Healing Inflammation From Exposure Due To A Water-Damaged Building

Photo of Sharol Tilgner

Modulate That Inflammation And Heal

Healing From Mold Protocol #6 - From the "Step By Step Protocol"  To Healing From Mold

Once you are no longer in a moldy environment, and you have removed most of the mycotoxins from your body, you still have to deal with the residual inflammation left from the mycotoxins, and your bodies reaction to them, which is largely an inflammatory reaction. It is this inflammatory reaction that creates many of the signs, and symptoms a mold susceptible person has. Many "moldy people" also have additional health issues that will become evident, and need to be dealt with. Look for heavy metals, pathogens such as parasites, viruses, retroviruses, bacteria, internal fungus, and look for other environmental toxins, electromagnetic frequency reactions, mental/emotional stress as well as any other organ issues, or genetic issues that might add to the health picture. If there are nutrient deficiencies or excess that have not yet been dealt with, do it now. Remove all processed foods, chemicals in food, and don't forget drugs might be adding to the disease picture. I can't cover all the possible issues each person may have, but I can talk about the generalized inflammation, and ways that it can be dealt with, that are also shown to normalize the lab markers that these "moldy people" have out of kilter.

I want to warn you that, attacking pathogens that show up in the body during exposure to a water-damaged building is not the first thing to do unless acutely necessary.  When we are exposed to mycotoxins our immune system becomes dysfunctional in a variety of ways. Some mycotoxins are such strong inhibitors of the immune system that they have been used as immune suppressants for patients with transplanted kidneys. This should give you an idea of how strongly immunosuppressive some of these mycotoxins are.  With exposure to water-damaged buildings our immune system can be lowered and allow dormant microbes, viruses, and parasites to become more active and symptomatic. However, some people find because of their genetics/epigenetics, or the process that takes place in the gut allowing antigens to get into the circulation, that a person can also become over-reactive to the environment (more immune activation and inflammation) and even to their own tissues (more immune activation and inflammation) which we call autoimmunity. Inflammation is a process of the immune system that is there to help us, but when it is not modulated normally it can create all sorts of symptoms. You can even have lowered immune activity in some ways while there is excess in others. Since the environmental toxins in the water-damaged building is really the factor that is causing the pathogens to come out of hibernation, an individual first needs to remove themselves from  exposure to the toxins. If they attempt to treat for the pathogens while being exposed to the environmental toxins, this will release even more toxins from the pathogens in their body as well as create more cytokines and they will feel even worse. I would also add that since the individual is reacting to pathogens that previously were there, but were dormant, you will note that once a person is no longer exposed to the water-damaged building and their toxin load has been mobilized and excreted for the most part, their immune system and body in general is functioning better. Therefore, the pathogens will often go back into dormancy.

The inflammation from mycotoxin damage as well as other types of biotoxins is measurable with lab biomarkers such as TGF b-1, MMP-9, MSH, C4a, and others. These lab values should all become normalized as the inflammation subsides. The person should also notice an appreciable increase in health. You can read testing for mold related illness here.

Below you will find some of my suggestions for addressing inflammation that are specific to CIRS due to a water-damaged building, or mold associated illness. In one section I will specifically relate them to the inflammatory markers often used to diagnose CIRS due to a water-damaged building, and other biotoxin related illness, as these lab markers can be used to follow progress as well as diagnose CIRS. Due to the various methods I use below to separate out the healing modalities in different categories, there are protocols that will show up under more than one category.

Don't worry if you do not use these lab markers. I don't use them any more unless a client wishes to. They are expensive and give me less important data than I can get with a mycotoxin urine and an organic acid test from great plains (GPL). I often see folks who already have the general CIRS labs such as tGF-beta1 and MMP-9 etc along with urine testings, so I use what people bring to me. However, if I could only use one test, it would be a challenged GPL urine test. Additionally, a test that is one of the first tests I suggest and is free is the Visual Contrast Sensitivity test.


The Role Of Mitochondria

It turns out that many of these things I learned to use to support people with mold illness are also methods to support the mitochondria. The people who are the sickest and have trouble getting well, are sometimes in a situation where their cellular mitochondria have been under such an assault for a long time, that  function changes from being full time energy makers to that of cellular defense. Mitochondria have two jobs. One is to create energy for the body and the other is coordinate our cellular defense. When our body is under attack from toxins, the mitochondria start leaking the energy giving ATP out of their membrane and it is perceived by the body as a signal of danger. This is part of what Robert Naviaux calls the cell danger response. This creates a lot of chronic inflammation and leaves us chronically fatigued.  Supporting the mitochondria with the nutrients it needs to function as well as supporting their structure is of prime importance. It has been shown that elevation of TGF-b1 as seen in mold illness, can cause further mitochondrial defects, so using methods to lower TGF-b1 is important. TGF-b1 is usually quite high in people exposed to mold, but not always. It should only be lowered when high. As with all in life, everything has a role to play and balance is necessary. See methods to lower TGF-b-1 below.


The Role of The Vagus Nerve and The Parasympathetic Nervous System

The  parasympathetic nervous system is very important as it helps regulate the immune system. The vagus nerve is a major component of the parasympathetic nervous system and is important to keep check on inflammation as well as provide adequate digestion which can both go. Autonomic dysfunction, as represented by a low parasympathetic activity, precedes the development of chronic inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is possible to improve inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel disease and obesity by targeting the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic nervous system. The vagus nerve can be targeted by vagal stimulation such as down with electrical devices or by the "thymus thump" which stimulates the thymus glad and the vagus nerve, the use of drugs, nutritional therapies, supplements and physical exercise. For more on this subject, go to the article on Calming The Mind & Body".

The Role Of Histamine

Excess histamine and other biogenic amines can cause some of the inflammatory symptoms seen in CIRS (mold illness). This has multiple causative factors.

  • Mycotoxins and other toxins may cause mast cell release in the digestive tract and respiratory tract
  • Pathogens and overgrowth of commensul bacteria  (viral illness, bacterial or parasites) - Mold folks may have SIBO or dysbiosis which from mycotoxins or other reasons and this also increases histamine due to bacteria that make histamine as well as bacterial toxins causing mast cells to release histamine.
  • Stress and other bodily threats can cause a release of histamine and other biogenic amines from cells, mostly mast cells.
  • Some foods have histamine in them or they can cause release of histamine.
  • Some individuals do not have enough of the enzymes (especially DAO) used to degrade histamine and remove it due to:
    • Genetic variants in genes
    • Lack of nutrients to support the enzymes.

For more details on mast cell activation as well as general details on high histamine and how to lower it, see one of the many histamine articles I wrote:

When Food Allergy is Really Histamine Intolerance

Histamine Intolerance: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Histamine Intolerance Solutions

Mast Cell Activation and High Histamine

How The Protocols On This Page Came To Be

When I first realized I had an issue with mycotoxins, I found little data available on how to remove them from the body or how to treat myself for what appeared to me to be a reaction to mycotoxins. Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker had the most published data I could find, and I found other bits of research here and there. If he would have been training docs at the time, I would have received training from him, but no luck, I was on my own and since I was inspired to use natural protocols, I was really on my own. The animal research was helpful since there was very little research with humans. There was no one to go to as far as asking my fellow physicians how to treat it as none of them seemed to have any clue at that time that mold was an issue, or they simply had never treated anyone susceptible to mold related illness before. It turned out there were some fellow naturopaths out there treating folks, but as luck would have it, no one I talked to seemed to know about them. Ritchie Shoemakers data was wonderful, and his book and the few articles he had published helped me formulate a plan, but I was not interested in all the drugs he was using. I decided to create another route.  I did figure out a protocol to heal myself and it was multifold, and took place over a period of a couple years. Luckily, before realizing I was having a reaction to mycotoxins, I was already doing many things, such as supporting most of my bodies organs of elimination, eating well, getting sleep, supporting my adrenals and using herbs that helped with inflammation. I was actually doing really well considering I had a load of mycotoxins and I was in the process of removing heavy metals, but I knew that I was not well, and I knew I had to continue supporting myself, or I would fall flat on my face. It was not until I finally found out I had a genetic susceptibility to mold related illness, that I could finally do more than just prop myself up with band aid medicine.

HEALTH TIP - Bandaid Medicine

Always insist on finding out what is causing your health condition. Sometimes you try to find it and you come to a dead end, but at least you tried. If you don't know what is causing your illness, you will only heal by divine inspiration (all healing involves divine inspiration any way) or luck (which does happen). Identifying that you have a lack of nutrition, or a food allergy or an environmental toxin etc. allows you to actually deal with the REAL issue. The symptoms are not the underlying issue causing the illness, and treating the symptoms usually just kicks the can down the road a bit at best, and at worse creates additional symptoms from the treatment. The actual initial cause and any additional factors keeping you sick need to be identified.

Anything that does not deal with the underlying cause of a health condition is bandaid medicine. I call it that as by treating symptoms you are putting a bandaid over the cause and ignoring it. Finding the cause to an illness is when you can begin real healing.

A Moldy Friend Led Me To My Healing Path

I have a good friend to thank for learning how devastating water-damaged buildings are to health. She had become chronically sick after a major, repetitive mold exposure, and in my looking for answers as to how she might recover, I made the discovery that I myself had the same issue underlying my own health condition; a condition that I had almost given up finding a cause for.  That is when I started looking at methods to assist the body in removing mycotoxins, and finding healing modalities that would decrease the inflammation, and lower the lab markers that are associated with this illness. Eventually, I woke up one morning and said, "Wow, I have not felt like this for twenty years." That feeling was the sensation of feeling healthy. What a great feeling. I immediately thought of various individuals I was sure had a similar genetic susceptibility to toxins in water-damaged buildings (about 25% of the population is susceptible) that I had not recognized as such before, and I  began calling them up to tell them the good news as to what the cause of their health issues was, and the bad news of the extensive process required to become well. Finding out which of the alternative healing modalities  worked best,  was a multi-year project and I am still learning new methods constantly. When you work hand in hand with the Creator's natural remedies there is no end to learning.


How I Found Alternative Healing Methods

I used the biomarkers that Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker had found were commonly abnormal in people with mold related illness or CIRS.  I devised a plan around how those biomarkers could be brought to a normal state by using nutrition and herbs. Some of these biomarkers were new to me, and I had to learn about them and then look for research on herbs or nutritional supplements that would affect them. If you look at the data on testing you will find a list of the biomarkers that I investigated, such as TGF beta-1, MMP-9, VIP, MSH and others. Luckily, with my background as an herbalist and naturopath, I could weed through the research on herbs, and supplements that affected these lab markers and decide of it made sense in relation to the clinical picture. I found a variety of healing modalities, tried many on myself, and other people, and eventually came up with an idea of what seemed to really work. Not surprisingly, some of the research pointed to herbs and supplements that I was already using, and had found I could not live without. (Due to unknowingly being exposed to mycotoxins, and not using binders.)I am going to list many of these below. The wonderful thing is that many of these herbs and supplements overlap as far as their healing ability. One single herb may support multiple organs of elimination, as well as the biotransformation/detox system, and also bring one of more lab values into normality. That is one of the things I love about medicine that heals, as opposed to medicine that treats a symptom. Medicines that heal usually remove multiple symptoms including some you did not realize you had, and generally they have few or no side effects. Generally, when they do cause side effects, it is because they are being used in an individuals body that should not have been given the substance to begin with. So, make sure you know your herb or nutritional supplement before using it and there will be less chance of side effects in your clients/patients.


Modalities That Can Be Used In The Protocol

  • Eat organic or biodynamic food as much as possible. I can't stress how important it is.
  • 8-10 cups of vegetables - bright colored vegetables and dark, leafy greens
  • Sulfur-rich foods: onions, garlic, all Cruciferous vegetables such a broccoli, collards, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi, watercress, etc.
  • Protein needs to be high quality
    • grass fed, free range, happy animals
    • wild caught fish
    • free range eggs from hens who eat bugs and green things
    • free range dairy - fermented dairy best usually as otherwise not healthy for many
    • grains and legumes that have been partially or fully fermented and cooked well
  • Fruit - bright colored, fresh, raw fruit with lots of variety
  • Polyphenols (bright colored fruit and veg): Polyphenols are great antioxidants. They include constituents such as curcumin, resveratrol, catechins and many others you probably recognize and I have listed here on this page. They decrease inflammation and support many bodily structures. Eating brightly colored fruit and vegetables will assure you of getting a variety of polyphenols.
  • Nuts and Seeds - best to eat enlivened nuts  which have began to sprout (partial ferment)

I have mentioned fermented foods here and want to point out that fermentation of foods can cause histamine creation in the food product depending on the processing. This can cause inflammation in some people who are sensitized or already overwhelmed by histamines. This often happens with this group of people, so watch for it. Some of them will do quite well with fermented items and they will be beneficial while others will react to them. For more details, check out the article on mast cell activation.

Foods Of Special Mention
  • Apples
  • Blueberries/Blackberries/Raspberries/Dark Cherries/Elder berries - basically the dark colored ripe berries
  • Chocolate
  • Dark green leafy veggies and Cruciferous vegetables
  • Vegetables that are colorful all the way through the vegetable and not just on the skin
  • Any foods high in antioxidants.
  • Water - Plenty of fresh, non-polluted water
  •  Seaweed and natural salts
  • Any foods with high mineral content
Herbs To Consider
Turmeric - Curcuma longa

Take 2-3 Tablespoons of turmeric twice per day or see curcumin under supplements below.

Green Tea - Camellia sinensis

Take 500 mg BID or two cups of strong green tea per day.

Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra

Licorice tea, capsule, powder or tincture, but be aware of the contraindications. Read about them before using this herb.

Milk Thistle - Silybum marinaum

Use minimum 1 heaping T BID, The constituent silibinin has been shown to suppress PMA-induced MMP-9 expression by blocking the AP-1 activation via MAPK signaling pathways. I always use the whole ground herb. I have people grind their own seed in a nut/coffee seed grinder and leave it in the freezer so it does not go rancid. Then I have them take one heaping T BID and chase it down with water.

Green tea - Camellia sinensi
Chinese  Skullcap -Scutellaria chinensis

Active ingredient baicalein of Scutellaria bacalensis (chinese skullcap). Chinese skullcap is useful for reducing neurological inflammation. - tea, capsule, or tincture

Chinese Sage - Salvia miltiorrhiza

This lovely herb lowers TGF Beta-1 and is an antioxidant, supports the liver, and is a platelet activating factor inhibitor which puts it in a category that may help decrease mast cell activation. These are just a few of its charms. - tea, capsule, or tincture

Supplements To Consider

Consider things that will lower oxidative damage and inflammation. Mycotoxins are known to cause serious oxidative damage, and stopping this damage can be extremely helpful.

Fish oils & Other Lipids

2-3 grams/day of EPA and 1.5-2 grams/day of DHA
Nordic Naturals or Carlson are good choices for fish oil. Another choice is Green Pasture's fermented oil. Good sources of lipids are needed to create all cell membranes and supports mitochondrial membranes. Use a variety of healthy lipids from seeds, nuts, grass fed organic meat, eggs, and wild fish.


If you like turmeric, use lots of it as it contains curcumin. The whole plant is really better than the constituent curcumin by itself, but most people can't eat enough of it. An alternative is to use as much whole plant as you can and take some curcumin additionally. Curcumin is not absorbed well and needs to be taken as a liposomal product or with piperine. Meriva-500 (2-3 caps BID) from Thorne or take 2-3 Tablespoons of turmeric twice per day.


Use as acetyl glutathione or liposomal glutathione - or use N-acetylcysteine to make glutathione. More about glutathione above or at this link.


Cysteine is the rate limiting amino acid needed to make glutathione. This is one way to increase glutathione production if you don't 'have adequate cysteine. 500 mg  2 times per day. NAC is also used to conjugate to some mycotoxins to remove them in the urine, but this should be done very slowly and some people need to start on 100 mg twices per day. If you have a really sick or really sensitive patient, they will react if too much is given.

Alpha lipoic-acid

For removal of mycotoxins and other toxins. Supports mitochondria and enhances reduced glutathione. This should be taken as a sustained release twice per day or taken every 4 hours around the clock due to the short half-life it has. One brand that can be used twice per day is Xymogen's ALAmax CR. The blood levels need to be kept some what constant so the person does not have symptoms from intermittant removal of toxins. I suggest you make sure clients do not have a high mercury level or are totally toxed out before starting Alpha lipoic-acid. If they do, you will need to go slow and low with the use of ALA. If you have a really sick or really sensitive patient, they will react if too much is given, just as mentioned with NAC. The same goes for all supplements that can chelate out heavy metals and other toxins. Chronic use can interfere with biotin and it may need to be supplemented.


Found in the herb Japanese knoteweed - Polygonum cuspidatum, as well as the foods grapes, peanuts, and blueberries.  If using the supplement rather than food, get one that contains and is made from Polygonum cuspidatum such as Vital Nutrients 500 mg with 250 mg resveratrol, 1 capsule twice per day. See other brands suggested below.


See details below, under lowering TGF beta-1. Useful for amino acid conjugation and bile acid conjugation.


500 mg 1-2 before bedtime if insomnia is involved or otherwise during the day. Useful for amino acid conjugation and bile acid conjugation.

Vitamin D3 & Sunshine

Vitamin D3 as oil with Vitamin K as needed depending on lab values. Sunshine is best as it provides more than D3 and is especially helpful if you have depression or insomnia. Go for a walk every morning and get sun on your face, eyes and as much of your body as the weather allows, but don't burn yourself and don't look directly into the sun.


Most people are deficient in magnesium and moldy folks are definitely in need of magnesium as a general rule. Magnesium is absolutely necessary for mitochondrial health. I just tell them to take it to bowl tolerance. It is even better to get it as part of their leafy greens.


3mg, 30-60 minutes before bed. Dosage sometimes needs to be increased. Usually 3mg is fine.


Herbs or herbal constituents shown to Lower TGF-beta 1 In Research

If you are using the Shoemaker protocol, part of the protocol is to lower TGF-beta 1. So, I list herbs and suppplements here that will do that. These items will usually also raise glutathione.  Research has shown that those substances that raise glutathione will lower TGF-beta. Many things will raise glutathione. So, any of them should theoretically lower TGF-beta. These are also herbs that lower inflammation for a variety of other reasons. The goal is not to simply lower TGF-beta 1, but to normalize it. Remember, that dealing with the cause of high TGF-beta 1 is necessary. It is iportant to remove yourself from exposure to water-damaged buildings.

The rate limiting enzyme for making gluatathione, γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase is down-regulated by Transforming Growth Factor - beta.

Green barley extract and apples

Procyanidin oligomers in apples and barley counteract TGF-beta1

The combination of Salvia miltiorrhiza, Ligusticum chuanxiong and Glycyrrhiza glabra decreases TGF B-1 in research.

The combo of Ginkgo biloba and Panax Ginseng and Schizandra chinensis has been shown to inhibit TGF B-1 in research.


Found in the herb Japanese knotweed - Polygonum cuspidatum, as well as the foods grapes, peanuts, and blueberries. There is a Thorne product called PolyResveratrol – SR that contains curcumin phytosome, green tea phytosome, resveratrol and Pterostilbene (pterostilbene also lowers MMP-9) 1-2 caps BID. Vital Nutrients has a product with 500mg from Plygonum cuspidatum including 250 mg of trans resveratrol per capsules. 1-2 capsules BID

Ginseng - Panax ginseng

Ginsan, a polysaccharide extracted from Panax ginseng has shown the ability to significantly suppress TGF-β.

Curcumin - in turmeric

Either use good curcumin product such as Meriva-500 (1-3 caps BID) from Thorne or take 2-3 Tablespoons of turmeric twice per day. I have found the Meriva to work well. Additionally, curcumin has anti-quorum sensing activity, and has the ability to keep biofilms from adhering and growing, which can be helpful for many "moldy" folks with  pathogens on board. Curcumin also enhances glutathione (GST) activity and is an all around great anti-inflammatory.

Rhodiola rosea

Lowers TGF beta-1.

Ginkgo 24%

Inhibits TGF beta-1 - This herb has contraindications, so if you do not know them, learn them before using it. Don't use this one in its natural state as it can cause some side effects not seen with the Ginkgo 24%. You can learn more about this in my book "Herbal ABCs" or check out the herbal monograph section of this website here.

Boswellia serrrata

Has been shown to down-regulate TGF beta-1. Helpful in lowering inflamamtion.

Chinese Sage root - Salvia miltiorrhiza

Lowers TGF beta-1. This is especially helpful if the person also have a kidney transplant or they have CHF as this herb will additionally help in these areas. People with organ transplants have high TGF beta-1 due to medications they take also. They are more complicated to work with.


500mg -2 grams per day. Take in 2-3 doses.  The amino acid that is so important for bile acid conjugation (glycine too) has been shown in research to lower TGF b-1. Many mold folks have bile issues. Sometimes glycine and taurine are helpful. You can get a double whammy out of using Taurine since it also lowers TGF b-1. This and glycine are essential for many CIRS folks who are having trouble with bile production which is noted with a light colored stool. Sometimes, they simply need some help with bile acid conjugation. I often have them take the taurine with food when they are having a bile acid conjugation issue and 500 mg-1 gram glycine at night to not only help with bile conjugation but to also help with sleep which is often an issue.

Green tea polyphenols - Camellia sinensis

Take 500 mg BID or two cups of strong green tea per day.Epigallocatechin gallate (Green tea catechins) - (EGCG), a major (and the most active) component of green tea extracts inhibits TGF-beta.

Genistein (high in beans)

Lots of yummy beans to eat.   Always pre-soak them. They are high in genistein. Genistein is high in most beans. Red clover tea is nice and it also contains genistein.


Gingerol from Ginger - Zingiber officinalis has been shown to lower TGF beta-1. Many of these folks have slowed diegstion and GInger will help keep digestion moving along as well as decrease gas and inflammation.


Berberine is a constituent found in Berberis spp., Goldenseal - Hydrastis canadensis, Gold thread - Coptis chinensis and others. Berberine has been shown in numerous research articles to lower TGF B-1. Works better for most things if used as part of a whole herb. Especially useful if there is a picture of dysbiosis, metabolic syndrome/diabetes, and a need for a bitter to stimulate digestive juices.


In broccoli (more in the sprouts) has been shown to increase Nrf2 and therefore lower TGF b-1. Most folks think that sulforaphane is a constituent in the brassica plants. Actually, it is not. These plants are high in a glucosinolate, called glucoraphanin that is turned into sulforaphane when it meets up with an enzyme called myrosinase. You can read more about it in the article Detox With Broccoli. The whole brassica family supplies the glucosinolate, but broccoli and specifically sprouts are really high in it. Some varieties more than others.

Licorice - Glycyrrhiza spp

Licorice helps to lower TGF B-1(Isoangustone A) as well as assisting in water retention, normalizing low blood pressures, assisting the liver in detoxification, decreasing the work of the adrenals, and may reduce hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and abdomnial fat accumulation (rat studies). This herb has multiple properties that make it a wonderful herb for people with CIRS. I have written detailed data about Licorice in my book, Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth.

Contraindications of Glycyrrhiza - Licorice

For folks sensitive to mold you should be aware that some licorice has been found to have ochratoxin A contamination. You can read more about it here. Licorice is  has many contraindications and should not be used without fully understanding when not to use Licorice.

Vitamin D & Sunshine

Vit D decreases levels of TGF-β and NF-kappaB. Monitor levels fof vitamin D for correct dosage. Most patients who are treated for Mold Illness will have a low Vitamin D level rise to normal levels after treatment even if you do not give them Vitamin D. However, if they have not been treated their D level is usually low. If low, it may be beneficial to give vitamin D3 at least in the beginning of treatment until it is normalized. There is a massive amount of research connecting low vitamin D levels to many disease processes. However, we do not know for sure that supplementation is working as we would wish it to, so sunshine is really the best way to go. I have found that some people with CIRS can easily react to the sun and I think it is due to the low MSH levels. Once the person removes themselves from mold and they use a sequestering agent to remove the mycotoxins they are usually able to go into the sun without getting terrible sunburns as well as other skin reactions they get from the sun. I have actually had three people report getting burnt through their clothing.


N-acetylcysteine is a specific inhibitor of TGF-β signaling targeting different components of the TGF-β signaling machinery.

Due to various reasons not everyone has enough gluathione and N-acetylcysteine is an important building block in the pathway to glutathione. I find that low glutathione is an issue for everyone with mold issues. Attending to it with glutathione or by supporting glutathione production is very important. See details above or this article on glutathione.

Doses to stop fibrosis from TGF-B in research have been high. Up to 2000 mg per day is used. Some toxed out, or some overly sensitive people have reactions to it though, and can take only tiny amounts in the beginning. A brief explanation of why is explained above.

There is concern that it may cause bronchospasm in people with asthma if inhaled or taken by mouth. N-acetyl cysteine crosses the placenta, but there is no evidence so far linking it with harm to the unborn child or mother. However, N-acetyl cysteine should only be used in pregnant women when clearly needed, such as in cases of acetaminophen toxicity. It can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea or constipation. Rarely, it can cause rashes, fever, headache, drowsiness, low blood pressure, and liver problems. When inhaled (breathed into the lungs), it can also cause swelling in the mouth, runny nose, drowsiness, clamminess, and chest tightness. N-acetylcysteine is used to remove mercury via urinary excretion. Some people can get very sick when they remove mercury from their body. I suggest you make sure clients do not have a high mercury level or are totally toxed out before starting NAC. If they do, you will need to go slow and low with the use of NAC. The same goes for all supplements that can chelate out heavy metals and other toxins.

Oral Proteolytic Enzymes

It has been demonstrated that proteolytic enzymes reduce TGF-beta levels in serum by converting the protease inhibitor alpha 2 macroglobulin (alpha2M) from the "slow" form into the "fast" form, whereby the "fast" form binds and inactivates TGF-beta irreversibly. They have been shown to lower the concentration of TGF-beta 1 in serum of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteomyelofibrosis and herpes zoster. Treatment with oral proteoytic enzymes had no significant effect on TGF-beta 1 concentration in healthy volunteers or patients with a normal level of TGF-beta1. In patients with elevated TGF-beta 1 concentration (> 50 ng/ml serum), they reduced TGF-beta 1 in RA (P < 0.005), in OMF (P < 0.05) and in HZ (P < 0.05). They found starting out with very low doses can also be helpful. (Desser, 2001) Examples of proteolytic enzymes are papain, bromelain, trypsin, and chymotrypsin.

Chocolate lovers

It appears that Cocoa procyanidins decrease TGF b-1. It is my personal experience that ingesting lots of food with procyanidins in general helps decrease inflammatory symptoms associated with  CIRS. I tell people to eat lots of bright colored vegetables and fruits as the procyanidins are what gives these foods their bright colors. These foods will lower nflammation in a natural manner.

Research shows safflower and canola oil increase TGF b-1. No one should eat them any way.

There is more, but I will stop for now.

Herbs or supplements shown to Lower MMP-9 In Research

This is another biological lab marker that is targeted in the Shoemaker approach.  So, I list treatments used to lower this marker. These, like the items that lower TGF-Beta-1 are all anti-inflammatory supplements that have a variety of reasons for lowering inflammation. The goal is not to simply lower MMP-9, but to normalize it. Remember, that dealing with the cause of high MP-9 is necessary. It is important to remove yourself from exposure to water-damaged buildings.
High Dose Fish Oils

2-3 grams/day of EPA and 1.5-2 grams/day of DHA
Nordic Naturals or Carlson are good choices for fish oil. Another choice is Green Pasture's fermented oil.

Apples, strawberries and beans

Contain Kaempferol, which is a flavonol (type of polyphenol) that has been shown to decrease the expression and activity of MMP-9 by blocking the PKCδ/MAPK/AP-1 cascades.

Curcumin (in turmeric)

See data above under TGF beta-1

Green tea polyphenols

Take 500 mg BID or two cups of strong green tea per day to restore balance of MMP-9.

Rhodiola rosea

Contains salidroside that has proven to lower MMP-9 in research.

Polyphenols in general

Polyphenols are great antioxidants. Herbal constituents that are polyphenol derived include curcumin, resveratrol, catechins and many others you would probably recognize and are listed here on this page. They decrease inflammation and support many bodily structures. Eating brightly colored fruit and vegetables will assure you of getting a variety of polyphenols that we have identified, as well as those still to be identified. One of my favorite ways to get polyphenols in to my body is by eating blue berries.


See details above under TGF beta-1 for foods high in resveratrol and supplements.

There is research showing various mycotoxins elevate NF-Kappa B which has been shown to be lowered with Resveratrol. "Elevated NF-kappaB/Rel binding activity may be involved mechanistically in VT-induced gene expression of the cytokines and resultant toxic and autoimmune effects." (Ouyang YL, Li S, Pestka JJ., 2012)

Milk Thistle - Silyblum marianum

Use minimum 1 heaping T BID, The constituent silibinin has been shown to suppress PMA-induced MMP-9 expression by blocking the AP-1 activation via MAPK signaling pathways. I always use the whole ground herb. I have people grind their own seed in a nut/coffee seed grinder and leave it in the freezer so it does not go rancid. Then I have them take one heaping T BID and chase it down with water.

Chinese skullcap - Scutellaria bacalensis

Active ingredient baicalein of  Chinese skullcap is useful for reducing neurological inflammation.

Strawberry leaf tea or Cane tea (Arbutus unedo)

Lowers MMP-9


Regarding The Enhanced Acute Sensitivity To Environmental Onslaughts

The extra sensitivity that many people feel initially tends to disappear over time. So, they should not be worried if they are going through a mold mycotoxin protocol with their practitioner, and find they are more sensitive to chemicals, and moldy environments. It is probably an acute reaction they are noticing, whereas before they were so sick from a chronic reaction that they did not notice the acute problems. Over time most folks find these acute reactions get toned down, so they will not be so intense.  I suggest if a person is having multiple chemical sensitivity they look to a couple major causative factors that are set off by being exposed to water-damaged buildings.

  • Histamine intolerance/excess
  • Biotransformation system needs

If there is an abnormal histamine reaction involved, it needs to be attended to. There can be more than mycotoxins causing it.

For some people they need some serious work with their biotransformation systems as well as making sure they have attended to the care and feeding of their mitochondria. You can find some detailed data on these systems specific to mold folks here.

If however a person has just started treatment and has acute exacerbations, it may be the movement of toxins in their body rather than from outside toxins. They simply can't deal with the toxic load they are harboring in their body. They were filled to the brim and the house cleaning is too much for them. Consider decreasing the treatment regimen. They may need to take extremely tiny doses of everything. Doses you think will not work, but they will over time. It will just take longer.  Also do not give up on this person. They are just going at a slower pace to recover.

Next, read protocol #7 on "Calming The Mind & Body".

I would like to stress that there is one thing that I have found personally to be more helpful than anything else and I have heard many clients say the same thing. That is meditation/prayer. Taking the time to stop from our busy day and to allow ourselves to give space for relaxation and to allow the mind to be quiet and to give space to just being or not being as your meditation takes you, can be quite powerful. Healing takes place and yes there are even research articles that have studied changes in biochemistry that takes place when someone is deep in meditation/prayer. We go into a healing mode and are no longer engaged with survival mode. This is necessary for healing. So,  go to this last link I just gave you and experience that space that allows for healing. Make room for healing in your day.

There are many articles on this website that can help you learn how to modulate the immune system and inflammation from different points of view or in relation to different types of illnesses. Simply put key words into the search bar to find them.

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