Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mold Toxicity

I often talk about chemical toxins on this blog, but today I want to address an equally damaging problem - mold toxicity. 

In high school I was tested for allergies and discovered I was allergic to 32 different kinds of mold. Believe it or not, there really are that many kinds of mold. And the reality is that, allergic or not, mold is toxic to everyone. 

While some people have stronger immune systems and don't seem as affected by mold exposure, for others it can be life-threatening. 

Mold is prevalent in the outside environment, but when it grows inside buildings it becomes a serious problem. You can find many stories online of people who became terribly ill with mysterious symptoms, which were eventually traced to a moldy home or work space. It's especially dangerous if the mold itself goes undetected and the person has a continuous, long-term exposure. 

Mold toxicity causes symptoms so varied it can look like Parkinsons, auto-immune diseases, seizures, severe allergies, chronic fatigue, etc. 

There are companies that will test your home for mold. However, with so many kinds of mold and varying sensitivities in people, I haven't always found these tests helpful. Of course if there's obvious mold that you can see in your building, then you may not need to test. But for hidden mold, sometimes the tests still come back saying "no unusual amount of mold found." 

(Usually as soon as I walk into a building I can tell if it's moldy or not, since my senses became super-alert to mold over the years.) 

If you have mold, there are companies that will remediate for you, however not all remediation is successful, depending on the situation. Many people have to just leave their homes or buildings and move on. 

The MomsAWARE website has very helpful and specific information about mold testing, remediation, etc. 

So if you've been exposed to mold and suspect you have mold toxicity, here are a few steps you can take:

1) Remove or get away from the source of the mold.

For some people simply getting away from the mold, into a 'clean' building, alleviates the symptoms. For others, damage has been done and it takes time for the body to heal. But avoiding future mold exposure is key to recovery.

2) Switch to an anti-fungal diet.

I often recommend the Phase One diet, but there are other anti-fungal diets as well. The MomsAWARE website has a good comparison chart of several anti-fungal diets.

It's important to avoid foods that feed mold and fungus in the body (mainly sugar, junk foods, store-bought dairy products, grains, etc.). You can also add to your diet anti-fungal foods like organic coconut oil, garlic, cloves, cinamon, broccoli, etc. 

What you eat affects all of your health, but it's especially vital to eat anti-fungal when recovering from mold toxicity.

3) Add probiotics.

Experts agrees that probiotics are essential for good health. However, it seems that the kind of probiotics that are best vary from person to person. Eeveryone has a unique "terrain" in their gut, made up of many different kinds of bacteria - both good and bad - as well as fungus, candida, etc. 

Over the years I've tried numerous kinds of probiotics. Some did absolutely no good. Others were very helpful. Obviously, some brands are higher quality than others (avoid the cheap brands). But even among the good ones effectiveness can vary based on what the individual's gut needs. If you have a trusted health provider, they may be able to help you figure out which kind is best for you.

So definitely add probiotics, but just know it might take a few tries before you find one that works well for you. And what your gut needs will probably change over time, so you might have to use a different one at some point. 

(Here are a few more specifics on what to look for in a probiotic.)

4) Keep a consistent detoxing program.

Mold toxicity requires a detoxing process, as chemical toxicity does. I recommend lymphatic massage as the best starting point. You can add many other things as well, including detox baths, stretches, deep breathing, grounding, etc. (check out detoxing 101).

For some people juicing is helpful, but not for everyone - again depending on their specific gut needs. Certain supplements can help with mold detoxing, but it's best to work with a trusted health provider and be cautious with supplements. A lot of health professionals overuse supplements and actually cause more problems. Always remember your body is unique and what it needs will change from week to week. 

With detoxing, start slow, listen to your body and be prepared for symptoms from the detoxing. (Here's more about understanding the detoxing process.)

Also remember that health usually breaks down after years of problems or exposure. Don't expect your body to get well overnight - or even in two weeks. Hopefully as you start some of these good things, you'll notice a difference and see areas of improvement. Don't get discouraged if it's slower than you imagined. 

Healing takes time. But it is possible. Praise God for the way He has created our bodies! We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

Any questions, comments or suggestions about this topic of mold toxicity? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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