CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) testing involves a comprehensive approach to identify and diagnose the underlying causes of this condition. CIRS can be triggered by exposure to biotoxins, such as molds, bacteria, mycotoxins, and other environmental factors. Testing for CIRS typically includes various diagnostic tools aimed at evaluating the immune response and identifying biotoxin exposure. In this article, we will explore the key tests involved in CIRS testing, including MARCoNS testing, mold testing, mycotoxin testing, and environmental assessments. Understanding these tests and their significance can help individuals suffering from CIRS receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Testing for CIRS
1. MARCoNS Testing: Unraveling the Hidden Culprit
One of the CIRS tests used in our clinic when we have a patient that we suspect CIRS is a MARCoNS test. MARCoNS, short for Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococcus, is a type of bacterial infection commonly found in the nasal passages of patients with CIRS. Identifying MARCoNS is crucial, as it requires targeted treatment with antimicrobial agents specific to this infection. A positive MARCoNS test can prompt healthcare providers to prescribe nasal decolonization protocols tailored to eradicate the bacteria and improve CIRS symptoms. This opportunistic pathogen can exacerbate the symptoms of CIRS and hinder recovery. MARCoNS testing entails a nasal swab to detect the presence of this particular bacteria strain.
2. Biomarker testing: Certain biomarkers, or blood tests such as elevated levels of C4a, TGF-beta1, MMP-9, and VIP, have been associated with CIRS. Blood tests may be conducted to measure these specific immune system markers.
If chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) is suspected, we would conduct a blood test to check for the genes HLA-DR and HLA-DQ which indicate CIRS susceptibility. We also test for high amounts of cytokine in your blood and marked differences in levels of the following hormones and antibodies:
- Vasoactive intestinal peptide – Responsible for regulating the absorption of water and electrolytes in your gut. Also responsible for some heart and vascular functions. Low levels of VIP can cause watery diarrhea and indicate CIRS.
- Transforming growth factor Beta 1 – TGF beta is a specific type of cytokine, responsible for cell division and death. Large numbers indicate CIRS, and may be linked to your symptom of shortness of breath.
- Melanocyte stimulating hormone – Otherwise known as MSH, this hormone controls the pigment of your skin but it also regulates how much cytokine your body makes. Low levels indicate CIRS, as your body is unable to shut down production of cytokine.
- C4A – Part of the complement group, these are a group of proteins that work with your immune system. They are responsible for activating your neutrophil cells, which can worsen inflammation. Large numbers can indicate CIRS.
- Cytokine Panel: Measures levels of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6, IL-8, TNF-alpha, and others. Elevated levels of cytokines may suggest chronic inflammation associated with CIRS.
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) – This hormone normally regulates your cortisol levels. Your ACTH levels may initially be high and then can drop when symptoms are more prevalent.
- Cortisol – This hormone has many different functions in the body but is released in great quantities when you are stressed or your immune system requires back-up. Cortisol levels may be high initially but then drop over time.
- Anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA) IgA/IgE – These antibodies are produced in response to gliadin. Often triggered if you have a gluten sensitivity, but they are also affected by mold biotoxins.
- VEGF – VEGF or Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor stimulates blood vessel formulation. CIRS patients usually show a deficiency in VEGF.
- Leptin – This hormone helps regulate fat storage in the body. High levels of leptin result in quick, easy weight gain, another signifier of chronic inflammatory response syndrome.
- Anti-cardiolipin antibodies (ACLA) IgA/IgG/IgM – These antibodies are often seen in patients with autoimmune disorders. Heightened Anti-cardiolipin antibodies IgA, IgG,IgM numbers usually indicate that your body is dealing with high levels of inflammation. In fact, your antibodies are often attacking your healthy tissues instead of the biotoxins.
- Antidiuretic hormone – This hormone is responsible for the regulation and balance of water in your body, your blood pressure, and concentration of urine being made in your kidneys. Reduced levels of ADH for a CIRS patient means that you suffer from dehydration, increased thirst, and frequent urination.
- MMP-9 – This enzyme is responsible for many different bodily processes from memory and wound healing, to blood vessel formation. Increased levels of MMP-9 are a sign of chronic inflammatory response syndrome.
3. Mycotoxin testing: Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by certain molds and fungi. Mycotoxin testing analyzes blood or urine samples to detect the presence of mycotoxins in the body, indicating exposure to these harmful compounds. Urine mycotoxin tests measure the excretion of mycotoxins in urine. This type of testing provides insights into the body’s ability to eliminate mycotoxins and assesses the past exposure to these toxins.
Urine mycotoxin testing is also performed using sophisticated laboratory methods like LC-MS or ELISA. By analyzing urine samples, healthcare providers can identify specific mycotoxin metabolites and determine the types of mycotoxins individuals have been exposed to. Mycotoxin testing is particularly valuable for individuals who have been exposed to mold and fungi but may not exhibit external symptoms. It helps reveal the internal burden of mycotoxins, shedding light on the potential underlying cause of various health issues, including respiratory problems, allergies, neurological symptoms, and chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS).
4. Mold/fungal panel testing: These tests analyze blood or urine samples for specific antibodies to molds and fungi, indicating exposure and potential immune response. Molds are one of the primary biotoxins associated with CIRS.
5. Environmental testing: In addition to MARCoNS, mold testing, and mycotoxin testing, comprehensive CIRS testing involves assessing the individual’s living or working environment for mold contamination. Assessing the presence of mold and other biotoxins in your living or working environment can be helpful in determining the source of exposure. This may involve air quality testing, dust testing, and surface sampling. Environmental assessments like EMMA identify sources of biotoxin exposure and guide appropriate remediation efforts. These assessments entail thorough inspections, moisture analysis, HVAC system inspections, and tape lift sampling.
Treatment for CIRS usually involves a multi-faceted approach that includes several components. This may include removal of the source of biotoxin exposure, if possible, as well as addressing any ongoing environmental factors that may be contributing to symptoms.
Effective management of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) relies on accurate testing to identify underlying causes and develop tailored treatment plans. Testing for MARCoNS, mold, mycotoxins, and conducting environmental assessments are vital components of CIRS evaluation. By utilizing these tests, healthcare providers can accurately diagnose CIRS, determine the severity of biotoxin exposure, and guide appropriate treatment strategies. If you suspect CIRS, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider experienced in CIRS testing to undergo comprehensive evaluations and receive the appropriate care needed for recovery.