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what is C4A?

Discussion in 'Diagnostic Guidelines and Laboratory Testing' started by sarahg, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. sarahg

    sarahg Admin Assistant

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    I was wondering if anyone here could explain this to me. My doctor did today, but I was already detox-ish from my IV and it mostly slipped out of my head.
    It was done because I had all the crazy fancy lyme tests and they were inconclusive. ( I could look up the paperwork and elaborate if needed) He said it could be high because of lyme, as the tests could have been done when the lyme was mostly hiding...but it could also be high because of my multitude of viral infections, and therefore have nothing to do with my having or not having lyme.
    if it matters the reference range was 0-2830
    my result- 18548

    (which if you ask me sounds like a zip code!)

    so what is it?
  2. InvertedTree

    InvertedTree Senior Member

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    C4a

    Here's an article that discusses C4a.

    Mine was high also. :(
  3. sarahg

    sarahg Admin Assistant

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    Thank you much, Inverted tree

    that cleared up some of my questions
    I think I have a few more but my brain is not in articulation mode
  4. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    twitpic.com/photos/SlayaDragon
    C4a

    C4a is a measurement of a particular kind of complement.

    Complement is a part of the innate immune system. It identifies substances that the body doesn't want to let in.

    Complement can help to remove such foreign substances itself. It also can alert other parts of the system to come help to remove the substance.

    Anaphylactic reactions (such as ones that people get to peanuts, bee stings or latex) are complement spikes.

    To my knowledge, the only thing that makes C4a rise is mycotoxins exposures (poisons made by mold).

    C3a is a less specific measure. It can rise as a result of Lyme infections, mold exposures and other biotoxins.

    A very high C4a like the one that you describe suggests that you're getting exposure to more mold than your body can handle.

    Unfortunately, CFS sufferers often are not able to handle very much mold poison exposures without being affected.

    So just because C4a is high doesn't mean that your house is the worst one on the planet. It may be that it's just moderately bad or even that you're living in a place with a lot of toxic mold in the outside air.

    Still, looking into whether your home has a toxic mold problem might be a good idea with those numbers.

    Insofar as you're getting a lot of mold exposure, other treatments will not work as well.

    *

    Okay, I read the referenced article.

    This article states that C4a is often raised in patients with chronic Lyme disease. I suspect that's true, because many patients with chronic Lyme also have mold problems.

    The LLMD here states that patients who are treated for Lyme and still have C4a elevations tend not to experience neurological improvements.

    Again, this is consistent with what I said above. If a patient is getting a lot of mold exposure, treating Lyme (as well as other pathogens) is not going to be very successful.

    It's my understanding that Dr. Shoemaker is in agreement with all of this.

    Of course, LLMD's tend to translate everything into Lyme issues because that's their specialty. Dr. Shoemaker, who put the work into developing the C3a and C4a tests, does not agree with that.

    His book "Mold Warriors" explains why.


    Lisa
  5. sarahg

    sarahg Admin Assistant

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    Thanks slayadragon that does clear some stuff up. I've been meaning to buy the mold warriors book for so long, I can't get it through interlibrary loan and that bugs me!

    I do have mold sensitivity problems, I went to an elementary school that was filled with toxic mold and doused with chemicals to hide it (without informing people til years and multimillion dollar renovations later) I was sick all the time...infections allergies etc. A lot of people were and the few that I still know all have endocrine disorders!

    I have had mold problems in a few places I have lived while sick, this place is one of the better ones but it's not great, a 160 year old farmhouse with a stone foundation in a flood plain! Until a few weeks ago I couldn't really even say there was any mold problem as my mom was planning to sell this house and it would have been crazy to publicly say there is mold when it is in such small ammounts as to effect no one other than me. But now she is not selling it and I can say whatever I want! The biggest problem here is really other houses in the neighborhood, including one that is abandoned due to flooding, so really I have no choice but to move and I can't move! So I keep putting off dealing with the mold issue because I do not have the means to avoid it, but I know I must find a way to eventually or all that I am doing will be for nothing. But I need to start learning more about what I can do WHILE I am still here.


    Do you know if the complement spikes that cause anaphylactic reactions are the same type of complement or a different one? Are people with high levels of C4A more prone to these reactions? I don't know if these are questions anyone can answer but I am curious now. One of the things that happens to me with mold exposure is that my tonsils swell to unimaginable sizes (when I was little and in the toxic school my doctor used to laugh and call them "kissing tonsils" but never figured out it was happening because I spent all day breathing in black mold!)


    Just last week my rather oblivious mother brought a table into this house that she had had in the garage of her ex's house and then piled boxes around it. I did not inspect the table. I got sooooo sick for a few days, insane headaches sore throats swollen tonsils, sneezing, coughing, increased muscle pain, and feeling like I got hit by a bus. It took me about four days to actually look at the table and realize it was COVERED in mold! COVERED! It is out of the house and the area cleaned as best as possible and air filtered... but my mom has been staying here for a few weeks and I don't know how long it will be before she realizes what it is going to take to live with me and not have both of us driven insane.
  6. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Raleigh, NC
    C4A is intriguing in chronic fatigue syndrome. Its it's one of the few substances that have been associated with postexertional malaise - it goes up following exercise in CFS patients but not healthy controls.

    Transcriptional control of complement activation in an exercise model of chronic fatigue syndrome.
    Sorensen B, Jones JF, Vernon SD, Rajeevan MS.
    Mol Med. 2009 Jan-Feb;15(1-2):34-42. Epub 2008 Nov 10.
    PMID: 19015737 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
    Related articlesFree article

    2.
    Complement activation in a model of chronic fatigue syndrome.
    Sorensen B, Streib JE, Strand M, Make B, Giclas PC, Fleshner M, Jones JF.
    J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Aug;112(2):397-403.
    PMID: 12897748 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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  7. SDD1244

    SDD1244 Guest

  8. mlccc2

    mlccc2

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    Very high c4a level

    Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. My C4a is over 71,000 and I must admit, I feel lousy. At one point is was at 28,000 and within three weeks jumped to over 71k. I'm a 43 yrs old male, thin, don't drink or smoke (boring, I know) generally in good health. I'm was on Doxycycline and several other herbal drugs but had to go off of them temporarily not due to a rash but from acquiring bumps on my shoulders and back. Symptoms include brain fog, constant aching head pain, scalp sensitivity, loss of feeling in hands and face, erratic blood pressure including passing out, sweating, hearing loss, hands being constantly cold, etc. Has anyone had success and been able to get their c4a level down and once again, lead a normal life?
  9. Tristen

    Tristen Senior Member

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    My experience with C4 doesn't match up with any of the info here. Both my C3 & C4 are normal and these labs were done during a PEM flare. I do have mold sensitivity and have been diagnosed with Lyme (although the results were marginal). Regardless, an elevated C4 does not appear to be a certainty with these conditions.

    My C3 & C4 was done as part of an autoimmune panel. I believe C4 elevations are also found in many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as Lupus, RA, Sjogrens, etc.
  10. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, Tristen.

    No, this is not the same test. When complement is activated, the C3 or C4 splits into two parts, the a and b parts. The b part binds to the toxin or bacteria, and the a part remains soluble and can be detected. So finding an elevated a part tells you that complement is activated, in response to something. Just having normal levels of C3 or C4 does not tell you about complement activation.

    Best regards,

    Rich
  11. Tristen

    Tristen Senior Member

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    Northern Ca. USA

    Thanks Rich, you caught me while editing, but I'm glad to get your response on the difference with the tests. So is the C4A then specific to those conditions? And is the test available through specialty labs?
  12. Tristen

    Tristen Senior Member

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    nvm, I searched and found that the test is widely available, even with Lapcorp. My GP is an LLMD and she may even have already done the test. Now I'm curious.
  13. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, Tristen.

    Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has focused on C4a more than any other doc I'm aware of. Scott Forsgren summarized his Biotoxin Illness seminar here:

    http://betterhealthguy.com/joomla/blog/251-biotoxin-illness-conference-2011

    His latest book, Surviving Mold, also discusses this. He finds elevated C4a in both mold illness and Lyme. He recommends using the Quest Diagnostics labs. I don't know if it's present in other conditions, also.

    Dr. Shoemaker also has some websites. One is www.survivingmold.com. Another is www.biotoxin.info, and another is www.chronicneurotoxins.com.

    Best regards,

    Rich
  14. Tristen

    Tristen Senior Member

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    Thanks Rich
  15. mlccc2

    mlccc2

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    Rich- I was told by two doctors that while Quest Diagnostics may be the leader, it isn't for C4a or Lyme testing. The place to have the blood sent to is the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. If you do any research online on Quest and Lyme, their is just too high of a margin of errors. When your as sick as I am with a family that counts on you financially, you don't have time for errors. I have never been so sick in my life and at times over the last two years would rather die, as the neurological problems are overpowering. I've become a more spiritual person, and just ask my higher power while lying in bed crying trying to fall asleep to release some of the pain, as no one wants to live in constant discomfort.
  16. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, mlcc2.

    I'm very sorry to hear about the agony you are going through.

    At the Biotoxin Illness seminar in Santa Rosa, CA, last month, Dr. Shoemaker recommended Quest for C4a testing, using RIA analysis, and his website shows that change since August. I think I recall him saying that National Jewish is no longer running this analysis for outside clients, but I could be mistaken about that. Maybe that's on the video of the seminar. I know that he was very definite about not using LabCorp for this analysis.

    Best regards,

    Rich
  17. mlccc2

    mlccc2

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    Rich-

    Spoke to my physician's assistant today as I had to inquire about Dr. Shoemakers notes from the conference. I found out that it can be drawn at either facility but prefers to have it pulled at his establishment and sent to Denver. Doctor is treating me for Stage 3 Lyme but after reading your attached article it leans more toward mold. My C3a is within range and my C4a is over 71,000. I have a strong feeling he's treating me for the wrong issue. Do you or anyone in this blog know if we have a Dr. Shoemaker in or close to California? Is the mold treatment book "Surviving Mold" easy to understand and follow as far as the protocol for someone like myself without a medical degree? Thanks!
  18. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, miccc2.

    I can't refer people to physicians for liability reasons, but I can give you this information: The Shoemaker Biotoxin Illness seminar was sponsored by Gordon Medical Associates in Santa Rosa, and several of the physicians there do use his protocol. The book Surviving Mold is pretty easy to read. I would say it's better written than Mold Warriors, and it also contains the new discoveries Dr. Shoemaker has made since publication of this earlier book. I do think it is important to be working with a physician who is knowledgeable about this protocol if you are going to try it. And prescriptions are required for the treatments Dr. Shoemaker recommends.

    Best regards,

    Rich
  19. mlccc2

    mlccc2

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    Rich-

    Thanks for the info. I'll have to do some more research but I need to move rather quickly as my body is starting to hurt in areas it never hurt before.
  20. mlccc2

    mlccc2

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    Anyone have any idea why C4a blood test results fluctuate? Is C4a an indicator of Lyme disease or mold exposure?

    8-1-2011 19,097
    8-24-2011 73,350 (done twice in one month)
    9-21-2011 13,155
    12-7-2011 54,637

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