Your Guide To Mold Toxicity Test Options And What To Do Before This
If you have been struggling with unexplained symptoms like fatigue, difficulty concentrating, or allergy-like symptoms, you may be wondering if mold and mycotoxin testing can help you find answers.;
Testing for mold or mycotoxins may be helpful in some contexts, but its definitely not a recommended starting point in your health journey. Mycotoxin research is still in its infancy and testing is not well validated. Misinterpreting or putting too much weight on test results may distract from identifying other important health issues.
Before considering mycotoxin testing, its essential to explore other factors that may be responsible for your symptoms. Poor gut health is often the reason for unexplained, mysterious symptoms.;
In this article, we will break down all of the important points to consider before testing for mold or mycotoxins. Next, we will discuss the most common types of mold tests that are available, including the pros and cons for each and who theyre most suitable for.
First, lets take a quick look at what mycotoxins are.;
How To Deal With Black Mold And Recover From Mold Poisoning
- Black mold is extraordinarily toxic, and more common than you might think. An estimated 22 percent of people and half of all buildings in the U.S. have a mold problem.
- The good news is that the word about mold is spreading, and its becoming easier and easier to deal with black mold and mycotoxins .
- This guide will tell you how to test for black mold, permanently remove it from your home, and flush mycotoxins from your body and repair the damage they do.
- Mold can make you feel hopeless and like your health is out of your hands. Dont worry; with these steps, you can take control of your body and brain and get rid of mold for good.
Black mold is nasty stuff. It causes chronic fatigue, mood swings, allergies, asthma, unexplained weight gain even cancer.
Mold contamination is also more common than you might think. In a recent Bulletproof Radio podcast episode , geneticist and mold researcher Dr. Andrew Heyman explains why.
We estimate that 22 percent of the population is vulnerable to , says Heyman. Forty million people and at least half of all buildings in the U.S. have a mold problem.
Heyman goes on to say that people frequently overlook black mold, partly because it often shows up in hard-to-reach places, like ventilation systems in commercial buildings or apartment complexes.
The Journey From Outdoor Mold Spore To Indoor Mold Problem
Whether out enjoying a hike or inside examining the grocery stores produce section, we are constantly transporting and breathing in tiny mold spores. An open window, a family pet or even your sneakers can bring outdoor spores to a new homeyour home or workplace.;
These mold spores can be harmless. However, problems arise if the spores come in contact with a moisture source. Moisture lets the spores grow into mold that could affect health.;
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Testing For Hidden Or Airborne Mold
How Is Mold Poisoning Treated
Treatment for mold exposure and allergies may involve the use of nasal sprays or rinses, allergy shots, over the counter drugs, and oral medication. Nasal corticosteroids and over-the-counter medications help to reduce inflammation caused by mold allergies along the airways. You may also be given oral medications to reduce the amount of mucus in your airways. Your doctor may recommend getting frequent shots to boost your bodyâs immune system over time.
It is important to seek immediate medical attention once you notice any symptoms of mold poisoning since prolonged exposure to mold can cause severe health problems. The best treatment for mold is to avoid being exposed to mold spores as much as possible. It is also important to have professional mold remediation in your home as it ensures your home is safe and healthy for you and your family.
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How Do You Get The Molds Out Of Buildings Including Homes Schools And Places Of Employment
Mold growing in homes and buildings indicates that there is a problem with water or moisture. This is the first problem to address.
Remove moldy items from living areas.; Once mold starts to grow in carpet, insulation, ceiling tiles, drywall, or wallboard, the only way to deal with the problem is by removal and replacement.
It is important to properly clean and dry the area as you can still have an allergic reaction to parts of the dead mold and mold contamination may recur if there is still a source of moisture.
Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly.
Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly after any flooding.; Dig out mud and dirt .; Use a wet vacuum to remove remaining dirt. Scrub cleanable surfaces with soapy water and a bristle brush.; Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces with water and dish detergent. Dry surfaces quickly and thoroughly after cleaning. If you have a fan, air conditioner or dehumidifier that wasnt affected by flooding use it to help the surfaces dry after you finish cleaning
Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution;of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water to kill mold on surfaces. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners.
If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:
How To Detox Your Body From Mold
Even if youre not especially sensitive to mold, your body still needs help safely clearing out mycotoxins. When these arent removed properly and completely, they can cycle back around, and cause ongoing damage and symptoms.
The best way to clear out these toxins is with proven toxin-binders. Its important to make sure youre working with safe, gentle detoxing agents so they dont overtax your bodys clearance system . At the same time, you must use proven binders that dont allow toxins to be reabsorbed in the intestines rather than excreted from the body.
One prescription cholesterol-lowering medication called Cholestyramine binds strongly to some mycotoxins especially ochratoxin and keeps them getting reabsorbed.
On the natural front, modified citrus pectin has been extensively researched as an effective detoxifying agent. Because MCP works so gently, its safe for long-term use, which is often necessary for completely removing mycotoxins from your system. MCP works especially well when paired with another natural detoxifier: seaweed-derived alginates, natural gel-like substances that bind tightly to toxins.
The combination of MCP and alginate prevents toxins including mycotoxins and heavy metals from being reabsorbed in the intestines. And although they make a strong detoxifying team, MCP and alginate are easily tolerated and their gentle action wont strip essential minerals from your body.
Other mycotoxin detoxifiers include:
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Is Mycotoxin Testing Worth It
Mycotoxin testing can be helpful in some cases, but there are a number of points to consider before jumping in.
- Mycotoxicity is not well defined. Research on mycotoxin testing is still in its infancy. This means that even those who study mycotoxins or mold for a living dont know exactly how to interpret mycotoxin test results. This doesnt necessarily mean that test results cant be useful they should always be taken with a grain of salt.
- Choosing the best test is challenging. There are many different kinds of mycotoxin and mold tests available, using not only different methods but different reference ranges, and even looking at different kinds of mold species and mycotoxins. This makes an area that is already lacking in research even more confusing.;
- Mold can be a red herring. Mold or mycotoxins may show up in small quantities on tests, even if the levels are likely not problematic. This can be a distraction from true underlying health issues that need to be addressed.
- Mold-related illnesses are complex. Even as we begin to untangle the nuances in testing, there is a lack of consensus when it comes to the treatment of mold-related illnesses and mycotoxicity. In other words, mycotoxin testing might provide clues to treatments, but it does not provide a road map.
Toxic Mold Syndrome: It Was Like I Lost My Personality
Kimberlyn, a 46-year-old married mother living in Arizona is not your average patient. She is highly detailed, analytical, logical, and carries with her a masters degree in pattern analysis. When Kimberlyn got sick, she applied as much as she could from her work life to try to uncover what was adversely affecting her. Even so, coming to the right diagnoses took a lot of work and required outside help.
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Identifying Mold In Your Body
20-30% of people cant respond to toxic exposures of mold from water damage and excessive mycotoxins found in food.
If you suspect that you are already experiencing symptoms of mold exposure, steps must be taken in removing mold from the body. You can first confirm the presence of mold in the following ways:
- VCS Test: The VCS Test is an online visual test that can help confirm the presence of biotoxic illness, as well as possible symptoms caused from mold and mycotoxin exposure.
- Blood testing for mold: The C4A compliment detects recent mold exposure, while the TGF-Beta 1 is indicative of longer-term mold exposure.
- HLA DR/DQ: This gene is located on chromosome number 6, and it encodes a protein called an MHC Class II protein. Testing for this gene can reveal your genetic susceptibility to biotoxin illnesses.
As hinted at above, your genes play a large role in your bodys response to mold and mycotoxins. The HLA DR gene helps the immune system respond to environmental threats. It is estimated that 20-30% of people do not respond well to toxic exposures of mold from water damage and excessive mycotoxins found in food.
So Is There Any Reason To Detox My Body To Undo Mold Exposure
There are various treatment methods out there for mold exposure, like sweating it out and even gut health cleanses that claim to detox the moldbut none of them have been proven by studies to treat anything .
For example, activated charcoal is often used in emergency rooms to prevent treat substance abuse overdosebut it wont necessarily do anything to treat or detox mold exposure, says Dr. Parikh . Probioticswhich are in and of themselves beneficial for your overall gut healthhave also been thrown around as a treatment for mold-related illness. But they cant treat an active bacterial infection in any way, Dr. Parikh notes.
Many touted mold treatment options also arent FDA-approved and may not be covered by health insurance, Dr. Parikh points out, so you should approach what you read about mold with a critical eye.
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How Do Molds Affect People
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
The Most Damaging Mycotoxins Found In Food And Beverages Today
- Aflatoxin: This kind of mycotoxin is known for being exceptionally carcinogenic in mammals, including humans2. Although not experienced in developed countries, there have been reports of individuals in many Third World Countries developing a condition known as acute aflatoxicosis3. This condition results from exposure to high levels of aflatoxins, and is characterized by symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, pulmonary edema, convulsions, coma, and death with cerebral edema. For those in developed countries, concerns exist for the potential impacts of low-level, long-term exposure found in ones diet.
- Ochratoxin A : Research has shown that consumption of OTA can cause kidney damage and cancer4. Foods and beverages with the highest levels of OTA include oats, wheat, maize, barley, raisins, dried vine fruits, wine, beer, coffee, and cocoa5. In addition to possible carcinogenic effects, OTA has been found to be genotoxic6, and detrimental to gut bacteria7.
- Fumonisin B1: This mycotoxin naturally occurs in many foods. The main problem with this mycotoxin is that it impairs myelin formation in aggregating brain cell culture.8
The key to removing mold from your diet is to choose foods and beverages that are low in mold and the above-listed mycotoxins. Some foods are naturally more prone to mold than others, so it is crucial to be aware of this when creating a meal plan for your week.
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What Mold Smells Like
Mold has a damp, musty scentsimilar to what youd smell after opening an old book. In general, smell is not a good way to determine if there is a mold problem, says Laureen Burton, a staff chemist and toxicologist for the Environmental Protection Agency . The smell of indoor molds can differ depending on the type of mold, the surface on which its growing, and its source of moisture. Plus, she says, some people dont notice a smell at all.
The mold smell is caused by microbial volatile organic compounds , which are substances that are naturally produced by molds as they grow. The health effects of inhaling mVOCs are largely unknown, says Burton, although exposure to some mVOCs has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
Common Signs Of Toxic Mold Poisoning
Symptoms and signs of mycotoxins;poisoning are very different depending on many factors. How this poisoning presents itself depends on:
- Type of mycotoxin
- Genetic structure
- And others
This means there can be;a major;difference in symptoms between individuals in;the population;exposed to it.;To some extent it is clear that mycotoxicosis can increase susceptibility to infections, worsen;the effect;of other toxins present and advance other health conditions.
Although acute poisoning is more obvious and sometimes has grave effects, chronic exposure is much more present in the population in general.;Finally, mycotoxins can cause changes in immune, nervous system, behavior, mood and even development problems like stunting.
The other way that molds can affect your health is through allergy and IgE-mediated pathways. Mold can introduce multiple different types of antigens to your system. One of the main antigens involved is mold spores. Mold can lead to asthma, hypersensitivity reactions, and pulmonary inflammatory disease.
There are many different variants that could cause a patient to have one reaction compared to another. One of these factors is the human leukocyte antigen patterns. Another likely significant factor is the glutathione transferase genes. One study found that polymorphism in GSTP1 influenced illness and treatment after exposure to water-damaged buildings.
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How Mold Testing Works
There are two different kinds of professional-grade tests that experts tend to utilize to look for mold infestations. Both of them involve taking a small sample of material, which is then analyzed in a lab for traces of mold spores or the presence of mycotoxins. Urine test kits, as their name implies, require a small volume of urine from a human . These kits are used to determine if a person has a mold infestation in their body.;
Meanwhile, home test kits require a small amount of dust or detritus from a buildings air conditioning or heating unit filters. Its not uncommon for professional environmental inspectors or mold remediators to use both kits in tandem after experiencing water damage, as they provide differentbut equally crucialinformation.
There is a third type of mold testing kit on the market; its the kind that folks frequently see in hardware and big-box stores. These kits are designed to detect mold spores in the air, and they usually consist of a petri dish filled with microbial growth medium. The dish is exposed to the air for a set period of time in order to collect samples, and then its sealed and allowed to incubate. The idea is that any mold spores captured by the dish will then grow, allowing them to be seen and studied.