Molds are fungi present in indoor and outdoor environments. Molds need moisture to survive, and they reproduce by making mold spores.
Mold spores are resilient and can survive under conditions in which mold cannot (ex: dry environments). Floating through indoor and outdoor air, when these spores land on a surface and come in contact with moisture, mold can start to grow.
Mycotoxins are the toxic chemicals present in spores and small fragments of mold and fungus that are released into the air. Mold is territorial- it produces toxins aka mycotoxins as a survival mechanism.
Mycotoxins can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or consumed through the digestion of mold-contaminated foods.
Mold that has colonized the body – specifically the gut and sinus cavity – can produce mycotoxins internally as well. Exposure to mold and mycotoxins can be short and severe, or it can be an accumulation of smaller exposures over a longer time period.
Genetics can play a large role in whether or not you may be affected long-term after exposure to mold, mold spores, and mycotoxins. About 75% of the population has an immune system that can get rid of mold toxins when exposure occurs. The other ~25% of the population cannot rid of the mold from their body.
Mold exposure that cannot be removed from the body causes Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). The body maintains activation of the immune system as mycotoxins continuously circulate, leading to chronic inflammation.
Think about when you cut your finger. Your immune system sounds the fire alarm. The appropriate “fighters” show up and your fingers heal within days. With CIRS, the fire alarm is constantly going off and no one is showing up, even if you aren’t currently being exposed to mold.
Weight Gain/Weight Loss Resistance
“Ice pick” pain
Abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea
Night Sweats, Temperature Dysregulation
Numbness and Tingling
Persistent Nerve Pain
Sinus problems, Asthma, shortness of breath
Light Sensitivity, red eyes, blurred vision
General: fatigue, irritability, frustration, short fuse, insomnia, night sweats, sugar cravings, poor depth perception, weight gain without dietary changes, weight loss due to malabsorption, muscle twitches, nose bleeds, hair loss
Neurologic: neuropathy, weakness, pain, transient numbness, dizziness, vertigo, brain fog, memory loss, decreased computational skills, lower executive function, ADHD, ADD, tremors, headaches, autonomic dysfunction
Psychiatric: depression, anxiety, OCD
Musculoskeletal: muscle pain, joint pain, fasciculations, muscle cramps
Immune: itching, hives, rash, eczema, allergies, sinus congestion, asthma, chronic cough, autoimmune disorders, Raynaud’s, recurrent yeast and sinus infections, cancer
GI: heartburn, nausea, abdominal pain, abdominal bloating, food sensitivities, IBD, IBS
Urinary: intermittent urgency, incontinence
Hormonal: thirst, dehydration, low testosterone, thyroid imbalances-autoimmunity, extreme menopausal issues, adrenal fatigue
Recurrent or chronic fungal infections: vaginitis, prostatitis, sinusitis, skin fungal infections, oral, GI, urinary tract, lung.
Fortunately, it is very possible to find out whether or not mold toxicity is at the root of some of your unwanted health symptoms.
The following tests can be used to assess mold toxicity in the body:
Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test (www.vcstest.com)
ERMI test or air filter test
If a patient has significant neurological symptoms, a provider might order: MOCA -Baseline cognitive assessment tool
Since the majority of mycotoxin exposure comes from water-damaged buildings, the most important and first step in treating mold-related illness is ensuring you are in a mold-safe home through home environment assessment and testing.
It only takes seconds of moisture or high levels of humidity for mold to form. Buildings can become water-damaged through things like construction defects, inadequate caulking, and uncorrected water leaks. When this happens, growth of an entire ecosystem including fungi, bacteria, mycobacteria, and actinomycetes can form.
OSHA explains that common sources of mold can include: “…plumbing, roof, and window leaks; flooding; condensation on cold surfaces (e.g., pipe sweating); poorly maintained drain pans; and wet foundations due to landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building.”
“Water vapor from unvented or poorly vented kitchens, showers, combustion appliances, or steam pipes can also create conditions that promote mold growth,” states OSHA.
You want to have a qualified Indoor Environmental Professional expert assess your home if you know there are past or current water damage or any known or suspected mold issues. For more info on indoor mold inspection, read THIS ARTICLE.
You can also use an Environmental Relative Moldiness Index test if there has been no known water damage previously. For more info, READ THIS.
The next step after assessing your environment and testing to confirm the presence of mold/mycotoxins in the body is to prepare the body for detoxification. Here’s how:
open up detox pathways by supporting the body’s detoxification organs- liver, gallbladder, kidney, colon, lymph, lungs, and skin- through supplementation and lifestyle support
support bile flow to help excrete the mycotoxins stored in bile after being processed by the liver
treat any gut imbalances such as dysbiosis, constipation, leaky gut, etc.
support any nutrient imbalances
increase foods that support detoxification and lower inflammation
stabilize cell membranes
regulate the nervous system and address any limbic system instability
After preparing the body for detoxification, you want to remove the mycotoxins through:
the use of multiple binders to pull mycotoxins from the body. Sometimes providers will use the prescription Cholystyramine (CSM).
the use of biofilm disruptors, antifungals, and/or herbs to treat any mycotoxin colonization in the sinus cavities and/or gut.
Favorite supplements to support mold detoxification:
Binder: TDW Bind
Liver sauce and glutathione by Quicksilver
Klaire Labs Interfase
Pure Encapsulations NAC and Caprylic Acid
Orthomolecular Candicid Forte
Detox Formula by Vital Nutrients
*Note that many of the above supplements and more can be found via my Fullscript dispensary.
It is important to continue to have daily bowel movements, stay hydrated, sweat, sleep, exercise, and reduce stress during mold detox as well. Since treating mold illness is complex and personalized, it is important to work with a practitioner who has experience with treating mycotoxin illness.
Favorite practices to support mold detoxification:
Dry brushing (Primally Pure makes an excellent facial and body dry brush! Use code TAYLORDUKES for discount)
Gentle movement and sweating
7-9 hours of sleep
Whole foods, non-processed diet. Cut sugars, gluten, and dairy.
Use high-quality air filters in your home
Rebounding and lymphatic massage
We are always working on new ways to serve you on your health journey. Be the first to know about new offerings, health articles, and more by clicking here and filling out your information so we can be in touch.
Helping you get your gut right, improve energy, boost immunity, balance hormones, sleep better and look + feel your best
TERMS + CONDITIONS
© 2023 Taylor Dukes Wellness
Get Your Gut Right