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Consider Mold Mycotoxins in Anxiety, Pain and Addiction

0 2 years ago

Depression, anxiety and chronic pain are some of the most frequent symptoms and co-morbidities that clients present with to Functional Medicine and integrative practitioners. Much national attention is being focused on the epidemic of addiction to opioids, as well as other painkillers including benzodiazepines, along with alcohol abuse because of self-medication for these conditions. It is a major area of interest for the military, as disorders involving chronic pain, stress, PTSD and mood disorders represent the vast majority of military disability.

Toxic mold and mycotoxins need to be considered prominently in any chronic pain or neuropsychiatric syndrome as these exposures are a ubiquitous and pandemic public health issue, with 50% of homes and 60% of commercial buildings having had some type of water damage issues leading to growth of toxic mold species.

it is critically important to obtain a thorough history of exposure to water damaged buildings whether homes, offices [or cars] prior to symptoms starting, and ask if patients are living/working in a current building with water damage or musty smells. At the same time, it is imperative to get a history of head, neck and spine injuries, along with experiencing traumatic events, particularly in childhood.

Those who already have microglial activation and neuro-inflammation from head injuries/trauma are even more susceptible to the neurotoxic effects of mycotoxins. As well as those who have already breached their gastrointestinal integrity and blood brain barriers because of antibiotics, NSAIDs, stress, SAD diet and alcohol.

One of the reasons these pain/anxiety/addiction symptoms are rampant in the military is poor indoor air quality in many of its housing facilities and older buildings, where soldiers and their families are living. [1,2]

Soldiers are often trained in old moldy buildings, get sent off to third world combat zones with a massive amount of vaccines, (which strongly up-regulates their humoral immunity), then suffer traumatic brain injuries in explosions, along with PTSD from the atrocities they may have witnessed. Their brains are on fire. This combination makes them incredibly susceptible to psychotic breaks.

CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES

In the general population 1 out of 3 patients has a chronic pain syndrome. A high percentage experience nerve pain or chronic neuropathic pain (NeP) syndromes which include sensations of numbness, tingling, stabbing, pins and needles. Yet, 35 to 40% of NeP syndromes neuropathy is “idiopathic”.[3] Known causes include alcohol, diabetes, chemotherapy, toxic substances and uremia. An even higher prevalence of pain and neuro-psychiatric issues are seen among veterans, the elderly and indigent populations. These populations are even more likely to live in mold contaminated housing.

Mycotoxins including aflatoxins, tricothecenes, ochratoxins, gliotoxins, and others have been shown to have multiple devastating effects on the neurological system. [2,3] Because these tiny fat soluble bio-toxins intercalate into the bi-lipid cell membrane as well as mitochondrial membranes, they interfere with energy production and can trigger massive cytokine storms, including being potent inducers of histamine release.

Cytokines such as TNFa, MMP9, TGFb, IL6 and histamine are known to be involved in the anxiety/depression and pain cycles. Thus, pain syndromes such as migraine and sinus headaches, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, and exacerbations of previous injuries are common symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning. [4,5]

A small study presented June 2018 by James Dillard, MD, DC, LAC at the 20th congress of- International Society for Human & Animal Mycology showed a prevalence of mold exposure and + mycotoxins in 15 of 15 patients with new onset of “idiopathic” neuropathic pain and neuropsychiatric symptoms after exposure to water damaged buildings. [ 6 ]

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