Mold/ Biotoxin Illness: The Simple Home Test To Know If It Effects You

I see a lot of threads continually asking the same questions over and over - and people worrying if they have mold exposures or sensitivity and not knowing how to test for sure. This has to stop  :shock:


 


There is one simple way that Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker established through research to know if this is a problem for you - and it takes 10 minutes on your computer - everyone worrying about this should just do that screen test. If it comes back Positive, you can investigate more, if it comes back Negative, move on to investigate other issues. But please stop wasting your time worrying about it with no data to back up your concerns.


 


The test is called The Visual Contrast Sensitivity test or VCS Test and uses the fact that mold toxins interfere with neurons making it difficult for you to see specific contrasts. If you fail the test, you are unable to see contrast where it exists. You will just see a blank grey blur.


 


You can take the test here: VCStest.com


 


This is how I, and many others, originally validated that we had biotoxin / mold illness and had been exposed and had the genetics required. Since then I have spent $1000s on additional biotoxin labs, genetics, MRI scans (NeuroQuant) and all have re-validated the result of this one 10 minute home test.


 


If you think about it, that's pretty amazing. It's the highest impact test I ever took to get a reading on, diagnose and start to take actions to improve my health. The test is also mentioned in a recent Bulletproof radio episode on Biotoxin Illness.


 


When I did the test in early 2013 I got a score of 43 and couldn't see most of the contrast, you need a score of 80 to be healthy normal - anything under 80 is suspect and you will be advised to contact a Shoemaker certified physician for further screening (which involves $$ and time). Today my VCS scores are 95+, after treatment. I'm actually way above average now for this screen as the test also reflects other toxins and nutritional status (based on other research), and my detoxification work and nutrition work has paid off over time.


 


Take the test. Post your result in this thread, and ask questions if you have them here. I'll check in from time to time to answer them. 


 


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Comments

  • Thanks for reminding me about this. I scored an 89 but I accidentally hit the wrong answer a couple times. 

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  • WalterWalter ✭✭✭

    Interesting, I scored 81 total score, 35 indicator score.


  • Walter, that's cutting it pretty close. I'd get retested in a few days.


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  • Hi Damien


     


    I just got 71% for my left eye and 60% for my right eye.  Where should I go from here?  I'm a college student, and while time and money are scarce, I will invest both into visiting a Shoemaker certified physician if it will fix this visual acuity problem.  What can expect from a Shoemaker physician in terms of cost, time frame, and tests?  Is this primarily a mold problem?  Are there other major factors that you know of?  


     


    Thanks for posting this.  It's hard to know where to start. These cheap and simple tests are great.


  • Hi Noodlz,


     


    There is some clear assessment giving you information on Biotoxin Illness below the graph for moldness, and some other output related to other factors.


     


    Copy and paste it here if you aren't sure.


     


    If it says 'positive' for Biotoxin Illness that's when you should consider checking out a Shoemaker physician. It sounds like you do, but to be sure - check those.


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  • Star ChaserStar Chaser Powered by Shred
    I just did the test and the results came back all negative with high 80%s in both eyes. I'll retest again a few times but I'm pretty confident it won't change much.


    The interesting thing about my case is that I know I'm exposed to mold daily. My work place is built on a swamp and has water damage pretty much every spring. As I'm writing this there are big wet patches coming up through the carpet.


    I have my 23andme results and I'm wondering if anyone has related specific genes to mold sensitivity? Just out of curiosity it would be interesting to see if I have any of them or if I truly am immune.

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  • So did the test and says I'm toxic.  I have seen the black mold on our window sills when cleaning.  How do I start cleaning up the house?  Bleach everything, toss the mattresses, and get air purifiers going?  No obvious water problems in our house, so I suspect it is just a humidity thing.


  • Thanks for the links, 48 inches seemed kinda far, even so I scored 47 / 13


    I might be dying ;)


    I've got some labs pending but I really don't think it's mold...
  • I have the same question as C-Cup...how to clean up the house?  I live in Florida where it is very humid.


  • WalterWalter ✭✭✭


    Interesting, I scored 81 total score, 35 indicator score.




     


    Got 89 and 37 today. 

  • I scored an 88 in January and retested in April after a lot of detoxing only to score an 85. I was way too close to the screen the first time, so maybe it is not a fair comparison. I can barely touch my computer to take the test now that I am sitting per instructions. I think it is better to sit slightly closer and be consistant the whole test, than to move back and forth and risk not sitting in the same spot throughout the test.


  •   No obvious water problems in our house, so I suspect it is just a humidity thing.




     


    Water damage is very often not obvious. 


     


    RE: Cleaning up houses is very difficult. I suggest you read Dr. Shoemaker's books, watch Dave's talk on mold on youtube for some more details.


     


    Your next stop before you do anything is to do the ERMI test on your house to see how bad it is. If you have visible black mold, it is likely to come back very bad.


     


    Shoemaker would recommend you just move out of the house to get away from the mold.

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  • edited May 2015
    Damien


    Not so sure this eye test is the end all be all for determining if someone has an issue. I am an indoor air quality consultant and have been in the nastiest places your mind can envision. I started noticing that when I would go in a place my throat would tighten. Then it progressed to muscle pain that felt like I was hit by a bus. Today I went in a home that had flooded (didn't know it before hand) and I have spent the rest of the day in bed feeling like my whole body is shutting down.


    I know I have significant exposure and that it impacts me.

    I just took the test and scored a 97%. Above the healthy range with no indication of exposure. Perhaps I messed it up but being that we all can have subtle differences in our reactions I would hesitate to say that if this test is negative that you need to move on. (And no I do not have data. Only exposure to hundreds of the nastiest places and my progressively worse reactions to being in moldy places)
  • This test isn't 100% - there are some false negatives noted in the research, but it was lower than 10% as I remember and often related to people with occupations that led to better eyesight (e.g. tennis player, etc).


     


    If you are really concerned you can move to the next step - getting the blood labs done. Look up a *certified* shoemaker practitioner to go through that process. I emphasize certified, because the labs are not the most common so there are few physicians with experience with them.


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  • The science behind why that works is so interesting.


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  • Damien - excellent post. I came back with high likelihood of mycotoxins based on lab results from Shoemaker's Differential Diagnosis testing.  I need to do the VCS test to verify. Per Doctors orders, I've started treatment. It's inspiring to read about your recovery. Can you share more on your treatment and timeframe for recovery?


     


  • A bit confused about this test. My results are:


    Biotoxins_test_results.png

    Which is supposed to be pretty good (all at or above 82%)?

     

    But then it goes on to say:


    Biotoxins_test_results_1.png


     

    So am I good or is this cause for concern?

  • Modern Life SurvivalistModern Life Survivalist Saturated Fat Truther ✭✭


    I see a lot of threads continually asking the same questions over and over - and people worrying if they have mold exposures or sensitivity and not knowing how to test for sure. This has to stop  :shock:


     


    There is one simple way that Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker established through research to know if this is a problem for you - and it takes 10 minutes on your computer - everyone worrying about this should just do that screen test. If it comes back Positive, you can investigate more, if it comes back Negative, move on to investigate other issues. But please stop wasting your time worrying about it with no data to back up your concerns.


     


     




     


    I disagree with this comment 100%. Even Dr. Shoemaker himself (I paid to talk to him) said that a negative result on the VCS test could be attributed to just having excellent skill at looking at lines (pilots/athletes/people who are good at visual puzzles/video games). It is a way to determine if you have mold toxicity, but it is not a way to determine if you don't have it, kind of like a pregnancy test (which generates way more false negatives and rarely ever a false positive).


    In my opinion, as a mold sufferer, the best way to tell if you are having problems with mold in your house is to spend a whole day outside (more if you can find a safe place to spend the night), and come back to your house and see how you feel. You will also probably start to notice the smell of mold in your house when you come back (because you have probably become noseblind to it). Also, you can go into places you know have mold (old wet houses, the Subway, etc.) and see how you feel. Or you can sniff and see how you react to certain moldy foods, like hard cheeses. 


    Beyond that, there are several symptoms associated with mold toxicity that you need to look out for. Most people have muscle weakness/fatigue first and foremost. But then many others report brain fog, cold limbs, heart arrhythmia/palpitations, trouble breathing, and digestive issues (often overlooked, but my personal worst symptom that represents the core of the problem). 

  • Modern Life SurvivalistModern Life Survivalist Saturated Fat Truther ✭✭


    I just did the test and the results came back all negative with high 80%s in both eyes. I'll retest again a few times but I'm pretty confident it won't change much.


    The interesting thing about my case is that I know I'm exposed to mold daily. My work place is built on a swamp and has water damage pretty much every spring. As I'm writing this there are big wet patches coming up through the carpet.


    I have my 23andme results and I'm wondering if anyone has related specific genes to mold sensitivity? Just out of curiosity it would be interesting to see if I have any of them or if I truly am immune.




     


    Check your ALDH2. Mine is shot. That is the most relevant gene for the processing of mold toxins (acetaldehyde specifically). There are tons of other relevant ones, but this is the one that is most important. Methylation (MTHFR) probably plays a role as well.


    You might very well not be very sensitive to mold. This genetic variation (of susceptibility) only occurs in 24%, but in the remaining population, certain types of molds will always be bad (especially stachybotrys). But people without the defect either don't notice it or they recover much faster once they get away from it.


    I write about this stuff all the time on my blog (probably not enough, though considering). 



  • I disagree with this comment 100%. Even Dr. Shoemaker himself (I paid to talk to him) said that a negative result on the VCS test could be attributed to just having excellent skill at looking at lines (pilots/athletes/people who are good at visual puzzles/video games). It is a way to determine if you have mold toxicity, but it is not a way to determine if you don't have it, kind of like a pregnancy test (which generates way more false negatives and rarely ever a false positive).




     


    That's a strong statement - it's a very useful screening tool that works for the vast majority of people who take it.


     


    You're right about the caveat for excellent visual acuity. Shoemaker was more stringent about what excellent visual skill was than puzzles and video games in his DVD training for physicians - perhaps that has changed recently (?) - he referred to professional athletes playing tennis and other exceptional visual development scenarios).


     


    The VCS test is part of the Shoemaker protocol that all patients go through - anyone who is thinking about mold should take it. 


     


    As feedback for you - just with my personal experience the 'get out of house for a day' experiment would fail. Often mold exposures last for several days in terms of spikes of symptoms - so that would mask a day out of the house. Also, often people have multifactorial issues where it comes to mold - like me - there were times where I was sick regardless of being in pristine environments and outside due to additional other non-mold factors. 

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  • Modern Life SurvivalistModern Life Survivalist Saturated Fat Truther ✭✭
    edited April 2016


    That's a strong statement - it's a very useful screening tool that works for the vast majority of people who take it.


     


    You're right about the caveat for excellent visual acuity. Shoemaker was more stringent about what excellent visual skill was than puzzles and video games in his DVD training for physicians - perhaps that has changed recently (?) - he referred to professional athletes playing tennis and other exceptional visual development scenarios).


     


    The VCS test is part of the Shoemaker protocol that all patients go through - anyone who is thinking about mold should take it. 


     


    As feedback for you - just with my personal experience the 'get out of house for a day' experiment would fail. Often mold exposures last for several days in terms of spikes of symptoms - so that would mask a day out of the house. Also, often people have multifactorial issues where it comes to mold - like me - there were times where I was sick regardless of being in pristine environments and outside due to additional other non-mold factors. 




     


    Certain video games replicate if not surpass the difficulty of athletics and piloting (at least visually) these days. I wouldn't discount this as a valid statement.


    I have not met a single person living in mold who hasn't felt better after a day of being away from their house, gone back home, and then felt bad. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this suggestion. I have no idea why you would question such a logical approach.



  • Check your ALDH2. Mine is shot. That is the most relevant gene for the processing of mold toxins (acetaldehyde specifically). There are tons of other relevant ones, but this is the one that is most important. Methylation (MTHFR) probably plays a role as well.


    You might very well not be very sensitive to mold. This genetic variation (of susceptibility) only occurs in 24%, but in the remaining population, certain types of molds will always be bad (especially stachybotrys). But people without the defect either don't notice it or they recover much faster once they get away from it.


    I write about this stuff all the time on my blog (probably not enough, though considering).

  • HLA-DR tests can indicate genetic susceptibility to certain biotoxins. http://biotoxinjourney.com/areyoumoldy/ has an excellent explanation of the specific halotypes indicative of mold, Chronic Lyme, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, MARCoNS, etc. She overviews the VCS test & which rows are indicative of biotoxins, etc. There is a lot of valuable content on this site, though I'm excited to check out the blogs from people here.
  • I also wanted to add that just being exposed to mold does not mean one will get biotoxin illness. Only those with the specific genetic markers are susceptible... susceptible being the key word. A big part of biohacking is epigenetics. Genes can be turned "on", and they can also be turned "off". So one with genetic markers usually needs some type of strong stressor to turn "on" the genes. Something like a major illness, accident, chronic stressful events, etc. This is one reason why spending a bunch of money on genetic testing might not be that helpful, other than as Damien mentioned, to verify what you've already discovered with VCS testing.


    The other aspect about mold is that the mold itself is not toxic. Thete are certain types of mold that release mycotoxins into the air. This is why indoor mold (as opposed to outdoor mold) can be so damaging, given the way homes are built now so insulated. Plus the molds mixing with certain building materials makes things worse. And of course as mentioned, one must have the genetic markers, & have them activated, in order to susceptible to the biotoxins released. So just having mold in the house does not necessarily mean it's a type that releases mycotoxins or that one is susceptible to it. One can have allergies to mold, but that is not the same as getting ill from the mycotoxins.


    I do suspect that issues with detox pathways are involved & could possibly be what stresses the body enough to turn the other genes "on". The detox pathways should be addressed before starting any protocols to remove biotoxins, to reduce the likelihood of retoxing.
  • Hi.. i did the VCS Test yesterday,and heres my results.
    left eye.total score..26/45(58%) Biotoxins score...10/18(56%)
    right eye.total score..26/45(58%) Biotoxins score...11/18(61%)
    Positive..
    The only reason i done this test is because my GP refuses to do a mold test on me..we found mold in our bathroom last year wall and ceiling..no ventilation at all,so when showering its like walking into a sauna....Ive had multiple test done to try and diagnose me..all coming back negative.My main symptom..Severe Brain Fog...(feeling drunk and fuzzy headed)lightheaded continuous...6 months now and still nothing..This has cost me my job now..i just NEED a prognosis so we can treat and start moving forward..i have a wife and four girls who depend on me.Please if you have any suggestions or comments or answers to what is happening to me.please feel free to comment away!!!!

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