Upcoming Virtual and In-Person Educational Events for Patients and Medical Professionals ➜ VIEW NOW

Increased toxic metal exposures in our everyday life

Increased toxic metal exposures in our everyday life

Dr Nafysa Parpia talks with Dr. Lyn Patrick about where mercury & lead is found in
our modern lifestyle and how to easily test yourself

Play Video

It is an unfortunate reality that most people today have a high toxicant load in their body.

From pesticides, to wildfires, to modern home building practices, it is difficult to avoid. Even the simple fact of being born before 1990 means that could likely have high levels of lead in your system.

In this clip from Dr. Parpia’s interview of Dr. Lyn Patrick of Environmental Medicine Education International about detoxing, you can learn about how you are exposed to lead, mercury, and other toxins as well as how to test for them in your body.

Some topics covered in the video are:

      • The global body burden of lead and how it affects the immune system
      • Toxicants in home building such as lead, mold, & mycotoxins
      • Why Lyme is more prevalent in the U.S. now
      • The importance of seeing a doctor who is educated in environmental medicine
      • Mercury’s high levels in both inland and ocean caught wild fish, as well as high fructose corn syrup
      • The surprising way mercury is released into the air from wildfires
      • The federal government database for toxic exposure and how you can ask your doctor to test your own levels.
      • Dr. Parpia also addresses how a high toxic burden can inhibit immune function and your body’s ability to fight chronic infections like Lyme Disease. Most chronically ill patients have a very high toxicant load. Long term low level exposure to toxins can be a contributor to complex chronic illnesses.
Watch this 25 minute clip, or read the transcript below, to learn all the details.

Interview Transcript

Dr. Lyn Patrick

The reality of what we’re dealing with today is we have a significant toxic load. Anyone who was born before 1990 has a body burden of lead, just because of when they were born. In addition to all the other chemicals that are in our environment, we have this tsunami of both mold exposure and mycotoxin exposure as a result of residential and commercial building problems that we have with our building industry that allow for mold growth. And then we have Lyme disease, which is an ever-increasing epidemic as a result of global warming.

 I live in Colorado, and we never had ticks until two years ago. We now have a tick problem. We now have Lyme disease in Colorado. Even at high elevations, 9000 10,000 feet up in the air. It’s warm enough now to have ticks, and so we have a whole kind of a new problem that we’re having to deal with. This combination of toxicant exposure and chronic infection makes practicing Environmental Medicine even more challenging, so thus, even a greater need for that specialty education. But getting to today’s topic, which is detox. What is it?

Dr. Lyn Patrick  

I want to start out with just a little bit of my perspective on this. We know that the actual acknowledgement of environmental toxicant causing disease has been in medicine since the 40s and the 50s. We have pioneers in this area who are MD, medical doctors. Herbert Rinkle, Theodore Randolph, Dr. Randolph, who actually were some of the first doctors to realize that pesticides were hurting people. Remember DDT? We’ve had that available back in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and wasn’t even taken out of commerce until 1972. So, we have a long history of that toxicant and a lot of exposure. However, due to some pressure by the chemical companies, these doctors were basically not listened to. And their assertion that toxicants caused disease was really downplayed.

Even our very young, kind of modern father of Environmental Medicine, Dr. William Ray, who was a cardiothoracic surgeon, as well as running a hospital for environmental illness, or patients who had been environmentally poisoned, he also had a difficult time getting the attention in the medical profession. Certainly, because I think we’ve had this long standing and I want to say, an actual, overt and conscious kind of pressure from the chemical industry to downplay this relationship.

 So, for those of us that now are paying attention, even though this downplaying of the importance of our exposure to toxicants on a daily basis is still happening from, I’m sad to say, even the more astute and educated aspects of the conventional medical profession. I think there’s so much information out there about our exposure levels, that the general public is very clear that there is a constant and continuous exposure that we all have to chemicals every day, and that those chemicals alter our immune systems, our reproductive systems, our nervous systems, our endocrine systems, and basically every system of the body. There’s no system that gets away without being affected.

 Dr. Nafysa Parpia  

Right. The patients that I focus on have complex chronic illness. They come to us with long standing Lyme disease or tick-borne disease, mold, mycotoxin illness, and then those wastebasket terms. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, where the doctors don’t know why they have to put this label on the patient. Autoimmune conditions, for example…

 Dr. Lyn Patrick  

Depression that does not respond to standard treatment…

 Dr. Nafysa Parpia  

Exactly. Nervous system dysregulation, mast cell activation syndrome, most of my patients have all of this all at once. Of course, I’m testing their toxins, their environmental toxic loads. I’m looking for metals, I’m looking for pesticides, insecticides, glyphosate, and I’m looking for their infections. And of course, I’m seeing high environmental toxin loads in this patient population. Once I begin to detoxify them in a way that’s personalized for the patients, I can see that they’re actually able to handle treatment of the infections or sometimes even their infections start to go away. If I detox them first, though, that’s immune regulation right there, just by detox.

 Tell us about the research on environmental toxins and in their contribution to immune dysregulation and complex chronic illness.

 Dr. Lyn Patrick  

Where I would like to start is by telling everyone out there that the federal government, your tax dollars, funds the Center for Disease Control, which has a huge database of toxic exposure in the general population. You actually have access to this. It’s available to everyone. You can look it up. And I’m going to take you to what is called the National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Now, this has been ongoing for two decades. It’s a huge amount of people every two years. They actually have huge buses that go out all over the country and collect urine and blood from people like you and me, large groups of people, 5000 people, 7000 people, and then they look in the blood and urine of those people for over 200 chemicals. And it’s in this database right here.

 So, if we go to this page, which is cdc.gov/exposurereport, and it’s the index for the exposure report, and we go to the actual data tables, which are in this beautiful, little searchable database right here, and we look for, oh, let’s say lead, that’s a good one. And we want to look for blood lead from the year 2011 to the year 2018. Those are the years in which data was actually collected from, as you can see, sample sizes as large as 8000 people. And that was for the years 2011 – 2012. We have actual information about blood lead on these individuals. Here’s the important thing we know from epidemiologic studies that have looked at this database for 19 years.

 There’s actually a recent study that was published in Lancet Public Health by Dr. Bruce Lamphere, who is a career public health epidemiologist. He specializes in blood lead poisoning in children. We know that levels as high as 2.3, 2.6… I’m going to say 2.6, increased risk for dying of a heart attack, or dying of a stroke significantly. Dying of a stroke was more than twice the risk. Just having a blood lead level over 2.6. Now, what I’m going to show you here is that there’s a significant amount of the population that has a blood level over 2.6. They are here in this group. And you can see that. 3.16 back in 2011, up to 2.4.  2.4 is the average, and it goes all the way up to 2.6. The 95th percentile just means the top 5% of the population.

 Now, when you go in to get your blood drawn, and you say, “Hey, I was born before 1990. And I just saw this webinar where this doctor talked about this, (and I have people in academic centers that have agreed with me on this.) that anyone born before 1990 has a significant body burden of lead that increases their risk from dying of cardiovascular disease. I want my blood lead level drawn please.” It is a test you have access to, every lab in the world does it, and it will cost about $50 out of pocket if your insurance doesn’t cover it.

 Dr. Lyn Patrick  

Your physician may say, “I have no idea why you want that. I’ve never read that study.” And that’s because most doctors don’t read the studies, they have no time to read the medical literature, and toxicology, environmental toxicology, toxic metal research is not their thing. But it is true that everyone around the globe has a body lead burden historically, because we put lead in paint. We put lead in gasoline, and when gasoline was combusted, or paint chips became dust that created a global burden of lead. So, it’s in the atmosphere, and it’s in the soil. And it is in old buildings that were built before 1982.

This is a government database that has over 200 chemicals in it. So, if you’re exposed to a chemical, you can get a pretty good idea of what the average American level is in terms of blood or urine. Not hair, and not stool, and not tissue. The CDC doesn’t measure those, but they definitely measure blood and urine. This is an open access database. I don’t have any secret passwords. Everyone has access to this. Every physician has access to this. They just don’t know how to use it. And they don’t know how to interpret the data in it. That’s what we teach our doctors to do. So that when they do have patients that they suspect, for example, I’ll give you a great example of a patient. A woman who had an old home, she has several, four children, ages 2 – 15. She had painters come to paint her home because the paint was chipping and they really needed to repaint the entire outside of the home.

 According to the law, when you have an old home and you’re going to repaint it, you have to bag that home. You literally put a plastic bag around it, so that all of the dust from the paint that you’re sanding off gets captured, because that dust could have lethal levels of lead in it. So, the company was not up to snuff in terms of following the law. And they did not bag the house. There was a lot of dust that was breathed in by her and her entire family. During that week, when the entire house, a big two-story house, was sanded, her blood pressure went up significantly. One of her children became very sick. He got headaches, he was lethargic, he got stomach aches. Because she was paying attention, she took her entire brood into the physician and forced them to do blood testing. Her lead level was 45. Standard lead level is between 0.5 and 1.5. That’s the average here, you can see the geometric mean for 2017, 2018 is 0.7. So this was many, many, many times above the average. So, while she and her children had to actually be treated for lead toxicity, this is not an uncommon occurrence.

 Dr. Nafysa Parpia  

No, I see this in my patient population. In fact, I’ve had many patients come to me, they’re in a state of chronic Lyme, all of a sudden. It is likely that they had the tick bite a long time ago, but their immune system was able to keep that Lyme in check, as the immune system should be able to do that. But they lived in the house when it was being renovated, or they moved back in three days later.  I test their blood; the blood level is high. And I do some tests to look at chronic Lyme, I’m looking at T cell tests, not just antibody tests. Sure enough, they are fighting Lyme right now and they have a high blood lead. But they weren’t finding Lyme prior to moving back into the house.

 Dr. Lyn Patrick  

It’s really great that you bring this up Dr. Parpia. Because we think of lead in kind of toxicologic terms, right? It has the capacity for causing cardiovascular disease. There are neurologic or brain related problems with lead. They can cause abdominal pain as well in an acute setting. However, lead also has an effect on the immune system. There’s a great study done in Poland, where they looked at levels of lead in utero, so in moms who were pregnant, and then they followed those children up until they were nine years old. The children that were born to the moms who had the highest level of blood lead had significant risk for severe allergies. This was, I think, the study was done in the 90s. A little while ago, but not that long ago.

This is a connection that most doctors don’t make, that these toxic exposures are immune toxicants and affect the immune system. The reason I brought up the mercury tables here is that this is another metal commonly found high especially in patients who eat fish. The US Forest Service did a study of all the inland lakes and streams in the United States in 2011. They published the study, and they found out that 50% of all the fish, we’re not talking about the big ocean tuna, or the big ocean shark or other big ocean fish that are high in mercury, like swordfish. These are inland fish like trout and bass. They found out that 50% of the inland fish had levels of mercury or a chemical called PCBs that were higher than the allowable EPA level in fish.  And this includes wild fish.

 Dr. Nafysa Parpia  

My patients will say to me, “I’m eating wild fish, though. Shouldn’t that take care of it?”

 Dr. Lyn Patrick  

These are all wild fish, stream reservoir and creek fish. I paid attention to that, because I was very tuned in to fish as a source of mercury. So here we are, again, the Environmental Protection Agency as an agency, you can see levels of mercury in people are rising. They’re not going down over time. If you look at the population from 2009 to 2010, which sadly, is the latest data that we have, it’s 10 years old, you’ll see that in the top 5% of the population, levels of mercury are over the safe level that the EPA actually allows for blood mercury. So, 5.0, and this is microgram per liter, whole blood, is the top. In other words, you can have blood mercury over 5.0. But there you’ve got it. 5% of the American population is actually mercury toxic.

 Now, as a physician, I know that the data shows me that levels as low as 1.0, which is somewhere in here, between the 50th and the 75th percentile, so at least 25% of the population has blood mercury levels high enough that it can alter thyroid function. We know that thyroid disease, autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, or autoimmune thyroiditis is a huge problem in the United States of America, as it is around the world. Mercury is one of the toxicants that is involved in autoimmune thyroiditis. And so here, we have evidence from a government database, that mercury exposure in the United States population is significant enough that 25% of the population could be having symptoms of toxicity, at least from an autoimmune standpoint, as the result of their exposure to mercury through fish.

 I’m not going to talk about amalgam fillings, because that’s a whole nother sticky wicket. It’s not that it doesn’t cause problems. But that’s very hard to diagnose, from a medical standpoint. That mercury doesn’t end up in the blood, it ends up in the urine, but there’s no direct correlation between having an amalgam filling and having a blood urine level. 

So, you wanted data, this is a huge, huge database. Look at this. In 2009 – 2010, 8700 people in the study. You know, when we look at statistics, we always want to try and figure out as scientists, what is the necessary population that we need to study? How many people do we need to study to get statistical significance? And if you look in medical literature, you know, a huge study is considered 5000 people. Huge study! Most studies are 200, 300, 400 people. This is almost 9000 individuals. Repeated, these are not the same individuals every year, it’s a different population. So, you’re really looking at 32,000 individuals studied over the period of 10 years.

 Dr. Nafysa Parpia  

Most of my patients are Mercury’s hovering in the 90th, 95th,  above. They’re lucky if it’s 75th percent when they’re coming to me. Remember, my patients have complex chronic illness, and they’ve got autoimmune conditions. And so, I’m seeing this in the trenches with the patients.

 Dr. Lyn Patrick  

I believe because of your locality, being in California, which is more of a fish-eating population than Kansas or Indiana or landlocked states, that don’t have a lot of water bodies, you are looking at patients that may be exposed through their dietary intake.

One thing I’ll mention, just because no one ever talks about this. High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener, right? It is used a lot in a tremendous variety of foods, everything from instant oatmeal to barbecue sauce. I was one of the authors on this paper. We published a study looking at the mercury in high fructose corn syrup because of the manufacturing technologies that are used. Mercury is actually used in the manufacturing of high fructose corn syrup. It is another dietary item that is contaminated, not on purpose, but contaminated nonetheless with inorganic mercury.  We actually published that study. I worked with a bench researcher at the Food and Drug Administration who was very concerned about this. We actually sent a sample of high fructose corn syrup into NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to get it measured. They actually corroborated that these samples of high fructose corn syrup were contaminated with mercury. So you may also be seeing that. A population that’s eating a lot of high fructose corn syrup.

 Dr. Nafysa Parpia  

A lot of our patients come from all over the country actually. So for even the ones from California, still, I’m seeing that. But one thing I’m seeing in California since a fire season has developed, that started over the past four or five years, we didn’t have fire season before. Now it’s every year without fail, unfortunately. I’m seeing mercury levels higher in people than I did before. I was researching the reasons for that.

 Dr. Lyn Patrick  

There’s a reason for that, as you know. I guess we have to talk about it. Conifers, trees that have needles, like ponderosa pine trees, my area has a lot of ponderosa pine trees, actually will take up mercury from the soil. Well, to start, where does mercury come from? When coal is burned in plants that are making electricity, that coal contains mercury from the earth, from 1000s of years of compression. Mercury does exist as a metal in the earth. When the coal is burned, that mercury is released, especially in China, where the scrubbers on the electric plants are not that great, the coal burning electric plants, and it actually floats all the way across the Pacific Ocean and lands in California, as well as other parts of the United States and Canada. Conifers will take up that mercury and actually store it in their needles.

 An amazing researcher from the University of Washington actually was able to trace the release and movement of mercury from wildfire smoke into the atmosphere. So sadly, I think that our recent spate of wildfire smoke exposure that’s been happening since 2015 across the West, has released more airborne mercury. We do take that in atmospherically. We breathe that in, and it does stay in our bodies once we’re exposed to it.

 I think you brought up a really important, this whole topic now of the complication that all physicians are seeing, whether they deal with it or not, is the complication of daily exposure to toxicants. And either the resurgence of what were well controlled chronic infections, or new chronic infections as a result of these exposures, because they’re immune toxicants, as well as continued exposure to mold and mycotoxins from building.

 Dr. Nafysa Parpia  

It’s a big deal for these patients.

Interested in Becoming A Patient?

Find out if working with Gordon Medical is right for you. Set up a complimentary discovery call with our new patient coordinator.

Biotoxin Issues, Complex Chronic Illness, Detox + Toxins, Environmental Illness, Lyme Disease + Coinfections, Nafysa Parpia ND, Toxicity, Video Blogs

Protecting Your Health during Wildfire Smoke Season

Protecting Your Health during Wildfire Smoke Season

Drs Eric Gordon and Nafysa Parpia talk about what you need to know
to stay healthy with smoke in the air

Play Video

Every year, the wildfire season is affecting more and more people. Smoke from fires can travel thousands of miles, carrying with it heavy metals, molds, and mycotoxins.

The first point of entry into the body is through skin, sinuses, and lungs. This exposure can have acute symptoms such as:

  • Lung irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Sinus irritation
  • Skin irritation

In some people, acute symptoms can even become chronic, causing secondary inflammation that can affect the GI, brain, heart, liver, kidneys – all the organs and the immune system!

In our wildfire webinar, we covered:

  • Things you can do in your home to protect yourself
  • Personal protective strategies
  • How acute symptoms can become chronic
  • Symptoms we see in our patients who have had prolonged exposure including brain fog, lung weakness, sinusitis, and more
  • The trends we are seeing, including higher heavy metal loads
  • Who might be at most risk
  • The intersection of acute COVID and COVID Long Haul and wildfire smoke
  • Q&A with live participants

Don’t miss the Q&A at the end, where Dr. Gordon and Dr. Parpia go deeper into what the consequences of wildfire means for the chronically ill, and for everyone.

But the good news is that we’ve been working with this population for so long that we have some answers.

As a reminder, you need to take wildfire smoke seriously – we have seen so many people with underlying inflammation who can go through months of brain fog and a flare of many other symptoms after smoke exposure.

Resources Mentioned in the Webinar

You can view the slides from the presentation here: https://gordonmedical.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Fire-Season-and-Your-Health.pdf

Webinar Transcript

Dr. Eric Gordon – Welcome, everyone. Unfortunately, fire season is now a season. This is not good news for all of us. But it’s what we have. And there’s plenty of things to do to help protect ourselves. We’re going to do our best to give you some ideas and talk a little bit about what the risks are. We’re not looking to create fear. We just want to be real, so we can really take care of ourselves.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia – Welcome. We’re just so happy to have you here with us.

Dr. Eric Gordon 00:39

Yes. And of course, that’s Dr. Nafysa Parpia.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  00:44 

So, there are a lot of chemicals released when trees, houses and everything else burns. We’re here to talk to you about, about that, how to protect yourselves,

Dr. Eric Gordon  00:56 

…and what we have to worry about. There is lots of stuff that happens when you burn things. But what we’re most particularly concerned about, probably number one, is what’s called the fine particles. These are the ones that are less than 2.5 microns in diameter. The bigger ones, the 5-10 microns often are trapped in our nose in our upper airway, so they can be irritating, but it’s the smaller ones that can get into the lungs and cause inflammation. The problem with these things is they’re very light, and they can drift thousands of miles away from their original source. 

When bulldozers are creating firebreaks, they wind up disturbing that first few inches of soil. And this can launch these particles into the air. Unfortunately, they can contain mercury, and, and even mold. That was one of the surprises they found from the fires down south, how much mold got released into the air. And most of it was from the bulldozing,

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  02:09

I have to say that soon after fire season, I started seeing elevations in people’s blood lead, and blood mercury. Just the acute exposures is what I’m talking about. Mercury is likely higher in people’s blood now post-fire season, because certain trees draw up the mercury that unfortunately was polluted into the soil. So, the trees carry it. And when those trees get burned, that mercury gets released into the air again, and also lead from houses that were built before 1978. When they are burned down, that lead gets released. And sure enough, I’m seeing these two metals elevated for people in blood and the urine. 

This slide talks about the acute impact on the sinuses and the lungs. The acute impact would be from exactly where the smoke enters: the skin, the eyes, and the lungs, of course. So, the first symptoms you’re going to experience would be a runny nose, throat irritation, coughing, sneezing congestion.  I’m sure you’ve all experienced that if you’ve been in fire season. Then, of course, into the eyes, you can get itchy eyes and skin irritation. So, the first point of entry. Of course, these can then become chronic issues. We start here, though. 

Dr. Eric Gordon  03:46

Okay, that is the coarse particles. As I said, the 5-10 microns, they can deposit the upper respiratory tract, but the smaller ones get deeper into your lungs. Then the issue we really have is that the inflammation isn’t localized to the sinuses and lungs. Once you have an area that’s inflamed, it has a system wide effect. The cytokines, these inflammatory chemicals, those all are a system-wide, a body-wide effect. We’ve seen this in our patients for years, but especially with long COVID. When even though there’s very little evidence that there’s actually virus in the central nervous system, but there are the markers of inflammation are elevated in the central nervous system and in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). We know that inflammation any part of the body creates systemic issues.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  04:50

Okay, to talk about the systemic impact of wildfire health smoke, which is often forgotten by laypeople and medical practitioners as well, is that we often get focused on the organ that’s making the most noise at the time. Maybe it’s the lungs in wildfire smoke. We might focus on that. For some people it might be the gut, but we must remember that inflammation is a body wide process. If the irritant is affecting a particular organ, that will be the most obvious sign or symptom. But when we measure the inflammatory communication molecules, the inflammatory cytokines, we see that they’re upregulated throughout the whole system, they’re not just organ specific. They’re upregulated throughout the bloodstream, and affecting all the organs to a greater or lesser degree.

Dr. Eric Gordon  05:49

Basically, the thing we’re concerned about is, obviously the acute exposure, but also the fact that these chemicals and toxins set the immune system off and increase our susceptibility to other infections, not just upper respiratory things. The inflammation affects the respiratory system, but also the cardiovascular and the neurologic systems. We saw it in studies coming out of Mexico City, actually, and other places since then, that exposure to particulate matters and smog cause premature atherosclerosis, even in young people, and also premature degenerative dementias, or maybe they don’t quite make dementia. They’re not seen in the person yet, because these are often very young people that unfortunately have died in car accidents and such. But in the brain, there are signs that would that would be considered consistent with dementia in older people.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  06:57

If someone has long-haul COVID, or they might even be in acute COVID during a fire or during fire season, and then their susceptibility is increased. We see this with our patients, whether they’re in COVID, or long COVID, or they have chronic tick-borne illness. They’re more susceptible during fire season. 

There are small particles that can settle deep in the lungs. These are 2.5 or smaller microns. The smallest particles are less than 0.1 microns. They can get from the lungs right into the bloodstream. These are the ones that irritate the immune system. There are studies showing an increase of autism near highways, because when the tires go at high speed, and the rubber breaks down, that creates toxins that are tiny particles. This is shown in research. And in experiments, they’ve seen that these turn on the level of NF Kappa B genes. These are the genes that increase our self-protective mechanisms, and particularly increase TNF-alpha, interleukin six, interleukin eight and other inflammatory cytokines. 

Now, these inflammatory cytokines would produce transient inflammation, which is the first part of the healing cycle. We need these inflammatory cytokines in the beginning of an insult, whether it’s these toxins or perhaps an infection. It’s when these just keep going on, when it’s not a transient inflammatory cytokine rush anymore. People can be stuck with a rush of inflammatory cytokines. If you really have long COVID, COVID, or the illnesses that we deal with, that our patients deal with, and you’re susceptible, you’re more susceptible to inflammatory cytokines just not being transient anymore. They’re stuck in a loop when you’re in a fire or we have smoke exposure.

Dr. Eric Gordon  09:15

So, we measure the inflammatory cytokines and we see that’s one of the signs that people have chronic diseases. Our concern is that, there was a study published actually from Harvard last year that showed the elevated levels of the fine particle pollution that we’re talking about, that actually probably lead to increased symptomatic COVID. And also probably increased in the people who were severe the chance of them winding up in the hospital, because, again, it’s an additive process.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  10:01

Preparing to minimize your wildfire smoke exposure can prevent a further exacerbation of prolonged persistence of acute COVID or post COVID long-haul. And also, I’m going to say, in our experience, tick-borne disease and mycotoxin illness. There certainly is an intersection between wildfire smoke, and COVID. And wildfire smoke and complex chronic illness. 

Dr. Eric Gordon  10:37

The people who are most affected by wildfire smoke, are, of course, anybody who’s already inflamed, because it’s not good for any of us. But the ones who are at higher risk really should be more careful during fire season. The most vulnerable people are those with chronic illnesses, and respiratory or cardiac symptoms. Even things like diabetes, because we often forget that that also is chronic inflammation. And, of course, we have to worry more about pregnant women and fetuses, because again, the immune system is shifting during pregnancy, and you are a little more susceptible to the dangers of acute smoke exposure. The very young and the very elderly, also, again, have been to do with modulation of the immune system. 

But our biggest concern are the people who work outdoors, and especially the people who like to exercise outdoors. We’ve seen too many people running around when there’s smoke or when the air is unsafe, and this is something to really be careful about. We’ll talk more in further slides. In the last two years, unfortunately, we have the whole issue of COVID, long-haul COVID, vaccine injury. These are all people who unfortunately, the wildfire smoke may trigger.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  12:12

We want to consider SNPs, there’s a lot. You’ll see a list of some SNPs, which are single nucleotide polymorphisms. These are just small changes in the makeup of your genes. We all have them. It’s about how they express biochemically. Some can make your enzymes work faster, some can make your enzymes work slower. Then there’s some SNPs that deal with glutathione metabolism and the ability for glutathione to act as a as a detoxifier. That’s limited in some people. There are some genes that increase reactive oxygen species and some that decrease them. 

So, there’s this combination of genes that can cause some of us to become more susceptible to environmental toxins, including those from wildfire smoke, and for some of us to be less susceptible. We don’t think that everybody has to measure their genes. We think it’s great information to have, if you want it, it gives us some insight. But we do think about these things as a way to understand why some people will be susceptible and some won’t. Why there’s variability in people’s responses.

Dr. Eric Gordon  13:37

So, we learned a lot about inflammation, having worked with patients with inflammatory diseases for a long time. We see that exposures to things like mycotoxins, the first thing is to minimize exposure. Unfortunately, we can’t leave for fire season, or most of us can’t. What we need to do is prepare our homes and our bodies. 

I think the first thing is just preparing your home. This is one time when a really tight house is useful. I think a lot of people have developed some environmental illness problems because we may have houses way too tight for many years trying to keep warm. We have problems with indoor air pollution because of that. A tight house and a gas stove and gas cooking are probably not a great thing. But during fire season, a tight house is a good idea. You need that protection. Make sure the windows and doors are sealed, the vents are closed, and use your air conditioning or heating. 

Minimize what you do in the house. Don’t burn candles. Don’t use gas stoves if you can avoid it. Watch out for even simple things like vacuuming, probably not a good idea. If you need to vacuum something, a small handheld HEPA vacuum might be the best. But swiffers during fire season are your best bet. Because anything that disturbs the airflow in your home may move toxins or particulate matters that have settled down around the floor. Using a swiffer is the best way to clean that up.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  15:34

You really want to have a good HEPA filter on your central air or central heat so you can be filtering your indoor air. These are recirculating units, so they’re not bringing outside air in when you’re using them. You wanted to try a HEPA filter that’s equivalent to a MERV 17. This will help maximize your indoor air quality. A good idea is to consult with your HVAC providers. We also like to have small room filters as well. They’re very, very helpful. We like Air Doctor and IQ Air, and there are others as well. 

Also, you want to make sure that your antioxidant system is well balanced. 

Before we talk about any supplements, there’s just so much that you can do that doesn’t cost anything. You want to pay attention to your local air quality ratings. This way you’re going to know your risks. I like the AirCare app, one that tells you when to limit your outdoor activities and minimize outdoor exertion. I’ve seen just way too many people running in the smoke. I want to tell them, “Don’t do that!” Running in the smoke is just too much too much impact on the lungs. 

 Wear an N95 mask if you have to go outside. Or if you’re highly susceptible. Maybe you have long COVID. Maybe you are chronically inflamed, because you’ve got chronic tick-borne illness. For example, if you need to go outside you want to consider a half mask, a respirator with the P-100. Cartridge. This is a big deal. It’s a big thing. If you’re susceptible, you want to use that. The N95 will protect you from about 95% of the particles. The P-100 cartridge protects you from 99.8% of the particles and it also filters out oil based particles. 

You want to keep your indoor air as clean as possible. As we discussed in earlier webinars, you want to make sure that you’re drinking only filtered water.

Dr. Eric Gordon  18:01

So, supplementation. We all take supplements. I should say that most of us take supplements. a lot of the times. Probably in the past, when food was food, and we exercised in our regular life, and stress was not as consistent, maybe we didn’t need as many supplements. But these days, I think supplementation is probably needed, and especially in the wildfire season. It increases the emotional stress, and the physical stress of inhaling the smoke also is a great producer of free radicals. 

No one supplement is going to work for everyone. Once you’ve got your basics: that healthy organic diet, maximizing fresh foods, minimizing the packaged foods. And remember, no matter how healthy and wonderful packaged foods sound, they’re not the same thing as fresh food. 

In the better part of the year, when there’s no smoke, increasing the physical activity as much as your body can deal with. There’s nothing like that to have your body’s ability to create and also get rid of the reactive oxygen species, which is part of being healthy. Unfortunately, a lot of the patients that we see just can’t be physically active enough to really push their systems. So, we have to supplement. 

Some of the basics that I think that everyone should be making sure they’re getting is basic B vitamins, but especially vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D, and things like N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). It’s inexpensive. Many people do well with using glutathione supplementation, but that can get expensive. And N-acetyl cysteine is helpful right there. Broccoli extracts with the sulfurophanes will help your body be able to detox some of the other chemicals a little bit better.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  20:19

And last, but not least, is your mental and emotional wellbeing. Allow yourself to process your emotions. Fire season can be a very emotionally difficult time. Especially if you’ve lost your home. And even if you haven’t lost your home, your loved ones may have lost their home, while you’re walking around in this twilight. It’s intense. Seek spiritual solace, whatever that means to you. Some people pray, some people meditate, some people sing, some people just use grounding with the earth. Whatever it is that that helps uplift you. Be sure to do that as much as you can. Make sure that you’re connecting with friends, family, community as much as you can as well. We can’t stress how important the emotional and mental wellbeing for everybody is during such a stressful time. With this global pandemic, we’re all are in global trauma. We’re all going through with this pandemic. And now on top of it, fire seasons. 

Dr. Eric Gordon  21:35

I’m hoping that we can do some question and answers, because there’s some other things that people can do for personal protection that I think I’d like to get into. 

Someone asked a good question: Would someone with that with the glutathione s-transferase M1 deletion need to protect their health? 

Well, again, the probably NAC will help, and also the broccoli extracts. Remember, the good thing about the body is that it’s redundant. Everything it has, you know, the glutathione s-transferase M1 is a very common SNP. You’re not doomed if you have it. Supporting the other aspects of glutathione by making sure you have more and making sure that you have adequate vitamin C and vitamin E, you will be able to get around that.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  22:43

You also want to have the cofactors that help with your methylation system onboard. Amino acids, minerals, selenium, magnesium, for example. I want to also have molybdenum onboard. All of these are cofactors. B vitamins for your detoxification system to actually work. If you have some deletions in your glutathione snips, maybe you have one, maybe you have a couple, your body has a more difficult time detoxing. All of a sudden, you’re in fire season, your toxin load has increased. If you add glutathione, it could be difficult for you. So, you want to make sure that you shore up on all of these cofactors. I like to test the cofactors on my patients. Sometimes you don’t need to. That test is expensive. You can just take some vitamins and minerals.

Dr. Eric Gordon  23:43

I think what Dr. Parpia was saying that was so important, is this idea of supporting the whole system, because very few of us have SNPs that leave us in mortal risk. There are snips that can do that. But those are illnesses that usually will get you really ill or kill you before you’re ten. Those of us who make it past ten fairly healthy, we have pathways that get around any of these SNPs. That’s the important thing to remember. They’re not your future. You’re going to always be sick because you have a SNP.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  24:30

Patients come in, they say, “I’m doomed! I have this SNP.” That’s not true. You do have other genes that can get around where you have the SNPs. But we do think that the genes are important. And like I said, if you do have issues with methylation or with glutathione SNPs, you want to find ways to support that, which is using the cofactor support.

Dr. Eric Gordon  26:29

Question: Can you go into more detail about how inflammation can spread throughout the whole body? 

Basically, how our system works is that when you create inflammation, local inflammation is never just a local event. It is mediated by your immune system. The first neutrophils, or the white blood cells, that are in the area where something is irritated, they quickly start releasing chemicals called cytokines and chemokines. So especially chemokines, these signals would call other white blood cells, especially your macrophages, and then in time your T-cells and B-cells. So, it’s a system wide event. Usually, the body is pretty good. If it’s a very mild inflammation, infection, or irritation, the body’s able to contain that noise. So even though you’re releasing some of these chemicals, they’re very low amounts. 

Things people talk a lot about, IL-6, IL-8, IL-4, these are some of the ones that help trigger the systemic signs of illness, such as fever and fatigue and malaise. But they have to get quite high to do that. So mild, not a big problem. But if the inflammation is significant in the lung, it’s signaled throughout the body, and these inflammatory chemicals are floating there, and ricocheting off each other. Basically, that’s what vaccine reactions and post and long COVID, probably is predominantly. Long COVID, there could be some element of clotting, but there’s a lot of just persistent immune activation. 

Now, when the body’s working the way we want it, as soon as you start to get inflammation going, you also start shutting it down. And it’s those breaks that often aren’t working when we develop chronic illness. Sometimes it’s because a chronic trigger is still persistent. That would be like if you were living in an ongoing polluted environment, you would have a low level of persistent inflammation. 

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  29:32

Question:  Are you still doing glutathione nebulizers for smoke?

Yes, we are. We do find that nebulized glutathione is very, very helpful. So yes, but that’s for our patients that we see.

Dr. Eric Gordon  30:02

Somebody else was asking a question that applies to that.  

Question: How do we get the things that are stuck in our lungs out? 

Well, the good part is that the lung is very good at cleaning itself. Some of the very tiny particles, they can lodge there, sometimes forever. But most of the time, our lungs are able to slowly move them out. They can be absorbed into the body, sometimes, because you have macrophages and lots of other immune cells, eaters, these little cells that can take up foreign things, and get them into the circulation and then into the lymph and then get them out of us.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  30:51

I want to go back to the question. So, when do we use nebulized glutathione, what Eric was talking about was very important. And the nebulized glutathione helps to prevent that. We’ll see people who have inflammation in their lungs, and we have them do a trial. These are our patients, have them do a trial of nebulized glutathione in the office first, before we have them do it at home. You don’t want to just get a nebulizer and do it at home without instruction from your doctor because you’ve got to make sure you’re doing it the right way.

Dr. Eric Gordon  31:23

More importantly, very rarely, there are some people who get a flare of asthma with glutathione. It’s a rare thing. But it can happen, depends how your body metabolizes some of the prostaglandins that can be turned on. 

Question: Now, the other part of the question that this person had was the levels of dampness or dryness affecting the lung mucosa. And also, the effects of how the smoke and fire-retardant chemicals for the fire stick in the lungs. 

As I said, we depend on the lungs surfactant, and a lot of the lung’s immune system is just that. Is being able to basically eat or move things up into the mucous and expel it. That’s what our system is pretty good at doing. Extremes of dryness and moisture can affect the lungs. Very, very dry air, of course, will make things harder. Very, very moist air generally isn’t too much of a problem for the lungs, they can they can deal with that.  

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  32:52

But, with extreme moist air also comes mold issues. After fire season, we’ve seen a lot of mold issues come up as well. People are more susceptible because of the inflammation due to the fires. I would say that N-acetyl cysteine helps a lot in loosening up the mucus. The glutathione will help with bringing the inflammation down. And yes, you mentioned the breathing exercises. Those are really going to help as well. Some people though, they can’t even do breathing exercises because it’s so intense. This is when the nebulization of glutathione is very, very helpful. And then if these persist after fire season is over, then I’m definitely assessing my patients for mold and mycotoxin illness because it is connected to the fire season, unfortunately.

Dr. Eric Gordon  33:55

People are asking about nebulizing NAC, and that can be nebulized as well. Again, it’s the same concern. There’s something about the sulfur, because NAC is cysteine, which is a sulfur containing amino acid that can trigger asthma in some people. It’s very uncommon.  I looked into this the first anthrax scare we had. I was part of a group writing a paper about natural treatments for anthrax exposure. Anyway, we found this out, and so we’ve been careful with these inhaled sulfur compounds just because of this possibility. So don’t do it at home the first time. 

Other people are asking about other things to nebulize safely. I think the most important thing to remember is, you really should be talking to your physician before you do these things, because unless you’re a chemist, you can easily make a mistake in the concentration of what you’re doing. And the poison is in the dose. What’s just so important for people to remember is that you can really hurt yourself with using very safe things at the wrong dose. You can read about it, but please, be careful.

We’re in this crazy world right now, where many good ideas die because people do them inappropriately. Then the media and the mainstream medical establishment, which doesn’t look at these things, then just uses it as a bad example to trash the whole system. Be careful. Don’t just try anything. 

Question: Somebody asked about premature people. 

I don’t know for sure. But, you know, when babies are born prematurely, they do have inadequate surfactant in the lungs. That usually repairs, but I’m not sure if it repairs completely. So, I would have to have you talk to a pediatrician about that. 

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  36:46

Question: Our brand of N-acetyl cysteine?

 I like to use Pure Encapsulations or Integrative Therapeutics. 

Dr. Eric Gordon  36:57

My advice about supplements is that if it’s an expensive supplement, then you want to make sure that you’re buying it from a reputable manufacturer and a reputable place. Cheap supplements, you can be pretty sure you’re probably going to get what’s on the label. Expensive supplements you buy on Amazon, you may not be getting it because there’s money to be made. So, a little buyer beware there for the real expensive stuff. 

Question: Please compare the air purifiers.

This is a question I wanted to do a deep dive on. But the deeper I went, the less I felt I knew. Even the people that we work with, who are specialists in Environmental Medicine, and I’m talking about the people who come and inspect houses, and this is their life. They don’t agree on what the best air purifiers are. We mentioned two brands, because we were fairly comfortable with these. The experts in the field, they feel that these two do a good job. But the thing about air purifiers for the home, they only work in one room pretty much, even if they say they’re good for 1500 square feet. If there’s a wall between you and the air purifier, it’s not doing much in the other room. Because it really takes air circulation. 

The other thing to be aware of, it’s good if you can to move it around a little bit, because you set up air currents in the house. If you keep everything running the same way, you can wind up clearing only part of the air. They’ve seen this with rooms they filled with smoke (for testing) and you have an air purifier. You can have a few feet that are clear of smoke, but there’s still smoke above and below. So, it’s good to have a little bit of airflow in the room. You don’t want to put in a very large fan, because again, that’s going to stir up particulate matter that might have settled during this fire season. 

One last thing is one of the experts that I talked to did recommend the IQ Air Atem. It’s a very small air purifier. It’s about the size of a dinner plate. And you can use that for people who are very sensitive, just near your face when you’re sitting at a desk for long periods of time or when you’re sleeping. It’s a very good HEPA filter and at least it will reduce your direct exposure. Especially if you have your house fairly clean. This could take it to the next level for you.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  39:44

Question: What about breathing exercises?

 There is an Ayurvedic breathing exercise that can help the lungs and also the thyroid. You want to take a deep inhale for five counts. Look up for three, come back to center for three, and then exhale for five. That is said to help with the thyroid and the lungs. 

Question: How about sinus issues?

The sinuses are located very close to the brain. There’s a nerve, it’s called the olfactory nerve, and it hooks right beneath, right behind the sinuses, going literally into the brain. Now, we know that mycotoxins can cross the blood brain barrier, and inflammatory cytokines can cross the blood brain barrier. And I’m not sure if some of these particles from the fires can. Maybe they can, maybe they can’t. But I know that the inflammation that they cause can cross the blood brain barrier via the olfactory nerve. A lot of our patients have sinus infections. And now after fire season, they’re more susceptible to these infections, because it’s more inflamed up in there. And it’s drier, and the drier it is, the more infections, the more infection prone, we are in our sinuses. And so, we want to make sure that we do treat the sinuses.

This is complex, it’s definitely not a one size fits all treatment. We do test our patients to see what infections are in there. It could be bacteria, funguses, biofilm, or MARCoNS, which is common in our patients. Inevitably, there are those infections there. I’m seeing layers of infections in people’s sinuses lately. It has a major impact on the health of the brain. How to treat it? I can’t give you a protocol right here, right now. Because I don’t know you, and I don’t know what your issues are in your sinuses. I don’t know what bugs you have in there. But definitely I work to bring inflammation down in the sinuses first. Could be with nebulized glutathione. Then I’m working to kill the infections. Maybe I’m nebulizing, an antibiotic or some herbs. And then I’m using neuroimmune peptides to bring inflammation down. Afterwards. Maybe I’m using RG3 to help with the mitochondria of the brain. That’s not a peptide, but it certainly helps with that. Or maybe using C like or, or Semax. Those are peptides that that are neuroimmune stabilizers. What I found is if you’re using those peptides first, it doesn’t help so much. You want to bring down the inflammation and kill those infections in the sinuses first, and then bring on the neuropeptides. 

Dr. Eric Gordon  43:13

Just to reinforce that, the problem of this new season we have, this fire season is with people who have a tendency to sinusitis or just sinus congestion.  If you feel pressure in your face regularly, and you can’t breathe through your nose intermittently, you’ve got an issue there. Many of us just live with it. But as Dr. Parpia was saying, is it can affect your cognitive function too. I’ve been surprised ever since I’ve watched Dr. Parpia really treat the sinuses aggressively, how much it helps people with brain fog, who have improved without us doing a whole lot else. 

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  43:59

Because the olfactory nerve connects to the hypothalamus. That’s the master regulator of your hormones, so it’s going to affect your hormones when you have sinus issues. It’s going to affect even adrenal output. You could become moody, you could have brain fog because of the sinuses. What I have to say about the sinuses is really, really important. Once we treat the sinuses, very often that brain fog is going to lift or it’s easier to then treat the hormones. They start to balance even more as well.

Dr. Eric Gordon  44:38

Question: What type of tests do you use? 

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  44:44

It’s by Microbiology DX. Yes, and it’s a swab. 

Dr. Eric Gordon  44:50

You can ask your doctor to order that. That’s an easy test to do and not very expensive. 

Question: Someone asked about the P-100 Mask.

No, it doesn’t deliver fresh oxygen. The P-100s are half masks. This is not something that most of us would need or use. But it’s very useful if you happen to have a really sensitive system. And God forbid, if we are in another one of those years, like we had in 2017. If you have heavy smoke, and you’re very sensitive, and have to go outside and do things, it’s probably worthwhile. For most of us who don’t have severe lung issues, or severe inflammatory issues, the N95, just to walk out and do things is probably fine. But minimize it. One important thing, don’t go out and, and do chores outside until that air quality gets into the good range. And even the good range is probably not so good. Below 50 is considered good. But really, good is probably below 10 or 20. But in this day and age, it’s sort of like many of our markers. We’ve normalized them for our abnormal world.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  46:19

Question: Any idea what parts of California, Oregon, Washington do not have these wildfire smoke exposure issues? This issue is becoming more and more common, which is why I asked.

I would say that these particles can travel for 1000s of miles in the air, then they go into the water. The water goes far. So even when there was Fukushima, those toxins were …. Eric, do you remember how far they went?

Dr. Eric Gordon  46:53

They came here. But luckily, a lot of them dropped out over the ocean. 

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  47:00

But toxins spread far. So, I don’t think that it’s limited to only certain areas of Washington or California, I think it’s widespread. And our patients come from all over the country.

Dr. Eric Gordon  47:10

I think it just depends where that fire is. And since fire can be anywhere, the fires in Washington affected us (in California). Obviously not as much as the fires here, the Camp Fire or the Tubbs Fire. 

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  47:26

I was saying is that our patients come from all over the country. And I’m seeing higher metals in people lately from all over or I’m seeing higher solvents in people from all over. Is it only because of the fires? I don’t know. But I think that yes, I think there’s a correlation.

Dr. Eric Gordon  47:48

The research that’s been done has been really helpful to show this. So unfortunately, I think just like global warming, it’s a global problem.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  48:20

Question: Someone says, I understand, just intuitively, that the direction winds tend to blow, that being at higher parts may be more safe.

Dr. Eric Gordon  48:33

God only knows. Wind blows everywhere. 

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  48:42

Question: What about the metals in vaccines?

There are some vaccines that have metals and there are some that are that don’t.

Dr. Eric Gordon  48:48

As far as I know, the COVID MRNA vaccines don’t have any, at least any significant levels that people have measured, especially with mercury. That was used to be our big thing. When you were giving kids their 20 or 30 shots, which are now more, and they had metals and they had mercury, it was significant. Now they’ve cut a lot of it out, but not all of it. And yes, some of the flu shots that people are getting have them. But again, I don’t think that’s why we’re seeing the increases across the board. The fires are probably the most efficient way to spread toxins. That’s what’s been so surprising and so upsetting to me is we do our best to try to live healthy and yet we’ve created a world that’s making those hard.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  49:44

Our patients go, “I eat organic. Why is this happening to me? I eat so healthy what’s going on?” When they look at their labs, they’re so disappointed to see the high metals and or to see the high chemicals. It’s not their fault. It is just by virtue of being on the planet right now. We were talking about the genes earlier. Many people, when you look at them, have SNPs in their genes of detoxification. So, when we look at someone’s SNPs, side by side with their toxins, there’s a lot of correlation that we see. When you look at that, their symptoms, and it all correlates.

Dr. Eric Gordon  50:22

I see a lot of people who are on really fairly strict organic diets, and yet, occasionally, their glyphosate is the highest we see. So, there’s something more happening. Probably it’s water and food storage that’s causing the problems, but it’s an exploration. It’s something that luckily, a lot of people are now beginning to pay attention to. Hopefully, we’ll get some really good research out there, and help us all help ourselves and each other.

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  50:55

To wrap it up, the big takeaways are that the fires can affect the sinuses. People have increased environmental toxicants, mercury, lead, pesticides, insecticides, solvents, and increased brain fog, due to the sinus issues. These are the chronic issues we’re seeing. We’re seeing COVID long-haul being exacerbated, we’re seeing complex, chronic illness being exacerbated. But the good news is that we’ve been working with this population for so long that we have some answers. I feel I feel grateful that we’ve been working with people who’ve been they’ve been so sick for so long and helping them along, I think that we can help with this new set.

Dr. Eric Gordon  51:59

Basically, what we’ve learned from chronic illness applies to just wellness. The most interesting thing is all these years, we felt we were just treating chronically ill people, and now we discover that healthy people respond to the same things, especially when they’re stressed. 

So, thank you all so much for your attention. 

Dr. Nafysa Parpia  52:34

Thank you.

Biotoxin Issues, Complex Chronic Illness, Detox + Toxins, Environmental Illness, Eric Gordon MD, Nafysa Parpia ND, Video Blogs

Mycotoxins and Immune Responses with Dr. Eric Gordon

Dr. Eric Gordon talks about mold toxicity and secondary immune responses versus direct toxic effects

The mycotoxins didn’t cause the autoimmune disease… they go in there and they damage how your body talks to itself.

Then — depending on how you’re lined up, you can have rheumatoid arthritis, you can get manic, you can develop severe OCD. It’s not that the mycotoxins caused that. It is how your body responds to it.

Play Video

Dr. Gordon joins the Natural Evolution Podcast with Michael Roesslein, for another episode in this 2-part series diving into the nuances of mycotoxins and immune responses – including how to understand the differentiation of direct toxic effects versus secondary immune responses and the role mycotoxins can play in a variety of conditions.

Did you miss Part I? The first part of this 2-part series is available for listening now! Listen to Episode 18: Chronic Inflammation and the Important Cycle of the Cell Danger Response.

Podcast Transcript

Michael Roesslein: And we’re live. We only did 27 non-recorded minutes at the beginning of this one. We’re back with another episode with Dr. Eric Gordon, which, you probably just listened to the last one. We’re going to do a follow-up, which is going to be awesome. Dr. Gordon, thanks for coming back, doing two of these. I appreciate it.

Last time, we talked about the cell danger response and mitochondria, and what happens in the body with, well, we actually got into post-viral infection syndromes on accident, and a whole bunch of other things about chronic inflammatory conditions, and how that keeps the body in a state of disease, and the different mechanisms by which it happens, and how there’s no such thing as localized inflammation, really, that when there’s inflammation, there’s inflammation everywhere and what that does.

Today, we’re going to talk about what is really one of the hottest topics in the functional medicine world is mold, and do a deep dive into that. But if anybody didn’t catch, last time, I’m going to give a little intro, before we get rolling.

It’s not chronological, you don’t have to have listened to the last one before you listen to this one. So you can stick around here, then go back and check out the other one, if you haven’t listened to it.

But Dr. Gordon, MD, is the president of Gordon Medical research Center, and the founder and ownere of Gordon Medical associates, a private medical practice in the San Francisco Bay area, specializing in complex chronic disease. In addition to clinical practice of over 30 years, Dr. Gordon is engaged in clinical research.

In 2007 – 2009, he created a series of medical symposia bringing together leading international medical researchers, and cutting edge clinicians, focusing on chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, autoimmune diseases, and autism, among others. And he has now combined forces, in some ways, with Dr. Robert Naviaux and his research into metabolomics, I always can’t say that word, mitochondrial function and chronic inflammatory disease.

I’ll just give the disclaimer, because I remeber, you did last time, that you mostly supply the patients, and Robert the brains. So…

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah.

Michael Roesslein: That’s in a nutshell, and he’s also our doctor that we work with, personally, with Mira’s, I don’t even know what to call them anymore, multiple, maybe kind of, sort of autoimmune conditions that might be something else, and definitely suck when they happen, and he’s helping us with that. So we work directly with Dr. Gordon ourselves.

And so, mold. I know when this airs, you’re going to be in screening or hosting a Mold in Mycotoxin Summit. Editor’s Note: The Mycotoxins and Chronic Illness Summit 2.0

Before we got on air, I said, “10 years ago, something like a Mold in Mycotoxin summit, everyone would be, ‘What the hell are they doing, or why are they talking about that?’”

Now, over the last 10 years, I’ve watched mold go from some fringe thing that only weird, fringe-y, “I’m really sick forever, and don’t know what’s going on” people would be talking about, to it’s almost the firts thing now, when somebody comes in with some sort of chronic disease, they’re, “Is there mold in your house? If you check for mold, is this mold toxicity?”

What is going on? Is there more mold? Is the mold more angry, or are we more susceptible to getting sick from it?

Dr. Eric Gordon: Wow, it’s always nice to start off with a question that I don’t have a great answer for. Awesome.

Because you got to go back, is that, remember that Dr. Crook, and I’m blocking on names, but he was one of the leaders back in the ’70s, was writing about, in those days, it was Candida people followed on, but that there was something about chronic mold exposure, and mold carriage.

That’s an area that we’ll touch on, because there’s controversy over that. But anyway, but I believe it’s an issue.

That was a big deal, even in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, but it was a big deal only in, what, in those days, we called the alternative medicine community, which was much smaller and less part of the population.

And that is a good question. Do we have that much more, or do we have that much more awareness? On one level, I think we have that much more.

In a way, if you think of it, like autism. Autism in the ’60s was a rare condition, okay? Dr. Sidney, Sid Baker, who is, I consider, one of the deans of autism in America.

He’s now a little bit older than me, so he’s old, but he was at Yale in the ’60s, and actually, he was already, probably the late … Yeah, the early ’60s, he was in school there.

And he said, “When there was a kid with autism, I mean, all the residents went to see, it was rare. This was an event. This was a rare disease.”

Now it’s, I don’t know, one in 60, or one in … I mean, it’s insane.

It was one in 10,000, maybe 20-30 years ago. I mean, so things are changing.

Michael Roesslein: When I was growing up, we heard about it, but it wasn’t like we would have known. I didn’t know anybody who was diagnosed on the spectrum in any way. Not within my school.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah. Well, the concept of the spectrum was something that I think we, that’s maybe a little newer. It was always there, but I think it was newer. But the amount, it seems to be going like wildfire.

I don’t think it’s just diagnosis, especially for the more severe forms of autism in young kids where they really aren’t able to function in the mainstream. A lot of people are on the spectrum can do fine with a little coaching. But there are lots of kids who just, the environment, everything sets them off.

Anyway, my point is, is that things have changed. Now, I think there was a lot of this before, and it was just unrecognized, but really, I have to admit, I hadn’t thought about this question, but it has dramatically increased now.

We started dealing with mold toxicity, remember, I’m sorry, I said, Dr. Crook. I can’t remember the other doctors who were famous for the yeast early on, the yeast connection in many other books, and I said in the ’70s, ’80s, early ’90s. But Dr. Shoemaker really brought us out in the early 2000s. He really got mold as being an issue.

Now, you remember, Dr. Shoemaker is now saying that he thinks that 80% of the problem in water damaged buildings, anyway, isn’t just mold, but it’s Actinomyces. It’s a bacteria that feeds on water damaged materials, just like mold does.

I mean, basically, mold and these bacteria are ubiquitous, they’re everywhere in the environment. You can’t get away from them, but they don’t tend to produce toxins, unless they get a lot of food for free.

That seems to be the interesting thing about toxin producing creatures, if you will. The same thing seems to happen with the red tides, where you have a whole lot of single cell organisms that are all capable of producing toxins, but don’t usually do much, and then, suddenly, just literally changed the color of the water. [crosstalk 00:08:26].

Michael Roesslein: I lived in Florida for a little bit, and I saw and smelled a red tide once, and it’s something to behold.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah. Okay, well, those are algae. I mean, these are single cell organisms, but the point is, they don’t seem to happen, unless they get in a huge food source. Because it takes a lot of energy to make toxins, so you usually save it.

Michael Roesslein: Which are mold, the mold in people’s homes, or in offices or buildings, or things that are going to cause health problems, that’s generally from water damage, of some kind?

Dr. Eric Gordon: Well, yeah. When they grow, yeah.

Because we see that they’re there, but without moisture, most of them can’t reproduce to the level that they’re going to start producing enough toxins.

Michael Roesslein: I got it. A significant amount of, yeah.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Right. Because just, seeing, we all get, you see a little mold around a window sill, I mean, that’s a hint that you’ve got excess humidity. So you should take it seriously, but that’s usually not what’s making you sick. It’s usually inside your …

Michael Roesslein: It’s the wall covered in mold that’s behind your drywall that you don’t see, or the floor covered in mold underneath the tile, that you don’t see.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Exactly, yeah.

It usually takes quite a bit to get you. But again, those are telltale signs that the humidity in the house will be too high.

There are a few molds that can grow in low humity, but something called Wallemia. But basically, most of them need a fair amount of [crosstalk 00:09:57].

Michael Roesslein: So it’s a combination of, there’s more people getting sick from mold, that’s true. And we are much better at recognizing it, or especially diagnostics.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, but you know, definitely-

Michael Roesslein: I’ve seen eight different mycotoxin tests get released in the last five years.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Oh, yeah. Well, no, and I was working on one myself. No, no, there’s definitely, I have to say, I think it is getting worse. I can, because I know we saw mold people for a long time. I said, when I first started doing this stuff in the ’80s, and really got into it, and full-time in the ’90s, we saw a lot of people with mold, but like you say, now it seems like almost everybody, well, not everybody, but, a lot of the people with chronic Lyme also now have a mold on top.

And it could be also, remember, what’s changed is, our buildings have become much tighter. Now, that’s a great way to increase humidity, and trap it in the house, is a tight building. I mean, I’ve lived in old houses, and old houses can have a lot of mold. But they also have a lot of ventilation. And that can make it [crosstalk 00:11:12].

Michael Roesslein: You can call it ventilation, you can call it unsealed roofs, I mean …

Dr. Eric Gordon: Well, well, okay.

But yeah. No, I think, put it like this, air exchanges. [crosstalk 00:11:19] …

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, a lot more air exchange between the inside and the outside, yeah.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Right. If you’ve got a house that’s got one air exchange an hour, well, you got a really tight house that you’re going to have … If you have a little bit of mold, you can have a big problem. Okay?

Just the same way as you hook up the same problem with the off-gassing from the chemicals in your house. Because, I mean, these will all play roles, and it’s very hard to piece out which is doing what.

Because it is that you think it might be the mold. But if you have a really tight house, you might be just having a lot of volatile, organic compounds from stuff that you bought.

Michael Roesslein: In carpet, furniture, cleaning products, yeah.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, exactly. Because the thing that determines the level of symptoms is your genetic susceptibility. Because the reason we have such arguments over the validity of mold, and as a cause of illness, because I mean, remember, people are still fighting about this.

I mean, we know that mold can cause illness. That, everybody agrees with, okay? But the idea that background levels in houses, or how do you say, moderate levels in house, where one person is sick, and five others are asymptomatic. The fact that that’s…

Michael Roesslein: Yeah. Why is that?

Dr. Eric Gordon: Because we’re different. Hey, one guy can eat …

Michael Roesslein: The mold has been a factor in all three of Mira’s flares. There’s been a mold exposure that was involved in all three of them, and I didn’t get sick.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Right.

Michael Roesslein: So, I mean …

Dr. Eric Gordon: Right. And especially, because, she wound up, she’s a very good example of how this can be indirect, is that she wound up with an autoimmune disease, of where her immune system lost its balance. This is a very good example.

And mold, usually, I mean, there’s one mold, what is it, mycophenolic acid, that we even make into a medicine called Cellcept, that’s used as an immune suppressant.

Michael Roesslein: Interesting.

Dr. Eric Gordon: But for her disease, for instance, that’s why it’s always so important that people understand that the immune system is all about balance. If you suppress your T health, the regulatory parts of your immune system, you can wind up with an autoimmune disease.

Normally, we think of T-cells suppress, I mean, immune suppressors, as treating autoimmune disease, because they do. But there are natural ones that can actually suppress or down regulate the cells that would actually control your immune system from overreacting.

One of the things we have is that if you knock out your cells, that being your NK cells, your Natural Killer cells. Well, the, suddenly you can get a lot of viral flares. And it’s not because…

Michael Roesslein: You get cancer, right?

Dr. Eric Gordon: … You won’t get cancer. But I mean, it can happen, probably, with mold. It can happen. I mean, that’s what COVID does. It knocks down your NK cells, your Natural Killer cells, and a lot of your cytotoxic T-cells.

That’s why people have a lot of flares of viral infections. some people with Epstein-Barr and stuff will flare after COVID.

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, I saw that one study that showed pretty high correlation between high levels of Epstein-Barr, and more severe COVID.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, but it’s probably …

Michael Roesslein: But cases, it was pretty statistically relevant.

Dr. Eric Gordon: … Yeah. But it’s probably because you’ve lowered the cytotoxic T-cells, which means …

Michael Roesslein: The COVID drove up the Epstein-Barr.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Well, well, and so, suddenly, the Epstein-Barr can come out and play, before you can suppress. So it’s this lack of linearity, which we keep coming back to. You know how I talk about things that we have to remember.

So, mold illness has gone up. I mean, that’s what we’re seeing, because we’ve been treating this a long time. We always have talked about what to treat first, and I always look at the progression of things.

When we started really understanding that all these things were happening in the same patient we’d see, our people, we thought, had Lyme disease. Then somewhere in the late ’90s, early 2000s, we started to go, “Oh, my God, they have Babesia, also. You have to treat the Babesia first.”

A little later, we realized, “Oh, Bartonella is the big part here.” So the teaching became, “You got to treat the Bartonella first,” and those are “kind ofs.” But they’re not, people took them as absolutes, because people like rules, but sometimes, you do need to come out …

Michael Roesslein: It makes things easier to have a set of order, that you have to treat things in, though, or an order that they happen in.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah.

Michael Roesslein: I mean, we’re pattern recognition brains. We need to have that kind of …

This is where these treatments become more of an art than a science, when you have to factor in the …

Dr. Eric Gordon:

Well, that’s, you see, you said it right there. Our brains work, our brains are designed to be good engineers, okay? That’s what we do really well is, we can do, be a good engineer.

But when you’re working with things, that they’re, when you’re from the inside, you can’t be just an engineer. Because you don’t have all the data, and you can’t measure things completely. So you really are much more of an artist, but you got to keep the engineer piece happening, but just don’t think it’s everything.

So yeah, it is nice to realize that there often is a level. Just like now, we realize, is that you often have to treat the mast cells, before you can treat the mold. And you often have to treat the mold and the mycotoxins before you can get to any of the bugs.

And whether you have to treat the viruses or the bacterial ones first, that kind of depends more on the person. And it always depends more on the person, okay?

It’s not an absolute. But it makes sense that when the mast cells, those are your immune cells, these are the most primitive immune cells. I think we talked about them last time, maybe we hit on them.
They really talk right to your nervous system, that’s one of the things, I mean, all immune systems have neurotransmitters on them, and release and respond to serotonin and dopamine, and stuff like that.
But the mast cells are really keyed into the brain, and they often talk right to the nerves, to the vagus, because they’re in the tissue, and they’ll feed back the information. So, if those mast cells are really reactive, it’s very hard to do much in people who are overly sensitive without setting them off, without getting the mast cells to be a little quieter.

But it’s a circle. Once you lower the underlying inflammation, the mast cells will tend to quiet down, and stay quiet, even. So mold, I just say, has blown up, and it’s like I’ve lived with it.

I said you asked me what sounds, that I’m thinking about it, it’s such an obvious question. Why is this suddenly such a big deal? And yeah, because I do remember, mold was a thing, and we treated it.
I remember when I first got to California, there was an ear, nose and throat doctor in San Francisco, who was measuring IgG molds. Because that’s something most doctors don’t do. But molds cause more of an IgG immune response, not the alert. Because, usually, when we think of mold, we think of allergy, which is a byproduct.

Michael Roesslein: Which is IgE, right?

Dr. Eric Gordon: Which normally is IgE. By definition, it’s IgE. See, this is the engineering brain again. They defined allergy as being mediated by IgE. So if it’s mediated by IgG, it’s not an allergy. Okay?

Michael Roesslein: Because we have to have a name for it, but the person gets sick.

Dr. Eric Gordon: But the person gets sick. You get headaches, you don’t feel good, and that’s one of the important things that I like people to understand about mold illness. You can have mold allergies. You can have allergy to mycotoxins. Or you can have a toxic affect from mycotoxins.

Michael Roesslein: Let’s stop for one second. I just want to cover that word. Because we’ve said “toxin,” and molds produce toxins, and we’re using the word “mycotoxin.” A mycotoxin is not a mold.

Dr. Eric Gordon: No.

Michael Roesslein: A mycotoxin is something a mold produces. Is it a byproduct, or a metabolite, or is it actually a weapon? What’s the …

Dr. Eric Gordon: It’s a weapon. I mean, it’s how mold bacteria and molds produce toxins to kill other bacteria and molds, penicillin. I mean, these are all infectious toxins.

Michael Roesslein: We think it’s a medicine, but that’s because it kills a whole bunch of things when you take it.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Right. Exactly. But all we …

Michael Roesslein: Yeah. It’s a medicine to me, it’s a poison to the other things that are in my body.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Right. And it’s produced by bacteria, and molds. Actually, molds produce bacteria, so I’m sorry, penicillin is NC. So mycotoxins are just what molds produce to protect themselves, to make more growth area that’s safe for them. The thing is, when they’re in nature, there’s so many of them. And they’re all fighting for survival, that production is usually on the small side. Unless they get into a really large colony.

Michael Roesslein: Okay, because they’re fighting on the microscopic level against a whole bunch of other things, and rarely in nature are you going to find a wall of a certain kind of mold …

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, right, exactly. They can, pretty much …

Michael Roesslein: We’ve created the environment for that to exist.

Dr. Eric Gordon: To exist. So mycotoxins are part of the fungal world’s immune system, in a way. Okay?

I mean, that’s it. It’s just how they deal with other critters, and our bodies are perfectly capable of dealing with low levels of these, by either making an antibody to it, or just chemically breaking it down, binding it.

Glutathione’s a big deal, because a lot of these guys bind sulfur, take two sulfur atoms, and bind to them, and glutathione can offer that, and then sacrifice itself, and get rid of this thing. But if you’re not good at making glutathione, you will get sicker quicker, if you get exposed to a lot of these mycotoxins.

So that’s the neat point to remember is, you got molds, and you got mycotoxins, and you can have allergy to mold. You can be somebody who maybe eats, some people have trouble with food that’s been out for a few days, any kind of yesterday’s lunch, to some, people can get them sick, because mold does grow. And that little bit of mold will cause a reaction.

Usually, that’s an allergy response, the mold, I mean, occasionally it’ll produce enough mycotoxin, that maybe they’re that sensitive to the mycotoxin levels. But most of us eat stuff that’s been sitting out for a day and don’t notice it.

Other people have to wash their fruit in hydrogen peroxide. Because if they don’t, the amount of mold that’s on the outside will cause allergic reactions. So, in part …

Michael Roesslein: Yeah. So I guess we could talk about that, because that’s one aspect. Because yes, more people are sick, yes, we’re recognizing more, yes, we’re building more buildings that make more mold. But there’s more people, percentage-wise, of people, that if you put them around the mold now, they’ll get sick, then there was 20 years ago.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Probably, probably.

It sure looks like that, it sure looks like that, yes.

Michael Roesslein: I’d like you to solve that problem right now, and tell me exactly why that is.

Dr. Eric Gordon: As I said, I think it’s the same reason. We’re looking at death by a thousand cuts. Everybody wants to be one thing. EMFs. I mean, EMFs screw with our body’s ability to dance with [EDs 00:24:12].

I mean, it’s like, if you’re a great dancer, you can ignore that your partner is klutzy. But if you’re not a good dancer…

Michael Roesslein: If you were trying to dance with me, for instance, you could still look good.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Right, right. But it’s the interactions, it’s the balance of things. So you’ve got EMFs, they’re screwing with how your body can inform itself, in information flow, energy flow in the system. But for most of us, it’s fairly mild. For some of us, it’s really big.

Again, it seems, in my worldview, it’s probably, it just varies. If you’ve got other toxins, if you’re eating, I mean, what we’ve done to food.

Okay, so food. I mean, the EMFs, I think, are bigger than we know. But that’s a hard one, because unless you’re an engineer, it’s really hard to parse what’s real and what’s not.

Because the information, if you’re not grounded in physics, it gets quickly into places we don’t know. I know enough to know that it’s real, okay?

And I know enough people who, you can just see how you can cause nausea, headaches, inability to think, by being in the wrong environment, and you take them out of that environment, and half an hour later, they’re better. I mean, it’s really clear, you just shut the electric off in the house, and they’re better.

So it’s clear that they’re telling us, that a lot of that, these EMFs are really important, from a million different reasons. But I just think, the food, I mean, you can’t get away from the food and water.

I mean, just the amount of chemicals that are in our water supply, the crappy food that people eat, the fact that most people don’t eat real food. I mean, I live in a bubble. I live in Northern California, and it is a food bubble, where the grocery store, I mean, even the mainstream grocery stores, have organic sections in them.

I don’t live in a place where you have to, where you’re doing your shopping at a 7-Eleven, to buy food. I mean, when you think about what’s in that kind of store as food? Yeah, you’re going to have a lot of sick people. Because you’re feeding them stuff that their body has to detoxify at such basic levels.

You’re feeding them chemicals that aren’t meant to be food. I mean, food. I mean, you always have to have a short one. I mean, chemical food is chemicals, yes, just like GMOs are…

Michael Roesslein: Non-food chemicals are in the food, yeah.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Non-food chemicals are taking up more and more. And the high fructose corn syrup, the things that drive high fructose corn syrup, it drives insulin. Your body can’t modulate that response, I mean, when you take in glucose.

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, that’s the most commonly used form of sugar in processed foods, for sure.

Dr. Eric Gordon: It’s probably causing a lot of the non-alcoholic liver disease that we’re seeing, that’s another epidemic. Anyway, so I’m kind of getting off this. I’m trying to make a point, and the point being …

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, but it’s a million things contributing to people being more susceptible to …

Dr. Eric Gordon: To toxins, that we have more of them, and your body is less able to deal with them. Because the way you deal with them, these toxins are often poisoning some very primitive parts of the system.

So they’re going after, lot of these are going after your ribosomes. Ribosomes are where you actually make, you take the amino acids, and you kind of stick them together, and make them into proteins, which become the enzymes. They’re the machinery of your body. I mean, that’s what basically enzymes are.
They’re the machines. The raw materials are more, we call them metabolites. So if your machines don’t work, you can’t do much. Doesn’t matter how much nutrients you put in. This is why there’s no one important piece in the body.

A lot of these mycotoxins go after basic units. Now they also go after the membranes of mitochondria, they interfere with mitochondrial DNA. They interfere at multiple levels, but they’re exceedingly toxic stuff. But the beauty of the system is that your body can repair this. We’re not helpless, okay?

But when we’ve already been depleted, and we don’t have enough true nutrients in our system. And when our bodies had to use up, I don’t want to focus on that, but it’s antioxidant reserves, just because of the garbage that you’re eating? Instead of the food being a source of the materials that are being pumped.

Michael Roesslein: Yeah. Instead of it contributing to healing, it’s contributing to the disease process.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Exactly. They’re weakening you.

Go eat an American meal, and you’re weakening yourself. I mean, between the GMOs, between the grains? I mean, like you’re in Italy now.

Michael Roesslein: They eat grains here, but they’re not hybridized, they’re not sprayed in chemicals, they’re not GMO, they’re not crossbred.

They’re not all these, they’re the same grains that the Italian people have been eating for 2,000 years.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, and they get it. No, because, I mean, I am wheat, gluten sensitive. I don’t have celiac disease. But if I eat a lot …

Michael Roesslein: Yeah. You just don’t feel good.

You just don’t feel good when you eat it.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Well, no, I get fatigued. Not all the time, but I get fatigued. It’s an allergy thing. I mean, I get this … When I was a kid, I didn’t know what was going on. I’d have to slap myself to stay awake.

I mean, it’s just transient. It’d be, for instance, 15 minutes, I would just be tired. I never knew what it was. And then, finally…

Michael Roesslein: Does that happen when you’re in Europe, or when you’re …

Dr. Eric Gordon: No, that’s my point of my story, is that I remember, the thing that really shocked me, I was there, okay? I was with people, and somebody’s father owned a pizzeria, and it was a big deal, “My father makes the best pizza, [inaudible 00:31:02].”

Michael Roesslein: Oh, you can’t turn that down, or they’ll kick you out of the country.

Dr. Eric Gordon: You go there, and I was trying to be polite, and we had a little bit, and it was really good. And then they made too many pizzas. We took them with us. The next two days, I ate these pizza, and I felt fine. I mean, I was blown away by the difference in [inaudible 00:01:23].

Michael Roesslein: It happens a lot, like it happens for a lot of people.

I’ve had two … I’ve only been here a month. For those listening, I live in Italy, and I moved here about a month before this recording. I don’t know the locals. So having two people ask me in a month, which, I’ve had about five total conversations, two of them, they asked me about American food.

Because they sell processed snack foods here. They’re not super popular. But if you go to the supermarket, you can find Pringles, or certain American snack foods. But the ingredients list is different.

They’re not great, it’s not ideal, but there’s colorings, and preservatives, and certain types of chemicals and things that are not allowed to be put into food here. Even by the garbage food, like that kind of food.

It’s not like I would recommend people live off that, but they asked me, because they know that. They know that American food allows ingredients in it that are illegal in the European Union. And they were like, I’m going to be the one that’s going to be able to explain this to them.

They’re like, “Why do you allow this?” I’m like, “Well, it’s not really my call, so I don’t allow it.”

But they were confused by this, because it’s such a fundamental thing to them, their food, and the quality of their food. It’s such an important thing, they can’t understand why it’s not so there, why …

Dr. Eric Gordon: Because it’s economics in America for the last 70 years.

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, since the ’50s.

Dr. Eric Gordon: All the schools of nutrition have been funded by the people who make junk food.

I mean, really, the whole thing, everything …

Michael Roesslein: So they convinced the entire country that TV dinners are the most nutritious thing you can do, in the ’50s.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Oh, yeah. Every school of nutrition in America, like in Boston, in Pennsylvania, that was where Kellogg was, and in Iowa and the Midwest, where it’s all the big dairy, and …

Michael Roesslein: Soybean, corns, yeah.

Dr. Eric Gordon: And they control the information flow, you know what I mean, and it’s not that …

Again, it’s a little close to not being, it’s not evil, but it’s, “Here’s your grant money.”

Michael Roesslein: It’s putting money over the well-being of an entire society.

You can call it what you want to call it, but that’s it is.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah. It’s what it is, it is.

Michael Roesslein: Or evil, whatever, it’s a debate, what is evil?

But it’s some people being, “I want to make a whole lot of money, and I don’t care what the consequences of it are at all.”

Dr. Eric Gordon: Well, it’s often by … Well, okay, I won’t go into that, but I agree with you. But usually, it’s only a handful of people who don’t care about the consequences. The rest of them care about the consequences. But they if it turns out to, “Ooh, wait a minute, but I want my grant, and I’m going to do this. Okay.”

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, and my stock portfolio looks good, and my 401k is going up, and my retirement’s going to be sound, so let’s just leave all this alone.

But hold on. We’re going way too far away, so …

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, I know. We’re going all over the place.

Michael Roesslein: The food sucks, and the food is not supporting people, it’s depleting.

Dr. Eric Gordon: It’s depleting.

Michael Roesslein: We have exposure. You mentioned VOCs.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah. Well, volatile organic compounds, which is something that Actinomyces makes quite a bit of, actually, it’ll be interesting. It’s that kind of musty smell, where you get in a building?

That’s usually where the Actinomyces is, in the mold. I mean, so maybe Dr. Shoemaker has a tendency to be, I think, sometimes, to overstate things. But he often turns out to be right, at least … Yeah, I mean, I have great respect for Rich. I mean, I think he has taught me an immense amount, and…

Michael Roesslein: He was the first place I ever heard of or learned about mold, about 10 years ago, yeah.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah. He’s the man who really pushed this, the information out there. He’s done a lot of, I mean, creative thought, I have to say, his ability to bring us markers. And hat’s one thing I just want to mention for the people out there.

The markers that many people look at in what’s now CIRS, now it’s chronic. He really doesn’t talk about mold anymore. It’s mostly Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, which is basically what happens when you’re chronically inflamed, and mold can be one of the causes of that.

The markers in those tests are not mold specific. That’s one of the great sadnesses is that we still don’t have great things that I’m 100% sure are mold specific, and I’ll expand on that in a minute.

But just the markers, the VEGF, and the TGF-beta-1, and the C4A, MMP9, none of these are mold specific. So they’re not [inaudible 00:36:25] enough.

Michael Roesslein: So there’s other things that can throw those off?

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah. They’re just markers that your innate immune system is pissed off, and you’re just regulating, okay? Yeah. You can get there by multiple ways. I mean …

Again, if you have a mold exposure, and these are really high, and it goes down when you get away from it, in your body, that’s what’s going on. So it’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that they’re not one to one. Don’t stop looking just because you do a test, and you have these things, it doesn’t mean you have mold. You have to have a few other…

Michael Roesslein: And the mycotoxin tests, I remember when Great Plains came out with their mycotoxin test.

It was like, everyone was, “Oh, my God, this is going to be the greatest thing ever,” and it’s cool. It’s interesting to see. We’ve taken them when Mira has been sick, and for the first time, she had one million okra toxin A, and the second time, she had one million of one other kind. And so you know there’s mold, but that shows you the urine tests, they show you what is coming out of the body.

Dr. Eric Gordon: I know.

Michael Roesslein: So it’s very possible for some people that are totally inhibited in clearing any of these things, that their mold mycotoxin urine tests, which show pretty decent levels, because it’s all in their body, and not coming out of the body.

that’s the same with metals tests and different things. So yeah, I was disappointed to learn that. [crosstalk 00:37:54]. I thought we were onto something.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Right. Exclusion, excretion does not prove toxicity, but it does prove exposure, which is nice. I mean, that’s the thing, is that we have, just to be fair, we have RealTime, which does an ELISA, which is more of an antibody kind of test. And, I think, I always want to call them Vibrant America, call them Virgin America, Vibrant America, which is…

Michael Roesslein: The airplanes.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, I know, but … Marketing got me.

I forget if they’re doing mass spec, or … I think they’re doing antibody also, and Great Plains does mass spec. The nice part about a mass spec test is, mass spec really doesn’t lie.

I mean, they have real machines. I’ve spoke on it several times. In fact, he’s on our summit, the fellow who developed the test for them, Dr. Matt Pratt-Hyatt, yeah. But Matt is a great, I mean, I think, a wonderful scientist who really is thoughtful, and cares a lot about people, and he developed this really cool test.

But it’s not, it doesn’t tell us what we’d like it to tell us, which is, “Oh my God, you’re high, you’re sick. This is the problem.”

 We’d love it to be that linear. “We measured your blood count, your hemoglobin hematocrit are low. You have anemia.”

This test? [inaudible 00:39:25], not there quite yet. The numbers are high. You are being exposed, but are you being exposed enough to make you sick? My kind of figure is, if you’re 10 times above their upper limit of normal, it’s not good.

Michael Roesslein: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:39:43] Both of ours were extreme, extreme, extreme.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah. So there’s something going on. If there’s two to three to five something, it could possibly be even from food, because there’s a lot of mold in food. I mean, that we understand …

That we’ve learned about mycotoxins, mostly from the agricultural world. The studies of mycotoxins in people is meager.

Yeah, it’s just meager. But on animals, there’s a ton, going back to the economic articles of the world, is because if your cow dies, it costs you a thousand bucks, or a few thousand dollars, okay?

If a person dies, it’s very upsetting to all of us involved, but guess what? There’s no direct economic loss to the owner. I mean, that sounds terrible, but that’s …

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, I know, but it’s that, we’re back to the situation.

Dr. Eric Gordon: I mean, why the [crosstalk 00:40:36] is so bad is because it screws up the economy. Okay, that’s life, but …

Getting back to, so we know a lot of that …

Michael Roesslein: We’ll cover politics on the next podcast.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Another one of yeah, we’ll go to the basics, which is, “We’re human, and that’s going to be messy.”

But anyway, so mycotoxins are in our foods. They’re just always been there a little bit. The more they’re in storage, the more they are. Sometimes even organic foods, because they’re not sprayed, can even have more mycotoxins. Oops. I still think they’re much better.

Michael Roesslein: Things like coffee, and beans and stuff, that sits for a really long time in a storage facility?

Dr. Eric Gordon: Time, yeah. Very, very high, they can’t have a … But most of us, you’re okay with these background levels.

Anyway, so when you see, but when you see more than 10 times the upper limit of normal, okay. Something’s really going on there. And if you’ve got symptoms, even if it’s lower, it very well might be related.

I mean, even if it’s two times normal, it could be for you too much, just like with the mercury test, some of the sickest people with mercury I’ve seen, have had very low excretion levels, because their body, like you said, is not able to mobilize it.

Okay. Now, the other argument, though, is that these mycotoxins that we see with the Great Plains test are not metabolized.

RealTime is looking at, as an antibody test, which will get the partially metabolized and unmetabolized mycotoxins. But is that better or worse? No, it’s different.
Because if you metabolize them, they may or may not still be active. Because some of the metabolites are more toxic, and many of the metabolites are what our body did to make them nontoxic. So we’re left with not great tests.
There’s another test called, I didn’t mean to, oh, we might as well give people some information about, called My Myco, in America, that looks at antibodies to the mycotoxins, which is very interesting. Because most of the tests we can get in America are antibodies to the molds themselves, the fusarium, the [inaudible 00:43:02], penicillium, all these molds.
We can get antibodies to them, because they’re good, because a lot of people who are sensitive to mycotoxins also have allergies to mold, which compound, because that will get your mast cells going. Just understand that this is why …

Michael Roesslein: They don’t make you more reactive to anything else that you come in contact with.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Right. My thing is why I’ve been trying, myself and Dr. Parpia, have been lecturing to some of the societies, to try to get people to, and people don’t like these lectures because they’re confusing.

But to remember, that all this is happening simultaneously, and people have Lyme, have mold, have mast cell, have the BCF, have EBV, the question is, which one is driving the show, in that person at that time?

Some people only have one, but lots of people got a lot of them, and it doesn’t mean you have to … So it’s a teaching people how to dance.

And unfortunately, we have a bunch of doctors, who are just doing CIRS, or just treating Lyme, or just treating mast cell. And it’s not bad, I mean, and that works for a bunch of people.

So God bless when it works, but when it’s not working? Step back and realize you got that. It’s not you don’t have mast cell stuff, but you also have other things.

 It’s like having people with chronic fatigue, you can have chronic fatigue, and you can also have this other junk. Chronic fatigue often is the end result of not treating the other stuff, but it can be mixed in.

Anyway, so getting back to, the testing for mold and mycotoxins is not great. All we can tell you is that you’ve been exposed to lots of mold. So that makes it high likelihood, check out your house, check out your food sources.

Food, not necessarily a huge thing, unless you’re really sensitive. The house and the home environment, and your car, those are big deals. Check them out.

And there, I forget the name of the group, oh, I shouldn’t mean that, but there is a group of, oh, what are they called, ISE? But there is a, really, I apologize.

Editor’s Note: International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI). Dr. Gordon is a member, and Dr. Parpia is a board member.

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, yeah, yeah. An episode earlier, I don’t even know what order everything’s going in, but in this season, for those listening, there’s an episode with someone named Cathy Cooke. And she is a building biologist.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Wonderful.

Michael Roesslein: She does EMFs and mold. It’s a full-on building inspector type person.

It’s really cool, I learned a ton of stuff. And she can work a lot of things remotely now, they’ve learned how to do a lot of it, like send you a monitor and they walk you through. It’s like having a Ghostbuster telling you what to do. That’s what I felt like, with the gizmo. But yeah, Cathy Cooke, check out that episode.

I don’t know what the organization is, but she’s one of those people.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, yeah, that’s one of them, and this guy, Michael [Schranz 00:46:07], who I think is president of the group. Just because you’ve got to be careful when you … I don’t want you looking in houses.

I hate it, because it’s expensive. and it’s life altering, and it really can increase the family’s stress, which is the thing we hate to see, when people already are having problems. You’re sick, your spouse isn’t.

Michael Roesslein: Now you got to remediate your bathroom for $16,000.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Right, and now you’re spending a lot of, and not just on your doctor, but you’re now going to spend a lot of money on changing the house. Not the greatest thing for familial happiness and tranquility.

Michael Roesslein: No, I’ve been through that. We’ve had to move three times because of it.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, so it’s a hard sell.

Michael Roesslein: And while Mira was sick, we had to move.

That’s even more …

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:46:55] But hold on.

I want to give a minor course correction.

Because we need to explain a little bit before we go, because I wanted to cover … Part of the reason why mold is such a problem is because there’s, you’ve talked about this a little bit.

There’s all these overlapping mold and Lyme, and neurological issues and autoimmune conditions, and rheumatoid arthritis, which, I mean, we’ve been diagnosed, undiagnosed, misdiagnosed with that, in our house. Is the mold, the mycotoxin, what the hell do these things do when they get in the body, that they’re linked to so many different overlapping, correlated … Is it causation? Is it correlation?

Are people more susceptible to autoimmune disease is also more likely to be reactive to mold? Or is the mold making the autoimmune conditions happen, or making the neurological diseases happen, or …
Well, I understand. That’s always the approach.

Michael Roesslein: Or do they rewire the immune system? What the hell is going? It’s such a sloppy mess, and so …

Dr. Eric Gordon: Well, it’s sloppy, yes. Imagine, think of the molds as the cytokines of the microbacteria wall of the mold world. These are chemicals that these bugs are producing, to go in and influence other cells, okay, and …

Michael Roesslein: That aren’t theirs.

Dr. Eric Gordon: That aren’t theirs, okay?

So they go in, and they make holes in the cell membrane, some of them. Some of them just will, well, that’s probably more of an accidental thing. There’s a few that actually work as estrogen binders, and things like that. But that’s, I don’t know if the mold planned that one. I think that’s

Michael Roesslein: That’s probably just to the proliferation of estrogen in the natural world, the receptors, and mold and things, probably do that, but …

Dr. Eric Gordon: Right, there are so many things, in essence, that’s a ubiquitous molecule. That’s what we always forget, that these all have room to grow.

Michael Roesslein: They might be accidentals, but …

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, it may. Who knows?

Michael Roesslein: But it can fit in other receptors, then, I’m sure.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Exactly, exactly. But anyways, but a lot of these molds, like I said, they disrupt protein translation. So they disrupt how you make proteins. They disrupt the cell wall. In the mitochondria, they can disrupt the electron transport chain. They can disrupt mitochondrial DNA, because mitochondria have their own DNA in them, and also, some of the nuclear DNA that makes parts of the mitochondria. They can hurt that directly.

There are so many of these mycotoxins, that is the thing. They’re not like five myoctoxins, there’s hundreds that we discover.

So you, when you asked the question, which is the basic question, are these causing, are these just interrupting, interfering with our immune system?

Or do these cause disease directly? I got to say, it’s probably both, because they do cause an amazing oxidant reserve stress. They suck up, not just glutathione, but many other antioxidants, they suck up lots of free electrons. Or they produce lots of free electrons in the wrong places.

In that way, they can cause, probably neurologic, and again, in the right genetics, that amount of oxidative stress can cause disease, neurodegenerative disease, and probably trigger autoimmune disease, by causing inflammation in the organ, whether it’s the thyroid, or the joint capsule, where your immune system is already primed to be a little, not so good at suppressing an antigen.

Because that’s what happens. Your immune system sees a chemical, a protein that it normally doesn’t see. But if it’s one of your own, when it goes back into the lymph node, it should be destroyed. It should be recognized.

Now we don’t want to amplify this signal. This is a self signal, and so, some of us just don’t do that well. So yeah, there’s not a linearity here.

I hear your question, and I think the answer is, is probably, mostly, that the mycotoxins disrupt our antioxidant defenses, and our ability to our T- and B-cells are, just all of our immune, even our monocytes, that they interfere with the function of these cells, because that’s what they’re designed to do.

And then, however your body reformulates that, I mean, that’s not a satisfying thing. But it’s like, you’re dropping the wrench into the machinery. And it depends where it clangs, what sprocket it gets stuck in.

Michael Roesslein: That’s good, yeah.

Dr. Eric Gordon: I mean, really, it’s a bad thing. Now, sometimes it’s designed to go into one particular receptor, and cause havoc, but lots of times, it’s that it causes havoc there. But the havoc only depends on whether you have a T-cell that is already not very good at responding to the signal to stand down, to not keep reproducing.

Because if that T-cell listened to the stop signal really well, even though it got the abnormal information, it would have gotten this normal stop signal. But if it’s not good at listening to the normal stop signal, well, that little bit of misinformation now gets multiplied.

 Suddenly, you’ve got T-cells that are aimed at your joint. Okay? But that never should happened. I mean …

Michael Roesslein: It reminds me of this marketing campaign from, is it All State Insurance, or State Farm Insurance, or one of those insurance companies? Probably, I don’t know. Years after the ’90s, to me, they’re all the same, so I don’t know. There’s been two decades since then, but there was, the ’50s were distinct, the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, To me, when we hit 2000, everything’s the same since then. But sometimes, since then, there was a marketing campaign, where there’d be this guy for a car insurance company, and they called him Mayhem.

He would just kind of walk around, and then he’d throw a banana up in the air, just backwards. And a car would drive by, and it would hit the windshield, and cause the car to spin out and hit a pole.

Then he would dump a bucket of paint on the ground while he was walking. And then, somebody would come, and they’d track the paint into the thing, and it would light on fire. And this guy didn’t care. He wasn’t intentional, he wasn’t trying to harm anybody. He just threw things, and knocked things over, and did whatever. And it broke everything around him.

Obviously, this is why you need to buy their insurance, but …

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, and so, on mycotoxin …

Michael Roesslein: It sounds kind of like that.

Dr. Eric Gordon: But remember, mycotoxin has an intent. It wants to inhibit some function of your cell.

Michael Roesslein: Okay.

Dr. Eric Gordon: The question is, if it just did that, and the cell either died, or bound that mycotoxin, and removed it? It would be a problem. The thing is, is that, right, when it continues to spiral out of control, that’s when we get these other secondary diseases. I think the mycotoxin itself will cause dysfunction in the organ, okay? That then …

Michael Roesslein: And the things that maintain the balance get screwy.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Like, rheumatoid arthritis is a secondary event. Yeah, I think I can be clear there. Yeah. Now, I had to unpack your question a little bit more.

So yes, mycotoxins go in there. They do not cause rheumatoid arthritis. Mycotoxins go in, and will poison or interfere with the function of some of your T- and B-cells and some of your, what we call monocytes, and dendritic cells, that then process immune information.

So therefore, you can then gobbledygook up your immune information, and wind up with an autoimmune disease. But the mycotoxin didn’t cause the autoimmune disease, it just screwed up the information. Either it damaged some of the cells that should have been processing the information, okay?

That’s what it’s about. They go in there, and they damage how your body talks to itself. And then, depending on how you’re lined up, you can have rheumatoid arthritis, you can get manic, you can get anxious, you can develop severe OCD.

I mean, look, what happens with PANS and PANDAS. People can get all kinds of bizarre, emotional, mental, psychological states that are generated by inflammation in certain cells. It’s not that the bacteria caused that. It’s how your body responds to it, being unable to modulate its own response. So it’s all about modulation.
Your whole system takes information in, and then, depending on the health, and I always think … Think of it as balance.

When you are fairly athletic, and you trip, you don’t fall.

You do a skip, skip, skip, and you’re fine. But when you’ve lost your balance, you hit your leg on it. Your toe catches the edge of the carpet, and you’re down for the count.

Michael Roesslein: I’m learning about those things now, I’m starting to … Yeah.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Well, no, no, this is the whole point of health. Health is not, not falling, or not tripping, but health is not getting hurt when you do. Okay? It’s not about never being exposed to this stuff. It’s about when you’re exposed, being able to dance with it.

I mean, we should limit our exposure, but I’m just saying, but when the body is healthy, you can deal with most of these, most of this crap. Though, I said, we are putting more and more, it’s like the …

Michael Roesslein: Got you.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Now you’re taking the trained athlete and blindfolding them, and putting them in a kid’s room, with all kinds of crap on the floor.

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, yeah. You’re tying their arms together, yeah.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, yeah. Well, one of these days, you’re going to fall.

Michael Roesslein: So we only have a few minutes left.

You’re hosting right now, when this is going live, “There’s a Mold and Mycotoxin Summit that’s going on,” that we’ll have a link below, probably a little banner, be very easy to find.

Tons more information on mold. I’m sure that, I mean …

Dr. Eric Gordon: Let me just tell you a little bit about that, because it’s on mold and chronic illness. Because to me, the mold is the problem, when the cause is a chronic illness, or when it is on top of a chronic illness.

So it’s unpacking that, again, in the early years, when Dr. Shoemaker was first working in this, he actually believed that most of the people with mold in the early days had had Lyme first, which interfered with IL-10 and a few other cytokines, that allowed the people to lose the ability to respond well.

So it’s unpacking that, again, in the early years, when Dr. Shoemaker was first working in this, he actually believed that most of the people with mold in the early days had had Lyme first, which interfered with IL-10 and a few other cytokines, that allowed the people to lose the ability to respond well.

I mean, this is when he’s, remember, he was looking at the genes of his HLA genes. And he came up with a subset, which increased the likelihood that people would be susceptible to mycotoxins.

So it’s not just Lyme. But I think any chronic infection or chronic toxin exposure increases the likelihood that your body’s not going to dance as well when it’s exposed to mold.

There’s the genetics, and the amount of other stuff that are weighing on your immune system. So that’s what we talk about, as well. And we also talk about lots of different ways of dealing, of healing, because after you’ve had an exposure, and your brain or your body, and your nervous system, has developed patterns of response.

That’s one of the downsides of chronic illness, is that once you’ve blown up the balloon, once you’ve learned that pattern, you go back to that pattern easier. It’s just like addiction. If you get addicted to something, and you get it again, the desire is bigger than for people who are first exposed.
Well, unfortunately, the same thing happens when re-exposure can produce the symptoms faster and easier. That’s what makes life a little more, you have to be a little more careful as you go through, as you get more re exposures.

That’s another reason that some people are more sensitive. Because they’ve had a lot more exposures. And those are things that we learn about.

Michael Roesslein: So lots to learn there. Lots of tips, lots of suggestions, stuff on testing, some on recovery healing.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, yeah, lots of smart people. Yeah, I think that’s the most important thing is right now, I’ve been talking a lot, but I let the people talk, because these are some real experts.

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, I looked at the list. It’s pretty impressive, the group.

It’s a lot of people that know a lot about these things, so …

Dr. Eric Gordon: That’s what we’re offering, just because we want people to think. I don’t know if you want me to throw it in, but you told me about a program that you were working on, that allows people to find the right therapies for them.

That’s what it’s all about, because I don’t help everybody. Far from it. I need lots of people who have different skill sets, and can hear things that I might miss. That’s what we want to give out to people, to realize that if you’re hitting the wall, and you’re not getting better with what you’re doing?

Michael Roesslein: Here’s some other tools.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Listen, ask for some other advice, see another, and get another perspective. I mean, and if your doctor gets real offended? Eh, put it like this. We all want to be your one, but the reality is, we’re not going to. We’re not going to have the answer for everybody. So hopefully, your doctor, even though I heard a little bit, they’ll stiffen up and go, “Okay, let me help you find some other advice, or another opinion,” because …

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, great.

Dr. Eric Gordon: We all don’t know everything. We’re all learning, all the time.

Michael Roesslein: That’s a really important attitude to have about it too. I’ve run into many in this field who think otherwise, so … [crosstalk 01:02:25] Now I’ve learned, that’s a red flag, because it’s literally impossible.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, and to be fair, some of the best minds that I know have that attitude, they they know it all. And they’re often my teachers. I honor them, because it’s that single minded focus that allows to, that can sometimes illuminate that path. But if you’re the patient, you have to remember, if that illumination doesn’t shine on you?

Find somebody else.

Michael Roesslein: Yeah, all right. Great, we’ll put the link down below. We’ll have a little banner, we’ll make it easy to find. Your website we’ll stick down there, too. If people want to go to your site, you guys have a great clinic there.

Several practitioners, really cool therapies and things down there, too, so …

Dr. Eric Gordon: We try, but again, there’s lots out there, and if we don’t have it …

We’ll do our best to help you find people in places that do. Because, like I say, everything works sometimes, which sounds kind of funny, but I really have seen that. I’ve seen people heal themselves in ways that I never imagined possible, so …

Michael Roesslein: I have now too, in the last few years.

Stuff, I would have totally foo-foo’d out the window before, I’ve like, “Huh, okay, then. That’s a thing.”

Dr. Eric Gordon: Yeah, exactly. We all have to be respected.

Michael Roesslein: And open-minded.

All right. Well, check out the summit, go learn a whole bunch more things, go check out their site.

Thank you so much, Dr. Gordon, this is always fun. Now I have, I took some notes. I have about four other subjects we’ll need to talk about it some day.

Dr. Eric Gordon: It’s a pleasure to talk to you.

Michael Roesslein: Because there was a lot of spirals we could have gone in there, that we reigned back in. So thank you for doing the summit, too. Thank you for putting that together. And we’ll talk again soon.

Dr. Eric Gordon: Thank you, Michael, so much. Thanks for this. It’s fun to make you think out loud.

Michael Roesslein: Yup, it is.

Biotoxin Issues, Complex Chronic Illness, Detox + Toxins, Eric Gordon MD, Mold + Mycotoxin Illness, Podcasts, Video Blogs

Four Ways Mold Can Affect Your Health

An overview of the kinds of issues that mold can cause.
Nafysa Parpia, ND with input from Jamie Kunkle, ND

Mold illness symptoms manifest in multiple different ways that need to be addressed. In every case, removal from the exposure is critical. 

We find that diagnosis and appropriate treatment for mycotoxins and other environmental toxicants needs to precede and be concurrent with treatment for other chronic illnesses. 

The Mycotoxin and Chronic Illness Summit is over. There was so much important information, it can be hard to know where to start.

Following are the ways in which mold exposure can manifest clinically: 

  • Mold Allergy – Immune system reaction to mold exposure. Usually, removal of the mold exposure source will also remove symptoms.
  • Mold Toxicity – Many molds generate mycotoxins and biotoxins that impact several of the body’s systems. Simply removing the source of the mold exposure may not be sufficient to remove symptoms, as the toxicity has already started the process of inflammation and can continue in the body even after exposure has been discontinued.
  • Mold Colonization – Beyond the initial exposure comes a possibility of colonization, where mold becomes a resident within the living system, colonizing the surfaces of the body in the sinuses, lungs, GI system, and/or on the skin. Colonization does not reach into the deeper tissues, but now becomes an ongoing exposure to allergens, mycotoxins, and biotoxins and will complicate the impact. Even if the environmental source has been removed, exposure continues inside the body. 
  • Mold Infection – In very rare cases, when a patient’s immune system has been damaged by chemotherapy, AIDS, or other immunosuppressive factors, mold may infect tissues deeper in the body than what is seen with colonization, causing severe acute infectious disease.

Symptoms of mold exposures are many and can mimic and exacerbate those from other complex chronic illnesses such as Tick-Borne illness and other chronic infections, environmental toxicity, cognitive decline and neurological disorders.

Common Mold Exposure Symptoms

  • Confusion, disorientation
  • Difficulty in word finding
  • Impaired concentration
  • Difficulty assimilating new information
  • Reduced task completion
  • Hypersensitivity to bright light
  • Night blindness
  • Tearing, redness of the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Chronic aching muscles
  • Joint pain, morning joint stiffness, pain in weight bearing joints
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight gain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chronic sinus congestion
  • Chronic cough that mimics asthma
  • Shortness of breath
  • Ice-pick like pain, or shooting electrical pain
  • Nosebleeds
  • Metallic taste or other unusual taste
  • Vertigo, dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Rage or inappropriate anger, mood swings
  • Increased sensitivity to touch

  • Difficulty with sleep: getting to sleep difficulties, difficulty staying asleep
  • Excessive thirst, or frequent urination
  • Impotence
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding
  • Low body temperature
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Low blood pressure
  • Chronic yeast infections
  • Early onset of menopause
  • Panic attacks or anxiety, depression
  • Tingling, “needles and pins” sensations

Every generation has accumulated but often unseen toxic burdens that can affect their health and wellness. We have survived and adapted under substantial duress and adversity as a species. However, there are limitations on an individual’s health and functioning as these burdens continue to accumulate. Unfortunately, few of these toxicants are routinely tested for or identified until disease develops, and a syndrome diagnosis (based on signs/symptoms) is established. You may receive a diagnosis of an autoimmune condition, chronic fatigue syndrome or even Lyme disease (among others).

Mold is one of the most commonly missed and/or understated toxins of our lifetime. Many of us have had, or are currently experiencing an exposure to mold and its toxins (mycotoxins), and it may not be obvious. Identification is often challenging, and exposure can harm your system for years without a clear diagnosis.

Mold exposure can cause inflammation and toxicity in the body which further complicates symptoms from existing chronic illnesses. For example – many of our patients who already have chronic Lyme disease, neurological issues, cognitive decline, fibromyalgia and ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) also have exposure to mold and the toxins that it creates – mycotoxins. In our clinical experience, treating the patient for mold exposure, and mycotoxins if it is also an issue, helps allow for their other multiple diagnoses to resolve faster.

It is said, if one works with Lyme, they will often find toxicity. The presence of such can be a predisposing factor or a relative result of the chronic illness itself. Many have developed increased sensitivities and poor detoxification responses after developing Lyme illness. Some were already exposed to the toxins themselves, suppressing and dysregulating their immune system response and allowing for a less favorable terrain and resilience to illness. Toxicity can be responsible for relapsing symptoms and can easily affect multiple different organ systems.

Other toxicants exist and should be evaluated for health/wellness and success of treatment are not to be understated either. This includes heavy metals, glyphosate, industrial, agricultural and water contaminants to name a few. These are also easily hidden from view as many are consumed or inhaled often with little immediate response.

Depending on each individual patient’s manifestation of symptoms and concurrent diagnoses, treatment may include oral, intravenous and physical therapies. Treatments are highly personalized to each patient.

There are many ways to support detoxification, some gentle and some more aggressive. The level of intervention is typically dependent on the overall toxic burden and constitution of the individual. This process is often gradual but has the potential to reestablish a more positive momentum of healing in the living system.

Allergies, Biotoxin Issues, Complex Chronic Illness, Detox + Toxins, Gastrointestinal Disorders, Immune Issues, Jamie Kunkle ND, Mold + Mycotoxin Illness, Nafysa Parpia ND

Can Tick-Borne Illness Be Transmitted in Utero?

Dr. Nafysa Parpia discusses a case about tick-borne illness and in-utero transmission.

Play Video

Transcript (Dr. Nafysa Parpia)

This is a case about tickborne illness being transferred in utero.

I really love the Infectolab test, because it’s really been able to see what is real clinically, in comparison to what is real via laboratory diagnosis, in a way that I haven’t been able to see before. I just have one case of this in the lab, but I think that it’s telling and I can’t wait to do more cases like this with Infectolab.

Regarding maternal transmission of tickborne illness, there’s not much research on this, right? This case does strongly suggest maternal transmission, which is why I’m very happy with this lab, Because I wouldn’t be able to have a case where I was able to demonstrate something like this with a lab.

According to the CDC, untreated Lyme disease during pregnancy can lead to infection of the placenta. But spread from mother to fetus is possible, but rare. We see this in our clinic very often. OK, so we see people, we see families where the mother or the father has the diagnosis of tickborne illness and the kids do as well. But we’re not sure, we think, we always thought that yes, it was transmitted in utero. And there’s a little bit of research that shows, but we couldn’t really prove it in the labs. So, remember this is just an N of one, so we’re not calling it proof, but I feel like it’s on the way. If I can keep showing this in the labs I’ll feel more like we can prove that.

Know that our population is unusual. We only see chronically ill people. And because of that, our population is skewed to this group of people. That’s likely why we see such a high incidence of familial spread clinically. The population is growing, we see more and more than we did 10 years ago, our clinic is filled with people we have complex chronic illness and filled with families who have complex chronic illness.

Which is why I found this case so interesting. In this group of patients with more severe symptoms, we see a higher incidence of transmission in their offspring. But, still the CDC is just reporting on the population, on the general, the population at large. That’s not who comes to see us.

I want to get straight to the punch with respect to the labs. I’m going to talk about the family, and then we’re going to go straight to the labs results.

OK, so, a brief history. We’ll talk about symptomology after.

The mother, 48-year-old white female, she was bitten by a tick six or more years ago. Six to eight years ago. She has mold exposure in the house that was five years ago, and she kept, that family kept getting re-exposed to mold over five years.

There’s a daughter, she’s six, no tick bite known, but of course she had mold exposure since birth because the family kept getting mold exposure over the last five years.

Son, he’s five, no known tick bite, mold exposure since birth.

And the father has too, no known tick bite, And of course mold exposure.

They come to me with a diagnosis of only mycotoxin and mold illness. A doctor had diagnosed them with that and had tried to treat them, nothing happened. They got a little better here and there. They did get keep getting re-exposed to mold, which is a reason why they didn’t improve, but there was not a diagnosis of tick-borne illness. Nobody diagnosed them with that.

So, they come to me, wanting a treatment for mycotoxins and mold, and by their symptoms I think there’s something else going on as well as the mold and mycotoxin illness. Of course, I am thinking it’s tickborne illness based on their symptoms which will get into after.

Talking about the father, so just the Infectolab diagnosis.  I don’t have the labs showing up here, all three of them because it’s just too much paper, and I want to show you this side by side. So, I’ve tried to put things together on the slides as much as possible. In his Infectolab test, there’s no tick-borne illness diagnosed. At all! None! But he does have some cytomegalovirus, interferon gamma borderline, which means he’s fighting it off. A little bit, it’s there. That’s all he has. And of course, there’s mycotoxins and severe mold IgG allergens, which are elevated. Diagnosed by another lab.

Here I’m going to talk about the mother, the daughter, and the son. There’s a lot of writing on this slide. There are some important things all on the same slide so you can compare and see the sharing of the diagnoses.

The mother, she’s got, this is all by Infectolab now, she’s got Lyme, Bartonella, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, all positive in interferon gamma. Meaning that she’s, the infections are active in her right now.

Next, let’s talk about the daughter. Remember she’s just six. Take a look at the infections she has in common with the Mother. No tick bite known, okay? Lyme, Bartonella, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus. So, we see the exact same infections here. She’s got interferon gamma and interleukin two both positive. When I see that, I’m thinking, she’s in the process of getting her immune system under control, as evidenced by the interleukin two. These are from central memory T cells, which means that her body is beginning to tamp down the inflammatory response.

Now, we don’t know if this is because of a child’s strong immune system. We don’t have enough data on that. Or is it that we’re finding her right in that time between transmission and active infection resolution? I don’t know. I’d like to know, but we don’t have enough data on that. That’s a whole nother point in itself, but the main thing, the take home message here is that the mother and the daughter both have the same infections in common.  The mother has a history of a tick bite, the daughter doesn’t.

Now the son. He has Bartonella, interleukin two positive, Lyme, borderline interleukin two and interferon gamma, borderline, Ehrlichia, interleukin two and interferon gamma borderline, Epstein Barr virus, interleukin two borderline, the cytomegalovirus interleukin two, borderline.

The difference I see here is that he’s got Erhlichia, and his mother and sister don’t. Perhaps they did in the past, and that’s not apparent now in their immune system with either interferon gamma and interleukin two, or maybe he did have a tick bite which transmitted Ehlichia to him. I don’t know. It’s possible that he had a tick bite that the family isn’t aware of. According to them there was no tick bite, but sometimes they happen, right?  Even when people don’t know.

So, he appears to have a lot that’s borderline, but his mother and sister are currently fighting, and like his sister it’s likely that his immune system has fought off a lot of this. But most recently, he’s been getting Bartonella. According to his labs it’s just resolving.

Let me get to the next slide here.

So that was the piece that I wanted you all to see regarding how in this test this is a clear case of the likelihood, of the suggestion of tick-borne illness being transmitted in utero. We see the same infections all around for mother to children. With some exceptions here and there. I wouldn’t have been able to see this as clearly on other labs. Because here we’re looking at the immune system, looking at the interferon gamma and the interleukin two, and what is active right now.

I want to get into the clinical picture of these patients of mine. After talking about the labs, I thought it would be interesting for you to hear about their symptomology.

The clinical picture of the mother, she’s got this pain trifecta; shooting, burning, aching pain in her, myalgia and also in the joints. Typically, this is due to Bartonella, mold, and Lyme, that combination. Sure enough, on Infectolab, the Bartonella was raging, and so was the Lyme. So, her symptomology did correlate with what I found on Infectolab here.

And, brain fog. Lyme and mold more than Bartonella would typically cause brain fog. And, you know, her Lyme was raging as well, on the Lyme.

Extreme fatigue, likely from cytomegalovirus. Her cytomegalovirus was through the roof, I forgot to mention this, and so was her daughter’s. Like through the roof. And that was another way to, sorry, that’s another infection to think about transmission familialy, obviously that does happen. I just see how their immune systems handle it in a similar way. It was very interesting.

And of course, the fatigue could be due to the mold and tick-borne illness combination. So, they’re all consistent, all her symptoms are consistent with Lyme, Bartonella, Epstein Barr virus, cytomegalovirus all being active, but now I’m able to with this lab, I’m able to tease all that out. Better than before.

So now about the daughter. Her symptoms were constipation, could be due to tick borne illness, mold, mycotoxins, cytomegalovirus. They are new patients to me, so we’re also doing a GI panel. Could be due to parasites or other infections in the gut.

The puritis, likely due to Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or mold.

The fatigue is minor in her. Could be due to tick-borne illness, mold, and cytomegalovirus. So, her symptoms are not as severe as her mother’s, and this is consistent with a finding of no interleukin two in the mother, while she has significant interleukin two. This is another piece of the lab I really like. So, looking at the interleukin two, we can see that these infections are beginning to resolve. And likewise, her symptoms are not as bad now than previous to her being diagnosed.

OK, so on to the son. He had fits of rage as his primary, primary symptom. In fact, there’s no pain, there’s no fatigue, it’s all rage, and that is consistent with Bartonella. His Bartonella is now interleukin two positive, and that suggests that he’s resolving this infection. The interesting piece is that before he came to me, he was having fits of rage about 7-8 times a day, and now they’re three times a day. So that would make sense that the parents were telling me that when he was having fits 7-8 times a day, several months ago, it’s very different to now, with the fits three times a day. If you think several months ago, likely, his interferon gamma was positive, and now that he’s got interleukin two, it’s likely that his fits of rage are decreased because of that, because there is some healing happening, there’s some resolution of this infection happening.  

But really, really important to note is that the behavior pattern was likely established by the Bartonella, so it’s a classic Bartonella mental piece. However, when a neurological or mental or physiological piece is established by any infection, and that infection resolves, the body knows that pattern, and another infection or toxin can come in and carry on that pattern. So, very similar to what Dr. Gordon was saying with his case, that the tick-borne infection was resolved, but there’s a pattern there that still will be carried. Do we continue on with antibiotic therapy, or any therapy to resolve the infection, or do we work on regenerative medicine? Pieces to modulate the damage that had been done by the infections or the toxic things we’re talking about.

So, with the Bartonella here, I’m seeing that he’s still having Bartonella fits of rage. They’re less than previously, and I’m seeing the interleukin two positive, meaning he’s pretty much resolved this now. So, why’s he still having those fits? Do I need to treat for Bartonella? No, I’m not going to treat for Bartonella very much, or at least not very aggressively, because this lab is showing me it’s mostly resolved now. So, I’m going to treat for the other infections that I’ve diagnosed with him, diagnosed him with, and other toxicants I’ve diagnosed him with to undo the patterns the Bartonella created.

So, thank you guys! That’s my piece and it’s some, seems pretty clear to me in this lab that there was transmission from mother to children in utero, because she did get that tick bite before she had her children, and apparently her children did not have tick bites.

Biotoxin Issues, Lyme Disease - Pediatric, Lyme Disease + Coinfections, Mold + Mycotoxin Illness, Nafysa Parpia ND, Video Blogs

Preventing the Failed Patient – Detoxification

The important factors we consider when working
with complex chronic illness

Environmental toxicants impair cellular functions. Lyme/tick-borne disease/co-infections, parasites, and viruses all modulate immune function to their advantage and the host disadvantage.

With exposure, the immune system is over-activated, causing hypersensitivity, allergies, mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and/or autoimmunity. The immune system may also be misdirected, and does not mount an appropriate response to infection.

Preventing-the-failed-patient

Most of our patients who present with long standing Lyme disease have evidence of a high environmental toxicant load through clinical history and laboratory results. They respond well to therapies that reduce the toxicant load, which leads to normalization of the immune response. Everyone benefits from detox, but in these patients, it is mandatory.

Toxicants that hinder the healing cycle may include: mold toxins, biotoxins and other neurotoxins, heavy metals, high EMF exposure or high sensitivity to it, environmental toxin burden such as high perchlorate, PCBs, glyphosate (Roundup), other pesticides and other chemicals.

Consider whether you:

  • Live/lived in a home with mold or water damage?
  • Live/lived near or on a farm or vineyard? how far from?
  • Live/lived near freeway? How far from?
  • Live/lived in an industrial location?
  • Live/lived in home while it was being renovated?
  • Ever worked with chemicals – artist, dark room, painting/renovating homes, industrial work?
  • Use pesticides, insecticides, herbicides in your garden or your neighbors use them in their gardens?
  • Have metal amalgams in your mouth?

Treatment for toxins needs to precede and be concurrent with herbal and antibiotic treatment of persistent tick-borne disease. It includes appropriate oral, IV and physical detoxification therapies PLUS MCAS treatment. If mast cell activation is on a hair trigger even detox may cause flares.

Biotoxin Issues, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Complex Chronic Illness, Detox + Toxins, Detoxification, Lyme Disease + Coinfections, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), Mold + Mycotoxin Illness, Nafysa Parpia ND, Toxicity