For those not aware of our Mold Symptom Therapy Guide website, let this “Rewriting Mold” series serve as a reminder of both what we offer our patients and what we offer the general public in terms of understanding mold toxicity illness. Over the coming weeks, I will be reviewing and reposting sections of our Mold Symptoms Therapy website one or two at a time. It has been over 3 years since I first wrote this 30 plus page guide and posted it online. A few things have changed since 2020 (yes, an understatement), but the principles emphasized in 2020 continue with minimal change.
As this provides me an opportunity to update any advancements, it also offers the opportunity for you to ask questions and even contribute to edition number 2 of the Mold Guide. By leaving comments and questions, I can identify areas where I can offer even more to patients and the public in terms of education and empowerment over mold. Please take 2-3 minutes to be a part of helping others restore healthier more abundant lives with your questions and feedback. You can leave comments on Facebook or our website not only for this and previous weeks’ sections, but any section of the first edition yet to be re-posted.
This week, Further Defining Mold Related Illness …
Further Defining Mold Related Illness
While mold toxicity will be our primary focus, understanding the other forms of mold illnesses is important. Mold can cause an infection, an allergy, or a toxicity. These are not necessarily exclusive issues. For example, someone might have mold toxicity and mold allergy at the same time. However, most experience one class of effects at a time. The age of a person can also make some difference. The paragraphs below provide only a brief introduction to mold allergies and mold infections, so one should look elsewhere for information if they suspect either of these conditions.
Mold Infection: Understandably, newly diagnosed mold toxic patients have many questions. A common question is, “Am I infected with mold?” Doctors who treat mold debate the answer to this question. While they argue, I take the clinical stand that only a few mold toxic patients have mold living in their sinuses or lungs. In these cases, the mold may be producing the harmful biotoxins that are making them sick from the inside. Toenail or skin fungi may cause local symptoms, but do not produce toxins that could trigger CIRS. However, the vast majority do not have mold growing inside them. The mold toxins are coming from outside their bodies.
In the few patients that we suspect ongoing mold growth, we base our suspicions on a couple of things. First, for patients who have had multiple antibiotics for sinus infection, BUT continue to have sinus congestion, we consider a CT scan to looking for fungal growth in sinuses. These patients may benefit from nasal antifungal therapy over 4-8 months or require ENT surgeon to remove the growth if it is large. Second, some patients who had very high environmental exposures are also sure they have removed move from around them, but still have ongoing toxins in their urine. These patients may have mold growing in sinuses or the GI tract. These patients also need prolonged therapy directed at the fungal location.
Mold Allergy: In contrast to mold infections, mold allergies annoy a much larger percentage of the otherwise healthy population. Many sniffle, sneeze, snot, and wheeze when the mold spore count rises during hot and humid months. This is a true allergy issue that can be measured as a rise in the IgE antibodies or eosinophils in the affected individual. These antibodies against the mold spore proteins trigger histamine release. This histamine release then produces allergic symptoms manifesting wherever that histamine happens to be released (sinuses, lungs, skin, or GI tract). These allergies rarely threaten life but may cause significant annoyance in daily functioning. Mold biotoxins do not play a direct role in this process.
The molds that trigger these allergies usually do not produce toxins. Most often, they are external, but sometimes they grow inside the body. Testing for mold allergies can be performed by skin prick testing at an allergist’s office or through a blood test looking for IgE antibodies. These are treated with mast cell stabilizers, anti-histamines, and avoiding the mold allergens.
Mold Toxicity (our primary focus here): Less recognized by the general medical establishment, mold toxicity results from exposure to aerosolized mold toxins inhaled by genetically susceptible individuals. Some call this mold poisoning, but toxicity is a better term. We all know the stories of the 99-year-old chain smoking couch potato who outlived their tobacco eschewing athlete friend. Likewise, some individuals can remain in a high mold biotoxin environment without any harmful effects. It is not so for the mold toxic patient. Unable to clear mold toxins from their body or having intense responses to the biotoxin, these individuals suffer the previously described multi-symptom, multi-system chronic inflammatory response syndrome. They may never mount an allergic response to mold and mold organisms may never enter their bodies, but they suffer from mold’s presence in their surrounding environment.
Treatment for this mold toxicity will be the focus of other sections of this guide as well as the focus of your Sanctuary protocol if we have given you this guide.
Summary: Again, remember that having one of these mold triggered conditions does not mean you cannot have another one simultaneously. Taking the time to investigate a patient’s full picture is neither easy nor simple, but to get patient all the way to recovery, it takes this level of effort.
TAKE HOME POINTS
3 Mechanisms of Mold’s Effects on Human Health
Infection – Uncommon, Internal Source, and Serious
Allergy – Common, Annoying, and Widely Recognized.
Toxicity – Unrecognized, Insidious, Debilitating, External Source
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.