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Chronic Fatigue & Mycotoxins - Is There A Connection?

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also called myalgic encephalitis (ME) is characterized by extreme fatigue of unspecified origin. 

Common symptoms include: 

  • fatigue 

  • headaches 

  • flu-like symptoms 

  • cognitive complaints

  • myalgia (muscle pain) 

  • arthalgia (joint pain) 

  • gastrointenstinal discomfort 

Although CFS/ME has been widely studied, the origin of this syndrome has been difficult to pinpoint, and consequently, treatment has been widely unsuccessful. The body of literature on mycotoxins and mycotoxin producing molds however, continues to grow, and with that, so do studies. 

What's the latest on CFS/ME & Mycotoxin studies?

In a study of CFS patients, urine specimens were collected and tested for the presence of mycotoxins. Testing revealed the presence of at least one mycotoxin in the urine of 93% of patients [1].

Another study mentions hypersensitivity to mold and dampness to be correlated with CFS/ME and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). The study also acknowledges that mold hypersensitivity may act as a risk factor for CFS/ME. For example, the event of a trigger such as a vaccination (which contain hefty immune-stimulants) could potentially trigger CFS/ME in mold hypersensitive individuals, although the triggers are not entirely clear and requires further study [2].

This final study illuminates the reality of genetic suceptibility to mold and it's link in the development of chronic inflammatory disease and response syndromes. A case report of a  previously healthy 25 year old male with new-onset refractory ulcerative colitis and chronic fatigue syndrome tested positive for mycotoxins in a urine panel. Genetic testing showed genetic predisposition to mold illness and chronic inflammatory responses. In the end, he was able to reverse his symptoms, completely come off his medications, and return to work after a patient-centered approach to care in which he eliminated biotoxin (mold) exposures and corrected imbalances [3].

Hope for the Future

Surely this is an area worth further exploration. Given the evidence currently available, those with chronic fatigue or myalgic encephalitis may benefit from exploring mycotoxicity as a potential root cause with their trusted care provider.  



1. Brewer, J. H., Thrasher, J. D., Straus, D. C., Madison, R. A., & Hooper, D. (2013). Detection of mycotoxins in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Toxins, 5(4), 605–617. 

2. Tuuminen, T., Jääskeläinen, T., Vaali, K., & Polo, O. (2019). Dampness and mold hypersensitivity syndrome and vaccination as risk factors for chronic fatigue syndrome. Autoimmunity Reviews, 18(1), 107–108. 

3. Gunn, S. R., Gunn, G. G., & Mueller, F. W. (2016). Reversal of Refractory Ulcerative Colitis and Severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms Arising from Immune Disturbance in an HLA-DR/DQ Genetically Susceptible Individual with Multiple Biotoxin Exposures. The American Journal Of Case Reports, 17, 320–325. 


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