The Complicating Factors of Viruses in Treating Mold Injured Patients

by Dr. Susan Tanner, MD

Patients who are made ill by a moldy environment are many times more susceptible to all biotoxin-induced illnesses due to their genetic makeup. Some of these genes have been identified and tested for; however, through the years, I have had many patients who succumbed to the impacts of mycotoxins who did not fit those genetic criteria.  This is where answering the “why” of who gets particularly ill gets more complicated, and the necessity of taking a very thorough patient history is even more important. As I treat mold-harmed patients over the years, their histories reveal trends and correlations in sickness onset, severity, and progression, all of which help me to become a better doctor and a better healer.

Problematic Viruses

A significant influencing factor in how sick a patient gets when exposed to mold and mycotoxins is their viral history. Viruses, especially those that hang around in the body in some form after the initial illness has passed, can have a very deep and lasting impact on the immune system. The virus that most often comes to mind that exhibits this active/dormant cycle is the Epstein Barr virus (EBV); the virus responsible for causing acute mononucleosis.  The vast majority of people who contract “mono” are teenagers and are thought to be susceptible due to depleted immune strength from less nutritious diets, the stress of high school, and all that brings, and less sleep.  There are other viruses with cyclic behavior as well, such as Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and the herpes virus (HHV-6), the common collective name for human betaherpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A) and human betaherpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B), two of the nine known human herpes viruses. And while all of these viruses can make up part of the total body load, I have found EBV to be one of the most common and problematic, especially for mold patients.

Epstein Barr Virus

Back in the early 1980s, a phenomenon arose and was known as the “yuppie flu”. This ailment characterized by extreme lethargy was described clinically as chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS. When large numbers of CFS patients were tested, blood antibody levels of Epstein Barr virus were significantly elevated in many, and thus the EBV virus was thought to be causal.  At the time, the process of identifying contributing environmental issues including mold and mycotoxins was rarely mentioned and certainly had not been studied extensively to see how much impact one had on the other. Knowing what I know now about viral reactivation, though, it would seem to make sense to question what role the CFS patient’s environment, could have in bringing back the acute symptoms of a virus, like mono, that a patient thought they had successfully recovered from as a teenager. In other words, asking what is now in the patient’s life that caused the dormant virus to come out of hiding, was just not part of the diagnostic process yet.

What was not being taken into account was the fact that the Epstein Barr virus never completely goes away.  In most people, it exists in a hidden, inactive form, but in others, and their indoor environment may have a large part to play in this, it reactivates and/or becomes chronically active with waxing and waning symptoms of viral load. This may explain why some people become so horribly fatigued with mold and mycotoxin exposure if they have a history of Epstein Barr viral infection.  Just in my limited practice, the patients whom I have tested who are often some of the most ill show this virus in their blood in a chronic active or reactivated form.

In recent times, during this pandemic, in particular, some studies have demonstrated that reactivation of Epstein Barr after or during  COVID infection is present in patients with “long-haul COVID”. The reactivation could be what is causing their inability to shake the malaise and fatigue brought on by the COVID infection. These studies thus support the theory of the compound nature of issues amongst viruses–even though the primary virus has passed, the reactivation and afterburn of sleeping viruses, like EBV may leave the patient sick and suffering for a much longer time.  If you also throw environment and mold-related illness into the mix, then we really have our work cut out for us as physicians and patients.

What Can Be Done?

We must start at ground zero, if you will, with the practice of clean air, clean water, and clean food.  Without these components of healthy life in place, the immune system simply cannot recover well or withstand as much.  After these 3 things are in place, then treatment becomes part of the individual approach, depending on the history and testing to help guide the way.

The pattern of inflammatory stimulation can occur across the board with COVID, EBV, and mold-triggered illness.  Quelling this stimulation with curcumin and CDP choline has been found to be helpful.  There are also certain homeopathic preparations that are safe and effective for many, such as Sinus Defense.  While Sinus Defense was initially prepared with only the mold patient in mind, even then it was formulated to address hidden viral infections as well as most mold-injured patients carried other infections that added to and prolonged their illness.

It may well be that as long COVID is studied more in the traditional medical research that there will be other pharmaceutical products introduced as antivirals and anti-inflammatories   As an aside, I will say that current antiviral medications such as Acyclovir and related drugs have not been very effective in treating Epstein Barr or COVID. It is too soon to see if there is any impact on Epstein Barr presentation with the newer antivirals that have been introduced for acute COVID, and I cannot comment on the safety or efficacy of using any of these for longer periods of time in treating the more chronic infections or if this has even been done at all.

What I do know and can comment on is the fact that some of the common, effective treatments between mold/mycotoxin recovery and that of viral illnesses include very good liver support with products such as glutathione and NAC, as well as certain herbal compounds that help the liver detoxify and process out both viruses and mycotoxins; MycoDetox Liver Support is one of these.

In conclusion, if you are suffering from what you feel to be a combination of viral and mold-related illness, your best option is to find a physician who will take into account all of the parts of the process, and help gain traction by supporting all of the body functions: digestive, hormonal, immune health, and detoxification. I feel a total body approach is your best road to health in general and especially if you have a complicated medical picture. I hope that understanding your own individual “total body load” may also help explain how you became ill and how best to approach restoring your health!

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