Do you have a mixture of unexplained symptoms or stubborn, chronic health conditions that have been difficult to treat, despite consulting with various doctors and trying lots of different remedies?
Mold exposure – and the resulting mold toxicity – could be an important factor in your health picture.
What is Mold Toxicity?
Mold toxicity is illness caused by exposure to mold. This is also sometimes referred to as mold illness.
When we are exposed to mold – food and buildings are the most common sources – these fungi can enter our bodies through our noses and mouths, and cause unpleasant symptoms. They can also set up camp inside us, living and growing inside our bodies, especially in our respiratory and digestive systems, causing even more adverse health effects.
One of the reasons that some molds are so harmful to us humans is that they often give off something called mycotoxins. These are toxic substances produced by mold as a natural part of their life cycle. Not all types of mold produce mycotoxins, but many do, including the most common household molds: Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys chartarum (black mold). Mycotoxins
What are some symptoms that could indicate mold exposure and mold illness?
Symptoms of Possible Mold Exposure
- Respiratory symptoms
- The most common symptoms from mold illness are respiratory, and include hayfever, runny nose, sneezing, shortness of breath, swollen nasal passages, asthma, wheezing, and chronic or recurring upper respiratory tract problems
- Digestive symptoms
- The second most common area impacted by mold exposure is the digestion, and symptoms include increased food reactivity, gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn/acid reflex, nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and alternating constipation and loose stools
- Neurological symptoms
- Another very common set of problems that can stem from mold exposure are impaired memory, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, headaches, tinnitus, vision changes, nerve pain and neuropathy (numbness, tingling and sharp pain)
- Immune symptoms
- Increased vulnerability to colds/flus and infections, and auto-immune disorders, are another possible consequence of mold exposure
- Endocrine symptoms
- A variety of hormone imbalances can be caused or exacerbated by mold illness, including thyroid disorders, reproductive system related problems, impaired insulin production,
- Skin disorders such as rashes, psoriasis, and eczema can also be caused by mold illness
What does this long list tell us? That there are many symptoms and health problems that can be caused or exacerbated by exposure to mold. The reason for this is that the effect on our bodies from mold is systemic – meaning, it can adversely impact every single system in our bodies.
Check out this DIY mold questionnaire from Dr. Emily’s mold mentor, Dr. Jill Crista, to get more insight into whether mold illness is a likely issue for you.
Unfortunately, mold exposure is extremely common these days. Like environmental toxins, mold is hard to avoid, with contamination of our foods and our buildings becoming an ever-more-common problem. And I believe this is one of the underlying reasons for the prevalence of chronic health issues these days, and the difficulties that many people have with achieving and maintaining optimal health.
So if have chronic health issues that are proving challenging to overcome, or you have some of the above symptoms and haven’t been able to figure out why, consider this:
Have you ever lived or worked in a building that’s had a water leak or water infiltration of any kind, from a washing machine, water heater, roof leak, leaking or burst pipes, foundation leak, or flood?
Because the effects of mold exposure can be long lived, no matter how many years ago you were exposed, mold could be a culprit in your current health issues. If so, what to do?
Investigating Mold Illness
If you have already:
- improved your diet so it’s anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense
- improved your lifestyle (you’re getting plenty of good quality sleep, relaxation, and movement) and
- worked on healing your gut (ex. with digestive enzymes and probiotics)
but are still not feeling well, and you:
- are experiencing symptoms or health effects consistent with mold toxicity (see above), and
- have likely had an exposure to mold at any point in your life (because the effects can persist for years and even decades), and
- you have access to experienced, trusted medical advice to guide you (this is not a do-it-yourself proposition!)
then testing your body for mold toxicity is likely worth your time, effort and resources, and is your first order of business. This is what I typically recommend because, in my experience, it is most useful to focus on:
- finding out what your body is dealing with now,
- helping clear your body of the mold/mycotoxins that are present now (as much as possible), and
- healing from the adverse effects of those toxins, however they are manifesting.
Next time, we’ll dive into the topic of testing your body for mold illness, so stay tuned!