Vampire Fungus is Sucking the Life Out of You – Fiction!

Vampire Fungus is Sucking the Life Out of You – Fiction!

Summary of eRumor: 

Up to 70% of Americans have been infected with a “Vampire Fungus” from eating unhealthy foods that causes weight gain, skin problems and indigestion.

The Truth:

There’s no scientific proof that anyone suffers from the so-called “Vampire Fungus.”

The claim surfaced in January of 2015 when a video posted online warned that 70% of Americans suffer from Vampire Fungus. The video doesn’t specify what Vampire Fungus is, or where it comes from. It begins with a narrator who identifies himself as Dr. Robert McIntire, director of health services at Leaf Origin, saying:

Is the Vampire Fungus sucking the life out of you? If you suffer from weight gain, skin problems or indigestion, watch this public service report to see what to do next.

Millions of men and women watching this public service report are affected, and the odds that your belly is infected are incredibly high. Put your hand on your belly right now, right below your chest. Do you feel any excess fat in this area? Is there fat peaking out from beneath your hand? Does your belly spill below your waistline? Do you have problems with indigestion? Have you taken antibiotics in the last five years? Do you regularly eat any sugary foods such as fruit or honey? If you said “yes” to any of the above, your belly is most likely swarming with what some doctors are calling “the Vampire Fungus.” This fungus grows and grows over time and often masquerades as fat because it can swell in your stomach to the size of a basketball.

The warning signs described in the video — weight gain, skin problems, indigestion, use of antibiotics in the last five years — apply to virtually every adult in America. The narrator does not specify what Vampire Fungus is, where it comes from, or how the video can help viewers overcome it.

The video does, however, cite a study carried out by researchers at Rice University that allegedly concluded that the Vampire Fungus affected up to 70% of Americans. An actual Rice University study that was published in 2004 found that up to 70% of Americans had colonies of a yeast-like parasitic fungus called Candida living in their intestines:

Candida is common in humans. It’s estimated that 70 percent of people have Candida colonies in their intestines, mouths or on their skin. In most cases, the organism is commensal, meaning it does not harm people, even though it depends upon them for food. However, colonies of Candida sometimes grow too large, as happens in the case of yeast infections. While not life-threatening, vaginal yeast infections are a common and painful problem for a significant percentage of American women. The oral form of Candida infection, known as thrush, is a common problem for infants.

The researchers at Rice University did not refer to Candida as a “Vampire Fungus,” nor did they describe its effects on the human body in the same way as the eRumor does.

Research dating back to the 1990s indicates that probiotic bacteria — live microorganisms and yeasts — may be an effective way to counter parasitic bacteria like Candida in the intestines. A 1997 study by the National Institutes of Health found:

Four species of probiotic bacteria were assessed for their capacities to protect athymic bg/bg-nu/nu and euthymic bg/bg-nu/+ mice from mucosal and systemic candidiasis. Each bacterial species and Candida albicans colonized the gastrointestinal tracts of both strains of mice. The presence of probiotic bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus casei GG, or Bifidobacterium animalis) in the gastrointestinal tracts prolonged the survival of adult and neonatal bg/bg-nu/nu mice compared to that of isogenic mice colonized with C. albicans alone. The incidence of systemic candidiasis in bg/bg-nu/nu mice was significantly reduced by each of the four probiotic bacterial species.

Leaf Origin, the company listed as the producer of the Vampire Fungus video, happens to sell a daily probiotic supplement that claims to promote digestive immune system health. The supplement cost $157 for a 180-day supply. It would appear that the term “Candida” was changed to “Vampire Fungus” in the video  to scare up sales. has reached out to Leaf Origin for comment on the video. Future updates will be posted here.