Signs & Symptoms Of Cirs
Common signs and symptoms of mold illness or CIRS include:
- Respiratory difficulties
- Neurological symptoms
- Sinus congestion and stuffy nose
- Hair loss
- Brain fog, confusion or memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness
You may have several of these symptomsor just one or two. The amount of symptoms dont matter as much as the unrelenting poor health experienced because of them.
Although these symptoms are also synonymous with other conditions often talked about in functional medicinefrom adrenal fatigue, thyroid disorders to gut dysbiosisthe key distinguisher in mycotoxin illness or CIRS is often times, these are often the patients who do not get better once commencing a protocol.
Buttttt.how do you know if you really have mold illness or CIRSor youre just feeling out of sorts? What tests can you do to reveal true illness
There are a handful
What Are Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds
Another source of irritation from mold exposure comes from substances knownas microbial volatile organic compounds . These compounds are producedthrough fungal metabolism and are released directly into the air, often givingoff strong or unpleasant odors. Exposure to mVOCs from molds can irritate theeyes and respiratory system and has been linked to symptoms such as headaches,dizziness, fatigue, nasal irritation and nausea. The effects of mVOCs are notcompletely understood and research is still in the early stages.
How To Test For Mold Toxicity In Your Home
The toxic condo home that made me sick realistically had a mold issue the entire time I lived there. It just took me getting super sick to realize it.
The culprit? Black mold behind the beautiful concrete walls and permeating mycotoxins throughout the home thanks to the humidity that had built up in the home during its 6 months on the marketno AC turned on.
As previously mentioned, at least 1 in 2 homes has water damage and, consequently, mold accumulation. Our homes are made out of mold food itself . Couple this with countless other homes that sit in 50 to 60% humiditylike Austin, Texas in the heat of summer as well as people who have homes full of mycotoxin infested items and youve got the perfect storm for toxic mold.
Mold is everywhere. And mold is a normal part of life. Toxic mold however is not normal. It is toxic.
Unfortunately, testing the home to find toxic mold, much less the source, is not always easy, especially since often times toxic mold can be hidden inside the walls and flooring, especially in brand new construction homes. This is why both a comprehensive testing approach, combined with attention to the patients mold signs and symptoms is essential to know if mold or other biotoxins are present.
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How To Diagnose Mold Toxicity
Like any disease, you can diagnose mold toxicity from a combination of presenting symptoms, good case history and testing.
If you suspect you may have mold toxicity, then some fundamental questions may give you clues that mold might be a problem.
- Do you live in a moldy house?
- Do you live in a building that has had water intrusion, damp basement, or musty smells?
- Do you get condensation on the windows?
- Does your house have a flat roof?
- Did you develop this illness after a move to a new location or got a new job?
- Do you feel better when youre on vacation?
- Do you smell a musty odour anywhere in your house or place of work?
Testing Your Home For Toxic Mold
Remember too, that mold testing is not mycotoxin testing. While there is some value in testing your home for mold, its important to recall that molds are a natural and necessary part of our environment. While mold may be growing in your home as a result of water damage that should be fixed, these molds are not necessarily creating mycotoxins and also dont necessarily have any adverse health effects.
1. ERMI Test
The illnesses associated with mycotoxin poisoning have become such a well-recognized issue that the Environmental Protection Agency has developed a research tool called the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index . Dust samples are collected in a home and DNA from mold in the dust is analyzed. The sample is then compared to the ERMI, an index or scale.
The analysis can be used to determine the amount of mold in an environment, as well as the types of mold. From there you can tell if the mold thats present is the type that can produce mycotoxins.
You can hire a company to do this, or use one of the many kits. Some of these include professional evaluation of the results and some you compare to a chart. Your best results will come from hiring a professional, however, that is also the more expensive option.
Remember that it is not necessarily the amount of mold that can cause problems, it is the type.
2. Spore Capture Test
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Home Environmental Testing Companies
An indoor environmental professional is an industrial hygienist who inspects a wide range of environmental concerns including bacteria, odors, radon, and mold. They determine the problem in the indoor environment and ways to improve the environment for individuals. So in a way, indoor environmental professionals are like a doctor of your home.
Environmental Analytics is an Arizona-based environmental consulting firm that brings an indoor environmental professional to your home to perform an on-site inspection.
Founder of Environmental Analytics, and sick building expert Michael Schrantz advises that you must be careful of companies who call themselves mold testing companies and dont do a proper job of testing. For example, some companies may only test for mold by taking a direct air sample by walking through your home.
While air sampling is beneficial, youre not going to be able to detect all mold through an air sample. Thats because not all mold is the same some molds are heavier than others. Some are stickier than others. If a mold is heavy, it wont stay airborne for a long amount of time and wont be detected by the air sample.
Schrantz suggests that in addition to air sampling, other mold testing needs to be conducted.
Green Home Solutions is another Arizona-based company that tests and inspects for mold, determines a mold remediation plan, mold containment, and mold treatment.
Remove The Mold From The Body
The next step is to begin the process of removing the mold from your body. One of the main ways you can detox your body from the mold is through the use of bile sequestrants.
How acid sequestrants work
When the body is exposed to toxins, it detoxifies them through the liver and then secretes them into the bile where they go out via the stool. In some people with mold toxicity bile is reabsorbed back into the body. Bile acid sequestrants are compounds that bind to bile acids, stopping reabsorption and allowing them to pass out of the body in the stool.
There are two types of bile acid sequestrants, prescription and natural compounds.
Prescription Bile Sequestrants
The bile prescription sequestrants that have been studied the most are Cholestyramine powder and Welchol.
The recommended dosage for Cholestyramine powder is 4 grams, four times a day, an hour before a meal or supplements or two hours after.
Welchol is taken once or twice a day. Welchol is not as efficient and is more expensive then Cholestyramine powder.
For best results when I recommend combining the prescription binders with clay, charcoal, chlorella, and glucomannan.
Natural Bile Sequestrants and binders
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Persistent Symptoms Of Mycotoxin Poisoning
Let me tell you about Jenny, one of the patients who came to see me in my clinic, Austin UltraHealth. Jenny had polymyositis, an autoimmune disease characterized by the breakdown of muscles. When Jenny came to see me, she had been to 10 different doctors. She was already taking three very strong medications: Cellcept , Prednisone , and Methotrexate . She also reported having recurring SIBO and Candida overgrowth.
I knew Jenny worked as a volleyball coach in a fairly old school building. She had also mentioned she and her husband were renovating their home. These working and living conditions immediately raised a red flag for me.
In fact, whenever I hear someone is struggling with symptoms that wont go away no matter how strict their diet or how healthy their lifestyle, I think about the third pillar of The Myers Way®, Tame the Toxins. Specifically, I suspect one particular toxin: mycotoxins produced by certain types of mold. Mycotoxin poisoning from toxic mold is a root cause that very few doctors even functional medicine practitioners know much about.
Can Mold Harm My Health
Most types of mold do not harm people. In fact, doctors use some varieties to improve health. For instance, penicillin is a useful mold that has saved many peoples lives. However, not all molds are beneficial. In fact, people often develop health issues when they come into contact with harmful species of molds.
If you are in an environment with a large mold presence, you may breathe in mold spores. The antigens in these spores can enter your body and cause a variety of harmful health conditions.
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Mold Toxicity: How To Diagnose And Treat Mold Exposure For Good
Have you ever left a piece of bread out on your kitchen counter for too long?
If so, you probably saw some blue-ish, green, and grey hairy spots begin to grow. Never mind that sandwich for lunch
The culprit: mold.
Mold is a fungus that grows through filaments called hyphae. Different types of mold vary in color, shape, and size. But they all have one thing in common they all need moisture to grow.
Toxic mold can grow indoors and outdoors and can lead to mold-related allergies and illnesses. For some people exposure to mold can lead to a mold illness and could also eventually lead to mold toxicity . Does everyone exposed to mold react the same? The answer is no! Some people are more susceptible to the effects of mold than others. This is why it is possible for only 1 or 2 household members to have health issues secondary to mold when everyone seems fine.
If you suspect youve been exposed to mold, you may have asked yourself questions like
What are common ways you can be exposed to mold?
How can you test your home for mold toxicity?
What should you do if youre experiencing mold toxicity symptoms?
Ill share the functional medicine approach to answering these questions below!
How Mold Testing Works
There are two different kinds of professional-grade tests that experts tend to utilize to look for mold infestations. Both of them involve taking a small sample of material, which is then analyzed in a lab for traces of mold spores or the presence of mycotoxins. Urine test kits, as their name implies, require a small volume of urine from a human . These kits are used to determine if a person has a mold infestation in their body.
Meanwhile, home test kits require a small amount of dust or detritus from a buildings air conditioning or heating unit filters. Its not uncommon for professional environmental inspectors or mold remediators to use both kits in tandem after experiencing water damage, as they provide differentbut equally crucialinformation.
There is a third type of mold testing kit on the market its the kind that folks frequently see in hardware and big-box stores. These kits are designed to detect mold spores in the air, and they usually consist of a petri dish filled with microbial growth medium. The dish is exposed to the air for a set period of time in order to collect samples, and then its sealed and allowed to incubate. The idea is that any mold spores captured by the dish will then grow, allowing them to be seen and studied.
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Other Exposures & Infections
Mold illness or CIRS stems from more than just mold! Dont forget about the following exposures:
- Lyme disease and Co-infections
- Brown Recluse Spider Bite
- Chlamydophilia Pneumoniae
A history of exposure is essential for the diagnosis of CIRS, however it can be difficult to pinpoint at times, especially if a person does not recall being bit by a tick or contracting food poisoning for example. Some markers can also be difficult to diagnose via bloodwork as most labs do not use the gold standard lab test methodologies for work up.
Wu Y, Yan Y, Su Z, Bie Q, Chen X, Barnie PA, Guo Q, Wang S, Xu H. Enhanced circulating ILC2s and MDSCs may contribute to ensure maintenance of Th2 predominant in patients with lung cancer. Mol Med Rep. 2017 Jun 15:4374-4381. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2017.6537. Epub 2017 May 2. PMID: 28487978.
Gabrilovich, D. I., & Nagaraj, S. . Myeloid-derived suppressor cells as regulators of the immune system. Nature reviews. Immunology, 9, 162174.
Liu RM, Gaston Pravia KA. Oxidative stress and glutathione in TGF-beta-mediated fibrogenesis. Free Radic Biol Med. 2010 Jan 1 48:1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2009.09.026. Epub 2009 Oct 2. PMID: 19800967 PMCID: PMC2818240.
Derynck R, Budi EH. Specificity, versatility, and control of TGF- family signaling. Sci Signal. 2019 Feb 26 12:eaav5183. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aav5183. PMID: 30808818 PMCID: PMC6800142.
Testing For And Diagnosing Mold Illness In A Clinical Setting
A helpful technique that practitioners of environmental medicine, such as myself, are taught to do is to draw a timeline of each patients health history. By doing so, we are able to tie together the onset of symptoms with certain environmental exposures or illnesses. This exercise often provides the greatest clue in figuring out what is going on with the patient. However, it is also necessary to look at several objective tests to determine what is going on.
One of the first things with mold that we cannot lose sight of is the fact that testing the environment is just as important as running tests on the patient. A patient cannot be sick from mold if they are not being exposed. To that end, ordering mold plates and doing some simple DIY testing, or calling in a licensed and certified professional mold inspector to come in to look at the mold counts in the home, car, and workplace is extremely important. This information will also be important for getting the patient out of the exposure, so that treatment can work, and they can properly respond and heal.
As for testing of the patient, there are several things that I find very helpful and important, both for diagnosis and for convincing of family members, work place supervisors, and at times, proving in a court of law that a moldy environment was the cause of illness.
What follows are those tests that I find most helpful in looking at the problem:
1. A fungal culture of the nose and sinuses
2. IgG mold antibodies test
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Testing For Mold Toxicity
When investigating mold toxicity, there are two types of testing you should consider, environmental and lab testing.
For environmental testing of your home or workplace, you can do a formal test with a mold inspector. Alternatively, you can do a DIY home test called an EMRI. You can order the EMRI test on Mycometrics.com. This test looks for the DNA of mold in the house dust.
How To Cure And Detox Your Body From Mold Poison Naturally Symptoms Testing And Treatment
Now more than ever indoor mold, even Toxic Mold exposure is easier to treat.
You can do mold remediation on your home and remove environmental toxins.
You can but do not need to call in a mold inspector as there are many online kits you can test for in your mold detox protocol
From my research It has been estimated that up to 25 percent of people have a genetic and immune system predisposition to mold mycotoxins says Dr. Jim Ken Ph.D.
What is also concerning is according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health , maybe as high a 50% of dwellings, commercial building, and offices in America have a history of water damage and could easily contain mold toxins
Black mold is a common occurrence in homes, growing and flourishing in damp, humid conditions. This would not be such a problem but for the fact that black mold can cause a host of symptoms and if left untreated can lead to toxic conditions within your body.
- Follow a Detox protocol
- Follow a Mold detox Diet
We will cover in this article How to Prevent Exposure to Mold, Symptoms of Mold Exposure and provide an in-depth look at mold poisoning, toxicity, detection, prevention, and how to detox your body from the mold
So what is black mold? Where does it appear? What are the health risks or black mold poisoning and how do you get rid of the symptoms and the causes?
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Do I Need To Get Medical Treatment
In many cases, exposure to toxic mold doesnt require medical treatment. If you experience cold-like symptoms after exposure to potentially toxic mold, these symptoms will likely fade on their own with no long-term effects once you remove yourself from the environment with the mold.
Generally speaking, your overall risk of long-term health effects related to mold exposure is fairly low. That said, experts still have more to learn about the possible health effects of mold exposure.
For this reason, its still important to avoid long-term exposure to potentially toxic mold and promptly address signs of mold in spaces you spend time in.
Reaching out to a healthcare professional may be a good option if you:
- have a compromised immune system due to another health condition
- have significant trouble breathing
- live with cystic fibrosis
As for a mold detox? Contrary to some beliefs, theres typically no need to go on a cleanse or detox in order to heal your body after exposure to mold.
Heres why: When functioning optimally, your body constantly detoxes itself and its very efficient at this task.