The Mechanism of Home Oxygen Therapy and Its Use for Treating Mold Toxicity
Last week, Dr. Susan Tanner, MD, shared the many benefits of hyperbaric and home oxygen therapies in the treatment of mold- and environmentally- triggered illness. Today, with the help of Dr. Dennis, MD, I am going to focus my discussion specifically on home oxygen therapy and why it can be helpful to those suffering from mold toxicity.
Oxygen and Your Body
First, let’s start with the basics: Your body can’t live without oxygen and requires adequate levels of oxygen to function. We all know that during respiration, we take in oxygen and release waste gas in the form of carbon dioxide. Our cells then utilize the oxygen to create energy. But how is exactly is oxygen utilized by our cells? Well, when we breathe, air enters microscopic air sacs in our lungs called alveoli. Oxygen passes through the walls of the alveoli and into the bloodstream. The blood carries oxygen to cells throughout the body, where it helps convert nutrients into usable energy. Oxygenated blood is red, while blood without oxygen appears dark red (blue). Hence, why our veins (carrying deoxygenated blood back from the tissues to the heart) are colored blue and our arteries (carrying oxygenated blood away from the heart to the limbs and tissues) are colored red on medical and scientific diagrams.
The mitochondria (energy production centers) of our cells use oxygen to create adenosine triphosphate or ATP. ATP is the energy required for cells to carry out their specific functions. For example, ATP is required for nerve impulses, tissue repair, muscle contraction, synthesis of biochemical agents within cells, etc. Really, ALL metabolic processes require ATP. Without the oxygen from air (air is 21% oxygen) and the food we eat helping our mitochondria to produce constant and adequate levels of ATP, health degenerates. In fact, if energy production ceases in our cells, so does life. It is that important.
Mold Toxicity and Oxygen Depletion
When mold toxicity occurs from ingesting excessive amounts of mycotoxins in foods (mostly seen in animals from contaminated feed) or from being exposed to mold in a moldy indoor environment, debilitating symptoms occur, one of which can be oxygen depletion to the tissues. In fact, it is now understood that when mold toxins or fungus invades the body, the mycotoxins make capillaries slam shut, creating oxygen depletion, and blocking detox meds from reaching the toxins in fat and elsewhere. When this occurs, detoxification is attenuated or blocked altogether, even sometimes when the person has left the moldy environment. Mold sufferers, as a result, are afflicted with terrible fatigue and low energy, because they’re not able to remove the toxins. Thus, the damage continues and tissues are being slowly deprived of oxygen. As you can imagine, this further reduces a mold patient’s capacity to both respond to treatments, supplements, and detox, because the meds cannot reach the toxins to remove them.
This is where the late Dr. William Rea of the Environmental Health Center, Dallas, discovered oxygen therapy with an oxygen generator to be quite a powerful treatment for his mold toxic patients. Dr. Rea found that because the arterial capillaries were not delivering the oxygen into the tissues as should happen, his patients could not detoxify as well, repair injured tissue, or maintain normal function at the cellular level for energy. He also found that neurologic symptoms and more inflammation developed, as the tissues became more and more oxygen deprived. But, when his patients used oxygen delivered through a mask from an oxygen generator or large tank at 8-10 liters per minute for 2 hours per day, ALL detoxification modalities worked better to remove mycotoxins, decrease symptoms, and help them recover. He actually measured this with urine mycotoxin testing and with heart rate variability (HRV). And he also took venous blood CO2 levels without a tourniquet. High levels of venous CO2 mean that not enough oxygen is being taken into the lung alveolar sac, so. as a result, not enough CO2 is expelled either. Thus, when venous blood CO2 rises, this means that the capillaries are swollen with inflammation from the mycotoxins breathed in from the contaminated air, and not enough oxygen is absorbed into the body.
Dr. Dennis, who also uses oxygen in his practice to treat mold patients, simplified this concept of how oxygen works to detoxify and decrease inflammation in the body to me this way:
“Think about what happens when vinegar or something very acidic gets squirted into your eye. Your eye reflexively slams shut, tears like crazy, and is difficult to open back up to the light. The same thing happens to your capillaries when caustic mycotoxins enter the bloodstream. They are in protective mode to try to make sure no more toxins get in. The downside is that the tissues cannot detox either. 100% pure oxygen is the BEST detox-inducing agent, because the influx of oxygen into the blood allows the opening of the capillaries that is necessary for healing to occur. And after 18 days of daily oxygen treatment, capillaries can remain opened for extended periods.”
Home Oxygen Therapy Decoded
To obtain home oxygen therapy, your doctor will have to give you a prescription that spells out how much oxygen you need per minute and when you need to get it. The prescription also allows you to obtain an oxygen concentrator or tank that must be refilled or replaced. Dr. Dennis usually prescribes his patients 8-10 L/min flow through a regular oxygen face mask, not nasal cannulas, for 1 hour, 2 times per day, or for one 2-hour session, not longer. He does not advise patients to sleep while doing oxygen therapy, because it can damage the lungs. If you are prone to falling asleep, he advises setting an alarm to wake you.
Dr. Dennis also finds that oxygen therapy is very individualized and each patient has their own tolerance.For example, if at 15 minutes, you feel bad, then stop the treatment there. Feeling bad indicates that you are removing more toxins than your body can process at once, so stay at that time period until you no longer have symptoms. When symptoms subside, it means that you have removed enough toxins that you no longer have detox symptoms, and you can start to increase your treatment time slowly. Doing your therapy while seated, doing something you always do, like reading or working, is a good idea. Using oxygen during gentle exercise, like walking on a treadmill, using an elliptical machine, or pedaling a stationary bike, is even better.
Other Tips for Home Oxygen Use
Because many of his patients are so sensitized to both mold and chemicals, Dr. Dennis gives the following tips:
- Position the back of the oxygen concentrator towards the outflow of a HEPA air purifier. This will help to ensure that all of the air flow into the concentrator is pure and filtered.
- Do not use an oxygen concentrator in the environment where you got sick until it has been properly remediated. Meanwhile, use your Band-Aid Environmental Treatment Protocol (ETP) which includes the following: IQ Air or other high-quality HEPA air filter, burning EC3 candles all the time you are in the room, using an EC3 fogger 2-3 times per week, and using EC3 Laundry Additive on clothing when it is washed. (Dry cleaning does not remove mycotoxins.)
- When you first get the oxygen concentrator, run it full time, until all plastic smells are completely gone and it has off-gassed.
Total Treatment Protocol for Mold Toxicity
In closing, I thought it responsible to share Dr. Dennis’ total treatment protocol for mold toxicity, because it is always important, especially with any toxicant-induced illness, to acknowledge that true recovery cannot be achieved without a total-body approach. Recovery also cannot be achieved without avoiding the sickness-causing toxin as much as possible. In this case, we are talking about mold.
To start, the following are Dr. Dennis’ TOP 3 MUST-DO ITEMS TO TREAT MOLD TOXICITY (Mycotoxicosis) in order of importance:
- If you are very sick and have neurological symptoms, get into a safe environment and do not take ANYTHING with you. The air you breathe is 5 times more important than all other treatment. FOCUS and get it right. If you are not getting better, chances are 90% or more that you are still being exposed to mold either knowingly or unknowingly.
- DO NOT EAT SUGAR: Eat a no refined carb diet, like the Candida Diet. If you eat bread, rice, potatoes, sweets, and/or consume alcohol, they are all converted to sugar in the body. Sugar feeds the Candida, which is a fungus in your gut. If Candida is fed sugar, it changes shape and turns into an invasive, hyphal (roots) form. Yeast in its hyphal form is resistant to antifungals, and becomes difficult to treat or to eradicate. Candida also secretes Gliotoxin, a mycotoxin that destroys nerve cells, lowers immunity, and inhibits platelet clotting function.
- Oxygen Therapy – 90-100% oxygen with a face mask at 8-10 liters per minutes, 2 hours per day, or 1 hour, 2 time per day. This is essential for opening the closed capillaries that were damages by the mycotoxins, so the detox meds will reach the toxins and remove them.
Then, the following are Dr. Dennis’ Top 6 Medical Interventions Used for Mycotoxicosis Detox:
- Nasal Irrigation with saline (Nasopure or NAVAGE irrigation unit in drug stores) and 4-5 drops of CitriDrops Dietary Supplement in 8 ounces of saline, 2 times per day followed by Amphotericin-B or Voriconazole nasal nebulization.
- Oral antifungals Nystatin and Fluconazole for 1-2 months followed by Itraconazole for 1-2 months or longer depending on symptoms.
- Oxygen Therapy as above.
- Oral Acetyl Glutathione or liposomal – This is the 2nd best detoxifier, and works even better when oxygen is being used.
- Opti Cleanse GHI – This is a liver-cleansing supplement that helps patients achieve better liver function and decrease elevated liver enzymes for detoxification.
- IntraMax – This is a complete vitamin and mineral supplement to support nutritional deficiencies from malabsorption and gut inflammation common with mold-toxic patients.
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Please write to us below or email us at email@example.com.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What Happens When You Breathe? U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 17 July 2012. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
I love this information I sit here and say yes to just about everything have not done oxygen I fight my fungus every way I can and it is hard when everyone around you thinks your looney the weather and humidity does affect respiratory when you have a fungus overload my story is much too long have thought of writing a book on my experiences not to make money to help and wake people up to how most illnesses in this country is due to mold exposure how sad our physicians learn nothing about this in medical school.
Thank you for your comment. It can definitely be lonely and frustrating when people don’t believe that mold can make you sick. Hang in there. We appreciate you reading. Write that book. There are folks out there who need to read it.
As a Respiratory Therapist with 30 years of experience, I am very concerned about this article. Please DO NOT use any type or level of oxygen without your physician being aware and evaluating you on a routine basis. Oxygen is a drug and, just like your medications, has both positive and negative effects. There are many people who, due to medical conditions, should never use high flows or concentrations of oxygen. It is detrimental to their health. High concentrations of oxygen have been proven to damage lung tissue based on time exposure. It is essential that you are made aware of the the potential risks to your lungs so you can determine if the benefits outweigh those risks. In addition, ALL OXYGEN EQUIPMENT has safety standards that must be followed. Simply putting a tank or piece of equipment in your home, without proper safety precautions, is incredibly dangerous.
The theory here seems to be that oxygen opens capillaries that have been closed due to mold. That theory is technically correct for the lungs. It will not work for everyone! However, just as it has the power to open some blood vessels, oxygen also has the power to close those in other parts of the body.
My point here is simply to say choose your therapies wisely. As a mold exposure patient who was forced to quit work after my exposure, I have not chosen oxygen as a therapy. Even after 7 years, it is not something I would do until I had no other options.
We never advocate o2 therapy without proper testing to indicate its use (as outlined by the 1st article) nor do we advocate it without an Rx of a trained medical physician. Oxygen generators usually cannot be obtained without an Rx. The article was intended to inform patients of option available to them that have been used to successfully treat hundreds of mold patients successfully. For those also suffering from MCS it can be very helpful.
I had a reaction to the mold in a window air conditioner. Everyone thought I had the flu. I was taken to ER and they assumed I had flu and pneumonia. I did not test for any of those. It was all involved in my throat. I could not breath. Just like asthma. All medications they gave me in ER made me much sicker and I was starting to pass out. It was a mold that they never tested for. After that I had an impacted sinus. I never knew it for 2 years until I had a scan done for something else. Then they informed me. I have no idea how to remove it naturally. I want to avoid the surgery. The pulmonologist thinks it might affect my lungs. Can anyone suggest where I can get more info? Of course I removed the window AC and am much more in tune with molds.
I don’t know where you are located, but finding an ENT who treats fungal sinusitis would be a good first step. Dr. Dennis is located in Atlanta, GA, if you are anywhere close. He treats mold and is an ENT.
Was considering purchasing a oxygen generator. One that produced 5L/min is highest rate I saw available. Would that rate of oxygen be helpful?
Optimal is 8-9L/min. the higher-rate generators must have a doctor’s Rx. You would need to consult with a doctor on the lower rate as well. The times per day and length of dose would also need to be adjusted. Best idea would be to reach out to an environmentally-trained doc to get an RX and to run testing to make sure you are doing what is optimal for detox and for healing.
Excellent information! Why is my condition much worse on wet weather days? Is there less O2 or more CO2 in the air on those days?
I have MCAS and Mold Toxicity.
There have been many studies on asthma trying to figure this out, but none conclusive. Nothing seems to point to drops of O2 in air with weather changes. That being said, another possible explanation is that as humidity increases, the prevalence of many known airborne allergens increases. Dust mites and molds both increase in high humidity.
Barometric pressure changes, which typically accompany rain, snow, etc. do affect the amount of oxygen available to your tissues. If you think of differences in altitude, like someone climbing Mt. Everest, the air becomes “thinner” the higher you go. That means the barometric pressure decreases. There is less oxygen available so it is more difficult to breathe. There is approximately 21% oxygen in our atmosphere at sea level but only about 7% at the peak of Mt. Everest. While we do not have such large differences in a normal day, it is possible that some could feel very small changes.