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.