What you need to know about SIgA levels and candida yeast infections plus leaky gut, how it all connects and how can you get back your health.
Low SIgA Levels
IgA (Immunoglobin A) is also sometimes known as sIgA, the S denoting Secretory.
SIgA is found in the internal mucus of the body, which is produced pretty much everywhere, and can also be found in bodily excretions such as tears and saliva.
When you have less IgA than is necessary to protect the body effectively then you have a deficiency which can leave you open to disease and, when it comes to SIgA, many inflammatory conditions.
Having low SIgA levels is commonly found in patients with Candida, although not always, but what causes a deficiency of such an important protective mechanism?
Drugs and Medications
Some drugs will adversely affect the level of SIgA and leave the patient open to attack from pathogenic organisms. Although this state of low SIgA levels is temporary and levels return to normal once the drug is removed, it can leave people susceptible to problems during the course of the treatment and which persist long after it is finished. In some cases however, patients can be taking such medications for long periods of time which leaves them even more susceptible to infection and disease. Drugs which are known to result in this reaction include: many anti-inflammatories whether non or steriodal, Captopril, Cyclosporine, Hydantoin and Sodium Valproate.
When a patient suffers from many food allergies this results in a high load of antibodies circulating in the blood. In addition to the fact that such antibodies can suppress IgA, it can also indicate, because of some many food sensitivity issues, that the patient is suffering from Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS). If you are a patient who not only has many food sensitivities but also has a decreased level of SIgA, then LGS such be investigated as a possible cause of your problems.
For some people even historical episodes of certain viral infections can result in depleted levels of SIgA. Epstein Barr or Coxsackie virus are just two examples which can cause this problem. If you are someone who has had a virus such as this, which can appear in both adults and children, it is essential that adrenal function is checked to see if cortisol levels need increasing.
The human body needs certain nutrients to ensure that SIgA is maintained at its own optimal level. For example, folate, iron, vitamin C and zinc are all necessary to maintaining SIgA levels. Although today we find that many foodstuffs are fortified with additional minerals and ‘vitamins’ leading us to believe that we are receiving enough, things are sometimes not always that straightforward. For example, products which are named ascorbic acid and folic acid are only the synthetic versions of vitamin C and folate (Vitamin B9) and evidence is emerging that such supplements are not metabolized by the body in the same way as natural vitamins. There is, quite simply, no substitute for nature. Where you can get natural products or alternatives, do so, and eat more healthily whenever you possibly can.
Often I find that patients who have on-going or chronic low grade infections also have low SIgA levels. Such infections may have not been identified through prior testing yet often these same patients will signal that they have such infections by also having a tendency to food intolerances or sensitivities. It is very important, particularly where a cause for low SIgA remains unidentified that patient’s medical history is checked thoroughly for low grade infectious disease.
Raising SIgA Levels
It’s clear that many people with yeast and bacterial overgrowth also suffer from low SIgA levels and subsequently can benefit by raising those levels in the most natural way possible to allow the body to keep immune functioning to optimal levels. There are several ways you can do this, and without breaking the bank or taking aggressive drugs:
Lowering Stress Levels
As ‘old hat’ as this may sound, it is extremely beneficial to the body to lower those stress levels. By doing so you decrease cortisol production and allow the adrenals time to recuperate. High cortisol production has also been proven to decrease SIgA levels so, once again, we see a negative cyclical effect. Take time out – away from work, the computer or the kids – relaxing in a warm bath or simply laying down in a warm room with your feet slightly elevated, will encourage the body to readjust its metabolism and lower that damaging cortisol production!
Colostrum and Cayenne Pepper
As supplements go, both colostrum and cayenne pepper are strongly implicated in increasing SIgA production. Colostrum is the natural way to provide antibodies, and, as most mums know, the first feeds to baby are loaded with colostrum antibodies which boost the fragile immune system of a newborn.
Cayenne pepper is another natural supplement which can be purchased in capsule form and has been shown not to provide antibodies but to strengthen production of them.
Both these products are most certainly worth considering when it comes to boosting those SIgA levels.
Although this is a probiotic it is a yeast form which is also considered to boost SIgA levels. This study here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11021572 found that it boosted SIgA in mice and also reached the conclusion that it could be used for improving bacterial infections of the gut.
High SIgA Levels
Although it may sound quite contradictory, high SLgA levels can be even more problematic than those of low levels. Although this problem is less frequent in Candida patients, what high levels of SIgA usually indicate is that the patient’s body is overreacting in respect of immune response. Often I find that these patients will have a high degree of food sensitivities and intolerances and for these patients what is required is more focus on the dietary aspects of their illness. For those with high SIgA it is better to follow an elimination diet program first while checking where their overgrowth is occurring and devising an appropriate treatment program.
SIgA Levels and Leaky Gut Syndrome
Whether you are a patient with SIgA levels which are too high or too low, one thing is clear, the immune response of the body is dysfunctional. In many cases, as I have discussed previously, this can be caused by leaky gut syndrome (increased intestinal permeability) which in itself can be caused or aggravated by Candida albicans overgrowth. Therefore in most cases it is effective for the patient to be treated, in a natural way, for Candida, in addition to the steps provided above to establish if symptoms improve.