June 13, 2023

Mold 101 – All about Mold and Myctoxins

Molds are all around us.  They are present outside and indoors.  They thrive in moist, humid environments which allow for the mold to spread but are also prevalent in “dry” areas like the desert.  They able to survive in many different environments by forming a spore that is extremely resilient.  When the spore comes into contact with water and/or humidity mold can then grow and release its mycotoxin.  

Mycotoxins are what can cause some of us humans problems or symptoms.  Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by certain molds.  When molds feel threatened they release their toxin AKA mycotoxin as a defense mechanism.  

HOW DO MYCOTOXINS AFFECT THE BODY

Mold can get into our bodies through breathing, skin contact and through food.  If allowed, mold will happily colonize or take up residence in your sinuses and gut and produce internal mycotoxin release as the mold feels threatened by the hosts immune system.  

Mycotoxin illness can be from a one-time large exposure causing immediate and severe symptoms or cumulative, small dose exposure over time. 

DOESN’T OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM GET RID OF MYCOTOXINS NATURALLY? 

Our genetics play a role in how well we are able to get rid of mold that we come into contact with in our environments.  About 75% of people will be able to detoxify or get rid of mold once it has entered the body, and 25% of us will not.  

If the mold cannot be removed from the body the person may develop something called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or CIRS.  CIRS is basically as chronic immune activation that leads to inflammation and symptoms throughout the body.  So, even without further mold exposure the immune system is still firing due to the body not being able to effectively eliminate/detoxify from the mold exposure, past or present.  

SYMPTOMS OF MOLD TOXICITY:

As the mycotoxins are released, they interfere with vital cellular processes and compete with other beneficial host microbes, and are therefore energy depleting for the host.  Common symptoms wide and vast and can affect nearly every bodily system: 

  • Chronic sinusitis, shortness of breath, asthma
  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Food allergies, diarrhea, constipation, ulcers
  • Hay fever
  • Night sweats, temperature dysregulation
  • Frequent infections
  • Anxiety, depression
  • Insomnia, sleep disturbance
  • Dementia, brain fog, memory problems
  • Skin rash, hives
  • Itching
  • Chemical sensitivity, light sensitivity
  • Hormone imbalance, menstrual changes, mood swings
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Static shocks, ice pick sensations
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Nerve pain, numbness and tingling
  • Vertigo

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE MOLD TOXICITY?

Test!  Fortunately, there are many ways to test for mold toxicity.  First, a thorough history and symptom analysis is imperative.  

There are blood markers that can be done to look for CIRS:  VEGF, VIP, MSH, TGF BETA-1, MMP-9, C4a

My favorite is doing a urinary mycotoxin test.  The urinary mycotoxin test, when done correctly, tells you which mycotoxins are present leading to a targeted treatment approach.

HOW TO TREAT MOLD TOXICITY:

  1. The first step is to find the source and remove it.  Those that struggle with detoxifying from mold should not be living or working in a moldy environment.  
  2. Second, is to start to prepare the body for mold detoxification by supporting detox organs in the body – liver, kidneys, gut, gallbladder, lymph, lungs, and skin
  3. Make lifestyle changes that support detoxification and genetics.  Eating foods that help fight off mold in the body and reducing stress by supporting the limbic and nervous systems. 
  4. After the body is ready binders can be started that are targeted to the mycotoxins present in the body followed by antifungals to address any colonization.  

This is not a comprehensive protocol for treating mold toxicity by any means, but just a basic overview.  Treating mold toxicity is a very complex and personalized process, so it is important to work with a practitioner who has experience treating mycotoxin illness.  

If you or someone you know may be struggling with mold toxicity schedule a FREE consult here.  

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