Tackling Immune System Challenges From Hyperreactivity to Mold and Other Pathogens

By Catherine Fruechtenicht

When the immune system has been activated by mold, mycotoxins, or other environmental disruptors, the symptoms experienced by the sufferer are often caused as much by an over exuberant immune response to the mold as much as the toxin itself.[1] With an antigen like mold, the immune system is triggered by the initial exposure or infection and mounts an attack to identify and clear the mold from the body. But because the patient is often living in the moldy environment, the exposure continues or is chronic and the immune system can never cease activation, vigilance, or attack on the antigen. This is when the symptoms of CIRS or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome arise because inflammation, when unchecked, can spiral and cascade into all systems and tissues in the body.[2] Chronic immune activation then leads to issues like cross reactivity with the patient’s own organs and tissues, autoimmunity, and other inflammation-triggered diseases. Sleeping viruses, like herpes, Epstein Barr, and CMV, also can emerge because of mold mycotoxin immune suppression which lowers the IgG subclasses (antibodies)[3] and patients and their doctors have a harder and harder time sorting out what is causing their sickness and/or which illness to treat or focus on. In other words, mold can make the body an inflamed and muddled mess with a LOT going on and none of it good.

Sometimes this happens only in people with specific genetic mutations in their self-recognition genes called human leukocytic antigens (HLA).[4]  The HLA complex helps the immune system distinguish the body’s own proteins from proteins made by foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. It has been identified in clinical and scientific study that most patients suffering from CIRS have a mutation with the HLA-DR gene.[5] The group seemingly most negatively affected by exposure to mold and mycotoxins has a genetic predisposition to not be able to clear biotoxins from the body as effectively or efficiently as those people who do not have this mutation. It is unclear as to the epigenetics of this mutation (aka what happens first, the mold turning on the gene and the person getting sick, or the gene being present in the DNA causing the sickness), but it is clear that most people diagnosed with CIRS do seem to have it. (Note: The most recent statistic I could find said 95%.)

Tackling the Root Cause of CIRS

Now that CIRS has been identified as an actual diagnosis (although STILL not recognized in the mainstream medical community) and mold and mycotoxins have also been identified as the main trigger for the overactive immune response and inflammation, questions about the best methods for treatment still remain. Most mold-literate doctors agree that the first place to start is the obvious—the moldy environment. Thus, the first step is for the patient to do whatever possible to remove themselves from the moldy environment or from trigger of the CIRS. For the sickest patients, this often needs to be done to the extreme, leaving the moldy environment and not taking anything from the moldy environment with them. Other patients are sometimes able to use less aggressive approaches, like professional remediation, or the use of some effective environmental products that can provide a Band Aid approach until the person can get to a mold-free place.

After the initial mold avoidance piece of treatment is covered, though, practitioner approaches sometimes differ—radically at times. Many patients find this vast difference in treatment approaches from practitioner to practitioner THE MOST frustrating part of healing. It can seem like everyone they speak to, or every article they read differs and has conflicting advice and/or information. For example, some docs use Rx binders, some use natural binders, some use antifungals, some use nutritional IVs, some use a nasal protocol, some include dietary changes, the list goes on and on. What I found, and what I feel is often overlooked, is that, no matter who you are or what approach you take to healing and removing the mold toxins from your body, at some point, you have to address your immune system and the way that it reacts to mold. At some point, you have to be able to function in the world as we know it, filled with mold, bacteria, and other novel pathogens. Once the hard work is done, unless you do something to desensitize your immune system, anytime there is an exposure, extreme health setbacks will occur.  For me, this is where Sinus Defense came in.

Immune System Intelligence

Sinus Defense is designed to instruct your immune system to recognize and eliminate the original inflammation trigger (mold, bacteria, virus), but with continued use, will also teach an eventual desensitization of the immune system. What is even more valuable is that, with Sinus Defense, the threat is not just limited to mold. [6]

The way in which Sinus Defense works is quite elegant. The abbreviated version is that Sinus Defense contains Transfer Factor, which are small, immune signaling peptides or proteins that have the unique effect of modulating the immune system. Basically, these immune signaling molecules tell the body to turn on the correct signals when the body comes under attack from pathogens or other disease agents, and then to dampen the signals when the danger is eliminated or neutralized. In effect, Sinus Defense is designed to help the body reclaim the proper immune response that becomes so overactivated and damaging. Studies on when Transfer Factor is used for other infections and viruses, like HIV and herpes, show that when used over time, the signaling molecules elicit a better immune response against all threats.[7]

Understanding Sinus Defense

To help better describe the mechanism and thought process behind the creation of Sinus Defense, I was able to ask a few questions to Dr. Donald Dennis, MD, FACS. He developed the homeopathic product over 20 years to first help his own patients, especially those suffering from chronic sinusitis, and then further developed it for those suffering from CIRS and other environmentally-triggered illnesses.

Me: How did you get the idea to develop Sinus Defense?

Dr. Dennis: At my first lecture at Dr. Rea’s international symposium on mold and mycotoxins, I met some people that isolated Transfer Factor from colostrum and were successful in showing its effectiveness in treating many diseases. (Note: Dr. Bill Rea was an environmental illness treatment pioneer and founder of the Environmental Health Center in Dallas, TX). I got the idea there and over years found the Transfer Factors that were to be effective for our patient population and the antigens they were most affected by.

Me: Why did you name the product Sinus Defense?

Dr. Dennis: In chronic sinusitis cases, it was shown by the Mayo clinic study in 1999 that 93% of chronic sinusitis is caused by an immune reaction to mold that causes a reaction in the sinus mucosa. When the immune reaction occurs, eosinophils (white blood cells) migrate into the sinus mucosa, releasing major basic protein that causes cilia damage and microscopic pits in the sinus lining. The pits then trap mucous and the bacteria multiply and cause recurrent sinus infections. Many people with chronic sinusitis were not getting well, because they were not addressing fungus. I needed a molecule that would attach to the mold and remove it from the mucosa to prevent the reaction. We found that Transfer Factor removed enough fungus so that the eosinophils (white blood cells) did not bind to it, and inflammation was markedly reduced. Transfer Factor works the same for all the antigens that happen to have proteins that bind to them. This makes Transfer Factor effective for a multitude of common pathogens by just increasing the dose.

Me: Why is a product like Sinus Defense effective for binding mold toxins and helping get them out of the body?

Dr. Dennis: The key to getting the body to excrete mycotoxins is to have immune cells recognizing and binding to the toxins, so that they can be destroyed by the immune system. This is what Sinus Defense does. Transfer Factor teaches your immune system to recognize, understand how to fight, and remove the antigen. It homes in on what our immune systems are designed to do, rather than trying to force the mycotoxins out in spite of the immune system’s frozen state of inflammation and reactivity.

Me: In what way is Sinus Defense different than low dose immunotherapy or an allergy shot? In what ways is it similar?

Dr. Dennis: Sinus Defense has Transfer Factor which acts just like an antibody, so it acts immediately and helps the body make its own antibodies later. Immunotherapy takes 6-8 weeks to have the body make antibodies. Sinus Defense includes multiple transfer factors to multiple different microbes, whereas allergy shots/ immunotherapy are single or multiple antigens.

mold symptoms

Me: Why does Sinus Defense help to decrease inflammation?

Dr. Dennis: Because it turns on cell-mediated immunity. This means that the Transfer Factor molecules bind to the surface of the pathogen so that it is tagged for the macrophages (“big eaters” that eat up pathogens). By removing the pathogen, and by doing it quickly, the inflammation does not occur.

mold symptoms

Me: Why is Sinus Defense a particularly good immune-system boosting product for anyone to use right now? Even people who are not necessarily mold sufferers?

Dr. Dennis: Sinus Defense has the Transfer Factors to the most common pathogens that occur, not just to mold. We are seeing clinically that it seems to have the effect of helping patients make antibodies more quickly for all microbes, even those whose Transfer Factor is not specifically present in Sinus Defense. [8]

Did you find this article helpful? Do you have questions or comments? Please write to us below or email us at newsletter@sinusitiswellness.com.

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15681119/
[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29270170/
[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27986496/
[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22883063/
[5] https://www.survivingmold.com/docs/UNDERSTANDING_CIRS_EDITV2A.PDF
[6] https://fb.cuni.cz/file/5680/FB2013A0007.pdf
[7] https://fb.cuni.cz/file/5680/FB2013A0007.pdf