The Benefits of Combination Therapies When Treating Mold-Related Illness

by Dr. Susan Tanner, MD

Many patients who suffer from mold-triggered illness are extremely sensitive. Mold is a master antigen and tends to cause the body to react to all other antigens, and sometimes even to safe substances, with an overreactive immune response. Mold exposure can also cause sensitization to supplements and medications. Why? Because the body wants to be in equilibrium, meaning that while ill, being ill is the new normal. Certain medications and supplements needed to disrupt the mold and get a patient well are reacted to, not as helpers, but as intruders. Disruption, even when from substances intended for healing, can create a “healing crisis”, or Herxheimer reaction, and make a patient feel terrible. Feeling worse when one is supposed to be getting better can then create distrust between practitioner and patient and can lead to the abandonment of treatment altogether. (A good reason to work with a health care provider who can carefully walk you through your treatment guidelines and not throw too much at you at once.)  I have found, however, that patients who start their healing journeys by first cleaning their indoor air and surroundings and modifying their diets to avoid sugars and large, hard-to-process molecules, like gluten, are much more tolerant of all subsequent treatments. “Cleaning the slate”, especially when mold is involved, is a necessary and important step for patients to take before other treatment modalities are applied; this lessens reactions or discomfort.

From here treatment becomes a gentle step-by-step process of overall support of the immune system and support of the hormonal systems which have both been knocked awry by mold mycotoxins. Combinations of medications, nutritional products, and homeopathic products can all be used but the order in which they are added and the dosing strategies are where some of the art of medicine comes into play.

Homeopathic Formulations

When we discuss homeopathic treatments, I realize that there are some people who may be unfamiliar with them. (I was also unfamiliar with homeopathy before going into a more integrative medical practice.)  While it is beyond the scope of this article to fully explain homeopathy and homeopathic treatment formulations, a wide-angle explanation is that the homeopathic process is based on the principle that “like treats like” and to spur the natural healing process, exposure to what ails, is also what will heal.  In homeopathy, hugely diluted, to the 10s of millions of dilutions, of certain substances stimulate the body to produce its own healing and balancing hormones or biochemistry.  Because these formulations are often provided in either spray or drop bottles the dosage amounts can be adjusted fairly easily to tolerance.  Some examples of homeopathic formulations used for treating mold illness are Sinus Defense and CellTropin, both products made by Micro Balance Health Products.

Sinus Defense is so named because many patients with mold illness have recurrent sinusitis triggered by the inhalation of mold spores and severe reactivity to those spores hitting and disrupting the sinus mucosa.  Through 20 years of study and clinical work of Dr. Donald Dennis with mold patients in his practice, Sinus Defense was developed. With the continued use of Sinus Defense, his patients experienced dramatic results in the reduction of sinus infection symptoms as well as the vast array of whole-body, inflammatory reactions when exposed to mold.  While using Sinus Defense certainly does not give a patient a free license to live in a moldy environment, it can gradually increase their tolerance to mold exposures and help them feel that they do not need to live in a bubble.

Combining Homeopathics with Nutritional Supplements for Increased Healing

When diving into the ingredients and mechanism of action in Sinus Defense, it is easy to see why Beta Glucans would be the perfect therapeutic complement. Beta Glucans is a fiber that studies show has the ability to bind to specific receptors which can not only modulate parts of the immune system to help prevent the overgrowth of microorganisms but also regulate insulin and possibly help to regulate cholesterol and blood pressure levels.   As candida overgrowth is often such a large hurdle for mold patients, Beta Glucans can also help on several levels to make candida less able to grow by decreasing blood sugar fluctuations and dampening immune reactivity while simultaneously producing better immune protection.  Beta Glucans is not homeopathic but is an example of how increased benefits may occur when different therapies are combined.

Another example of combining therapies has to do with hormonal regulation.  We have discussed in previous articles the occurrences of diminished thyroid function, adrenal gland fatigue, and pituitary dysfunction as a result of mycotoxin illness.  Pituitary production of growth hormone has been found to be greatly impacted by mycotoxin exposure and, in ideal (and severe) situations, the use of growth hormone injections is recommended to help recover regulatory function. Unfortunately, testing for this and subsequent treatment must be done by an endocrinologist familiar with this phenomenon and willing to go the extra mile with testing for functional levels and prescribing accordingly.  Growth hormone is also quite expensive and often not covered by insurance carriers, making this treatment impossible for many.

The use of a homeopathic formulation, specifically CellTropin, can both help regulate hormone levels and improve tolerance to other hormonal treatments.  CellTropin is designed specifically for the pituitary, but has a tremendous downstream effect, in that it helps to also support the functionality of thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones.  Using CellTropin does not necessarily increase the production of these hormones but allows for a more normal function of the gland itself.  Using CellTropin in combination with other treatments may both lower the doses needed for prescriptions and decrease the reactivity to said treatments. In fact, the use of CellTropin along with  Sermorelin, a non-homeopathic precursor to growth hormone, has been extremely helpful and affordable for many who have suffered from this disorder. Some patients have done extremely well simply with the use of CellTropin alone. In most patients, we use both pharmaceutical and nutritional products to help get these glandular functions back into balance. Some patients are extremely tolerant of Rx medications and do very well with treatment.  Others are exquisitely sensitive, and their systems simply do not respond in a good way, so we start with the gentler, homeopathic route and go from there.

In Conclusion

I hope this gives you an introductory look at how combination treatments and approaches may be used together for better benefits and improved health. Every patient is different, and the aim is to never do harm but allow for healing in the safest way possible.  Though dilutions in homeopathic treatments are extremely low don’t let that fool you!  They are potent and gentle and may be the key to turning the corner in mold-related illness!