Indoor toxic molds are an insidious consequence of any water damage to a building whether past or present and are causing significant health issues regardless of age or geographic location. The “gases” produced by these molds build up in homes rendered air tight by building practices to reduce heat and air costs as well as the lack of fresh air due to security concerns of open doors and windows. Interestingly, there is also an explosion of people, young and old complaining of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, vague and unrelenting symptoms such as headache, insomnia, brain fog, memory issues, ice pick pain, joint pain and GI dysfunction (to name a few). Dr. Mary Ackerley, biotoxin expert, psychiatrist, researcher and author confirms the research that depression and anxiety were about 30-40% higher for residents in visibly moldy households compared to residents in mold-free dwellings. Those of us in practice with an eye on the biotoxin illnesses see a clear correlation between mold biotoxins, mood issues and multiple health complaints currently going unrecognized by the majority of health care practitioners.
Biotoxins cause an innate immune response and release of cytokines, producing generalized inflammation including in the brain. This can cause inflammatory symptoms of fibromyalgia, headache, GI distress, fatigue, etc. To continue the insult, Dr. Rick Sponaugle notes neurotransmitters become compromised as biotoxins are very damaging to the primary mechanisms and pathways producing serotonin, GABA, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, glutamate, and PEA. The consequences of this disruption can be seen in a urinary neurotransmitter test as levels range from elevated to low, along with clear imbalances between inhibitory and excitatory pathways as well as individual neurotransmitters. Thus, symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia become particularly aggravating quality-of-life problems associated with this.
Additionally, Dr. Richie Shoemaker, who has researched biotoxin illness for over 30 years and is the creator of The Shoemaker protocol for treating biotoxin illness, addresses damage to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This damage leads to decreases in hormones such as androgens and cortisol. Sometimes, as Dr. Shoemaker says, there is an initial increase in cortisol, as your body tries to compensate for the biotoxin insult before sinking into the abyss of low cortisol. Clearly, the effects of mold biotoxins are a total body insult that is profound and widespread.
First and foremost, it is important to find a practitioner skilled in treating mold illness as well as in recognizing neurotransmitter/adrenal deficiencies and/or imbalances. The Sanesco International model, Communication System Management (CSM), is a 3-step approach offering an individualized method of assessing and treating neurotransmitter/adrenal problems with targeted nutritional therapy (TNT).
- Determine whether a biotoxin is present in the home. Richie shoemaker recommends ERMI or HERTSMI dust samples of DNA in the home or workplace. If elevated levels are present, it will be necessary to remediate the structure to remove exposure.
- Testing of Neurotransmitters and adrenal deficiencies. Laboratory assessments with Targeted Nutritional Therapy support may improve and support those biochemicals impacted by brain inflammation incurred by the presence of biotoxin.
- Begin Shoemaker Protocol. Once exposure has been eliminated, begin the Shoemaker Protocol for a systematic treatment approach.
- Provide support by optimizing levels of vitamin D, omega 3 EPA/DHA, gut health, supplements and lifestyle strategies to reduce inflammation, correct mineral/vitamin deficiencies and restore detox pathways.
- Eat brain-healthy foods. Consider a ketogenic diet for the positive impact on brain health.
- Mary Ackerley: “The Brain on Fire: The role of toxic mold in triggering psychiatric symptoms”
- Richie Shoemaker: www.survivingmold.com
- Rich Sponaugle: Sponaugle Wellness Institute
- Sanesco International: “Communication System Management”
- Dale Bredesen: The End to Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline