Mold Toxicosis: Sneaking Around Your House
Are you afraid of your pillow? One of the funniest scenes in the movie Four Seasons has Carole Burnett asking her friend if he really is afraid of his underwear after he tearfully confesses anxiety over a number of personal items. But the truth is that I have had more patients than I can count come to me with respiratory infections, nervous system disorders, headaches, gastrointestinal complaints and even ongoing skin rashes, assuming it has to be a disease process, when in fact it's a reaction to mold. There are numerous species of mold, each with its own favorite spots to set up housekeeping. The results can be disastrous. I even had one client on Nantucket who had to move out of their house permanently because it could not be made habitable. Mold doesn't just happen in bathrooms and kitchens, although those areas are common. Think of these places as well:
- Around windows that allow condensation to build up, especially wood sills.
- In small kitchen appliances that you leave to "air dry".
- Inside walls where roof leaks have occurred.
- Under carpeting after spills or leaks.
- In plants and and flowers that stand in water.
- Bedding, particularly pillows and comforters that do not completely dry after washing.
- Behind shower molding where the seal is incomplete.
What you may not realize is that mold produces spores which can be released into the air from behind drywall, from your bathtub drain or behind your shower walls or even through your heating system during the winter and your air conditioning system in the summer. These spores release mycotoxins which are lipid -soluble and are easily absorbed by the body through all of your mucous membranes. Even the tiniest quantities can create massive reactions from your immune system, giving you the false idea that you have allergies year-round.
Mold can be deadly and physicians are virtually unaware of its dangers and its effects. So be vigilant - identify any leak that has occurred and be sure to treat it well to prevent mold growth. Pay attention to any musty odor and dispose of items that show any sign of mold if they cannot be appropriately treated. This is especially true of children's items that have been stored in attics, basements or crawl spaces. Look for stain marks on the walls, carpets or floors and be especially careful when black or white patches appear.
Begin by reading a great book written by a family after Hurricane Katrina called Mold: The War Within. Then get serious about clearing your home, your possessions and your body of mold and mycotoxins. Here's how:
Begin with a high quality air purifier, one that essentially guarantees to eliminate mold and its spores from the air. This will reduce what you are breathing in, and start to reduce the effect of mold presence. You can even find one to treat your entire house.
For damp areas such as bathrooms, basements and storage areas, then use a dehumidifier. Even something as simple as Damp-Rid can keep closets and under-sink areas fairly clear of accumulated moisture. Don't forget to really clean and dry your small appliances, kitchen cabinets and especially under your refrigerator and carpets!
Next, get serious about treating your home to eradicate the mold colonies. If the mold is in visible and easily accessible areas and is relatively minor, then there are great products available to kill and seal the areas involved. Many people swear by the idea of bleach and hot water, but there are lots of side effects to bleach as well, so be sure to investigate the best option for you.
If however, you have black mold or a lot of mold, or it's in areas you cannot access easily, then get a professional remediator (sounds almost like a mediator!). They can really guarantee complete elimination without creating a dust cloud of spores in the process. It's more expensive, but your health is worth every penny.
If the item is washable, then wash it with hot water and bleach. If the mold is too extensive or it is something that is not important, then dump them. And while clearing out an area where mold may be lurking, wear a mask to prevent inhalation of spores. If it is a children's item, I would throw it out immediately - don't take the chance as children's systems are still developing immunity for many years, making them more susceptible than adults.
Even our elderly loved ones can tend to have accidents in bed or their favorite chairs and they may be ashamed to mention it, or they may think they have cleaned up sufficiently, but often deeper moisture that is left behind can create a habitat that is perfect for mold growth.
During the winter, we also tend to get lots of fabulous things delivered in cardboard boxes, which sit in the snow on our doorstep until we get home from work. Remember, that every box you bring in has been sitting in warehouses, trucks and slushy spots all the way to your door. So it might be wise to take out your items and discard the box immediately.
Treating Your Body
The first step is to temporarily wear a mask when in the area of mold. By limiting further exposure you will give your body a chance to heal. This may even mean not going into certain areas of your house temporarily until the problem is cleared.
The next step is to be sure that you are not taking medications that suppress your immune ability. Often antibiotics, steroids and even antifungals can wreak havoc with your body's ability to function, be healthy and fight off the mold toxicity. So turning to natural medicine is a much wiser course of action.
First - starve the mold out of your body. Any fungus needs certain foods to survive, and so if you deny your body those foods, you deny the mold the food to survive. Eliminate sugars, grains, and simple carbohydrates. This includes fruit, fruit juices, white flour, milk products. This is very similar to the diet used for Candida issues, which lives in a very similar environment to mold fungus. At the same time increase your intake of ginger and garlic, both of which are strong anti-fungals.
Second - avoid all foods that can tend to harbor mold. These would include corn, wheat, rye, barley, peanuts, alcohol, cheese, soy sauce and sugar. It may also include some canned foods. Most fermented foods such as vinegar and sauerkraut provide their own bacterial colonies which are actually great for the body and bad for the mold! But some fermented products like soy sauce actually use a fungus for fermentation, which can trigger an immune reaction.
Now on to what you should do:
- Juicing & drink Kangen ionized water - increasing your alkalinity is one of the best ways to create an internal environment that is hostile to mold.
- HLC High Potency capsules - keeping the population of good bacteria in your gut as high as possible is essential to stopping the spread of mold in the body. This is why antibiotics are the worst thing for treating mold, because they reduce your own probiotic levels allowing the mold to move into more of your body's systems unchecked.
- Mediherb Garlic tablets - these have been clinically shown to be a strong anti-fungal treatment while boosting immunity in the gut and the blood.
- Mediherb Goldenseal tablets - this is a great short-term antibacterial which won't kill your flora and will support your immune system. It promotes healing of the gut lining.
- Mediherb Globe Artichoke extract - a study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that this leaf extract was toxic to molds and yeasts.
- Cataplex D - whole food vitamin D has been shown to prevent mold allergies.
- Mediherb Silymarin tablets or Milk Thistle extract - milk thistle has been known for years to be an amazing treatment for food allergies and allergic sensitivity. It also helps to boost antioxidant activity through the liver.
You can win the battle against mold, but you first have to know it's there and then know what to do. Don't underestimate the power of your opponent, nor the number of places it can be lurking. Remember, even your Christmas tree may be hiding a nasty present!