With an increasing number of people suffering from mold toxicity, the term is gaining more mainstream attention but there is still not enough information out there about it.
What is Mold Toxicity?
Mold toxicity occurs when someone is exposed to mold and its mycotoxins (the toxic chemicals that are present in mold spores) which can be inhaled or enter the body through the skin. Once mycotoxins have entered the body, mold toxicity can begin to develop.
This is because mold is able to feed on the moisture and warmth of the body and continue to grow and cause a wide range of systemic issues including:
- Anxiety/ depression
- Blurred vision
- Brain fog
- Memory loss (typically short-term)
- Chronic congestion or sinus infections
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain and/or joint pain
- Hormone deficiency
- Itchy/ red eyes
- Night sweats
- Temperature dysregulation
- Weight gain
Please note it is often the respiratory signs of mold toxicity that are recognized, but as the list above indicates, there is much more to this condition and it is important to be aware of the signs. Click here for a more in-depth list.
Combatting Mold Toxicity
Although anyone can suffer from mold toxicity, 25% of the population is particularly vulnerable due to a genetic predisposition that inhibits the clearance of biotoxins. Thus, it is beneficial to understand what lifestyle changes are necessary (in addition to working with a medical professional) in order to combat mold toxicity.
Address the Source
The first and arguably most critical step in your journey to health is addressing the source of the mold in your environment. Mold can develop due to a variety of reasons such as living in a humid climate, a leaky pipe, roof leaks, condensation around windows, and much more.
There are DIY mold test kits that are available including:
Mold plates: can be obtained from a local home improvement store and test the environment for mold. It is advised to put the plates in each room as well as problem areas such as under the sink.
ERMI (Environmental Relative Mold Index): a DNA test that indicates what molds have been present in dust. This can be done by using a cloth to collect dust in a few areas of the home to test. This test is more specific and accurate than mold plates, which simply just give a negative or positive reading.
Moisture and Humidity Meter: will not be able to determine if mold is present but it will show if the moisture and humidity levels are the right conditions for mold growth. Less than 50% humidity in each room is preferred while drywall should test between 5-12% for mold-free conditions.
Alternatively, seeking professional help from an indoor environmental specialist who is knowledgeable about the effects of mold on sensitive populations and is qualified to test for the presence of mold can be extremely helpful.
It is likely that your trusted medical professional will recommend binders as a part of your treatment protocol. Binders “bind” to the mycotoxins and other toxins in your body and help eliminate them from your system.
Cholestyramine, a prescription binder, works by binding to the acid bile in the intestines. Once it is attached to the bile acid, it can remove any of its toxins from the body.
There are also natural binders such as charcoal, which is a broad-spectrum binder that can bind and remove a variety of toxins but it can also remove some nutrients as well.
Talk to your doctor to find out which binders are best for you and your individual situation.
Support Detoxification Pathways
It is important to remember that combatting mold toxicity is essentially trying to rid the body of a specific toxin. Therefore, it is essential to support your body’s detoxification pathways during this process. This includes:
Staying hydrated (3.7 liters of fluids a day for men and 2.7 liters of fluids a day for women), Getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night Sweating regularly (through exercise or the use of saunas)
Learn more about daily detoxes practices to incorporate into your daily routine here
Be Mindful of Other Toxins in Your Life
When your body is already under stress due to combatting the mycotoxins, it is important to limit exposure to any other toxins. This means being aware of what ingredients are in your toiletry products (makeup, soaps, toothpaste, etc), limiting your use of plastics, minimizing your time in areas with poor air quality, checking the quality of your water, and more.
Learn about how to limit your exposure to environmental toxins
Address Potential Underlying Infections
Symptoms of mold toxicity can be worsened by an underlying infection such as Candida overgrowth or Lyme disease.
An underlying infection strains the immune system and often results in systemic inflammation, which compromises immune function if left unaddressed. Thus, an underlying infection combined with mold toxicity can significantly impact your quality of life and both should be addressed by an experienced doctor.
Mold toxicity is an incredibly difficult condition that requires a detailed and individualized treatment plan to successfully combat. If you feel you are suffering from mold toxicity but aren’t getting the help you need, contact Holtorf Medical Group today. Our team of expert doctors will not just treat your symptoms, they will address the root cause.