Category:

Mold

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Urine and Testing for Mold Toxins

While there’s little doubt about what takes priority right now — the virus named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — there are other threats to your health to be aware of and diligent about. Here in Tampa, it’s just a fact of life that mold is very common in our homes and commercial buildings. And as many of us know by now, exposure to moldy and damp environments can cause a variety of health problems.

Urine Mold Testing Graphic

If you’ve researched toxic mold, you know it can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including the following:

  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, and/or bloating
  • Chronic burning in the throat and nasal passages
  • Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Disorientation and/or dizziness
  • Eye irritation or tearing of the eyes
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headache and/or light sensitivity
  • Hearing loss
  • Heightened sensitivity to chemicals and foods
  • Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of balance
  • Morning stiffness and/or joint pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor memory, difficulty finding words
  • Skin rashes
  • Sleep problems
  • Slower reaction time
  • Static shocks or metallic taste in the mouth
  • Unusual skin sensations, tingling, and numbness
  • Vision changes

Unfortunately, these same symptoms can be attributed to a host of underlying health conditions and are commonly used to support vague, unhelpful diagnoses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and depression — what we refer to as “waste-basket diagnoses.”

Taking a Test-First Approach

At BioDesign Wellness Center, we take a continue reading

Update on Toxic Mold in Tampa

Last year, we wrote about mold outbreaks at the MacDill Air Force Base and the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center. (See our previous post Responding to the Mold Outbreak at VA Bay Pines Center.”) Just this month, Stars and Stripes and the Tampa Bay Times reported that five military families have since filed a federal class-action lawsuit “against owners and managers of private housing at MacDill Air Force Base, alleging years of negligence in persistent problems with mold throughout the buildings.”

The lawsuit claims that “the Michaels Organization, the private company responsible for managing the on-base housing at MacDill, knew the houses there had mold and did not protect the health and safety of service members and their families.”

(Image © Florida Middle District Court)

In one case, Jason Genrich, a chief warrant officer in the Army, developed chest pains, mood swings, dizziness, and fatigue within five months of moving into military housing at MacDill. Genrich visited four specialists before a neurologist diagnosed him as having “sick building syndrome.” For the first time in his 17-year military career, Genrich was placed on medical deferment from physical activity.

In another unit, Air Force Staff Sargent Gary Elbron and his family had an air conditioner that was leaking water into the inside of their home. The family reported the problem to the building management company numerous times, but the air conditioner was never repaired. Water seeped under the linoleum flooring (see image above) leading to mold growth in the subflooring and health problems for the family.

Mold growth in many of the homes was linked to  continue reading

Toxic Mold in Coffee?

Coffee is a lightning rod for conflicting medical studies. Every few weeks it seems, a new study comes out touting the benefits or risks of drinking coffee or drinking too much coffee — an amount which is also hotly debated.

(Photo courtesy of Kari Shea on Unsplash)

According to BlueCross BlueShield, here’s where the science stands regarding the pros and cons of coffee consumption:

Pros

  • Coffee may help protect against type 2 diabetes.
  • Coffee may help reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease and may help control Parkinson’s related tremors.
  • Coffee lowers the risk of liver cancer and protects against cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Moderate coffee consumption (16 ounces daily) can help protect against heart failure.

Cons

  • Drinking too much coffee/caffeine can trigger anxiety symptoms, especially in those with underlying anxiety disorders.
  • Coffee/caffeine causes the release of adrenaline, which can lead to elevated heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Coffee can inhibit proper sleep cycles in some people, and even cause headaches for other users.

The latest round of studies has introduced a new concern for coffee lovers — the level of mycotoxins in coffee. Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by fungi, including continue reading

Moldy Brain Image

Psychiatric Illness or Moldy Brain?

Many people diagnosed with a mental illness or other psychiatric condition tell similar stories. They visit their primary care physician complaining of anxiety, overwhelming sadness, fatigue, joint or muscle aches and pains, brain fog, and other general symptoms. Their doctor orders a limited series of lab tests, examines the results, and finds “nothing wrong.” They are then either given a diagnosis on the spot or referred to a psychiatrist.

Ultimately, they are told they have depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or some other diagnosis that doesn’t reveal what’s really going on or how to cure it. They are sent home with one or more prescriptions for antidepressants, pain relievers, and other medications that, at best, provide only temporary relief. Sometimes the medications provide no relief or even make the condition worse.

Moldy Brain Image

The story changes only when a patient is fortunate enough to encounter a doctor who understands the effects of environmental toxins on the brain… a doctor like our own Dr. Matt Lewis, or one like Mary Ackerley, MD — a board certified integrative and holistic physician as well as a classically trained board certified psychiatrist who specializes in the natural treatment of chronic fatigue, mold and biotoxin illness, depression and anxiety. In addition to her education and training as a psychiatrist, Dr. Ackerley (as well as our own Dr. Matt Lewis) has specific training in diagnosing and treating environmentally acquired illness.

(Editor’s note: Dr. Lewis and Dr. Ackerley both attended the inaugural ISEAI Conference — International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness —in early-May of this year in Phoenix, Ariz., where Dr. Ackerley was one of the featured speakers.)

According to Dr. Shoemaker — a Roswell, NM-based pioneer in mold and biotoxin illness treatment — about 25 percent of the population is susceptible to biotoxins. Coincidentally, as Dr. Ackerley has been known to point out continue reading

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