Recognizing the “Faces” and “Friends” of Mold

The and friends of mold are more numerous than a lifelong secret agent.  Mold toxicity alone has a wide variety of symptoms. In addition to this, however, the numerous disruptive friends with whom mold associates, like heavy metals and chronic occult infections, make the diagnosis more difficult and the therapy more complicated.  Diagnosing and treating mold toxicity requires an understanding of both the faces and the friends of mold toxicity.


Mold Toxicity Syndrome Close Up …. The “FACES”

Underneath the faces of toxicity, we find chronic inflammatory processes.  From patient to patient, cytokine distortion, complement activation, and oxidative stress damage share varying responsibility for symptoms.

Cytokins wax and wane in response to invaders within our bodies.  Under ideal circumstances these chemical messengers allow the immune system to coordinate a defense or an attack on microbes attempting to cross the “no trespassing” sign.  They attract cells to the battleground.  They gather resources for both attack and recovery from damage.  When the battle finishes, they stand down the troops and turn off the alarms.  Under the influence of chronic inflammatory stimulus, they become the inadvertent aggressors against our bodies.

Besides causing battleground damage, their signals and alarms set off downstream effects in other systems.  The neurologic system reacts to these signals with brain fog, random pains, and distorted perceptions like dizziness or ear ringing.  The hormonal system swings wildly like a Southerner’s car on an icy road.  These swings trigger infertility, irregular cycles, and mood swings.  The immune system itself loses its bearings and simultaneously lets down its guard against other invaders while firing shots at its own tissues (autoimmunity). All in all, this haywire chronic inflammation spreads trouble throughout the body and the life of the patient.

Inflammation may result from complement proteins (essential first line defense of the immune system) going into chronic activation mode.  Chronic activation opens the door for ongoing inflammation and histamine release from mast cells.  Other inflammatory messengers like Transforming Growth Factor Beta 1 may serve as a mediator as well.  We can measure C4a, TGF Beta 1 and other markers to determine the presence and severity of CIRS.

Some mold toxins directly cause inflammatory damage through oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress means that a structural or functional molecule (could be a protein, a fat, or a carbohydrate) has been oxidized.  This addition of oxygen or a change in oxygen already present alters the structure of the molecule and its ability to carry out its intended function.  Dysfunction and symptoms result when enough of these oxidative stress changes occur.  Furthermore, the damage itself triggers further inflammation in response to the damaged tissue.  Rather than the normal process of healing after inflammation, the inflammation self-perpetuates and continues indefinitely.

Between these inflammatory mechanisms and their secondary effects, the chronic inflammatory response syndrome perpetuates what Dr. Robert Naviaux has coined the cell danger response.  Avoiding scientific jargon, this simply means that the basic systems at a cellular level remain stuck in an inflammatory state rather than returning to a reparative state.  The damage from the inflammatory state builds upon itself.

Please refer to the sections below for effects of inflammation in specific areas.       

Mold and the Nervous System
Mold and Psychiatric Health
Mold and the Immune System
Mold and the Gastrointestinal System
Mold and the Hormonal System
Mold and the Energy Cycle
Mold and the Other Systems
Mold and Pain
Mold and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
Mold and the Human Spirit