Could Your Symptoms Be Related To Mold?
Fatigue, brain fog, headaches, sinus problems, shortness of breath, skin rashes, burning eyes, blurred vision, insomnia, digestive issues, anxiety, and depression. Although these symptoms may appear be caused by several different factors, they can also be caused by exposure to mold.
Mold Can Make You Sicker Than You Think
Mold can affect every system in your body, hence the wide range of symptoms that can occur after exposure to a moldy environment. That's because mold spores produce toxins that set off an inflammatory response in your body. If you have asthma, sinus problems or other respiratory illnesses, you may be more susceptible to mold than other individuals. Moreover, if you have a weakened immune system or a genetic susceptibility, mold exposure can make you sicker than you think.
Approximately 24% of the population is extremely susceptible to mold-related illness due to genetic susceptibility. If you are one of these people, exposure to mold can set off a cascade of inflammation in your body called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Dr. William Shoemaker, an expert on CIRS and mold-related illness, reports that when individuals with genetic susceptibility to mold experience a triggering event such as a serious illness, an inflammatory response occurs which sets them up for a severe inflammatory response (CIRS) once they are exposed to mold. Lyme Disease and Epstein Barr Virus are two such triggering illnesses, but Dr. Shoemaker reports that there are many other factors that can also lead to this chronic inflammatory response in genetically susceptible individuals.
Mold Is Everywhere
Mold is a normal part of our outdoor environment. Outside, mold spores are commonly found in damp areas like a pile of decaying leaves. Inside, however, mold growth is a sign of a serious humidity-related or water damage-related problem. Common places for mold to grow include under sinks, in bathrooms with poor ventilation, in poorly maintained AC systems, and in basements. Water-damaged buildings act as an incubator for the many microbes, fungi, and chemicals which can make you sick. While it is true that moisture control is mold control, exposure to mold can also occur in dry climates where indoor air-conditioning is in use.
Mold exposure can occur when you inhale, touch or even ingest mold spores or the toxins they produce. Mold spores can be found on many foods, especially on grains, nuts, coffee, dried fruit, beans, rice, and, not surprisingly, in alcoholic beverages and cheese. Mold is resistant to heat, so cooking mold-contaminated food will not kill the mold spores. It's best to always inspect mold susceptible foods and avoid eating contaminated sources.
You Can Recover From Mold Exposure
The good news is that you can recover from mold toxicity. To get on the road to recovery, there are several steps you can take:
Identify & properly remove the source of your mold exposure:
Have a qualified mold inspector evaluate your home (or workplace or school) for mold & associated toxins.
Get a qualified mold remediation professional to remove the mold. Make sure you a company that is certified by either the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors or the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification.
Check for the presence of mold on the mold-susceptible foods listed above.
Protect your environment from mold:
Regularly check for areas of moisture/dampness.
Invest in a high quality dehumidifier to keep humidity below 50%.
Keep your HVAC system properly maintained.
Use a high quality air purifier that contains a HEPA filter.
Act quickly if you have water damage or high humidity:
It only takes 24-48 hours for mold to start growing on moist or damp areas inside your home, school or workplace.
It's not enough to properly remediate your environment - you also need to remove the mold & associated toxins from your body. See a "mold-literate" healthcare professional who can test you for mold toxins and put you on a mold recovery plan that includes an anti-fungal diet and an effective detoxification program.
If you think you may have a mold-related illness, please contact us for more information on how you can improve your health with a mold recovery plan.
Bennet,JW & Klich, M. Mycotoxins. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul; 16(3): 497–516.
Egbuta, MA, et al. Health Risks Associated with Exposure to Filamentous Fungi. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Jul; 14(7): 719.
Liew W & Mohd-Redzan, S.Mycotoxin: Its Impact on Gut Health and Microbiota.Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2018; 8: 60.
Mendell, m et al. Respiratory and Allergic Health Effects of Dampness, Mold, and Dampness-Related Agents: A Review of the Epidemiologic Evidence Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jun; 119(6): 748–756
The contents of this blog are intended for educational purposes only. The information presented here is not a substitute for proper medical attention, diagnosis, or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider before starting or making any changes to an existing treatment plan, exercise program or dietary regimen and before using nutritional supplements.
~ Dr.Sarah Williams ~ Concord & Nantucket,Massachusetts ~