Mold-related illness- specifically colonization, can involve complex treatment. Dr. Lauren Tessier, a naturopathic physician who treats often-overlooked forms of mold-illness, joins me to discuss mold in women, mold in pediatrics, and mold in autoimmunity.
Listen to the Episode
Your body can only handle so many toxins until it starts to not know how to process them. When it does not know how to process them, it kicks them from the liver back into the bloodstream. So you’re almost getting this internal re-exposure that happens. – Dr. Lauren Tessier
The four (overlapping) types of mold illness:
- Common allergy, including dry eyes, runny eyes, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and even asthma
- Fungal infection, colonization, and biofilm.
- Mycotoxicosis (The toxic impact of mold)
- Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)
Mold prone foods come from the ground, has to dry out and get stored away somewhere before I eat it, like grains, legumes, beans, coffee, and nuts. Anything that starts a little damp and then gets stored somewhere dry, that’s where a lot of the mold issues come in. – Dr. Lauren Tessier
About Dr. Lauren Tessier
Dr. Lauren Tessier is a practicing Naturopathic Physician. Her practice Life After Mold, located in Waterbury, Vermont, services local and international clients suffering from mold-related illnesses complicated by comorbid conditions such as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and chronic infections- including Lyme & co-infections, EBV, CMV, etc.
Dr. Tessier, previously CIRS certified in 2016, treats not only biotoxin illness but also other overlooked forms of mold illness, including allergy, infection/colonization, and mycotoxicosis.
Dr. Tessier serves clients via in-office medical care or through educational wellness consults; she also provides one-on-one private training for practitioners looking to improve upon their mold-literate clinical skills.
Dr. Tessier is the President of ISEAI, or the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness, and has been in service to the nonprofit since 2017, in the roles of Secretary, Vice President, and general board member. ISEAI is dedicated to helping practitioners learn how to diagnose and treat Environmentally Acquired Illness in their client population.
The free e-booklet “Mold Prevention: 101”, authored by Dr. Tessier is available on her website, and has been circulated worldwide.
Close your eyes and think of the Olympic rings and how they overlap. Picture four rings overlapping- almost like a four-petal flower. In each one of those petals, I put a type of mold illness. – Dr. Lauren Tessier
In This Episode
- The four overlapping types of mold-related illnesses that get caused by mold and mycotoxins. [7:28]
- How cancer relates to mold illness. [9:33]
- Why mold-related illnesses are not more widely accepted. [10:05]
- The most common symptoms of mold illness. [12:33]
- How mold illness affects kids. [13:47]
- How mold illness impacts women’s health. [14:59]
- Other symptoms of mold illness. [17:55]
- What mass cell activation syndrome [MCAS] is. [21:48]
- What multiple chemical sensitivity is. [25:16]
- The importance of controlling your exposure to different variables. [32:28]
- Foods that could contain mold toxins. [37:28]
- How mold illness [40:41] and colonization [43:24] can be treated
Links & Resources
Remove mold and other toxins and allergies from your home with an Air Doctor Air Purifier. Get up to $300 of using code GRAY15
Connect with Dr. Lauren Tessier:
Dr. Stephanie Gray 0:02
It's a time of year where many of my patients are ready to detox, cleanse, reset whatever you want to call it. It's great to set goals with exercise and clean eating, but I'm going to be honest, you likely need more than that. At home, you likely are changing your furnace filters every quarter and you likely change the oil on your car with regular maintenance as well. But what are you doing for your body regularly to get rid of toxins you've accumulated. Each year the average person is exposed to 14 pounds of pesticides, herbicides, food additives and preservatives. It's important to periodically restore your body's ability to cleanse itself and eliminate these toxins. Think of your liver as a glass of water. If you keep on pouring in the water, the glass will eventually get full and overflow. Similarly, our livers over our lifetime may accumulate a large amount of toxins, and those livers may need some assistance to clear them out. How can you help your liver in short, consider a strategically designed researched structured liver cleanse program to help with phase one and phase two detox pathways. A program with ingredients like beet artichoke, dandelion, Milk Thistle and alpha lipoic acid, which helps your liver and gallbladder purge toxins and then a fiber protein powder to bind these toxins so you can eliminate them. In my practice, I often recommend the core restore program and I dedicated episode 43 entirely to it. That kit comes with day by day instructions on exactly how to change your lifestyle how you eat and what supplements to take. Staying healthy can be difficult, which is why simple cleanses like the core restore program can help you to get back on track and pilot you into better behaviors. Please don't start this program if you have active gallstones or diabetes without consulting with your medical provider. And this is also not for those who are pregnant or nursing. From personal experience. This type of program will help you feel better lose weight release stored toxins and benefit your entire body. Check out more product information on our website, your longevity blueprint.com and use code liver detox for 10% off either chocolate or vanilla core restore products. Now let's get back to the show
Dr. Lauren Tessier 1:53
I think of muscle activation syndrome as the moat around the disease Castle if you can't get into treat the disease or attack the castle, whatever if you can't cross the moat.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 2:16
Welcome to the your longevity blueprint podcast. I'm your host Dr. Stephanie gray. My number one goal with this show is to help you discover your personalized plan to build your dream health and live a longer, happier, truly healthier life. You're about to hear from Dr. Lauren Tessier, we've worked together in the management of a few patients with mold illness and I've learned so much from her that I had to bring her on the show. So today we're gonna dive into mold and women mold in pediatrics and mold and autoimmunity. Let's get started
Welcome to another episode of The your longevity blueprint podcast today. My guest is Dr. Lauren Tessier who is a practicing naturopathic physician for practice life after mold located in Waterbury, Vermont services local and international clients suffering from mold related illness complicated by comorbid conditions such as multiple chemical sensitivity, mast cell activation syndrome and chronic infections like Lyme and CO infections, Epstein Barr Virus, cytomegalovirus, etc. Dr. Tessier previously CRS certified in 2016 treats not only biotoxin illness, but also other overlooked forms of mold illness, including allergy infection, colonization and mycotoxin Kosis. Dr. Tessier serves clients via in office medical care or through educational wellness consults. She also provides one on one private training for practitioners looking to improve upon their mold literate clinical skills. Dr. Tessier is the president of the I S e ai or the International Society for environmental acquired illness and has been in service to the nonprofit since 2017, and roles of Secretary Vice President and General Board Member ISP AI is dedicated to helping practitioners learn how to diagnose and treat environmentally acquired illness in their client population. The free booklet will prevention 101 authored by Dr. Tessier is available on her website and has been circulated worldwide. Find life after mold on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Tik Tok and Pinterest. So welcome to the show. Dr. Tessier. Thank you so much. It's such an honor to be here. As we start many interviews, I always ask the guests their backstory. So what is your backstory? What helps you become such an expert in treating mold illness?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 4:22
Sure. So, there's a few different reasons, you know, everything kind of amalgamates and some of its kind of a retrospective understanding of the things that kind of pushed you along the way but where it really started. I was doing primary care here in Waterbury and I had a client clients where they were just having like really resistant cases, the typical things for like fatigue and brain fog weren't working, you know, like B vitamins and B 12. And vitamin D, and after some discussions, it kind of brought to light the fact that this person in particular had a finished basement office And we had Hurricane Irene in 2011 come through, which caused severe flooding in certain parts of Waterbury, that really brought the attention to the fact that, you know, mold could be could be a thing. And of course, the dialogue was, oh, well, we fixed it, everything's dried out, it's not a problem. But then it was like more and more cases of Waterbury and then finally kind of found out about sirs, and Shoemaker and became certified and just kind of chugging along and learning more. And then, you know, expanding beyond that, and then, of course, somewhere sprinkled in there, which I really feel happens to most functional medicine practitioners, I had my own experience, and it took a lot of self convincing in realization that there could be an issue and lo and behold, there was an issue and it actually bumped into to personal living situations, where I've had some mold and water damage issues. So I know firsthand what it feels like. And it's horrible. It's horrible. And so after kind of having that firsthand experience and really understanding it, then there are these little pieces of your personal history that you look back on, you're like, Well, wait a minute, you know, I had a family member who was a teacher and a public school for years, chronic daily migranes every day. And those classrooms were just completely water damaged, flooded with water. Yep. When I know you see it a lot tons of teachers...
Dr. Stephanie Gray 6:34
It is so sad, I do see that. And then you know, at least in my area, then I'm like, okay, when the patient comes in, and they see their teacher, and they're having symptoms, I kind of know which schools have the damage, sadly, and I have some patients who have children at certain schools, they can't even enter because the school is just so moldy, so toxic, it's it is it is so sad,
Dr. Lauren Tessier 6:54
it's just to play off that for a minute. You know, whenever I have a teacher, I think teachers as crunched the numbers at one point, like a gross estimation of teachers make up like point zero 1% of the US population, and they make about five to 8% of my patient population, if you love that land. And then of course, there's like, female teachers and women seek health care more than that, I understand that. But it's just wow. And then when you think about the fact that in that physical classroom, where the teacher might be reacting measures, like anywhere from 20, to 40, kids, and then all of these air systems in most schools are shared these HR systems. So, you know, schools, we can put a pin in it and come back to it later. But schools are notorious so and then I look even deeper into my past and it's like I lost a family member to a really severe autoimmune disease. And one of the key things that you know, I reflect back with my family on was that they lived in a daylight basement apartment. And when we went in there while they were in the hospital the things out and it was it was mostly I was a teen man. And you know, there's little things that if something and so those things really just kind of keep moving forward with me. And of course, you know, like that that person was my one of my favorite family members as a kid, like just like, I love hanging out with them and goofing off with them. And you know, I think about the just the relationship lost with having lost them. And if I can help prevent someone from developing immune system chaos that leads into severe autoimmunity, like, you know, it's one of the things that really keeps me moving forward. It's a regret. It's something that I wish I could go back in time. And so when I say like, mold, the thing that's really I've experienced, and it is really something and but it's not, it's not me, I've just realized it. I don't doubt that so many people out there, if not 90% of the population have had these events sprinkled in their life, but mold was just never connected to it for them.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 9:08
So true. Totally agree. Well, you are the mold experts. So can you give us it's hard to do this in a you know, short podcast, but can you give us a 20,000 foot view of mold mycotoxin and mold related illness?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 9:20
Sure. So I have people like take a minute close your eyes and think back to the Venn diagram or even think of the Olympic rings and how they overlap the picture four rings overlapping almost like a four petal flower in each one of those petals, a type of mold illness. So one is really common allergy here, dry eyes, runny eyes, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, even kind of like that asthmatic picture. And another line a little bit more rare but still growing concern is fungal infection and because the organism is existing in the body, I lump in their kind of colonization and biofilm so in that particular type of mold illness It's kind of like, I think of it as a horror movie, it's like the call is coming from inside of the building. And then the other two pedals, I think of micro toxicosis. So the toxic impact of mold. And then that final fourth pedal, I think of a surge or chronic inflammatory response syndrome. And so because all these overlap, you can have someone have an allergy that could flow into service, you could have someone who has a fungal infection or colonization, that could secrete toxins. And also you could have an allergic reaction to some of the fungal components that are existing in the body. So the reason why I think I'm that way is because if I can sit down with someone and understand, ah, they tend to lean a little bit more allergic, you know, these labs would probably be the thing I want to order, or they tend to seem a little bit more toxic, more neurological, more hormonal, I'm going to test some of the toxic components. And so I'm not the be all end all when it comes to mold, for sure. But these are kind of my structure that I've used to understand this really, really, really big picture. And you have people say, Well, what about cancer and mold, and I kind of lump that into the inflammation component or into the toxic components. So there's so many different ways that mold fungus, yeast can interact with the body, but those are kind of my four touch points when I'm organizing a case in my head. That's so
Dr. Stephanie Gray 11:23
true, there is just such overlap. So I like that analogy, how common mold related illnesses are not more widely accepted.
Dr. Lauren Tessier 11:30
How much time do we have? I think that there's there's a lot of reasons there, unfortunately, because there is a limitation in the data. So in the scientific research, we don't see it taught in education, we don't really see it offered for continuing education for physicians and other practitioners. And so people might be wondering, well, you know, why, why isn't it in the literature? That's a really good question. I think part of it stems from the fact we have these things, these rules, these ethical rules that prevent us from intentionally harming someone to get to acquire information. So these like institutional review boards, I can't knowingly expose someone to mycotoxins, but what we can do is we can get people on the back end who have been exposed incidentally, and kind of follow them along and collect data. So we're limited on what we can get data wise for living, breathing person. But by the same, right, we have tons of living breathing animal studies, and a lot of people will go well, the animal studies are totally different from the human studies, like that's erroneous logic. And I really invite people to kind of pause and pump the brakes on that, because these animals are the same ones that we studied all our chemotherapeutic drugs on that we studied all our, you know, hyper hypertension, high blood pressure drugs on they're the ones that we learned what the progress and development of cancer looks like. So you know, so I tell people, you have to be careful with the data, because there's a lot we can learn from it. But we also need to honor the fact that just because it's not in the data yet, does not mean that there's not a possible correlation there. I
Dr. Stephanie Gray 13:20
want to get into some of the labs that you do order, since you can mention that. But first, I think we should go over symptoms. We've talked a little bit about mold illness already in the podcast. So this isn't a new topic for listeners. But can you go over common symptoms that you see in mold illness, and then maybe we can further break that down into symptoms you commonly see in women and children.
Dr. Lauren Tessier 13:41
So if I had like $100 on every case, in the door for a bet it would it would be brain fog, brain fog and fatigue. And it's bigger than the concept of brain fog. I tell people it's like this like, floaty, disconnected, like cottony echo chamber have a headache, like it feels like you're swimming through it. A dry fog like you can't pull the answers down. You can't find the words you can't find the name of the person you have to read things 1020 times over for a sentence to fit you can't recall the last four numbers of the phone number you dial there's there's so many small intricacies to what brain fog actually looks like. So you know if I'm going to be super scientific about the name, I would call it like neurocognitive issues. And then after that, I tend to see more the the hormonal picture and then kind of the immune system disruption.
With little little ones little little peanuts, typically we see digestive issues is one of the big ones and we see the kind of allergic hypersensitivity kind of picture. I find that kids can also have some of the brain fog And the neurocognitive stuff, but because they're defining their way in their new little body, they don't don't have the words and the ways to convey it. So they might say headache or they might be diagnosed with a DD ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, tics like all of these things where if you step back and you really think about how that's presenting, it really correlates very strongly to what we see as the quote unquote brain fog in an adult. So the digestive issues are huge one and then after that, it's, you know, even vision issues, headaches, it's not normal for a kid to have a headache. If the kids telling you they have a headache, like, you need to figure out what's going on there. And as for women, we have our own intricate hormonal system that we're balancing and what we tend to find depending on the age, the mycotoxins are exposed to and kind of already, genetics are in place for how they process these toxins and hormones. You can have a really wide array of what female hormone disruption looks like anything menstrual related, I've seen early menses delayed menses, lack of menses, heavy menses, spotting breast tenderness is another big one I see often. Infertility, we have to be careful about claims with that, but I have seen some potential infertility connections there for sure. Again, we have to think back to the hormones because we do have the capability of shifting your estrogen progesterone and testosterone levels. Even with women, we'll see like changes in libido. We can even see facial hair changes. I would even start incorporating thyroid into the discussion for women to hypothyroidism is an epidemic. It's something like what 60% of women in the US have a hypothyroid condition. And I see a big connection for women between thyroid autoimmunity and mold exposure. So
Dr. Stephanie Gray 17:00
I'm glad you mentioned that because I think for years, you know, functional medicine has emphasized the importance of and is still valid and true of eating an anti inflammatory diet, right for autoimmune issues. And with Hashimotos. We focus on that and we want to fix nutritional deficiencies and we eventually get to removing toxins. But I think with Hashimotos I think we forget about mold sometimes since I'm glad that you brought that up that that can be a driver right of the impact on the immune system that that leads to that so I'm thank you for bringing that up.
Dr. Lauren Tessier 17:27
Yeah, there's there's actually some animal studies that show that I can't remember which mycotoxin specifically that certain mycotoxins oops, flip on the gene expression in pigs. And we'll study we'll turn on the gene expression for passion motos and we'll turn on the gene expression for type one diabetes, there's something there's something potentially there, it's something at least to think of and look, look into.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 17:56
Our bodies are naturally designed to handle stress, detoxify chemicals and preserve cell function. But when the burden increases, those naturally built in systems can't keep up with demand and we start to experience physiological changes in our bodies. What causes that burden to increase, unfortunately, a whole list of things including common modern lifestyle habits like poor dietary choices, lack of sleep, abundance of stress, exposure to chemicals and exercise extremes just to name a few. To protect ourselves from this oxidative stress, our bodies are forced to use up stores of the master antioxidant glutathione. And this works for a while. But when those stores become used up, however, our body doesn't have enough antioxidant capacity to protect itself allowing the stress to our body systems to cause lasting damage. That's why I recommend many of my patients take glutathione daily to help protect their natural reserves, support full detoxification capacity and help keep their immune systems functioning at full strength. Use code glutathione for 10% off at your longevity blueprint.com. Now back to the show. What other symptoms do you see with mold so obviously brain fog fatigue, digestive issues? What about like you see a lot of dizziness, vertigo, just this equilibrium...
Dr. Lauren Tessier 19:06
There's this internal vibration thing that you hear from a lot of clients or it's the slight rocking, it's almost like it's almost like they're Golgi tendons are trying to figure out what's happening. But you see this slight internal rocking internal vibration sensation, even for people who are really exposed and this is where I start getting nervous about the brain component people will say they feel like they're moving in a bouncy castle kind of feeling so there's something off with the cerebellum or and then another one that we'll see a lot will be the sensation of missing a step like if you're coming down the stairs and our feeling of missing a step and similarly, this one is where we have to be a little bit more cautious sometimes people will develop disorientation perfect example as you're driving on the right side of the highway you know that you're safe. You got your your colors on their respective side you see the and you have a split second. Panic. Am I on the right type of what's been that you bring yourself back into the situation like No, I'm okay, I know what's happening and it can be so small or the disorientation can be really big. But I see that a good amount in folks too. So the balance and ataxia for sure. This goes hand in hand.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 20:18
Let's go to labs for a second, which you could do a whole episode on labs. But when patients come in to see you, and you are highly suspicious that they do have a mold related illness, let's stick on that topic first. And then then I do want to go to kind of mast cell activation syndrome. But when patients come in with a suspected mold illness, what labs are you printing on ordering? I know there is a difference in opinion. I've had different providers on you know, some only order bloodwork someday urine mycotoxin. Testing, I think I know how you're gonna answer this, but what labs are you privy to ordering in these patients?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 20:48
Yeah, I think it depends on what they're showing up as if they're showing up as someone who's more allergic and kind of histamine. Histamine. I will lean towards running, you know, your typical allergy related panel, your eosinophil, count your ECPs, your 24 hour urinary histamines, and even start kind of towing into the mast cell, you have what's called there now...
Dr. Stephanie Gray 21:12
I have to interrupt you, because with those labs, do you find a lot of abnormalities? Or do you feel like patients have to be having kind of a flare, in order to find abnormal,
Dr. Lauren Tessier 21:21
There's a whole idea that people if you're even gonna mess around with tryptase, you need to get a baseline and then you need to get a flare and there needs to be a certain amount of percent increase in a treat presumptively, I mean, anyone who is in a flare is not going to want to go to the hospital, get rubbed down with hand sanitizer and alcohol and sit in a chair and be poked. Like it's just so usually I live with people and I usually contract with them saying like, do you feel comfortable with presumptive treatment and things like that. So with the the metal stuff, I don't pursue those workups as much as I pursue presumptive treatment with,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 21:59
let's define for the listeners. So we don't lose them, let's kind of define what mast cell activation syndrome is. And actually, in your bio, you also are I referenced multiple chemical sensitivities? So can we go there just for a minute, and then we'll circle back around to the lab. But since we're kind of talking about this flare that we sometimes have been labs in for like mast cell activation syndrome, diagnosis, what is mast cell activation syndrome and, and also multiple chemical sensitivity? Sure,
Dr. Lauren Tessier 22:25
I or so people can get a grasp of this, I think of muscle activation syndrome, as the moat around the disease Castle, if you can't get into treat the disease or attack the castle, whatever, if you can't cross the moat. And so what I find usually is people who like flare really easily or have I mean, the first time you even think about introducing anything into their person field, their supplements, whatever, they have really big responses, it's usually hey, let's think about what the role of histamine here is. So Masel activation syndrome is a big slew of disease states, actually. But when we're thinking of it from a functional medicine realm, we are kind of just diluting it down to there are these white cells that tend to release a lot of things when they're threatened, and histamine is one of them. And if they're functioning, right, they're only releasing these things either when they need to send a message or when they're threatened. But when they're in a state where they're just on high alert, they will react to even the smallest stuff. So for instance, if you have someone and they have a car in front of them that stopped short, and they jam on their brakes and a quick panic, they'll get a histamine flush, you know, it's it can be something that that's simple and that easy. So mast cell activation syndrome, it's people are throwing histamine, that's the best way. But they're just throwing histamine at every single thing, overstatement at every single thing that's coming into their person. And that can make it really, really hard to try to treat them because there's this impenetrable moat around them that if you don't address it first or drain it, or whatever the horrible metaphor is, you won't be able to get to that core there. And I think with mast cell activation syndrome, we also tend to include like histamine intolerance, or histamine overload. Again, it's just that idea of this kind of allergic inflammation kicking around in the body that just doesn't let you get work done. As far as that's, that's my clinical perspective on it.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 24:31
And then what is multiple chemical sensitivity?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 24:33
multiple chemical sensitivity, I see go hand in hand with mold. And it's not typically because mold causes multiple chemical sensitivity. It's because I your body can only handle so many toxins until it starts to kind of not know how to process them. And when it doesn't know how to process them. It kicks them from the liver back into the bloodstream. So you're almost getting this A re exposure, this internal exposure that happens. So I think it was William Ray, who was one of the first people to come up with the metaphor of the toxic bucket, right where your body has X amount of capacity to deal with toxins on a day to day basis, you can kind of approach the top of that toxin bucket and never have an issue, but it might be one or two drops into that toxin bucket that can cause though overflowing. So multiple chemical sensitivity is that reactivity towards everything that I find your toxic reaction towards everything, sometimes histamine is involved not not all, it's in my experience, it can make it really, really difficult because mold produces toxins. If you have someone living in a home for 10 years, a year or however long, they'll start to realize like I can't walk down the laundry aisle, I can't go into the fertilizer section and Home Depot, I can't be in a new car, it's it's really interesting to see how these VOCs and these chemicals just alert the immune system and alert the body to a once a fear and panic but into a alerted state and put them on hyper vigilance, which just causes a another big stress response. So those are the two big things that I see go hand in hand with mold exposure,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 26:23
So those are the two big things that I see go hand in hand with mold exposure, they really saying that toxins emitted from water damage, right from mold, could be those drops in the bucket that eventually are filling up the capacity where the liver just can't handle anymore. And then patients end up having sensitivity to everything like they shouldn't be able to handle. Not that I want you to walk through the laundry aisle and target but they should be able to handle that. But I can't because their buckets already full. Does that kind of what you're saying. Okay, exactly. So let's go back to lab. So we talked a little bit about labs for looking at Mass occupation syndrome, although we know you treat right if you're suspecting it, it sounds like you're going to just treat the patient for it. But what about for mycotoxin? Or mold related illness? What are labs that you use there?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 27:04
Yeah, so again, I'm thinking about the kind of four overlapping circles. So again, if someone has allergy, we might do like a total IgE, we might do their CVC to get the eosinophil, the cat ionic protein, the histamine and all that kind of stuff. Even like zinc B six and copper to see what's happening there. If someone is having more of a maybe a colonization infection, you know, the the call is coming from inside the house kind of thing. Sometimes imaging becomes involved in that, you know, do we have a sinus infection are we going to find fungal balls, that's actually the scientific name for that guy's fungal balls in the sinuses on CT and MRI? Are we going to find any type of like fungal colonization in the lungs on X ray. So sometimes imaging becomes a part of that. Now, if I'm also thinking about how can I identify things that are in the body, you can look at it from two perspectives, you can either chase after chunks of the fungus itself, so you can identify what we call the Android of the antigens in the blood. Or you can look for the immune system reaction to the particular yeast or mold in the body, they both have their own limitations, for sure, without a doubt, if you're immunosuppressed, you're not going to have as much of a excited reaction with your antibodies, maybe you're exposed to a mold that they don't have that particular lab test for Well, that's never going to come back positive because you can't test for it. From the antigen perspective. You know, if you have a fungal colonization tucked away in your body, and it's kind of really local, we might not find those little chunks of mold floating around in the serum in the blood. So they all have their limitations, right. So that's why imaging come into it. So right off the bat, we talked about the allergy component, we talked about the organism living in the body, the infection, the colonization. And then there's the toxic component. If we were to have a true gold standard for for toxin, mycotoxins, it would really be a tissue biopsy of a high fat containing tissue. There are studies that show that there, autopsies done that show collection of mycotoxins in the brain, the liver and the kidneys, really high fat organs. So the best that we can do, because it can't go around picking chunks of people's brains. The best I can do is to see what's coming out in the urine. And there's two different ways that you can test the urine. You can kind of look for the parent molecules spilling into the urine, or you can look for the metabolites of that parent molecule. Depending on how you use these in your practice. They have clinical utility, like you can get information from them but they tell you two different pictures and that's where A lot of the kind of head butting comes together in the mold world. So that's really the mycotoxin component in a nutshell for sure.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 30:09
I'm making notes, because now I want to ask you a couple other questions. Which we didn't plan on asking you, but so let's talk about your mycotoxin. Testing. So there are two I'm with you, I I do urine mycotoxin testing on patients. I think it's very useful. That I guess a devil's advocate against that, is it some providers who I've even interviewed say, oh, that's only showing those tests are only showing mold toxins from food? What's your defense to that? Or how would you respond to that?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 30:38
There's a few animal studies, animals were exposed to mycotoxins, transdermal, so through the skin, direct injection into the stomach, so into pair to nail injection, there's a dialogue about the nitty gritty on that, but direct injection into the abdomen, and then inhalation they found between all of those that inhalation I think, compared to transdermal had a 20 times higher systemic absorption. And I think it may have been like, Oh, two to 10, maybe compared to the gut injection, and I believe they did this in rats, and then they did this in Guinea pigs. The lungs are a direct. I mean, you can't other than doing an IV. You can't get any more direct into the stomach bloodstream than through the lungs. Could there be food exposure, for sure is that picking up some okra toxin? I don't doubt it, it don't get it. However, this is why it's so important to control the different variables of exposure, your various exposure are your environment, your food, and I'm sure I'm missing one right now, I apologize. But those are the two big ones. Those are the two big ones. If someone is not changing their diet, if someone comes into me, and they're eating mangoes, and beef and rinsed rice, and we have to maintain that diet for two years, even while we're doing the urine mycotoxin testing, we are potentially canceling that variable out. Yes, there's by accumulation I, I honor that I hear that. But if I have someone who's coming in, and they start off on that beef, and in mangoes and rice, and then two months, and they switch to just eating peanut butter sandwiches that every meal, you're changing the profile of the mycotoxin load of the food. So if someone is maintaining no dressing change, versus if they came in and they were eating peanut butter at every meal, and they continued to eat peanut butter for two years, I would say okay, well, your okra toxin is high, it was high from the get go, you're out of exposure, your diet hasn't changed. I tried to tune things in from what I can control from the variables. So if we're not changing food, but we're still in a space that might be exposed. I try to bring those two things together as much as you can control those two major variables. That's how you can really dial in and see what's happening there. So yes, exposure absolutely comes from food, without a doubt. But you could argue the same thing. If someone's food intolerance testing for IGA pops up with Saccharomyces and funghi. It's like, well, IGA coats the entire respiratory tract, mouth to anus to and we know that there is crossover between all different fungi polysaccharides, between fungal species. So it's kind of like you always have to invite in the possibility of the wild card. You know, it's so how I work through that with people is I do serial testing, one test. It's a snapshot in time. And if we control our variables, as we travel through time, and do our serial testing, I use that dataset to more informed the case than just oh, here's one test your mold toxic? Well, I can't say that from that test. Because these things are being metabolized and leaving the body. If it's leaving the body, I can't really tell you what's happening in that one test. But if we do over a series of time, we can say wow, you know, this started high and then went higher because more was leaving the body and as more time passed, it dropped down and left the urine because you drain the reservoir. So it's a really big lay of the land. And I have found the tool set and the movement through the tool set that seems to really coincide with my cases and how I support them. But other people might have other great tools that they find really helpful. You know, some people might swear by IgM and IgG test That's great. You've mentioned
Dr. Stephanie Gray 35:02
peanut butter. And so I just did for the listener. So peanuts are a food that commonly, you know are contaminated with mold toxin. So we you may see that via elevated okra toxin on a urine mycotoxin test. Can you tell listeners just briefly go over? What are the multiple the foods you want to try? Say one of the foods you take patients off of when you're trying to control for that food variable and get them on a low milk diet?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 35:23
Yeah. So again, I'm not really taking them off the food, I'm not changing the food because I want that variable constant. Okay? Constant, we want that constant variable. But if I want someone to like come off of a mold toxin food, because I think it's like irritating the gut or causing the leaky gut issue or like, let's frame it from that perspective, right? If people close their eyes and think about what comes from the ground has to dry out and get stored away somewhere before it eat it. Those are going to be the foods so it's gonna be grains, legumes, beans, coffee, nuts, anything that has starts a little damp, and then gets stored somewhere dry. That's where a lot of the issues come in. Now, theoretically, could improper fermentation caused some issues? Sure, can bioaccumulation happen meaning I feed a cow, some moldy hay, and then they stored away in their fat? And then I cook up that steak and eat it and have some exposure when I eat that back? Sure. Absolutely. We see that in the dairy industry, we see that soy dairy meaning, like milk, and we see that even in chicken eggs too, which is interesting, because if people pump the brakes and think about that has really big connotations to for the human population. human females produce milk and chickens will concentrate the mycotoxins and the eggs and what are the egg yolks but you know, the developing placenta, and we see that in the literature, we see vertical transmission between mum and baby through breast milk and through the placenta to sorry for the segue.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 37:08
Scary, scary. Yeah, yeah, I'm glad you brought that up. Between the fumes from car exhaust, industrial emissions, and as many of us have experienced recently, smoke from forest fires, the air we breathe is often filled with harmful pollutants. But did you know that the EPA has shown that indoor air can be up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air. This is why at my clinic and at my home, I use air Doctor air filters. These filters are 100 times more effective than ordinary purifiers and help capture smoke viruses, bacteria, pollen, mold and dust mites. In fact, they capture 100% of some of the most dangerous ultra fine particles as small as point 003 microns in size. And that's pretty small. They have a proprietary dual action carbon gas trap voc filter, which combines two types of media activated carbon to remove gas and odors and potassium for manganite. To deactivate certain volatile organic compounds VOCs like formaldehyde. Air DRS auto mode uses that professional grade air quality sensor to assess the air in the room and immediately adjust to correct levels of air filtration. The sensor will also alert you when your air quality is compromised by changing its indicator lights from green to yellow or red. I discovered this feature almost immediately after installing Meyer Dr. At home when the indicator light went from green to red. It got me wondering why the air was so bad and I did some digging. It turned out there was a problem with my furnace. After it was fixed air Doctor sensor immediately turned back to green. Had I not discovered the issue with the help of their doctor, we could have ended up with much greater problems. I often recommend the air doctor to my patients dealing with mold toxicity. Of course, I always recommend they remove themselves from the mold exposure as soon as possible. But I understand it takes time to remediate the home. So in the meantime, as well as on an ongoing basis, I recommend they get air doctors running in their homes. One of these machines would be a great Christmas gift for a loved one stopped by the integrative health and hormone clinic if you'd like to see different sizes, or visit the bonus tab of my website, your longevity blueprint.com to find a special link for $280 off the 83,000 using code Gray 15. That's capital G ra y 15. And watch for even greater promotions during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But you must use my link which we'll post in the show notes. Staying on the topic of your mycotoxin testing. So we know that some foods can show up on testing. But I think the majority of what we're seeing is from environmental exposure. Would you agree on that?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 39:30
I think so. I think so. Or here's here's where the other one enters in. This is why it's so important for me to try to control variables with people. The third wildcard is coming from bioaccumulation sort of stored in the tissue. We have to take that into consideration too. Is it inhaled, digested or is it leaving our subcutaneous fat and getting into our bloodstream because of detox because we're doing our good job.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 39:54
So basically for the listeners what she's saying is the third the third wildcard variable could be this the other two source of exposure is ourselves. Like, literally, we are colonized with these toxins or however you want to say that we need to get rid of. So let's go there then. So I guess I want to next talk about the most important aspects of treatment. So from my standpoint, we have to remove the patient from exposure, and we want to bind the toxins, you know, and get them out of the body and then treat colonization. But let's, I guess I want to ask if you agree with that, and let's expand on that briefly. I know we're wrapping up the interview here. But I do want to hit on that just a little bit. So first, like better treatment, like what are the most important aspects of these cases?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 40:35
Yeah, Imean, avoidance of exposure is key, there's no such thing as perfection. So sometimes different is better than perfect. And I really like reminding people that, you know, like you can potentially recover in a place that's somewhat better, and maybe with a different amount of flora. So you might end up moving from a place that's really highly toxic, has a lot of toxic molds into a place that's a little bit more allergenic molds, you know, like Cladosporium, and Oracle s are a blessing. And so avoidance is key, avoidance is key. And because of that, I'm not always going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I also don't like wasting people's time and money and my practice, by telling them, I can recover them in a situation where I can't like, it's just it's not fair. Spend your money on what you need, you know? So that's, that's really the first key. The second key would be, is there a mast cell activation syndrome? That might be a yes or no, if it's yes, you treat it and then you work on? If it's a no, then you have to say, Well, what's happening with their detox pathways? Are they open, I just assume everyone's are closed. Or everyone's are kind of slow and sluggish. So then I usually work with people to do kind of a prep, so not an actual push on detox, but a prep so that their body can handle it. And then before it even touching detox, we're also working on bringing some integrity to the cell membranes, because if that's not there, people flare really, really hard.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 42:07
And is that through like using phospholipids? Or how what do you use there?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 42:11
I use phospholipids. They're wonderful.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 42:15
They're wonderful, like phosphatidylcholine for the listeners. So we've talked about so much here today. So how do we treat colonization? How do you treat that?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 42:23
So I think my question for you is you use the phrase colonization a couple of minutes ago, in reference to mycotoxins. Are you referring to the actual organism or the mycotoxins.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 42:35
Let's talk about both I was getting at ourselves being another source of these, you know, these toxins? But yes, I mean, yeast can literally, we can be a huge source of I can just continue to grow when I didn't need to be eradicated. So I guess both is the short answer.
Dr. Lauren Tessier 42:49
So I think we spoke a little bit about like the body being the reservoir, the pool, again, you know, of like doing the phospholipid prep and the pre detox, work and support. So I kind of work that foundation, lay that foundation, because no matter what we need to detox your stem and pull this crud out of your system. And for me, that's kind of that was just trying to get clear on the verbiage being used for the living, breathing little entity in your body. They're in our biofilm, they're in our mouth or in our gut. They're in our your genital area. I mean, they're they're everywhere, the question becomes, why did they start being a threat? And is it possible for people to have? Well, I guess the dialogue there is we can have ones that are part of our flora that become a threat, and then we can have ones that aren't part of our flora come in and become a threat. So I've seen both happen. And so with, with people, we try to figure out, you know, is it reasonable to use an antifungal right now? What's kind of the risk benefit of it? Is there a way to bring the immune system back into balance without touching the antifungals? You know, there's a lot of kind of ins and outs with that I don't immediately put people on antifungals. I've seen instances where people can be put on antifungals in response to a urine mycotoxin test. And that makes me nervous. I tend to be really prudent in the practice. But, you know, colonization, when it's properly addressed can do amazing things. There was someone that I worked with for a period of time that we did a nasal spray, a antifungal nasal spray, and this chronic neck pain that ran down into their trap that they had had for years after one day of the antifungal nasal spray
Dr. Stephanie Gray 44:41
It was gone? It's amazing!
Dr. Lauren Tessier 44:44
I know. There's antifungals can be amazing, but they they I think a lot of folks go Oh, antifungal dye who can or antifungal Neistat and and there's a lot of intricacies with antifungals like Nystatin stays where you put it you're not going to Got a systemic effect, you're only going to treat the mouth, the gut or wherever it lands, versus some of the other classes of antifungal, some of them only touch Candida, whereas 50 years ago, they used to actually hit some of the other ones. But because they've developed resistance, you know, they're they're not as efficacious. So there's also a limited tool set with our antifungals. So it's the dialogue then starts to become well, what can we learn from antibiotic resistance? And how can we apply that in the situation. So it kind of goes back a little bit to train theory and tiptoes the line of what can we do to bring the body back in balance, so that way, it's not threatened like this the same way, like, you're never going to eradicate every teensy, tiny little spirit key of line from someone's body, but you can maybe get the load down and then get their body to tolerate it. antifungals. And dealing with colonization is complex.
It's complex, complex, complex. You know, there's also the question of, do you chase colonization? Or do you wait and see if a infection develops where it's true, typical infection, the problem with fungal infections is they don't light up in the same way, as bacterial infections do, they can be kind of silent and look more, I think of it as like a cold infection, not like cold and flu, but like, it's not as hot and expansive. And it tends to be a little bit more quieter on on your blood testing. So I if I had the answer, or word antifungals, I would love to share it. But it's a case by case basis, as you know.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 46:45
And that's why I wanted to ask that question, because we have worked together on a case a mutual patient who we think has the colonization. So I just wanted to bring that up for listeners, especially if they just feel like they're not getting better. And lab testing is not improving, despite controlling the variables of the diet and the environment that colonization could play a role. So I wanted to go there for a second. But clearly, you are a wealth of information. You're very, very intelligent. And this is a complex interview. So if listeners are staying tuned here and they feel like they want to work with you, where can they find you? I know you have a free gift as well. So tell us about your your practice and where you are and where they can find you.
Dr. Lauren Tessier 47:22
My practice is Life After Mold and I'm located in Waterbury, Vermont. I do do what I call button, the seat medical care with people where they come into the office and I manage them. And I also do educational consults with people where they're managed by their local physician, and we kind of educate, to help educate the physician to help them navigate that and so I am found everywhere online. My website is life after mold.com. And then I also am across pretty much all the all the big social medias, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, even Tik Tok, which has been a trip very interesting. And yeah, I welcome people that definitely check that out. YouTube, I have some really great videos talking a little bit more about the interface of multiple chemical sensitivity and mold, how to find the one to test your home. And if you head to my website, you can get a hold of my freebie booklet that's called mold prevention one on one that really helps people walk through their home to try to pull out their red flags of possibilities of thing that could be an issue in the future or currently an issue and how to keep your eye on it. And yeah, I've gotten a lot of a lot of good feedback about that freebie. So definitely head over to the website, there should be something that you could pop up and fill out there.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 48:36
awesome. Thank you so much. So last but not least, tell us your top longevity tip.
Dr. Lauren Tessier 48:41
NAC and sleep. NAC and sleep without a doubt.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 48:46
Are you literally the supplement NAC sleep?
Dr. Lauren Tessier 48:49
NAC - nasal cysteine and sleep. My little one had a sleep regression back in August and I had been up late a night owl and I started going to bed with him at 830 Every night and now I'm up at 5am Well, someone who would sleep till like 11 If I could so getting enough sleep and being able to just factor that in even if it's something that doesn't seem right or fit right if you can make it work it's so amazing to wake up early and engage yourself and go for a walk and and have that space. Enough Sleep and NAC it's it's my favorite supplement. I once got shot out at a lecture for using the phrase I love NAC is very unprofessional and you're loud.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 49:39
Yeah. I like it too. Well thank you so much for coming on the show today and really sharing with us deeper details on mold illness and getting into mast cell activation syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity and really thank you for donating your career to helping those with environmentally acquired illnesses. So your blessing. Thanks so much.
Dr. Lauren Tessier 49:57
Thank you so much. It's an honor to be here. Have a great one everybody.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 50:04
As you heard the treatment of mold related illness, and specifically colonization can be very complex, which is why it's so important that you find a provider like myself or Dr Tessier who can help. Be sure to download her free booklet mold prevention 101 from her website link of which will be in the shownotes. Be sure to check out my book your longevity blueprint. And if you aren't much of a reader, you're in luck. You can now take my course online where I walk you through each chapter in the book. Plus for a limited time the course is 50% off, check this offer out at your longevity blueprint.com and click the Course tab. One of the biggest things you can do to support the show and help us reach more listeners is to subscribe to the show. Leave us a rating and review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. I do read all the reviews and would truly love to hear your suggestions for show topics guests and for how you're applying what you learn on the show to create your own longevity blueprint. This podcast is produced by Team podcast thank you so much for listening and remember, wellness is waiting.
The information provided in this podcast is educational no information provided should be considered to be or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your personal medical authority.
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