This means that every time someone with this HLA-DR gene is exposed to a water damaged building through their home, work or vehicle that they will have an inflammatory response in which the immune system fails to correctly respond to and remove the mycotoxins produced from the mould exposure.With up to 40% of homes in Australia being estimated as having some kind of water damage, this means that potentially around 1 in 8 people are walking around with an inflammatory cascade battle going on within them and a cluster of different symptoms and illnesses.Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), otherwise known as mould illness is a condition which involves multiple (or all) body systems, presents with multiple symptoms (usually referred to as symptoms clusters) and is caused by exposure to biologically produced biotoxins or neurotoxins (typically cell wall fragments and toxic metabolic products).The signs and symptoms of CIRS/Mould illness are:FatigueAllergies and sinus congestionPoor memory and impairmentWeakness and achesBrain fog and forgetfulnessHeadachesStatic shockPoor ConcentrationMood swingsTingling, numbness or unusual skin sensationsDecreased word findingDigestive complaints – diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bloatingJoint painFrequent urinationDifficulty regulating body temperatureUnexplained weight gain/inability to lose weightAsthma and/or bronchitisCough and shortness of breathCoughing up bloodAppetite swingsExcessive thirstDermatitis/eczemaFrequent infections – thrush, ringworm, athlete’s footAllergiesMultiple chemical sensitivityMultiple food intolerancesFrequent rhinitis or sinusitisExcessive sneezingFrequent static shocksLow resilience to stressVertigoFibromyalgiaTremorsMCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome)EMF sensitivityApproximately 95% of people who develop CIRS have the genetic susceptibility HLA-DR gene that results in an inability to clear biotoxins from the body post-exposure. This sends the body into an inflammatory cascade and triggers a chronic pattern of immune dysregulation.It is a complex condition, though it is slowly becoming more understood and recognised in Australia. CIRS/Mould illness sufferers commonly experience unexplained chronic fatigue syndrome, previously diagnosed conditions such as fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities to environmental chemicals as well as foods. Research has shown that mould exposure can trigger neuroinflammation leading to brain fog, fatigue and cognitive dysfunction. As well as the mycotoxins from mould have been shown to disrupts the guts microbiome, deplete the bodies glutathione levels and increase the bodies toxic burden.How can naturopathy help?Naturopathic treatment has a lot to offer patients with CIRS/mould illness as we understand it is characterised by widespread inflammation, poor detoxification, toxicity and a chaotic immune system response post toxic mould exposure. Optimal nutrition, supplementation and therapies can aid in mould illness recovery by supporting detoxification, restoring gut health and reducing inflammation caused by mould exposure. However, transforming and correcting the clients’ environmental exposure is needed and this is where a certified mould technician/building biologists role comes in.Mycotoxins and mould can also be found in our food chain in high concentrations. With grains, nuts such as peanuts, dried fruits and alcohol all being found to be heavily contaminated with mycotoxins. Avoiding the most heavily mould contaminated foods can help aid in recovery for some patients.Unfortunately, there is currently no definitive test or one blood marker that can diagnose CIRS, so as practitioners we rely on a combination of symptoms and laboratory tests based on the pioneering work of Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker to confirm whether a person is likely to have CIRS/Mould illness. These could include testing for blood biomarkers, HLA (human leukocyte antigen) genetic testing, Visual contrast sensitivity testing and urinary mycotoxin testing.It's important to remember that when a patient is suffering with mould related illness that they do not have mould within or growing in their bodies. Mould illness is primarily caused by the mycotoxins, which are the poisons produced by different mould species.Exposure to indoor mould is far more common than you might think as well as the impact it has on your clients’ health. For a client with a broad array of symptoms not responding to general dietary, lifestyle and naturopathic treatment, looking into their environmental exposure and toxicants can sometimes hold the key to getting better.References:Recent Advances in Our Understanding of Mast Cell Activation - Or Should It Be Mast Cell Mediator Disorders? Theoharis C Theoharides, Irene Tsilioni, Huali Ren Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2019 June ; 15(6): 639–656Detection of Mycotoxins in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Joseph H. Brewer, Jack D. Thrasher, David C. Straus, Roberta A. Madison, Dennis HooperToxins (Basel) 2013 Apr; 5(4): 605–617A Review of the Mechanism of Injury and Treatment Approaches for Illness Resulting from Exposure to Water-Damaged Buildings, Mold, and Mycotoxins. Janette Hope. ScientificWorldJournal. 2013; 2013: 767482Nutritional supplementation and dietary restriction in the resolution of enthesitis-related arthritis. Stephen J Genuis, Anna-Kristen J Siy. JRSM Short Rep. 2011 Apr; 2(4): 32.A Water-Damaged Home and Health of Occupants: A Case Study Jack Dwayne Thrasher, Michael R. Gray, Kaye H. Kilburn, Donald P. Dennis, Archie Yu J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012: 312836.Toxic effects of mycotoxins in humans. M. Peraica, B. Radić, A. Lucić, M. Pavlović Bull World Health Organ. 1999; 77(9): 754–766.How Much Should We Involve Genetic and Environmental Factors in the Risk Assessment of Mycotoxins in Humans? Edmond E. Creppy, Serge Moukha, Hassen Bacha, Maria Rosaria Carratu Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2005 May; 2(1): 186–193.Interested in Naturopathy?Empower yourself with knowledge. Find out more about our Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy).