Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
AKA Mould Illness, Biotoxin Illness, Sick Building Syndrome
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) is a multi-system, multi-symptom illness caused by inhaling the biotoxins and inflammagens produced by micro-organisms such as mould and bacteria in water-damaged buildings. When caused by a water-damaged building, CIRS is more commonly known as Mould/Biotoxin Illness.
In a water-damaged building, a phenomenon called amplification occurs whereby certain species of mould and other toxigenic microbial agents flourish and have the resources to produce significantly more biotoxins.
When these biotoxins and other microbial by-products are inhaled over time, genetically susceptible individuals can become ill with CIRS. Such individuals are highly reactive to damp/mouldy environments, similar to an allergic reaction.
While allergies to mould do exist, CIRS is not technically an allergic response, nor is it a fungal infection.
CIRS is instead characterised primarily by an overactive innate immune system. Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s response to pathogens and can be helpful in the short term, however when an individual’s immune system is able to detect but not remove biotoxins from the body, the body stays in an inflamed state that worsens over time and causes the chronic inflammatory response that CIRS is named for.
For more information about CIRS, including a great summary of the scientific evidence, please go to the
Toxic Mould Support Australia website.
Common CIRS Symptoms
The above table represents research by Dr Ritchie Shoemaker, who found that 35 common symptoms could be categorised into 13 clusters. His clinical research suggests that if an adult possesses eight or more clusters of symptoms, the likelihood of CIRS exceeds 95%.
The multitude and variety of symptoms is mostly due to the presence of the immune system throughout the entire body. In a healthy individual, biotoxins will be removed from the blood by the liver, broken down into harmless adducts and excreted. In those with a dysfunctional immune system, biotoxins can remain in the body indefinitely, continuing to trigger the innate immune system. This results in chaotic and ineffective inflammatory cascades, which only worsen with continuing exposure to water-damaged environments.
Want to know how many symptom clusters you possess?
Enter your details to get free access to the Symptom Cluster Analysis form
How Do I Know If It's Mould Illness/CIRS?
Unfortunately there is no one test that provides a diagnosis of CIRS/Mould Illness, but there is a step-by-step process that will provide clues:
1. Detailed history of symptoms and potential exposures
3. VCS test
4. HLA DQ/DR gene test
5. Various other blood markers like VIP, Leptin, Cortisol, Cholesterol, Metabolic markers
6. Mycotoxin urine analysis
7. Start treatment and monitor symptoms
Working With The Clinic
Kate has personal experience with CIRS, having been through two significant exposures and their associated health consequences in the last few years. Kate is trained in both the Shoemaker Protocol and Dr Crista's Naturopathic approach, and has completed the following mould/biotoxin practitioner trainings:
- Surviving Mold Proficiency Partners Certification (Dr Ritchie Shoemaker)
- Mold Training for Medical Practitioners (Dr Jill Crista)
- Mold Illness Made Simple Course (Dr Sandeep Gupta)
- Advanced Precision Mold Master Class (Beth O'Hara)
- Advanced Mold-Immune Course (Drs Margaret Christensen & Dr Gail Clayton)
Once the initial session of a client case review has been completed, functional testing can be ordered via RN Labs and/or NutriPath (or NutriSearch if in NZ) and relevant blood tests can be ordered via your GP or privately via NutriPath. Practitioner-grade supplements can then be onboarded to reduce inflammation, calm down an overactive immune system, optimize gut function and support detox pathways/remove mould.
CIRS specific testing available:
- HLA DQ/DR test for mould sensitivity
- Mycotox urine analysis (RealTime or Great Plains)
- Mould/Biotoxin markers (eg C4a, MMP-9, MSH, VEGF, TGF-b1)
- Blood biomarkers (eg VIP, Leptin, ADH, ACTH, Cortisol, AGA, ACLA)
- Indicators of inflammation/Dysfunction (eg Metabolic panel, CBC, Cholesterol, Vit D&B12, Iron Panel, CRP)
CIRS specific supplements available:
- Detox pathway supports eg KL Support, LymphActiv, TUDCA
- Binders eg GI Detox, MycoPul, ToxaPrevent, UltraBinder, BioToxin Binder