Is mold your invisible kryptonite?
Mold, you know what it is, the green stuff on bread and cheese, the white stuff on boxes in damp basements, and the dreaded black mold behind walls where you knew you had a "small" water leak.
News flash: No matter the color, the location, or how small the colony appears, no mold is okay if it came about due to a water source on organic matter (wood, drywall, carpet, etc.).
Mold is everywhere; it's outside, it's inside, it's on your grapes that have been in the fridge too long, there's no escaping it.
The issue is, mold from water damage is far more dangerous than the mold that will come in your window on a summer day. The toxic soup of chemicals from the WDB (water damaged building) is in the air and the dust of every water-damaged building. The even worse news is, it's estimated that over 50% of buildings in the US are water damaged in some way. And how many of those owners actually know of the damage? My guess would be maybe 5%. Of that 5%, how many know the extreme health issues this can cause? Maybe 5% of those people. The odds are against you if you're affected by this biotoxin illness.
One of the scariest things about mold is that it often has no smell and is often hidden, so you have almost no chance of knowing it's even there. If you smell that 'musty' smell, that's a bonus, and it gives you somewhere to start. Now, I should take back 'bonus' because it actually means your mold is so healthy that it has extra resources to produce that secondary metabolite, the mVOC that you're smelling.
Mold itself isn't the most dangerous enemy; it's the mycotoxin it produces to combat other nearby molds. I should mention, not all molds create mycotoxins, but mycotoxin emitting molds are what make them 'toxic'. In this fungal battle for territory, we get caught in the middle. As the mold's spores go airborne to stake new claims, the toxic mycotoxins are released into the air for us to breathe.
So what can that do to your body?
As your hidden mold colony (or not hidden) continues to grow, it releases more mold spores, mold spore fragments and releases more mycotoxins, which can keep accumulating in your body 24/7. It's a continuous cycle until someone finds and properly remediates the source and secondary water damage.
Did you know: About 25% of people are genetically susceptible to mold. They carry the HLA-DR gene which confuses the immune system and slows it from attacking and removing toxins (like mycotoxins).
Mycotoxins are immunosuppressive; this means they weaken and limit your immune systems' ability to do its job. They are incredibly toxic even to healthy people and can slowly wear them down to illness. Now, if you're already dealing with other health conditions and have a weakened immune system, it will bring you down even faster and harder.
What symptoms can accompany mold/mycotoxin illness?
This list is not exhaustive, mold affects everyone in their own way.
- Irritated eyes
- Sinus infections
- Skin issues
- Brain fog
- Neurological problems
- Digestive issues
- Word recollection issues
- Always getting colds/bugs
- Nose bleeds
- Numbness and tingling
- Increased urination
- Abdominal pain
- Night sweats
- Static shocks
- Food sensitivities
- Metallic taste in mouth
- Shortness of breath
- Cardiac issues
- And sadly, more...
Why do you need to know if mold is affecting you?
Simply put, it really puts the brakes on healing. Your immune system can't get much traction to heal from mold and any other chronic conditions you may have. You may feel like you're doing all the right things; you're detoxing, you're doing your epsom salt baths, dry brushing, sauna, you're taking your supplements, but the needle isn't moving. Mold REALLY halt your progress. Actually, it won't keep it there; it will often keep moving you backwards.
Mycotoxins are scary, they affect our bodies in so many ways, that's why we need to know.
For example, the mycotoxin 'Mycophenolic acid' has been made into a drug given to people who receive organ transplants to suppress their immune system so that their body doesn't reject the new tissue.
Now, imagine you're trying to heal from chronic infections (like Lyme, or other) and you have high levels of Mycophenolic acid circulating in your system. Nearly impossible to heal.
These conditions also have a very high rate of accompanying mold toxicity
- MCAS/MCS : Mast cell activation syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity can be triggered by mold exposure. When exposed to mold, the MCAS flares can cause a host of symptoms, including dizziness, hives, fatigue, pain and more.
- Lyme disease : Lyme and co-infection symptoms match those of mold illness very closely. And because Lyme and mold are both so immunosuppressive, one can often lead to the other being activated if you were exposed.
- PANS/PANDAS : These two conditions are rooted in a dysregulated immune system which leads to autoimmunity against the brain. Mold illness is present in about 70% of these cases, with Lyme and Bartonella being the majority of the other. Unfortunately, both are active in many of the kids. Other toxins can also contribute to these conditions.
If you're dealing with any of those chronic conditions or feel you may have been exposed to mold, you need to be testing for mycotoxins. The test is a simple urine test; no jab is required.
Helpful Mold Resources
Functional medicine practitioner
This post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any condition or disease. All opinions and information provided on this site are for educational purposes and should not be used as medical advice.