Mold exists everywhere, both inside and out of our homes.
Hidden water damage inside a home or work environment creates a climate that invites mold growth. However, there are certain molds that exist in water damaged buildings only and are unsafe to be exposed to. Mold creates mycotoxin production-also called volatile organic compounds – which can cause significant illness for susceptible individuals. A small percentage of the population is especially sensitive to mycotoxin exposure and can explain why one person may become ill living or working in an environment with water damage and why some may not experience any immune challenge at all from the same exposure.
Ritchie Shoemaker, MD, has pioneered the work that defines CIRS (chronic inflammatory respiratory syndrome) and decoded the genetic testing that can verify one’s susceptibility to mold and mycotoxin exposure. He has defined the cause to illnesses previously thought to be all in one’s head—mycotoxin illness.
Mycotoxin illness can be difficult to detect clinically, as the symptoms can mirror those of other syndromes or ailments.
Mycotoxins can colonize in one’s sinuses, lungs, and GI tract and can cause:
- chronic sinus infections
- chronic immune dysfunction
- joint pain
- neurologic symptoms
- brain fog
- suicidal ideation
- visual disturbances
- insomnia, and more.
Patients can have one or all of the above symptoms or any expression in between. Often symptoms associated with exposure to mycotoxins can overlap or be misinterpreted to be psychological in origin when there is actually a physical cause and treatable condition present.
It is determined during a thorough intake and medical history whether the possibility of mycotoxin illness warrants further investigation.
Identifying mycotoxin illness at Holistica Integrative Care is a subspecialty which allows us to:
1. help patients navigate the complicated process of identification of mold exposure in home or office.
2. eliminate exposure to mycotoxins by guiding the patient through remediation process of home or office
3. determine if mycotoxins and which mycotoxins have colonized in the patient through urinary mycotoxin testing
4. develop an individualized strategy to bind and eliminate them
5. up-regulate detoxification pathways to encourage excretion
6. support immune function of the patient
7. address symptoms individually until patient experiences relief
Treatment for Mycotoxin illness includes removal of the patient from the mold exposure, thorough laboratory testing of immune markers, urinary mycotoxin testing, supporting the immune response, increasing detox pathways, binding to mycotoxins, using anti-fungal preparations and individual treatments based on the patient’s presentation of the illness.
As with all conditions, Naturopaths individualize all treatment protocols for each patient.