Why do some people become chronically ill following exposure to toxic mold, while others recover quickly? I received an email this week from an individual who vacated a Stachybotrys-infested office three weeks ago and was already much better.
Numerous factors contribute to the mystery, such as the level and duration of the exposure, prior exposures, and the age of the individual. One of the biggest factors involves genetics.
This factor is known as “genetic predisposition” or “genetic susceptibility.” A staggering 25 percent of the population is genetically wired to have a tough time ridding itself of the deadly microbes associated with water-damaged buildings.
For this group of individuals, the invading pathogens are not “tagged” and cleared by the body. Instead, they run freely. The body is then left to deal with the attackers in any way it can—which leads to inflammation, often at the root of chronic conditions.
Toxic Mold, Lyme, and Genetics
I remember the day our doctor shared the results of our genetic testing. The pieces of our family’s health puzzle suddenly fit together. Chris has one of the susceptible genes. I have two multi susceptible genes. I fall into the “dreaded genotype” group: double 4353, a category shared by 7 percent of the population. The implication? Each one of our children will have difficulty clearing these toxins. No wonder we were having a tough time recovering!
The test is a blood test and is available through Lab Corp, and can be ordered by any physician. It’s listed on the Biotoxin Pathway Order Sheet located at this website. The test looks like this on the order sheet:
Test: HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigens)
Lab: Lab Corp
Spec: Yellow, refrig
Interpreting the test results is complicated, but not impossible. The Rosetta Stone, developed by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, offers a summary of the various susceptible genetic types, with directions for interpretation. Dr. Eric Gordon describes the process in his overview of Dr. Shoemaker’s work, titled Biotoxins, Innate Immune Response, and Lyme. Another physician, Dave Ou, M.D., shares his experience with patients who have Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome:
“As of Nov 27, 2012, in my practice, I have tested 227 patients. Out of those 227 patients, 222 have one of the ten types. That’s an astounding 98% of all of my patients who are vulnerable to the biotoxins from indoor mold and Lyme! Another way of putting it is nearly all of my patients come from only 25% of the population. I have spoken to my colleagues across the country and they’ve had very similar findings to mine. I sometimes joke that the HLA DR/DQ gene predicts if someone will get frustrated with conventional medicine and seek out alternative care.”
My lab results appear below as an example. DRB1 is 4. DQB1 is 3. DRB4=53. 4353 is multi susceptible.
As Dr. Gordon states in his overview, this genetic piece helps eliminate some of the guesswork involved in recovery. For those who have not been injured, this type of genetic awareness can help avoid a serious exposure and consequential health issues.
- 37The following list is taken from the book Mold Warriors by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker. These are symptoms of biotoxin illness (biotoxin definition: poison produced by and derived from an animal or plant). According to Dr. Shoemaker, "Symptoms exhibited from the exposure to biotoxins affect everyone differently. This extensive listing is…
Carol Little says
WoW. THis is fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.
Is there a way to find drs who are knwoledgeable about this? My dr said she doesn’t know anything about mold. I have a list printed out of tests to run from Dr Shoemakers website, but haven’t brought it in because Im sure she would need to underatand how to interpret it anyway.
Andrea Fabry says
Functional medical doctors are sometimes more familiar with environmental health. I wouldn’t give up. If a doctor agrees to allow the test, you’ll be able to interpret it yourself which is knowledge and ultimately power for you, Sally.
Hi, I have the mold susceptibility and the ‘dreaded’ geno type for multi susceptibility for mold AND Lyme and multiple mycotoxins. It took me 4 years to get to the right dr but if someone is ill enough and regular MD’s just aren’t picking up on it then you have to look elsewhere. Or there will be serious consequences. I cannot stress this enough. I am currently discovering permanent auto immune issues that have resulted from decades of exposures. If I could have known ahead of time, trust me, I would have sought out treatment by a Functional medicine MD who studies the ‘root cause’ of illness.
Although I’m completely overwhelmed with my diagnosis, I atleast know what’s wrong and how to treat it but it is no fun. Now I am so inflamed from constant exposures, I now react to any mold and it takes me weeks to recover. In fact, I am recovering right now from a meeting at my daughters moldy school 4 days ago. It will take me another week.. I now know Mold is evidently in the meeting room at her school, at minimum. What’s this doing to her you ask? Well she has been diagnosed with dyslexia which comes and goes we now know based on exposures. Mold makes her write backwards. She now has ADHD and severe anxiety. She rapidly gaines weightI even though she eats a very healthy gluten free diet. It’s powerful! And none of our regular MDs figured it out. None!
I use the term ‘I’ve been hit by a Mac truck’ when I describe the feeling after an exposure. Extreme fatigue, muscle weakness-severe, pain pulsing in my legs and head and off and on low grade temp.
For anyone looking for Drs who can treat this…..my best advice is to seek out a Shoemaker certified Dr. Here is his list. http://www.survivingmold.com/shoemaker-protocol/certified-physicians-shoemaker-protocol
At the very least, look up Functional Medicine Drs and call and ask them if they are aware of the Shoemaker Protocol and mold illness. They need to be able to do this HLA genotype testing to confirm your genetics.
I can tell you without a doubt, the treatment works. It can not undo permanent health issues stemmed from the exposure but Functional medicine Drs can help you manage them better than the drug pushing MDs who only treat the symptoms and try to make you feel crazy. It’s slow recovery but I have answers. I’m ok with that.
Good luck to to any of you going through this!
Mary Sue says
What is the connection between Lyme & Mold, other than a genetic factor?
Andrea Fabry says
I like the article referenced in the article that expands the concept of “chronic Lyme disease” by suggesting MSIDS, or multiple systemic infectious disease syndrome, as a more encompassing term for the multiple underlying factors involved in chronic illness. So if the body is battling a tick bite and lives in a toxic environment he or she will have a tough time getting better. From my experience, many people who struggle with lyme later discover they have been living with toxic mold.