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Mold: Aspergillus in Digestive Enzymes...

Discussion in 'Addressing Biotoxin, Chemical & Food Sensitivities' started by dannybex, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    There's been a lot about mold problems on the boards...and so I've been meaning to ask if anyone knows if Aspergillus niger-grown digestive enzymes are safe?

    Seems like most plant-based enzyme products use the mold to grow the enzymes, then claim that no mold is left over. I've been taking Digest Gold for at least a year, and it helps greatly with my digestion (along with betaine HCL), but I'm wondering if it could be causing long-term problems?

    Lisa :Retro smile: or anyone?

    Thanks,

    Dan
  2. Lisa

    Lisa Senior Member

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    Hola Danny! :Retro smile:

    Good question and helps make some sense of something I have been wondering about the last couple months.

    Last October we switched to some Garden of Life products (multi, b complex, probiotic) and did just fine. In fact, noticed an improvement in health compared to what we had previously been using.

    But then this spring when our health started going down hill we began to have trouble tolerating the Garden of Life stuff. I had previously been wondering if maybe they were contaminated with gluten as we have become very sensitive to it after going fully paleo in December. Their customer service assured me there was absolutely no gluten in those three products.

    We switched those supplements to other brands because we simply felt worse taking them than when we skipped them.

    Your question about mold might be one clue to what was going on though. We've been dealing with a mold based sinus infection for a few months and when it became bad was when we started having trouble tolerating the Garden of Life products. I know they do a lot of the fungal based vitamins in the stuff we took... I wonder if we were reacting to the mold!

    Currently we are taking New Chapter Organic multivitamins which are also partly grown using fungi, but we have no reaction to the product.

    All very interesting and thought provoking! Thanks Danny!

    Lisa :Retro smile:
  3. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    Hi Lisa -- shoot, I just left a long reply, and it didn't take! :(

    Anyway, I'm glad to hear you may have found an answer to your downturn. I actually did a lot worse on GofLife products years ago, and didn't like their marketing tactics -- long story -- so who knows? But another possibility is the fact that most of their products contain SO many different herbs, that you could be reacting to just a few of them, which then throws everything else off. ???

    I've emailed some other enzyme co's in the past, and they all say there's no aspergillus left in the finished products. Haven't emailed Enzymedica yet...just too fried. Really in bad shape lately, that's why I want to figure these things out. :(

    Maybe Slayadragon will see this thread and be able to offer some info. She's the mold expert in these lands......:Retro smile:

    Thanks for your reply, and take care,

    Dan
  4. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    I wrote to the scientists at Kirkman Labs several months ago to ask them exactly this question. They didn't reply.
    If anyone does find out, please let me know because I have been wondering about this a lot.
  5. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    Interesting question. Here's what Wikipedia says about the use of aspergillus in foods consumed by humans:

    >Other species are important in commercial microbial fermentations. For example, alcoholic beverages such as Japanese sake are often made from rice or other starchy ingredients (like manioc), rather than from grapes or malted barley. Typical microorganisms used to make alcohol, such as yeasts of the genus Saccharomyces, cannot ferment these starches, and so koji mold such as Aspergillus oryzae is used to break down the starches into simpler sugars.

    >Members of the genus are also sources of natural products that can be used in the development of medications to treat human disease.[4]

    >Perhaps the largest application of A. niger is as the major source of citric acid; this organism accounts for over 99% of global citric acid production, or more than 1.4 million tonnes per annum[citation needed]. A. niger is also commonly used for the production of native and foreign enzymes, including glucose oxidase and hen egg white lysozyme. In these instances, the culture is rarely grown on a solid substrate, although this is still common practice in Japan, but is more often grown as a submerged culture in a bioreactor. In this way, the most important parameters can be strictly controlled, and maximal productivity can be achieved. It also makes it far easier to separate the chemical or enzyme of importance from the medium, and is therefore far more cost-effective.


    Aspergillus and other toxic molds also are present as contaminants in many foods we eat. Corn and peanuts usually are measurably contaminated, and other grains can be as well. The government regulates and checks the amounts that are present, but (I once read) increased the limits about a decade ago. Standards also are not met in all instances.

    Back before I knew that toxic mold was an issue for me, I used to be diligent about avoiding foods that were bothersome to me. I used something called the "Pulse Test," developed by Arthur Coca, M.D., (there's an inexpensive book on this) to gauge my reactions. The test involves taking the pulse, eating a large amount of the suspect food, and then taking the pulse again at 30-minute intervals thereafter. He says that problematic foods will cause a jump in the pulse rate within 90 minutes after consumption.

    I found that certain foods did cause my pulse rate to jump, in some cases from 70 to 110. When this happened, I avoided those foods. This did make a substantial difference in my illness.

    Eventually I did enough experimentation to find some peculiarities. One experiment showed that a bowl of popcorn made my pulse jump, whereas a goodly amount of fresh corn did not. Another suggested that Whole Foods organic oatmeal was problematic, whereas McCann's Irish Oatmeal did not.

    When I look back, I think that in many cases I was responding to the contaminants in the foods rather than the foods themselves. The foods that made my pulse jump were only loosely overlapped with the ones that blood tests identified as ones I should be sensitive to. Toxic mold is rarely present in fresh produce (it grows during the periods of storage in silos), and I've heard that standards in Europe are stricter than those in the U.S.

    Not all toxic mold is equally bad. It's my impression that Stachybotrys and other trichothecene-producing molds are the most problematic for us. Aspergillus inherently is much less toxic.

    However, the reaction of at least some CFSers to toxic molds is so strong that tiny amounts of any mold toxin can set it off. I think that this was what was happening prior to avoidance.

    When I first got unmasked from the mold, I found myself reacting strongly to almost all buildings. Not all buildings have Stachy in them, and in most cases my symptoms tended to be different than the ones I got from my house (which had Stachy). Most buildings do have a bit of the milder toxic molds (such as aspergillus) in them, but to my knowledge don't have much Stachy.

    Erik's and my reactivities were the same when I visited him. This makes me believe that I was perhaps reacting a bit to Aspergillus, but much much more so to Stachy and other trichothecene-producing molds. (See his comments below on his own reactions.)

    Over the past 2 1/2 years, my mold reactivity has gone way down. Now I can go in most buildings without incident. I also can eat anything I want without continuing to feel well. Only occasionally do I go in a building that has any effect on me (and that usually is just irritability).

    So I think that now, my reactivity to Stachy has gone down a lot, and my reactivity to most other toxic molds is basically non-existent.

    (What I am still reacting to now is a substance that is present mostly outside and very very occasionally in particularly bad buildings. I think that this is some sort of aquatic biotoxin such as cyanobacteria, and that I actually am a "severe biotoxin responder" rather than a "severe mold responder." Hopefully research eventually will make this more clear.)

    What I'd thus like to suggest is that if CFSers are severe mold responders, they may indeed be responding to foods that have aspergillus and other mildly toxic molds in them, even if the amounts are not enough to bother normal people.

    However, insofar as people indeed are responding to those foods, they might do well to suspect that they're responding to mold in the external environment as well. That's especially the case since inhaled trichothecenes are much worse than ingested ones (that's the consensus of those of us who are unmasked, and research studies suggest that as well), and since toxic molds in our environments are far more objectively damaging than the ones we encounter in foods.

    Best, Lisa

    *

    When no doctors would help me to figure this mold problem out, I hired a mycologist to accompany me to various mold colonies so I could assess my reaction and have the offending one identified.

    When we got to a black mold on some joists, I stuck my finger in it.

    He said, "I wouldn't do that if I were you!”

    And I replied, "This stuff? This isn't the one that is bothering me or I'd be slammed by now. Hell, I'll eat this mold on my peanut butter sandwich for lunch. This isn't the stuff.”

    And that one was "Aspergillus Niger.”

    Then we moved on to Penicillium, and that didn't do it either.

    Finally we hit a mold which, when disturbed, put me down for the count. And as I was dropping to the floor, I said, "THAT'S THE ONE.”

    Stachy, of course.

    Nothing like self testing when doctors refuse to help.

    No question about the results.

    -Erik (2006)

    *

    I have a woodbox in my MECU rig, to feed the fireplace.

    The wood is covered with Aspergillus.... Niger, probably.

    Doesn't seem to give me any trouble at all.

    -Erik (2008)

    *

    Amuzie CJ, Harkema JR, Pestka JJ. Tissue distribution and proinflammatory cytokine induction by the trichothecene deoxynivalenol in the mouse: comparison of nasal vs. oral exposure. Toxicology. 2008 Jun 3;248(1):39-44. PMID: 18433975


    Competitive direct ELISA revealed that, regardless of exposure route, DON concentrations in plasma, spleen, liver, lung and kidney were maximal within 15-30 min and declined by 75-90% after 120 min. However, plasma and tissue DON concentrations were 1.5-3 times higher following intranasal exposure as compared to oral exposure.

    In contrast, inductions of IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha mRNAs in nasally exposed mice were 2-10, 2-5 and 2-4 times greater, respectively, than those in the tissues of orally exposed mice.

    Taken together, these data suggest that DON was more toxic to the mouse when nasally exposed than when orally exposed, and that this might relate to greater tissue burden of the toxin.
  6. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

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    I can only speak from personal experience.

    For those who can't read the whole post, the conclusion is if you're allergic to or sensitive to mold, steer clear.

    For quite a while, I'd say about a year or more, I relied on Quantum Digest Complex to help me with every meal, and it was a necessary supplement for me; without it digestive symptoms became unbearably worse.

    One summer I spent two days in a rustic cabin out in the middle of nowhere that, as we later surmised, had a serious mold problem. While there I could no longer take the supplement; I cannot swallow capsules, and though I'd never had a problem with the taste before I was gagging and couldn't force it down. I figured it would resolve itself, or perhaps that one container had gone bad. I didn't worry too much about it.

    After I got home, I still couldn't tolerate it. It tasted like I was eating mold, and the little that I could force down gave me serious problems. I opened brand new bottles, certain that I had just accidentally got a modly one since I had never tasted mold in it before, but they were no better. Desperate, I had my caretaker call the manufacturer and report that the entire batch must have been moldy. That's when we learned that it was derived from aspergillus, but they assured us that the mold could not keep growing in the sealed bottles. When we insisted, they allowed us to ship one of our bottles back for testing, which came back as perfectly fine.

    Regardless, I was still desperate to be able to take the supplement again, so we started buying bottles from different batches, to see if there was one I could tolerate. All of them made me gag just from the smell, let alone the taste. Finally I decided that there was only one way to fine out if it was just an issue of taste: I forced down a capsule of it (which was very painful due to a swollen esophegus). The result was very, very bad. I don't remember all of what happened, but suffice to say I'll never be taking anything grown on aspergillus again.

    It was a real shame, because before I had been sensitized to mold it was extremely helpful, with no side effects at all. Again, with a single exposure to mold I went overnight from not tasting any mold at all and being jsut find to gagging on the overwhelming taste of mold in the product.

    So all that to say, if you find it helpful, then take it, but be careful. And try to avoid mold exposures. If you start to have problems with it, don't hesitate to stop, because no matter how difficult it is to live without it it's better than forcing your body to take something it has rejected.
  7. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    That's a really interesting story, Dainty.

    Best, Lisa
  8. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Dainty, that's a really interesting story an I was particularly interested that your mould sensitivity made you able to taste mould like that.
    Did you try giving a capsule to anyone else to see if they could taste it?

    I fairly often eat something and have to spit it out as it tastes like pure mould. Usuallly this is preserved meat like ham, or else rice or corn crackers which have a long shelf life, but it can be other foods too. The taste is so atrocious - like a mouthful of pure mould - that I have to spit out immediately, and I have twice done so in a restaurant. My husband is totally unable to taste the mould and will happily eat these foods saying he cannot understand what I am tasting.
  9. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    Yes -- thanks Lisa and Dainty, and all -- for the very helpful information. Frustrating of course too, as it once again points out how we'll all probably have to find different complex avenues, XMRV-positive or not, to resolving and recovering from ME/CFS.
  10. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

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    DPP-IV is made from aspergillus mold and I've been fine with it. I'm super sensitive to the smell of mold but haven't smelled it in these. This is a common supplement for autistic kids.
  11. alice1

    alice1 Senior Member

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    has anyone here tried aloe vera juice.
    i find it helps a great deal with digestion and helps my intestines.

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