Did you feel worse after starting treatment for toxic mold?
if you did, you’re not alone. The vast majority of my patients felt worse once they started treatment for mold. It’s not your fault. The prescribed treatment was wrong.
Fortunately, there have been new developments in the treatment of toxic mold. Natural treatments that should actually make you better. Not worse.
Why the old way of treating toxic mold doesn’t work
Before Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, we knew very little about toxic mold. Today, we know a little bit about toxic mold. The majority of that knowledge is based upon the incredible body of work done earlier by Dr. Shoemaker.
Thanks to Dr. Shoemaker’s groundbreaking contribution to mold illness and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, treatment protocols were devised and patients with seemingly incurable illnesses got better. I detail the steps to the Shoemaker protocol in this post.
The Shoemaker protocol worked wonders for thousands of patients. But the next generation of patients experiencing toxic mold illness and/or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, respond to treatment much differently. The new generation of mold illness patients seems sicker. Their symptoms are more severe. And they don’t respond well to conventional treatment.
If you tried Cholestyramine or Welchol to help improve your toxic mold symptoms but felt so much worse, you’re not alone. The vast majority of my patients do not respond well to either Cholestyramine or Welchol.
I have found the conventional treatment for toxic mold no longer improves my patient’s health.
Instead, it tends to make things worse. Fortunately, the next generation of mold-literate practitioners has advanced Dr. Shoemaker’s protocols. There are now new labs to test for toxic mold and new protocols to help even the most sensitive patients heal from toxic mold and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.
Diagnosing toxic mold – the old way vs the new way
In addition to treatment outlines, the Shoemaker protocol also outlined specific lab tests that point in the direction of toxic mold or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. The inherent problem with these labs is that the samples were so fragile.
Many of the tests had to be shipped overnight. And on dry ice. Importing samples from countries outside the United States proved to be an exercise in futility – most companies would not allow you to ship dry ice into another country without special documentation.
Since many of the tests recommended in the Shoemaker Protocol were considered odd, they would not be covered by insurance companies. And because measuring the very specific markers requires incredibly precise machines, these tests were not inexpensive.
Today, relying on the above tests is no longer required. Testing for toxic mold these days is as easy as peeing into a cup. The lab analyzes your urine for toxic molds and voila, an easy, accurate way to diagnose toxic mold. Laboratories like The Great Plains Lab and/or Realtime Laboratories offer comprehensive urine testing for toxic mold species.
Now that you know the most up-to-date testing methods for toxic mold and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, let’s dive into the new treatment options!
New and natural treatments for toxic mold
Today’s mold patients are sicker and more sensitive. Throwing high doses of Cholestyramine or Welchol at this demographic tends to only make things worse. As practitioners, we need to move slower and more gently.
As patients, you need to inform your practitioner about all the side-effects you’re experiencing from treatment. Those side-effects or symptoms you’re experiencing are not in your head. They’re real. If you’re experiencing them, you need to move slower. Decrease your dose or the type of medication/supplements you’re using.
Treating toxic mold is a marathon. Not a sprint. Go slow.
Start slow. Increase your dose only when your symptoms are tolerable. If you find yourself reacting to just about everything, start with Saccharomyces Boulardii – a beneficial yeast species that has been shown to help improve your body’s ability to detox molds.
Below, I list some of the newer and natural treatment methodologies for treating toxic mold. These treatments are far more gentle than Cholestyramine and/or Welchol.
In many natural health circles, glutathione is known as the master antioxidant. Glutathione is most certainly an antioxidant – whether it holds mastery over the other antioxidants, I’m not too sure. Unlike essential fatty acids (like omega-3’s), your body is not dependent on obtaining glutathione from foods or supplements. Your body is capable of creating its own glutathione from amino acids easily obtained in your diet.
When practitioners suspect you have mold illness, glutathione should be one of their first recommendations. And for good reason – glutathione is a wizard at helping your body detox. Glutathione has been shown to be beneficial in helping your body rid itself of mold toxins. (1)
I recommend all treatment plans for toxic mold begin with glutathione. It’s typically well-tolerated. Thus, side-effects with glutathione are minimal.
While glutathione may help your immune system in the battle against molds and their mycotoxins, there is no evidence to suggest it will solve the problem. Remember, CIRS and mold illness occurs in genetically susceptible individuals. The specific genes these people posses create a chronic state of inflammation that struggles to get turned off. (1) No amount of glutathione is going to stop this process.
But glutathione is the perfect supplement to start your detoxification protocol with. Use glutathione as a barometer to make an educated guess about how well you’ll tolerate other the other natural supplements for toxic mold I list below.
Since glutathione is an antioxidant, it is prone to degradation at a rather rapid rate. To combat this, opt for purchasing your glutathione supplement in a liposomal form. Liposomal simply means that the glutathione is bound to fat. This prevents degradation of the supplement and increases absorption rates. (2)
Non-liposomal forms of glutathione are still absorbed and utilized by your body. (3) But it is thought that the liposomal varieties will increase absorption rates. I personally recommend my patients take a liposomal form. Be sure you opt for capsules. Glutathione tastes awful.
Activated charcoal was initially used to treat accidental consumption of poisons. (3) It has a long history of use dating back well before the 1900s. (4) The World Health Organization lists activated charcoal as one of the essential medicines – because of its incredible efficacy at treating poison consumption. (5)
Activated charcoal is so effective at treating poisonings by its ability to bind with the toxin/poison and safely remove it from the body. This stellar binding ability is what has lead many practitioners to suspect that activated charcoal to be ideally suited to treating mold.
And it might be. But there’s just not a lot of research confirming this. (6) The majority of evidence for activated charcoal is from practitioner and patient reports. Anecdotal evidence combined with small scale studies isn’t a strong enough body of evidence to conclusively say that activated charcoal is effective in the treatment of mold. But it does look promising!
I have personally used it with close to one hundred patients. I monitor progress by preforming VCS testing every two weeks. In nearly all of my patients, their VCS test scores have improved after using activated charcoal.
Activated charcoal has a very safe history of use. You can comfortably try a course of activated charcoal as treatment without worrying about nasty side effects.
If you find your body just doesn’t tolerate Cholestyramine or Welchol, start with glutathione and activated charcoal. This is a stellar first step in binding toxic molds. You can track your progress with the VCS test.
The use of saunas and sweating has been used for many years as a means to rid the body of toxins. Sauna therapy has shown benefit for the treatment of high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, post-heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic pain, rheumatologic disease, chronic fatigue, and addictions. (7)
Studies have found Ochratoxin A in human sweat. (8) Ochratoxin A is mycotoxin produced by several fungal species including Aspergillus ochraceus, A. carbonarius, A. niger and Penicillium verrucosum. Ochratoxin A is often found in water-damaged buildings. It could very well be the source of your toxic mold symptoms!
There have not been any other studies to analyze molds and their mycotoxins in human sweat. Much like activated charcoal, there is a lot of anecdotal reports that saunas improve the symptoms of mold illness. But there’s just not any strong research to support this claim.
With that said, I think the use of saunas provides other well-documented benefits. Other toxins like bisphenol A and heavy metals have been shown to be excreted through sweat. (9) It is likely that sauna therapy will reduce the overall toxic burden in your body. Whether that includes molds and their mycotoxins remains to be seen.
I recommend you combine sauna use with some form of a binding supplement. Should sweating mobilize toxic molds, you’re going to want to ensure your body has a means of binding them. Glutathione and activated charcoal will help with this process. Take either glutathione or activated charcoal 30 minutes before entering the sauna and again after your sauna session is completed.
Much like the use of glutathione and/or activated charcoal, you can track your progress via VCS testing. This will let you know if your sauna sessions are helping rid your body of toxic mold.
Charcoal aside, there are many other natural supplements you can use to bind toxic mold. Remember, those of you with the moldy genes won’t be able to expel mold and their associated mycotoxins on your own. You’ll require the help of some sort of binder to do this. These natural binders replace the need for Cholestyramine or Welchol.
Some of the other natural binders I use in the clinic include:
- Bentonite clay
Use the VCS test to monitor your progress. If one of the above binders is not making a change, switch it for another. There is most certainly some guesswork required. I suspect each of the natural binders is adept at binding specific types of molds/mycotoxins. If you’re not improving, it’s likely that the binder you’ve chosen is not well suited to the type of mold you have been exposed to.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Lactobacillus casei
Probiotics could be the perfect starting point to help you overcome toxic mold. They will help settle your gut and gastrointestinal symptoms. This will improve your body’s detox abilities. With a healthy gut, you’ll be better able to expel mold toxins.
Saccharomyces Boulardii is a beneficial yeast species. Think of it like a probiotic. But instead of a beneficial bacteria, it’s a beneficial yeast species.
One study done on chickens found that it helped the birds remove Ochratoxin A – a common toxic mold. (13) Since Saccharomyces Boulardii is so well-tolerated, it makes the perfect supplement to start with.
If you find yourself incredibly sensitive, start with 5 billion units. If that is well-tolerated, increase your dose up to 10 billion units three times per day.
The most important point in using natural supplements to treat toxic mold
Avoid adverse reactions.
Do not push through. Do not tough it out. Go slow. Take your time. Find a dose that your body tolerates. Slowly increase from there.
The common assumption in Western society is that there should be some pain or discomfort in treatment. That way you know it’s working. Please please please, let go of this assumption.
Your goal in treating toxic mold is to avoid negative reactions. If you start to experience symptoms, you’ve exceeded your body’s ability to detox. Slow down. Increase your dose only after you’ve tolerated the lower dose for at least one week without symptoms.
If you find that you’re unable to find a low enough dose. Or, that you react to absolutely everything, you may be dealing with a condition known as mast cell activation syndrome. You’ll need to calm your mast cells before continuing treatment on toxic mold.
Mast cell activation syndrome and toxic mold
One of the most important types of white blood cells in your body is known as mast cells. The basic function of your mast cells is to coordinate your immune system’s response to harmful invaders. Toxic mold is just one of the many potential invaders.
You have the highest concentration of mast cells in the parts of your body that come into the most contact with the outside world. You’ll find no shortage of mast cells in your GI tract, sinuses and respiratory tract, skin, and genitourinary tract. Notice how a lot of the symptoms of toxic mold affect those body systems in particular!
When your mast cells come into contact with mold, they sound the alarm bells. Mast cells commonly release histamine, serotonin, or tryptase in response to toxic mold.
When you start treating toxic mold with binders, you may trigger a response from your mast cells. When this occurs, there is typically an aggravation in your symptoms. This is why so many of you may feel far worse when you start taking cholestyramine.
Mast cell activation syndrome could be preventing you from treating and overcoming toxic mold.
If your mast cells are hyperactive, you’re going to need to quiet them down before treating toxic mold. To do this, start with 500mg of quercitin thirty minutes before your meals. Quercetin has been shown to be even more effective than prescription medication at calming down your mast cells. (14)
If you tolerate 500mg of quercetin, increase your dose up to 2000mg thirty minutes before each meal. Taking quercetin before eating is extremely important. This gives the supplement time to help calm your mast cells.
Once your mast cells are less reactive, you can get back to treating the toxic mold. Just remember to go slowly. Start with a very small dose of natural binders. Ensure there are no adverse or Herxheimer reactions. Only then should you start to increase your dose.
Ok, now I want to hear from you!
What sort of treatment has helped you overcome toxic mold?
What treatments made your mold symptoms worse? How did you overcome them?
Leave your answers in the comments section below!