Proposed herein is a mechanism for virulence by Candida albicans based upon this organism's ability to produce high levels of pyruvate, potentially resulting in localized tissue ketosis and undermining the normal defensive function of neutrophil myeloperoxidase. Neutrophils, a key component of our innate defense against microbial infections, seem to play a particularly important role protecting us against fungal agents such as C. albicans. In this regard, it is myeloperoxidase which is central to many of the antimicrobial properties of neutrophils. We have previously shown that metabolic ketones inactivate myeloperoxidase and impair phagocytosis. Thus, production of pyruvate by C. albicans may indeed be a significant virulence factor.