Do I Need To Get Medical Treatment
In many cases, exposure to toxic mold doesnt require medical treatment. If you experience cold-like symptoms after exposure to potentially toxic mold, these symptoms will likely fade on their own with no long-term effects once you remove yourself from the environment with the mold.
Generally speaking, your overall risk of long-term health effects related to mold exposure is fairly low. That said, experts still have more to learn about the possible health effects of mold exposure.
For this reason, its still important to avoid long-term exposure to potentially toxic mold and promptly address signs of mold in spaces you spend time in.
Reaching out to a healthcare professional may be a good option if you:
- have a compromised immune system due to another health condition
- have significant trouble breathing
- live with cystic fibrosis
As for a mold detox? Contrary to some beliefs, theres typically no need to go on a cleanse or detox in order to heal your body after exposure to mold.
Heres why: When functioning optimally, your body constantly detoxes itself and its very efficient at this task.
So Is Mold Toxicity A Real Thing
Mold toxicitythe idea that mold can produce harmful substances called mycotoxins that can contribute to autoimmune conditions and other chronic diseaseis a bit controversial. Thats because there isnt any kind of test for it or scientific evidence that any kind of disease exists solely because of mold exposure. Keep in mind that theres a lot of misinformation out there, both about the toxicity of mold and the treatment options.
Theres clear, validated proof that breathing in enough mold in your home over a period of time can cause or exacerbate both allergies and asthma, Dr. Parikh says. It can even cause an invasive respiratory infection, she adds, but any chronic health condition resulting from mold hasnt yet been proven to exist.
Which Molds Produce Mycotoxins
Molds are everywhere in our environment. No one knows how many varieties there are, however estimates range from tens of thousands to more than 300,000. Most types of molds dont cause adverse health effects, while others the toxic molds give off the mycotoxins that can be very dangerous.
Some molds, like the ones used to make certain cheeses, are edible. Others that grow on a wide array of foodstuffs including bread, soy, corn, dried fruit, coffee, peanuts, and many others can either be harmless or give off mycotoxins, depending on the type. Below is a chart of the most common types of toxic molds found in homes and the mycotoxins they produce.
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What Is Black Mold
Black mold is easily distinguishable from other molds because, not surprisingly, it tends to be dark black. Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra, can be found indoors growing on a variety of surfaces, especially things with a high cellulose content like wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, lint and dust.
Other than being black, what does black mold look like? Black mold can actually be a greenish or grayish black. It has a distinctive odor thats musty and mildew-like.
What is mold? A mold is a type of fungus that grows in filaments and reproduces by forming mold spores that cannot be seen by the naked human eye. Mold can grow and thrive in any season, indoors or outdoors, in damp, warm and humid environments, and it spreads like wild fire. Mold itself flourishes in warm, moist environments, but mold spores can actually survive in harsh, dry environments. The spores float around in indoor and outdoor air. When the spores land on a moist surface, the mold can then start to grow.
Black mold is most likely to rear its ugly head in areas of the home that are warm, humid and damp. In addition to showers, basements and crawlspaces that may have leaks, or some other sources of moisture, are commonly susceptible to the growth of toxic black mold.
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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Strategies On How To Detox From Mold
Getting rid of mycotoxins from your body, after you have eliminated them from your environment is specific to the individual and you should consider the following
- optimizing your organs
- Air Filters will help with your mold removal protocol
Depending on the level of mycotoxins present plus your own body and its ability to tolerate treatment the best way is to use a combination of binders like clay, charcoal and other actions like a liver detox support like milk thistle and vitamin C.
Detox By Taking Toxin Binders
Toxin binders, also known as mycotoxin binders, are designed to attach and bind to environmental toxins circulating in your bloodstream. Once attached, the binder helps move the toxins through the digestive tract so they can effectively be removed from the body aiding the natural process.
Some of the most popular prescription binders are Cholestyramine and modified citrus pectin . Most over-the-counter binders generally use activated charcoal and bentonite clay.
A lesser-known mycotoxin binder is a guggulsterone. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to clear up acne, aid in weight loss, atherosclerosis, rheumatism, hypercholesterolemia, and obesity.
Guggulsterone can upregulate the bile salt export pump in the liver, which removes bile acids from the liver. Mycotoxins are found in these bile acids, so guggulsterone can effectively remove these mycotoxins through its elimination of the bile acids.
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What Is Mold Illness
I used to hear the words mold illness and think: Hmmhow bad can mold really be?
Sure, Id seen funky green mildew in college dorm showers and smelled musty clothes while looking for $79 Citizens for Humanity Jeans at Nordstrom Rack, but never really thought much more about molduntil of course it happened. To me. .
For a crash course, lets start with some basic ideas.
First: Moldillness is NOT an allergy.
The proper definition of mold illness is: An acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response syndrome acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms.
Mold illness is chronic inflammation within the body which is caused by an immune system that has gone haywire due to the toxic burden of mycotoxinstoxic mold spores from the mold itself. Its been estimated that at least 25-percent of the population has the genetic and immune system predisposition that makes them more vulnerable to mold illness. They dont detox mold and toxins out of their bodies well. Their immune system is weaker and easily irritated.
Second: That said, mold is often NOT the only culprit of mold illness symptomology. In many cases, people end up sick with mold and other immune-related issues and conditions.
- Biotoxin Illness
- Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
- Sick building syndrome
- Weight loss or weight gain
Ultimately: Not feeling welldespite doing all the things to be healthy .
Why so many symptoms?
Labs And Other Testing
I do keep track of my health through regular labwork and some pretty cool gut tests. Twice a year I make sure to have the good old basic blood work done alone with a C4A test. I personally feel that the C4A lab is pretty important.
C4a has become the inflammatory marker of greatest significance looking at innate immune responses in those with exposure to Water Damaged Buildings. The complement system is a group of proteins that move freely through your bloodstream. The proteins work with your immune system and play a role in the development of inflammation. Each complement activates inflammatory responses, with spillover of effect from the innate immune response to acquired immune response and hematologic parameters. These short-lived products are re-manufactured rapidly, such that an initial rise of plasma levels is seen within 12 hours of exposure to biotoxins, and sustained elevation is seen until definitive therapy is initiated. It is good to keep track of changes in your C4A levels.
If your doctor cannot or will not order the C4A test, you can order it yourself through Life Extension. Search for Complement C4 to order. The test runs about $85.
GI mapping and the gut explorer test are two stool based tests that have been instrumental in my recovery. Both tests look at different things going on in your gut. They can identify damage from mold, bacterial imbalances, and so much more. I have been blown away at the level of information both these tests have given me.
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How Mycotoxins Affect Your Body
Like mold spores themselves, mycotoxins are often airborne and enter your body through your respiratory tract. In the short term, this can cause a number of respiratory symptoms including asthma, allergies, sinus infections, and cold- and flu-like symptoms.
If you have a leaky gut, mycotoxins may also pass through your intestinal wall and travel throughout your bloodstream to your skin, brain, and other organs. This can lead to mycotoxins symptoms in any part of your body such as eczema, psoriasis, anxiety, brain fog, and autoimmunity.
One way mycotoxins wreak havoc on your health is by adversely affecting your cells mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells, making them essential to nearly every bodily function. They provide your cells with energy. Thats why you can experience chronic fatigue or weakness when dealing with mycotoxin poisoning.
When mitochondria are not functioning optimally, they release free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can cause cell damage. This cell damage, in turn, causes inflammation. The more inflammation you have, the higher up on the autoimmune spectrum you are. This is why its so challenging for autoimmune patients to reverse their symptoms while dealing with mycotoxin poisoning.
Checklist: Preventing Mold Growth & Toxicity
Keep the humidity in buildings less than 50 percent. Dont set your AC up over 78 degrees when you are on vacation.
If you have a water spill or leak it needs to be dried in less than 24-48 hours. If drywall gets wet, remove it.
Inspect all barriers to water and/or re-caulk bathrooms, kitchens, windows, roof annually.
Minimize your exposure to other environmental toxins .
Take supplements that support your detox pathways to keep ahead of exposures.
Bigger picture: We need to update our building guidelines to reduce the risk for mold growth. The issue is that buildings are being built so tight for energy conservation that now they dont breathe. This decreases the likelihood that moisture will dry out and increases the risk for condensation. If you have an opportunity to build a house or remodel find experts to work with who are familiar with these tradeoffs.
How do we test for mold in our environment/home/office, and get rid of it?
We still need to develop more comprehensive testing technology for the presence of mold toxins in buildings . There are limitations with all environmental mold testing options. The mold plates available at hardware stores dont usually catch the most toxic mold spores. These molds dont send out very many spores, or they are heavy and dont make it very far, so they dont land on the plates.
Should we all be testing for mold regularly, or only if it seems to be an issue?
How is mold toxicity diagnosed?
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Detox With Diet & Nutritional Changes
Your diet, the nutrients you provide your body with, and what you eat throughout the day play a major role in how well your body performs. By eating a healthy diet, your body will have all the necessary nutrients it needs to work as intended including detoxifying the body from mold.
Make sure youre avoiding excessive sugar, processed foods, and mold-infested foods. Maintain a balanced diet consisting of enough but not too much protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
Mold and Your Genes
The answer to one genetic predisposition toward mold illness is in the HLA-DR gene. HLA is the protein the HLA-DR gene expresses, which communicate to the immune system which cells are good and which it should fight.
When this protein functions correctly, the immune response is activated when foreign threats enter the body such as biotoxins. But ill-functioning HLA-DR gene have a misprocessing of antigens, which inhibit the immune system from reacting correctly to infection and toxins.
So if you have gene mutations such as MTHFR and HLA which one in four people do your immune system cannot produce some of the vital antibodies to mycotoxins. This means that at least a quarter of the population has difficulty fighting off the mycotoxins that are so prevalent in our environment.
Who Can Help With Mold
In addition to considering your symptoms, your provider may want to conduct a physical examination to identify or exclude other medical problems. He or she may also recommend one or more tests. Schoenwalder Health & Wellness providers are members of the ISEAIa medical organization of professionals who specialize in environmentally acquired illnesses.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with symptoms that you suspect are related to mold exposure, were here to help. Contact us for an appointment. To identify and overcome mold-related health problems, its best to work with a provider who is an expert in mold and mold detox.
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Removing Mold In Your Home
In optimal conditions, mold can grow in your home within 24-48 hours.
Another high-risk area for being exposed to mold and mycotoxins is your home. The EPA estimates that 60% of all buildings have mold or other air quality hazards. Every room and outdoor space is susceptible to growing harmful strains.
Risk factors for developing mold in your home include:
- High humidity levels 11
- Water damage
- Poor ventilation
In reducing your mold exposure, prevention is key. This is especially true if your home has been hit by a major water event, such as flooding or a hurricane.12 Immediately cleaning up water damage, keeping humidity levels at < 50%, and ensuring proper ventilation are all great ways to prevent mold from growing in your home.
However, there are some exceptional strategies for removing mold from your home if growth has already occurred:
- A product called Homebiotics. Rather than using bleach when removing mold, this spray is a natural way to prevent and eliminate mold.
- Although HEPA air filters are a great way to keep your home free of allergens, having a photocatalytic air purifier goes steps further in removing mold. These air purifiers reduce mold by disinfecting the air .
Is It Safe To Live In A House With Black Mold
The short answer is yes but not for too long I would suggest days only but if you are showing any of the symptoms mentioned above take action. Exposure to mold can be harmful in the long term, especially for people with respiratory conditions and other risk factors. mold can be one of several different species of fungus, including Stachybotrys chartarum. Short term exposure to mold is unlikely to cause harm in healthy people
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What Are The Symptoms Of Mold Inhalation
Walking into a room where the mold spore count is high could have a significant effect on your response system. For those who have an allergic reaction to mold spores, the response is more immediate. These individuals may experience watery or itchy eyes, a runny nose, redness around the eyes, shortness of breath, or wheezing. Persistent exposure can create a nagging cough, asthma, or frequent sinusitis. As these symptoms sound much like the common cold or seasonal allergies, it can often be hard to narrow down the culprit as mold exposure.
As symptoms and severity are different for every person, it is difficult to say how long the symptoms will persist. Generally, the length of exposure, the type of mold that an individual has been exposed to, and the bodys natural health and detox process impact how long a person may struggle with a mold illness. Natural detoxing can see symptoms subside in a few days, particularly if the source of mold is eliminated or the individual leaves the environment where the mold is present.
Where Is The Mold From
Mold is existing around your living places
Most of the mold spores come from the outdoor environment, yet they can enter and land on your home easily through doorways, windows, etc.
You may not see, but there are many places in your home that are perfect for mold spores like bathroom, areas close to heating and cooling appliances, crawlspaces, carpets, basements, attics.
A leaky roof or flood basement is definitely a risk for developing mold since mold likes warm, wet areas.
Thats why when it comes to your body, it tends to linger in your respiratory tract and then leads to chronic respiratory illness like infections and bronchitis.
The real trouble is the nanoparticle mycotoxins which are released by the mold spores. Although it is a natural poison, it can have dangerous effects on your body if it isnt addressed.
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