Alternative Mold Therapies

Updated on September 21, 2015

Alternative

Initially, I positioned this blog as a list of treatments I found useful in coping with anxiety as a follow up to the blog Mold Induced Anxiety. However, as I thought about what I’d written, I realized that based upon my experience and studies, these treatments are very helpful for Biotoxin Illness regardless of whether anxiety is an issue or not. As such, I’ve decided to relabel this post from “Coping With Mold Anxiety” to “Alternative Mold Therapies” to better reflect its content.

I should mention for those with anxiety, that based upon my experience, until the real driver of the anxiety is addressed, it never really completely goes away. In the case of Biotoxin Illness, this driver is massive inflammation caused by biotoxins and other inflammagens – see What Is Biotoxin Illness.

Furthermore, from where I come from, depression is the “kissing cousin” of anxiety. “A growing number of scientists are suggesting that depression is a result of inflammation caused by the body’s immune system”. In other words, whether I’m being hit by a wave of anxiety or depression, the first thing I think of is where have I recently been that I got exposed to biotoxins or what have I recently eaten that messed up my gut.

Inflammatory Basis For Psychiatric Symptoms

Keep A Diary

Diary

Before I dive into various treatments, I wanted to mention keeping a diary. I know this can be a chore to do but it’s essential to track symptoms. Don’t think that you can rely on memory. You can’t. Even if you were healthy, it would be impossible. Trust me on this, a diary is very useful.

Your diary doesn’t have to be elaborate. I have an icon on my computer desktop linked to a simple Word document. I’ve looked at software that’s supposed to help track symptoms but never found one that I liked.

In my diary, whenever I’m hit with particularly bad symptoms, I note the date, the symptoms, what I did, where I went, and what I ate along with the weather over the few days leading up to worsening symptoms. Later, when I’m feeling better, I note everything I did and ate that I think may have contributed to getting better in the last few days. Make sure not to focus on a single day’s activities as some effects can be delayed by days. Over time, as you read through your diary, you’ll begin making very important connections. Just do it!

Physiological (Body) Anxiety Treatments

Stay Focused

Hold Fast

Of course, your main focus should be in advancing along a mold protocol. Given all the hard work that Dr. Shoemaker has put into methodically developing a protocol that has a very good chance of success (nothing in medicine works 100% of the time), I’d strongly recommend you implement his approach. Later, if you absolutely can not get through one of the steps, then you’ll have to make adjustments but only to the degree that it gets you through that step. Stay on course. Eventually, I’ll blog about his protocol.

Having said this, the first step is to avoid exposing yourself to mold. For starters, this means doing either an ERMI or HERTSMI-2 test in your house and at work. These tests aren’t flawless but they’re pretty good. Believe me, when you’re being hammered by mold toxins, you will NOT be able to tell where they’re coming from. You have to rely on testing. DO NOT assume your house, or work, or the grocery store, and so on are safe! Test where you can and keep a diary to help identify the rest.

Related to avoiding toxins, please read Sleep Sanctuary to get a start on learning about how careful you need to be in keeping your environment clean. Lisa Petrison and Erik Johnson have written extensively on this. If you go to Lisa’s website Paradigm Change, she’s still has free download links to “Back From The Edge” and “A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance” – see the right-hand sidebar. They’re full of good information. If you’ve got the cash and like “Back From The Edge”, I’d recommend supporting her and Erik by purchasing a copy from Amazon.

Just to give you a little primer, I always wash my head and arms along with changing my clothes and using a nettie pot after returning from a shopping trip. I do this because I’m still not that great at picking up on when I’m being exposed. My hair is super short so it only takes a few minutes to wash, swap clothes, and use my Ceramic Neti Pot with Grossan Breathe-ease Nasal Salt that I mix in distilled water. (Sometimes I’ll add a cap-full of hydrogen peroxide to the nettie pot.)

Note: Dr. Shoemaker has said that MycoMetrics is the best for ERMI and the less expensive and less informative HERTSMI-2. See Dr. Shoemaker’s website Surviving Mold for ERMI/HERTSMI-2 FAQs and directions on interpreting HERTSMI-2.

Diet

Salmon Plate

According to Dr. Jack Kruse, people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Lyme, or mold biotoxins will have low MSH levels between 95-98% of the time. Furthermore, we know from Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker that when MSH is low then Candida and “leaky gut” are soon to follow. In addition, the stress from being physically ill causes your body to be in a perpetual state of “fight-or-flight” to one degree or another.

Related to diet and digestion, stress raises cortisol levels that in turn increase stomach acid often resulting in reflux. Furthermore, higher cortisol reduces the body’s ability to absorb energy and nutrients from food. In addition to the negative effects of prolonged elevated cortisol, some foods are inherently “moldy” – loaded with mold mycotoxins. Dave Asprey talks about this in the video Mycotoxins – The Surprising Mold You Eat.

As the illness progresses, Dr. Shoemaker has found that cortisol levels first rise in response to the added stress but over time become depressed along with the related signaling hormone, ACTH, as your adrenal glands, or some aspect of the HPA axis, becomes impaired and just can’t keep up with the perpetual stress levels. Since cortisol helps make the T3 thyroid hormone available and inflammatory cytokines block the conversion of the T4 thyroid hormone into its more active T3 form, its not surprising that symptoms of adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism overlap with those of Biotoxin Illness – low body temperature, inability to cope, noise and light is startling, and so on.

I should mention that although Dr. Shoemaker’s data shows somewhat lower levels (2.1 versus 2.5) of the thyroid signaling hormone TSH, the variation wasn’t enough to be “statistically significant”. So when questioned about a relationship between Biotoxin Illness and hypothyroidism, he’ll say he didn’t find one. However, I think there probably is one but it would take additional testing beyond measuring TSH levels.

Swinging back around to finish up the discussion on cortisol, the uptake of all this is you may want to consider checking your cortisol levels by doing these simple self-tests or by mailing in saliva samples to a lab like The Canary Club (membership is free). If your morning levels are low in the morning like mine, this study indicates Licorice with glycyrrhiza can really help make use of the limited amount of cortisol your body is making. Note: Licorice may cause adverse interactions with some drugs – ACE-inhibitors, diuretics, digoxin, corticosteroids, insulin, laxatives, and the pill Also, grapefruit is not recommended as it inhibits Phase I liver detoxification.

Getting back to leaky gut, it’s not uncommon for people with chronic illnesses to develop food allergies. For example, Dr. Shoemaker found that 58% of children and 25% of adults with Biotoxin Illness had Antigliadin Antibodies (AGA) – gluten sensitivity. To give you a brief overview of how this happens, having a “leaky gut” means large food particles end up in the blood stream. Your body responds by creating antibodies to these foreign invaders. From then on, every time you eat that food, your body’s immune system inappropriately kicks in causing inflammation.

Even though Dr. Shoemaker does not address this in his protocol, clearly if you’re eating foods that cause additional inflammation, this does not help! Although current food allergy testing isn’t very accurate, I ended up having two different tests done. Both showed that all the foods I loved to eat before getting really sick were now causing an allergic response. I had to cut out dairy, soy, most grains, egg, and most nuts. Ugh.

Much later, as the number of symptoms I was experiencing was dramatically less because I wasn’t getting beat up by mold and because I’d removed known allergic foods, I discovered I react to high histamine foods. One week when I was eating a lot of homemade beef jerky, avocado dip, along with the usual lemons and oranges, I got a strong reaction. My back broke out in itchy hives, my sleep was worse, I had a tremendous amount of flatulence, my energy was dragging, I struggled to stay awake after meals and got nauseous.

Eventually, I remembered reading an article by Chris Kresser about how classes of foods with high Tyrosine, Arginine, and Histamine can cause acne and migraines along with phone consults I had with Dave Asprey about dealing with Histamine reactions. As soon as I removed high histamine foods, bingo. Not only did the symptoms I mentioned go away but I hit a new level of inner peace.

Regarding inner peace, at times, I would experience this constant angst driven by a feeling of unpleasant surprise that would accompany almost every new thought that arose in my mind. The sensation was like the sinking feeling you’d get if you realized you’d just missed an important job interview because you’d misread your new watch. In my case, it didn’t matter what the content of the thought was. The mere fact that the thought contained new content would evoke this alarm reaction. When I dropped high histamine foods, that stress induced over-reaction just disappeared. Awesome.

Along with dramatically limiting high histamine foods for now, I’m taking Chondroitin Sulfate per Dave Asprey’s recommendation to help limit the histamine response. According to my notes, you need to take between take 500mg to 1 gram of Chondroitin Sulfate regularly for at least four months because it takes that long for mast cells to replace themselves. An added benefit is that Chondroitin Sulfate helps lower the inflammatory response to cytokines – for more on cytokines see What Is Biotoxin Illness. Later, I may also experiment with taking the digestive enzyme DiAmine Oxidase (DAO) as I’ve read it can be helpful too.

Switching attention from histamines back to Antigliadin Antibodies (AGA), given that the no-amylose diet and fish oil are recommended for those having trouble with Cholestyramine (CSM), the fact that AGA are present in 25% of adults, and what I’ve read in books like “Grain Brain” and “Wheat Belly“, my strong recommendation is to start by going gluten free and then whittle away at other problematic grains. While some have found elimination diets like the Plan very helpful at uncovering hidden food allergies, my symptoms fluctuated so wildly at the time I tried it that it didn’t work for me. Mold guru, Lisa Petrison found the Pulse Test to be useful in identifying problematic foods.

At a minimum, if you do have Biotoxin Illness, I would also strongly recommend you get on Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Diet or Doug Kaufmann’s Phase 1 Diet. To help round out your understanding of what it means to eat well, I would definitely start reading the Perfect Health Diet. Note: After regaining their health, many folks with food allergies are able to reintroduce problematic foods that are otherwise healthy.

Sugar

As if cutting out all my favorite foods wasn’t bad enough, I had (still have) a sugar addiction. Cancer and fungi love sugar. The more I ate, the worse I felt. After I cut out all of the obvious sources of simple sugars it was funny when I then got hooked on foods like ketchup – until I figured out they were loaded up with sugar too. Cutting out fast-acting sugars/carbs helped a lot with anxiety. (I don’t have trouble with more complex carbs in eating up to three fruits a day.)

To give you an idea of just how powerful sugar addiction is, check out the article, The Rats Who Preferred Sugar Over Cocaine. It explains why whenever I mention cutting out sugar to someone (including bread and other quick to your blood carbs) that they immediately come up with a long list of excuses why this doesn’t make sense for them. Educate yourself. Watch Dr. Robert Lustig in the video Sugar: The Bitter Truth. To make matters worse, a lifetime of spiking your blood sugar frequently leads to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and/or insulin resistant (diabetes).

Once your gut gets messed up, then you won’t have the right mix of bacteria in your intestines to make enough of the important brain neurotransmitter, serotonin. Low serotonin makes you anxious, depressed, obsessive, nervous, hurts sleep, and so on. Conversely, when we’ve got enough serotonin, we feel confident, are emotionally stable, have a positive outlook, and laugh a lot. Related to diet, low serotonin can lead to cravings especially in the late afternoon. Julia Ross recommends Now Foods True Balance Multi or Biotics Research GlucoBalance to help stabilize blood sugar and consequently reduce cravings – didn’t work for me but for others it helps a lot.

I could go on but I think I’ll end with a discussion about the importance of stomach acid. For quite a while, I had intense gut issues like excessive gas, GERD (especially at night), a persistent knot at my solar plexus, a lot of gurgling after a meal, and so on. I was tested for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and it came back borderline. By the way, if you have the test done make sure to spend time deciding if you want the Lactulose Breath Test (LBT) and the Glucose Breath Test (GBT) based upon symptoms.

Stomach Acid Chart

What I learned from studying about SIBO and GERD (acid reflux) is that these issues can be caused by insufficient stomach acid. That’s right, acid reflux almost always does NOT mean you’ve got too much stomach acid but too little. When you don’t have enough acid to properly break down your food in the stomach, larger pieces end up in the intestines where they ferment and create gas resulting in reflux. Read Dr. Jonathan Wright’s book Why Stomach Acid Is Good for You . The bottom line is that I now supplement with two capsules containing 650mg of Betaine HCL with Pepsin with each meal. It has helped a lot with gut issues and quelled some anxiety.

By the way, make sure you’re drinking clean water – filtered for chlorine, fluoride, chemicals, pathogens, etc. Related to my brief discussion on hypothyroidism, you may want to look into how the three halides, chlorine (in municipal water), fluoride (in municipal water), and bromine (in breads and fire retardants) interfere with iodine absorption that then leads to hypothyroidism. Although, I do not recommend supplementing with iodine without testing first. If you haven’t got up to speed on fluoride and still believe it should be in our drinking water, take a look at Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation

Epsom Salts

It doesn’t take too long researching chronic illness before the subject of taking soaking baths containing magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) comes up. To being, magnesium is a very relaxing mineral that also helps with sleep. Given that roughly 70% of the U.S. population has a deficiency in magnesium, a good soak in a tub containing 2 cups of Epsom salts (magnesium and sulfate) for folks over 100 pounds is commonly recommended and is a great way to get magnesium into the body. This is especially true for folks with gut issues as magnesium taken orally may not be absorbed well. Note: Magnesium also helps relieve constipation for those that are taking Cholestyramine (CSM) and are experiencing this side-effect.

Epsom salts have added benefits besides the magnesium. Speaking about gut problems, there are some very informative interviews with Dr. Seneff making links between gut health, glyphosate (Round-Up), sulfur, and adverse health effects. More specifically, Dr. Seneff’s research shows that not only does Round-Up increase the harmful effects of food-borne chemicals but it also damages the gut flora – the healthy balance of bacteria and fungi in your intestines. When this happens, her research shows that among other issues, you’re unable to absorb sulfur from foods.

Gut dysbiosis and sulfur deficiency are related to heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, Chronic Fatigue, and more. As such, at least until you’re able to repair gut dysbiosis, taking Epsom salt baths for the sulfur component along with the magnesium makes good sense. In general, Dr. Seneff recommends soaking in a tub of water containing 1/4 cup of Epsom Salts twice a week – Epsom salts contains both magnesium and sulfur.

I have to admit, I didn’t like taking Epsom salt baths. My situation was already claustrophobic enough. Climbing into the tub with a curtain that partially blocked my view didn’t help. I got through it. The weird mental stuff was all part of having a really messed up body. In my experience, the calming effect of magnesium is mild but noticeable. Today I take the equivalent of about 600mg in the form of Natural Calm Magnesium.

Update September 21, 2015: In The Quantified Body Episode 17, Dr. Carolyn Dean discusses the importance of magnesium. She strongly recommends testing Red-Blood-Cell (RBC) magnesium levels and recommends that they be between 6.0-6.5mg/dL. The serum magnesium testing that is commonly done is close to worthless. In general, 700mg daily of magnesium and calcium is recommended; they need to be balanced. Dr. Dean commented that you can usually get all your calcium from diet but magnesium needs to be supplemented. Besides, Epsom salt baths, you can get magnesium by applying a magnesium oil (dilute with distilled water if it’s too strong) or by taking magnesium citrate. You can order your own test RBC magnesium test at RequestATest. Make sure you don’t take magnesium before testing. On Dr. Dean’s website, under Wellness Program, there are two downloadable books on minerals.
Update End

Vitamin D, K2, Magnesium, and Calcium

Since I’ve rattled on a bit about the virtues of magnesium, it’s important that I mention vitamin D, vitamin K2, and calcium too. These vitamins and minerals work together (synergistically) so you want to make sure if you’re supplementing one, like magnesium by taking Epsom Salt baths, that you also supplement the other three to get a good balance.

If you don’t take these four together, you could end up experiencing deficiency or toxicity side effects. For example, I take 10,000 IU of Premier Research Labs D3 drops daily under my tongue (sublingually) just to keep my blood serum levels of vitamin D3 25OHD (25-hydroxyvitamin) in the 40-50ng/ml range based upon lab testing. In her article Brain On Fire, Dr. Ackerley mentions that it’s not uncommon to supplement folks she treats with 5,000 IU. From what I’ve read, vitamin D deficiency is common in people with chronic illnesses including Biotoxin Illness. Since vitamin D is linked to proper immune function, depression, and anxiety, I’m glad to take it.

However, if I didn’t also take magnesium and vitamin K2 to balance out the high doses of vitamin D, I could end up with symptoms from magnesium deficiency or vitamin D toxicity. Similarly, Dr. Carolyn Dean says it’s important to take equal parts of magnesium and calcium. In studying the recommendations in The Perfect Health Diet and from Dave Asprey, I suggest looking at taking 600-800mg of Natural Calm Magnesium, 2000mcg of Life Extension Super K, and 10,000IU of vitamin A by eating 3 eggs or taking one teaspoon of Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil daily. My wife makes quite a few dishes with bone broth so I figure I’m getting enough calcium.

Enemas

Outhouse

Well, the subject was going to come up sooner or later. I never liked coffee enemas even though they’re suppose to be great for detoxing – stimulates production of the free radical antioxidant glutathione along with stimulating the bowel. I often felt more agitated after even though I made sure to use Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Coffee – cheap coffee is loaded with mycotoxins.

Instead, I prefer ozonating a quart of warm, distilled water. After using the bathroom, I use a Stainless Steel Enema Bucket Kit. I like the can with a hook so I can just open a vanity drawer and hang it. After taking in half of the contents at a time, I lie on the bathroom floor reading a book for 10 minutes before getting up and using the toilet while resting my feet on a Squatty Potty.

Stainless Steel Enema Bucket Kit

To help facilitate elimination, I massage starting at the lower right of my abdomen and work my way up and across, just under the rib cage, and then back down the left side. I do this with one hand working right after the other. First, the right hand starts at the lower right, presses about an inch or two deep, and then moves along the intended path a few inches. The left hand immediately follows re-starting only slightly further along the intended path and repeats the same motion (wear a tight shirt to prevent irritating your skin).

Right, left, right left, it may take 10-15 minutes to make a complete pass. You’re trying to work material through the colon. In so doing, I find that I can stimulate strong contractions. In my mind, the idea is to clear the colon of its overload of bad bacteria and fungi.

If I’m really feeling messed up, I’ll add in Natren probiotics according to Jini Patel’s “Probiotic Retention Enema” in Listen to Your Gut. It’s only a cup of water so the idea is to keep it in. You can massage your abdomen to help get the healthy probiotics into all the corners of the lower intestine.

  • 2 tablespoons Natren’s Bifido Factor powder
  • 2 tablespoons Natren’s Digesta-Lac powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Natren’s Megadophilus powder

FIR Sauna

Sauna

Yeah, I have to admit it was no fun climbing into the Portable Infrared Sauna that I first bought. Having to sit in a tiny tent with just my head and hands poking out didn’t help those persistent feelings of dread. Reading a book while I sat was a nice distraction.

I muddled through because sweating is the only way we have to remove certain toxins like all the estrogen mimics from plastics and is also great for metals, pesticides, and even mold toxins. In other words, even though the main focus for anyone with Biotoxin Illness should be on following a mold protocol, removing excess chemicals and metals can only help in the long run. Just make sure to start out slow.

Unlike saunas with an electric/gas/wood heater, the infrared sauna uses invisible light in the infrared range. This light penetrates fat stores containing toxins up to 2″ deep quickly and at much lower temperatures. Unlike typical saunas that operate at 150-200F, you can work up a good sweat starting at 110F using infrared (140F maximum). The lower temperatures makes the sauna more comfortable, more easily tolerated even by folks with heart conditions, and reduces the amount of toxins that move into the bloodstream instead of being sweated out.

FIR Sauna Vs. Toxins and Disease – Dr. Rogers book excerpt.
Sauna Helps World Trade Center Rescue Workers

I learned about the benefits of sweating from Dr. Sherry Roger’s book, “Detoxify or Die” (is that a bad title or what?). This is a recommended read. In addition to detoxing, I find taking a sauna very relaxing and always sleep better that evening. After saving up and doing some research, we bought a ClearLight Infrared Sauna. The larger size is less claustrophobic and you have the room to frequently wipe yourself off moping up the toxins before they get a chance to be reabsorbed through the skin.

According to Dr. Rogers, it’s very important to supplement with Liquid Multiple Minerals capsules (Carlson), Eco Coral Calcium, Tri-Salts, zinc, magnesium, and the like so you don’t end up depleted of these important nutrients. Remember, take it slow to begin with. If you’re really sick, start with 5-10 minutes at 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sauna Rules

  • You must take pre-sauna and post-sauna supplements
  • Do light exercise or body brushing before sauna to increase blood flow
  • Start with 10-20 minute sessions at 100-110 F. Later, you can start at 140F until you start to sweat (10-15 minutes) and then drop down to 100-120 F for an hour or longer
  • Use enough towels to keep toxic sweat from getting on the wood
  • Weigh your towels before and after and drink the same amount in water (1 cup = 1/2 pound)
  • Take blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate and get out if any one goes up 10 points
  • If your temperature goes over 100F, get out!

Sauna Emergency

  • Stop if you experience headache, nausea, rapid/weak/irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, disorientation, muscle cramps, muscle spasms/twitching, or other adverse symptoms and do the following:
  • Lie down and drink 2-4 glasses of water with 1/2-1 teaspoons of Tri-Salts
  • If magnesium deficiency is suspected (muscle spasm, heart arrhythmia, migraine) take 200mg of magnesium with 1-2 large glasses of water and repeat in one hour
  • If you crave salt, take 1/2-1 teaspoon of salt in a large glass of water
  • If calcium deficiency is suspected take 1/4 teaspoon Eco Coral Calcium in large glass of water

Exercise

Yoga

I’ve always worked hard. Even when I was really sick, I kept moving. It helped quite a bit.

It’s so important to move lymph and exercise helps do this. In addition, exercise helps relieve depression, improves digestion, sharpens mental clarity, along with just being relaxing. Related to Biotoxin Illness, it helps with oxygen utilization. As mentioned in What is Biotoxin Illness, folks with Biotoxin Illness, also called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), are oxygen deprived. Near the end of Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol when patients are mostly recovered, exercise is introduced.

The idea is to slowly increase in intensity over weeks. It’s essential to not workout so hard that you become breathless. You want to stop just short so your body is encouraged to develop the ability to better use the oxygen it has. If you go too far, it’ll just make matters worse – you’ll crash. It’s important to exercise every day.

Dr. Shoemaker’s Exercise Protocol

  1. Start with cardio exercises for 5 min daily working up to 15 min daily
  2. Then add floor exercises 5 min daily working up to 15 min daily
  3. Then add free weights 5 min daily working up to 15 min daily
  4. After one month of this, go back to each exercise and increase intensity

Amino Acids

Neuron

I found the judicious use (dosages much less than normally recommended and only for a month or so) of amino acids specific to the symptoms I was experiencing to be very helpful. Based upon symptoms, you give your body the natural amino acids it’s missing thereby allowing it to return to normal functioning. Take a look at the work of Julia Ross – “The Mood Cure” where she discusses in detail the use of these very safe supplements. Her Amino Acid Therapy Professional Training Series DVDs cover all the nuances related to proper dosage and benefits, how to counter any short-lived side effects, and so on.

Specific to Biotoxin Illness, we know from Dr. Shoemaker’s work that many folk will be low in endorphins. In order to make this important neurotransmitter, your body requires a wide range of amino acids along with DL-phenylalanine or D-phenylalanine. Given these facts along with knowing folks with Biotoxin Illness commonly have gut issues along with poor nutrient absorption, I take an amino acid blend daily (away from protein) to make sure I’ve got all the amino acids needed to make endorphin and then occassionally supplement D-phenylalanine.

The other three important neurotransmitters, serotonin, catecholemines (dopamine/Norepinephrine/Adrenalin), and GABA, can be supplemented for directly with the amino acids Trytophan/5-THP, L-Tyrosine, and GABA respectively. They do not require the amino acid blend in order to be effective with the exception of taking 25-50mg of B6 with Trytophan. In the 2012 Sugar Addiction video, Julia Ross said she likes the Ajinomoto and Montiff brands although with the exception of tryptophan, she’s found many other brands work just as well. Swanson sells products by the Japanese producer Ajinomoto under the name “AjiPure”

As mentioned, for a while also took D-phenylalanine to boost endorphins and Tryptophan to raise serotonin to address specific symptoms. (I found DL-phenylalanine to be too stimulating.) I can’t say I noticed a difference in my sensitivity to pain (endorphin) but it did help with negativity and anxiety (serotonin). Admittedly, I didn’t spend that much time tweaking dosages so perhaps this is why I didn’t see as much benefit.

Neurotransmitter Supplement Symptoms of Lack
Serotonin Swanson: Ultra L-Tryptophan Tryptopure worry, wired depression, low self-esteem, obsessive, irritable, suicidal thoughts, afternoon cravings
Catecholemines Montiff – Pure L-Tyrosine low energy depression, no drive, crave stimulants, poor concentration
GABA GABA Calm by Source Naturals stiff muscles, stressed out, unable to relax, can’t fall asleep
Endorphin EndorphiGen D- Phenylalanine sensitive to emotional or physical pain, crave comfort, use drugs and alcohol to numb out

Caution: Certain amino acids need to be taken with caution if you suffer from low or high blood pressure, migraines, bipolar, severe depression, asthma, carcinoid tumor, hyperthryroidism, high cortisol, melanoma, schizophrenia, phenylketonuria, liver or kidney problems, cancer, ulcers or are taking MAO inhibitors, two or more SSRI, are pregnant or nursing – see this List & Chart at the bottom of the page.

Neurotransmitter Questionare
Neurotransmitter Diagnostic Questionnaire

Probiotics

When I was really sick, I had real issues every time I tried probiotics in pill or food form. I even tried making my own sauerkraut and kombucha tea (well, my loving wife did). I’d get intense stomach aches lasting 24 hours or longer after taking kefir or probiotics. One time, taking probiotics in pill form sent me to the dark-side – severe anxiety, brain fog, nightmares, and insomnia. This was most likely from the “die-off” of bad bacteria that were being killed off by the good bacteria in the probiotic. To date, the only probiotics I can tolerate are the Natren brand but I can’t say they’ve helped much based upon symptoms.

Nonetheless, I continue to try to find ways to rebuild my gut flora because gut health is so important and we know folks with Biotoxin Illness have poor gut health due to low MSH. Sure enemas can clear the toxic load in the colon but it’s equally important to be introducing good bacteria – ideally in food form but pills are helpful too.

It’s only been recently that I’ve been able to take probiotics in the form of Bubbies pickles and sauerkraut. I actually like their products over and above what my wife can make at home as the microbes that end up populating the fermented food are controlled – as opposed to whatever happens to take hold in batches we make up. Now I know folks have been fermenting food for a long, long time but my feeling is that the air quality today is just so poor that it’s more of a risk than I want to take right now.

Psychological (Mind) Anxiety Treatments

Mind Quieting Practices

Quiet Sea

Take a look at my blog Mold Induced Anxiety. Personally, I find it very helpful to know what’s happening on a physical level. It gives me a sense of control and creates the possibility of healing in establishing a mental road map. This is important for the psyche.

Along with creating a road map, I’ve found various mind quieting practices to be very helpful. Essentially, you’re engaging other parts of your brain in order to quiet down the over-amped limbic system. This is a process that will improve greatly simply by healing your body. I briefly discuss three different programs in the Mold Induced Anxiety blog.

Lisa Wimberger – Neurosculpting (very helpful free podcast)
Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS)
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

Limit Stress

We know that over time, people with Biotoxin Illness will have low cortisol levels. Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone. When we’re stressed, the body increases cortisol levels in response. Given that Biotoxin Illness is a huge stressor both physically and emotionally, it isn’t surprising to me that cortisol levels first rise in response to CIRS (i.e. Biotoxin Illness) and then eventually crash as the adrenal glands responsible for the production of cortisol just can’t cope with the systemic stress – adrenal fatigue sets in.

Among other things, when cortisol levels are low, sleep is disturbed (hard to get out of bed in the morning), we fatigue more easily, and we can’t handle stress. Related to anxiety, I remember flying to Texas a couple years back. Even though the plane and airport felt fine, I was a wreck by the time I arrived. After a phone consultation with Dave Asprey, it all made sense.

Traveling especially by plane is stressful. You’re subjected to high EMFs, higher radiation at upper altitudes, and sit in a very loud box for hours on end. Much of the trembling, heart palpitations, nervousness, and anxiety I was feeling by the time I got off the plane were due to low cortisol and not a mold hit. In fact, for quite a while I was confusing the symptoms of an inability to handle stress due to low cortisol with getting exposed to mold toxins. It’s only years later when I’ve been able to clear much of the adverse health effects of mold that I’ve been able to learn to distinguish between the two.

The bottom line is that you need to minimize stress both emotionally and physically. If you were a “go-getter” like me, that has to change. You need to slow down and learn to breath. You need to concentrate on healing your body. You need to be good to yourself and honor where you’re at right now.

Adrenal Fatigue and Adrenal Exhaustion
Science Proves Meditation Enhances Learning, Memory, Emotions, and Awareness

By the way, spiking your blood sugar by eating a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars uses up your limited cortisol reserves. This happen because when you spike your blood sugar, invariably too much insulin is released causing a blood sugar crash. The body responds by releasing cortisol to help inhibit the excess insulin thereby bringing glucose levels into balance. This is yet another good reason not to eat fast-acting sugars and carbs!

Ignore Harmful Thoughts

Thoughts

I want to share a little insight I had related to minimizing stress. If you’re like me, when CIRS gets bad, you end up fretting about everything and you tend to think the worst regardless of the situation. Life in general seems quite ominous.

Granted, there is plenty to worry about. We’re destroying the planet at a phenomenal rate. However, if you’re sick with Biotoxin Illness, constantly entertaining thoughts about various troubles does NOT help! I know it all seems very scary. The bankers are robbing us blind, the military is loading up the skies with nano particles to modify the weather, and Monsanto is going to kill us all with genetically modified plants and chemicals. However, you MUST set this all aside for right now.

We will survive. It’s human nature to take situations to the limit. It’s how we learn. Even if the race is destroyed, Life will survive. Everything has its time and place and God stands above it all. It’s OK. However it makes sense for you; make peace with the world as it is. Later, when you’re feeling better, then you can pick up a cause of your choice and make a difference.

So here’s the deal. For now, you need to STOP thinking about situations that create stress. You’re hurting your body and psyche! This may sound impossible but it’s not. Even when I was super ill, I learned to simply ignore stressful thoughts. Once I came to the little epiphany that I was hurting my body by dwelling on troublesome thoughts, it was amazing how easy it was to just set all that nonsense aside. I quickly learned to turn the other way in my minds eye. I strongly recommend you do the same.

Mind Over Matter

Stone Art

I want to deviate a bit from the topic at hand and close this discussion on alternative mold therapies with an excerpt of an email I recently sent to a friend with Biotoxin Illness. In writing it, it gave me some clarity around the view that if we simply changed the way we think, we’ll get better. That somehow by simply setting the right intention, remapping enough of our neural pathways, or some other mental approach alone, that our bodies will pick up on this energetic message and heal spontaneously. While I’m not discounting the importance of learning to work with intense illness on a personal and spiritual level, I personally don’t think the full dynamics of spontaneous healing are understood.

I wrote: I know that there are some that believe that all illness is just a reflection of an imbalance in our psyches. However, I think a good part of what really drives improvements in health is that God, or chance, or for some other unseen reasons, our bodies heal. Karmic repercussions (the interconnectivities between all things) are beyond comprehension.

Regardless of the reasons for improved health, we learn a lot about ourselves and Life in the process of being sick. We learn to find some peace with an expanded view of Life that includes sickness and death. However, I think the tendency is to also incorrectly assign way too much value to our thoughts and emotions believing that by thought alone we heal. (It’s all about the little me – ego 😉 )

I’m not saying that it’s not important to work with what comes up emotionally as a way of loving yourself and minimizing additional stress. The benefits of brain re-training are real and obtainable. Furthermore, I find material like Dr. Joe Dispenza’s DC account of how he was able to heal his shattered back through meditative practices alone fascinating. Certainly the mind is capable of propagating amazing physiological changes.

However, I have an equal admiration for just how potent mold toxins and inflammagens are. They’ve been around for a long time and have gotten quite good at disassembling the same frontal lobe in our brain that Dr. Dispenza is trying to teach us to rewire. Still, maybe someone with Biotoxin Illness will, through changing their perceptions and remapping their brain, be able to turn their immune system back on and once again clear biotoxins. I certainly think it’s worth giving a try but I’m also a bit more pragmatic.

What I mean by more pragmatic is that it seems to me that if we were to somehow fully embody the view that thoughts control everything, then we ought to be able to essentially live forever – heal ourselves of any malady. While Dr. Dispenza clearly is very knowledgeable, there are Yogis and the like that make him look like a beginner. And yet, I don’t know of one Yogi that hasn’t gotten old and eventually died. As such, my two cents worth is to take a multi-faceted approach – work with the mind and body.

Granted, there are aspects of us that work at the level of light and quantum physics. As we learn to work with these facets of our Being, there is no doubt that our potential to heal will increase. At the same time, I personally don’t think a person can be deeply spiritual until they’re completely OK with the fact that when they trip and fall down the stairs, it may very well hurt – Life can be painful.

I think that the tantalizing panacea that is offered up in teachings that we can heal ourselves through mind alone is that somehow if we work really hard at these practices that we can avoid the trials and tribulations of life. Such a view stands in opposition to the fact that the nature of this reality is one of opposites. Said another way, you can’t know about light without also knowing darkness. I don’t think that’s changing anytime soon.

Instead, I believe a more balanced view it to try and embrace and incorporate all aspects of this Existence. For me, it’s about lovingly working to remap my brain while at the same time being OK if it all doesn’t turn out as planned. In fact, I actually have this theory I’m working on that suggests that a core tenant of existence on this planet is that all forms of life intuitively and intentionally place themselves in situations of duress as a way of learning and growing and in the doing getting closer to God.

So what I think I’m learning is that in order to get better, we first have to somehow make peace with where we’re at. When we do, our anxious minds settle and we’re able to more deeply perceive the nature of things. Instead of illness being seen as a threat we must overcome, it can be viewed as a multi-faceted gift waiting to be unwrapped or at a minimum, a form of penance that clears the way for deeper understanding.

It’s a slightly bigger picture than one where we’re just in it for our own gain. Instead, we’re working toward surrendering and opening to what is, toward allowing more of Life into our being. The focus isn’t as restricted. Instead of only sending our narrowly focused intentions into the Universe regarding what we want as Dr. Dispenza suggests, I believe it may make sense to also learn how to open, listen, and respond to the Universe as it unfolds on a moment to moment basis right in front of us.

I say this because when I was super sick, there was no choice. I was not in control of the situation. All I could do for a long time was to try and be present to what was happening and respond the only way I could – by letting go of everything. Any effort to try and steer the process through self-will was sheer folly. My body was in complete melt down and any effort to change the process at hand was perceived as extremely painful on a physical and emotional level. In part, I suppose this was a reflection of my brain being disassembled from within.

Still, maybe folks like Dr. Dispenza and I aren’t too far apart. He does talk about surrendering to whatever may come after setting an intention. However, it’s the surrendering part that’s not so easy to do and this, I guess, is the point of this discussion. I know from decades of meditation that it’s so easy for the ego to get involved and when this happens, we feign surrendering while all along holding tightly onto our hopes and fears. In my experience, when this illness hits full stride, it will teach you how to be with and work with whatever shows up on a moment by moment basis. It will teach you how to deeply surrender in selfless, raw, unfettered simplicity.”

Nature Is Crooked
The Mosquito Coast – Nature’s Crooked

Closing

Well that’s enough for this blog. If you feel like you need a shoulder to lean on, take a look on the Paradigm Change website with links to Mold Illness Facebook Groups and Surviving Mold Illness.

9 thoughts on “Alternative Mold Therapies

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post. My husband and I are partway through this mold-healing journey now, and what you’ve written helps a lot. I.E., you helped me get over my ozone concerns, and we’ve now carefully used it to make our car safe to use again. Be well, and Merry Christmas!

  2. What are your thoughts on Mold toxicity and hypothyroidism? My family is doing the Shoemaker protocol and currently doing VIP but have noticed our body temperatures stay very low despite the normal thyroid blood test (Free T4 and Free T3). Average basal temperature ranges 95.5-96.2. and it never researches 98.6 Daily high will be 96.0-97.6 I have taken Naturethroid but it didn’t work. My current thought is it might be due T3 not entering the cell correctly. Your thoughts?

    • Hi Kimberly,

      This is a continuation of the discussion we started in the comment section of the MARCoNS article. Both Dr. Mary Ackerley in her article Brain on Fire and Dr. Jack Kruse in his article Hormones 101: Clinical Thoughts Revealed talk about an inability to convert T4 to T3. Instead, T4 is inappropriately converted to Reverse T3 that then serves to dampen the effect of whatever T3 there is. Before I figured out I had Biotoxin Illness, I did a couple of thyroid panels that came back with very high Reverse T3 so, in my experience, this seems to fit.

      • Have you ever heard Dr. Richie Shoemaker discuss, “Thyroid resistance promoted by an elevation of cytokines which decrease cell sensitivity to thyroid hormones?” Our entire family of five seems to have this issue and I believe T3 might be needed to wake up the cells and bring our temperatures up to normal.
        Your thoughts?

        • I’ve not heard Dr. Shoemaker talk about a link between high cytokines and decreased sensitivity to thyroid hormones. Although, Dr. Kruse and Dr. Ackerley have discussed how stress (ie. high cytokines and higher cortisol) blocks conversion of T4 to active T3. In Low T3 syndrome III, Chris Kresser writes, “Pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are chemical messengers involved in the inflammatory response, have been shown to contribute to Low T3 Syndrome in multiple ways”. I suppose this makes sense biologically. If your body is being stressed, it makes sense to dampen it’s activities as a form of self-preservation. I think if you asked Dr. Shoemaker about thyroid, he’d say that he didn’t find any correlation between CIRS and TSH levels – that those with CIRS had in-range TSH levels.

          As mentioned, I like Stop the Thyroid Madness and Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms. There is a lot to this subject and there are many reasons behind why a person may have hypothyroid symptoms other than hampered levels of T3. If treating CIRS, changes in diet, immune response balancing, and supplementation didn’t work, I think it may make sense to try small physiological doses of thyroid hormones.

          If T3 was lower and T4 along with RT3 were higher, it may make sense to try compounded pure, time-release T3 only. In Stop the Thyroid Madness, Janie Bowthorpe writes on page 178, “Once on T3 (only) long enough and at the right dose, you will see a low TSH and a low Free T4. The lowered T4 means less RT3, as well. When optimal on T3-only, some patients find themselves with a Free T3 lab result slightly over the range without symptoms of hyper. This higher level of free T3 suppresses the thyroid from making T4. It also makes up for the lack of conversion of T4 to regular T3.”

          Otherwise, I think you’re much safer to try desiccated thyroid as it contains a blend of thyroid hormones. Chris Kresser supports this approach when he writes, “That said, I think caution is warranted. Taking T3 when you don’t need it is potentially dangerous. It can significantly upregulate the metabolic rate and lead to cardiovascular complications in some patients. And, if the changes seen in Low T3 Syndrome are a compensatory adaptation of the body in response to chronic illness, increasing T3 levels artificially may have undesirable effects.”

          So personally, I guess I’d try to repair as much damage as possible before stoking the furnace with thyroid hormones. However, at a certain point, a person just gets tired of being tired and cold all the time.

  3. Hello,
    I believe you mentioned this before, but do you think it’s possible to treat people for hypothyroidism before they start cholestyramine? Low basal body temperature (95.5-96.8).
    I’m helping several young people that are fatigued, low thyroid, and still have to work.
    What order would you suggest?
    Thanks

    • Kimberly,

      It’s so wonderful you’re helping others.

      This is a good question but it’s a bit of a stretch for me. Someone with experience with mold and Functional Medicine would probably know best.

      The two best books I’ve read related to thyroid are Stop the Thyroid Madness and Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms.

      Assuming these young folks have CIRS, the possibilities that I can think of related to low body temperature are Anticardiolipins Antibodies (ACA) that turns your blood into sludge, low oxygen availability resulting in poor conversion of a person’s glucose stores into energy, high cytokine levels that prevent active T3 from being available, and low cortisol levels resulting in poor conversion of the T4 into the active T3 form.

      Related to treating for hypothyroidism, I have not read anything that suggests taking bioidentical levels (just enough to provide symptom relief while keeping levels within normal ranges) of a natural, desiccated thyroid would create problems later on – like shutting down thyroid hormone production permanently. Having said this, if it were me, I’d pour over Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms. In so doing, it’ll become clear that gut health, eliminating sugar spikes, avoiding inflammatory foods including gluten, dairy, eggs, etc., modulating a most likely overactive TH1 side of the immune response, taking liposomal glutathione along with Vitamin C & D, and so on, must be addressed before even considering thyroid supplementation.

      Having said all this, I’d go after gut health first. For just about everyone, this means a complete diet change. If the person is really symptomatic, they may not be able to discern what foods are causing trouble. My advice would be to cut out the big groups of inflammatory foods. There is a saying that I like. It’s that you can eat as much as you want of the foods you don’t like. To this I would add, eat a lot of veggies, high quality meat, a couple fruits, and constantly change what you’re eating. You know, I always direct people to Bulletproof Diet and Doug Kaufmann’s Phase One Diet for good starting points. However, if MMP9 is higher or Lyme is suspect, these diets will need to be tweaked so they’re “no-amylose”.

      The key is to bring down inflammation. Diet will help a lot. Omega-3 fatty acids, turmeric, ginger, liposomal glutathione, Vitamin C, and others will help too along with charcoal and clay until Cholestyramine (CSM) can be added in too. If I really had to prop myself up, I’d look into natural desiccated thyroid, Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), or small doses (10-20mg per day) of natural hydrocortisone for 3-4 months and then switch to Aswaghanda (even though Dr. Shoemaker says that steroids should be avoided like the plague and those with CFS have complained of lasting problems after using).

      I have at least one last major article that I want to write that tries to cover some of this. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get to it soon.

      • Our entire family has had low body temp for as long as we can remember. Even with all the mold treatment, the temp has not come up. We’re currently on Naturethroid (2 grains) and our temps are still running low. I have a sneaking feeling SIBO could be involved. I ordered the Hydrogen Breathing test and will keep you posted on our results. I’m not sure what percentage you see that has mold/thyroid/SIBO but I am seeing more and more people that have all the ear marks for all three. Like Shoemaker said, “Once you know the signs you can sit at the airport and pick them out as they walk by.” I read 25% have genetic factor for mold, 40% has thyroid issues, and 20% SIBO.

        • Last time I looked, there are two types of tests for SIBO – Lactulose Breath Test (LBT) and Glucose Breath Test (GBT). LBT is for diagnosing bacterial overgrowth in small intestines farther from the stomach (distal) while GBT focuses on the first 2-3 feet closest to the stomach. When I had SIBO tested, I incorrectly chose the LBT test and the test came back borderline. In hindsight, given that I often had pressure soon after eating, I should have selected GBT.

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