According to those who work with CIRS patients, biotoxins can produce a variety of symptoms including brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues, and chronic pain. The immune dysfunction results when the body is incapable of removing the biotoxin, which can then cause a state of chronic inflammation.
While toxicity from mold has been well publicized, it's important to note that these toxins can come from other organisms including pathological gut microbes, Lyme, chronic viral infections, sinus infections, and other sources.
Once this inflammatory cascade begins, extensive treatment may be needed to bring the patient back to a state of well-being. CIRS is commonly misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, stress, allergies, and depression.
Biotoxins are small molecules produced by microbes that are capable of causing disease when they come in contact with the body tissues. Due to their small size, they move easily from cell to cell and store in the fat and nervous tissue. The most important point in treatment is to identify and remove the source of the biotoxin if possible. Even when this is done successfully, some patients can continue being ill for months to years as a result of the accumulated biotoxin stored in their body tissues.
Diagnosis is complex due to the generalized nature of complaints the patients have. While certain symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and depression are common, other complaints can be as diverse as increased thirst, joint pain, blurred vision, and gut problems. It's because of this broad diversity of symptoms that the diagnosis of CIRS is difficult and often missed by doctors unless they have been specifically trained to look for it. A very objective set of laboratory abnormalities have been documented that are indicative of some particular types of immune dysfunction and chronic inflammation unique to CIRS. A specific set of criteria combining the subjective clinical symptoms and objective lab abnormalities are needed to make the diagnosis of CIRS.
The neurotoxic effects of long-standing and severe cases of CIRS can now be imaged by MRI using a computer program called NeuroQuant. This program gives very precise measurements of various brain regions that may be smaller or larger than normal as a result of persisting exposure to the biotoxin.
Treatment consists primarily of dramatic lifestyle changes, supplementation, and the use of medication or hormones when necessary.
The first and most important step in the treatment is to remove the source if possible. In the case of mold toxicity, this usually means the labor and cost of remediating your home from mold infestation or in extreme cases even leaving your home.
In cases in which the biotoxin-producing organism is within the body, “removing the source” translates into eradication of the responsible organism. Lyme disease and other tick-borne microbes can be a causative agent in CIRS. Once that has been achieved, the next steps in all cases are to clear the existing biotoxin out of the body while trying to calm down the inflammation and better regulate the immune system.
In a step-wise approach where the success of one treatment becomes the foundation for the next, you slowly bring the patient back to their prior healthy state.
It's suspected by many practitioners who treat CIRS patients that it may play a causative role in the development of such chronic conditions as ASD, Alzheimer’s dementia, and some autoimmune diseases, though this is speculative and lacks research.
CIRS should always be a diagnostic consideration in patients presenting with multi-system disease without a clear cause.
Some medical researchers doubt the existence of CIRS and don’t acknowledge the long-term effects of low-level biotoxin or mold exposure. Some of the controversy on whether this problem indeed exists stems from the fact that some people will have completely different symptoms after exposure to the same toxins—even within the same household.
Despite the feedback of thousands of successfully treated patients and two decades worth of peer-reviewed medical journal articles documenting its existence and evolving treatment, CIRS is still considered a controversial topic in conventional medicine.
Increasing awareness on the part of patients and medical professionals that CIRS exists and can be successfully treated has increased over the past decade, but the full acceptance by the conventional medical community and health insurance companies still awaits.