Welcome to The Lyme Solution Protocols.I’m excited to kind of dive in the questions you’ve sent me and provide you with the best answers possible. Lots of people were asking about Lyme and Mycotoxins. 

Mycotoxins get produced by certain species of mold. If you’re in a water-damaged building, your house, a workplace, a school, a church, wherever, certain species of mold can secrete these things called mycotoxins. These mycotoxins are fat-soluble chemicals that when you inhale them, they can go into different parts of your body and cause a tremendous amount of problems. Particularly the brain, being a big glob of fat. Your lungs also tend to be affected, but many of the symptoms of mycotoxicity overlap with Lyme disease.

I would argue that mycotoxins are probably the one thing that mimic Lyme more than anything else. If you write down all the symptoms of Lyme disease and all the symptoms of mycotoxins, there is probably an 80-85% overlap. Clinically, it can be exceedingly difficult to distinguish one from the other. 

How do you know if you have mycotoxin exposure? 

Well, you may know if you ever had your home tested, or wherever the environment in question, tested. If you have got certain species of mold that we know are associated with mycotoxins could be a clue. You can measure mycotoxins in your own body. 

There’s a urine test available through RealTime Labs or through Great Plains Labs that will actually measure your body burden of mycotoxins. I won’t get into the details of the testing itself because it gets to be kind of long, but there are advantages of using one test methodology over another. But talk to your healthcare provider to figure out which one is right for you.

It’s a really easy way to figure out if these mycotoxins are part of what is contributing to your health issues. Because again, clinically, it can be exceedingly difficult to distinguish. Again, it can cause fatigue, brain fog, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, mood issues, depression, joint pain, respiratory problems, shortness of breath, tachycardia, neuropathy, numbness, tingling. Since there is so much overlap with Lyme disease. I’m at a point now where I routinely test people for mycotoxins when I first meet with them, even if they already have a diagnosis of Lyme disease or a co-infection. We’ll look for mycotoxins right off the bat, because that’s going to take us down a very different treatment path. Dealing with Lyme disease, an infectious agent, and even the auto-immune issues that creates is going to be a little different than how you get rid of mycotoxins.

I also want to distinguish, there is a difference between mycotoxicity and mold allergy. If you have mold exposure, you might have a problem with both. Mycotoxins are chemicals that directly affect your body. They damage it, much like if you have been exposed to petroleum, a pesticide, an herbicide. Those chemicals can directly damage the tissues. Mold is a different issue in terms of allergy because that is an immune reaction to mold spores. And that can cause more allergy-like symptoms. So that could be a stuffy nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, head pressure, migraines or chronic cough.

There is some clinical overlap as well in symptoms between mold allergy and mycotoxicity. Unfortunately, it is a completely different test to measure mold allergy from testing for mycotoxicity You must do allergy testing to identify if you’re getting an immune reaction to mold spores. This is an extremely common problem on people who have mold mycotoxicity issues. It’s a good idea to rule that out right off the bat.

Being in a water damaged building is where you’re going to be having this exposure. This isn’t something people typically get because it rained outside or maybe you had one little leak in one area of the house. This is ongoing water damage that allows these mold spores to grow to the point where it secretes these mycotoxins, which can be very damaging. Let me talk to you a little bit about the treatment, if you know you’ve been exposed to mycotoxins. It’s a combination of helping mobilize them out of tissue and then binding it up in the gut. 

Once these mycotoxins get in your body, they’ll go to the fatty tissues of the body, can go to any organ, go to your actual fat tissue; go to your brain. Tweet this!

Once they get there, they kind of get stuck. We need a way to help mobilize them out of tissue. I use a lot of glutathione. There is good evidence that glutathione can help mobilize it out of tissue, get it back into the bloodstream and dump them out through the liver.

It dumps into the liver through the bile, then we need to give something to bind the mycotoxins up in the gut to stop reabsorption. We use various binders like bentonite clay, activated charcoal, zeolite. There are a lot of different products. Eating a plant-based diet also naturally helps bind up mycotoxins.

Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, who is one of the gurus on mold and mycotoxicity, recommends using a medication called cholestyramine, which is designed to help lower cholesterol. The goal is ultimately the same, is that we want to grab onto these mycotoxins in the gut, pull them out completely so they don’t get reabsorbed and cause further problems. In terms of mobilizing it, again, glutathione is a great way to do it. Sauna will do it. Exercise will do it. Anything that’s going to get you to start to sweat will help mobilize them out of the tissue. We need to get them out of the tissue first. Once they mobilize out of tissue, then we need to bind them up in the gut and allow them to pull it out. Unfortunately, with mycotoxins, kind of like a lot of heavy metals, they bind to the tissue and they can be difficult to mobilize naturally. So often for people who’ve had that exposure, we have to take that extra step and do other things to help get it out of tissue and ultimately excrete it through the body. That’s the deal with mold and mycotoxins. Again, it’s a very common problem. 

If you’re suspicious that you’ve had mold and mycotoxins exposure, definitely check it out with your healthcare provider and make sure you don’t have a high body burden.Tweet this!

MCAS, or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

This is a common co-morbid condition with Lyme disease and coinfections. It’s kind of funny because I came up in the ranks of environmental medicine 20-some years ago, and this term was never used then.

It’s basically a fancy term for allergy. Mast cells are cells in the body that react to various allergens, and they secrete over 200 chemicals into your body and bloodstream, one of them being histamine, which is certainly the most well-known chemical. And we all know about antihistamines like Zyrtec, Allegra and Claritin, which can help control a lot of these allergy symptoms. But ultimately there’s something that’s triggering mast cells to create that problem in the first place.

When you look at the relationship between Lyme and mast cells, I’ve seen people in my practice that never had an allergy a day in their life. And after they get exposed to Lyme, they now become highly sensitive to everything. It’s the food they eat. 

They can’t stand the smell at Yankee Candle shop, odors bother them, mold, pollen, dust, cat, dog, whatever it is. So there seems to be something with Lyme that it causes this alteration in the immune system. And without getting too tech-y on you guys, it’s basically a balance between what we call Th1 and Th2. Think of Th1 as being part of your immune system that it sees something that doesn’t belong there and it goes right after it gets rid of it.

These are kind of your direct scavengers. And Th2 is the pathway that drives more antibody response. Antibodies by themselves don’t actually get rid of anything. They basically help identify that there’s a problem, and then other parts of the immune system get engaged. But the Th2 pathway that drives allergy is the same pathway that drives most auto-immune reactions, not all of them, but most of them. So it seems that as that Th2 to Th1 balance gets tipped as the body becomes more auto-immune, it also becomes more allergic. And it’s the chicken and the egg thing, and we don’t really know which one begets the other, but again, I’ve seen a lot of people who’ve never really had allergy issues until they get exposed to a tick-borne illness and then they become highly sensitive to everything.

I think the reason we’re seeing more MCAS or more allergy issues in Lyme is because of that alteration in the immune system. So even if we’re successful at getting rid of Lyme, or at least getting it under control, often we’re still left with the immune mess that we have to clean up. So treating Lyme will definitely help. By itself, it may not be enough to completely fix the immune disruption that’s happened. 

The easiest way I can think of it, if you’re standing on the lake in the morning and it’s a nice quiet lake, and a motor boat goes blowing by, that boat can be long gone, but the waves are still rippling in the wake. And Lyme’s kind of the same thing, that even if you’re successful at eradicating Lyme, you might be left with this mess of immune issues, hormone issues, neurotransmitters issues and so forth. 

This is just one of those messes we must clean up. I just actually just posted on the Facebook group, someone else had asked about MCAS, “What do you do about it?”

This is article one of three with information on the Q&A around the Lyme Protocol.

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Dr. Darin Ingels

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