Mold, what is it exactly and how can we avoid it?
Remember Grandpa eating a piece of moldy cheese and saying “it’s good for you!”.
I would head to Wisconsin every year at Thanksgiving and I’ll never forget opening the meat drawer in my Grandparents fridge and see moldy cheese. Yuck! My Grandfather and Father would laugh and say, “it will put hair on your chest!” yeh and make me sick to my stomach.
We have all come across that moldy bread or piece of fruit and still live to talk about it. On the flip side some of us may know people that have been exposed to toxic mold and it greatly impacted their life. Let’s learn a bit more about both.
What is mold, how do we treat it and what can we do about it?
Molds are microscopic fungi that live on plant and animal matter which grows from tiny spores that float around in the air. Mold is a fungus that is found anywhere there is moisture. Right now, in Minnesota we are experiencing very high levels of snow mold. It happens every year and some years are worse depending on how much sun and rain we receive along with snow and freezing temps. This snow mold affects our grass causing it to die in areas, but it can also cause allergy reactions in people who are susceptible.
Mold can be found in food, a strawberry for example when it is taken from the bush and packaged, then transported in containers where the humidity varies. Spore’s land and then multiply causing a moldy berry. Mold can be found in your home, like windowsills, bathrooms, air ducts, flooring and really anywhere that has moisture present. Basically, Mold is everywhere.
No one knows for sure, but it is estimated that there are perhaps 300,000 or more different types of fungi.
Are molds dangerous?
The majority of molds are not considered dangerous. However, some molds produce mycotoxins, which is a poisonous substance that can make you sick. Another type of mold that can be harmful is Aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a cancer-causing poison produced in or on foods and feeds especially in field corn and peanuts. It’s why most health professionals do not recommend corn or peanuts to clients with autoimmune diseases or compromised system.
How do I know if mold is affecting me or my family?
At Dr. Greg Functional Medicine, we don’t guess we test!
As mentioned, mycotoxin are mold spores that have been shown to be harmful to the body. We run our tests through Vibrant America Labs which measures for mycotoxins in your urine. The labs cost $1,000 which includes the lab panel, Dr. Greg’s interpretation and findings. These tests are not typically covered by insurance.
Other tests available:
Visual Contrast Sensitivity Tests:
These tests can be done at home. VCS test online
Melanocyte-stimulating hormone: this hormone possesses antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Low levels have been linked to mold toxicity symptoms.
Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide: This hormone regulates inflammation; it’s been shown that people with lower levels tend to have mold toxicity.
What we have found is people with the MTHFR and HLA gene greatly increases the risk of developing symptoms associated with mold exposure.
What to do if you see mold
We do recommend cleaning the mold with pure white vinegar. The EPA does not recommend using bleach to kill or remove mold.
1. Fill a spray bottle with undiluted pure white vinegar, spray on surface and let sit for 1 hour. We do recommend you wear gloves along with eye and face protectant like goggles and a mask. After the hour wipe the area with a clean wet cloth or sponge. Let it dry and spray again with vinegar and let dry.
2. If your area is large say for example under carpeting or flooring, we do recommend removing it or having professionals like Service Master take care of it for you.
More often we can have mold under flooring, leaking rooftops or between floors and it goes unnoticed. If you have mold symptoms like memory loss, breathing issues, heart issues and vision problems, we recommend you get tested. Be aware these symptoms can also be contributed to many other health related problems.
If you test positive you will want to look for the source. This may take a professional. Here is a link to a directory of professionals you can have look into the problem. Check with your homeowners or renter’s insurance to ask about coverage. It is rare but some policies help with restoration.
How we treat mold exposure with our clients
First remove the mold if you can. Think about furniture surfaces, bedding and clothing that have all been in the room and be sure to wipe it down and wash it. Time to dust those ceiling fans and bathroom vents as well.
Supplement with glutathione
Glutathione is a great producer of antioxidants. You can take glutathione supplements and you can also eat foods like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts to increase glutathione production.
Take a binder
BioToxin Binder contains fulvic and humic acids. They tightly bind toxins to remove them via your stools.
Support your energy, oxygen and thyroid.
Mycotoxins affect your mitochondria which results in less cellular energy. When this happens, it’s really difficult to fight mold illness. We recommend using HydrOxygen daily.
Support your liver
Your live is your main detox organ. When removing mold from your body, your liver needs that extra support. Advanced Tudca works to support your liver and increases bile flow.
Get some sunshine
Sun exposure increases Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone which has been shown to help with anti-inflammatory effects. Sunlight also increases your Vitamin D level which in turn strengths your immune system.
Eat a healthy diet
We recommend either an AIP or Paleo type diet to help your body and the natural detoxification system.
When you hear the word mold, it can sound a bit scary. We believe being educated around what mold is, is important. Likely, you are reading this because you have some questions that need to be answered or maybe you have already been diagnosed with mold toxicity. We want you to know your health is important and sometimes it takes a little digging to uncover what is at the root. Working through mold toxicity is a process, reach out to us if you want someone to walk this journey with you.