Impact Of Toxic Mold Illness
A tiny water leak can be life-changing for some people, if they develop mold illness. About a quarter of us have a genetic sensitivity to mold, so living with toxic mold can be particularly dangerous for those with HLA genes that prevent their bodies from recognizing and eliminating these biotoxins.
Moldy homes or workplaces arent good for any of us, though. Exposure to toxic mold and mold spores can lead to significant health symptoms that can be hard to resolve, as mold illness isnt often considered by mainstream healthcare.
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.
How To Test And Address Mold Toxicity And Mold Illness
If you have multiple chronic symptoms, you may have wondered if mold toxicity an illness caused by mold and mold toxins is the cause. Chronic fatigue symptoms, autoimmunity, and allergic symptoms are often attributed to mold or water damaged buildings. But is mold toxicity really to blame?
Toxic mold can definitely cause a wide range of symptoms, but medical researchers dont agree about its role in complex illness.
In this article, well explore what mold toxicity is and what kinds of health issues it can cause. Well discuss whether mold toxicity is real, and well talk about what to do if you suspect you have mold illness, including testing and mold illness treatment.
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Start With Diet Lifestyle And Gut Health
Sometimes, symptoms that are associated with mold illness might actually be caused by poor gut health or inflammation. Making changes to diet and lifestyle can resolve some or all symptoms, potentially eliminating the need for mycotoxin testing.
Its also easier to test for and treat mold toxicity if results are not confounded by gut health symptoms. Some important factors to consider are:
- Diet: Anti-inflammatory and gut-healing diets that focus on whole foods have been shown to improve symptoms like fatigue and brain fog [11, 12, 13
- Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].
Another reason to start with your diet and lifestyle is that these factors might actually influence your mycotoxin test results. Many mycotoxin tests work by measuring the toxins that your body is eliminating. However, if diet and lifestyle components are not in place, your body may be less capable of excreting toxins.
This can mean not only worse health and symptoms but also that testing may not reflect your bodys true ability to rid itself of mycotoxins.
How To Test For Black Mold
Do you keep getting a whiff of something musty in your bathroom or basement? Afraid it might be mold? Learn about three of the most popular kits to test for mold at home.
Its no secret that damp areas of the home provide the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow. Whether your nose knows, or your eyes spy dark spots in strategic locations, you want to make sure.
Mold doesnt just eat away at your wood, wallpaper, or grout. Its spores get airborne and cause all kinds of health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says enough evidence exists to link mold to upper respiratory tract symptoms like itchy eyes and runny nose to cough and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.
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How Do You Test For Mold In Your Home
Do a home mold test or arrange to have an environmental hygienist or mold specialist take samples from an HVAC system, contents or patch of visible mold growth. Lab analysis can determine which species of mold are growing and the severity of an infestation. Professional tests may take place before and after remediation.
Visual Contrast Sensitivity Testing
How it works: Visual Contrast Sensitivity testing aims to measure a component of neurological function that may be affected by exposure to mycotoxins and other biotoxins. This method looks at your ability to see details in varying contrasts of black, white, and grey on a computer screen.
Pros: VCS testing is inexpensive, fast, and simple. It can also be easily repeated throughout treatment. One study found that VCS scores were lower among employees of a school that had been exposed to water damage than employees at an unaffected school .
Cons: VCS testing is limited in the sense that it cant tell you how much mold youve been exposed to, how much you are excreting, or how exposure may be affecting other areas beyond neurological function.
Who its best for: VCS testing may be best for those who suspect or know theyve been exposed to mold or mycotoxins, have neurological symptoms, and are on a budget.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Mold Allergy
To diagnose an allergy to mold or fungi, the doctor will take a complete medical history. If they suspect a mold allergy, the doctor often will do skin tests or allergen specific IgE blood tests. Extracts of different types of fungi may be used to scratch or prick the skin. If there is no reaction, then you probably dont have an allergy. The doctor uses the patient’s medical history, the skin testing results and the physical exam to diagnose a mold allergy.
Popular Home Mold Tests
Many home or do-it-yourself mold test kits are available to consumers. The design, function and results of each test vary. Viable mold tests are the most popular type of DIY assessments. These tests identify whether high levels of fungus spores are present in air or on surfaces. Any of the following types of samples can be submitted for lab testing:
- Air sampling pump and cassettes
- Bulk samples
- Petri dishes or screening plates
An air sampling pump draws in and captures air samples in cassettes that can then be sent in for analysis at a lab approved by the American Industrial Hygiene Association. Kits containing petri dishes or settling plates are intended for taking surface samples but may be prone to cross-contamination. Home mold tests based on bulk samples allow property owners to submit material samples such as pieces of drywall or insulation for testing.
There are no home mold tests that indicate personal exposure. Medical lab analysis is necessary to determine whether an individuals blood or urine shows indications of exposure to harmful spores, mVOCs or mycotoxins. The home testing methods covered above cannot indicate anything beyond the relative risk level of certain species of mold identified as being present at elevated levels in a structure.
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Mold Toxicity And Lyme Disease
Mold illness causes many of the same symptoms as Lyme disease. Both trigger systemic inflammation and immune dysregulation leading to symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, headaches, joint pain, and anxiety.
When tick-borne infections and mold toxicity occur together, the mold illness must be addressed before the tick-borne infection can be treated successfully. Mycotoxins suppress the immune system making it difficult to effectively treat Lyme disease and co-infections.
Toxic Mold Exposure: 9 Misconceptions Corrected By An Expert
Toxic mold exposure could be the cause of your chronic condition or mysterious symptoms. In fact, illness from toxic mold and other environmental inflammagens is one of the most common conditions I see in my clinic.
As a Shoemaker certified physician, Ive guided countless patients to recovery through proper diagnosis, treatment, and support. Ive witnessed the joyful restoration of optimum health, wellbeing, energy, vitality, and clarity as chronic symptoms are reversed.
Ive also seen what happens when toxic mold exposure is not recognized. My best friend suffered for nearly two years before finding a physician who could tell her what was wrong and help her heal. Her difficult journey led me to the Shoemaker Protocol and my certification as a mold and biotoxin expert. Now Im here to help others through the complexity of this illness so they can heal and reclaim their joy in living.
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Liver Testing & Symptom Checklist
In addition to your gut, your liveryour bodys chemical processing factory and recycling systemalso plays an important role in guarding against mycotoxin and mold illness. Consider your liver your defense for mycotoxin and mold exposure. A sluggish or overworked liver can equally wreak havoc on your health and make you susceptible to mycotoxin illness.
The best way to assess for liver dysfunction is a combination of blood markers and symptoms. Common liver malfunction indicators include:
- Alkaline Phosphatase: High
Cortisol Hormone Testing
Your CNS is your stress response system. When functioning properly, your body is able to overcome stress. If malfunctioning, chronic illness and uncontrolled inflammation happens. Swelling of the brain and stress response system can lead to changes in nerve endings and interfere with the electrical signaling to all functions of the body. Enter: The unrelenting CIRS symptoms that persist for those who suffer from mycotoxin illness.
Cortisol hormone testing can give you a clearer picture of where your stress hormones are at, along with neurotransmitter function that play a role in controlling inflammation and stress in the body as wellsuch as dopamine and serotonin.
Note: NOT all hormone testing is created equal. While bloodwork is great for assessing sex hormones , it is not great at cortisol testing.
- DUTCH Cortisol Hormone Testing
Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test
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.
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Mold Exposure Only Triggers A Simple Allergic Reaction
You might be askingHow much mold exposure is harmful? If youre allergic to mold, you could see symptoms similar to hay fever or seasonal allergies immediately. But an allergy to mold is not the same condition as toxic mold illness or CIRS. If you tested negative for mold allergies and were told theres no way mold is negatively impacting your health, youve been misinformed.
If you have a mold allergy and breathe in mold spores, your eyes may itch, your nose water, your throat swell. You may even have trouble breathing. But remove yourself from the area or wait for the rainy season to pass, and your symptoms will clear up until youre exposed again.
While allergies are caused by an overly-sensitive immune system, they signal a properly-functioning response. Your body is doing its job. Most mold allergies are troublesome and can make you feel terrible, but they are usually not serious or life-threatening. Biotoxin illness is not an allergic reaction. Its whole-body inflammation caused by an immune system that is confused and repeatedly overreacting.
Diagnosis Of Mold Illness
Illness resulting from mold exposure is known as chronic inflammatory response syndrome, or CIRS. Arguably the most knowledgeable expert on CIRS is Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, who has worked hard to get information out about this condition.
Other than patient history, there are several ways to test the patient for mold illness. Genetic testing can reveal susceptibility, urine testing can be done for mycotoxins, or an inexpensive online Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test can give about 92% accurate prediction of biotoxin exposure if it is failed. Testing levels of the master hormone Melanocyte-stimulating hormone can be helpful too.
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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
Exposure Testing For Affected Individuals
Medical lab tests such as a mold profile may indicate whether individuals have been exposed to mold. This testing may involve taking a blood or urine sample for analysis. The leading test uses advanced mass spectrometry to screen for 11 mycotoxins generated by 40 species of mold, including the following common genera:
Species within these groups may be toxic or merely allergenic. Urine testing for mold is one of the most popular ways to test for mold exposure, as elevated levels of uric acid and other organic acids may indicate exposure to mycotoxins. These tests should be performed in a sterile lab testing facility and the results analyzed by a trusted medical lab.
Blood testing is the other most common type of exposure testing done for mold. The concentration of mold-specific immunoglobulin E antibodies in an individuals bloodstream may indicate whether the bodys system is responding to biotoxins. Blood-based exposure testing should also take place in the context of medical treatment, and DIY or home testing is not recommended.
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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.
Is There A Special Diet For Mold Illness
Generally speaking, I find that adding a restrictive diet on top of all the other steps in the treatment can make people feel very overwhelmed.I think a good place to start for most people is to eliminate sugars and focus on organic whole foods based healthy eating.However, some people with gut issues, food sensitivities or other concerns may need a more specific diet.
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Mold Symptoms Mold Symptoms Can Range From Moderate To Severe Both The Us Centers For Disease Control And The Us Environmental Protection Agency Have Classified Mold Toxins As Cancer Causing The Health Effects Can Vary Greatly Depending On 4 Risk Factors Below Is A Brief Description Of Each One
Mold Spore Levels
Concentrated amounts of mold spores can amplify mold symptoms. When preforming air quality testing, elevated mold spore counts are defined as the indoor levels of mold spores being at higher levels than naturally occurring outdoors. Often the higher an environments mold spore count, the more severe mold symptoms can become.
Time of Mold Exposure
Prolonged mold exposure can lead to a host of mold symptoms including mycotoxicosis. Mold fine and ultra-fine particulates build up in the human body over time. Often the longer you are in a mold contaminated environment the higher your risk factors become for more severe health effects.
Mold toxins have been connected to some of the most harmful mold symptoms. Mold will produce toxins at different points of its life cycle. A dangerous toxin that comes from mold are mycotoxins. Mycotoxins will attach to fine and ultra-fine mold spore particulates making them extremely difficult to remove from the human body. Mycotoxins have been classified as a carcinogen by the CDC and EPA.
Mold can affect everyones immune system in drastically different ways. Your immune system will dictate mold symptoms such as allergic reactions and invasive fungal infections. It is not uncommon for one member of the household to have more adverse mold symptoms than another. If left untreated mold exposure can lead to a lowered or compromised immune system.