Words of Healing Wisdom to Turn the Tide of Chronic Illness and Autoimmunity Caused by Mold
by Erin Porter
If we only had a crystal ball. If God would only give us the answers to all our burning questions at once. Sometimes it happens that way, but most of the time, it’s not the norm. At least not in my case. I learned as I went along and gained knowledge in bits and pieces until, little by little, I chipped away at my problem to find true and lasting solutions. In my case, the problem was that of chronic illness.
At 19 years old I couldn’t even begin to guess why my health and my body were failing me. Nor could my primary physician, cardiologist, gastroenterologist, rheumatologist, endocrinologist, neurologist, allergist, otolaryngologist, and any other specialist I saw during that time in my life that I may be leaving out–and believe me, I had seen them all. At that time, I was just a very sick teenager, trying to navigate my symptoms without the assistance of the miraculous thing we call the internet. You see, I had symptoms throughout my entire body; I was severely fatigued, had pain all over my body, severe sinus infections, heart arrhythmias, nerve pain, thyroid issues, balance problems, chronic Epstein Barr, severe acid reflux (specifically laryngopharyngeal reflux), food allergies, leaky gut, and so much more. (See my full story here.)
Looking back, now I am grateful for the tenacity God gave to me; I never gave up or stopped searching. I spent many, many hours in libraries doing research. Then, when the internet came along, I spent many more hours researching online. I also started to really understand mold and the damage it can do from my mentor, Doug Kaufmann, host of the television show Know the Cause. Doug helped me recognize the ways that the body begins to breakdown when continuously exposed to mycotoxins (the toxins molds excrete). (If you would like to watch me on an episode of Know the Cause where I share my story, you can view it below.)
If I could go back in time and visit my teenage self, suffering and desperate to find the “cause” of all of her health problems, I would tell her to do things differently. I would give my teenage self advice that would save her enormous amounts of tears, frustration, money, and probably even give her many years of improved health and a better quality of life. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and I will never know for sure, but maybe my condition could have been healed in one to three years versus decades.
So, what is the golden advice I would give?
Advice for My Teenage Self About Dealing with Chronic, Debilitating, and Mysterious Illness:
1) Even before testing your body, test your environment. This step alone probably could have changed the trajectory of my life and maybe yours as well. I was only in a toxic environment for nine months but the damage that can be wrecked on our bodies from mold can be fierce and quick. Mold test plates are a wonderful tool to detect the presence and amount of mold in your environment. If mold is present in unwanted numbers there are products that can be used to lower the mold count not just in your home, but your car and clothes as well. This is a good idea until you can either remedy the problem or move to where the air is clean. There are also products that can lower the mold count in your nose; the first point of entry for mold toxins is the nose. I like a product called CitriDrops Nasal Spray. It targets environmental and fungal allergens and decongests. I also purchased an EC3 Sanitizer fogger in order to spray my home periodically with the EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate. Fogging with EC3 is proven to lower spore counts significantly in indoor spaces.
2) Have a functional or integrative medical doctor run some “unconventional” tests to understand what is going on inside your body. There are a few tests outside of the common blood work pulled by many conventional doctors which I find very useful. I have found functional medicine doctors to be more knowledgeable when it comes to giving these tests as well as understanding how to interpret them. The tests I would recommend are the organic acids test, an amino acids test, and a complete thyroid panel. I would also recommend connecting with a knowledgeable endocrinologist who looks for optimal levels of hormones, rather than average or acceptable levels. As these tests are not always cheap, I was incredibly blessed to have a doctor run these for me in the past a couple of years ago as a gift. When I saw my results, all I could think was, “I wish I had known about these tests sooner”! They will give you a plethora of useful information.
More on the Organic Acids Test
An organic acid test is a urine test that looks at mitochondrial markers, neurotransmitters, ketone and fatty acid oxidation, and indicators of how well your body can detoxify. It can also tell you if you have intestinal microbial overgrowth of yeast, fungus, or bacteria, as well as test for nutritional markers. For example, this test will show if you are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. This test can also detect the presence of heavy metals and environmental toxins. This is a lot of information to use in order to guide you in starting the healing process.
More on Amino Acids Testing
This test is done to measure the level of amino acids in the blood. Low levels can lead to the breakdown of protein structures such as muscle and can affect one’s bones. This test was an eye-opener to me as I was surprised to learn I was low in almost every essential amino acid. Since I ate “right”, it was an indicator I was not absorbing my food properly; therefore, more healing of my gut had to be done in addition to amino acid supplementation. A physician that I trust once told me that not most, but all chronically ill people he sees test low for amino acids. Not correcting this problem can lead to thyroid problems, muscle and bone loss, decreased immunity, hormone imbalance and will make it harder for the body to heal.
A complete thyroid panel including TPO antibodies to detect Hashimoto’s is essential, in my opinion. Many people have this autoimmune disease for many many years before it is detected. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder in which your body attacks the thyroid gland. Although the cause of Hashimoto’s is not completely known, some scientists believe it can be brought on by viruses, bacteria, mold exposure, or too many antibiotics.
Looking at Growth Hormone (IGF-1) Levels
Dr. Dennis was the only doctor to ever test my growth hormone many years ago. Mine was very low and what I didn’t realize at the time was that many mold-damaged patients suffer from low HGH which can cause chronic fatigue. As Dr. Dennis explained, “Low growth hormones ages you quicker on the inside and on the outside”. This was enough motivation for me to get back in balance! Sometimes, the pituitary only needs the gentle push from a homeopathic product, like CellTropin, to get back to homeostasis and optimal growth hormone production. Other times, a person needs more intervention and actually should medically supplement with growth hormone. A doctor is obviously required for that, but if the mold exposure is removed and the person acts quickly, this isn’t always the case.
Back to the Chronic Illness Advice . . .
3.) Your food choices and diet have a HUGE impact on your health. My diet was not only going to make sure I couldn’t heal or detox but was bound to bring on more disease. I ate fast food, high amounts of sugar, and almost no fruits and vegetables. Eating fresh, organic, whole foods will help bring the body some balance and give you a fighting chance to heal. By eating organic foods, you are also limiting your exposure to the dangerous chemical glyphosate which is in the herbicide Roundup and causes intestinal issues and increased toxicity.
4.) Money is well spent when put toward high-quality supplements and things to improve indoor air quality. Supplements such as colostrum, probiotics (I personally like Dr. Ohirra’s brand), and natural antifungals along with vitamins and minerals in which I was proven to be deficient were huge parts of my healing. I would also invest in a good quality HEPA air filter.
5.) Ground more often. Renowned cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra says this about grounding, “It can restore and stabilize the bioelectrical circuitry that governs your physiology and organs, harmonize your basic biological rhythm, boost self-healing mechanisms, reduce inflammation and pain, and improve your sleep and feeling of calmness. When these things happen, you feel better in a big way”. I don’t think I can add any more to that!
6.) Many people with mold toxicity have chronic sinus infections. Do not be afraid to tell your ear, nose, and throat physician that you want your culture to be tested for fungus as well as bacteria. If your ENT does not believe fungus can cause problems in the sinuses you may need to see someone who truly understands fungal sinusitis. Endless rounds of antibiotics will only make the problem worse in the long run. Most people will also culture bacteria as well since they are opportunistic and will show up where there is a fungal infection. I had my infection for around 15 years before a new ENT finally tested me for fungus!
What About Multiple Health Issues and Infections? Which Should Be Treated First?
I have heard from many mold savvy doctors that the mold, fungal, and yeast problems must be dealt with first in order to give your body the fighting chance it needs to go after other infections and health issues.
The motto I like to live by is “Add and Remove”.
The key to healing, from my experience, is removing toxic offenders, parasites, and harmful chemicals and replacing what is deficient. Also, removing processed junk food from your diet and adding in more organic fresh foods is key to healing. Food IS medicine! Once we restore balance to the body, many times, the immune system will wake up, do its job, and help us to heal just as it has been designed to do.
Author Erin Porter is the founder of Eat Pray Get Well and has shared her health and emotional journey on national television programs such as PBS American Health Journal, Know the Cause, God TV, Christian television network, and much more. Her book Eat Pray Get Well – A Journey from Chronic Illness, Brokenness, & Junk Food Junkie to Wholeness & Wellness is available now on Amazon and at www.eatpraygetwell.com. The foreword is written by Doug Kaufmann, TV host of “Know the Cause.”
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