This blog was written to extend the awareness of CIRS/Mould Illness in our Communities. Our practice works with clients who have exposure to environmental toxins. We strengthen the body by supporting the body’s’ foundations- the minerals and related biochemistry. Having a robust immune system and using an integrated approach by treating the root cause is the key to improvements in one’s health. Where needed we endeavor to refer on to specialist in this field after we have corrected mineral deficiencies, imbalances and toxicities and explored all avenues of our 5 Pillars.
Scientific References (available on request)
We work with a lot of clients who have chronic health conditions, not just one symptom but a cluster of symptoms. They have been on a path of healing and searching for answers for a very long time. We feel we can empathise here and it was not until recently that our personal health journeys introduced us to the complexities of mould illness, CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome).
Surprisingly, there is now an increasing awareness around a biological systems approach to seeking treatment. Dr Ritchie’s Shoemaker, a former family physician in Maryland discovered an association between an unknown illness that some patients were experiencing, and a toxin produced by a fish-killing organism called Pfiesteria. Since this discovery in the 1990’s Dr Shoemaker has linked a similar kind of illness to toxins from a wide variety of microorganisms and chemicals.
What is difficult is explaining to loved ones and close acquaintances the potential destruction of this condition daily.
This information serves to consolidate this awareness as most suffering (including ourselves, although relatively well managed presently) remain undiagnosed, are misdiagnosed, or are shrugged off as all being made up and hypochondriacal.
Not unlike chronic fatigue these cluster of symptoms are not medically defined or are measurable and are often deemed imaginary.
In fact, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and Lyme inflammation are all categories of CIRS.
Some recent statistics:
One in three homes in Australia are potentially water damaged and a source of CIRS.
More than 24% of individuals are genetically predisposed to biotoxin illness via HLA genes.
As a result, immune adaptability is compromised following exposure to certain biotoxins.
This area is of great interest to us personally as we work with testing around environmental exposure and how the body adapts as an integrated system, namely heavy metals and the impact on the body’s’ immune function, endocrine systems and every system of the body.
There is also a lot of technical information that pertains to this multifaceted condition that relates to the contamination of water, indoor air and air borne spores, food, possibly insect bites.
Without going into extreme detail this information aims to address some key areas to bring enlightenment to those people who may be unaware that their home or workplace my be conducive to mould growth as sometimes it is unseen to the naked eye.
Mould can also be hidden behind shower crevices, walls, under sinks, on celling roofs and anywhere that moisture remains stagnant.
Depending on level of exposure and genetic factors, symptoms can be mild to extreme (possible organ damage) and cause inflammation leading to an inability to deal with mould and its inflammatory effects as the immune system responds aggressively leading to high/low markers.
Leptin is one example where this compound (inflammatory) in excess will cause weight gain as the body upregulates how tightly it holds onto fat and therefore become unresponsive to normal weight loss strategies until this is resolved. Symptoms also include fatigue, chronic pain, loss of mobility due to being overweight.
Below is a list of symptoms relating to CIRS/Mould Biotoxin Illness
*Fatigue and weakness, CFS
*Digestive issues, IBS like symptoms, Diarrhea, Constipation, abdominal pain, weight gain/loss, urinary frequency
*Respiratory, Lungs and Heart and Allergies Issues (congested or constantly runny nose, sinusitis, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and tachycardia, wheezing, asthma, recurrent infections, bronchitis, oxygen restrictions affecting physical capabilities.
*Musculoskeletal Symptoms and Abdominal Pain, nausea, body aches, joint pain and stiffness, headaches, migraine, dizziness, disorientation, lightheadedness
*Nervous/Endocrine/Immune insomnia, headaches, migraines, dizziness, poor concentration, poor short term memory, trouble concentrating, learning difficulties, impaired memory, trouble finding words, numbness, tingling, vertigo, anxiety, mood swings, swollen painful lymph nodes, pins and needles on skin, static shocks, electric shocks
*Skin sensitivity, eczema, dermatitis, red face, sweats, hives
* Watery eyes, Blurred vision, Red eyes, Light sensitivity, Vertigo, Metallic taste
What are Biotoxins?
Biotoxins are hazardous organic substances that can cause significant damage to the human body. These compounds are produced by living organisms that adversely affect the body leading to chronic symptoms.
Some examples- mould and yeast, Lyme disease, Viral infections, Bacterial Endotoxins.
How you can come into contact with Mould and Biotoxins
When a person comes into contact with biotoxins, such as mould, fungi, volatile organic compounds (VCOs), and gram-negative bacteria it can cause an inflammatory response and an array of symptoms. Most people can experience a mild level of illness when exposed to a sufficient level of biotoxins, and most people recover once they are removed from a contaminated environment.
Chronic illness occurs for those who have a genetic susceptibility to improper toxin clearance (25% of the population). This minority of people typically have human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes that prevent their body’s’ from being able to ‘tag’ the biotoxin as bad and remove it. Instead the biotoxin (s) can live in the body indefinitely and circulate creating chronic inflammatory immune responses leading to chronic illness. For those not genetically susceptible acute illness can occur while biotoxins are being processed in the liver and released. For these people, following exposure their detoxification system can eliminate the biotoxins via normal detox pathways and symptoms subside.
Areas of Exposure
Water Damaged Buildings (WDB)
Water damaged buildings are the most common areas of contact with biotoxins. It is estimated 75% of cases are caused by repeated exposure to WDBs (Dr Shoemaker). Water provides mold and bacteria an environment they can thrive in creating a cocktail of chemicals, fungi, mycotoxins (dangerous toxins produced by mould).
Bacteria such a Borrelia, Babesia, organisms transmitted by tick bites can contribute to CIRS.
Ingesting contaminated food, inhaling airborne biotoxins, spider bites.
Diagnosing CIRS/Mould Biotoxin Illness
- Questionnaire – symptom picture, full case history documenting all signs, symptoms w biotoxin exposure
- Identify current exposure (References on request)
- Abnormalities documented by (VCS) Visual Contrast Sensitivity Screening
https://www.vcstest.com/ Cost $15 is a donation to receive report
Biotoxins cause neurological symptoms including diminished ability to detect visual pattern (eye patterns)- highly accurate and sensitive for biotoxin exposure.
Optional (Requires an Appointment for GP/Nurse Prac) for buccal swab results 2-3 wks.
A genetic predisposition to biotoxin-related illness (HLA) Human Leukocyte Antigen screening.
If positive for all 3 steps 98.5% accuracy of likelihood of CIRS.
Elevated Lab Biomarkers of Inflammation
Assessment for Viral Load- EBV, Herpes HPV,
Testing for MARCoNs (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci (an antibiotic resistant staph infection that resides deep in nose.
GI Map testing viral load
High Levels C4a, TGF&-1, MMP-9, Leptin (information on request)
Low Levels VIP, &MSH, VEGF, ADH (information on request)
Genetic Predisposition for CIRS
CIRS occurs in people who are genetically predisposed (approx. 25% of the population) if exposed to enough biotoxin.
Genetic defect is on chromosome 6 in Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) system- a set of genes responsible for the regulation of our immune system. HLA controls our response to invasion from toxic organisms.
There is a reduced capacity to make antibodies to kill toxic mold organisms.
The HLA type and related immune response are integral to whether person will develop the inflammation that leads to CIRS.
Treatment for CIRS and Underlying Causes
Eliminate Source of Exposure
Avoid ongoing exposure (sources of condensation) and if mould is identified or suspected seek appropriate remediation options.
Engage professional services to evaluate risk.
Dehumidifiers may need to operate.
Eradicate damage to the body by biotoxins by actively seeking detoxification strategies by supporting elimination pathways.
Using HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis) is a gentle and supportive way to fix foundations first.
Binding agents (naturally derived are best) help to bind toxins to be eliminated via stool. A healthy digestive system supports this, and it is best to minimize constipation.
Work on optimal gut function- enhance gut lining, SigA markers and others all investigated by using the GI Map (See Functional Testing on website).
Support liver a major elimination organ with targeted supplements and liver enriching foods.
Heal by providing the body with optimal nutrition.
A diet high in antioxidants, fibre, minerals and vitamins (address all deficiencies, imbalances, and toxicities).
Consider an Anti-Inflammatory Diet – to reduce inflammation.
Limit sugar, alcohol, gluten, wheat.
Avoid foods that may contain mould particles – coffee, corn, peanuts, most nuts, some spices, dried fruit
Other Supportive Practices
Far Infrared Sauna
Natural Strategies to Improve CIRS
Dr Shoemaker 12 Step protocol
Identify and Remove the Root Cause’
Optimize Hydration (add minerals), filtered
Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Plan
Support Detoxification Pathways (HTMA)
Remediation and Air Purification
Ensure daily bowel movements (Prebiotic, fibre), moves toxins, reduces microbial load, reduces inflammation,
Dry Brushing, Saunas, Sunbathing cleanse the lymphatic system
CIRS is a complex chronic condition and can decrease your quality of life.
Many suggestions have been made here to address foundational care:
Remineralise using HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis)
Restore optimal gut function
Support detoxification pathways.
Publication: Toxic Heal Your Body Neil Nathan MD