Mould sensitivities and illness from mould toxins (mycotoxins) are becoming increasingly apparent especially in people that are already affected with Lyme disease or similar illnesses. More mould cases are showing up in places like Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Queensland, Sydney, New South Wales, Melbourne, Victoria in Australia as well as in England and other colder damp places in Europe and America. Mould spores can grow quickly in just two days in water damaged buildings after floods or leakages, old buildings and poorly ventilated places like hotels, offices and cars. Some moulds may be airborne moulds but are also often hidden in damp places in your home. Mould spores will settle and grow on carpets, sofas, cushions, walls, books, clothes, behind shower plumbing, around plumbing leaks, behind cupboards and on leather goods etc.
Many people that suffer from Lyme Disease may also become very sensitive to mould and any fungal exposure.
This condition (also known as CIRS, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, coined by Dr Shoemaker) is common in patients that have chronic stealth infections such as Lyme disease since there are very similar genetic variations that are associated with patients of Lyme disease, mould sensitivities and gluten sensitivities or Coeliac disease. Together with a genetic susceptibility and a weaker compromised immune system, patients may become a lot more sensitive to mould exposure and become infected with mycotoxins internally creating a whole plethora of symptoms. Often patients have no idea of the amount of mould spores that may be growing in their homes as microscopic mould spores often are out of sight and so go undetected without appropriate testing.
Mould mycotoxins cause an increase in many different inflammatory markers in the body. Often then markers are never routinely tested so when patients are sick their general medical results show as unremarkable and patients are told “There is nothing wrong with you”.
When mould exposure is suspected, it is helpful to test specific markers to determine the effect the mould mycotoxins have had on the body.
Symptoms of mould exposure or mycotoxin infections
Fatigue, concentration problems, brain fog, depression, anxiety, multiple chemical sensitivities, dizziness, increased sensitivity to light, sound, and smells, cold temperature intolerance, allergies, asthma, coughs, muscle weakness, muscle pain, nerve pain and twitches, joint pain, static electric shocks, and GIT symptoms such as nausea, lack of appetite, bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Testing mould in your home
Testing your home with an ERMI (Environmental Relative Mouldiness Index) or HERTSMI-2 test can be helpful to detect the types and amounts of mould in your environment.
Common moulds tested:
Aspergillus penicillioides – Aspergillus penicilliodes is one of the most xerophilic fungi which means it is found in drier environments. ‘Xeros’ is Greek for ‘dry’ and ‘philos’ means ‘loving’. These fungi are found in indoors air environments, house dust and in dried foods. It is found all over the world but is in higher numbers in more tropical climates.
Aspergillus versicolor – This is the mould that gives a musty odour and is a highly resilient fungus. Unlike other species of Aspergillus, that prefer warmer climates, these fungi are found in more cold damper regions but can grow in higher temperatures. They are found in food products such as dairy, breakfast cereals, nuts, plant debris, dried spices, hay, cotton and soil. Aspergillus versicolor produces a mycotoxin called sterigmatocystin which is carinogenic and hepatotoxic. It also irritates the eyes, nose and throat.
Chaetomium globosum – This is a saprophytic fungus that feeds off dead organic matter such as plants and soil, and dung. Mainly found in forests and gardens but an be found indoors on wooden products and cellulose containing products like paper, gypsum and wall plaster. They are human allergens and can cause neurological infections and nail infections such as onychomycosis.
Stachybotrys chartarum – Often called ‘black mould’, and is most often found in water damaged buildings (WDB) that are built with cellulose rich materials that hold moisture and dampness. Stachybotrys will not grow on on plastic, vinyl or ceramic tiles and the spores do not tend to be airborne. Animals that have consumed Stachybotrys contaminated hay have presented with severe neurological symptoms such as tremours and loss of vision. Recent studies show humans working in these mould contaminated buildings have experienced similar symptoms. (Shoemaker)
Wallemia sebi– Commonly found on high salted or sugared foods such as salted fish, bacon, processed meats, sweets, cakes, breads and jams. It is also found inside of buildings in house dust and soil. It is one of the most common fungi isolated from milled rice, flours, dried spices and dried fruits making them a brown colour. Wallemia sebi has been found abundantly in settled dust in homes and has been associated to cause allergic type asthma.
Testing available through consultation with Amina
1. Mycotoxins in your body: Moulds produce toxins called Mycotoxins that can be tested with a urine sample. This can be helpful to determine levels of some moulds such as Ochratoxin A, Aflatoxin group and Trichothecene group.
2. Inflammatory affects of Mould/Biotoxins (C3a, C4a, TGFbeta-1, MMP-9, VEGF, Leptin, MSH, VIP, ADH/Osmolality). Inflammatory markers can be tested with functional medicine tests to determine the affect the mould has been having in your body and will give more information to be able to treat more appropriately.
3. Anti-Gliadin Antibodies – IgG & IgA
4. HLA DQ/DR Genetic studies – (HLA-DQB1 and HLA DR molecular analysis) 24% of the population are susceptible to these mould genes.
Mould and mould sensitivities treatment can be supported with Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy. It is essential to have a personalized program since each person is unique according to their genetic profile, toxin load, immune health, adrenal health, gut health and other stealth infections present e.g Lyme disease, Bartonella, Babesia and viruses.
Amina has been supporting patients with mould toxins and mould sensitivities for over 8 years.
International Skype and phone consultations available with Amina through www.noosaholistichealth.com
© Amina Eastham-Hillier 2017