Is Mold the Root Cause of Your Symptoms?
I’m particularly interested in mold toxicity right now because a test I recently took showed that I have high levels of mycotoxins in my body (mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by fungi or mold). And then we found mold in our house.
I live in a house that was built in 1925 and while we had parts of our foundation replaced, we did not do the whole thing. Water was leaking into the areas we did not replace. On top of that, when we had the mold inspectors come in, they found mold in areas I never would have known to look: the gaskets around the refrigerator, dish washer, and washing machine, under the fridge, behind the washer/dryer. It turns out mold can build up anywhere tiny particles of food collect or in areas that are wet or moist. Mold exposure is incredibly common in the United States with studies showing that as many as half of all buildings have mold exposure. I believe this is even higher in the Bay Area, with our older buildings and heavy rains.
Mold releases the odorless mycotoxins into the air and this can be extremely dangerous. Mold also creates other dangerous gasses called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can enter your body through the skin and lungs. You may be able to smell and see mold in your house or it can be invisible with no smell. In some cases, mold will colonize in your body, causing the mycotoxins to bloom from within.
Mycotoxin exposure can elicit zero symptoms in one person and can cause a whole host of symptoms in another, depending on your sensitivity to mold. Mycotoxins and VOCs can be harmful to the body. In fact, they’re considered carcinogens. They create a high level of oxidative stress, which in turn damages the mitochondria of your cells. Mitochondria is the part of your cells where you make energy. When the mitochondria is damaged, you may feel extreme fatigue.
Other Symptoms of Mold Toxicity Can Include:
Urinary frequency or incontinence
Find the Mold
The first step is to test your body for Mycotoxins, I can order that panel for you. Second, we’ll want to figure out if there is mold in your home or work space. I like using these fairly affordable home testing kits. Once you have found that there is mold in your house or office, it is worth hiring a professional mold inspector and remediator to find the source of the mold and get rid of it. The National Association of Mold Remiediators and Inspectors (NAMRI) is a good source.
Treat the Mold
Once you have found mold in your house or office, and we know that you have high levels of mycotoxins in your body, it’s time to treat. I use the following approach:
The most important step is to get away from the mold exposure. This may mean moving or even remodeling your space. If you rent, your landlord is required by law to get rid of the mold. If you do move, make sure to leave behind any upholstered furniture and mattresses as mold can contaminate these items. Make sure to wipe down surfaces that are not upholstered and wash clothes and pillows with special products used to treat mold.. I like this line of detergents and cleaners.
Mold detox is complex. Work with a Functional Medicine provider who is experienced with mycotoxin removal to help you with the products that bind to the mycotoxins so that they can be pulled from the body. They will also use natural detox supplements such as liposomal glutathione, NAC, and glycine. Make sure to support other systems that can be affected by mold such as the gut, hormones, and mitochondria (where energy is made in the cells).
After 6 weeks to 3 months, retest to make sure the mycotoxic load in your body has decreased.