Itraconazole is an anti-fungal drug commonly used to treat a wide variety of fungal infections in the body. In addition to killing fungus in the body, it has also been shown to have an anti-cancer effect.
Similarities Between Fungus and Cancer
The commonalities between fungi and cancer cannot be ignored. Both thrive on sugar as an energy (ATP) source, both can produce ATP in the absence of oxygen, and both accumulate lactic acid. Research has shown us that fungi, and their secondary byproducts known as mycotoxins, can induce DNA damage and thus cause cancer. Is it really surprising, then, that anti-fungal drugs have been found to have an anti-cancer effect in studies?
Anti-Fungals as Cancer Agents
In a study on males with advanced prostate cancer, itraconazole was found to have modest anti-cancer activity. Studies in other types of cancer have been encouraging as well. It turns out that itraconazole is not the only anti-fungal with activity against cancer. Fluconazole, trade name Diflucan, also has a robust anti-cancer activity and also has the advantage of being given intravenously.
Gut Health with Anti-Fungals
Because it is an anti-fungal drug, we must be intentional about protecting gut health. Antifungal agents can inadvertently kill the good bacteria in the digestive tract, so a focus on providing beneficial gut bacteria through diet and supplementation is imperative.
Finally, we must address sources of fungus in our lives. Although edible mushrooms are fungi, and limiting or avoiding them altogether is recommended, we are also incidentally exposed to mycotoxins through other foods in our diets as well as elsewhere in our environment.