Individuals suffering from chronic complex illness like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chemical sensitivity, brain fog, joint pain, chronic pain, headache, anxiety, depression and sleep disorder caused by the effects of exposure to environmental toxins like mold, viruses, Lyme spirochetes and chemicals have substantial mitochondrial dysfunction in essentially every case that I have seen. Research has shown that mitochondria react to these toxins in what has been termed by Robert Naviaux MD of the mitochondrial laboratory at the University of California San Diego to be the Mitochondrial Cell Danger Response. This means that the mitochondria have ceased to function in a normal way to make our critical energy currency molecule called adenosine triphosphate or ATP for short.
Restoration of normal mitochondrial oxygen utilization and ATP production is fundamental to the reversal of this group of chronic illnesses. I have found that elimination of exposure to toxins and taking steps to clear toxins from the body can be helpful in restoring mitochondrial function.
I have also found that administration of critical nutrients needed by mitochondria can also result in substantial resolution of mitochondrial dysfunction. IV Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and IV Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD), which we provide in our nutrient infusion center at Texas Integrative Medicine, are two vital nutrients that are particularly useful in this endeavor.
ALA also known as thioctic acid is a sulfur-containing fatty acid that has been called “the Master Antioxidant” due to its role of maintaining active levels of other critical antioxidants like glutathione and Vitamin E. ALA is both water soluble and fat soluble so it can easily move throughout both the intracellular and extracellular spaces. It is a critical nutrient for mitochondrial ATP production as it is needed for the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase, an essential coenzyme in the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl co-enzyme A. ALA quenches damaging free radicals that destroy the body’s proteins, cell membranes and DNA leading to cell death, aging, even cancer, and it plays a vital role in liver health. Moreover it reduces the body’s resistance to insulin which may slow the onset or progression of diabetes.
NAD or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, an essential cofactor made from Vitamin B3 niacin, is necessary in the mitochondria for its role of carrying electrons derived from metabolizing fats and sugars to generate ATP, the body’s energy molecule and our body heat. The electron transport chain of enzymes in the mitochondria cannot function to produce ATP without an ample supply of NAD+. Without NAD we would be cold all the time. Intravenous NAD has been shown to take away cravings for drugs and alcohol and is being used in clinics around the world to treat addiction. It has also been shown to protect our DNA from damage which is a major cause of aging.
Administration of vitamins and cofactors like ALA and NAD by the intravenous or IV route delivers them quicker and in higher levels to the cells and mitochondria of our vital organs where they are needed than does the oral route. Taken orally, these nutrients might not be absorbed well or they might be used up by the bacteria in our intestines (the microbiome). When absorbed from the intestines, nutrients travel directly to the liver (porto-hepatic circulation) where they may be stored leaving less available to cells in the brain, heart, kidneys and other vital organs.
At Texas Integrative Medicine we provide IV infusions of ALA and NAD along with other vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential lipids to individuals who are in need of them. Our infusion nurse (RN) is highly trained and experienced and under the direct supervision of our medical staff. Why not call today for an evaluation to see if you might benefit from these essential nutrients?
SOME CHRONIC ILLNESS SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY FAULTY BRAIN SIGNALS
Some absolutely amazing findings coming from recent neurobehavioral and psychology research are unraveling a fabric of mystery which is demonstrating that a number of symptoms of “mystery Illnesses” like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity and electromagnetic frequency sensitivity may be significantly generated by faulty brain messages being generated from a Limbic System that has been injured by a variety of toxic insults including mold toxins, Lyme and associated persistent infections, toxic chemicals in air, food and water, psychological trauma and physical head injury.
The amazingly wonderful associated discovery is that our brains are quite capable to “rewire” and recover using the principle of NeuroPlasticity. This literally means that the brain can learn to reroute and reprogram the damaged areas allowing the associated symptoms to lessen and in many cases disappear. This is not really different from the mechanism that allows the victim of a stroke to relearn to walk or talk.
Since the limbic system (which is made up of the cingulate gyrus, the amygdala, the hippocampus and the hypothalamus) acts as a control center for the autonomic nervous system, the immune system, the endocrine system and the digestive system, many physical signs, symptoms and abnormal lab findings may be directly caused by false or inappropriate limbic system messages to the rest of the body.
At Texas Integrative Medicine our goal is to identify the environmental toxic triggers that have led to limbic system disorder sometimes referred to as a Limbic System Trauma Loop. First priority is to stop further exposure to the toxins. For example, we might find that there is toxic indoor mold in a person’s home, school or workplace and we would make every attempt to stop further exposure. Perhaps a person’s drinking water is tainted with lead or pesticides. Again we try to eliminate these exposures. Next, it is necessary to use the body’s natural means of toxin elimination (kidneys, liver, sweat glands, bowel elimination, immune system) to clear the body’s stored toxins and harmful germs as best we can.
We are learning that even once toxins have been significantly reduced, the limbic system may still remain “stuck in a rut”. A good analogy would be when a circuit breaker breaks from too much current demand. You can unplug the excessive appliances, but the system doesn’t work until the circuit breaker is RESET.
There are two successful ways to reset or reprogram the damaged limbic system that we have been working with at Texas Integrative Medicine.
Annie Hopper from Victoria, Canada has developed a system of behavioral training which she has named the Dynamic Neural Retraining System. You can find out more about it at her website- www.retrainingthebrain.com. Her system has helped many people recover from complex “mystery” illness. Please check out some of the Success Stories on her webpage.
Neurobiofeedback scientists and clinicians are perfecting modalities that combine monitoring brain electromagnetic waves (EEG) with reward systems such as using brain signals to alter the color and sound loudness of a movie DVD. In Austin, Lynda Kirk and associates at Austin Biofeedback and EEG Neurofeedback Center offer the most advanced devices and protocols to retrain the limbic system in a way that leads to resolution of symptoms and improvement in brain function. You can learn more about their approach at https://www.austinbiofeedback.com
In my functional clinical practice, Texas Integrative Medicine, one of the most common problems I see is chronic, complex illness from the presence of mold toxins in the body. I usually see patients who come in with a group of unexplained symptoms and the cause is unknown. In other cases a person knows that they are being exposed to bad mold and have symptoms, but don’t know what to do about it.
Some of the symptoms of mold toxin/mycotoxin toxicity are caused by the direct toxic effects on our cells and sub-cellular organelles (especially mitochondria). Probably even more symptoms are caused by immune self-injury! Let me explain. When our body’s immune system encounters non-self, such as a mycotoxin molecule, it is programmed to respond with what is called the immune response, the purpose of which is to neutralize or remove the non-self (think germ invader or germ toxin). Unfortunately in many cases our own cells and tissues can be injured by the immune response in a process of immune self-injury or “autoimmunity“. Many of the symptoms that patients encounter with mycotoxin exposure are immune self-injury or immune inflammation symptoms. Ok, what are they? Almost always severe fatigue and intolerance to exercise or exertion is a hallmark of mold illness. Symptoms involving the nervous system are almost always present. These symptoms are from effects on the Central Nervous System as well as the Peripheral Nervous System (all the many nerves outside the brain). Brain Fog is a term my patients often use to describe the brain effects of mold toxicity. This term means that they experience loss of focus, loss of train of thought, difficulty with word finding, difficulty with problem solving, memory loss, and even confusion. In addition to brain fog most patients also experience significant mood alterations. They experience a sense of anxiety, emotionality, excessive fear or worry, depression, sense of despair, and often the inability to get restful sleep. Symptoms of peripheral nervous system involvement include many symptoms of numbness, tingling, burning and pain. This is often localized to one area or side of the body and often migrates and comes and goes. Digestive Disorder symptoms are exceedingly common. When mold toxins on mold spores are inhaled into the nose, they stick to the nasal mucous and later are usually swallowed. Some mold toxins are actually on the food we eat and are consumed. Effects of mycotoxins in the Gastro-Intestinal tract include acid reflux/heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Pulmonary manifestations include shortness of breath and cough. The toxic effects of molds also can reek havoc on our hormone-producing glands leading to a wide array of hormone imbalances and deficiencies. Immune self-injury of the muscles, ligaments, bones, joints, and tendons often causes severe aches, pains and stiffness.
In 1996, Dr. Shoemaker was practicing Family Practice in Maryland on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay. Some of his long-time patients were coming to him with the symptom picture that I described above. He had heard about a toxin-producing algae-like germ called Pfiesteria that occured in algae-blooms in the bay. One of his patients came in with severe diarrhea. He decided to treat her diarrhea with cholestyramine, an old medicine used to lower cholesterol by binding it in the intestine, which was one of his favorite diarrhea treatments. To his surprise and pleasure, the patient reported that within a few days her diarrhea was gone along with her memory loss, headache and cough. He later learned that similar toxins could be produced by many indoor molds and lead to a similar clinical picture. Over the years Dr. Shoemaker worked out many of the mechanisms that resulted in patient’s symptoms and he called the disease process Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or CIRS based largely on the fact that most of the symptoms were the result of inflammation due to the immune system’s response to the mycotoxins.
Later Dr. Shoemaker worked out a complex protocol and actually formed a training program (subject to tuition costs of course) to “certify” practitioners in his Shoemaker Protocol. He has published several books on CIRS including Mold Warriors: Fighting America’s Hidden Health Threat (April 2005) and Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings (December 2010). He also maintains a very informative website about the illness- www.survivingmold.com.
It has been my experience in working with patients with the symptoms of Mold Illness that the symptoms seen from a variety of diseases associated with infection from a variety of Vector-Borne diseases are much the same.
Lyme Disease which is a disease reaching epidemic proportions in the United States is one such disease that overlaps the symptoms of mold illness. The germ Borrelia burgdorferi, a spirochete which does occur in Texas and in much of the United States is just one stealth infection that may look like mold illness. Even though the principles of treatment of each disease is different although some of the approaches to treatment overlap.
In my practice I am amazed by the differences that I see among individuals that are shown to have mold toxins and stealth germs in their bodies. It appears that some people are completely without any symptoms even though they harbor mold toxins/mycotoxins and stealth germs like the “Lyme germ” in their bodies. I have found that it is very important to individualize the treatment of these diseases. The individual’s susceptibility to manifest symptoms from the various toxins is what I call BioTerrain. These are the various factors of genetics and epigenetics which is what causes one person to be a “Canary in the Coal Mine” while another person with essentially the same set of mold toxins and stealth infection toxins is like a “Cast Iron Skillet” and may be perfectly well.
To successfully resolve symptoms, I have found that rule #1 is to identify and eliminate ongoing exposure to the toxins causing the problem. This may require inspecting for mold-toxin causing molds in the indoor environment. This may include testing for the presence of mold toxins and stealth infections in the body. Often tests to understand the BioTerrain are helpful in order to modify the individual’s susceptibility to symptoms and inflammation. Finally the goal of treatment is to assist in the elimination or reduction of toxins, mycotoxins and harmful stealth germs such as the “Lyme Borrelia” from the body. There are quite a few tools that are used to accomplish this and I have found that these tools must be individualized from patient to patient. One size definitly does not fit all.
I would be privileged to assist anyone who suspects that they are suffering from the effects of mycotoxins and other biotoxins and has not found the answers that they are looking for. I am accepting new patients. Please call 512-420-9300 if you wish to be seen by me in consultation.
Dr. Taylor practices integrative medicine at Texas Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas. After obtaining a general medical doctorate degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas he completed a general medical internship and residency training in head and neck surgery ENT and allergy. After 20 years service in the US Army Medical Corps and practice in Colorado and Texas he founded Texas Integrative where he now offers a functional holistic approach to disease which treats the entire individual instead of each separate symptom. He has found more satisfying results using this Systems BioIndividualized approach. His motto is “Health and Wellness from Head to Toe”. www.texasintegrative.com office phone-512-420-9300