Mold Detox and Regeneration Program

Toxicity from mold exposure is a common root issue for many mysterious health concerns. Mold releases toxins known as mycotoxins into the air, which are inhaled, then absorbed into the body. Detoxing of the mold toxins can be a significant challenge. The discovery of mold toxins often explains many of the symptoms which previously failed to lead to a formal understanding or diagnosis. Mold exposure and its resultant biotoxin illness is more common than most doctors acknowledge and most people believe. 

Water damage, which is the leading cause of mold growth, can occur in new and old buildings alike. Mold can be found in both humid and dry climates alike. Mold can also be found on certain foods like nuts, grains (wheat, barley, rice and corn), grapes, wine, coffee, soy, spices and any food that makes contact with indoor mycotoxins in water damaged buildings. No one is perpetually safe from mold exposure, as there can be slow leaks under the sink or shower, or leaking roofs and windows. These hidden mold growths can cause one to be sick for a substantial period of time without recognizing that mold is the problem. In addition, particular genetic mutations in the immune system can even cause some individuals to be more impacted than others. Inflammation can be 2-10 times greater and detoxification of the mycotoxins slower, leading to more intense and complex symptoms.

There are many different molds that can break into our homes and also invade our bodies. The most common indoor molds we may be exposed to include: Aspergillus, Penicillium, Stachybotrys, Fusarium, and Chaetomium globosum. Most of the research regarding health implications of mold exposure have studied the impact of mycotoxins that are released from each type of mold. In general, the different mycotoxins produced by the various molds can be toxic to the immune system, nervous system, brain, kidney, and liver, as well as be cancer promoting. 

Specialized testing utilizing ELISA has been able to detect the accumulation of mycotoxins, in individuals who has been exposed to water damaged environments, in the following tissues:

  • Urine
  • Nasal polyps and secretions
  • Cancerous breast tissue
  • Spinal fluid
  • Breast milk
  • Stomach and colon tissue
  • Bladder and transitional cell carcinomas
  • Brain astrocytoma
  • Lung 

ScientificWorldJournal 2013; 2013: 767482 , by Janette Hope. A Review of the Mechanism of Injury and Treatment Approaches for Illness Resulting from Exposure to Water-Damaged Buildings, Mold, and Mycotoxins

Although it would be difficult to organize a list of every symptom that has ever been described as a result of mold exposure, the following list describes the most common signs and symptoms of mold and mycotoxin exposure:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Night sweats
  • Body Temperature dysregulation
  • Dizziness, balance issues
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Headaches
  • Chronic sinus congestion
  • Coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Joint pain
  • Hair loss
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea
  • Skin sensitivity to light touch
  • Excessive thirst
  • Autonomic nervous system dysfunction
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Ice pick-like pains

East Valley Naturopathic Doctors’ most popular test to determine if mold exposure is part of the underlying health issue is the urine based mycotoxin panel offered through a select few labs. The labs are able to assess 11-15 of the most common mycotoxins. A positive urine test does not describe when the exposure occurred. It can be recent or from the past. 

We also offer nasal swab testing to determine if mold, fungus or biofilms exist in the sinuses. This test may be indicated for someone who is having more sinus related symptoms, but is always addressed from a treatment stance regardless since mold can be present in the sinuses as you will see in our treatment strategy section. 

Particular genetic mutations, referred to as HLA-DR Haplotype testing can be done to determine if someone may be more inclined to struggle with eliminating mold. The different haplotypes can also determine who may have a higher risk of developing more complicated health conditions or symptoms based on the history of mold exposure.

The Mold Healing Program 

The following first phase provides a strategy for recovering from mycotoxin exposure after discovering mold as a root cause. This process includes remediation of the home if applicable and protocols for cleansing the body of the mycotoxins. The second phase of the detox program will help reset the various immune, hormone, and nervous system dysregulations caused by the historical mold exposure if needed. 

Phase I of the Mold Healing Program: 

Step 1: Seek out and remove the source of mold

Step 2: Bind and eliminate the mycotoxins 

Step 3: Address dysbiosis and fungal overgrowth in the sinuses and GI tract

Step 4: Support detox pathways

Step 5: Refine the diet for optimal detoxification

Step 6: Re-test urine mycotoxin test and follow up

*Steps 1-5 are happening simultaneously

Phase II of the Mold Healing Program: 

Brain Regeneration and System Reboot Program

Phase I of the Mold Healing Program

Step 1: Seek out and remove the source of mold

The remediation of mold can be complex. Proper remediation requires a qualified mold assessment company that will come to your home and with the proper tools, isolate where the mold is located and the type. We appreciate that some of our patients prefer to do this themselves, in which we refer them to mycometrics.com. Mycometrics will send you a collection cloth for you to collect samples in your home to determine location and types of mold present. It is hard (or near impossible) to get well, if you are still burdened by mycotoxin exposure on a daily basis. Confirmation of mold presence and proper remediation are the keys to recovery. Mold and its mycotoxins do exist in foods as well, but we are less worried about this as most illness is due to living or working in water damaged buildings. 

Step 2: Bind and eliminate the mycotoxins

Binders are true to their name. They are substances that demonstrate different binding abilities toward the variety of mycotoxins. As oral binders travel through the intestinal tract they easily bind to toxins. In the absence of this binding effect, a significant amount of the toxins would be reabsorbed back into circulation aggravating all mold and toxic symptoms. Instead, the bound toxins are eliminated through the natural process of defecation. Binders support detoxification by eliminating the toxins which cause the symptoms. 

Different mycotoxins may have different affinities toward each binder. This seems to be of great interest to many researchers as there is a preponderance of data showing benefit. At EVND, we often utilize products that combine the different binders to increase the odds that we are removing all mycotoxins from the body most effectively and efficiently. 

Preferred Binders for the most common mold and its mycotoxins: 

Aspergillus mycotoxins:

OTA:  BioToxin Binder, Charcoal, Bentonite clay, Chlorella, saccharomyces boulardii

Aflatoxins: Bentonite clay, Charcoal, Chlorella, Saccharomyces boulardii

Fusarium and its mycotoxin: 

ZEA: BioToxin Binder, activated carbon, bentonite clay, saccharomyces boulardii

Penicillium: 

Gliotoxin: Bentonite/zeolite clays, saccharomyces boulardii

For these reasons we may prescribe: 

  • BioToxin Binder
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Bentonite clay
  • G.I. Detox 
  • Ultra Binder sensitive formula
  • Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Chlorella

Binders are always taken away from medications and supplements by at least an hour in order to not bind the medicines that could be helping you. We want to make sure we are hydrating and having regular bowel movements to encourage timely elimination of these unwanted toxins.

Resources: 

Cholestyramine and binding of Ochratoxin A

Binding agents for Aflatoxin

Recent advances for detoxification of Fusarium mycotoxins

Cholestyramine as a binding agent of fumonisins

Step 3: Address dysbiosis and fungal overgrowth in the sinuses and GI tract

The most common places where the body may be impacted by fungal overgrowth is in the sinuses and intestinal tract. Most people who have an elevation of mycotoxins tend to suffer either with severe allergies, chronic sinus infections and headaches, which is why we assume that the mycotoxins are also residing in the sinuses. In severely symptomatic individuals, we may complete a nasal swab test to verify the presence of biofilms and mold types, which if present, we will treat accordingly using silver nasal spray or BEG spray as they are effective at breaking up the biofilms. Some individuals’ treatments may need to advance to BEG medication sprays, EDTA and silver combo, or amphotericin B intranasally. Treatment specifics will be determined by the physician, based on symptoms and history of exposure.

Our approach also includes the use of antifungals to rid the body of the different mold species and suspected candida. Due to the presence of mycotoxins, the immune system is often compromised, allowing these organisms to flourish. The herbal approach is always a wonderful tool to utilize as it has a multi-layered approach due to the diversity of anti-infective properties.  Here are some examples of herbs we may prescribe to you:  

  • Berberine
  • Horopito
  • Oregano
  • Capryllic acid
  • Undecylenic Acid 

Occasionally we will prescribe antifungal medications dependent on the severity of symptoms and lab results. Fluconazole is a wonderful anti-candida and itraconazole is more infamous for its aspergillus killing action. These medications may be prescribed for a limited time as they can be irritating to the liver. 

Step 4: Support detox pathways 

Anytime we are hoping to rid the body of any unwanted toxins, we want to be sure that the main organs of detoxification are working optimally. This includes the liver, kidneys, skin and bowel function. 

A clean diet and hydration are basic necessities that allow for a better, more efficient operation in removal of the mold and mycotoxins. We may recommend magnesium for someone who is struggling with regular bowel movements if the diet isn’t doing enough. 

In order to facilitate the release of the mycotoxins we often recommend specific herbal protocols to enhance their removal though the liver and kidney so we can avoid recirculation. Some of our favorite liver and kidney remedies include: 

  • Dr Shades liver sauce
  • Liver C
  • Pekana Detox kit
  • Kidney support 

Glutathione and its precursor, NAC, are essential for anyone dealing with mold exposure. Mycotoxins, particularly Ochratoxin A (OTA), are infamous in lowering glutathione levels which our body needs an ample supply of in order to eliminate these very toxins. OTA does this by down regulating the formation of GCLC, the rate limiting enzyme in Glutathione synthesis, ultimately resulting in a reduction of the intracellular level of glutathione.  Our goal in order to outsmart these stealthy mycotoxins is to add glutathione to our regimen in any way that is preferred. Often Liposomal glutathione is something that can be taken daily but we also can deliver it in injection and IV form for those who prefer or we feel need an added boost.  

NAC has also been researched when it comes to mycotoxins specifically. Besides, its ability to help the body make more glutathione, it has some powerful influences on its own. Studies have demonstrated the efficacy of NAC in reducing the biofilm formation that bacteria and yeast love to create to protect it from the body’s immune system. It does this by impairing matrix architecture and promoting disruption of the biofilm. Also NAC has been shown to stop the oxidative DNA damage caused by the Ochratoxin A in vitro studies, completely preventing the cells from being damaged. Sometimes we will specifically recommend NAC 600mg -1200mg a day, or it may also be included in some other formulas we recommend simultaneously. 

Nutrient deficiencies may impact how well we detoxify. We may recommend a general multi vitamin and minerals and/or B vitamins. Specific testing for vitamin and mineral deficiencies will be made in specific cases.  

Additional detox strategies

Infrared Sauna Therapy

Infrared Sauna therapy is a profound tool used to mobilize toxins. The combination of infrared light paired with heat allows the sweating of toxins to be released from the body. We often see an acceleration of mycotoxin reduction in patients who incorporate sauna 2-3 x week for 6 weeks.

Detox IV Therapy

The Detox defender and Glutathione IVs are 2 appropriate options for our mold toxic patients in order to help support individual detox pathways. The detox defender IV consists of minerals and vitamins with a glutathione drip at the end. For those who are more sensitive and like to do singular therapies they may choose to do the glutathione IV only. 

Super Detox Injections

We also offer two options to enhance detox for those who want a quicker jumpstart without taking the time to get an IV. The Super Detox shot delivers: Vitamin B12, B complex, MIC (methionine, inositol, choline) and glutathione. The MIC is a bonus that helps support detoxification of the liver.  The glutathione shot has glutathione only. Ideally 2 x month minimally would be of great value. 

Resources: 

Glutathione deficiency in mold illness

NAC effect on biofilms

DNA damage from Ochratoxin

Oxidative stress from Ochratoxin A

Step 5: Refine the diet for optimal detoxification

Eating a clean diet, consisting of whole foods during this time. Organic proteins, vegetables, minimal grains with the exception of quinoa. Fiber is of importance to help with bowel regularity. Chia, hemp and flax seeds can be added to smoothies or salads. Recommend avoiding foods high in mold borne foods like coffee, wine, grape juice, dairy, peanuts and grains (ex. Wheat, rye, corn). Hydration is key as well, aiming for at least half the body weight in ounces daily. Your doctor can give you more specific guidelines or you may benefit from a IgG Food Intolerance Test in order for you to really align with the right foods for your body. 

Check out our 10 day food cleanse for inspiration: (https://www.eastvalleynd.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/10DayCleanse-Handout.docx.pdf)/ 

Step 6: Re-testing and follow up

We recommend that after 4 months of the following therapies, we re-test and follow up in order to determine if any changes need to be made to the plan. The variability of results is different based on the level of exposure each individual has had. It may take up to a year to see the mycotoxin results become negative but that is not suggesting our patients aren’t feeling better during the process. Phase I may be continued for another 4 months as long as our patient is making symptomatic progress. There are some instances where our patients have cleared the mycotoxins out of the system as evident from a negative repeat urine test, but their symptoms and health still aren’t where we know they can achieve. These individuals become candidates for Phase II of our Mold Healing Program. 

Phase II of the Mold Healing Program

Not all of our mold burdened patients will enter Phase II as they feel better with all of the steps leading up into this point, but if our patients are still showing signs of symptoms, despite negative mycotoxin tests then we approach the brain and body with another tactic. The second phase of healing is also known as our Brain Regeneration and System Reboot Program. The program is based on two principles that can become dysfunctional when the body is exposed to a chronic toxin like mold. Limbic system dysfunction and cell danger response are these key areas we specifically focus on as we will elaborate as to why.

The first principle is related to the limbic system. The limbic system is responsible for how we interpret sensory data (smells, taste, sight, hearing, and touch) to how we code and remember sensory information and how we emotionally respond. It regulates the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems and mediates a variety of emotions and motivations. 

The limbic system normally becomes activated in times of danger or a threat. Examples include the following: 

  • Physical: MVA, concussions, abuse, chronic viral or Lyme infections
  • Emotional: dysfunctional relationships, chronic stress
  • Chemical: Mold exposure, pesticides, solvents, breast implants

Dysfunction starts to occur once the Limbic System is impaired. In this case, the chronic toxic threat, mold, contributes to a cross wiring of neuronal circuits in the brain causing distorted unconscious reactions, sensory perceptions and protective responses. Over time this pattern of distorted reaction becomes habitual and can result in a range of neurological, immunological and endocrine system abnormalities.

The second principle is related to cell danger response. Work done by Dr. Naviaux shows us chronic disease is essentially the consequence of the natural healing cycle becoming blocked, specifically by disruptions at the metabolic and cellular levels. “Emerging evidence shows that most chronic illnesses are caused by the biological reaction to an injury, not the initial injury or the agent of the injury. The illness occurs because the body is unable to complete the healing process,” said Naviaux.

The Cell Danger Response causes the cell to harden its membranes, cease interaction with neighbors and withdraw within itself until the danger has passed. This leads to the cells becoming dysfunctional preventing completion of the healing cycle and permanently changing the way the cell responds to one another and the world. When this happens, cells behave as if they are still injured or in imminent danger, even though the original cause of the injury or threat has passed. This is applicable why a small population of patients don’t have complete resolution of symptoms despite having negative follow up mold test results. Their cells are still in a state of stress due to the body’s inability to understand that the “threat” is no longer present.

EVND offers several therapies that focus on regenerating and improving brain function as well as cell repair. We will discuss the three tools we defer too in detail. All therapies may not be used at one time or be necessary.  The practitioner will make recommendations based on the individual’s symptom severity,  which may be related to the type of mycotoxins that were present, HLA-DR genes and the timeline of suspicion on how chronic the exposure may have been. 

Brain Regeneration and Rebooting Tools

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy 

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a tried and studied treatment that uses a pressurized hyperbaric chamber to increase solubility and saturation of oxygen, producing as a result, free O2 molecules which more easily spread through the body and most importantly to low oxygen tissues or organs. This higher pressure allows the 100% pure oxygen to pierce deeper into the body, reaching organs that typically are not as greatly benefited from normal respiration. You may be wondering how HBOT can be a tool for mold and mycotoxin exposure, but the research has been promising on its use. 

Here are some general benefits to HBOT: 

  • It greatly increases oxygen concentration in all body tissues whereas hypoxia promotes inflammation and infection
  • Stimulates blood vessel growth to improve blood flow
  • Improves mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Improves brain tissue regeneration
  • Improves cerebral oxygenation
  • Enhances memory and mental performance
  • HBO reduces established fungal biofilm growth.
  • It stimulates an adaptive increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the body’s principal, internally produced antioxidants and free radical scavengers. 
  • It aids in the treatment of infection by enhancing white blood cell action and potentiating germ-killing antibiotics.

Specific Studies related to mold exposure and HBOT: 

A particular study done in 2011 was very promising. It represented 15 individuals who developed ADD and slow reaction time after exposure to mold. After 10 HBOT sessions daily (taking the weekends off), there was a statistically significant improvement in both these areas compared to control. https://web.archive.org/web/20150714034706/http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2998645/

A study in 2002 looked at 10 patients who had serious mold infection, diagnosed as invasive aspergillosis. They were treated with HBOT, along with surgery and an antifungal medication, Amphotericin B. Six out of the ten patients were free of their symptoms 3 months following the first HBOT treatment. https://web.archive.org/web/20160503125416/http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11958246

A more recent study published in 2018 examined the effects of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) on Aspergillus fumigatus both in vitro and in vivo. The study indicated that HBO reduces established fungal biofilm proliferation in vitro by over 50%. In vivo, daily HBO provided a modest improvement in murine invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, a life threatening disease. It has been established that low oxygen levels at the site of infection can contribute to fungal tissue invasion which is why HBO may be one of the reasons this therapy is so valuable.  https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/aac.01953-17?permanently=true&#B37

We know hypoxia (low oxygen) promotes inflammation and infections. Whereas with hyperoxia (high oxygen levels) it elevates oxygen tensions in infected tissues to levels that facilitate oxygen-dependent killing by leukocytes (a type of white blood cell). One of the compromising issues with mold exposure is that it suppresses the immune system so that viruses, bacteria and candida can all gain more momentum and also negatively impact the body. The elevation of oxygen from this study along with other studies support the use of HBOT as an effective tool in dealing with not only fungus but other organisms that can be deleterious to one’s health.                                        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1562664/

Frequency Specific Microcurrent

Frequency specific microcurrent (FSM) is a therapy that can be used for multiple mechanisms when it comes to mold toxicity. FSM uses specific and directed frequencies to engage the limbic system, and revitalize cellular trauma created from the toxins in the cells throughout the body to facilitate repair. FSM works by increasing the production of the substance ATP in injured tissues. ATP is the major source of energy for all cellular reactions in the body. Because treatment with FSM can increase ATP production by as much as 500% in damaged tissues, this may help with revitalizing the vital organs and nervous systems to function more optimally once again. 

Your doctor will put together programs that are specific to what they feel your body’s needs are based on your history and symptoms. Treatments are typically 1 x week for 5 weeks, some patients may need 10 sessions. Treatments last about 1 hour and 15 minutes. We request that you be hydrated before your appointment as that encourages better outcomes. You will lay comfortably on the table, while warm wash cloths are laid in locations directed by your physician and the FSM technician will attach the electrodes from the machines to the washcloths. You can read, or rest during the treatment.

Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is a technique used to retrain brain waves toward optimal functioning by strengthening positive neural pathways. A QEEG is done initially as it is used to evaluate how the brain functions. It is often referred to as a brain map as it gathers information on brainwave patterns, relationships and interactions between different parts of the brain, and the efficiency of communication between different parts of the brain. This information is interpreted in order to develop an individualized treatment plan for neurofeedback.

The Mold Detox and Regeneration Program

The Mold Detox and Regeneration Program is for patients who developed and have persisting cognitive and memory deficits secondary to mold and biotoxin exposure. The program combines two of the most valuable therapies, Hyperbaric Oxygen and Frequency Specific Microcurrent, into one program to treat the effects resulting from chronic brain inflammation. You start with 20 sessions of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy(3-5 sessions weekly) over 4-8 weeks, with 5 sessions of Frequency Specific Microcurrent Therapy, completed once weekly, over the same time period. If cognitive symptoms have improved but still persist we recommend brain mapping and consideration of neurofeedback therapy.