Mold toxicity can be lethal to anyone; adults, children, and even pets. You need to know if it's affecting you or someone you love.
Mold illness is also something that medical doctors know nothing about. Going to your doctor with a list of symptoms from mold toxicity will just get you antibiotics, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, or a referral to a psychologist.
You need to know how to test for mold, and the good news is, you can do it yourself, WITHOUT a medical doctor.
Have you ever asked any of these questions?
- "How do I know if my child is affected by mold?"
- "My doctor doesn't know anything about mold, how do I test?"
- "My doctor says mold doesn't cause these symptoms."
- "What's the difference between mold and mycotoxins?"
- "How do I check my house for mold?"
- "Are these symptoms consistent with mold exposure?"
- "How do I get out of this mess?"
- "How do I fix my house?"
Let me answer some of these big ones for you...
Are mold and mycotoxins the same?
No, but people use them interchangeably sometimes, which is a problem.
Here's something you probably didn't know; mold spores are alive and can be killed, mycotoxins are not alive and cannot be killed.
That's why treatment for each is very different and you need someone who understands mold, mycotoxins and what they do in the body and how to address each.
Mold is a type of fungi. Its purpose is to decompose things back to nature, to break things down. It can grow almost anywhere, but for this blog post, you need to know that mold that grows on water-damaged materials and is public enemy number one. It's growing there because an environment was made (warm, wet, dark) for it to grow and break down that lumber, paper or other substrate in your house. And yes, mold CAN grow in people as well, this is called 'mold colonization.'
Mold spores are what makeup the colony and these are how the colony grows and seeds itself in other areas. These are released from the colony and will land anywhere and everywhere, and with enough moisture, will start a new colony.
We breathe these in as well and spores can cause respiratory issues and start mold colonization in our lungs, sinuses and gut.
Mycotoxins are the toxic metabolites from a colony that are used as an offensive tool against other colonies. Mold doesn't like competition, so it emits mycotoxins to attack other living things, and people get caught in the cross fire.
Mycotoxins are absolute poisonous threats to our body and which cause a whole host of issues from head to toe.
So what does this mean for testing?
This means we have multiple things to test for, and this requires different testing.
We want to test for mycotoxins in our body, but we also want to know if we're starting to grow mold in our bodies, and making ourselves a mold factory. Scary, isn't it!
Mold test #1The first test we do is the Mycotoxin lab. This is a fasted urine test which looks for mycotoxins in your urine. It will measure which are present and at what concentration.
If concentrations are too high, we know your body has been exposed to and has been accumulating these mold toxins. They need need to come out!
We need to know if your body is affected by mold toxins before we check anything else, if mold toxicity is what we want to rule in or out.
Click here to see the Mycotoxin lab page with video
Mold test #2This Organic Acids Test will tell you if you have mold colonizing in your gut. If you have had heavy mold exposure, it could very well have taken root right in your body. It's scary to think about, but relatively easy to catch with this OAT.
Without knowing, you may focus on just mycotoxins and not the actual fungus and yeast growing in your body.
This test should be done at the same time or after the mycotoxin test because you don't want a false sense of security if you don't see mold colonization. Don't mistake a clear result on this test for not being mold toxic.
Click here to see the Organic Acids lab page with video
Mold test #3The ERMI test (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) is what you use to test your house, workplace, school, or whatever area you want to check for mold. The simplest method uses a swiffer to collect dust to analyze mold species and spore counts.
The ERMI measures which molds are present, what their concentrations are, and if they're common molds, or water damage (and toxic) molds.
If you find mold and mycotoxins in your body, you need to find the source of your exposure. Staying in a mold toxic home stops your ability to heal.
Click here to see the ERMI test page with video on how to DIY
Don't use air tests, tape strips, or cheap options from hardware stores. You don't skimp on checking to see if your home has a mold problem. Those methods can have their place, but not for checking total toxic mold load on your home.
Doing an ERMI first could cause you to miss mold toxicity (mycotoxins in your system) due to the fact that your exposure could have come from anywhere at any time. Having a clean ERMI at home doesn't mean you weren't exposed to toxic mold at school, work, while on vacation or other. You can still be mold toxic even if your home ERMI is okay.