Is toxic mold causing your symptoms?

Mold is a type of fungus; it is different than bacteria, viruses, parasites. It is eukaryotic cell. It has nucleus mitochondria and other cellular organelles attached to its membrane. It derives its nutrition and energy from moist organic material and not from photosynthesis. There are nontoxic mold used for food, beverage production, pharmaceutical use, making antibiotics, or probiotics etc.

It is estimated that indoor air pollutants, including mold and mycotoxins may be contributing to many of our illnesses. Molds are ubiquitous in world and mold spores can be found in household and workplace dust. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that after many hurricanes and major floods, excessive exposure to mold contaminated materials can cause adverse health effects in susceptible individual regardless of type of mold or extent of contamination.

Toxic Mold
Toxic Mold

When mold spores are present in abnormally high concentration they can present major health risks to humans. We get exposed to molds through the skin contact, or breathing. Water damaged or damp indoor environment like homes, schools, office buildings, hospitals, hotels, construction areas, renovations, flower shops, summer cottages, and damp areas, are associated with exposure to mold. The most common types of molds that are found indoors include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Stachybotrys chartarum (sometimes referred to as “toxic black mold”) is a greenish-black mold, which grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint and is usually an indicator that there has been elevated moisture present or previous water damage.

Mold Types
Mold Types

Molds can secrete mycotoxin that can be measured in urine .Exposure to mold and mycotoxin can trigger allergies, asthma, inflammation resulting into oxidative stress and immune dysfunction in humans and animals.

Molds have the ability to produce various symptoms like respiratory distress, inflammation, cognitive issue, neurological symptoms, immune suppression, skin rashes, fatigue, memory loss, brain fog, headaches, muscle stiffness and joint pain, unusual skin sensation, sinus complaints, loss of appetite and body temperature dysregulation, increased urinary frequency and thirst, red eye, abdominal symptoms with diarrhea bloating, static shocks, vertigo feeling lightheaded etc.

These symptoms have been misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, depression, stress, allergy, PTSD, somatization, IBS, ALS, multiple sclerosis, and have been treated, without much success. There are specific tests that can be performed that can point in the direction of mycotoxin and biotoxin being the cause.

If you suspect that toxic mold exposure may be causing symptoms, you should start with–

1. Get your home checked by reputable company for mold exposure.

2. Remove yourself completely from the contaminated environment.

3. Do not expose yourself with the items from environment like clothing, books, carpet.

4. Under medical supervision consider using charcoal, bile binding agent .

5. Consider getting evaluation for nutrition, and treating inflammation and oxidative stress that mold could have generated in your body.

6. Your gut can be colonizing mold, fungi, Candida, bacteria, so get tested and seek treatment. These infections can cause Leaky gut also. If so must consider treatment for the same.

7. Support your detoxification ability by increasing green leafy vegetable as smoothie, vitamin C, and methylation support. It is advisable this to be done under physician’s advice.

8. If you made decision to live in the same home, please consider having high-quality air filter.

9. Avoid common foods which could have mycotoxin.

Some examples of food with possible mycotoxins are– alcoholic beverage like wine and beer, peanuts, sorghum, cottonseed, some cheese, corn, wheat, barley, tree nuts, pistachio, Brazil nuts, dried fruits, fix, coffee, Coco, beans, bread.

10. Remember it is doable.

I want you to know you are not alone. You are not crazy. And this illness is not all in your head. It is a real illness that has destroyed lives. But, there is hope!
The first step is finding out what the problem is. People get their lives back and are armed with the knowledge they need to know to keep their bodies safe.
Do not give up, and know that there is help available for you.

Author: Rekha Shah

Dr Shah practices Functional & Integrative medicine. She is Board certified by American Board of Medical Specialists in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. She is also a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner.

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