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Mycotoxins and Mold Toxicity

Submitted by Ann Curcio, RN

Mold is a fungus, which produces mycotoxins. Fortunately, not all molds release these harmful toxins, but the toxic mold that does can cause systemic reactions such as fatigue, weakness, brain fog, headaches, abdominal pain, and so much more.

About Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are produced as secondary metabolites by filamentous fungi and are harmful to humans. Exposure to these tiny spores can occur through ingestion, inhalation, or contact with these airborne particles causing acute or chronic illness. The toxicity of the mycotoxin, exposure time to the mold, age, and nutritional status of the affected person are all factors in determining the severity of the mold illness.

The most common types of mycotoxins include:

  • Aflatoxins

  • Citrinin

  • Ochratoxin

  • Fumonisins

  • Trichothecenes

  • Zearalenone

A healthy immune system naturally rids your body of these toxins – they’re long gone before you even think of coffee in the morning. However, depending on your genetics and your immune system status, you might have a difficult time getting rid of these toxins which add to your toxic burden.

Toxic Mold Exposure in Your Home

No matter where it’s lurking, toxic mold is associated with disease. What can tip us off to these spores being blown through our air conditioning or growing in our drywall? Commonly, people are dealing with a slew of health issues and haven’t realized they can all be traced back to a single source – toxic mold. Even some seemingly unrelated conditions can be caused by mold exposure.

Mycotoxins in the home are toxic substances produced by many types of molds which can have devastating health effects over time. These toxins are produced by indoor molds like penicillium, aspergillus, stachybotrys, chaetomium (to name only a few).

There are certain mold exposure symptoms that should send you to a healthcare provider knowledgeable in mold illness. Since toxic mold can wreak havoc on your health, it’s crucial to find the source, and remove the mold (professionally) or remove yourself from the mold. Below are some red flags of toxic mold exposure that should never be ignored.

Mold Symptoms

Mold symptoms can come and go. Often, the symptoms worsen or return when you are in a moldy home or building. Some of the common mold symptoms can include the following:

  • Headache

  • a tightening in the chest

  • burning sensations in airways

  • cough

  • difficulty breathing, wheezing

  • fever

  • fits of sneezing

  • nose bleeds

  • skin irritation

  • stuffy nose, watery or itchy eyes

Mold Toxicity

About 1,300 million years ago, long before humans ran the earth, fungi were the frontrunners of existence. They have survived millions and millions of years before us, and will always have the upper hand. They can evolve faster than we can, and therefore will always outlive us.

Some fungus has actually been beneficial to humans such as antibiotics like penicillin, and the yummy mushrooms we add to meals. Some fungi are even responsible for the aging of certain hard cheeses. But as with every life form, there are the good guys and the bad guys. These bad guys are the opportunistic fungi whose mycotoxins take advantage of their immunocompromised host.

Mold toxicity is not just a mold allergy – you’re dealing with debilitating symptoms. Toxic mold illness can cause headaches, brain fog, chronic fatigue, joint and muscle pain. The list goes on and on, and the symptoms sometimes don’t seem to add up. Mold is an opportunistic fungus that releases mycotoxins which are making you sick. And depending on your genetics, this can play a huge role in detoxing the mold mycotoxins from your system.

When you have mold toxicity, you’re struggling with chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS). Not only are the mycotoxins from the mold making you sick, but toxins from your environment are adding to your symptoms as well. Because of this inflammation, CIRS patients can have an increased inflammatory biomarker in their blood. Your toxic burden is the total accumulation of toxins in your body, which can include food, water, air, and even personal care products.

Following a Mold Detox Diet

When dealing with suspected mold exposure, or when you are trying to treat mold-related illness, it is important to avoid foods that contain mycotoxins.

Mycotoxin foods to avoid:

  • Alcohol

  • Corn

  • Wheat and wheat-based products

  • Barley

  • Mushrooms

  • Sugarcane

  • Sugar beets

  • Peanuts and cashews

  • Rye

  • Bananas

  • Dairy products

  • Yeast

Additionally, here are 8 natural remedies to help eliminate the dangers of black mold exposure:

  • Phosphatidylcholine

  • Glutathione, known as the “master antioxidant” is great at protecting your mitochondria from the damaging effects of oxidative stress. ... Oral and Intravenous options available.

  • Garlic

  • Chlorophyll

  • CoQ10

  • Activated Charcoal

  • Probiotics

It is best to consult with your Health Care Provider before starting any treatment. However, chances are your provider may be unaware of testing and treatment for molds. IM of CNY providers are educated and experienced in mold treatment. We offer consultation, mold testing, and treatment options. Call 315 741-5774 to learn more about seeing one of our practitioners if you suspect you have a mold-related illness.


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