Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also called myalgic encephalitis, has been widely studied over the past 25 years. Numerous mechanisms and theories have been proposed to explain its pathophysiology, epidemiology, clinical features and causation [1,2,3,4]. Possible causations include infections (particularly by viruses), oxidative stress, immune aberrations and toxic exposures, among others. However, no single etiology has been confirmed to fully explain this syndrome. In many circumstances, these patients remain chronically ill despite varying attempts at treatment [1,2,3,4].
During the same time frame, there has been a growing body of scientific literature indicating that mycotoxins and exposure to mycotoxin producing molds has become hazardous to the health of occupants of water-damaged buildings (WDB) (homes, schools and places of business). Water-damaged environments contain a complex mixture of biocontaminants produced by both mold, Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria . Secondary metabolites of molds and bacteria have been identified in the dust, carpeting, wallpaper, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems and respirable airborne particulates [6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16]. In addition, mycotoxins have been identified in clinical isolates from corneal keratitis, aspergillosis and from body fluids and tissues of individuals exposed to moldy environments [17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25]. Interestingly, patients with mycotoxin exposure in WDB frequently have clinical features similar to CFS [5,26,27,28,29].
In this study, urine specimens were tested by ELISA-based assay to look for the presence of mycotoxins in a group of patients with CFS. These results were compared to healthy control subjects previously reported by the same testing laboratory. Additionally, in several cases, the WDB that were the source of exposure were investigated for environmental mold and/or mycotoxins. A hypothesis of possible mitochondrial damage in CFS is presented following review of the literature.
About the Author
Emily Rachal is co-owner of Texas Mold Inspectors, (or TMI), along with her husband, in the Houston, TX area. After her family’s devastating experience that not only injured her whole family, but also resulted in the loss of their youngest son Malachi, she and her husband have dedicated their lives to now educating and assisting families affected by toxic mold with their state-licensed mold inspection company.
Emily is the founder and owner of MAM. Additionally, she has recently started a non-profit organization in the name of her youngest son, called Malachi’s Message Foundation, to aid in financial support and offer hope to families who feel isolated and are unable to afford all the complex obstacles of overcoming a toxic mold exposure.