The Role of A Toxic Environment In MCS, Mold Illness and EHS


Some people believe that these conditions are not solely due to the body’s reactions in and of themselves. But are due to the fact that we live in a more toxic environment containing many chemicals that can do us harm in large quantities.


However, if it was purely down to the chemicals themselves, then those specific same symptoms would be present in the population at epidemic levels.


Why do some people develop these conditions, and others who are exposed to the same chemical, do not?

It is because it is the “brain’s programing”, its “software program” if you like, which gets altered during a traumatic event. After that initial sensitizing event, that person’s brain will respond in a different way.

Mature woman sitting on a white sofa at home

Furthermore, it is likely that the more prone someone is to a hyper-aroused amygdala (e.g. history of anxiety, panic disorder etc), the more prone they are to developing a condition because the amygdala and insula are more sensitive to new threats.


My Amygdala and Insula Hypothesis For These Conditions

These Conditions are Neurological Disorders.

My hypothesis is that MCS, Mold Illness and EHS are neurological disorders caused by conditioned trauma in the amygdala and insula, involving similar pathways that are hypothesized in ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia. We call these types of conditions, "Neuro-Immune Conditioned Syndromes (NICS)".


A Genetic Disposition?

There is likely to be a genetic pre-disposition to developing these conditions, which may influence mechanisms that are described within this page, or maybe peripheral to them. However, our genes are not our destiny, as emphasized by the latest developments in epigenetics. Therefore a genetic predisposition does not necessarily mean a person cannot heal and improve.


What Are The Roles of The Amygdala and Insula?

The amygdala is responsible for detecting threats to the body, and initiating appropriate responses to mitigate those threats.

The insula modulates sensory experiences and information about the physiological state of the body.


During a particularly stressful period in someone’s life, the amygdala is on high alert responding to emotional and physical threats. If the level of alert of the amygdala is particularly high, and the person is exposed to a toxin at the same time, a conditioned trauma can occur in the amygdala in association with the insula.

This exposure may be a one-off exposure or a repeated exposure. (If there is repeated exposure, there is a theory called “kindling” which occurs in epilepsy, which might help explain how the neurological process itself works).


This Amygdala and Insula hypothesis serves as a potential unifying model for the various observations in patients. You can find out more here.



Ashok Gupta is the Director of the Gupta Program. He has dedicated his life to helping people get their life back from Chronic Illness, improving people’s well-being, and helping them achieve their potential. He has been teaching meditation around the world for over 15 years. He runs a global e-clinic specializing in treating ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia & Multiple Chemical Sensitivities –

Ashok has spent many years researching the brain neurology of emotion and linking well-being tools with science. He has published medical papers on the basis of stress-related illnesses. He has appeared in many media as an expert on stress on the BBC, CNN, Guardian Newspaper, ITV, The Independent, and many others.

He wrote and presented the Meaning of Life Experiment which is a Free, Award-winning Meditation and Self-Development App

He also works with companies around the world, teaching courses in Leadership, Time Management, and Personal Development.

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