Toxic Mold! A Growing, Hidden Health Risk
Chronic invisible illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), Fibromyalgia, autoimmune conditions, chronic Lyme & Company, and many more are on the rise!
While all of these conditions have a multitude of physiological, environmental, psychological, and spiritual stressors at play, one of the "BIG" environmental factors, of which can often remain hidden for years for many, is TOXIC MOLD!
Toxic mold exposure most definitely played a significant role in my long battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I did not become fully educated on the magnitude of this toxic insult, however, until after 15 years of continued exposure.
My Tox-Sick Mold Story In a Nutshell
I was a high school teacher for nearly two decades and the school building I spent 80% of this time had significant mold issues. The roofs were leaky, and each year, during the spring rainy season, custodians would place trash cans throughout the building to catch the water that would come in through the ceiling.
The carpet in the teachers' office area became saturated on several occasions and was left to "air dry." It was never properly cleaned or replaced. One time a very kind custodian that had been observing my health spiral downward over the years opened a heat vent in my classroom to show me mushroom-like fungal growths on the inside.
Her exact words to me were: "Maestra (which means female teacher in Spanish), this building is toxic, and the school district will continue to turn their heads! This is a battle that you will NOT win. You must get out to save your own life."
Crashing, Burning Out, and Walking Away!
After nearly 20 years of maintaining this high-demand career while also navigating severe and often disabling chronic health challenges, my body and mind finally collapsed, forcing me to walk away from a profession that I once had intention of retiring from at a ripe age.
At this time, my C4a level, which is a blood marker that is often used to monitor inflammatory conditions such as mold illness, was over 20,000. The normal range is 0-2830.
My MSH (melanocyte stimulating hormone) levels were non-existent whereas optimal levels are 35 and over. MSH is a master regulatory hormone involved in controlling inflammation, producing both melatonin and endorphins, and supporting the integrity of the gut lining.
Low levels of this hormone are associated with severe sleep issues, excess chronic pain and inflammation, depression, and an inability to heal the gut despite extensive efforts to do so -- all of which described me to a tee!
A Devastating Discovery!
After spending a year at home resting and focusing on detox, one would think I would have improved, right?
Nope! My C4a levels had jumped to 57,000, and my MSH had not budged!
I was getting sicker by the day. The fatigue, muscle pain, and brain fog were so intense most days that everyday life tasks such as showering, making a meal, or paying bills would often cause me to crash further.
I thought, "What the heck is going on!!? How can this be!? My house is safe, isn't it?, Do I have cancer? Am I dying? I must be!"
And, this is when we discovered that our attic, which we had not inspected since we moved in 16 years prior, was covered in toxic black mold!!
The reason for this was not because of an ongoing leak or previous water damage but rather inadequate ventilation that created the perfect ecosystem for moisture to build up and not find its way out.
So, here I had crashed and burned out of my teaching career to retreat into the "safety" of my home and focus on my health only to discover that my house was sabotaging all my efforts. ¡Uy Vay!
There are no words to describe the negative impact all this had on my psyche, my nervous system, my husband, our marriage, our bank account, and more.
It took a long while to get beyond the overwhelm, anger, frustration, discouragement, fear, and confusion -- and to make headway in my health.
But, I finally DID, and you can too if you're currently facing a similar situation.
Why Are Mold-Related Illnesses Becoming Increasingly Common?
While I feel there are many reasons for this, of which all can't be adequately explored in this article, I believe some of the BIGGEST hitters to be as follows:
Our society is on technological overload! We are all exposed to excessive levels of harmful EMF's (electromagnetic frequencies) and blue lights coming from tech devices; which is leading to cellular dysfunction. Furthermore, EMFs cause molds both inside and outside the body to produce up to 600x more mycotoxins.
Our food supply and growing soils are contaminated! GMO's, antibiotics, and pesticides are wreaking havoc on our guts. When gut health is compromised, so is the immune system. When the immune system goes down, it is not able to identify and remove toxins effectively.
Many homes are built with subpar building materials and improper ventilation systems, making them susceptible to developing mold issues. The remediation expert that we hired to help us with our issue told us that almost all homes have some level of toxic mold and up to 60% of homes have significant mold health risks; of which most are hidden in attics, behind walls, underneath the flooring, and inside of heating and air conditioning systems.
Most people in today’s fast-paced world have excessive levels of chronic, psychological distress, over stimulation, and lack of downtime to recover. Based on what I’ve learned in my own journey, I believe these factors are most often the initial triggers that lay the foundation for impaired cellular function in the first place.
All these factors together can trigger the genes of poor health to turn on and the genes of good health to turn off. These factors also lead to chronic activation of Cell Danger Response.
In Cell Danger Response, cells shift out of energy producing mode and into defense mode.
When in defense mode, all health-supporting bodily functions, such as detoxification, slow way down or come to a grinding halt — which makes detoxing encountered environmental toxins difficult or impossible for some.
Critical First Steps Towards Recovery!
Healing from mold illness is often a very involved process that requires a bio-individual approach. In light of this, it is not feasible to outline a comprehensive mold illness healing protocol in a blog article, but I can provide some preliminary action steps that I consider to be critical to recovery for everyone.
Here they are:
Action Step #1: Get away from the mold and remediate if possible! Upon discovery of the mold issue, I moved in with one of my brothers for two months during the remediation, construction, and clean-up process.
As part of this process, we got rid of all rugs, pillows, bedding, fabric furniture, and carpeting. We thoroughly cleaned every article of clothing, surface, nook, and cranny with an anti-fungal solution. We also invested in two High Tech Air Solution machines and placed one on each floor to rid the air of circulating mycotoxins. These air cleaners were a Godsend, and we still run them to this day for continued protection.
We did not, however, embrace the "radical mold avoidance" philosophy and toss out of all our belongings out of fear of cross-contamination -- even though according to testing I am considered a member of the "dreaded” HLA-DRA Haplotype for mold susceptibility club.
I think it's important to keep in mind that our genes are NOT our destiny! They are merely warehouses of genetic potential. Whether or not this genetic potential expresses itself, is 100% contingent upon many environmental inputs.
I knew that this mold issue, while HUGE, was only one of many factors that converged into the "Perfect Storm" that caused me to fall down the rabbit hill of chronic illness in the first place, and I chose to keep a level head about it all.
I feel the radical mold avoidance philosophy is very rooted in fear-based thinking and only serves to fuel an already overly engaged fight or flight response amidst the chronic illness journey. I certainly did not need the added stress of entertaining notions such as throwing out all of our worldly possessions, walking away from our home, trying to figure out how to build a metal house in the middle of a dessert, living in a tent, etc.
Don't get me wrong! There are situations in which a building is so mold-damaged that taking radical action like this is warranted, but we did not fall into this category. The mold issue in our home, while extensive, was not beyond the point of no return.
Action Step #2: Invest in quality air cleaners! If temporarily leaving your home and remediation is not feasible, then at the least, invest in air cleaners. The two I know most about and have worked for myself and others the best are Molekule and High Tech Air Solution machines. As stated in the first step, I own two High Tech Air Solution machines and would not be without them!
Action Step #3: Support mineral levels!. Minerals are a foundational component of cellular function and when the body is distressed they are depleted quickly, especially magnesium and trace minerals. For this reason, I used and recommend a 1/2 tsp of ConcenTrace by Trace Minerals mixed in 64 ounces of filtered water sipped throughout the day, 400 mgs of magnesium malate, and 200 mgs of magnesium glycinate per day.
Action Step #4: Open the exit doors! Amidst mold illness, the organs of detoxification get overburdened, which can lead to "traffic jams" in our detox pathways. To help keep "traffic" moving it critical to bring proper supports on board. One of my favorite products for this level of support and one that is often well-tolerated by even the most sensitive of people is the Comprehensive Homeopathic Detox Kit by Desbio. This kit provides effective and easy-to-take drainage support for all the major detox organs as well as the brain and central nervous system.
Action Step #5: Bring on the binders! An important aspect of mold illness recovery is making sure to mop up mold toxins in the body and support cellular integrity.
Here are a few of my favorite mold illness body support remedies:
MediClay-FX by Premier Research labs which 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; which crosses the blood-brain barrier and supports intracellular detox.
The Gift by Mother Earth Labs. This product is a blend of humic and fulvic acid. Both are integral at improving absorption of nutrients and helping to jumpstart the cells' natural detox functions
Action Step #6: Eat to reduce inflammation and mold levels! To heal from mold illness, one must remove all foods that fan the flames of inflammation and feed fungal overgrowth.
Because of this, I highly suggest eliminating all processed foods, sugar, grains, high starch foods, ALL foods in the fungus family, and artificial EVERYTHING. Focus on including the following:
Organic pastured animal products: beef, bison, veal, lamb buffalo, wild-caught seafood, poultry, and pastured eggs.
Low carbohydrate vegetables: broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, arugula, chard, cucumber, peppers, tomato (fresh only), onion, leek, asparagus, garlic, artichokes, etc.
Raw nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, and other low mold nuts. Note: peanuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, brazil nuts can often be high in molds and therefore best to avoid them until you are more stable.
Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, ghee, avocado, and organic butter
Beverages: filtered Water, non-fruity herbal teas, mineral water, and fresh veggie juice
Other: apple cider vinegar
#7: Reduce your EMF exposure! As mentioned earlier, toxic levels of electromagnetic frequencies coming from technological devices can cause molds both inside and outside the body to become more virulent and release up to 600x more mycotoxins. In light of this, it is a wise idea to take measures to reduce your exposure. Some initial measures to take in include: Shutting off WiFi at night, turning your smart phone to airplane mode when not in use, avoiding charging your smart phone (even in airplane) mode near your body at night while you sleep, keeping electronics off your body, and using a corded, hallow tube headset when talking on your smart phone.
Ok! So that is a wrap for this article. I hope it provided you with some useful knowledge and actionable steps that will help support and guide your recovery in some way!
If you are looking for a practitioner that can partner with you in your journey to recover from mold-related, invisible illness then I invite you to book an initial FREE consult using the button below.