Treating Mold & Mycotoxin Illness
One of the challenges of Pennsylvania’s climate is the wet and humid spring and summer seasons. During this time, black mold can quickly grow in your home or your office’s air ducts. We have seen people with mold and mycotoxin illness who did not know their home hosted mold or black mold that was causing their chronic health issues.
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Symptoms Of Mold & Mycotoxin Illness
Some symptoms of toxic mold syndrome are respiratory issues as well as muscle and body aches. You can also experience emotional distress as well as cognitive impairment. The cause for many people with unexplained chronic and complex health problems like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, autoimmunity, etc. is mycotoxins.
Many patients ask us if mold can cause back pack pain or muscle pain. A large number of body aches can be caused by mycotoxin illness from mold in your home or workplace. The long term impact of mycotoxins is an immune deficiency as well as potentially developing cancer.
Diagnosing Mycotoxin’s Chronic & Complex Symptoms
While these symptoms may indicate Mycotoxin illness caused by mold, these symptoms can point to various chronic health issues. A blood test at PEAK Integrative Medicine will help us determine if you have mycotoxin disease. If a person’s symptoms and clues from their blood testing, past health and medical history, and past and/or current exposure suggests mold may be the culprit, we recommend testing to know for sure.
Understanding mold and mycotoxins protocol will help you in reaching PEAK wellness. At PEAK we have a wide range of experience in house and a large amount of this information is a summary of the teachings and recommendations of Andrew W. Campbell, M.D. He is the top mold expert in the world and has successfully treated thousands of cases over his long career.
What is Mold & What Is Its Connection To Mycotoxin Illness?
Molds grow on wet surfaces and sporulate. They produce spores of different colors. Molds can grow on dry walls, attics, insulation, basements, underside of carpeting, ventilation ducts, and crawl spaces, and many other places.
Food rarely causes mold related illness, especially in developed countries. Low levels of mycotoxins are found in many foods, but the parts are per billion and not enough to make us ill. For that reason, they are routinely present in the urine of healthy people. If you have mycotoxins in urine, it is a good thing: the body is doing its job of getting rid of tiny amounts of mycotoxins from foods and beverages.
What are Mycotoxins?
Molds produce toxins known as mycotoxins. Molds are ALWAYS present in homes or other places that are water damaged and they are ALWAYS producing mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are odorless, invisible, and tasteless. Mycotoxins can cause a variety of adverse health effects and pose a serious health threat to humans. The adverse health effects of mycotoxins range from acute toxicity to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer. Mycotoxins are very strong and powerful and destructive to our organs and systems. They can suppress the immune system. The alteration of immune responses due to chronic mycotoxin exposure may also adversely affect the ability of the immune system to fight infections and other environmental challenges. This may explain why patients complain of increased susceptibility to infections and increased responses to chemical irritants.
Mycotoxins are not easy to get rid of. It takes heat at 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius) for half an hour or fire at 900 degrees Fahrenheit (482 degrees Celsius) for 10 minutes to destroy trichothecene mycotoxins. Ozone is supposed to get rid of all or most mycotoxins, but the level of ozone needed is toxic to humans. HEPA filters do not remove mycotoxins from the air, though activated carbon filters can help. This is due to the size of mycotoxins: 0.1 microns.
*A mold that produces mycotoxins usually produces a series of mycotoxins rather than just 1 mycotoxin. 1 mold = many mycotoxins*
It. Is. Everywhere.
Mold is ubiquitous, especially in areas where most houses have basements and have had water damage over their history (many were built over 100 years ago). Everyone has been exposed to mold and mycotoxins, yet not everyone gets sick. This is due to genetic differences, a person’s current health status, and their diet and lifestyle. This is why it is important to do the right testing, which is testing for antibodies in the blood and not merely just testing for mold spores in a building or home, or even testing urine for the presence of mycotoxins. People can be exposed to small amounts of mold, excrete it readily into the urine, and be perfectly healthy. Others will be exposed to small amounts or have it inside their body, will not excrete much into the urine (allowing it to build up), and will be severely ill.
Testing For Mycotoxin Illness With Antibodies IgG and IgE
After the body is exposed to a pathogen (bacteria, virus, fungi, parasites), the immune system will make antibodies to these and once the infection is over, it will remain in “memory” as an IgG antibody. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is the predominant immunoglobulin present in human serum. IgG is the only immunoglobulin that can cross the placenta in humans, and it is largely responsible for protection of the newborn during the first months of life. Because of its relative abundance and excellent specificity toward antigens, IgG is the principal antibody used in clinical diagnostics.
The immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to mycotoxins are often associated with allergies. IgE antibodies to mycotoxins cause mast cells to release histamine, heparin and other compounds called cytokines. These cytokines cause inflammation and can trigger what is known as mast cell activation. Mast cells are located near blood vessels, nerves, and the lymphatic system
In order to definitively diagnose mycotoxins as a cause for a person’s health issue, a blood test that looks for IgG and IgE antibodies for 12 different mycotoxins must be done. The decision to order this test is based on signs and symptoms, as well as history of past and/or present exposure at home or at work. If the test is positive, we know with certainty that 1) The person has been and/or is currently exposed to mycotoxins and 2) It is having an effect on the immune system (and likely other systems of the body).
On a side note, many people will have a moderate to severe antibody reaction shown on testing, yet they are certain they haven’t been exposed (at least in the recent past). In these people, it is likely that they have mold in their bodies (in the lungs, sinuses, and/or digestive tract).
For more information and frequently asked questions on mycotoxin testing, CLICK HERE.
Impact Of Untreated Mycotoxin
If left untreated, mycotoxin illness over extended periods of time can have a serious impact on your body. What happens when mycotoxins are in your body for weeks and even months is you are essentially poisoning yourself continually. This will result in long-term effects like cancer developing or a compromised immune system.
Mycotoxin Illness In Pennsylvania
We are located in Orwigsburg, PA and we know how humid and wet Pennsylvania summers can be. With this humidity comes mold. Whether it is surface mold you can see in your bathroom, or it is mold in your ductwork or attic, it will affect the air quality of your business or home. This air quality will have micro toxins that will result in mycotoxin illness. Mold management for your home is just as important as health management for your body. We want to guide you to PEAK wellness.
2 Key Steps For Treating Mycotoxin Illness
Once a positive test has been found, it is important to follow through with a comprehensive treatment protocol. This should include ALL of the following.
1. Get Away From The Mold & Toxin
Remediate the mold found in the home or workplace. Move to a different home. Throw away anything that may be contaminated. Yes, this is SUPER DISRUPTIVE. However, if your health is significantly impacted, this MUST be done in order to feel better. Otherwise, you can only expect about a 10-20% improvement.
2. Build Up Your Immune System To Kill The Fungi
There are a variety of proactive steps you can take to build up and strengthen your immune system to fight against the fungi and airborne toxins. These are key ways you can build your immune system:
- Improve Diet To Improve Your Immune System:
- Go gluten free and dairy free, eliminate processed food as much as possible.
- Remove substances that cause the immune system to react, especially chemicals or foreign substances in foods and beverages. Artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, artificial sweeteners, chemical preservatives, should be eliminated from the diet. Organic foods are best. Preferable cooking methods are boiling, or oven cooked meals. Eliminate as much as possible coated pans and cooking utensils. Plastic bottles and canned foods should not be used: they contain bisphenols, etc. Liquids should be limited to water as much as practical, and do not drink tap water. Drink water from glass bottles or glass containers.
- Antifungal Medication To Stop Mycotoxin Illness:
- A medication is prescribed and taken twice a day to help the body kill off any mold in the body
- This may be needed for up to 6 months
- Nutritional Supplements are used to help:
- Support the immune system
- Help heal cell damage
- Reduce inflammation
- Provide anti-oxidant support
- Promote detoxification
- Increase Nitric Oxide
- Improve gut health
Monitoring Health After Suffering From Toxic Mold
Liver function testing prior to starting treatment and every month during treatment should be done to monitor liver toxicity due to the mold die-off reactions and/or the medication.
A patient questionnaire should be completed prior to starting treatment and periodically throughout to monitor progress.
Contact PEAK To Treat You For Mycotoxin Illness
Toxic mold syndrome should not be taken lightly. Contact us at PEAK Integrative Medicine so we can determine the cause of your symptoms and, if it is determined to be a mycotoxin illness, finding the source.