It is estimated that 1 in 4 buildings have enough water damage to grow mold. The worst part is that mold is completely odorless unless exposed to air. In this case that musty smell you are familiar with is actually volatile organic compounds, aldehydes, and alcohols that the mold is producing. If you can smell these, run! Mold only needs a little bit of moisture and a carbohydrate rich surface (wood, drywall, fiberglass, insulation, and even dust to name a few) to grow. It only takes 24-48 hours too.
Mold's only job is to survive. To spread the colony to new areas it releases mold spores. Mold spores are larger and can't travel past the bronchioles in your lungs. These are responsible for the upper respiratory tract symptoms some with mold toxicity experience. When a mold colony senses danger from a neighboring mold colony, bacteria, virus, etc. it releases mycotoxins which is the really scary part. Mycotoxins are extremely poisonous. So much so that they have been weaponized! They are incredibly small too. So small in fact that they can seep right through drywall, paint, and other building materials. They pass right through your lungs into your blood stream where they wreak total body damage. Mycotoxins produce often vague and unusual symptoms that are hard to pinpoint to a single disease. Therefore, doctors rely on symptom management which only buys the mold time to grow inside of you and create more damage.
The MycoTOX Profile by The Great Plains Laboratory
MycoTOX screens for eleven different mycotoxins, from 40 species of mold, in one urine sample.
MycoTOX is the most comprehensive and competitively priced mycotoxin test available.
MycoTOX uses the power of advanced mass spectrometry (MS/MS), which is necessary to detect lower levels of these fungal toxins. This test is optimal for follow up testing to ensure that detoxification therapies have been successful.
MycoTOX pairs perfectly with the Organic Acids Test (OAT), GPL-TOX (Toxic Non-Metal Chemical Profile), Phospholipase A2 Activity Test, and the Glyphosate Test. This gives you comprehensive testing to assess exposure to common environmental toxins and the damage that can be caused by this exposure, all at a great value, and all from one urine sample.
GENERA OF MOLD TESTED BY THE MYCOTOX PROFILE
The profile is currently measuring 11 different mycotoxins in our test from a wide variety of 13 mold types (genera) including Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Myrothecium, Stachybotrys, Bipolaris, Gibberella, Chaetomium, Trichoderma, Trichothecium, Cephalosporium, Verticimonosporium, and Monascus. Since each of these genera contain multiple species, the MycoTOX Profile is likely to detect hundreds of mold species. In addition, poisonous mushrooms also produce some of the same mycotoxins as the molds. This makes the MycoTOX Profile the most comprehensive test on the market and it is the most cost-effective.
Aspergillus is the most prevalent mold group in the environment and there are hundreds of different species. It has caused billions of dollars in damage to crops and livestock. Common Aspergillus mycotoxins that are tested in the MycoTOX Profile include aflatoxin, ochratoxin, sterigmatocystin, gliotoxin, and citrinin. The main target of these toxins is the liver. These toxins have been found in all major cereal crops including peanuts, corn, cotton, millet, rice, sorghum, sunflower seeds, wheat, and a variety of spices. They are also found in eggs, milk, and meat from animals fed contaminated grains. Diseases caused by Aspergillus are called aspergillosis. The most common route of infection is through the respiratory system. Aspergillus can cause severe asthma when the mold colonizes the lung, forming a granulomatous disease.
There are over 200 species of the genus Penicillium that have been discovered. Penicillium chrysogenum is the most common of these species. It is often found in indoor environments and is responsible for many allergic reactions. Penicillium is also a known contaminant in many different food items. Many different types of citrus fruits can become contaminated with Penicillium, but it can also contaminate seeds and grains. One reason that Penicillium is such a common infestation is because of its ability to thrive in low humidity. In the home, Penicillium can be found in wallpaper, carpet, furniture, and fiberglass insulation. The most common mycotoxin produced by Penicillium is ochratoxin. Ochratoxin is nephrotoxic, which means that it damages the kidneys. It is also carcinogenic.
Stachybotrys is a greenish-black mold. This mold can grow on materials with high cellulose and low nitrogen content such as gypsum board, paper, fiberboard, and ceiling tiles. Stachybotrys is known for its production of the highly toxic macrocyclic trichothecene mycotoxins. Two of the more common mycotoxins produced by Stachybotrys are roridin E and verrucarin. In addition to these mycotoxins, the fungus produces nine phenylspirodrimanes, as well as cyclosporine, which are potent immunosuppressors. These immunosuppressors, along with the mycotoxin trichothecenes may be responsible for the high toxicity of Stachybotrys.
Fusarium’s major mycotoxins are zearalenone (ZEN) and fumonisin. Fusarium fungi grow best in temperate climate conditions. They require lower temperatures for growth than Aspergillus. Fusarium grows worldwide on many different types of grains including corn and wheat. Exposure to mycotoxins from Fusarium can lead to both acute and chronic effects. These symptoms can include abdominal distress, malaise, diarrhea, emesis, and death. ZEN possesses estrogenic effects and has been implicated in reproductive disorders.
MARKERS IN THE MYCOTOX PROFILE
The strains of molds evaluated can produce many different mycotoxins. We have developed a test that provides extensive coverage, allowing us to detect most mold exposures.
AFLATOXIN M1 (AFM1)
Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) is the main metabolite of aflatoxin B1, which is a mycotoxin produced by different species of the genus Aspergillus. Aflatoxins are some of the most carcinogenic substances in the environment. Aflatoxin susceptibility is dependent on multiple different factors such as age, sex, and diet. Aflatoxin can be found in beans, corn, rice, tree nuts, wheat, milk, eggs, and meat. In cases of lung aspergilloma, aflatoxin has been found in human tissue specimens. Aflatoxin can cause liver damage, cancer, mental impairment, abdominal pain, hemorrhaging, coma, and death. Aflatoxin has been shown to inhibit leucocyte proliferation. Clinical signs of aflatoxicosis are non-pruritic macular rash, headache, gastrointestinal dysfunction (often extreme), lower extremity edema, anemia, and jaundice. The toxicity of aflatoxin is increased in the presence of ochratoxin and zearalenone.
OCHRATOXIN A (OTA)
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a nephrotoxic, immunotoxic, and carcinogenic mycotoxin. This chemical is produced by molds in the Aspergillus and Penicillium families. Exposure is primarily through contaminated foods such as cereals, grape juices, dairy, spices, wine, dried vine fruit, and coffee. Exposure to OTA can also come from inhalation exposure in water-damaged buildings. OTA can lead to kidney disease and adverse neurological effects. Studies have shown that OTA can cause significant oxidative damage to multiple brain regions and the kidneys. Dopamine levels in the brain of mice have been shown to be decreased after exposure to OTA.
Sterigmatocystin (STG) is a mycotoxin that is closely related to aflatoxin. STG is produced from several types of mold such as Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Bipolaris. It is carcinogenic, particularly in the cells of the GI tract and liver. STG has been found in the dust from damp carpets. It is also a contaminant of many foods including grains, corn, bread, cheese, spices, coffee beans, soybeans, pistachio nuts, and animal feed. In cases of lung aspergilloma, STG has been found in human tissue specimens. The toxicity of STG affects the liver, kidneys, and immune system. Tumors have been found in the lungs of rodents that were exposed to STG. Oxidative stress becomes measurably elevated during STG exposure, which causes a depletion of antioxidants such as glutathione, particularly in the liver.
Zearalenone (ZEA) is a mycotoxin that is produced by species of the mold genera Fusarium and Gibberella. It has been shown to be hepatotoxic, hematotoxic, immunotoxic, and genotoxic. ZEA is commonly found in several foods in the US, Europe, Asia, and Africa including wheat, barley, rice, and maize. ZEA has estrogenic activity and exposure to ZEA can lead to reproductive changes. ZEA’s estrogenic activity is higher than that of other non-steroidal isoflavones (compounds that have estrogen-like effects) such as soy and clover. ZEA exposure can result in thymus atrophy and alter spleen lymphocyte production as well as impaired lymphocyte immune response, which leads to patients being susceptible to disease.
Roridin E is a macrocyclic trichothecene produced by the mold genera Fusarium, Myrothecium, Trichoderma, Trichothecium, Cephalosporium, Verticimonosporium, and Stachybotrys (i.e. black mold). Trichothecenes are frequently found in buildings with water damage but can also be found in contaminated grain. This is a very toxic compound, which inhibits protein biosynthesis by preventing peptidyl transferase activity. Trichothecenes are considered extremely toxic and have been used as biological warfare agents. Even low levels of exposure to macrocyclic trichothecenes can cause severe neurological damage, immunosuppression, endocrine disruption, cardiovascular problems, and gastrointestinal distress.
Verrucarin A is a macrocyclic trichothecene mycotoxin produced from Stachybotrys, Fusarium, and Myrothecium molds. Trichothecenes are frequently found in buildings with water damage but can also be found in contaminated grain. This is a very toxic compound, which inhibits protein biosynthesis by preventing peptidyl transferase activity. Trichothecenes are considered extremely toxic and have been used as biological warfare agents. Even low levels of exposure to macrocyclic trichothecenes can cause severe neurological damage, immunosuppression, endocrine disruption, cardiovascular problems, and gastrointestinal distress.
Enniatin B1 is a fungal metabolite categorized as a cyclohexa-depsipeptides toxin produced by the molds of the Fusarium species. These species are common cereal contaminants. Grains in many different countries have recently been contaminated with high levels of enniatin. The toxic effects of enniatin are caused by the inhibition of the acyl-CoA cholesterol acyltransferase, depolarization of mitochondria, and inhibition of osteoclastic bone resorption. Enniatin has antibiotic properties and chronic exposure may lead to weight loss, fatigue, and liver disease.
Gliotoxin (GTX) is produced by the mold genus Aspergillus and perhaps Candida species. Aspergillus spreads in the environment by releasing conidia which are capable of infiltrating the small alveolar airways of individuals. To evade the body’s defenses Aspergillus releases gliotoxin to inhibit the immune system. One of the targets of gliotoxin is PtdIns (3,4,5) P3. This results in the downregulation of phagocytic immune defense, which can lead to the exacerbation of polymicrobial infections. Gliotoxin impairs the activation of T-cells and induces apoptosis in monocytes and in monocyte-derived dendritic cells. These impairments can lead to multiple neurological syndromes.
Mycophenolic Acid (MPA) is produced by the Penicillium fungus. MPA is an immunosuppressant which inhibits the proliferation of B and T lymphocytes. MPA exposure can increase the risk of opportunistic infections such as Clostridia and Candida. MPA is associated with miscarriage and congenital malformations when the woman is exposed in pregnancy.
Dihydrocitrinone is a metabolite of Citrinin (CTN), which is a mycotoxin that is produced by mold species of the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Monascus. CTN exposure can lead to nephropathy, because of its ability to increase permeability of mitochondrial membranes in the kidneys. The three most common exposure routes are through ingestion, inhalation, and skin contact. CTN has been shown to be carcinogenic in rat studies. Multiple studies have linked CTN exposure to a suppression of the immune response.
Chaetoglobosin A (CHA) is produced by the mold Chaetomium globosum (CG). CG is commonly found in homes that have experienced water damage. Up to 49% of water-damaged buildings have been found to have CG. CHA is highly toxic, even at minimal doses. CHA disrupts cellular division and movement. Most exposure to CG is through the mycotoxins because the spores tend not to aerosolize. Exposure to CHA has been linked to neuronal damage, peritonitis, and cutaneous lesions.
The test can be ordered for you anywhere in the country. All you have to do is take the order to a blood draw site near you for collection and the rest is taken care of!