What are Mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are some of the most prevalent toxins in the environment. These molecules are secondary metabolites of fungi.
Most humans are exposed to mycotoxins through mould, which can be found growing in buildings, vehicles, and foodstuffs. Mould can grow on almost any surface, especially if the environment is warm and wet. Inner wall materials of buildings, wallpaper, fiber glass insulation, ceiling tiles, and gyprock are all good surfaces for mould to colonise.
The mould can then release mycotoxins into the environment causing symptoms of many different chronic diseases. Diseases and symptoms linked to mycotoxin exposure include immune-suppression, fever, pneumonia-like symptoms, heart disease, rheumatic disease, asthma, sinusitis, cancer, memory loss, vision loss, chronic fatigue, skin rashes, depression, ADHD, anxiety, and liver damage.
Mycotoxins and the Brain
One of the main organs affected by mycotoxins is the brain. Mycotoxin inhibition of protein synthesis, damage to DNA, and increased production of inflammatory cytokines lead to damage of the central nervous system (CNS).
Mycotoxins also affect the proliferation and migration of neurons. The blood brain barrier, which is a selective permeable barrier protecting the brain, can be damaged by mycotoxins. Trichothecenes can cause cytotoxic effects at the blood brain barrier, which will allow other harmful chemicals and pathogens to affect the brain.
In the brain, proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 1 is produced during mycotoxin exposure. Damage caused by mycotoxin exposure can lead to depression, poor memory recall, Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, and headaches.
The GPL-MycoTOX Profile
The Great Plains Laboratory, Inc. have a primary focus on helping patients with chronic illnesses, including mental health disorders. They have developed tests that look at hundreds of different analytes and have worked with health practitioners to help them interpret how these data can be used to personalise treatment for patients. The GPL-MycoTOX Profile (a urine test), was developed to combat the pervasive problem of mould exposure.
Using liquid chromatographymass spectrometry (LC/MS) technology, they have a very sensitive test, which is important because mycotoxins can cause serious health issues even in small quantities. (Other mycotoxin testing uses ELISA technology, which relies on antibodies). Utilisation of LC-MS/MS technology gives a precise identification of analytes, which prevents having false positive errors. For many of the compounds they are able to detect amounts in the parts per trillion (ppt), which is about 100-fold better than any other test currently available.