Out of seven mycotoxins tested, I was high on two of them: Ochratoxin A (23.2 in a 1.2–5 range) and Verrucarin A (136 in a .5–1.2 range). All the remaining five mycotoxins were at zero. I've attached my results.
I'm feeling a mixture of relief and fear. These mycotoxins could potentially be responsible for all of my symptoms! That means my symptoms might finally be addressed! I have a hyperactive immune system with many food sensitivities (and I just became sensitive to macadamia nuts, much to my chagrin), chronic constipation, gastritis/GERD, early satiety, insomnia, mental fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and impaired memory (my memory is nothing like it used to be, but I'd probably do fine on basic testing). I have no doubt that I have some degree of mitochondrial dysfunction. I also have an odd pattern of thyroid dysfunction. I hope it's all connected.
Both types of mycotoxins could be caused by exposure to a water-damaged building, but also other things. I’ll need to get our home tested with ERMI, but hopefully it’s fine. My symptoms precede living here. But what if my home is mold contaminated? Scary (and expensive) stuff to consider.
My next appointment with my FM practitioner is on December 19. She is not Shoemaker trained, but she has helped many people with mold illness. With complicated cases, she ends up referring patients to Sonia Rapaport, MD, who is Shoemaker trained (but no longer listed on SurvivingMold.com).
I'm wondering if I should get an MRI with Neuroquant before beginning treatment.
Here's the text that accompanies each positive result (bold emphasis mine):
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a nephrotoxic, immunotoxic, and carcinogenic mycotoxin. This chemical is produced by molds in the Aspergillus and Penicillium families. Exposure is primarily through contaminated foods such as cereals, grape juices, dairy, spices, wine, dried vine fruit, and coffee. Exposure to OTA can also come from inhalation exposure in water-damaged buildings. OTA can lead to kidney disease and adverse neurological effects. Studies have shown that OTA can lead to significant oxidative damage to multiple brain regions and is highly nephrotoxic. Dopamine levels in the brain of mice have been shown to be decreased after exposure to OTA. Some studies have hypothesized that OTA may contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Treatment should be aimed at removing the source of exposure. Agents such as oral cholestyramine, charcoal, and phenylalanine can help prevent the absorption of these toxins from food. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, C, NAC, rosmarinic acid, and liposomal glutathione alone or in combination have been shown to mitigate the oxidative effects of the toxin. Bentonite or zeolite clay is reported to reduce the absorption of multiple mycotoxins found in food, including OTA. Studies have also shown that OTA is present in sweat, which supports the use of sauna as a treatment to increase the excretion of OTA. (PMID 17195275, 16621780, 16293235, 27521635, 22069626, 24792326, 22253638, 16140385, 2467220, 16844142, 19148691, 22069658, 16019795, 18286403, 15781206, 11439224, 17092826, 32710148)
Verrucarin A (VRA) is a macrocyclic trichothecene mycotoxin produced from Stachybotrys, Fusarium, and Myrothecium. Trichothecenes are frequently found in buildings with water damage but can also be found in contaminated grain. VRA is a small, amphipathic molecule that can move passively across cell membranes. The primary tissues affected by VRA are intestinal and gastric mucosa, bone marrow, and spleen. VRA causes damage to human cells by inhibiting protein and DNA synthesis, disrupting mitochondrial functions, and by producing oxidative stress (due to generation of free radicals). Exposure to VRA can cause immunological problems, vomiting, skin dermatitis, and hemorrhagic lesions. Nebulized and intranasal glutathione is beneficial for those exposed to inhaled toxin. Transdermal and liposomal glutathione may also be helpful, especially in combination with sequestrants. Sequestrants bind to toxins in the GI tract making them unavailable for reabsorption. These agents are not absorbed and work best for patients with GI symptoms or those whose toxin exposure is coming from food. Activated charcoal, clay, chlorophyll, and cholestyramine have all been shown to bind mycotoxins. (PMID: 23710148, 18007011, 15342078, 19333439, 20549560, 3376149)