fungal growth. And then cidal, something that will kill fungus. And for you and me, this is one of the most exciting areas, Andrea. What have we heard the last six months? Resveratrol. They're shouting it from the mountaintops. That which keeps purple grapes from being impregnated with the same mold that breaks down green grapes is the skin, and a component of phytonutrient called resveratrol.
Resveratrol has powerful antifungal properties. Vitamin D3, has powerful niacin, and I could…vitamin C, I could go on. And zinc. I was one time asked in Oklahoma City at a lecture, there were probably 500 people there, and a guy who owned a health food store said, "How much of what I have is an antifungal?" Now, he told me later he was expecting, "Well, six of them are." All of them are. Your organic asparagus, your radishes, your garlic, most supplements have antifungal properties. It blows my mind how many people take supplements today, and this dogs the medical community. They think we need their pills. We on this side say no, no, we don't need yours.
I'm a 70 year-old guy who hasn't taken a medication in 50 years. But I get up in the morning sometimes and my head is spinning, and I get up with, oh, my right hip hurts or I get up and my bowels don't work. Of course, I had ice cream and cake for my grandson's birthday. No wonder I'm going to spend two days feeling miserable. You brought it up, and I think you brought it up brilliantly in the opening of this show. The onus is not on your doctor. If you have a fungal condition and it is not massive, it's not mucormycosis that which kills us, or aspergillus that can kill you very quickly, or candida auris, these are killing organisms.
If you're feeling punk and you've been running from doctor to doctor, what Andrea said in the opening of the show is really, it's our responsibility. Our health isn't our doctor's responsibility. And the good news is you'll know in two weeks following a diet that starves fungus. Fungus and yeast thrive on carbohydrates. Things that we chew, mixed with saliva and swallow, that become sugar. It's glucose in our body. Well, that's grains, that's cereal, that's pasta, that's bread. Stop all that. Alcohol is directly involved in feeding these organisms. So eat peripherally in a health food store.
Eat steamed vegetables, eat good fruits. And my diet even says, look, way too much sugar in your average red apple. So eat a green apple, eat a grapefruit. Don't eat an orange, way too much sugar. Eat berries, tart fruits and things of that sort. You only do it for two weeks, and you take some supplements, and then you reassess, how am I feeling? Wow, I don't have the suicidal depression anymore. Then you have to surmise that, that may have been a neurotoxic fungal disease. Because neurotoxins exist in fungi. The first ever recorded, 1945, was penicillin. We know they're neurotoxic. We know they can induce symptoms of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and so forth. Fortunately, we don't take many, but our doctors haven't stopped prescribing. We just need to be judicious.
Andrea Wien: Absolutely. I think you and Dr. Ghannoum, our resident researcher that comes on the show often are preaching this battle. He is coming out with his new book, Total Gut Balance, that really addresses the fungi and the bacteria, the microbiome diet, which I have to imagine has correlations and similarities to the Kaufmann Diet. I want to end on what your day to day diet looks like. What are you eating with this knowledge? Walk us through your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Doug Kaufmann: I can tell you, this morning I had a whole grapefruit and a handful of supplements. Of to work I went. I will now drink coffee. I have a Kaufmann 1 Diet which says beans or legumes, and they tend to be high carbohydrate, so don't eat them. But as you graduate to the Kaufmann 2, you can now have beans. Well, coffee beans. And you were referring to Dave Asprey earlier, the Bulletproof guy who's a friend of mine, and man, what an insight he has lent to this whole field of mold free beans in your coffee.
I think there's two kinds of meat. I think there's the kind we go to the store and buy. I am concerned with the antibiotics. And you heard me say that word, estrogenic mycotoxin earlier in the show, zearalenone. Do you know we add that to North Americans' meat supply as a growth promoter? It's called zeranol or Ralgro. And the European Union decades ago said, we're not buying meat from the US or Canada. We don't want that hormone in our meat supply. So I think there's two kinds of meat, the grass-fed, grass-finished, small farm, and then that which you go into a restaurant or into a store and buy. And I veer away from that which you go into a store and buy.
I won't go out to a restaurant and have a steak, but I will eat a steak, on good weeks when I'm lucky, two steaks. And I get them from a provider I know well. And that's the same with all meat, same with chicken and so forth. Chickens eat corn. Unless there are chickens that eat weeds and bugs the way chickens are supposed to. So I've learned a lot. That's my diet. I eat a lot of veggies. What did I have last night? Oh, I had a salad with chicken on it, and beets and olives, and tomato and onion. I'm sitting here salivating. It's lunchtime. And that's what I eat, a light dinner and then away I go.
I, Andrea, have fallen off the wagon. I have two beautiful grandkids. We go to their birthday parties, and they call me Coco for reasons I don't know, but my youngest, who's a two year-old would say, "Coco, ice cream." Well, sit on my lap. I'll eat some ice cream with you. The next morning, I'm going to feel punk. I'm going to feel like 95% of Americans when they get up in the morning, bloated, inflamed, feeling horrible. But I know why I'm bloated and inflamed. So when I follow my own diet, or Dr. Ghannoum's diet, isn't he a wonderful guy?
Andrea Wien: He's the best.
Doug Kaufmann: He and I, we have talked so much during the past few years. What an amazing man he is. When I follow these diets that we're talking about, I'm 70 and I'll go work out today hard for 20 minutes. I feel like I'm 35 years old. I take my supplements, I eat carefully and when I fall off the wagon, I know Christmas is coming up. I know darn well there's going to be a piece of pecan pie in there. And when there is, I want it to be on a Friday or a Saturday, so I have Saturday or Sunday to recuperate. Most people don't know that their statin drugs kill fungus. Before they were called stating drugs, they were called antifungal drugs.
Most people don't know that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors depression drugs have a property, that they kill fungus. Most people don't know that their GERD and their reflux pills kill fungus. It's so fascinating. Aspirin kills fungus. It's so fascinating to me. How many people have this? Everyone who's benefiting from pharmaceutical drugs, like I just mentioned, is benefiting or might be benefiting because they kill fungus. A change of diet in a couple of weeks might have them so happy. We are free the second we don't have to rely on someone for more and more, and more medication, and we make food our best friend.
Andrea Wien: Doug, it has been such a pleasure to talk to you. I really appreciate all this work that you've done over these years, and sharing this message. It's so important for everyone to hear. I know you've written a number of books, you have a TV show. How can people find out more about you and learn more about what you do?
Doug Kaufmann: The TV show, man, have we been blessed, Andrea. We're in 200 countries. We're on WGN America here in America, we're on Christian Television Network, we're on FOLKI TV. So we're in hundreds of millions of households. The show is called the same as my website, Know the Cause, K-N-O-W, knowthecause.com. A lot of information.
We have another doctor who's a mycologist, who's an MD, who writes regularly for our website. So ongoing education. If we have whet your appetite, study what Dr. Ghannoum and I are talking about. I think a lot of you will benefit. And it's been my pleasure. Thank you so much, Andrea for enabling me to be on.
Andrea Wien: Thanks, Doug. Have a good day.
Doug Kaufmann: Thank you too.
Andrea Wien: As always, thank you so much for listening. Don't forget to check out Dr. Ghannoum's new book before it drops on December 24th. Head to totalgutbook.com. You'll be able to claim your free bonuses there as well. Until next time, I'm Andrea Wien.
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