Mold Illness Is On The Rise!
Mold-related health challenges, which are caused by the mycotoxins produced by molds, are becoming more and more prevalent.
What Are Molds?
Molds are fungi that grow in food and both indoor and outdoor environments. They flourish in warm, damp, and humid conditions, but they can survive in harsh, dry environments also.
Common indoor molds are Aspergillus, Alternaria, Cladosporium, and Penicillium. Aspergillus is a common food-borne and environmental mold that is known to cause chronic respiratory problems, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, and chronic cough.
The molds listed above can produce mycotoxins, which are the chemical byproducts of mold that can cause toxic effects. For example, Aspergillus mold species produce Aflatoxins which are incredibly toxic and can damage the liver, mitochondria, and immune system; leaving a person vulnerable to degenerative disease states, including cancer.
A less common, but extremely hazardous mold is Stachybotrys Chartarum. This black-greenish mold is most commonly found in water damaged or poorly vented buildings and produces a variety of very toxic mycotoxins called Trichothecenes, which are detrimental to the brain and nervous system.
What Are Some Health Issues Linked to Mycotoxicity?
While there are a multitude of health issues that can arise as a result of mold toxicity and these issues will vary from person to person, some of the most common are:
Digestive distress and bowel changes
Inability to heal the gut despite considerable efforts to so
Fatigue / Flu-like malaise
Immune Suppression or over-reactivity leading to autoimmunity
Chronic Sinus Congestion
Muscle and Joint Pain
Mycotoxicity can often be a leading factor involved in invisible chronic conditions such as but not limited to Fibromyalgia, Autoimmunity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Lyme Disease, and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS).
Common Food Sources of Molds That Can Produce Mycotoxins
Mold-related health challenges most often arise from ongoing environmental or food-borne exposure. It can also occur for some, however, from a substantial acute exposure and then not being able to detox the mycotoxins from the body adequately.
Foods that are most notorious for containing mold, even if not overtly visible are:
Grains (corn, wheat, rice, quinoa, etc.)
Eggs from chickens fed a grain-based diet
Fruit (such as bananas, grapes, citrus (the peel), and dried fruit)
Meats from grain-fed animals
Beer and Wine
Mold-Illness Linked To Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome!
Some unlucky people, like myself, have an impaired ability to detox mycotoxins from their bodies and thus are at risk for developing a condition known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).
This is a multi-symptom, multi-system illness set in motion by exposure to biotoxins, or neurotoxins produced from a biological source such as mold or pathogenic, stealth microbes such as Chronic Lyme and Company.
The word "company" refers to the viruses, parasites, mycoplasma, bacteria and other stealth microbes that often accompany Chronic Lyme. As stated earlier, Chronic Lyme and Mold Illness often go hand-in-hand.
CIRS was undoubtedly a significant factor for me in my long battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Lyme -- although it did not enter my radar until after more than a decade of being sick.
How To Find Out If Mold Toxicity Is An Issue For You?
If you suspect mycotoxins are an issue for you, then I suggest a mycotoxin urine panel either through Vibrant Wellness labs or Great Plains Laboratories. I use both of these within my online Functional Health practice, Empowered Health.
One thing to keep in mind with these panels, however, is that if one's detox pathways are severely compromised, then these labs do run the risk of false negative results.
For this reason, it can be necessary to take agents that promote detoxification such as glutathione and doing some sauna therapy for a week prior to collecting. That said, for those that are severely compromised and highly sensitive, this may not be a viable option for risk of triggering an overwhelming inflammatory cascade.
I also have to mention that mainstream medicine is simply not well-versed in chronic mold illness and therefore are likely to dismiss it.
This is where it becomes wise to work alongside a skilled, functional practitioner that understands the nuances involved in mold illness and has knowledge of how to properly address it.
Why Is Mold Illness Becoming More Common?
While I feel there is a multitude of reasons for this, of which can't be entirely explored in one article, both my journey with CIRS and my work with clients have shown me that the biggest hitters are the following:
#1: Homes and buildings not built correctly nor with the high enough quality of building materials; making them vulnerable to mold overgrowth. This issue is compounded by a lack of knowledge of mold-illness; which then often leads to mold not being discovered or improperly remediated.
#2: In today's technological-driven world, we are all exposed to excessive levels of harmful EMF's (electromagnetic frequencies) and blue light. These toxic insults damage mitochondria and weaken the immune and central nervous systems; creating perfect conditions for the body to not be able to adequately detox mycotoxins. Furthermore, EMF's are known to increase the virulence factor of mold and other opportunistic microbes and cause them to produce significantly more biotoxins.
#3: GMO's, antibiotics, and herbicides such as glyphosate in the food supply! These three factors are HUGE gut wreckers. When the gut goes down, so does the immune system! When the immune system goes down, it can no longer optimally identify and eradicate stealth, pathogenic invaders such as mycotoxins.
#4: Chronic, psychological distress, over stimulation, and lack of downtime. I believe these three factors often set the stage for reduced cellular function in the first place. When we continuously have to deal with significant levels of stress, our bodies and minds do not ever fully recover, of which then often becomes a trigger for chronic activation of Cell Danger Response.
In Cell Danger Response, the mitochondria (which are the energy powerhouses of cells) shift from energy-producing mode to defense mode.
When in defense mode, all health-supporting bodily functions, such as detoxification, hormone production, neurotransmitter synthesis, digestion, and more, slow way down or perhaps come to a grinding halt.
Where Does Recovery From Mold Illness Begin?
Recovery from mold illness is a complex process of which must begin with removing the source of mold exposure. After this step, then it is time to assist the body to detox the mycotoxins and heal the damage that was incurred.
While this process must be customized for each person's needs, a common factor is the necessity to bind mycotoxins so that they can be ushered out of the body instead of recirculating and fueling the inflammatory cascade.
Here are a few of my favorite mycotoxin-binding supports:
MediClay-FX by Premier Research Labs; which is whole-body detoxifying agent as is superb at mopping up both mycotoxins and metals. It also helps to heal leaky gut.
Toxaprevent by Nouveau Health; which is also a mycotoxin and metal binder but it is also fabulous at helping to soak up excess histamine and healing the gut lining.
Cytodetox by Revelation Health. This product crosses the blood-brain barrier and supports intracellular detox.
BIND by Systemic Formulas. This formula provides biotoxin and heavy metal binding matrices such as activated carbon and purified humates to support natural toxin elimination.
The Gift from Mother Earth Labs. This formula is a blend of humic and fulvic acids; both of which are integral at improving absorption of nutrients and helping to jumpstart the cell's natural detox functions.
Dr. Shultze's Detox Tea, which is a combination of several herbs that help to open pathways of detoxification by supporting liver, kidney, and digestive function; all of which are integral to mold illness recovery.
These binders and detoxification supports may or may not be right for you. For this reason, it’s always best to work in tandem with a qualified practitioner.
If you suspect mold illness and are needing or wanting to run the appropriate labs and receive expert guidance on your healing journey, then I encourage you to book in initial FREE consult at the link below.
Resources and Additional Reading:
Occurrence, Toxicity, and Analysis of Major Mycotoxins in Food: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5486318/
Chronic Illness Associated with Mold and Mycotoxins: Is Naso-Sinus Fungal Biofilm the Culprit?https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3920250/
Mycotoxins and human disease: a largely ignored global health issue: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2802673/
Mycotoxin: Its Impact on Gut Health and Microbiota: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5834427/