Posted on Mar 03, 2021, 5 a.m.
Approximately 50% of buildings in the United States have been found to have some degree of water intrusion with associated mold and bacterial growth making biotoxin exposure very common in the population. Some internal toxigenic organisms are also prevalent, including Borrelia, Babesia, and Candida species while external toxins tend to be related to environmental mold and Lyme. However, in the case of the majority of the population, the body is able to naturally detoxify toxins with minimal to no long-term consequences. Nonetheless, a portion of the population experiences a diminished ability to process these substances making it more vulnerable to adverse reactions.
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome and Symptoms
Individuals with CIRS suffer from a dysfunction that diminishes their ability to process toxins and tend to exhibit a host of seemingly unrelated symptoms which are often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety, depression, leaky guy, as well as and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). This diverse symptom presentation can manifest in several ways including increased autoimmune processes – such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and interstitial cystitis – often triggered by microbes in the body that are common and nonpathogenic. Additionally, dysfunctions can manifest as allergic reactions to foods and environmental triggers.
Current research estimates that approximately 24% of the population possesses the genetic determinant responsible for biotoxin sensitivity – the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) DR/DQ genetic mutation that can trigger immune dysfunction. This results in excessive cytokine production leading to multiple systemic issues such as loss of appetite, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and hormone receptor resistance affecting nearly every hormone system in the body. The dysfunction also suppresses the immune system often leading to persistent infections or frequent acute infections.
In order to diagnose CIRS, patients must meet all three of the following criteria: have confirmed internal or external biotoxin exposure, no other causes for symptoms, and have been screened for characteristic symptoms. Importantly, clinicians should rule out other potential causes that could explain the symptoms including non-symptom based illnesses and exposures to other classes of toxins.
To be considered chronic inflammatory response syndrome, the characteristic symptoms observed in the patient need to be multi-systemic and include at least six from a list of symptoms outlined here. These can range from fatigue and light sensitivity to memory problems and impaired learning capabilities.
In addition to these criteria, three of the following six categories must be met for the diagnosis of CIRS: abnormal VCS, susceptible HLA DR genotype, elevated MMP-9, dysregulation of ACTH/cortisol, dysregulation of ADH/osmolality, or low MSH. Additional prognostic or confirmatory testing can include urine mycotoxin testing, analysis of a brain MRI, nasal fungal culture, TGFB1 marker assessment.
Potential Treatment Methods
Successful treatment of CIRS requires the patient to confirm that they live and work in environments free from biotoxin-forming molds; biotoxin exposure needs to minimized during the healing process which can be facilitated by the use of an environmental toxin test. Many experts insist this must be completed before beginning CIRS treatment.
The primary goal of treating CIRS is to reduce symptoms and overcome any immune dysfunction on a permanent basis which can be achieved using the following three interventions:
- Administer Toxin Binders
Taking one or more toxin binders such as cholestyramine, activated charcoal, bentonite clay, or Welchol tablets can assist the patient’s body throughout the detoxification process. The use of these compounds is recommended to bind all potential biotoxins contributing to CIRS, however, when prescribing the use of toxin binders it is important to add mineral supplements to prevent depletion and to monitor patient magnesium, zinc, and iron levels.
- Treat Toxin-Producing infections
Experts recommend testing patients for Lyme, Babesia, and Candida infections and treating each one as appropriate to ensure optimal treatment results.
- Reverse Immune Dysfunction
The reversal of immune dysfunction can be accomplished using several methods, including the use of low dose immunotherapy, sublingual treatments, low dose naltrexone, as well as treating allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities. The ideal course of treatment should be determined on an individual basis.
Although the condition remains underrepresented in medical literature, there is a growing awareness of its prevalence among the population. As such, an increasing number of treatments, educational materials, and clinical data is likely to further inform optimal care protocols to treat CIRS and improve immune dysfunctions in patients. Clinicians interested in exploring the many facets of CIRS are invited to attend our upcoming Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Online Course for a comprehensive overview of the increasingly common disorder.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.
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