Is Mold Really Harming Me?
We do testing for the presence of mold in our homes and work places. Did you know it’s also possible to do tests that confirm if one’s personal health is being negatively impacted by mold?
One simple and interesting test is the functional acuity contrast test (FACT). People with mold exposure are less able to differentiate decreasing visual contrast. This test can be done for free online at VCSTest.com. Basically, it is a general test of neurologic function. Much like a hearing test, it demonstrates the presence of dysfunction without pointing to causal specificity.
Many things may cause a decrease in perception of reduced visual contrast. Examples include: toxins, chemicals, bacteria, fungus, virus, parasitic infections, drugs, mold mycotoxins and nutritional deficiencies.
Although the FACT test doesn’t point to mold as the cause specifically, if the test is negative—showing no perceptual contrast deficit—one can rule out mold as a concern. If it is positive, more tests should be done.
At this stage, there are five primary questions.
Am I allergic to mold? This can be checked by doing blood or skin scratch testing, looking for different immunoglobulins to be activated. These results are quantifiable and indicate the severity of harm being induced.
Am I infected with mold? This is a harder question to answer. Most infectious vectors create an antigen-antibody response. Normally we can test for these directly from the blood. For those fortunate to have a properly functioning immune system, a mold infection may be no more problematic or dangerous then a cold. Another way to identify the presence of mold in our bodies is to look for DNA of mold found in body tissue or excretions.
Do I have a genetic weakness? Mold susceptible people have a genetic defect that doesn’t allow them to use the normal detoxification body pathways. We know that 24 percent of the world population fits into this category. To access this requires looking at our genes, specifically subsets of human leukocyte antigens (HLAs).
Am I being poisoned by mold biotoxin? This requires looking at a variety of hormonal and immunologic factors. Cytokines are proteins that modulate the inflammatory response. Examples of cytokines that we may test include Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Interleukin-8 (IL-8) and Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). These cytokines can then increase the levels of several other immune response related substances, including TGF Beta-1 and MMP-9. In patients that are mold susceptible and are unable to detox properly, Complement 4A is virtually always elevated.
Mold biotoxin damages the endocrine system. In particular, it reduces the levels of melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH) inducing a slew of symptoms, such as pain, insomnia, leaky gut, slowed healing time, fatigue, muscle cramps, autoimmune conditions, temperature dysregulation and poor concentration.
Do I have any secondary co-infections? Lyme disease is one. Another that is good to screen for is MARCoNS, or resistant coag-negative staph bacteria. This test is done with a nasal swab.
These are just some of the many more pieces that make up this puzzle of the impact of mold on our health.
Dr. Lance J. Morris practices at Wholistic Family Medicine, in Tucson. He has been in clinical practice in Tucson since 1985. Connect at 520-322-8122 or ResonantSoundTherapy.com. See ad, page 32.