Mold Illness and Thyroid Disease. How Mold Toxins Affect Your Thyroid Gland And Your Immune System
Patients who have had mold illness or mold toxins almost always have some kind of thyroid Disease. When you have mold toxin illness getting the proper diagnosis and treatment can be incredibly challenging unless… your doctor knows what to look for.
You see.. too many doctors working with patients who have mold illness miss this because people with mold illness have thyroid bloodwork that is a little different than someone who has textbook hypothyroidism.
So… In Today’s article, I will explain How mold affects your thyroid, how to get your thyroid properly tested when you have mold illness, what to look for on your bloodwork and towards the end I will talk about Tips on how to support your Thyroid when you have mold illness.
If you have been struggling with mold illness and you have received treatment but you still feel sick and struggle with many symptoms, todays article may help unravel another piece of your health puzzle. Like I said in the beginning of this article, more often than not, when someone has mold illness they will usually have some type of thyroid problem. The key is to know what to look for.
When a patient has mold illness, it is not uncommon for a doctor to check the thyroid. This makes sense. Most people with mold illness suffer with fatigue, brain fog, heart palpitations, insomnia, etc BUT where a lot of doctors miss it, is that they only check your TSH levels and maybe Free T4.
If these are normal, then your doctor tells you that your thyroid is fine. BUT, when you have mold illness, if your doctor doesn’t run a Full or Comprehensive Thyroid Panel they are going to miss the mold-thyroid connection almost every single time.
How Mold Affects Your Thyroid.
Mycotoxins that are released from molds are toxic to the entire body including the Thyroid. Mold affects your thyroid by encouraging thyroiditis which is inflammation within the thyroid gland.
This inflammation is typically caused by cytokines-which are immune chemical messengers that drive and push all this inflammation. Several studies have shown that Aspergillus mold triggers thyroiditis. So, we know that mold can trigger inflammation.
But there are several other problems we can see on bloodwork. 90% of Patients who have mold illness have Low MSH levels– MSH stands for Melanocyte-stimulating hormone and when someone has low levels of this it puts them at increased risk of pain, inflammation, fibromyalgia, mood disorders, sleeping problems.
People with low MSH also find themselves with increased thirst and frequent urination. That’s because MSH affect your anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) If that’s not enough, MSH also increase risk of obesity or weight gain, because it increases hunger and we all know what happens when you walk around all day feeling hungry.
Mold illness affects Leaky gut, which further puts you at increased risk of autoimmune disease, it affects your adrenal glands by altering your DHEA and cortisol levels and Mold increases the sensitivity of your immune system- putting you at risk for increased sensitivity to chemicals including food allergies and environmental allergies. If mold causes inflammation in the body which it often does, you can also struggle with low T3. Stay with me here……
Understanding Non-Typical Thyroid Presentations in Mold Illness Patients.
Like I said there are three non-typical thyroid disease problems I want you to be aware of when it comes to understanding the thyroid-mold connection and If you have a pen, you may want to right these down because their aren’t too many doctors talking about these or even explaining them. Here they are;
- Non-thyroidal illness syndrome, sometimes called Euthyroid Sick Syndrome or Functional Hypothyroidism.
- Subclinical hypothyroidism
- Autoimmune Thyroid disease
If you are not familiar with the terms Subclinical hypothyroidism, Autoimmune Thyroid disease, Euthyroid, Non Thyroid Illness, don’t worry….. I will explain exactly what they are and most importantly what you need to look for on your thyroid blood tests….if you are someone who has mold illness, or suspects mold toxins. I can’t stress the importance of getting your thyroid proper tested! Here’s why
Many patients contact my clinic already struggling with mold and mycotoxin illnesses like CIRS, they have spent tens of thousands of dollars on treatment and despite treatment they still don’t feel well. WHY???
their doctors only screened them for thyroid disease but they never really tested them. When I say “screened”, I mean the doctor only tested their TSH levels and because their TSH was “normal”, they were told they don’t have a thyroid problem and so they struggled for the last 10 years without proper thyroid management. Heres what to look at in your bloodwork.
#1 Non-Thyroidal Illness Syndrome (NTIS)/Euthyroid Sick Syndrome (ESS) Functional Hypothyroidism
Non thyroidal Illness Syndrome also known as Euthyroid Sick Syndrome or Euthyroid for short is essentially functional hypothyroidism. But make no mistake there is nothing functional about this hypothyroidism. This is probably the most often misdiagnosed pattern of thyroid disease I see in my practice. In this scenario, a patient who has been exposed to mold toxins will often have low T3 levels, Low Free T3, elevated Reverse T3. They also often have high cortisol levels with adrenal problems.
Here’s what make Non-Thyroidal Illness Syndrome (NTIS)/Euthyroid Sick Syndrome interesting. Patients with your textbook thyroid disease have elevated TSH levels. But that’s not what we see with patients who are Euthyroid or Functional Hypothyroidism. These patients can have a normal TSH and so if the doctor only tests TSH and doesn’t test the T3 levels, RT3 levels, cortisol levels, they will miss euthyroid illness/Functional hypothyroidism every time!
People who are inflamed or ill, which includes those who are affected by mold, will not convert T4 to T3 well and this is why they have Low T3 and Low Free T3 level. Because of this, if they are only given a T4 medication like Synthroid or levothyroxine, they often see no change or they become even more hypothyroid.
T4 influences TSH, so when T4 increases through medication, TSH will often drop, which may inaccurately lead a physician to believe that their thyroid health is improved.
Instead, they only have improved T4 hormone, which is the inactive form and unable to be used by the body.
Instead of giving T4 medication (Synthroid/Levothyroxine), mold-exposed thyroid patients benefit from improving T4 to T3 conversion, reducing mycotoxin levels and mold exposure and if the levels of reverse T3 are high- lowering the Reverse T3 levels-
#2 Subclinical Hypothyroidism
Let’s talk about another patterns that shows up in patients with mold illness and that’s subclinical hypothyroidism.
Subclinical hypothyroidism occurs more often in woman than in men and the majority of people with this, have a TSH less than 10. The problem with this is that you have a high likelihood of progressing into full blow hypothyroidism and mold may be one of your triggers that does this.
#3 Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
The last pattern I see in patients who suffer with mold illness is an Autoimmune thyroid disorder- This could be something like Graves Disease which presents with Hyperthyroidism or it could be Hashimotos which is the number one cause of hypothyroidism.
Patients with Hashimotos often have mixed bouts of both hyperthyroidism as well as hypothyroidism. They can also have skyrocketing thyroid antibodies despite normal TSH and normal thyroid levels.
So….If you find yourself having symptoms of both hyper and hypothyroidism this for me serves as red flag for an autoimmune thyroid problem- talk to your doctor about getting tested for autoimmune thyroid disease.
One thing I want to point out is that many patients with Hashimotos especially in the beginning stages of the disease are NOT overweight like you typically see with your classic hypothyroidism. So again, talk to your doctor and they can determine which thyroid antibody blood tests are the most appropriate and if an ultrasound is a good idea.
Many times, patients who have nodules or goiters in their neck have hashimotos. The other thing I want you to remember and really stress is that these patients can have a normal TSH, normal T3 and T4 all while having thyroid antibodies skyrocketing. This most often happens in the beginning stages of the disease and so if your doctor only tests your TSH one time and (checks it off the list) I call this the “one and done” and doesn’t test the thyroid antibodies he or she could miss it.
Also, the unfortunate part about thyroid testing is that sometimes it’s a timing issue, sometimes you have to be tested multiple times and sometimes during a flare up.
So keep this all in mind when talking with your doctor.
As promised, I told you that I also wanted to share some ways to improve your thyroid health when dealing with mold. So…. Let’s wrap up todays video with a few important tips.
How To Improve Your Thyroid Health When Dealing with Mold
The first key take away, boils down to testing. You can’t fix something if you don’t know what caused it in the first place. So, if it’s been over 6 months since your thyroid was last tested, or you never had a full thyroid panel, it might be time to update your bloodwork with all the markers I talked about today.
If your doctor tells you that you have a “normal” TSH but you have mold symptoms, it’s not that you don’t have a thyroid problem- you do!, you just don’t have the “typical thyroid pattern”-
If you have an Autoimmune thyroid disease like Hashimotos disease or Graves disease- you need to work with a doctor who understands how to address and support the immune system as well as identify the testing you need to unravel your Autoimmune Triggers- Unfortunately this is very complex problem, the best advice I can give you is to visit my website and schedule a phone consult with me.
If you have Subclinical hypothyroidism—You have normal thyroid levels but your TSH is elevated-I would start by Identify as many of the culprits behind inflammation as possible and focus on Reduce those.
If you have Euthyroid or Functional hypothyroidism- You have low T3, Low Free T3, elevated Reverse T3, check out the articles I wrote that talk about ways to improve T4-T3 conversion, the Causes of Low T3, Causes of High Reverse T3
Are all worth understanding.
If you have any blood sugar problems, adrenal problems, sleep issues- correcting these areas or at the very least improving these issues should be high on the priority list. You wont get very far if you don’t give these some attention.
While some doctors may be quick to prescribe T3, this doesn’t fix the problems, It is no different that prescribing T4. Focus needs to be on why low T3 exists in the first place. In some people, taking selenium, supporting the adrenals and supplemental bioidentical progesterone may be the answer, for others the root causes might be different. And finally,
Be aware that mold exposure requires different treatments compared to regular hypothyroidism and its so important to look at YOUR big picture. We are all different and so treatment should be customized to your specific needs.
If you feel you hit a dead end and need a fresh perspective and you are interested in consulting my practice just visit my website and look for the start here button. We work with patients all over the world- Ok! Well that’s going to wrap it up. I will see you at upcoming video.
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- Causes of Low T3,
- Causes of High Reverse T3
- Restore Your Thyroid by lowering your Reverse T3 Levels
- Understanding Your Thyroid Lab Ranges and Blood work
- Treatment Options When You Have A High TSH
- Why TSH Thyroid Test Can Be Misleading
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- 5 Causes of Elevated TSH
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