The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared the first Fungal Disease Awareness Week in August 2017, urging healthcare providers and their patients to, “Think Fungus” when symptoms of infection do not get better with treatment. This Call to Action was timely, as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and more are leaving mold and fungus problems in their wake for years to come. Problems associated with fungus, molds, and their byproducts – mycotoxins – have been exploding as a hot topic for the last 20 years. And they are exploding in the United States.
In a nutshell, fungus is a symbiont (living in synergy) with plants, animals, or other fungus. However, it can also act as a parasite. A fungus is a eukaryotic organism (which contains a nucleus) that includes unicellular microorganisms such as yeasts and molds as well as multicellular fungi known as mushrooms. Fungus and early parasites (protozoa) have been evolving over one billion years. Fungus is among us as much as parasites are among us. Fungi are genetically more closely related to animals than plants.
Molds are a bit more complex. A mold is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Many fungi can be in a single cell as yeast or multiple cells as molds (dimorphic) depending on the conditions in which they grow. Like all fungi, molds derive energy not through photosynthesis but from the organic matter on which they live by recycling often the dead or dying organisms. That would be the patient, the host.
Molds and mycotoxins play an important role in environmental illnesses, as a result of exposure in flooded, damp and leaky homes, schools and workplaces. Patients with unexplained illnesses who do not respond well to treatment may have their immune systems under attack, and may have genetic variants that make them more susceptible to health impacts. Effective treatment requires removal of exposure – and professional testing and remediation of the building – along with prescription antifungals, other remedies, and binders in some cases.
Molds are increasingly implicated in environmental illnesses that degrade patients’ immune systems, and fungi are somewhat infamous for contaminating medications. Fungi also play a stealth role in certain cancers. At my 2017 Tenth International Medical Conference, Doug Kaufmann’s talk on “The Fungal Etiology of Cancer,” was outstanding. He has written many books including, The Germ That Causes Cancer. Other speakers on fungus, molds and yeast included Lee Cowden, MD, and John Trowbridge, MD, author of the path breaking book, The Yeast Syndrome. You can order CDs or DVDs of the conference talks at www.Aurora Recording.com.
Fungal mycotoxins are genotoxic, mutagenic, immunosuppressive, tremorgenic, neurotoxic, nephrotoxic, hepatotoxic, hemotoxic, cardiotoxic, lymphotoxic, and dermatotoxic. Aflatoxin b1 is the most hepatotoxic carcinogen, and is commonly found in foods such as peanuts and grains.
Fungal infections can mimic many cancers, including lung cancer and skin cancer. The mycotoxin Aflatoxin b1 is known to cause p53 mutations. The p53 gene is known to protect against cancer proliferation. The damage to p53 allows cells with damaged DNA to proliferate. The p53 mutation is identified in over 50% of all human cancers.
Mycotoxins can also damage and induce cancer genetic mutations at the c-myc, N-ras and c-K-ras genes. Fungal spores can survive phagocytosis (ingestion of microorganisms by white blood cells) by a thick viscous capsule. Paradoxically, white blood cells may protect the fungus from other defenses of the host and are instrumental for the spread of cancer/fungal cells, ultimately assisting in metastases to other organs in the body.
The most well-known mycotoxins are Aflatoxins, Ochratoxins, Fumonisins, Deoxynivalenol, and Zearalenones. These grain mycotoxins will glow green under UV black light. Pathologist Migdalia Arnan, MD described green granules glowing within human cancer tissues when exposed to UV black light. Fungi, molds and mycotoxins not only cause genetic mutations but also promote genetic fusion, Karyogamy, the final step in the process of fusing together two haploid DNA of the human and fungal cells.
Fungus and mycotoxins can promote human cancers by integrating their DNA into human cells like viruses. The Epstein-Barr virus, papilloma viruses, and hepatitis B and C viruses have been known to promote human cancers by integrating their DNA into human cells.
A team from Johns Hopkins found that the anti-fungal drug Itraconazole inhibits angiogenesis, which is implicated in a number of important human diseases, including cancer, diabetic retinopathy, and rheumatoid arthritis (2007). This was confirmed in a 2011 study which found Itraconazole can stop cancer from metastasizing by inhibiting angiogenesis and slow tumor growth rate (2011). Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center have discovered that the antifungal drug, Griseofulvin, forces cancer cells into death (2007). This is important research, as these drugs are less costly and well tolerated, so may be used as adjuncts in treatment.
What conventional lab tests miss, additional testing modalities can help reveal. Fungus, mold and mycotoxin-related problems are often detected at the allergy/immunology point during evaluation using acupuncture meridian assessment. Parasites and fungus evolve and often coexist together. When using anti-parasite medications and anti-fungal medications, I have observed stabilization of tumor growth and at times, spontaneous remission, which I call Accidental Cure. I cannot wait for the CDC to declare the first Parasite Disease Awareness Month which consists of Virus, Bacteria, Fungus, and Mycobacteria Awareness Week! Parasites are the top of the food chain and fungus is our chief undertaker.