Chemicals and other toxins in your home (mold in particular) can make you incredibly ill.
Would you know what to look for?
Dr. Gary Kaplan, author of Total Recovery, shares just how serious mold toxicity can be.
Unfortunately, it is commonly found in many households.
Learn what you need to know about keeping your family healthy and how to enjoy your home worry- and mold-free.
RadioMD Presents: Wellness for Life Radio | Original Air Date: May 15, 2015
Host: Susanne Bennett, DC
Guest: Gary Kaplan, DO
It's time to feel better with help from Dr. Suzanne Bennett. Allergies, nutrition, ultimate wellness. It’s all discussed right here, right now. It's Wellness for Life radio on Radio M.D. Here's your host, Dr. Suzanne.
DR SUZANNE: Toxins in your home. You know, mold in particular, can make you really incredibly ill. My next guest is here to show just how serious mold toxicity is and what you need to know to keep your family worry free and healthy. Please welcome my host, Dr. Gary Kaplan. Thanks for being here doc. Tell us, what makes most so dangerous?
DR. GARY: Well, thank you for having me on the show, Suzanne. Mold is a ubiquitous problem in that it occurs anytime there's been water damage to a building, so that if you have water damage to your house or water damage to your office and that damage is not addressed, what happens is mold starts to go back in the wallboards in the carpet… and what happens is most secrete toxins. Toxins normally keep themselves and we’re protected in the environment, but in humans about 20% of us can't process those toxins. We don’t make the enzymes necessary to break them down. What happens is they end up accumulating in our body. That accumulation can result in an inflammatory process in the central nervous system. The consequences of the inflammation can be problems with difficulty focusing and concentrating, problems with depression, and problems with chronic pain. You can see fibromyalgia or you can see chronic fatigue systems associated with this inflammatory process in the central nervous system all caused by mold toxins. The toxins can…
DR. SUZANNE: Go ahead, toxins can…
DR. GARY: Okay, so the toxins can be so severe that we see people who look like they have multiple sclerosis. They have problems with coordination or movements. They have problems with focus, concentration and such severe fatigue that they can't get out of bed: muscle pains, muscle aches. If we do not address it, if we don’t find, if we don't ask the right questions in terms of finding out that they've got mold toxicity, what you end up doing is making the diagnosis that’s incorrect and not responsive to treatments.
DR. SUZANNE: So, what you're saying is that this is a hidden problem that we cannot… we don't know… even as a patient. Let’s say, you go in thinking that you have a headache or you're having some allergy reaction, but it can truly be mycotoxin or mold toxicity that’s triggering these symptoms and you say that it's dangerous because it's a hidden inflammation. Inflammation in the body. Can you talk a little bit more about how inflammation can be detrimental to our brain?
DR. GARY: Sure. Inflammation is a lot of different things in the body, so that if you have allergies you’re…what’s mediating that inflammation is antihistamines, the release of mast cell in the body. But, in the brain, a whole different set of mechanisms occur there that cause inflammation. So, in the brain there’s a small cell called the “microglia”. That’s responsible for mediating inflammation in the central nervous system. There’s a lot of things that potentially set off that microglia. So, the microglia moves into action anytime that there’s an injury to neural tissue. So, problems that occur with mycotoxins for instance, are problems that can occur from Lyme disease or other infections. An example of what it looks like when the brain is inflamed is the flu. Things that would happen: you’ve got fever, you can’t focus, you can’t concentrate, you’re exhausted, experiencing generalized body aches and malaise. One of the big mistakes we’ve made in medicine is that we’ve been treating depression and we’ve been treating chronic pain conditions: headaches, problems with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis. We treat these conditions as if they are the primarily disease and they’re not. The underlying disease is inflammation in the central nervous system and the inflammation in the central nervous system comes from a large number of causes, mold toxicity being one of them. This is a condition which affects better than 100 million people in this country, this chronic pain condition and if you’re suffering with pain and depression, that’s about 20 million people in this country. They’re not responsive to therapies because the therapies are geared at treating the symptoms and not treating the underlying cause, which is inflammation in the central nervous system.
DR. SUZANNE: Wow. So, again, we are dealing with these…a lot of people have depression, a lot of people have inflammation in their body and that it really can be a mold issue and you mentioned very clear that it’s really like the doctor has got to be the detective. I truly believe I’m like a medical detective, I’ve got to figure this out. You’ve got to ask the right questions. What should the doctors be asking a patient who may be having these mold issues?
DR. GARY: You know you’re absolutely right about the necessity of becoming a detective as a good physician and one of the things that patents come to me constantly and say “You know, all of my lab tests are normal” and I say “Well but, you’re not normal” and so that means we haven’t tested the right things yet so, we have to go look. So, there’s a series of specific lab tests that we can do to evaluate. First off is genetic testing that we can do to evaluate whether or not you’re susceptible to mold toxins --spider and tick bite toxins. There’s also direct testing that can be done to look for micro toxins in your body, a urine test that can be done. So, you have to go to a physician that’s familiar with this kind of testing and knows how to ask these kinds of questions. So, that becomes the first problem. If all you’re doing is a blood count and you’re doing c-reactive protein and a urinalysis and a metabolic profile, you’re going to miss the overwhelming majority of cases. This is specialized testing, you have to have been properly trained to do it and if you don’t ask the right questions, you don’t get the right answers.
DR. SUZANNE: That’s a great point. I know that you can go to American Academy of Environmental Medicine to find practitioners and doctors who are well-versed in this. What other organization do you suggest that the people out there, that listeners can go to, to find the right doctors in their neighborhood?
DR. GARY: Physicians who are trained in functional medicine, so the Functional Medicine Institute is a great source of physicians. The American Academy for the Advancement of Medicine is another great source and the Academic Consortium for Integrated Medicine is a consortium of all of the medical schools in the country who are training physicians in integrative medicine, another great source where you can find physicians who understand these conditions.
DR. SUZANNE: Right. You’re an integrative doctor, aren’t you, Dr. Kaplan?
DR. GARY: I am. I am. Now, integrative medicine-- I want to define it a little bit for your listeners because integrative d medicine is not about doing acupuncture or doing herbs and spices, but it’s about a comprehensive medical system which includes everything that is wonderful in Western medicine and expands the diagnosis by including things like dysfunctional medicine, being able to do acupuncture. In our center, I’m trained in acupuncture; I’m trained in manual therapies, in addition to very conventional medicine; my boards, my specialties, are in family medicine and pain medicine. So, it’s about keeping it all and figuring out…being able to expand your scope of knowledge and being able to help people with a whole bunch of different series of interventions which includes supplements, but also includes conventional medicine at the same time.
DR. SUZANNE: Right. I know a great deal about mold toxicity because actually my son was severely allergic to them. That’s really how I got into natural medicine and natural allergies. My son actually, Dr. Kaplan, was severely allergic. We had to carry an Epi-pen. If he were at all to even be exposed and eat it, he would go into a major anaphylactic reaction, swelling of the throat, etc. So what we had to do is go through a great deal of learning and cleansing out the body and cleansing out those mycotoxins that you do it in your practice. Isn’t that right?
DR. GARY: Absolutely and you know, the mycotoxins, they come in a variety of forms. We’ve been focused on…in terms of mold mycotoxin, but mycotoxins also occur in food. You’ve got aflatoxins from corn products. You’ve got ochratoxins from peanuts and so you really have to be attentive and be your own detective somewhat when you’re reacting to things. You’re not feeling well. What environments are you in at that time? What foods have you eaten that perhaps you didn’t feel so well on? And a lot of times we continually poison ourselves to such an extent that it’s hard to distinguish from one to the next. So, what you really need to do is step back. I have my patients go on a hypoallergenic diet, which is rice, fish, chicken, fresh fruits and vegetable, which eliminates some of the food allergens, but then it also allows you to see what other things you may be reacting to. If you stay on that diet for a month, that will begin to clean things up a bit. You need to be attentive. You need to be a bit of a detective for yourself. What environment is bothering you and whether or not you’re getting sick of a certain food.
DR. SUZANNE: That’s right. I say you all have to be an allergy detective yourself. That’s awesome. Well, thanks, Dr. Kaplan, so much for joining me today. To learn more about mold toxicity please to go his website kaplanclinic.com that’s kaplanclinic.com. That’s the website or you can always go to my radio show page on RadioMD.
This is Dr. Suzanne sharing my natural strategies for ultimate health and wellness right here on Radio M.D. Thanks again. Stay well.