Mold Illness

December 16th 2019

Host Kimberly King joins Dr. Heidi Arens to discuss Mold Illness. As we progress into the rainy season, it's likely you're going to encounter mold- learn how to make sure your environment is mold-free. Dr. Arens is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner at the Center for New Medicine, and she specializes in integrative and functional medicine. Tune in to learn more!

The advice and informational content does not necessarily represent the views of mother's market and kitchen mother's recommends consulting your health professional for your personal medical condition.

He Aamir King, and welcome to the mother's market podcast, a show dedicated to the Truth, Beauty and Goodness of the human condition.

On today's show, as we progress into the raining season, it's likely that you're gonna counter-mold at some point, either in your home or your office, it can be very toxic to your health, so listen closely and find out all you need to know to make sure your environment is mold-free. Later. We'll tell you what's going on around town.

But first up, Heidi Aarons is a board-certified family nurse practitioner from the Center of New Medicine and Irvine, California.

Heidi received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Point laminar University, and a Master of Science in Nursing from US USA Pacific University.

In addition to her conventional training, she also specializes in Integrative and Functional Medicine, this training is equipped her with an entirely new set of tools to help identify the underlying causes of disease or dysfunction and partners with patients to restore and maintain wellness. And we welcome Heidi to the mother's market podcast. How are you?

I'm great, thank you so much.

You're glad to be here, thank you. It's great to hear your background, and why don't you fill our audience in a little bit on your mission and your work before we get to today's show topic.

So thank you. Yeah, I'm a nurse practitioner, and I have got additional training and Integrative and Functional Medicine, which just means it is a combination of using all modality is to help patients not only reverse disease, but also prevent disease and achieve optimal health. So that may be a combination of conventional, what we call Western medicine or allopathic medicine, in addition to some of the other modalities that help us dig a little deeper to find their root cause of illness and the root cause of dysfunction and help to create balance and order and help people maintain optimal health in every stage of life.

Great, it's nice to know. And today we're really gonna dig deep and we're talking about how to navigate mold-related illness, so let's ask... I'm gonna ask you first question, we know buildings and food can get moldy, but how do people get old? Great question. So yeah, Milnes, some people may have heard of it.

Basically, this occurs when people are exposed to a multi-building, typically it's an inside building that they've lived in, either in a home or in a workplace, even in a car, somewhere where there's been water damage, typically that means a flood, a leak, it could be a large leak from a sink, leak from an air conditioner unit and haunt refrigerators, dishwashers, anywhere where there's running water in a home or building, there can be potential water damage, and a lot of people don't realize that this can actually ignite a chronic illness in some people, and we know that black mold is toxic, but there are a lot of different kinds of molds that me, you may not smell and you may not see, and they can be equally as toxic, and some people don't even know that they have a water damage in their home or office. And so they have a constant exposure that could be contributing to their illness, and there is actually a specific illness, a mold-related illness that people can have chronically, and it causes a host of abnormalities and chronic dysfunction in the body, so identifying it and diagnosing it and treating it actually can get these people living a normal, healthy life again, so... Wow, my mind is going crazy right now, it's scary, first of all, but how do you identify where these mold exposures are... Are their testing to then?

Yeah, there's definitely actually a host of different testing options, if you know that you've had water damage, typically there's been a flood or there's been a leak and you visibly see water damage, you may see the evidence of mold growing or smell... Musty smell. And so those are the most easy and quick to identify, and you would then get the proper mold inspection company out there for testing of that, and then a full remediation, what can be really complex and frustrating is maybe there's more in the home, but you don't see or smell it. And so it's been a former water damaged area, a basement flood years ago, a sink leak that leaks occasionally, but it's been going on for a long time, or even something behind a wall under a baseboard where you don't ever see it or smell it, so you don't even know it's there, but you could be potentially breathing in the mycotoxins that those mold spores are producing, and that's really where the illness comes in...

Yeah, it's really what frightens me to hear this, but how can anyone get sick from that mold exposure, so if it's bad enough, anyone can get sick, all is... We know that molds toxic, and so if it is a highly... An area of the home or building that's highly damage and there's a large mold issue, anybody can get sick, but where we tend to focus is we know that actually about 20% to 25% of the population has defects on their HLA genes, which are part of the immune system genes. And for those people, that 20% of the population, for those people, their immune systems don't melt the proper response, so their immune systems recognize a problem, but they can't mount the proper response to actually create antibodies and help their immune system to actually get rid of these multi these mycotoxins and they circulate in the body, they get reabsorbed in the body and they continue to do damage, so it's those people who tend to come down with a mold-related illness, and it's actually given a name, it's called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.

So this, we call it SARS for short CRS. But these people who have had a mold exposure and they have that pre-genetic predisposition on their HLA genes there, they get sick and stay sick, whereas other people who don't have those genetic defects, they get sick in, their immune systems are robust, they can mount the proper response, and once they're out of the exposure, they get healthy and it's not a chronic problem when those people with the HLA defects get exposed, there's enough response to create inflammation, but there's not enough of a correct response to repair and remove... Is the damage... So what do those symptoms look like, and are there specific symptoms that are associated with that mold-related illness? Yeah, there is actually a host of symptoms, but it can be quite confusing because the symptoms are symptoms that we see in the general public with other conditions, so it can be head-to-toe, it's considered a multi-system multi-symptom illness, meaning there are... You typically don't just have one symptom, there's many... And it's not affecting just one part of the body, it's affecting many systems within the body, so that can be neurologic symptoms like confusion, trouble assimilating new knowledge, trouble with the word finding, you're speaking and you're thinking of the word, but you cannot grasp that word to speak it out, you can have numbness and tingling, electric shocks that are giving you a shock sensation somewhere in the body, you can have lured vision, red eyes, tearing I... Tearing, there can be chronic allergies from mold, so you can have... A lot of people do have mold allergies, they have an IgE allergic response to more, especially if it's ingested from food, but this type of an allergy is a mass sell activation response to creates histamine, which will give you those allergy type symptoms. You will have cohabitation rashes, hives, sneezing, itching, runny nose, watery eyes, those histamine type items, chronic lung issues like a chronic cough, shortness of breath. Actually, in stages, we see interstitial disease and actual lung disease that we can identify on various imaging studies, even asthma type symptoms, they may have pulmonary function testing, and everything is coming back normal. But they have a mama symptoms, so they have wheezing and a cough, introns of breath, but their pulmonary function tests are fine, they can also have gastrointestinal symptoms, so one of the things that goes wrong with this illness actually loosens up the type junctions and our gut and created leaky gut or intestinal permeability.

So with that comes food sensitivities, malabsorption, nutrients, a lot of gut symptoms like gas and bloating, constipation, diarrhea, people get the label of IBS because of those symptoms, but there could be something else causing it, also muscle pains, muscle aching, twitching, frequent urination and trouble with maintaining water and electrolyte balance, so that these people are sweating constantly, they're peeing constantly, they're constantly thirsty and can't get enough hydration or maintain hydration. And then we also see in this chronic inflammatory response, so aches and pains and headaches and general symptoms like I just... I don't feel... Ever since I moved into that home, I haven't felt right, or ever since I went started at that school, I just haven't felt right, or if I go away, one of the key things that we ask people are, if you leave the home for a week, you go on vacation or you go camping, or you actually leave your environment... Do you feel a lot better? Do your chronic symptoms tend to go away when you're out of that environment and then when you come back home, they creep back up, so it can be quite confusing because a lot of these patients have symptoms where they accrue labels over time, they have symptoms that look like chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia, or depression or anxiety, or IBS, or even some neurologic conditions that they're given those labels, but maybe the underlying cause is actually this inflammatory response that is a very wide variety or an array of different symptoms. So is there a way to test for the specific mold-related illness in our bodies?

Yes, there is. We have actually narrowed in on a lot of different testing options, one of the first things we'll do is have people complete a survey of symptoms similar to what I just mentioned to try to identify these clusters of symptoms because they're very unique to what's actually physiologically going on in the body, the other thing we do is the first of the gate is a vision test, a visual contrast screen, and it's actually not evaluating vision in terms of can you see 2020, but it's looking at contrast, are you able to distinguish differences in contrast when you're given images of lines on a screen with a background, really alive, heard of that, and it's because of the inflammation that occurs to the optic nerve and the hypo perfusion, meaning the lack of circulation to the optic nerve that causes an inability to distinguish contrast and is the sites that you've offered this visual... Well, it's actually not new, it's been around actually for decades, in fact, it was created by the military, and so it's been around quite a long time, but we now know that it is very sensitive and specific for this type of inflammation. And so it's a test that you can do on your computer at home, really... The surviving old dot-com website has this test available, it's 15 takes 10 minutes, and it's very easy to do, and it's actually very accurate. You do need to have at least 20-50 vision, and you can wear your glasses or contacts when you take it, but we have people take that test right away, and the symptom survey along with this vision test helps to kind of say, Okay, if both those are positive, we need to dig deeper, and then we can do lab testing, so we are doing regular lab testing in terms of looking at general inflammatory markers, we're looking at very specific inflammatory markers of the innate immune system, so they're often tests that no one has ever run before... And that they're very, very abnormal when we get these test back and it's an old-related illness, especially in someone with that HLA gene defect, we see very clear changes in these blood labs, these blood markers, and then the other thing we do is we start looking at the environment itself is... We do air testing, we will advise people to have a mold inspection in their home or office or wherever the water damage is suspected and do air testing, also drywall testing if there's actual damage on a dry wall or baseboard or something like that. And then the third thing is Army testing, e-r-m-i.It stands for the environmental relative Moline index, and it's actually PCR testing and it's looking for the gene of a mold organism, so whether that mold organism is current and active and alive or dead from many, many years ago, if we pick this up on a test in the home, there's a high suspicion of actual mold damage going on in the home, and so it doesn't necessarily tell us where in the home it's coming from, 'cause you take dust samples from the whole home, but we have people go around their home, get dust samples, also from their AC unit or HVAC unit, and we wanna really look at just in the home to try to identify, is there a high evidence of a mold exposure going on, even if it was a former water damage years ago, there could still be dust floating around with these mycotoxins being released that are continuing to make you sick, and so we wanna identify that right away.

Wow, so you're saying you kind of end with that army and then you can actually test mycotoxins or it's the talk and then a mold spore produces, you can test that in the body through your investing, and there's various theories on whether that's just testing any kind of contamination from food or if it's really testing the relative amount of Michael toxin in the body, we have to pull that macho toxin out of where it's stored, so there's a little bit of a technique to doing that, but that is another option for testing of human body as well, this is fascinating, I had heard this so specific, this is a really interesting information, we need to take a quick break more in just a moment. So don't go away. We will be right back with Heidi Erin.

Welcome back to the mother's market podcast. And we wanna remind you that if you missed any portion of today's show, you can find us on iTunes by searching mother's market or download the show from our website, mother's market dot com, click the link for podcast and listen to past shows, plus download our Healthy Recipes and money savings coupons, all available at mother's market dot com.

And now back to our interview with board certified family nurse practitioner, Heidi errands, and yeah, we're talking about it really disgusting subject mold, but something that's so very important, and mold-related illness. And just Off air, we were talking about the geographic areas that people are most susceptible to getting these... Let's open up.

So most of the time we think of multi-homes or moldy buildings, then we think of, Okay, the most wet places in our country or in the world, and we think that the Pacific Northwest gets a ton of rain, and so that whole entire area geographically tends to be very moist, having a lot of water damage, there's a higher incidents of mold-related illness in those areas for that reason, but also if there's ever a natural disaster, a flood, a hurricane, anything where there's a ton of water damage, downpour of rain, rainy season, where there could be water intrusion into a home or building, that's something to be aware of and to really seek out testing, because even if you're not genetically susceptible with your HLA defects, if the exposure is severe enough, it can override those genes and really affect anybody. If it's severe enough and it's really the immune system that goes haywire with this illness, and so you have a chronic inflammatory response, but also immune suppression with this illness, and so we wanna identify it early.

The other thing is, what we often may not think about Is the coastal areas where there's high humidity, places along the ocean, along lakes, areas where there's just a lot of moisture in the air, it tends to harbor more mold or create environments where mold will grow.

So that's something to be aware of the poor ventilation in a home building, and you happen to be in an area where there's high humidity or high moisture, it doesn't necessarily need to be actual flooding or leaking, but any kind of water damage like that could potentially cause a problem for your health. So that's something to be aware of.

Wow, that's interesting and good to know. I wanna go back a little bit on mold-related illnesses, when it is diagnosed, what does the treatment look like?

So the treatment is actually quite interesting, so most of the time with model Ted illness, we have to start by getting this micro-toxin out of the body, and what happens is MoPro-Duce, it's not so much the mold spore that's producing the list, but molds produce what we call mycotoxins, and these are very toxic substances that in the body create an inflammatory response by raising cytokines, which are inflammatory proteins, the teller immune systems, it's under attack, and so when those of kids start to rise in the body, you get a host of different inflammatory effects, but what happens is the micro-toxin will float around the body, if you have an intact immune system, your liver can break this down and eliminate it, or your immune system can break it down and you eliminate it, and then when you're out of the exposure, you heal and you're fine people with the LA defects, their immune systems respond to the cytokine, but they can't mount the response and build the antibodies and actually eliminate it from the body. So what happens is it circulates through the body and goes to different tissues, but it will primarily go through the liver into the bile, and then we have what we call in Taro-hepatic circulation, where we will re-absorb bile and use it again and again.

And so when those micro-toxins have found their way into the mile, we re-circulate a lot of that, if it doesn't go up to the stool, it re-circulates, and so these people who are struck with this illness, they get sick, and then this is how they stay sick because this recirculation of mycotoxins just keep spoken around the body.

So we actually use a treatment, primarily Coalition, which is a medication that's a biased question, and what that means is it's an old medication used for lowering cholesterol because it binds cholesterol out of the violin, moves it out through the stool.

Interestingly enough, mycotoxins have a very negative charge and the color mean has a very positive charge, and so the coaster amine combined, because of the opposite polarity, binds to the micro-toxin pulls it out of the bill and into the stool and eliminated there from the body.

So we use large, large doses of these by assets of questions over time and titrate people up slowly, and then it pulls the mycotoxins, you get the body burden of mycotoxins out, and then you can start to heal the other components of the immune system, but without getting this mile toxin out... Or excuse me, the toxin out of the bill, it'll re-circulate and they remain sick.

So that's step one. The next step is now repairing first to cell membranes that get affected, so these inflammatory set of kids and this immune dysregulation actually creates ceramics and lipid rafts within the cell membrane and the mitochondrial leaflet that creates sticky cells, cells that stick together, and the cell membrane gets compromised, so it's almost like a shock effect to the cell membrane, which means your ability to get nutrients into the cell is compromised, your ability to get toxins out of the cell is compromised, cells start to stick together and they don't communicate well, so cell to cell communications compromise, that means healing. Overall, healing gets compromised, so we actually do a literacy or an oil change with these people, and we use several different types of lipids that will help to restore the cell membrane, and over time, their membranes become more functional and that detoxification can then occur.

We also calm down the inflammatory response with a number of different things, things that will affect brain inflammation, gut inflammation, vessel inflammation, just to start calming that down, some people will have a resistant bacterial infection in their nose or sinuses from this, and so we use medications to actually get rid of that. And then there's additional things we can do to start healing the brain, one of the testing methods, interestingly is a neuro-quant MRI, which is basically a regular MRI without contrast, and there's another component to analyzing this MRI that will show changes in the brain due to mold, and so as people go through this treatment, we will see that actually reverse... We know the brain has neuroplasticity and can actually heal, and so once people go through this treatment, we can actually monitor changes in the brain and overall healing in the brain over time as they get better, and then we also see improvements in that visual contrast test as well, that is fascinating. Something occurred to me though, and I just wanna ask you quickly, when I think it was when you were mentioning that the mile toxins, do people turn different colors or are only more yellow or is there something visible that you can see in somebody or their eye color or anything...

Oh, that's an interesting question. It doesn't really have to do with like if someone's in John dies because they have liver damage or liver failure... No, it doesn't raise Billy Rubin, so you won't see yellowing on the skin, yellowing of eyes like you do in regular liver disease, but that's a good question, but it doesn't affect the liver in that component.

Okay, so visibly, you typically won't see much in the way of physical, it's internal through changes mostly in turn, although you may be able to see tremors, you may be able to see perfusion, people who are just sweating constantly, you may see other physical signs.

How do you test your home or your office for mold? So there's a number of different things you can do. Like I said, the army testing, which really is becoming more and more well known, it was actually... The army testing was actually created by the Environmental Agency, and it is recognizes one of the ways to identify mold in a home, you can do air sampling both inside and outside the home to compare any mold in the air versus mold just floating around outside from plants.

And then you can also test the drywall or areas of actual water damage on a piece... Supply wood or something like that.

Okay, and if you find that mold is in your home, how do you remediate it?

So this is where you really wanna get a company that knows what they're doing and can come in and create a very safe place to remediate, you don't wanna start re-mediating without creating barriers so that you actually disperse those mold spores throughout the home.

You don't wanna just bring a fan in right away and start spewing mold spores everywhere, so you want people who are well trained to protect the rest of the home, you definitely want to make sure that any area of water damage that you get rid of that damaged area, I don't wanna leave any water damage, wood or plywood or anything like that in the home, and then also, if you do have evidence of water damage, you wanna put two feet away from that area, kind of like we do when we're treating cancer and we're creating... Clean margins, we wanna create clean margins for areas of water damage as well, and you said that that mold is like a cancer, so that's... You wanna get it all right, exactly. You wanna get all of it. And also, one thing that is also very important is re-testing the home afterwards to make sure that there is no more evidence of mold, and whether that's another army test and other air test, you wanna make sure that your home or building or anywhere where you're spending a lot of time is clean, and so there can be a wide range of companies that offer remediation and testing, you wanna find a company for testing anyway, that's a third party company that is gonna come in and just do air testing that doesn't have any affiliation with the remediation portion that's... And that's another thing to know too, just because you wanna make sure that these people have no interest in the remediation portion, that they're just giving you objective testing of the male of great advice there.

How is mold allergy? How is it different than from the mold... Toxicity, illness.

Yeah, so a lot of people say, Oh yeah, allergic told... If I get exposed to multi-food or something, or mold in some kind of food product, I'll get hives or wheezing or coughing or something like that, and if we test them for a mold allergy, they'll have an IgE antibody response, meaning if we test their blood, we'll see, elevated IGE antibodies tumbled. And so that's the adaptive portion of the immune system, this however, is dealing with the innate portion of the immune system, so not antibodies, but really there's a different side of the immune system that gets affected by this, so this is a chronic inflammatory condition from mold exposure, and so it really... It'll be worse if they eat food-related products that could have mold in it, however, the testing and the treatment is completely different, so it's not an IgE mediated issue, it's really an immune system issue, and then if we don't see visible black mold, does that mean that the home is mold-free.

Not necessarily. It's a great question. So everyone thinks of mold is being black, it's visible, I can see it, I can smell it, it's musty smelling, but that's only a couple of different strains of mole, there are hundreds of strains of mold that you cannot see, you cannot smell. So you may not know that they're there, and that's something to be aware of, this can be a very silent disease in that regard, because you don't see it, you don't smell it, you don't think that's a problem.

However, if you are someone who has been dealing with chronic illness, you have chronic ongoing inflammatory issues, you have resistant weight loss or hormonal dis-regulation that's just not getting better, or you've been chronically sick and just not responding to whatever therapy that you're pursuing, one thing to consider as mold or this serious syndrome, and you really describe so many symptoms in there, so I think this is great advice. How often should we test for old?

Well, that's another tricky question, because the testing, the body and testing in the home for old can be expensive, it can be quite confusing, there's a lot of different ways to do it, it's not 100% perfect, so it's kind of one of those illnesses where you have to bring in some objective testing methods as well as the clinical picture and merge those two things together, so if someone's being treated for mold that they're not getting better, you suspect ongoing exposure, and that would require further testing both the home and the office or possibly just keep testing the body, if we not found rid of it, and then if you are in a home where you just don't feel right, you can't see mold, but you have a chronic condition like an immunosuppressive condition, cancer or some kind of immune dysregulation. I think it would be wise to do some investigation, maybe there is some going on here that was never identified, also, if there's been water damage, what you suspect, maybe it wasn't dealt with appropriately. That would be another reason.

Once recovered from the mold illness, how do we prevent that re-exposure, I think you started talking about that a little bit, but what do we do to... So one thing you can do is just be very, very cautious of if you're buying a new home, if you're entering a new office building asking, Has there been water damage in this building that you're aware of? And how is it dealt with? Or how is it tested for... Just being aware of the different methods of testing, a lot of people think, Oh, I had that place for mediated, it's perfectly fine, but if it wasn't remediated appropriately or there's a new water damage that occurs, you definitely wanna look deeper into that also... If you're someone with that HLA defect, you're very susceptible to being exposed again in another building, and so knowing your HLA gene status is very helpful for these people because they know how sick they have gotten, and if they've gotten better, they wanna remain as healthy as possible, you had mentioned earlier about some people do to say, I'm allergic to mold, but aren't we kind of all aerial that depends on the amount disparity, I think it's pretty much toxic and everybody, but if you're someone with that he, defect or it's a chronic exposure or a very severe exposure.

Yeah, it can make you very sick. And so it's good to at least be aware of so that you're aware of the foods that tend to promote mold and then you're aware of also water damage as well, so Heather, what overall advice would you give to people when it comes to mold him... That's okay.

The overall advice is, I think it's one of those illnesses that people don't really know much about, they've heard that it could be bad, but don't really know the severity or why it's so bad, and so just raising awareness of what Moines is and how do you get it... And then how do you get better? I'm really passionate about this investigation because it's, I think affecting a lot of people, 20% of... 20% to 25% of people have this genetic predisposition towards this, and then 50% of buildings have been identified as being having some kind of water damage, and that was actually investigated. In 2011, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, they did a survey investigating homes in the United States, or not homes, but just buildings in the United States, and found that 50% of buildings actually could have some water damage. So this has the potential to affect a lot of people, you can see your passion, and you are very well-versed in this, but that is an amazing statistic to that 50% of buildings have water damage, so... Thank you, this has been eye-opening and scary, but thank you for attacking those great advice a hit and we really appreciate having you on again in the meantime, you can get more information on Heidi, and the website is a center for new medicine dot com. We look forward to your next visit.

Thank you so much. The advice and informational content does not necessarily represent the views of mother's market and kitchen, mother's recommends consulting your health professional for your personal medical condition.