Mycotoxin Poisoning & Toxic Mold: Symptoms & Solutions
You’re doing everything right — eating an optimal diet, managing stress, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep — yet you are STILL struggling with chronic health issues. You’ve gone from doctor to doctor yet no one can explain the root cause of your symptoms.
If you can’t seem to figure out what’s behind your constant fatigue, recurring headaches, itchy or painful skin rashes, increasing anxiety, and worsening autoimmune conditions, it’s time to look deeper. There may be a little-understood cause behind your symptoms: mycotoxin poisoning.
Persistent Symptoms of Mycotoxin Poisoning
Let me tell you about Jenny, one of the patients who came to see me in my clinic, Austin UltraHealth. Jenny had polymyositis, an autoimmune disease characterized by the breakdown of muscles. When Jenny came to see me, she had been to 10 different doctors. She was already taking three very strong medications: Cellcept (an anti-rejection immunosuppressant, typically prescribed to those who receive an organ transplant), Prednisone (a corticosteroid), and Methotrexate (a chemotherapy agent). She also reported having recurring SIBO and Candida overgrowth.
I knew Jenny worked as a volleyball coach in a fairly old school building. She had also mentioned she and her husband were renovating their home. These working and living conditions immediately raised a red flag for me.
In fact, whenever I hear someone is struggling with symptoms that won’t go away no matter how strict their diet or how healthy their lifestyle, I think about the third pillar of The Myers Way®, Tame the Toxins. Specifically, I suspect one particular toxin: mycotoxins produced by certain types of mold. Mycotoxin poisoning from toxic mold is a root cause that very few doctors — even functional medicine practitioners — know much about.
What Are Mycotoxins?
So, what are mycotoxins? Mycotoxins are very toxic compounds given off by certain types of mold. While the vast majority of molds we encounter everyday are not dangerous, there are some molds that produce gas-like substances called mycotoxins. These are very similar to a volatile organic compound (VOC).
If you are genetically susceptible to them, these mycotoxins can take a serious toll on your health, especially if your immune system is already compromised with an autoimmune condition. In fact, roughly one-quarter of the population has an immune response gene called HLA-DR1 that inhibits the clearing of mycotoxins from their body. Yet, under certain circumstances, mycotoxin poisoning from toxic mold can have the same effect on people without the genetic predisposition as well.
I am one of the unlucky ones with this gene and I’ll share my own experience with mycotoxin poisoning later on. For now, let me explain how mycotoxins can accumulate in your body and cause a whole host of chronic health issues and troubling symptoms.
Symptoms of Mycotoxin Exposure
- ADD and/or ADHD
- Autoimmune diseases
- Cognitive impairment, brain fog, and memory loss
- Depression, anxiety, and other mood imbalances
- Eczema, psoriasis, or rashes
- Fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome
- Fibromyalgia, muscle weakness, and joint pain
- Food sensitivities
- Histamine intolerance
- Leaky gut
- Lyme disease symptoms (yet a negative Lyme disease test)
- Metallic taste in mouth
- Neurological issues
- Recurrent Candida overgrowth (especially if you are adhering to the diet)
- Shortness of breath
- Sinus infections, allergies, asthma
- Static shocks
Now, I want to point out that mycotoxin poisoning is not the same as having an allergic reaction to mold exposure. People with a mold allergy tend to get typical hay fever or allergy symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, or sinus infections when the mold count in their environment is high. And remember, the vast majority of these molds are not toxic molds that produce mycotoxins.
Which Molds Produce Mycotoxins?
Molds are everywhere in our environment. No one knows how many varieties there are, however estimates range from tens of thousands to more than 300,000.2 Most types of molds don’t cause adverse health effects, while others — the toxic molds — give off the mycotoxins that can be very dangerous.
Some molds, like the ones used to make certain cheeses, are edible. Others that grow on a wide array of foodstuffs including bread, soy, corn, dried fruit, coffee, peanuts, and many others can either be harmless or give off mycotoxins, depending on the type. Below is a chart of the most common types of toxic molds found in homes and the mycotoxins they produce.3
4 Common Types of Molds that Produce Mycotoxins
As we’ve seen, mycotoxin production comes from many types of mold. However, some are more common than others. I’ll focus on the four that are most commonly found in homes, schools, and workplaces.
1. Stachybotrys Chartarum
The most common type of toxic mold that can lead to mold illness is Stachybotrys chartarum, also called “black mold”. Mold, and especially black mold, grows in hot, humid conditions, particularly where there is constant exposure to moisture from water leaks, flooding, or other water damage.4 Mycotoxin poisoning caused by Stachybotrys chartarum has been implicated in outbreaks of infant pulmonary hemorrhage. This prompted the Committee on Public Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics to issue a statement on the dangers of indoor molds.5
If you are living in a poorly ventilated, air-conditioned environment, you may be breathing in both the mold spores of Stachybotrys chartarum and the mycotoxins it produces including roridin E, satratoxin H, sporidesmin G, trichoverrins, verrucarol, and several types of trichothecenes.
These can be recycled through the air ducts, leading to what is known as “sick building syndrome.” The rise of tightly sealed, energy-efficient homes and office buildings has led to an increased prevalence of persistent health problems. These include irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract, headaches, fatigue, as well as strange odor and taste sensations, all common mycotoxins symptoms.
2. Aspergillus Flavus
Other types of toxic mold, including Aspergillus flavus, can form dangerous mycotoxins known as aflatoxins. While these are often found on stored food products, in an indoor environment they can be found in damp walls, wallpaper, floor and carpet dust, humidifiers and HVAC fans. Aflatoxins are a well-recognized carcinogen6 and are associated with mycotoxins symptoms such as organ damage, particularly to the liver.
3. Aspergillus Fumigatus
Aspergillus fumigatus fungus is one of the most prevalent airborne molds. It has caused mycotoxin poisoning in both indoor and outdoor environments. In fact, you likely inhale hundreds of its spores every single day.
Aspergillus fumigatus was always thought to be a rather weak pathogen. However, the skyrocketing rates of autoimmune disease and otherwise weakened immune systems have led to a huge increase in health issues caused by mycotoxin poisoning via Aspergillus metabolites such as gliotoxin.
What is a Gliotoxin?
A gliotoxin is a toxic chemical compound produced by Aspergillus that inhibits the communication pathways between immune cells. When your immune cells can’t work together to defend you, more and more Aspergillus spores can enter your body and infiltrate your tissues and organs. As more spores enter your body, more gliotoxins are produced. This weakens your immune system further… and on and on the cycle continues.
What’s more, studies have shown that Candida albicans can also produce gliotoxins. In the same way that gliotoxins leave you defenseless to unregulated amounts of Aspergillus spores,7 their immune-suppressing activity paves the way for stubborn, recurrent Candida overgrowth.8 Gliotoxins have also been discovered to have antithrombotic properties, which means it prevents the formation of clots and thins blood, allowing it to travel more freely through the bloodstream and access areas of the body quickly and easily. This explains why those with recurring Candida experience total-body symptoms such as brain fog, digestive issues, urinary tract infections, or seasonal allergies.
4. Aspergillus Versicolor
This particular type of mold is one of the most common. In addition to growing in air conditioning, it is often found in carpeting. It is associated with pulmonary disease and is particularly dangerous because it tends to result in mycotoxin poisoning that affects immunocompromised patients and even household pets.9 One of the mycotoxins it is known to produce, sterigmatocystin, is also a carcinogen.10
Who is Affected by Mycotoxin Poisoning?
Now we know what types of mold are most likely to produce mycotoxins and what mycotoxins symptoms you might experience. Yet not everyone feels the effects. Let me explain why.
Let’s get back to Jenny. I gave Jenny a mold toxicity test to determine if she had a gene that predisposed her to problems with toxic mold. I also gave her a urine test to see what types and levels of mycotoxins she’d been exposed to if any.
I discovered that not only was she exposed to mycotoxins, she also has a genetic predisposition. This is why, when she was dealing with mycotoxin exposure due to toxic molds that were stirred up during her home renovation, she experienced a wide range of persistent mycotoxins symptoms. Her husband, who does not have the genetic factor, had no reaction to mold poisoning at all. This is not uncommon and can make pinpointing the environmental cause very difficult.
I can personally attest to this. Like Jenny, I have the HLA-DR gene that prevents me from clearing mycotoxins. On more than one occasion I have become very sick from mycotoxin poisoning. The first time, I had to leave my home and throw away everything I owned.
The next time I was forced to leave a home that had toxic mold, I was living with my husband. Again, I had to toss nearly all my possessions. Fortunately, like Jenny’s husband, my husband, Xavier, was not affected by the mycotoxins that made me so sick.
Most recently, I became ill after being exposed to mycotoxins in a hotel in Mexico. Unfortunately, those of us with genetic predisposition have to be careful of our surroundings and aware of the mycotoxins symptoms if we are exposed.
However, ALL of us are susceptible to mycotoxin poisoning due to factors such as diet, leaky gut, other toxins, infections, and stress. Poor lifestyle habits impair your ability to detoxify mycotoxins and increase the levels of inflammation in your body.
As your inflammation rises and your toxic burden becomes too great, continuous exposure to toxic mold will inevitably lead to mycotoxins symptoms, even if you would not be affected if you were in optimal health. In turn, mycotoxin poisoning can make you more vulnerable to other illnesses, worsen the effects of a poor diet, and heighten the impact of other toxins.
How Mycotoxins Affect Your Body
Like mold spores themselves, mycotoxins are often airborne and enter your body through your respiratory tract. In the short term, this can cause a number of respiratory symptoms including asthma, allergies, sinus infections, and cold- and flu-like symptoms.
If you have a leaky gut, mycotoxins may also pass through your intestinal wall and travel throughout your bloodstream to your skin, brain, and other organs. This can lead to mycotoxins symptoms in any part of your body such as eczema, psoriasis, anxiety, brain fog, and autoimmunity.
One way mycotoxins wreak havoc on your health is by adversely affecting your cells’ mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells, making them essential to nearly every bodily function. They provide your cells with energy. That’s why you can experience chronic fatigue or weakness when dealing with mycotoxin poisoning.
When mitochondria are not functioning optimally, they release free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can cause cell damage. This cell damage, in turn, causes inflammation. The more inflammation you have, the higher up on the autoimmune spectrum you are. This is why it’s so challenging for autoimmune patients to reverse their symptoms while dealing with mycotoxin poisoning.
Further, your metabolism plays a key role in modulating the effects of mycotoxins. The normal chemical reactions going on in your cells can determine whether or not mycotoxins can bond with molecules in your body such as proteins and lipids. Depending on the type of mycotoxin that’s entered your body, different systems can be affected. These include your immune system, vascular system, various organs, and your hormones.
The good news is that it is entirely possible to reverse the symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning and prevent toxic mold from growing out of control in your home! As you’ve read, I’ve experienced mycotoxin poisoning more than once myself, and have helped thousands of others who now enjoy optimal health.
Testing for Toxic Mold
Let’s look at how to test yourself for mycotoxin poisoning, as well as the types of mycotoxin testing you can perform to determine whether your home is the source of the toxic mold. Because determining the source of the problem is difficult, you’ll need to gather as much information as you can.
The Process of Elimination
As I’ve said before, your body knows better than any mold toxicity test. The first step I always recommend is to try to remove yourself from the environments you spend a lot of time in to establish which ones may be the source of your mycotoxins symptoms.
Get yourself out of your home, office, or school and see if your symptoms resolve. Take as little as you can with you from the environment you are leaving, so you don’t bring the mycotoxins with you.
Try to remain in the same town you currently live in, so you introduce as few new variables into your life as possible. Stay with a friend or relative nearby (who hopefully doesn’t also have mycotoxins in their home) or stay in a local hotel or rental for as long as you can, preferably up to two weeks.
If you feel better when you are away from home and worse again when you return, then your house is likely the toxic environment. If you feel better when you are away from your workplace, then that is likely the toxic environment. It’s just like an elimination diet. Your body will clue you in.
While You’re Away….
Chemical sensitivity is a very common experience among those affected by mycotoxin poisoning. Although this may not happen to you, it’s good to be aware of this so you can avoid moving into a newly constructed building or an older building that has been recently renovated or redecorated, if possible.
My family and I moved into a newly-built apartment to get away from mycotoxins. Because my immune system was so compromised, I became even sicker from the off-gassing of all the new building materials. I developed headaches, rashes, and food sensitivities. It became so bad that I had to sleep on our balcony for a month. In the course of just a few months, we moved six times!
I’ve heard from many people over the years who slept on porches, balconies, and even in tents to try to find a clean environment, free of both mycotoxins and chemicals.
Testing Yourself for Mycotoxins
In terms of mycotoxin testing, I always started with the patient first. I recommend using a urine test from RealTime Labs. It tests for 15 specific types of mycotoxins in seven families that may be in your body:
- Aflatoxin B1, B2, G1, and G2
- Isosatratoxin F
- Ochratoxin A (OTA)
- Roridin A, E, H, and L-2
- Satratoxin G and H
- Verrucarin J and A
Now, if you DO test positive for mycotoxin poisoning and you are a stay-at-home parent or work in your home, you can be pretty confident the toxic environment is your home since that is where you spend most of your time.
However, if you split your time equally between work and home (or school and home for children), it can be tricky to determine which is the toxic environment. Unfortunately, if you live and work in a humid region where toxic mold is more common (toxic mold is less common, although still possible, in dry climates), both your home and your workplace may be contributing to the problem. There may even be more than one type of mycotoxins produced by different types of toxic mold in these two environments.
Comparative Testing for Mycotoxins
For this reason, I recommend someone else in your home take a mold toxicity test if possible. That way, if they also test positive for the same mycotoxins (even if they aren’t showing signs of exposure) you’ll have further evidence it’s your home that is the toxic environment.
If you can convince a coworker to take a mold toxicity test and they test negative, that will give you even more confidence that your home is the toxic environment. Of course, if they test positive, that muddies the waters a little. A test of a second coworker could be helpful.
Gene Testing for Mycotoxin Susceptibility
If you’re aware that you are susceptible, you’ll know you need to take immediate action, even if no one else has symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning. You’ll also be able to quickly identify the signs if it happens again. For example, if you check into a hotel room and begin to feel mycotoxins symptoms within a few hours, you’ll know to request a different room or even move to another hotel.
If you learn you have been exposed to mycotoxins, you may find HLA-DR testing helpful. As I explained previously, nearly one-fourth of the population lacks the HLA-DR gene, which prevents your body from clearing mycotoxins.
The HLA-DR mold toxicity test is a simple blood test for the immune response genes on chromosome six. Since your genes don’t change, you only need to test once in your lifetime. While we can’t change our genes, knowledge is definitely power.
Mycotoxin poisoning can decrease the formation of glutathione, a natural antioxidant produced in your body, due to decreased gene expression of the enzymes needed to form glutathione. Compromised glutathione production can result in an excess of oxidative stress that leads to tissue damage and systemic illness.
A glutathione panel can help you determine if your production of glutathione is in the normal range. It can also test for the two genes responsible for the production of glutathione. Mutations in either of them can lead to a reduced ability to synthesize glutathione and a reduced ability to protect against mycotoxins.
However, keep in mind that even people without the gene can still be affected by mycotoxin poisoning. That’s because anyone with a compromised immune system can become sick from mycotoxins.
The Shoemaker Labs
Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker is a leading researcher in biotoxin-related illness, particularly toxic mold. During the course of his research and his practice, which was focused on treating the illnesses that arise from water-damaged buildings, he developed a protocol and series of lab testing to check the levels of specific hormones and chemicals that are affected by mycotoxins.
The main thing to understand is that mycotoxin poisoning sets off a chain reaction in your body that affects several inflammatory markers, hormones, and other chemicals, causing some to rise and others to plummet. By getting a mold toxicity test for these key markers, you can determine how the mycotoxins are affecting you, and develop the best treatment plan.
ACLA IgA/IgG/IgM (Anticardiolipin Antibodies)
ACLAs are autoantibodies, which cause the immune system to attack your own body. High levels of ACLAs interfere with normal blood vessel function and can increase the risk of early miscarriage. Normal range for ACLA IgA is 0-12, IgG is 0-10, and IgM is 0-9.
ACTH is a hormone that is released from the anterior pituitary gland in the brain. Cortisol is made in the adrenal glands. These hormone levels become abnormal in CIRS patients, rising early in the illness and then falling. Low ACTH is associated with an increase in symptoms. Normal range for ACTH is 8-37 pg/mL and normal range for cortisol is 3.3-22.4 ug/dL (am) and 3.1-16.7 ug/dL (pm).
ADH (Antidiuretic Hormone)/Osmolalaity
ADH is a hormone that controls the amount of water in your body. Osmolality is the measure of the concentration of substances in your blood (the higher the osmolality, the “thicker” your blood, because there is less fluid in it). Elevated ADH and osmolality are associated with dehydration, excessive thirst, and sensitivity to electric shocks. Normal range for ADH is 1.0-13.3 pg/mL and for osmolality is 280-300 mos/mol.
AGA IgA/IgG (Antigliadin Antibodies)
AGAs are produced in response to gliadin, a protein in gluten. Mold illness can also increase AGAs. Normal range for AGA IgA/IgG is 0-19.
C4a is a significant inflammatory marker. It is released when the immune system is activated and plays a key role in promoting inflammation. High levels of C4a (normal range: 0-2830 ng/ml) are seen within 12 hours of exposure to mycotoxins and remain elevated until the cause is treated. This is one of the most important levels to check because it is a very strong indication of mold illness.
Leptin is a hormone that regulates fat metabolism. Elevated leptin levels cause the body to store fatty acids as fat, leading to rapid weight gain that does not respond to diet and exercise. Normal range for leptin is 0.5-13.8 ng/mL (men) and 1.1-27.5 ng/dL (women).
MMP-9 (Matrix Metallopeptidase 9)
MMP-9 is an enzyme that facilitates the delivery of inflammatory substances into the brain and nerves, lungs, muscles, and joints. Elevated MMP-9 (normal range: 85-332 ng/mL) causes increased inflammation in solid organs.
MSH (Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone)
Most people with toxic mold illness have an MSH level below normal (normal range: 35-81 pg/mL). MSH is a hormone that regulates many other hormones, inflammation pathways, and immune functions. Low MSH can lead to a chain reaction of effects, including disordered sleep and chronic pain.
TGF-ß-1 (Transforming Growth Factor Beta-1)
TGF-ß-1 is an important regulatory protein that helps control cell growth, division, and survival. Elevated TGF-ß-1 (normal range: <2380 pg/mL) impairs regulatory T-cell functioning and can also activate autoimmunity.
VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor)
VEGF is a chemical signal made by cells to increase blood vessel formation and increase blood flow. Low VEGF (normal range: 31-86 pg/mL) impairs normal blood flow, which can lead to fatigue.
VIP (Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide)
VIP is a hormone that regulates the release of cytokines and affects the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract. Low VIP (normal range: 23-63 pg/mL) is common in people with mold illness and causes shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, and diarrhea.
Environmental Testing for Mold and Mycotoxins
If you live alone and test positive for mycotoxin poisoning, there are some tests you can run on your home to help verify whether it is your house or your workplace that is the source of toxic mold. Some of these tests are more accurate than others in determining the presence of mycotoxins and it’s best to have all of your environments tested — including your workplace or school.
It can be very difficult to convince others to permit environmental testing for toxic mold, so you may need to skip that. As I’ve said many times, we must concentrate on what we can control, which is usually our home environment.
Testing Your Home for Toxic Mold
Remember too, that mold testing is not mycotoxin testing. While there is some value in testing your home for mold, it’s important to recall that molds are a natural and necessary part of our environment. While mold may be growing in your home as a result of water damage that should be fixed, these molds are not necessarily creating mycotoxins and also don’t necessarily have any adverse health effects.
1. ERMI Test
The illnesses associated with mycotoxin poisoning have become such a well-recognized issue that the Environmental Protection Agency has developed a research tool called the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI). Dust samples are collected in a home and DNA from mold in the dust is analyzed. The sample is then compared to the ERMI, an index or scale.
The analysis can be used to determine the amount of mold in an environment, as well as the types of mold. From there you can tell if the mold that’s present is the type that can produce mycotoxins.
You can hire a company to do this, or use one of the many kits. Some of these include professional evaluation of the results and some you compare to a chart. Your best results will come from hiring a professional, however, that is also the more expensive option.
Remember that it is not necessarily the amount of mold that can cause problems, it is the type.
2. Spore Capture Test
A second testing option for your home is to have a certified mold testing company run an air quality test. This mold toxicity test will see if you have high mold concentration levels in your home. The problem with this test is that it doesn’t test specifically for mycotoxins. So a high mold concentration could be correlated, yet it doesn’t necessarily mean these are toxic molds responsible for giving you mycotoxin poisoning.
Most people only do this type of mold toxicity test one time inside their home. However, it’s best to do this more than one time and also test the outside air for comparison.
My friend Eric Althouse of Air Intellect has helped me with mycotoxin testing several times. In his process, dust is wiped from approximately 10 ft of surfaces from the house. Ideally, individual samples from each HVAC zone are taken and shipped to the lab for analysis. Settled dust is a great indicator of what’s in the environment.
1. Mycotoxin Panel
This test can determine the presence of the potentially dangerous trichothecenes produced by Stachybotrys chartarum. Mycotoxin contamination in the form of ochratoxin, aflatoxin, and sterigmatocystin (STG), all of which may be found in water-damaged buildings, can also be detected.
2. Mold DNA Scan
You can also have a DNA scan to detect the presence of 45 different species of mold. This test will almost always detect the presence of mold since it’s everywhere. The importance of this test is that it can determine the concentrations of the various species.
The testing company can compare the concentrations to the data of what’s typical. If the concentrations vary from the norm, you’ll know to search for hidden mold.
Recovering from Toxic Mold
Once you’ve completed the tests and identified the toxins that are affecting your body and what environment they’re in, you’ll be able to begin the process of recovering from mycotoxin poisoning and reclaiming your health.
How to Recover from Toxic Mold
Tackling toxic mold can be a daunting experience if you don’t know where to begin. I want to arm you with the tools to get your life and your health back in order. The good news is that because I’ve experienced mycotoxin poisoning myself more than once and worked with hundreds of toxic mold patients, I can pass on what I’ve learned and offer you realistic strategies for combating the mold that’s causing your mycotoxins symptoms.
Cleaning Your Home of Toxic Mold
This can be an expensive and time-consuming process, so consider whether moving to a new, mycotoxin-free home is your best option. If that’s not possible or desirable, I strongly recommend that you get out of your environment while it’s being cleaned, ideally by a professional mold removal company with several years of experience and excellent references. This is not something you should do yourself.
Take as little as possible with you, and either discard or make sure all your remaining possessions are cleaned before you return.
Before You Return
- Fix any water leaks and sources of moisture including faulty plumbing, leaky roofs or walls, and blocked rain gutters.
- Have your HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning) system checked for signs of mold. Do not run it until you are sure it has been cleaned.
- Kill mold on hard, nonporous surfaces with bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or detergent.
- Remove carpeting from your home. It’s difficult to clean and the surface may seem dry while moisture lurks underneath it.
- Replace drywall or other porous building materials that are too moldy to be cleaned.
As a last step before you return to your home, you may wish to hire a contractor to inspect your home with infrared lighting to detect water damage in your house. Although it will not give you a definitive answer about mycotoxins, it will help you determine if all the water damage has been repaired. If you do choose this test, try to schedule it for after it has rained, rather than when the weather has been dry to avoid a false negative result.
After You Return
- Maintain indoor humidity at 30–50%. Ensure adequate ventilation from moist areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas. Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers and change the filters frequently. You can buy an inexpensive humidity meter to help ensure that your home stays within the proper range.
- Minimize the amount of cloth used in your home. Restrict cloth accessories to items that are easily washed such as bed linens and throw rugs. Consider leather for your upholstered furniture and opt for blinds rather than curtains or draperies. If you use throw pillows, make sure to get ones with removable, washable covers.
- Skip the wood. Select furniture made from glass or metal which is easy to clean and less likely to be damaged by water or mold.
- Use an air purifier such as the IQAir purifiers I use in my home and office to remove airborne particles from the air you breathe.
Reverse Your Symptoms of Mycotoxin Poisoning
Once you’ve removed yourself from exposure, and are in the process of cleaning indoor mold in your home, the next step is to speed the removal of mycotoxins from your body so you can recover from mycotoxin poisoning.
Support Your Body’s Detoxification Processes
I recommend a glutathione supplement to support your body’s detoxification pathways. Glutathione is the body’s master detoxifier. No other nutrient works harder to detoxify your body. Concentrated in your liver, glutathione is your body’s most important molecule when it comes to detoxifying heavy metals and mycotoxins.
It also helps the body process and eliminates other toxins such as those found in plastics and conventional body products. When you’re under stress or toxic burden, glutathione is rapidly depleted, so supplementation can be crucial in effectively mediating these challenges. As we noted above, mycotoxins are free radicals and Glutathione is the body’s ultimate free radical scavenger.
Optimize Liver Function
An optimally functioning liver is critical for ALL aspects of health, especially for those experiencing mycotoxin poisoning. You probably already know your liver filters toxins out of your blood. However, it’s also responsible for breaking down these toxins, and it’s the main producer of glutathione, so keeping your liver in top condition is an important step in returning to optimal health after mold illness.
My Liver Support supplement is packed with liver-boosters including N-Acetyl-Cysteine; the liver-loving glutathione precursor. N-Acetyl-Cysteine, or NAC for short, is a special form of cysteine, an amino acid used by the body to help make glutathione.
Move the Mycotoxins Out
In order to help reverse the symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning, I recommend my coconut charcoal, which encourages healthy detox pathways. Because activated charcoal has a negative electric charge, it can attract and remove positively charged compounds such as mycotoxins. Each grain of the ultrafine powder of my coconut charcoal is covered by millions of tiny pores that create a larger surface area to bind with and capture all manner of toxins.
Speed the Process with Sweat
Nothing helps cleanse your body and remove toxins like a good sweat. You may not feel like exercising while you are experiencing the symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning. However, a sauna, particularly an infrared sauna, is a great option. When compared to traditional Swedish saunas, infrared saunas allow you to eliminate about seven times more toxins.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so whether you choose a traditional sauna or an infrared, moving toxins out through the approximately 5 million pores in your body will help you feel better fast.
Renew with Oxygen
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) can help block the action of harmful bacteria and strengthen the body’s immune system. In this treatment, you enter a special chamber full of pure oxygen. Breathing in pure oxygen helps fill your blood with oxygen to repair tissues and restore normal body function. HBOT can disable the toxins and help improve the ability of white blood cells to find and destroy invaders. Recent studies have shown that abnormal brain scans in mold-exposed patients have improved after HBOT.11
Strengthen Your Immune System with an Optimal Diet
If you haven’t been optimizing your diet, now is the time to start. It’s especially crucial for those with mycotoxin poisoning to avoid more toxic substances that will compromise your detox pathways. That way, your body can spend all its energy eliminating the mycotoxins rather than working overtime to keep up with clearing out toxic foods you introduce at every meal. Steer clear of inflammatory foods such as grains and legumes, nightshades, gluten, and dairy.
Even after you’ve tackled your mycotoxin poisoning, I recommend eliminating toxic foods such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners from your diet entirely. These foods are toxic for all bodies and contribute to leaky gut and autoimmunity.
On the flip side, there are plenty of foods that help you detox naturally that you can easily add to your daily diet. Optimizing your diet to include these foods can help boost your detox efforts and quickly reverse the symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning.
Manage Your Stress
You are going through an incredibly difficult time — believe me, I know how you feel. Overcoming mycotoxin poisoning was one of the most difficult periods of my life. At this time, not only is your body under extreme stress from the inflammation that comes with mold poisoning, you’re also under a lot of mental stress from trying to figure out what is wrong, moving to a clean environment, and discarding your possessions.
Learn and practice stress-reduction techniques including meditation, deep breathing, or gentle yoga. Feeling isolated is a big source of stress for many. Remember that you are not alone. Reach out to friends and family, and join my community to find others who are dealing with toxic mold exposure or mycotoxin poisoning as well.
Consider adding my Adrenal Support supplement to your daily routine. It’s rich in adaptogenic herbs that support a balanced production of cortisol production — your fight-or-flight hormone that remains elevated when you’re under constant stress. Adaptogens also help modulate cellular sensitivity to stress hormones, thereby encouraging a more robust and healthy response to stress overall. I’ve also included L-Tyrosine, an amino acid needed to support catecholamine production, which is crucial for those dealing with chronic stress.
Finally, be confident that you will regain your health. I, and many, many others who have followed The Myers Way®, have found the source of their symptoms and made a full recovery from mycotoxin poisoning. You can, too.
For more information
I sat down with Aristo Vojdani to discuss how environmental triggers such as food, toxic chemicals, infectious agents, and pathogens contribute to autoimmunity.
- Major Histocompatibility Complex, Class II, Dr. Alpha, DLA-DRa. Carol A Bocchini. OMIM: Human Genetics Knowledge for the World . 2016.
- Basic Facts About Mold and Dampness. CDC.
- The Ultimate Mold, Mycotoxin, and Human Symptom Chart. Surviving Toxic Mold.
- Facts About Stachybotrys Chartarum. CDC.
- Mycotoxins. J.W. Bennett, M. Klich. NCBI. 2003.
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