Mold Toxicity Symptoms & Treatment
Most people have some experience with mold, but what does toxic mold look like? The black gunk in a window frame, the moldy smell in a damp basement, or the fuzz on food left in the fridge for too long.
Not all molds are inherently harmful. Some strains of mold are common outdoor molds found in nature, serving a critical purpose for the planet. They aid in the decomposition of the planet and are a natural part of nature’s cycle of regeneration and recycling (check out the Netflix documentary Fantastic Fungi – it’s great!).
But in large quantities, mold can make a susceptible person very sick. Only about 25% of the population is mold sensitive, so it’s quite common for only one person in a house to get sick from mold.
What is toxic mold? The most common cause of mold toxicity is from water-damaged buildings. The mycotoxins that result from water damage are pathogenic, or disease-causing, to humans. They are poisonous and can be deadly. Some of these mycotoxins – trichothecenes in particular – have even been studied as chemical warfare agents.
Imagine a substance that lives inside the body and tries to decompose it from the inside out. Ew!
We are often asked when to see a doctor for mold exposure. The great news is that mold toxicity is completely treatable. Are you experiencing symptoms of toxic mold exposure? Dr. Fox at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado is an expert in the treatment of toxic mold and mold toxicity. Working with Dr. Fox will help get rid of the mycotoxins in your body and get you back on the path to vibrant health!
Keep reading to learn more about Dr. Fox’s functional medicine approach to removing mold toxicity and mycotoxins from the body.
How to Test for Mold Toxicity
If Dr. Fox suspects that your symptoms are due to toxic mold exposure, they will suggest mold testing for both your environment and body. Mold toxicity testing is not generally covered by insurance. Some biomarkers can be found with blood testing, but Dr. Fox recommends a urinary mycotoxin test.
Based on the results of your tests, she will then implement a mold detoxification program to get you back to optimal health. Illnesses from mold exposure are reversible and Boulder Holistic is prepared to help you through every step of the process.
Symptoms of Mold Toxicity
What are the symptoms of mold toxicity? One of molds most toxic traits (pun intended) is its effect on the immune system. Mold attacks the immune system, suppressing the good immune signaling that helps your body fight off harmful pathogens and increasing inflammation across the body.
The increase in systemic inflammation contributes to a multitude of mold toxicity symptoms including:
- Brain fog
- Weight gain
- Frequent illnesses like colds, flu, and viral infections
Because mold toxicity creates so much immune dysfunction, some latent (inactive) infections can become opportunistic and reactivate. For example, in the presence of mold, Lyme and Lyme co-infections can reactivate and thrive. Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) and mono also worsen in the presence of mold. It can be difficult for the body to clear these infections in the presence of mold so the mold has to be treated first.
What are common symptoms of mold toxicity?:
- Migraines (which answers the question, “can mold give you headaches?”)
- Brain fog
- Memory loss
- Multiple neurological issues
Neurological symptoms of mold exposure often include:
- Involuntary muscle movements
Other common symptoms are:
- Ice pick sensations (stabbing intermittent headaches)
- Visual changes
- Hair loss
- Chronic congestion, cough, or throat clearing
As you can see, mold disrupts all of the systems in your body. Allergies get worse when there’s mold in the system. Mycotoxins are also endocrine disruptors, they can wreak havoc on your hormones. We’re often asked “how long do mycotoxins stay in the body?” or “how long do mold symptoms last?”. If you are susceptible to mold and currently exposed, you may have been sick and getting sicker for a long time. Are you currently experiencing some of the above toxic mold symptoms? Keep reading to learn about mold toxicity treatment.
Mold Toxicity Treatment: The 3 Phases of Mold Detox
Everyone’s ability to detox from mold is different. Some people are unable to naturally detox or metabolize mold so that it can be safely removed from the body in the urine, stool, and sweat.
An experienced mold expert moves slowly to support your body through the process while also ensuring that all mold is removed from your system – for good!
Your body and your cells want to get rid of these toxins. When you open a pathway out, your cells may try to dump more toxins than the body is prepared to dispose of in the urine, stool, and sweat. If you try to mobilize more than the body can safely get rid of, you might end up exacerbating your symptoms.
Going too fast causes a process called die-off. Mycotoxins and neurotoxins from mold can mobilize and potentially land somewhere worse than where they started. If your symptoms get worse during a mold detox, slow down and back off on the dosing. You won’t get better faster by suffering.
Is there a standard mold detox protocol? Boulder Holistic breaks down its mold detoxifying process into three parts:
- Mycotoxin detoxification
- Antifungals and biofilm
Dr. Fox has personally helped her patients go from chronically ill to perfect health with a few simple steps. Keep reading to learn more about each phase.
Phase 1: Mycotoxin Detoxification
The first step is beginning to “bind” the mycotoxins and neurotoxins that mold emits so your body can then dispose of them in your stool. This is done with the binders that are specific to the mycotoxin results from your mold toxicity tests.
In general, glutathione can significantly aid in mold metabolism. Other forms of detoxification may also be added to support organ detoxification for the kidney, liver, and lymphatic system A compounded nasal spray helps to kill any colonized mold in the sinuses.
Binders, such as activated charcoal, bentonite clay, and cholestyramine can help bind and pull these toxins from the body. They should only be used two hours after other medications and supplements, as the binders can bind them and pull them out of the stool.
Phase 2: Anti-fungals and Tackling the Biofilm
At this stage your body is learning how to detox and pull out the toxins that mold emits. But if the mold in your body is colonized, nothing up to this point has begun to kill mold in the system.
Colonization means that mold has now grown and set up a community and home for itself in your body. “Colonization” often occurs in the upper respiratory tract or the GI tract. There is no way of knowing if the colonized mold in your body is from a previous or current exposure.
In order to treat mold toxicity, any potentially colonized mold needs to be killed with anti-fungal medications and or anti-fungal herbs.
Once the first period of detoxification and anti-fungals is complete, the next step is getting through the biofilm.
Biofilm is like the house the mold lives in that shields its colonies from your immune system and anti-fungal medications. It secretes the biofilm – a glycoprotein matrix – as it replicates and builds communities.
If you don’t get through the biofilm, you won’t be able to completely get rid of the mold.
The thick layer of biofilm requires specific agents to digest or dissolve it. That way medications, binders, and the immune system can get in and finally get rid of all the mold in the body.
When opening biofilm, you must be careful not to flood the system with more mycotoxins and mold than it can tolerate. This should be done under the guidance of your mold expert.
Phase 3: Repletion
Mold toxicity depletes your system. It puts strain on the organs as they struggle to detox the body, compromises your immunity to make you more susceptible to other illnesses, and often causes a significant emotional response.
So, naturally, after you detox and cleanse your systems, you need a full body reset. Repletion, mitochondrial resuscitation, and clearing out any yeast overgrowth are three ways your functional medicine doctor will help your system to get to optimal health.
You might also consider limbic retraining to help your nervous system recover from biotoxin illness. Biotoxin and chronic illness overwork the limbic system in the brain, causing it to become overactive and resulting in anxiety and depression. A few ways you can support your nervous system during your recovery are meditation, DNRS, the Safe & Sound Protocol, and the Gupta program.
Remember – Go Slow!
If you are struggling with toxic mold exposure or believe you’re feeling symptoms of mold toxicity, you may think that acting quickly is the best way to rid yourself of mycotoxins. But you need to move slowly to prevent a relapse or exacerbation of symptoms.
Other ways you can support your body’s natural detoxification systems include:
- Infrared saunas
- Detox baths with Epsom salts and baking soda
- Ionic foot baths
- Dry brushing
- Red light therapy
- Lymphatic drainage
Getting out of the mold exposure is critical. Your recovery will move more quickly once you are out of the moldy environment. Sometimes the building can be remediated with a good IEP, and sometimes, you will need to leave the building. This part can be tricky but your mold expert will guide you.
Focus on getting rid of the mold, follow your functional medicine doctor’s instructions, and you will be back to vibrant health again in no time!
Contact Boulder Holistic
If you or someone you love suspects that mold is responsible for your chronic illness, don’t panic! Dr. Terri Rebibo Fox at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado will work with you to detox, cleanse, and rebuild. Mold toxicity may uproot your life for a time but functional medicine searches out the cause to get you back to living your life with optimum health.
If you found this blog post by searching “doctors who treat mold illness near me” or “mold doctor near me”, you’ve come to the right place! Dr. Fox has over 20 years of experience in treating symptoms of mold toxicity and implementing a plan for mold toxicity treatment. Are you experiencing symptoms of mold toxicity and interested to learn more about mold toxicity treatment? Contact our office to schedule your initial consultation today!