Dr. Joe Tatta: Welcome back to the Healing Pain Summit. I’m your host, Dr. Joe Tatta. It’s great to be here with you. On this interview. I have Dr. Ann Shippy. She is a physician who creates extraordinary wellness using cutting edge science testing methods and the latest genetic research to determine the root cause of your health problems. She has a thriving functional medicine practice in Austin, Texas. She has a blueprint to create the world’s health solutions for those suffering from any combination of physical, environmental, genetic, and individualized health problems. As a humanitarian and founder of two health-based foundations, she’s on a tireless mission to create a world of wellness where every life matters. She’s also a functional medicine practitioner and a mold and toxicity expert, which is why I want to invite her onto the summit this year. So sit back, relax and enjoy this interview with Dr. Ann Shippy. Dr. Ann Shippy, welcome to the Healing Pain Summit 2.0 it’s a pleasure to have you on this year.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Oh, I’m so excited to be here. I know you’re on a mission to really get this information out to people that really need it.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Thank you. So I have to confess on my first summit, which was last year, about a year ago, um, I did not have, I did not cover the topic of toxicity and I got probably two emails about people saying you have to cover toxicity. I had, I had major toxicity problems and mold issues and other things in my home that I had to deal with. And once I did my health got better. So I took, you know, probably about six months to search the globe for the best toxicity and mold expert and I found you so, so welcome. It’s a pleasure to have you here and I think it’s probably a good place to start about you maybe telling us something about your story around, around your mold experience and how that affected your health.
Dr. Ann Shippy: I’d love to share that because I think when we experience things in our own body, it, um, it, it’s, it’s the best teacher. I learned a lot from my patients, but I’ve learned a lot from how my body responds to things. So I was in a really bad space about six or seven years ago where I was all of a sudden having really severe pain in my arm, my right arm. And um, I wasn’t sure what was going on. I was, I had already been practicing functional medicine for a few years, you know, where we look for the root cause of what’s causing symptoms. But I was so scared that I, um, you know, I went to the allopathic model to just to see what was going on. So I went to see a hand specialist and a neurologist and internist, all the people that I really respected in my community and even outside my community.
Dr. Ann Shippy: And nobody could tell me what was wrong. There wasn’t anything that really fit at like a pinched nerve or anything like that. And so then, um, it turned out that I had had a slow leak in my house that wasn’t obvious. And then finally we had a torrential down down four and we could see a little spot on one of the walls. So it had been slowly leaking between the walls, not enough to actually get the paint wet. So what I, what I learned from that is that um, two things, one is that you can get really, really sick. I mean I was in so much pain, I could hardly even stand for my children to be close to my arm, um, and my arm had gotten very weak. Um, so to see how, how the body has such amazing resiliency to heal when you find the root cause. And for me in this particular situation, my body had probably become toxic over the years from my or my career as a chemical engineer and then having amalgam fillings and even wants a tuna fish and all the different things that we do to get environmental buildup. And that’s probably part of what made me susceptible to getting very, very ill from being exposed to toxic mold.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Right. So for people who didn’t read your full bio on the, on the website and stair, obviously people can visit your website as well as your, your bio is on the healing pain summit homepage. Before you became a physician, you are an IBM engineer.
Dr. Ann Shippy: I was, this is my second a second career.
Dr. Joe Tatta: And how, how do you think that career affected your toxicity load, so to speak?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Well, I worked, I was a chemical engineer, so I was in the manufacturing areas and even though IBM is great, and actually one of the projects that I’m most proud of is, uh, being able to switch a M I ran a team that switched out of the chlorofluorocarbon, which is a very toxic, um, uh, chemical. Um, so IBM is very, very responsible and all of that. But just being in a manufacturing environment, you get exposed to fumes. Then that kind of things that can go into your body through your lungs and through your skin.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So I just, you know, let’s back up for just a moment. So you talked about visiting a couple of different specialists. And what I hear from people with chronic pain all the time is that I still go, I saw my internist, I saw my orthopedic doctor, I saw neurologist, I saw our rheumatologists, you know, you named the therapist. They’d gone through all the therapists, I guess. What was it like and what was it, what was the feedback you were getting from the, the allopathic community, which has a certain approach which we need at certain times, but obviously can use some people with unanswered questions around their health.
Dr. Ann Shippy: It was very scary because I, you know, even as a physician and knowing experts, nobody could really tell me what was going on. Even my functional medicine friends, because at that time I had gone to a conference by the, uh, it was an environmental health conference about a year before on toxic mold. But that was the only time I’d even heard about toxic mold. And I still didn’t know a lot about it. So even the more integrative practitioners are still just learning about toxic mold. And part of that’s because we’re finally having the technology that we need to be able to, um, verify that that’s PR, that it’s present and if that’s part of the problem.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Hmm. Interesting. So what kind of ways does the body become toxic in the, in the world we live in today?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yeah. So we don’t even think about it most of the time. So, um, anything that touches our body can go into our body. So things that we breathe, our food and whatever beverages we’re drinking, as well as what we put on our skin. So some people have the capacity to really zip, uh, toxins through very effectively, or at least some of them. Um, so the example that I would give would be, you know, some people can smoke for 60 years. I’m not even really get wrinkles, much less the heart disease, lung disease, and, um, the cancer associated this. So some people will have a much better, um, capacity to do that. Um, [inaudible] but we, you know, anything that’s that we’re putting into our bodies or into our homes. So even things like, um, you know, getting a new mattress, new mattress, this can out gas, new furniture, new paint, um, new car. So one of the, one of the great things about what I get to do with my patients is that we can actually test per chemical levels. Now we can test for quite a few of them, including the mold toxins, but, um, lots of pesticides and solvents and heavy metals and those kinds of things. So we can get an assessment of what the total body burden is.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Hmm. So you mentioned a couple of things that you said. Some people can kind of handle it or get rid of it. Well, what, what does that really mean on a, I don’t want to get too, um, technical as far as the physiology goes, but what, how does our body get rid of toxins like mold?
Dr. Ann Shippy: It’s actually a pretty complicated process that we’re, we’re still learning a lot about. In fact, I, um, the geek side of me, I’m building a very detailed spreadsheet on every data point that I can find on people to really understand that connection between the genetics of the detoxification genes, what the person’s nutritional status is, how they met the weight, and then, um, the other environmental toxins that we’re seeing. Because I think a lot of these toxins are very synergistic. So a little bit of one and a little bit of another can be a huge amount of one on one talks. And so they kind of amplify each other. But that answer your question.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Yeah, it does, I believe. Yeah, it does. Thank you. Um, so you, you obviously are a mold expert. You’ve had experience with it personally as well as now you’ve been treating patients for years with it. What, what, when should someone suspect they have a mold problem either in their home
Dr. Ann Shippy: yeah.
Dr. Joe Tatta: At work or in their body, so to speak.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yeah, so that’s a really important question because a lot of times it’s not obvious. Um, it’s often a hidden problem. Um, [inaudible] so some of it’s based on symptoms and there’s actually a hope. This is okay to mention there’s actually a quiz on my website or an assessment that people can go through to kind of think about this more deeply than we can do today. But, um, it’s kind of a, it can be just one symptom for some people. So like I know you’re really directed towards the pain issues, but the other things that I often see are things like fatigue and losing your hair and brain fog. Um, uh, feeling like you don’t handle heat and cold as well. So some autonomic dysfunction. So it’s kind of a, a collection of symptoms and different people have different symptoms. So, um, so if you’re having this collection of symptoms that you really want to get to the root cause of it, it’s really good to go ahead and, and start looking into toxicity in general and especially toxic mold.
Dr. Ann Shippy: And then what a lot of people don’t realize is that you’ve got about 24 to 48 hours after water Lake to correct the problem. Otherwise, it’s highly likely in those climates that there’s going to be some hidden malt. So if you’ve had any of those kinds of leaks where you know, I briefly can be thought, Oh, it’s just going to dry out or a toilet overflowing. Those kinds of things. There may actually be mold in those areas. And then I want to be careful to say, don’t just go open up the wall. It’s fair because these are some of these toxins that mold makes are so toxic. They’re used for biological warfare. So when you go in and open up a wall on your own, you may be getting a big exposure to yourself and your family. So, um, it’s super important to hire experts that really get the health implications.
Dr. Ann Shippy: There are a lot of different, um, companies out there, but it’s super important to do the research and find somebody who really understands how important, um, that has to be careful with themselves. And with your, your building, it gets a little bit more tricky when you’re suspecting a school or a workplace. I’ve had ’em I’ve had patients have to, uh, uh, change schools or jobs because it can be very difficult to make changes in an organization to get things cleaning up because that’s, that’s the first thing I recommend for people is to get into a clean environment. Okay.
Dr. Joe Tatta: And that’s when they talk about what’s called toxic building syndrome. Is that correct?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Exactly, yeah.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Um, so you mentioned that the mold releases toxins. Those are the airborne, are they sitting on top of surfaces like your kitchen counter or your living room floor? Um, how does that work? Do we have to, if the walls are closed, if the mold is sitting behind the walls, it’s somehow still being released into your environment.
Dr. Ann Shippy: It is. What people don’t realize is that our walls breathe. So there’s circulation of the air conditioning or heating system. There’s, there’s, um, when that comes up against the building. So those little bitty particles, which are actually the ones that are most toxic because they enter right in through our, our skin and through our lungs so easily because they’re so small. So it can be in the air and it can also be in the dust. So it’s, um, both sources of, um, exposure. Just sometimes you can smell a musty smell and sometimes you can’t. Those are different chemicals that the mold makes are the ones that make that odor. But for sure if you’ve got that kind of a musty odor anywhere in your, um, a building that you spend time in that it’s worthwhile investigating.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Yeah. And what’s so interesting to me is that, you know, I’ve been in hotels, let’s say, where some people are like, Oh, this hotel is great. Other people are saying, Oh, this hotel is full of mold. It’s disgusting. [inaudible] peop different people’s sensitive to, and it can do, different people have kind of like a radar or an antenna to mold in their environment.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Definitely. Some of us are more sensitive and then some of us, it just takes a while to learn. Like I know I had lived in and worked in buildings that had had water damage before I got sick and I, my barrel just hadn’t filled up, so it hadn’t affected me. So, so there’s, um, yeah, so what I, what I’ve concluded about mold and other environmental toxins is that it’s just a bell shaped curve. Some people get sick quickly and severely very quickly and then others, it, it takes a while to, to get us. But once we realized that, um, that those warning signs, uh, so maybe a little bit of a headache or feeling more tired, um, itchy skin, any of those, whatever the particular person’s kind of, I think about as a thermometer, a little warning, warning sign. So, um, as soon as we have one of those symptoms, it’s good to take action and get a cleaner place to be. Okay.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So if someone is interested in, in, you know, looking into their exposure to, to mold, what kind of tests do you run as a physician in your practice? Obviously not everyone can come see you, but if they have to communicate with their own physician, what kind of tests should they be asking for as far as you know, toxicity?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yes. Um, well, the first thing I’d recommend is, um, uh, if you, if you have the resources to work with a functional medicine practitioner who has some experience in mold, there is a website, functional medicine.org where you can actually find practitioners if that’s not an option for you, if there’s not somebody in your area or the finances or, um, not there to do it. Um, there’s, uh, some, some information in a little, um, book that I have on, uh, that’s a Kindle book on Amazon that goes in, in a lot of detail, but there are a couple of testing companies that I think are really good and there’s also some information on my website. So to check your own body, there’s, um, there are four different mycotoxins that we can test for, um, that, uh, go through a company cultural time lab. If it’s positive, it’s helpful. If it’s negative, it doesn’t mean anything because you can’t check for all of them yet.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Um, if you’re still suspicious, then you probably need to go ahead and check the, the, um, environment that you’re concerned about. And, um, there’s a whole big movement in this arena on, um, better testing because the testing that’s being done by most mold inspectors misses the problem most of the time. So the plate testing that you, you know, you can get for $50, $100, and you put it out yourself, don’t even waste your time with that because most of the really toxic molds that we’re most worried about don’t send out very many spores. So the likelihood of catching them on a little plate is low. And then a lot of the inspectors are using a little air pump where they collect air. And again, since these sensory, we’re looking for mold spores and not the toxins themselves, it will often miss them because they’re just not proliferating and spores to, um, just show it at the time.
Dr. Ann Shippy: So what I’m recommending that people do is actually a DNA test on a dust. It’s a using PCR, so that actually shows the different types of mold that are in the environment. Um, and then there’s also another test that can check for four different mycotoxins, the same ones that we can check on the human body through realtime lab. [inaudible]. So that’s been the most effective. And it’s, it’s nice when we can see the whole picture, right? We can see the toxins in that person’s body and then we can see it, you know, where it came from in the environment.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Mm, interesting. Cause I know you can go to home Depot these days and they sell a little, you know, home toxicity mold kits. But you’re saying those aren’t really effective for kind of the, the ones that are really in the, in your environment that could be causing a problem.
Dr. Ann Shippy: If they’re positive, they’re helpful, but it misses a lot of the problems. Any mold inspector that you talk to will tell you, they can put those, they can have a whole wall full of this will mold. They could put one of those plates out or the air pump out. You have the negative test. So we really have to use this newer technology to really under, um, understand the problem.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So once you discover this as a problem in someone’s body and they’re in their home in their life, how do you go about getting rid of this? Obviously other than opening up your walls and drawing them out and redoing them. What else has to happen, you know, on a functional medicine scale?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yeah. So I’d probably like to get back to basics because a lot of times just by having a low inflammatory diet, um, and that’s actually part of the, um, the gift is to see what I recommend as far as the low inflammatory diet and a lot of detail on what I think is helpful for cleansing from the supplement standpoint. So we want to, we want to be building the foundation in, um, in our bodies to, to have all the nutrients that we need to really run our biochemistry and physiology and to be able to detoxify. And there’s so much that we can do with the, just a really clean, super healthy diets that’s most important thing. Um, and then getting in as clean of an environment as we can. So, you know, sometimes that’s really challenging for people cause they’re, you know, stuck in a lease or um, you know, don’t have the resources to, to do the construction.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Cause often this isn’t handled by insurance. So, you know, sometimes it’s even pretty dire straits, like going and living with family or friends until they tell you you can get better and to deal with your and belonging. So, um, yeah, the foundational things are clean place and clean diet, uh, lots and lots of nutrients to run, run all these pathways and try to get the level down in the body and also to get the immune system down. So calm down. So one of the things that I think actually causes the pain syndrome and what I see in people in actually checking more in depth than their labs is, um, you know, I just see such high and find the Tory markers. So, um, taking the supplements and things that help to calm down the immune system can be super helpful as stop gap measures to really to get the pain under control.
Dr. Joe Tatta: And what are the top two to three inflammatory markers that you might see in someone and other than diarrhea, which, you know, obviously everyone, everyone’s talking about in the summit as far as, you know, nutrition goes, what key supplements might use either to bring inflammation down or to help with detoxification of, you know, someone’s,
Dr. Ann Shippy: yeah. So on the markers for inflammation there five that I really like to look at. So mine is a high sensitivity CRP and other one is a TGF beta one, a C for a illiquid per oxidase and an HR eight hydroxy two Oxy guanosine. So if you take that list to your doctor and they know what those things are, that’s a good sign that you’ve found the right person. Cause usually they’ll only rec recognize one or two of those. And then, um, from a supplement standpoint for, um, helping the immune system to settle down, one of my favorites is a proteolytic enzymes. Um, so it’s kind of like eating food, so it’s not like you can just take one pill or you end up having to take a fair amount of them to really get results. So, um, the brand that I use most often, I don’t know, I’m, I allowed to talk about brands.
Dr. Ann Shippy: We’ve got it on our website, but it says signage and brand, uh, called protein design. And um, that’s one of the things that really, really helped me to get through. And I think also in addition to reducing the inflammation, it helps to reduce scar tissue and really help with healing. And then I think probably most people listening to your summit, I’ve heard about tumeric or curcumin, there are some pharmaceutical grade controlled release forms that are awesome and can really, really help with pain. And then some fish oil. Oh and magnesium. Okay. I’m up to four. Magnesium turns out to be deficient and a lot people that, um, have these inflammatory syndromes and magnesium is a really important cofactor for helping a lot of these enzymes and things to work to, to get the healing done. So, okay. That’s fair.
Dr. Joe Tatta: All right, we can go on. So, so once someone starts to implement some of these changes into their life, their obviously their environment and then in their body, how fast can they start to expect to see relief?
Dr. Ann Shippy: You know, that’s been one of the really fascinating things of this journey over the last, um, 11 years doing functional medicine. I never know the answer to that. So I had a patient recently that, um, in our first session she had some symptoms that I thought, I don’t know this could be mold, but I, you know, I just mentioned it to her in passing. Well, and then she was supposed to go away for a month and do testing, but she went home, tucked her husband and um, they remembered that they had had a leak and they got people in fixed it. And I didn’t see her back for about three months instead of one month. And she’s like, yeah, I’m 95% better. And we hadn’t really even done other, you know, I’d given her a couple of supplements and some dietary changes and she got rid of the mall.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Then she went from everybody in her life thinking she was crazy and um, you know, it didn’t really understand what she was going through to totally well with very little help. And that’s why I think some of these things I’m like just changing the diet, doing the supplement and getting going on yourself can be very effective. Other people, what I’m finding is that they have more complicated, um, genetics. And so it really, I find that I have to go in and really, you know, uh, do some work with 23 and me or much more detailed, uh, genetic profiles and really understand where their little, um, detoxification clutches are either with methylation or some of the liver enzymes or, um, uh, what’s called phase two polymorphisms. So we really have to know more why they’ve gotten predisposed in the first place and go after those answers. So it can be fairly quickly. Like for me, just getting out of the moldy environment and getting started with the, um, with a few supplements, uh, cause I was already on a super clean diet. I started having dramatic improvement within a couple of weeks.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Excellent. So I know in addition to your clinical practice, which is in Austin, Texas, you’re working on a number of things. You have a great, beautiful website, but tell us about some of the other larger kind of more mission-based products that you have around this, this topic that you’re, you’re, you know, going forward.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yeah. So I really, um, I, I actually went through a little bit of a funk this past week with, uh, just a bunch of patients coming back with over the top toxicity and then realizing that, um, uh, some, some of what we seeing this last week was really fun, the food supply. So, um, you know, part of what I’m doing is collecting the information and putting it into a format that hopefully we can, um, inspire change. And, and, um, and I think it’s got to be grassroots up. It’s gotta be the consumers really saying, you know, this is what we want and you know, if you’re going to spray, um, fumigate our almonds, we want to know that they’re fumigated, so they need to be labeled, things like that. Um, so working on the research and then the information that can inspire change. So nonprofits coming to, to work on the, um, on getting to change the food in schools so that our kids can actually have access to food that is really delicious and, um, it’s healthy for them. And then also to do this, we really need broad scale research to better understand this link between genetics, nutritional status and toxicity.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Hmm. And it’s important in our children, cause obviously toxicity is the kind of thing that can build up over time. So if we’re feeding our children subpar nutrition when they’re three, four, or five years old, we’re probably setting up a generation to have some problems.
Dr. Ann Shippy: And I, and I think that’s what we’re seeing with the, um, with the add and autism rates going up so high. And what’s really disturbing is that it’s even happening in utero. So when the mom is toxic, or even from a genetic standpoint, if the genes had been altered by environmental toxins, it can also be, um, a contribution from dad. So we really need to be even having the conversation pre pregnancy. And then definitely during the pregnancy as well as, as thereafter. So yeah, we, we need to start being, having a better awareness even earlier.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Yeah. Oh, that’s really interesting. And it’s not something that people have talked about on the summit, but are you doing any kind of work around women who are interested in this topic as far as prenatal healthcare setting, setting their body up for a good environment before they obviously get pregnant and give birth?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yes. So the cleanse, that’s part of the gift package is what I recommend for my patients that are planning to get pregnant if both the man and the woman will do that. And then we, um, we can see, you know, we do tests before pregnancy and then, or you know, be, uh, when they come to see me and then before they start to get pregnant, um, to see that the toxins have come down. So that’s a big, a big mission for me is to, it to share what I wish I had known before I had my boys.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Right. So if someone has lived, let’s say in a moldy or worked in a moldy environment, that’s probably something you want to check out before you venture on your path to having children basically.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Absolutely. There’s, um, there’s a lot in the literature that the, um, the mold toxins are
so they can cause birth defects and then also, uh, miscarriages. And, um, so that’s in the literature. And then I’ve also seen that in, in my practice, patients come in and, you know, they’re wanting to get pregnant and have had multiple miscarriages. Often we can find that they’re in a moldy environment. So, and you know, one of the things I haven’t really addressed is that we’ve changed the technology for how our buildings are built so much in the last 30 years. And, um, there’s in thought to how energy-wise we are, but not to how toxicity wise. So there’s a whole big movement to really, um, do another revision on, on how homes are built and maintained so that we can void the problem in the first.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Okay. So added the a hundred million people who struggled with chronic pain. There’s probably more than that in our country. Probably about half of them have some kind of autoimmune related issue, whether it’s diagnosed or undiagnosed, it’s probably greater than 50 million people. Those numbers are growing. Um, we’ve heard a lot about gluten and um, gut permeability. Leaky gut. Could a mycotoxin, could a mold be the trigger that starts someone’s autoimmune cascade or autoimmune disease?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Absolutely. So, and often I see them combined. So the thing that triggered the gluten sensitive with some type of toxicity. So there’s a study even, uh, some studies looking at glyphosate, which is the, uh, chemical and Roundup triggering the genes that a lot of us have that caused gluten sensitivity. But those genes can be triggered by mold toxins as well as [inaudible]. Um, other types of toxins. And, um, we, um, I see a huge link with autoimmunity and enrolled. So it’s an important thing to look at because often if we can find the root cause, you know, what’s really triggering the immune system to be confused, we can see those autoimmune markers go away. That’s another story I can share with you because I had that in the, even before the mold, uh, experiences, I got to experience having two autoimmune disorders and um, learn how to get rid of them.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So you had autoimmune issues before the most or before your arm pain starts, so to speak. Yeah.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Uh, actually that was about four years before my mold mold trauma. But again, it was, I learned so much from that and now I can home the space for my patients that, um, that you can totally heal from this and there’s, it’s not if you want to get better, there is hope and we keep putting the pieces of the puzzle together until you’re well, so I’d love, I love what you’re doing, Joe, where you’re really bringing these pieces of the puzzle together to increase awareness. So that really gives people hope that they can be well.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Yeah. Thank you. And that’s why I wanted to have you on the show cause I think the mold and toxicity issue is not something that people talk about when it comes to pain. Specifically. It comes up a lot around digestive issues and maybe brain issues and other things, but with pain, not so much. So it’s been a real pleasure having you on dr Ann Shippy. You’re a wealth of knowledge. I know you personally as well as professionally, which is, which is wonderful, but can you tell our listeners and our viewers how they can learn more about you and you have a great gift that you mentioned a couple of times, but where can they really find the best information about you?
Dr. Ann Shippy: So my website is Shippy, md.com S H I P P Y M d.com. And we’re, we’re on a mission to continue to, um, make information available on the website. So there’s a lot more coming in the next few months to improve, um, increase the inflammation on some of these solutions and making people aware of, of how they can get well. So.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Excellent. So I want to thank Dr. Ann Shippy for being on the healing pain summit this year and giving us a really great overview of moles and toxicity and how it can affect your health and your body. And how it can help you get on a path to healing from your pain. Um, as with every interview you have an opportunity to help her. Please click the like button. You can shut us out on Facebook or Twitter, so your friends and family will have no exposure, not only to Dr. Ann Shippy, but also the entire summit and all the speakers. And don’t forget to check out the healing pain support group, which I created for all of you this year. Special. That’s a private Facebook group and we hope to see you in there. D.r Ann Shippy will be in there soon and we’ll see you next time on the Healing Pain Summit.