Mold And Mycotoxin Testing Options
There are many different kinds of tests available, and they each have their own benefits and challenges.
Some tests look at levels of mold exposure or the burden of mycotoxins on the body, while others analyze how the immune system is reacting to mold and mycotoxins.
Research on all mold and mycotoxin testing is limited, and there is no perfect test . There are currently no FDA-approved laboratory tests for mycotoxins.
Keep in mind that two people may have similar levels of exposure to toxins but very different capacities to detoxify from them.
When selecting a test, ideally with the help of a practitioner, consider your main question. Is it Have I been exposed to mold? or is it How is my body handling a known mold exposure?
When To See A Doctor For Mold Exposure
In the last few years, education and awareness on the impact of toxic mold on human health have increased. Mold spores tend to build up in an environment long before any visible signs of an infestation are clear, leading to long-term exposure to this harmful toxin. Mold exposure can be hard to diagnose since toxicity symptoms mimic several other health conditions. However, in severe situations, exposure to mold warrants a visit to a medical professional. This guide can help you narrow down your exposure, possible signs of illness, and how a doctor can help.
Proper Testing For Mold Illness
Physicians that specialize in mold illness have narrowed in on tests that are most effective in determining if mold is an underlying cause of someones symptoms. Before considering laboratory tests, there is often a clinical suspicion someone may be suffering from symptoms of mold exposure.
When someone is experiencing any of the above symptoms and no other diagnosis has been made that explains these symptoms mold illness should be considered. There is also the circumstance when someone has another diagnosis such as Lyme disease, but treatments have not been effective in resolving symptoms.
There is no one perfect test to diagnose mold toxicity. I use the two testing methods below to determine if mold and mycotoxins are undermining someones health.
Urine Mycotoxin Test
A urine mycotoxin test indicates whether or not a person is excreting mycotoxins from mold exposure. However, our bodies should excrete mycotoxins after exposure to mold and this does not necessarily mean someone has mold illness. The degree of elevation of mycotoxins in the urine suggests the severity of mold toxicity.
Great Plains Laboratory and Real Time Laboratory are the labs most commonly used by physicians treating mold toxicity. The two labs use different testing methodologies and test for different mycotoxins, so it is hard to compare results between the labs.
Preparation for urine mycotoxin testing
Mycotoxin Antibody Test
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Mold Illness Is Not Just Caused By Mold
Yes, I know this doesnt make sense. Of course mold illness is caused by mold. Thats why its called mold illness! However, the biotoxins that can lead to this condition arent limited to those produced by mold. They can also include:
- Microbial volatile organic compounds
In addition, certain bacteria can also secrete biotoxin-like compounds that can have adverse health effects.
For those who are susceptible, CIRS could develop from exposure to any one of these biotoxins.
Treatment For Mold Exposure:
The best treatment is to avoid places that trigger your allergic reactions. To put you at ease, your doctor may suggest the following:
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Symptoms Of Mold Sickness
Regular exposure can cause allergy symptoms, such as:
- Wheezing/shortness of breath
- Chronic/frequent sinusitis
It can also cause a chronic illness known as Mixed Mold Toxicosis.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and have not been able to find relief for your symptoms, you may be suffering from an allergy or mold illness.
How To Find A Doctor Who Specializes In Mold Illness
Helping as many sufferers of mold exposure as possible has become a burden due to the need for proper cure. However, a list of medical professionals who specialize in mold illness and offer treatment options have been compiled below.
The mold doctors that are listed here use a wide array of treatment modalities and some of them may not be best for all cases.
The information contained here is provided only to provide you with a starting point. This is with regard to doing your own due diligence in terms of knowing about and interviewing practitioners that might be appropriate for your situation. Kindly note that the listing of medical practitioners on this page does not suggest an endorsement or recommendation.
Mold doctors with an asterisk next to their name are known to adhere to the Shoemaker protocol. Mold doctors whose names are in bold are trusted and recommended by the late Dr. Thrasher. He was the most knowledgeable and trusted toxicologist that ever lived.
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How Do Doctors Test For Mold Exposure
If you have molds in your home and youre not paying any heed to your surroundings, you are putting your health in jeopardy. Molds are fungal species known to create havoc in your life. It is the moisture to be blamed for insidious mold growth in your homes. Having molds in homes and buildings is a pressing problem that should not be overlooked.
Wherever there is high humidity, these spores grow abundantly. Not only humidity feeds molds but also the puddles and the damp materials in your homes give these molds a safe and favorable place to live. Therefore, living in a water-damaged home or building can lead to serious health issues. This allows the tiny bubble of fear to expand in the heads of landowners and business owners.
If you have a hunch that molds are thriving at your place, take it seriously. The best way to get to these molds is by noticing water stains on walls, discoloration of paint, surface deterioration, flaky wallpaper, musty odor, etc.
Before we let you know how doctors test for mold exposure, it is of supreme importance to first get you acquainted with the mold-centered health problems for which youll turn to your doctor.
Molds are capable of producing many substances that can be detrimental. Allergens, irritants, and biotoxins are a threat to human health.
Start A Neural Retraining Program
Certain areas of the body are more vulnerable to mycotoxins, and the brain is one of them. Certain areas of the brain can end up in a chronic fight or flight response and according to McElroy, No pill can fully stop this response, so we have to retrain certain neural pathways to put the response into a heal and rest state. She often recommends Annie Hoppers Dynamic Neural Retraining System. This is essential for full recovery, says McElroy.
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When To See Your Doctor For Mold Exposure
If your cold or flu-like symptoms persist, it may be time for a trip to the doctor. Even if you arent aware that mold could be causing your issues, a doctor may be able to make the correlations between your symptoms and CIRS. There are a number of more serious side effects of mold exposure that the doctor may ask if youve experienced. These include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Asthma or chronic respiratory conditions
- Joint pains, cramping, or muscle aches
Though your primary care physician is the place to start for an initial examination and consult for your symptoms, you may be referred to an allergist. There are tests that can be done to test for mold allergies, and these are usually done at an allergists office or allergy clinic.
Those whose immune system has become severely compromised and who have developed serious respiratory conditions may be referred to a pulmonologist. These doctors address problems with the lungs and the respiratory system.
I Tested Positive For Mycotoxins Now What
Finding out that theres mold in your home or body can definitely be scaryand embarrassing, too. Fortunately, once you know that youre dealing with toxic mold exposure, you can take action:
If theres mycotoxins in your homeYoull need to consult with a professional mold remediation firm about eliminating the problem. Sometimes, when a mold issue is as simple as a small patch of gunk on a shower wall or a basement carpet that smells like dirt, its possible to clean the mess up on your own. However, large infestationsor infestations of highly dangerous molds, like Stachybotrys chartarum should only be handled by experts.
If theres mycotoxins in your bodyYou should see a physician right away. Explain your symptoms and bring a copy of your test results. Your doctor may want to give you another test to verify that yes, mycotoxins really are the source of your health issues.
Once you receive an official diagnosis, the doctor will be able to come up with an appropriate treatment plan. Meanwhile, it would be wise to have your home inspected for mold, as well, to stop the toxins at their source.
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Air Oasis Air Sanitizers
Air Oasis air sanitizers work differently than HEPA filters. They use a technology developed by NASA called advanced hydration photocatalytic oxidation to destroy mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms with ultraviolet light and a catalyst. We have a few of the Air Angel units in smaller rooms, as well as an AO3000 in the main living area. Important note: I currently recommend running the AO units only when you are not in the rooms, and turning them off when you enter. This is due to the small amounts of ozone that they release. Though these levels are well below the recommended limit according to AOs website, I prefer to be cautious. I also recommend using a HEPA/charcoal filter along with the AO devices, rather than using them on their own.
Identifying Mold In Your Home
- Appearance or dark spots or clusters. Look for spots or clustered growths, especially in warm, moist rooms.
- Musty smell. You may be able to identify mold by a musty smell.
- Allergies or asthma. If you experience asthma attacks or allergy symptoms in your home, that may also indicate theres mold.
- Potential causes. Look for causes of mold growth, like a leak, water damage, lack of ventilation, or old food, papers, or wood.
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Clearing The Way For Fertility
After several months on the road, Jenn returned home and we were able to implement weekly infrared sauna sessions to further support her bodys detoxification. We are still working to support her bodys ability to eliminate the mycotoxins and Jenn is feeling better every day. Her dedication, consistency, and most importantly, her optimism is allowing her body to truly heal for the first time in years. She is still looking forward to getting pregnant in the future and is confident she will have a healthy pregnancy, and most importantly, a healthy baby, thanks to our ability to get to the root of her symptoms.
Common Signs Of Toxic Mold Poisoning
Symptoms and signs of mycotoxins poisoning are very different depending on many factors. How this poisoning presents itself depends on:
- Type of mycotoxin
- Genetic structure
- And others
This means there can be a major difference in symptoms between individuals in the population exposed to it. To some extent it is clear that mycotoxicosis can increase susceptibility to infections, worsen the effect of other toxins present and advance other health conditions.
Although acute poisoning is more obvious and sometimes has grave effects, chronic exposure is much more present in the population in general. Finally, mycotoxin exposure can cause changes in immune, nervous system, behavior, mood and even development problems like stunting.
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Is All Mold Toxic
Mold is not the only pathogen that grows from water damage. Fungal fragments, spores, mycotoxins, bacteria, mycobacteria, actinomycetes, VOCs, and other biotoxins can also form in damp buildings. These pathogens combine to produce a toxic soup that can lead to a multi-systemic and multi-symptomatic illness.
Not all mold is toxic, but many mold species from water-damaged buildings produce mycotoxins. It is the indoor concentration of mycotoxins and the rest of the toxic soup that can contribute to chronic debilitating symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Mold Inhalation
Walking into a room where the mold spore count is high could have a significant effect on your response system. For those who have an allergic reaction to mold spores, the response is more immediate. These individuals may experience watery or itchy eyes, a runny nose, redness around the eyes, shortness of breath, or wheezing. Persistent exposure can create a nagging cough, asthma, or frequent sinusitis. As these symptoms sound much like the common cold or seasonal allergies, it can often be hard to narrow down the culprit as mold exposure.
As symptoms and severity are different for every person, it is difficult to say how long the symptoms will persist. Generally, the length of exposure, the type of mold that an individual has been exposed to, and the bodys natural health and detox process impact how long a person may struggle with a mold illness. Natural detoxing can see symptoms subside in a few days, particularly if the source of mold is eliminated or the individual leaves the environment where the mold is present.
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How Does Mold Enter Your Body
There are several ways in which mycotoxins can enter your body:
- Breathing When inhaling, spores, and mycotoxins come in contact with our respiratory system.
- Eating Ingestion is another common way of pathogens entering our body, especially if the food has been sitting on your counter for some time.
- Skin contact Mycotoxins can enter our bodies even through dermal absorption, especially if there are cuts and wounds on the surface.
Mycotoxins mostly enter our body when inhaling, and the mucous membrane in our nose is there to stop it. However, when the air concentration of these molecules is high, like in mold-infested rooms or a wet sauna, they can get past our mucus membrane and invade our upper respiratory tract and lungs, causing infections and irritations. And once mycotoxins come in contact with your blood, they can travel anywhere. They have been detected in many tissues and organs, urine, cancerous breast tissue, breast milk, spinal fluid, lymph nodes, kidneys, and it looks like the sinuses are the primary mold harboring places. Molds can also be found in brain tissue, and the effects are infections of the central nervous system.
Why Some People Are Susceptible
As mentioned by Dr. Shoemaker, approximately 24 percent of the population is genetically vulnerable to mold toxicity they have a certain immune response gene . If youre one of those people with mold susceptibility genes, you are far more likely to have an adverse reaction to mold when exposed to a sufficient quantity. In fact, 95 percent of mold illness occurs in this subgroup. Additionally, theres 2 percent who are particularly susceptible with a sicker quicker variation of the genes. If you arent susceptible, your chances are lower but not zero.
People like me who are genetically mold susceptible arent able to recognize specific toxins as toxins, such as mold, and the toxins get recirculated in their bodies. As a result, the toxins, in this case mold, trigger a persistent inflammatory response. Most of these folks dont know that they have a genetic susceptibility.
Mold illness from water-damaged buildings is a serious health problem.4Dennis, D. P. Chronic sinusitis: Defective T-cells responding to superantigens, treated by reduction of fungi in the nose and Continue reading Its not an allergy its a state of chronic inflammation caused by the immune system becoming out of whack. The CIRS doesnt heal on its own, will not abate, and will continue to provoke illness unless its treated. Their illness is built into their DNA and once triggered, the inflammatory response and resulting symptoms can last for years.
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How Do These Chemicals Harm My Health
Entering the Body
The harm begins when a person is exposed to an environment that contains a large amount of mold. During this time, damaging enzymes in the mold may enter a persons lungs. After going into the lungs, the enzymes may bypass the persons gut barrier and go into their bloodstream.
Harming the Neurons
Once they are in the bloodstream, these harmful mold antigens may change the persons blood-brain barrier function. This alteration allows the antigens to go into the nervous system. From there, the antigens may harm the persons neurons and interrupt their production of needed antibodies.
The Negative Effects
The disruption of the persons immune system can cause a variety of negative health issues. People may suffer from immune suppression, eczema, allergies, and sinusitis. They may also experience headaches, hyperthyroidism, vomiting, and other negative effects. Mold exposure can also cause people to suffer from myalgic encephalitis, rheumatic disorders, and painful lymph nodes.
Myths About Black Mold
Its important to address myths some people may have about black mold. One common rumor is that black mold releases toxic compounds called mycotoxins that cause health issues, like memory loss, headaches, and infant pulmonary hemorrhage.
But according to a review from 2017, theres no evidence that exposure to black mold causes particular health conditions.
Furthermore, while a variety of molds produce mycotoxins, these compounds are primarily dangerous for humans only when eaten in significant quantities.
A 2019 review of research into this topic states theres currently no evidence that mycotoxins in the air cause disease.
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