Archive for the ‘Mold’ Category

Is Your Home Making You Sick? How To Check For Mold

Is your home making you sick? Here’s how to check for mold.

The International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI) Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) Committee has released a Mold Testing Guide to educate patients with diagnosed or probable environmentally acquired illness.

It includes five common test types, do-it-yourself and professional approaches, and how to get help to assess and improve your home’s indoor air quality.

Environmentally acquired illness (EAI) refers to chronic health problems caused by exposure to unhealthy indoor air, mold and other biotoxins, Lyme disease and other persistent infections, and toxicants found in the environment.

Understanding Mold Exposure and Your Health

Awareness about mold’s effect on human health, and indoor air quality in general, has been increasing over the past few years. Several types of illnesses may be caused by exposure to mold and other toxins in damp buildings and they can often become complex and chronic, with symptoms similar to Lyme disease and its co-infections.

Mold exposure from damp buildings may lead to chronic inflammation and can be a primary exposure factor in the clinical presentation of individuals suffering from a variety of chronic health issues due to environmental exposures.

A medically-sound indoor environmental professional is often needed to help sensitive patients, but worth it. Some patients with Lyme disease may find it more difficult to heal in an unhealthy building that is affected by mold.

Unfortunately, there are currently no US Federal or State regulated levels set for indoor mold exposures and interpretation of environmental sample data can be very subjective and vary from one professional to another.

The Mold Testing Guide can help educate patients and physicians about this important topic.

A Healthy Indoor Environment

ISEAI feels that a healthy indoor environment is free of water damage, fungal and microbial growth, and byproducts of that growth (mycotoxins, mVOCs, fragments).

That said, there is no such thing as a truly “mold free” home, since fungal spores exist in the natural outdoor environment. A goal is to maintain an indoor environment that resembles the natural outdoor environment as much as possible, without undue elevations.

In addition to a thorough visual assessment by a professional, the results of environmental testing such as mold testing may allow sensitive patients to better understand their exposure levels, and take appropriate action if needed.


ISEAI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization co-founded by 350+ clinician members to raise awareness about the environmental causes of complex chronic illness and to advance the care of patients through clinical practice, education and research. Their vision is a world where a wide range of clinicians have the knowledge and skills to diagnose and treat the root causes of debilitating complex chronic and inflammatory illnesses.

About the IEP Committee

ISEAI’s IEP Committee is a group of highly credentialed and experienced indoor environmental professionals who have specialized experience with medically-sensitive patients. The Committee reports to the ISEAI Board of Directors and provides education to clinicians and the public on topics of mold, indoor air quality and contaminants.

Additional Resources

ISEAI’s Resources Page includes other IEP Committee documents such as the Mold Remediation Factsheet and a directory of medically-sound IEPs and clinicians.

Also read: Finding the Right Indoor Environmental Professional to Assess Your Home.

SOURCE: The International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness

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9 Lyme & Tick-borne Disease Hacks & Dr. John Aucott’s Lyme Research Update  Video Here (Approx. 35 Min)

Nine Lyme and Tick-borne Disease Hacks

Marty Ross MD presents nine hacks for Lyme and tick borne disease. Watch this video and Powerpoint presentation to find real ways to improve your health.

This is a second recording of a video Powerpoint presentation first delivered to the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network Virtual 2023 Awareness Event on May 23, 2023.

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Watch Dr. John Aucott’s update on latest Lyme disease research

Dr. John Aucott, Director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center, recently delivered an overview of Lyme and other tick-borne disease research. You can watch a replay of his presentation below.

What follows is the introduction to Dr. Aucott by Shireen Rusby, one of the founders of Maryland’s Lyme Care Resource Center.

May is Lyme disease awareness month. Like any “awareness” effort, the intent is to increase the attention to and appreciation for the subject. In the case of Lyme disease there is a particularly powerful irony to the concept of awareness. Lyme disease is an illness that is often hidden and its symptoms unrecognized, yet the patient can be so overwhelmed that there is little reprieve from the self-awareness that dominates each day.

Those of us living with Lyme disease, as well as those living with many other long-term, hidden health conditions, have experienced very similar scenarios – the body’s natural inclination toward homeostasis is challenged.

Balance becomes harder to achieve and maintain. Lyme has imbalanced us, COVID has imbalanced us, ME/CFS has imbalanced us, dysautonomia and POTS have imbalanced us. So while our bodies, minds and spirits are making constant efforts to balance and rebalance physically, mentally and emotionally, what is the impact of stressors on a system that is already experiencing overload?

Well, that’s a whole thesis in and of itself and we’re not going to cover it tonight. But there is one stressor that we can increase “awareness” of this evening. For members of the Lyme community and those of other hidden illnesses, the challenges of dysfunctional homeostasis are compounded by the emotional strain of invalidation.

What interferes with healing

When we then begin to doubt our own reality, we make efforts to normalize the abnormal state of our being and that in turn leads to an even greater maladaptive response and further interferes with healing.

In his book, Conquering Lyme Disease, Dr. Brian Fallon states: “The experience of being disbelieved and misrepresented over and over is inherently traumatizing. Some patients…have identified this atmosphere of disbelief (and the resulting social isolation and self-doubt) as the single most stressful aspect of their illness experience.”

Some of you may have seen the movie Avatar. It is a futuristic story of human beings landing on another planet and attempting to conquer the native people of that land. When greeting each other, these natives to whom we are supposedly superior, look each other in the eye and say, “I see you.”

This simple phrase encapsulates much of our ongoing struggle in the medical world. It speaks to a fundamentally necessary component of the practitioner-patient relationship that is at times absent in this journey with invisible illness.

Many medical professionals may not know where to turn when blood work looks normal and verifiable analytical tools fail to provide objective evidence. The simple truth, however, is that an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. That quote, often attributed to the astrophysicist Carl Sagan, can serve as an incredibly powerful guiding principle when it comes to illnesses like Lyme disease.

The art of inquiry

Our lack of comprehensive and neatly packaged scientific proof need not preclude our awareness and acknowledgement of the situation. Rather, this is an opportunity for us to practice the art of inquiry as the necessary first step on the path of healing.

And certainly, there is no one path of healing in illnesses as complex as Lyme disease, and that adds to the challenge for both the patient and the practitioner. The fractured Western paradigm of medicine, in its tendency to compartmentalize and classify health as black or white, present or absent, positive or negative often fails to recognize the holistic nature of human suffering.

But the path of healing is first paved with recognition of and respect for the imbalanced body, mind and spirit.

Our journey to regain and retain balance begins again each day. In paving this path let us remember to turn toward the light especially when it seems dark, and let us use the tools of compassion and understanding to help one another.

Fostering awareness of this hidden yet ever-growing health pandemic will increase the opportunities for healing, and will turn the tide against the history of glaring invisibility and deafening silence.

We have as our guest speaker tonight someone who has made it his mission to foster the awareness of Lyme disease. He has paved the path of healing for countless Lyme warriors with sound practices and with stellar science.

John Aucott and his amazing team at the Lyme Disease Research Center, have partnered with many, first and foremost with the patients they serve, to produce the scientific evidence necessary to authenticate many of our struggles – struggles which we have experienced for months, years or even decades, while seeking out the rare practitioner like him who looks at us and says “I see you.”

For your endless support, for your validation of what we endure, and for your ongoing efforts to find the evidence that may have once seemed absent –we offer our endless gratitude.

http://  Approx. 2 hours

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Are You Unknowingly Ingesting Toxic Mold?

Are you unknowingly ingesting toxic mold?

By Lonnie Marcum
April 4, 2023

Do you feel like you’re doing everything right and still not getting better? It’s possible something hidden in your daily routine may be sabotaging your healing.

One potential culprit is manufactured citric acid (MCA), often added to food as a preservative and flavor enhancer.

It’s used in processed foods, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, fruit drinks, nutritional supplements, vitamins, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and more.

And here’s the potential problem: this ingredient is mass produced using  Aspergillus nigera type of mold. People with chronic illness and weakened immune systems may react badly to it. In fact, many patients with persistent symptoms of Lyme disease experience more severe symptoms when exposed to mold.

To date, there have been no human trials investigating the safety of MCA. However, in 2018, two medical doctors at the University of Chicago did a deep literature review and found cause for concern.

In their published paper, they present a series of four case reports of patients who had significant worsening of symptoms after ingesting MCA. By eliminating MCA, each of the patients had a resolution of symptoms.

What exactly is this substance?

Citric acid is naturally derived from lemons, limes and other fruits and vegetables and was widely used in foods and beverages until the early 1900s. In 1917, James Currie, an American chemist, discovered he could mass produce citric acid from mold.

Today, 99% of citric acid in commercial use is manufactured from fermented corn syrup and Aspergillus niger.

In 2016 there were 2.3 million tons of MCA produced, predominantly in China. Approximately 70% of that MCA is used in foods and beverages, 20% in pharmaceutical ingredients and cosmetics, and 10% in cleaning and softening agents.

While the basic molecular formula for natural citric acid and MCA is the same (C-6,H-8,O-7), MCA contains the potential of contamination by impurities and fragments of Aspergillus niger.

When mold enters the body, the immune system recognizes it as a foreign invader and mounts a response to remove it. The specific immune response to mold depends on the type of mold, the individual’s immune system, and the duration and extent of exposure.

Aspergillus niger is commonly found in soil and decaying vegetation. It is extremely resilient, flourishing in both hot and cold climates.

While the FDA currently lists MCA as a safe ingredient, it was developed at a time before the agency monitored food additives. In 1958, the US adopted the Food Additives Amendment, making any ingredients added to food subject to FDA approval. However, Congress excluded from this requirement all food ingredients in use before 1958.

Allergic reactions

Symptoms of mold allergy can include:

  • Respiratory symptoms (coughing, wheezing, worsening Asthma)
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Gastrointestinal upset

In rare cases, exposure to Aspergillus niger can lead to a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical attention.

If you suspect that you may have an allergy to Aspergillus niger or other molds, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider. They may recommend allergy and mold testing to confirm the diagnosis.

Minimizing exposure

It’s important for people with weakened immune symptoms to minimize their exposure to mold. If you live or work in an environment where you are likely to be exposed to mold, you may need to take steps to reduce your exposure and minimize your risk of developing an allergy.

Ways to minimize mold exposure include keeping your living spaces clean and dry, using air filters or dehumidifiers, and consuming clean food and beverages. In severe cases, more drastic remediation efforts must be taken.

If you have a known mold sensitivity,  I recommend that you read the ingredient of your most frequently consumed foods, beverages, and supplements. Ingredients are listed from highest to lowest content. If you see citric acid high on the list and you notice an increase in symptoms shortly after consuming that product, you might try eliminating the item from your diet.

For more information, see:

LYME SCI: Are hidden ingredients in pills making you sicker?

LYME SCI: Dealing with Lyme disease and mold illness at the same time.

LYME SCI: Lyme? Mold toxicity? Other chronic ills? Read this book.

TICKTECTIVE: All about kids with Lyme, PANS, and mold illness.

LymeSci is written by Lonnie Marcum, a Licensed Physical Therapist and mother of a daughter with Lyme. She served two terms on a subcommittee of the federal Tick-Borne Disease Working Group. Follow her on Twitter: @LonnieRhea  Email her at:


Sweis IE, Cressey BC. Potential role of the common food additive manufactured citric acid in eliciting significant inflammatory reactions contributing to serious disease states: A series of four case reports. Toxicol Rep. 2018 Aug 9;5:808-812. doi: 10.1016/j.toxrep.2018.08.002. PMID: 30128297; PMCID: PMC6097542.

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Pro Figure Skater On Managing Lyme As An Athlete

It’s not easy living with Lyme disease– especially for athletes who rely on the strength of their bodies to excel in sports.

Imagine this: you’re running late. You hop in your car, and the gas is on empty. There is no time to stop and fill up. So, you spend your entire trip wondering if you’ll have enough fuel to get where you need to go…

Life as an athlete with Lyme disease is a bit like this. We have to be really careful with our fuel– and sometimes we unexpectedly have a lot less than expected. When flu-like lethargy hits, we have to learn to manage.  Sometimes nerves don’t fire that should– which can make everything (especially jumping as a figure skater) very tricky. We have to be mindful of Lyme triggers, our diet, and making sure to plan as best we can to maximize our training without causing a Lyme flareup.

Screen Shot 2023-03-07 at 3.28.59 PMI’m Carolyn, I’m 39-years-old, and I have chronic Lyme disease.  I’m an adult figure skater, aerialist, photographer, actor, wife, and mom.

The first step for me when I was diagnosed, was to find a coach who understood: someone who understood that I was not being lazy when I couldn’t push through on days where I was in a full blown mast cell or Lyme flareup.  Who understood that skating in an older rink wasn’t an option because of mold.

If you’re reading this, and you already have Lyme, you don’t need me to describe the searing sensation of broken glass in your joints, like someone using your connective tissues to put out their lit cigarettes. Adding insult to injury is the incredible amount of inflammation that comes with Lyme– which means shifts in balance, swelling, and pain. It means some days my skates feel three sizes too small, and my balance point is off.

But skating in a Lyme flareup doesn’t just feel like I’m skating in someone else’s missized skates– it feels like I’m skating in someone else’s body.

Why not just quit? Because I am stubborn, and skating is part of me.

Screen Shot 2023-03-07 at 3.28.26 PMI’ve started skating outdoors as much as possible, because older rinks aren’t an option. The mold spores that others might not notice are detrimental for a Lyme patient. I have ice skates and also in-line figure skates, so that I can be outdoors in the fresh air as much as possible.

I’ve incorporated stretching, flexibility work, and off ice work, for the days that I don’t have enough fuel in the tank to skate. On high inflammation days, I focus on edgework over spins and jumps.

Most importantly, I practice self-love and compassion. As a teenager, my goal was to go to the Olympics, and every step away from that goal was a source of shame and self-punishment. Now, I’m grateful to just be able to skate at all. Instead of pounding my body trying to land double and triple jumps, I focus on big beautiful single jumps. I’m grateful to be able to do even that.


The above material is provided for information purposes only. The material (a) is not nor should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, nor (b) does it necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of Global Lyme Alliance, Inc. or any of its directors, officers, advisors or volunteers. Advice on the testing, treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.
GLA Contributor

Carolyn Budreski 

GLA Contributor

*Opinions expressed by contributors are their own. Carolyn is an adult figure skater with late stage Lyme disease. She’s used her skating & coaching in the film industry, where she works as a stand-in and an actor. She also runs a photography business, focusing on weddings, newborns, and content creation. During the pandemic, she was featured on Sports Illustrated’s website advocating for cold water therapy as a treatment for Lyme disease. She’s also an aerialist, polar dipper, wife, and mom.

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All About Kids With Lyme, PANS, & Mold Illness  Video Here (Approx. 1 hour 30 Min)

Ticktective with Dana Parish: All About Kids with Lyme, PANS, Mold Illness

Learn about the signs of Lyme and co-infections in children in this installment of Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s TICKTECTIVE podcast.

Dana Parish, co-author of the book CHRONIC, interviews Charlotte Mao, MD, MPH, a Harvard-trained pediatric infectious diseases physician and Invisible International’s curriculum director.

In this discussion, Dr. Mao reviews Lyme testing, Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric symptoms (PANS) triggered by Bartonella, and how mold toxins can complicate the course of illness.

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