Mycotoxin Toxicity, Effects on the Body, Treatment [Research Notes]

On Mold Affecting the Heart

My dad, Dr. Stephen Sinatra, has classified mold as one of the 14 most dangerous toxins to the heart, and with good reason.

Like Lyme disease, mold is the “great masquerader.” It can cause a wide variety of symptoms to appear, mimicking other illnesses. Over the years I’ve learned that if someone is sensitive to mold and is quite ill, there is nothing more important than treating the underlying mold problem, first. That’s because if mold induced illness isn’t addressed first it can cause an enormous amount of inflammation, free radical stress, and toxicity in the body.


Mycotoxins and VEGF or Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor  [Source]

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a substance made by cells that stimulates new blood vessel formation and increases blood flow in the capillary beds.   VEGF is a polypeptide.  Deficiency of VEGF is quite common and is a serious problem in biotoxin illness patients that must be corrected.  If you don’t have blood flow, cells begin starve and don’t work properly.

I’ve noticed adversely effected blood flow and nitric oxide production since experiencing mold exposure earlier this year, so this is fascinating.

Approximately 1/4 of the Population is Susceptible from Mycotoxin Induced Illness due to Inability to Detoxify as a result of HLA-DR Genes [Source]

About 24% of the population has a genetic susceptibility (HLA-DR) that prevents proper excretion of mycotoxins. In other words, once you’ve been exposed to mycotoxins they continue to recirculate in your body, resulting in an overactive immune response that disrupts many symptoms in the body.

HLA DR – Your Genes
Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLAs), are found on the surface of nearly every cell in the human body. They help the immune system tell the difference between body tissue and foreign substances.

The immune response genes are found on chromosome six. Patients could have two alleles, copies of genes (for each gene, one allele is inherited from a person’s father, and the other is inherited from a person’s mother), out of approximately 10 possible, as part of their genotype. Based on Dr. Shoemaker’s data, in normal populations compared to international registries of gene frequencies of HLA DR, we know the frequency of mold illness-susceptible patients approximates 24% of the normally distributed population. Almost a quarter of the normal population is genetically susceptible to chronic mold illness. Three quarters isn’t.


Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH) Disruption via Mycotoxins and the Related Health Effects [Source]

MSH – Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone
Normal Range:  35-81 pg/mL

Alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH) has multiple anti-inflammatory and neurohormonal regulatory functions, exerting regulatory control on peripheral cytokine release, as well as on both anterior and posterior pituitary function.

In mold illness, MSH will be too low in over 95% of patients.  This means increased susceptibility to mold illness, ongoing fatigue, pain, hormone abnormalities, mood swings, and much more.  MSH is a hormone, called a regulatory neuropeptide, and it controls many other hormones, inflammation pathways, and basic defenses against invading microbes.  Without MSH, bad things happen; chronic sleep disorders with non-restful sleep develop, and endorphin production is reduced, so chronic pain follows.

I can personally attest to experiencing intense sleep disorder all year long after being exposed to an onslaught of mycotoxins. The only thing that has had a positive effect on it are mashed sweet potato with MCT & butter, as well as use of cannabis. Both can be restorative to my sleep – otherwise my sleep is horrible.

Low Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide and Shortness of Breath [Source]

VIP – Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide
Normal Range:  23-63 pg/mL

Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) is a neuroregulatory hormone with receptors in the hypothalamus.  This hormone/cytokine regulates peripheral cytokine responses, pulmonary artery pressures, and inflammatory responses throughout the body.
Low VIP levels are present in mold illness patients.  This leads to unusual shortness of breath, especially in exercise. To date, every multiple chemical sensitivity patient Shoemaker has seen (over 500) have had low VIP.  VIP plays a role similar to MSH in regulating inflammatory responses.

VIP replacement, when used according to a strictly administered protocol, has proven to be fabulously effective in returning chronically fatigued patients back to a normal life.

Treating Mycotoxin Induced Illness [Source]

– Binders and sequestering agents such as activated charcoal, bentonite clay, chlorella, zeolite, and cholestyramine bind to mycotoxins and remove them. They also help to prevent the reabsorption of mycotoxins in the gut.

– Sauna therapy is an excellent way to remove mycotoxins from your body. In fact there is research showing that ochratoxin is excreted through sweat.

– Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that helps support detox pathways, and can be used in conjunction with saunas to help mobilize and remove mycotoxins. If taken orally, 1 tsp a day (450 mg) will suffice. It can be administered intravenously as well.

– Probiotics like Lactobacillus rhamnosus can degrade or bind certain species of aflatoxin.

– Make sure other yeasts in the body such as Candida are under control. Sometimes it’s necessary to use systemic herbal antifungals.

– Avoid high mycotoxin content foods like grains (corn, wheat), chocolate, wine, coffee, beer, cheese, sugar, and peanuts. I personally believe that when people react to wine it’s not the sulphite content, but rather the mycotoxin content, that causes a headache or fatigue to kick in.

– Exercise in any form will increase blood flow throughout the body and increase the mobilization of mycotoxins from fat stores.

– HEPA air purifiers can help remove mold spores from the air, and reduce the overall toxic burden.

– Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air and can really make a difference in a damp environment like a basement.