February 13, 2017 9:00 pm


My blog has been a little quiet lately because two years ago, doctors diagnosed me with chronic inflammatory response syndrome.

Fortunately, I am much better now. Therefore, I want to share what I have learned about this syndrome with you. Here is a detailed overview:

Uncovering Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome: My Personal Journey

Here is my story. See if any of it sounds familiar.

About two years ago, I moved house. On the first night, while sitting in the living room, I felt fatigued and wondered how I would live there. Additionally, I noticed a musty smell in one of the spare bedrooms. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there.

Soon after, I went from being productive to being unable to carry shopping bags, push a knife through a vegetable, or muster more than 5 minutes of energy per hour.

Moreover, my memory deteriorated significantly. If someone asked me what I had done that morning, I couldn’t recall a single detail. And finding my parked car became a daily challenge.

Furthermore, concentration became nearly impossible. I couldn’t read or write at length because I couldn’t remember what I had just read or written. I even forgot about food cooking on the stove!

Meanwhile, the musty smell in the spare bedroom grew stronger and stronger until I couldn’t enter the room without breaking out in a rash.

So, what caused all this chaos? Ultimately, it was mould, and specifically, chronic inflammatory response syndrome!

T-Cells and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome: Understanding the Root Cause

Chronic inflammatory response syndrome affects T-cells, not mast cells. T-cells respond more early in the immune process than mast cells.

In other words, when T-cells find something wrong, they release pro-inflammatory cytokines to fight it.

However, in some people with genetic issues, T-cells can’t complete their job because they lack the right gene instructions. Consequently, they continuously release cytokines, which damage receptors in the hypothalamus, causing chronic inflammatory response syndrome.

Therefore, T-cells keep trying to respond even when the biotoxins are gone. Without the right instructions, the immune system gets stuck.

Interestingly, Dr Theo Theoharides, a mast cell activation disorder expert, studied mould illness and found that mycotoxins cause inflammation in different ways, including through mast cells.

Diagnosing Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome: The 4-Step Process

Since being diagnosed with chronic inflammatory response syndrome, I have been struck by how many clients have it.  Here is a 4-step process to identifying it.

mold illness, chronic inflammatory response syndrome, symptoms, alison vickery, health, Australia

1. Do you Have The Symptoms

Chronic inflammatory response syndrome causes widespread symptoms across multiple systems.

The main symptoms include fatigue, memory issues, and concentration problems. However, it often leads to a cascade of symptoms.

Therefore, these symptoms can be grouped into clusters.

If you have just one or two symptoms, like fatigue or insomnia, it is unlikely to be chronic inflammatory response syndrome.

Instead, this condition usually involves symptoms from at least six clusters and commonly up to ten.

2. Have You Had Biotoxin Exposure?

Current or past exposure to biotoxins triggers chronic inflammatory response syndrome.

Usually, this exposure comes from a water-damaged building, but other sources include tick bites, contaminated water, contaminated fish, and spider bites.

Additionally, Lyme disease is a crucial trigger for the syndrome.

3. Do You Have the HLA DQ/DR Genes?

In 95% of chronic inflammatory response syndrome cases, the person has a genetic susceptibility in their HLA DQ/DR genes.

However, in 5% of cases, the HLA gene is not genetically susceptible. Nevertheless, if biotoxin levels are high enough, they can lower protective hormones and trigger an inflammatory response regardless.

Furthermore, approximately 25% of the population has this genetic susceptibility.

You cannot use 23andMe® to assess the syndrome. Instead, a simple blood test called the “celiac gene study” should be done by a doctor.

4. Have You Had An Inflammatory Event?

Even if a person has the HLA DQ/DR gene and is exposed to biotoxins, they may not develop chronic inflammatory response syndrome.

Typically, HLA-susceptible individuals experience a severe inflammatory event, such as glandular fever, viral infections, Lyme disease, surgery, or extreme stress, which activates their HLA genes.

For instance, I had severe adverse drug reactions while going through menopause, which reduced my protective hormones. 

Consequently, once activated, the HLA-susceptible individual can develop the syndrome when exposed to biotoxins.

Treating Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome: The 8-Step Process

If you meet the criteria for chronic inflammatory response syndrome, I recommend the following process:

1. Take The Vicual Contrast Sensitivity Test

While a positive visual contrast sensitivity test is not essential, it is a reliable predictor in most cases.
Additionally, it is a cheaper and simpler tool for monitoring progress than other testing methods. For example, my visual contrast test dramatically improved once I resolved all the water damage in my house.
If you get a negative result and still meet the criteria, it is important to continue ruling in or out chronic inflammatory response syndrome.

2. Take The Mould Illness Made Simple Course

The treatment protocol is complex. Additionally, we all live in unique environments that we must address ourselves.

One of the best things I did was take The Mold Illness Made Simple Course, which helped me understand in detail what I needed to do to restore health.

By the end, I felt empowered. Previously, I was fumbling around, not making progress because I was overwhelmed and spending a lot of time and money on things that were not helpful.

Fortunately, Dr. Sandeep Gupta, a world-leading expert on chronic inflammatory response syndrome, trained in the Shoemaker Protocol and a certified medical doctor, is the course lecturer.

He has offered a discount of 25% at Enter the code LOWHISTAMINE25

Butyrate, Energy, chronic inflammatory response syndrome, alison vickery, health, Australia

3. Get Into A Biotoxin Free Environment

Getting into a biotoxin-free environment is crucial for recovering from chronic inflammatory response syndrome.

Without this step, you won’t get well in the same environment where you got sick.

However, removing mould isn’t enough. The level of mould remediation needed is much more stringent. Additionally, specific steps are needed to stay in a mould-free environment.

Unfortunately, the mould remediation industry is unregulated, with many conflicting viewpoints. Some methods work well, others don’t do enough, and some exploit the situation.

Before taking the Mold Illness Made Simple Course, I tried this process. It was a nightmare—confusing and stressful. In hindsight, it would have been much easier if I had taken the course first.

treatment of mold illness, chronic inflammatory response syndrome, alison vickery, health, Australia

4. Hire A Mould Literate Doctor

Chronic inflammatory response syndrome requires specialised diagnosis, testing, and treatment protocols.

Therefore, it is vital to add someone with direct experience in treating it to your team. 

A doctor trained in the Shoemaker protocol, who has seen 300–500 patients, is much more effective than a practitioner who might only see one or two cases.

Additionally, some of my clients have found it easier to access a mould-literate doctor after completing the Mold Illness Made Simple Course, as many practitioners prequalify patients on their waiting lists.

5. Detoxify With Binders

Once in a safe environment, or sometimes even before, biotoxins can be eliminated using medication or supplements.

The Shoemaker Protocol focuses mainly on medication; however, natural alternatives are also available. Although these natural options take longer, they are highly effective.

Personally, I did not tolerate the medication and instead successfully detoxified mould using natural binders.

For those with chronic inflammatory response syndrome, dietary recommendations, such as a gluten-free or low- amylose diet, may also be suggested.

7. Test For Biotoxins

Once in a biotoxin-free environment, you must complete tests to determine the inflammatory markers and hormonal changes associated with chronic inflammatory response syndrome. 

These tests include:

  • Inflammatory markers for C4a, C3a, TGF-beta1, MMP-9, MSH, VIP, and/or VEGF
  • Adrenal fatigue test and hormonal markers
  • Nasal infections via a swab for MARCoNS
  • Brain swelling via a NeuroQuant® brain MRI
  • Gene changes via a Progene DX transcriptomic RNA test

7. Correct Hormonal, Inflammatory, and Genetic Changes

The final step of The Shoemaker Protocol involves correcting hormonal, inflammatory, and genetic changes associated with chronic inflammatory response syndrome. These are unique to each individual. 

8. Test for IgE Allergies

Since first writing this article, I discovered another crucial piece of my puzzle: an IgE allergy to mould.

Surprisingly, despite taking many courses on mould and working with mould-literate doctors, no one mentioned testing for a true mould allergy.

Idealy, if the individual mould can be identified, it is helpful to be desensitized to this mould.

In conclusion, to be effective, you need to follow a specific order for these steps. 
First and foremost, getting out of mould toxin exposure is essential and arguably the most crucial step in treating chronic inflammatory response syndrome. 
As you progress through each step, you’ll notice significant relief from symptoms. Finally, the later steps focus on reversing the damage and restoring your health from chronic inflammatory response syndrome.


True healing begins when you identify the root cause.

However, many of my clients struggle with the fact that a diagnosis of mast cell activation disorder or chronic fatigue syndrome does not pinpoint a clear root cause.

While a diagnosis can validate your symptoms, finding the root cause is empowering because it provides clues on optimising your health.

For example, by identifying biotoxins as a root cause and educating myself on chronic inflammatory response syndrome, I have dramatically improved. You can, too.

To learn more about using binders for chronic inflammatory response syndrome, read my blog post All About Binders and How to Use Them.

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