Can Mould Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Mould exposure, and their production of secondary metabolites called mycotoxins, have been shown to contribute to chronic fatigue syndrome.
Before we start other blogs that you might be interested in, include:
- The Ultimate Guide To Mycotoxins
- Mould Illness: A Functional Medicine Approach
- Ochratoxin A
In one study, urine specimens from 104 of 112 patients (93%) were positive for at least one mycotoxin (one in the equivocal range). Almost 30% of the cases had more than one mycotoxin present. Ochratoxin A was the most prevalent mycotoxin detected (83%)
Exposure histories indicated current and/or past exposure to water damaged buildings in over 90% of cases. Environmental testing was performed in the water damaged buildings from a subset of these patients. This testing revealed the presence of potentially mycotoxin producing mould species and mycotoxins in the environment of the water damaged buildings. Prior testing in a healthy control population with no history of exposure to a water damaged buildings or mouldy environment by the same laboratory, utilising the same methods, revealed no positive cases at the limits of detection.
Now that we have answered the questions “can mould cause chronic fatigue?”, the next critical question is how?
How Does Mould Cause Chronic Fatigue?
A brilliant article in NDNR discusses three mechanisms behind mould illness and chronic fatigue:
- Decreased oxygenation
- Decreased mitochondrial function
- Neurotransmitter imbalances
I would have to add to this list compromised gut health also. In my blog ‘Can Mould & Mycotoxin Exposure Cause Gut Problems?‘ I describe how mycotoxins cause both structural and functional changes in the gut.
To expand on the three mechanisms listed above though, decreased oxygenation may occur due to the mycotoxins ochratoxin A and citrinin sequestering iron, and thus preventing its use by the body. This is referred to as ‘Nutritional Immunity’ – the process by which, in the face of an infection, the host will attempt to sequester nutrients in order to control the pathogenicity of an offending agent (an infection/toxin).
Mycotoxins are known disruptors of mitochondrial function, and this is partly mediated via oxidative stress which creates dysfunction at various sites of the mitochondria. The mitochondria are often described as the “power houses of the cells”, and where energy is created.
Finally, some mycotoxins are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, where they may interfere with neurotransmitter production and function. Animal research demonstrates a decreased level of dopamine after being exposed to the mycotoxin ochratoxin A.
Dr. Myhill Interview on Chronic Fatigue
Mould And Mitochondrial Dysfunction
Numerous studies also report the existence of mitochondrial damage and compromised bioenergetic function in people subjected to chronic mould exposure.
In a brilliant paper (source) the authors discussed how mould exposure might contribute to various health conditions including fatigue. They discussed how elevated levels of reactive oxygen species are likely to be partly responsible for the existence of mitochondrial pathology, but various mycotoxins can compromise the function of these organelles directly by a range of mechanisms involving:
- Inhibition of translation.
- Promotion of calcium dyshomeostasis.
- Inhibition of mitochondrial membrane potential.
- Inhibiting the transcription of cytochrome oxidase and reduced (NADH).
Mitochondria are often described as the ‘power houses’ of the cell, the site of energy creation. While this is true, they are so much more than this and are connected with numerous facets of health and function including immunity, hormones, and nutrient regulation.
Mould And Leaky Gut
With the increased production of pro-inflammatory molecules as a result of mycotoxins, the intestinal tight junction barrier is damaged, allowing an increased translocation of bacteria and bacterial components in to systemic circulation. Leaky gut is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome in the research.
I have discussed this previously on the blog: Can Leaky Gut Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
How To Test For Mycotoxins In The U.K?
There is a urine mycotoxins test available in the UK via Regenerus Labs. Below is a sample of the report:
Treatment Of Mould Illness And Mycotoxins
This is discussed in more detail in The Ultimate Guide To Mycotoxins blog. It’s important to appreciate a personalised approach to treatment is needed and there are specific interventions for specific mycotoxins so we are limited in what we can discuss from a generic perspective.
Some of the main concepts to consider are:
- Leaving the property if it is the source of the mould. 50% of people will get better with this one step according to Dr. Jill Crista.
- A low mould diet: click here for more information.
- Supplementation including:
- Probitoics to support gut health and detoxification of mycotoxins.
- Liposomal glutathione, or NAC.
- Compounds such as quercetin, luteolin and resveratrol.
- Binders such as activated charcoal but dietary binders might be most helpful – for example ground flaxseed or steamed kale.
- Anti-fungals like oregano oil.
- Liposomal glutathione, or NAC.
- Sauna therapy is a great option. I have seen some amazing results from clients using products from Get-Fitt. Give them a call, share your story, and they will happily discuss with you what products might be most appropriate for you.
Dr. Jill Crista Interview On Mould And Mycotoxins
- Detection of Mycotoxins in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Mycotoxin: Its Impact on Gut Health and Microbiota
- Effects of Mycotoxins on the Intestine
- Impact of Mycotoxins on the Intestine: Are Mucus and Microbiota New Targets?
- Modulation of Intestinal Functions Following Mycotoxin Ingestion: Meta-Analysis of Published Experiments in Animals
- Probiotic Supplementation Reduces a Biomarker for Increased Risk of Liver Cancer in Young Men From Southern China
- Effect of Supplementation of Fermented Milk Drink Containing Probiotic Lactobacillus Casei Shirota on the Concentrations of Aflatoxin Biomarkers Among Employees of Universiti Putra Malaysia: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Cross-Over, Placebo-Controlled Study