This is a growing problem that few people let alone practitioners are actually aware of. Mold is part of the natural environment. Mold that grow outdoors play a huge part in nature’s break down of dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, however, indoor mold growth should be avoided at all costs.
What many people don’t realize is that mold can make you extremely sick, or even kill you. According to the Environmental Protection Agency all molds have the potential to cause ill health. The type and severity of your symptoms depend, in part, on the types of mold present, the extent of your exposure, your age and general health, and your existing sensitivities or allergies.
Do any of the below symptoms sound like you? If so, you may be suffering from mold and mycotoxin exposures. We recommend you arrange an appointment with an integrative medical doctor to discuss the possibility of a mold- and mycotoxin-related illness. (Please note: this list is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as a self-diagnostic tool)
Most primary care practitioners are not trained to treat mold poisoning, and their approach is limited to prescribing steroids and dangerous antifungal medications, many of which are liver-toxic. Recovering from a mold-induced illness requires an integrative approach under the guidance of a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner.
The following symptoms of mold and mycotoxin illnesses came from clinical studies and research performed by scientific and medical professionals, quoted in book, MOLD: The War Within:
• Muscle pain
•Sneezy or runny nose
•Irritable bowel syndrome
•Shortness of breath
• Skin rashes and mottling
•Burning sensation on skin
•Sloughing off of skin
•Skin and eye photosensitization
•Foot and skin fungus
•Cracking of skin
•Other neuropsychiatry problems
•Vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels in arteries and veins)
•Angioedema (swelling in deep layers of the skin, often around eyes and lips)
•Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
•Dry or burning eyes
•Bleeding from tissues or lungs
•Changes in reproductive cycles
•Immune system irregularities
•Inability to write, walk, speak, or learn like normal
One of the most important aspects of recovering from mold toxicity is starving the fungi out of your body with an antifungal diet, and avoiding foods likely to be mold-contaminated.
Probiotics, select herbs such as Garlic, Ginger, Cayenne Golden Seal can be extremely helpful.
There are many other helpful natural agents, and you will have to rely on the expertise of your healthcare providers to find which ones are best for you. It will require some degree of trial and error. The take-away is, there are options if you suspect you’ve been poisoned by mold. And as usual, the natural approaches are much safer and more effective for restoring your health than antifungal drugs, antibiotics or steroids, which are the worst options by far.
Here is a list of the top-ten mycotoxic foods, compiled by David A. Holland, MD and Doug Kaufmann, which should be avoided:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Wheat and all wheat products
- Cottonseed and cottonseed oil
- Corn: Universally
- Sorghum: Used in a variety of grain products and alcoholic beverages
- Sugar from sugar cane and sugar beets
- Hard cheeses
Here are some tips on treating and preventing mold:
- Remove yourself from the contaminated environment first. (don’t even think about going on to other treatments until you get out of the contaminated environment)
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low.
- Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly.
- Probably the most important supplement for recovering from mold-induced illness is a good probiotic. Your gastrointestinal tract is your first line of defense against mold and its toxins, and having a GI tract populated with beneficial flora is crucial for optimal immune function. Probiotics help repopulate your GI tract with these beneficial bacteria.
- Use clay, charcoal, cholestyramine or other binders to bind internal mycotoxins. Use Upgraded Coconut Charcoal or GI Detox to bind toxins in the gastrointestinal tract and Glutathione Force to support glutathione, which is often depleted in toxin-related illness. While you are using binders, you must maintain normal bowel function and avoid constipation. You can add magnesium citrate, buffered C powder, or even gentle laxatives if needed but constipation is the enemy of detoxification!
Other Treatment Options
•Follow Dr. Jill’s Low Mold Diet – many patients to well on a paleo, grain-free diet since grains are often contaminated with mycotoxins and molds
•Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)
•Anti-fungal herbs and medications
•Detoxification support – oral and IV
•Remediation procedures for environment and belongings
•Create a “safe” place, with little potential for mold/allergens and great filtration system – this could be a bedroom or other room that is mold and chemical free
•Some patients benefit from IV immunoglobulin therapy (IVIg)
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