Mold spores are all around us, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. It’s not only in the air we breathe, but it’s present on a variety of different surfaces in your home, at your work, in your car, and anywhere else you travel to throughout the day. There’s no running or hiding from it.
The good news is mold levels indoors and outdoors are typically low enough that they won’t have a negative impact on your health. The bad news is mold levels can sometimes grow too high and you could come in contact with certain types of mold that are known to be toxic or pathogenic.
Toxic mold exposure can cause a number of different health concerns in the human body, which is why it’s always best to avoid areas where mold might be present or thriving. In the event you are exposed to mold, you could be diagnosed with something known as mold biotoxin illness.
So, what is mold biotoxin illness?
Mold biotoxin illness, also known as chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS), is a serious health condition that a patient develops after exposure to biotoxins found in the air, water, food, or insects. About 25% of the population is at an increased risk of developing CIRS.
Normally, these biotoxins enter the body and are immediately targeted by the immune system, processed by the liver, and eventually eliminated from the body. While these people might experience minor symptoms, they usually disappear once the biotoxins are eliminated.
Unfortunately, certain people have genes that prevent their bodies from targeting the biotoxins, thus not eliminating them. Instead, these biotoxins remain inside the body and result in chronic inflammatory responses throughout the body — which is where the term CIRS comes from.
Common Symptoms of Mold Biotoxin Illness
Understanding the common symptoms of mold biotoxin illness can help you detect any issues or inconsistencies with your body. This plays an important role in the early detection of mold biotoxin illness, which very well could be the difference between successful and unsuccessful treatment.
Don’t worry, I’m going to break down some of the most common symptoms of CIRS below:
- Decreased Assimilation of New Knowledge
- Sensitivity to Light
- Impaired Memory
- Difficulty Finding Words
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Joint Pain
- Morning Stiffness
- Skin Sensitivity
- Tingling Sensations
- Shortness of Breath
- Sinus Congestion
- Excessive Thirst
- Appetite Swings
- Difficulty Regulating Body Temperature
- Increased Urinary Frequency
- Red Eyes
- Blurred Vision
- Mood Swings
- Ice-Pick Pain
- Abdominal Pain
- Water Eyes
- Metallic Taste in Mouth
- Static Shocks
If you experience any of the above symptoms and believe you’ve been exposed to mold or biotoxins, don’t hesitate to seek medical help. The earlier you reach out for help, the better chance you have of finding a safe, effective, and trusted treatment plan so you can recover.
Diagnosing Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)
In order to properly diagnose mold biotoxin illness or chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS), your doctor will perform a number of tests and ask a variety of questions to better understand your current health state and lifestyle. It’s important to be honest and truthful.
For example, your doctor will like to have your home environment inspected and evaluated for possible mold growth. They’ll also want to know if you’ve had any history of tick bites, were exposed to blue algae, or ate anything that might’ve contained biotoxins, such as reef fish.
Your doctor will also look at your symptoms. They’re looking for symptoms affecting multiple different systems and areas of the body. In order to be considered for CIRS, the patient must be experiencing a minimum of one symptom in six of the 13 symptom clusters listed below:
- Weak, Decreased Assimilation of New Knowledge, Aches, Headache, Sensitivity to Light
- Impaired Memory, Difficulty Finding Words
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Joint Pain, Morning Stiffness, Cramps
- Skin Sensitivity, Tingling Sensations
- Shortness of Breath, Sinus Congestion
- Cough, Excessive Thirst, Confusion
- Appetite Swings, Difficulty Regulating Body Temperature, Increased Urinary Frequency
- Red Eyes, Blurred Vision, Mood Swings, Sweats, Ice-Pick Pain
- Abdominal Pain, Diarrhea, Numbness
- Water Eyes, Disorientation, Metallic Taste in Mouth
- Vertigo, Static Shocks
In the event a patient is experiencing at least one symptom in eight of the above symptom clusters, then there’s a high chance that they’re living with CIRS or mold biotoxin illness. Only then will lab tests, eye tests, physical exams, and other screenings be ordered for the patient.
Popular Treatment Options for Mold Toxicity
Treatment plans for mold biotoxin illness and CIRS are going to vary for each patient, especially everyone’s body is different and each situation is unique in its own way. That’s why it’s important that you work closely with your doctor in determining the best treatment plan for your body.
With that said, there are general treatment protocols that your doctor will follow throughout the recovery process. For example, your doctor will likely want to identify and eliminate mold exposure, remove the biotoxins from the body, and eliminate MARCoNS from the body.
They’ll also want to treat any inconsistencies and correct any concerns in your lab work — including labs for Antigliadin Antibodies, Androgens, Antidiuretic Hormone, MMP-9, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, C3a, C4a, TGF-beta1, and Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide.
- Removal from ongoing exposure
- Treat with Cholestyramine or Other Binder
- Treat Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (aka MARCoNS Treatment)
- Correct Anti-Gliadin Antibodies
- Correct Androgens
- Correct ADH/osmolality
- Correct MMP-9 Levels
- Correct VEGF
- Correct C3a
- Correct C4a
- Lower TGF beta 1
- Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP)
When to See a Functional Medicine Doctor
Living with mold biotoxin illness or chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) can be devastating for any patient, especially if it goes undetected, undiagnosed, and untreated. As a functional medicine doctor, I firmly believe no patient or individual should have to live that way.
If you’re experiencing mold biotoxin illness symptoms and want to speak with a trusted professional with experience treating this condition, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve helped a number of patients find relief from their symptoms and would be honored to help you, as well.
Contact my office to schedule an appointment today — we can’t wait to meet you!