Some people have an arch-enemy. Like a person at work or an ex-spouse or a “frenemy” (A “friend” who is really an enemy). Or it could be an entire nation that is at war with another and they are mortal enemies for generations.

But what if your enemy is not human? What if it is an organism? What if that organism’s purpose is to bring death to anything it touches? God’s “microbial grim reaper”?

Well, there is such an organism that is like the ultimate “frenemy” of mankind: Fungus.

On the one hand, much of our lives are touched in some way by fungus. We eat it. Ferment milk with it to make cheeses. It makes tea taste good. It is used to make medications and natural medicines as well for therapeutic applications. Fungi are as a part of our lives as apple pie.

But there is a dark side to our fungal friends. They are, in fact, not always our friends. They can become deadly and shatter entire ecosystems, whether they be outside in the wild, in our homes, or inside us.

Fungi are responsible for 70% of all species extinctions on earth (WOW). That means that 7/10 of all organisms that were once on the surface of this planet and now extinct are gone, wiped out, exterminated, by a fungus. This is a staggering number and is a testament to the utter brutality of this classification of organisms. Fungus is a threat to every ecosystem it is a part of if it grows out of control.

Most fungi produce toxins that have very specific purposes. Some are made by the organism to kill its bacterial and fungal competition, while others are designed to poison the host in order to weaken it so it can be food for the inhabiting fungal colony. Some fungal toxins, like those produced by the species Fusarium (the grey-ish mold found on moldy corn and fruit) can alter a human being’s hormones, causing excessive “estrogen” to be present. I call these mold-based estrogens Myco-estrogens (Myco = “mold based”), and they mimic human estradiol and can influence the growth of fungal cells and colonies. The connection between mold and fungal toxicity and hormones is something we must be aware of and prepared for.

Stachybotrys, also known as “black mold”, is one of the molds found in our bathrooms and in water-damaged homes. It is commonly found with algae and also the “other” black mold Aspergillus Niger. Stachybotrys is one of the most dangerous and deadly of all molds and its toxins can cause all sorts of health issues such as frequent urination, metallic taste in the mouth, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and many others. The popular TV show King of Queens featured an episode where the mold Stachybotrys was the star of the storyline, called “Golden Moldy”. It is a funny but all-too-familiar situation about what happens when mold becomes a very expensive problem for homeowners. Extensive mold remediation is sometimes required because this mold and its toxins can cause a lifetime of health issues. To put in perspective how deadly Stachybotrys is, one of its toxins called Roriden E has been used as a chemical weapon in wartime.

Penicillium is a blue-green mold that can infect various foods such as corn and bread when it “goes bad”. Penicillium produces neurotoxins like Gliotoxin and Mycophenolic acid, and it is commonly found cohabitating with a “black mold”, Aspergillus Niger. Penicillium is the species of mold used to create the first mass produced antibiotic, Penicillin.

Fungal toxins are ultimately the reason why fungi could be dangerous. The mere presence of a fungin does not denote “infection”; it simply means the organism is present and is part of an ongoing ecosystem where it competes with other organisms for real estate and food.

In the past, I made a comment to a particular health care practitioner that doing DNA testing for fungi is “worthless”, and while perhaps my wording was strong I still stand by my assessment. Here is why: DNA testing for the presence of an organism doesn’t actually tell us the “load”, or the “quantity” of that organism. It simply shows us the DNA sequence of an organism that may be present. That’s it. No information about toxins it may produce, no info about whether or not it is invasive or has formed biofilm, and no info about the total amount of the organism they are searching for.

We need more information about microbes than just “if it is present”, which is the height of Germ Theory: “If it is there, then it must be infective”, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

I can’t overstate the importance of testing for the toxins produced by the organisms present, since it is the chemicals that these organisms produce that are the source of the health problems associated with invasive fungins.

Testing for the toxins will tell us what the organisms are actually doing and how abundant they are. The greater the toxic load, the greater the populations. This information can also tell us if the organism in question is growing or even if they are potentially becoming invasive. Straight DNA testing for the organism won’t do that. Mycotoxin testing can also show us if we are indeed exposed to molds in our environment without these organisms actually being present in our bodies. This will still implicate the organism, but will give us a perspective on where to combat it: In our bodies or in our environment, or both!

We need to understand how the organism is behaving in order to properly deal with it. This is at the core of what I call Functional Microbiology: the understanding of how organisms function and interact in a host ecosystem and why.

Fungi are a natural part of life. They are the “garbage disposals” of life and have their purpose. But they are largely opportunistic and if allowed to grow and infest unabated, then they can shorten lifespans or at least make it miserable. We must grow to understand how they behave in order to properly deal with them and keep them under control.

Functional Bio-Testing for Mold Toxins: Could mold be your problem?

Mold and mycotoxins are linked to a number of different conditions and diseases, which includes diabetes, cancer, “brain fog”, bladder issues, MS, and many others. The most effective method of determining if mold is playing a major role in an adverse health condition is to test for the presence of Mycotoxins. This is far more effective than testing for the mere presence of mold because it is the toxins themselves that present the health dangers.

The test I use is The Great Plains MycoTOX test, which is a simple urine test and it measures the most common toxins produced by various environmental and household molds, such as Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, and Stachybotrys. Great Plains Lab uses a state-of-the-art technology called liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) which allows for the detection of even the smallest amount of mycotoxins in the sample. I use this test quite often and have found it to be one of the most revolutionary health tests ever made. It has given me insights into human biology and what is affecting my patients that I never would have known.

Find the The Great Plains MycoTOX test on Rupa Health and start your account today!