Is Mould Making You Sick?

Written by

Deborah Freudenmann BHSc

We all know to avoid mould on our food, but how often do you think about mould in your home? We may look out for the tell-tale signs of mould growth, but the presence of mould is not always marked clearly with big black spots or a musty smell.

Staying alert and preventing the growth of mould may be more important than you realise. Mould and mycotoxins are responsible for causing a host of respiratory symptoms, compromising the immune system, and leading to widespread damage and inflammation.

Let’s learn more about how mould impacts our health and what we can do to stay safe.

What is mould and how does it grow?

Mould is a type of fungus, just like mushrooms and yeast. The most common indoor moulds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. These grow and spread with thread-like structures that release tiny spores into the air. Many of these spores eventually land on new surfaces and spread the growth of mould. Others linger in the air until we breathe them in.

For that reason, the most common locations for household mould are bathrooms, basements, and attics.

Mould can also easily grow around leaks in roofs, near windows, and along pipes. Surfaces like ceiling tiles, wood structures, cardboard, paper products, wallpaper, insulation, dust, drywall, carpet, and upholstery fabrics are prime areas for mould growth.

What are the symptoms of mould exposure?

Mould enters our bodies through the respiratory tract as we breathe in the spores. While some people don’t notice any health changes when exposed to mould, others notice major impacts to their lung health, breathing capacity, and general wellness. Many also develop allergies, infections, and asthma.

The symptoms of mould exposure are typically mild and worsen gradually. Those with weakened immune systems or pre-existing respiratory conditions are more likely to notice the effects of mould and develop severe symptoms.

Why is mould so unhealthy?

Since 2004, mould has been a proven threat to our respiratory health. The Institute of Medicine collected sufficient evidence linking mould exposure to a range of respiratory health issues including asthma, cough, wheezing, and pneumonitis. More research is currently underway to learn about other possible dangers of mould and how it contributes to chronic disease.

While we are still learning about the effects of indoor mould, we do know some things about the dangers of mould:

Mould harbours mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins are toxic substances that are present in fungi like mould. Because our exposure to mould is often through the respiratory tract (as we breathe in spores) these toxins have access to our airways, lungs, and even the brain as the olfactory neurons connect the nose and eyes to the brain.

 
Mould disrupts and damages the immune system and causes inflammation.


The immune system works best in balance. We want a strong and fighting immune system to prevent disease, but not one so strong that it attacks our own healthy cells. Unfortunately, mould has been shown to dysregulate the immune system and suppress its defences while also making us more susceptible to autoimmune disease. Studies show that mould can increase the activation of mast cells, which release histamine and trigger the immune response. Mould also triggers a vicious cycle of overactive immune responses and systemic inflammation. Inflammation is one of the most common causes of long-term disease.
Mould increases oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress occurs when toxins damage the structure or function of our healthy cells. Over time, this damage can lead to chronic and life-threatening disease. To counteract the toxic effects of mould, the body uses its antioxidant resources to constantly repair cells and tissues. This leads to an antioxidant depletion and overall poor health while also blocking the body’s detoxification pathways.

 
Mould binds directly to DNA and RNA.


Mycotoxins have been shown to directly bind to our DNA and RNA, impeding necessary functions like protein synthesis. Chronic exposure to mould can lead to long-term cellular damage.

 
Mould causes mitochondrial dysfunction.


Mould exposure can damage our cells and lead to mitochondrial dysfunction, which results in low energy, fatigue (as in chronic fatigue syndrome), and an increased risk for chronic disease.

 
Mould can reactivate old viral and autoimmune diseases or cause mysterious disease. 


Because of its effects on the immune system, mould has been shown to reactivate viral diseases like Epstein-Barr Virus and Lyme disease. Environmental toxins like mould are often at the root of mysterious, unexplained medical issues. If you have been confused by your health conditions, it may be time to consider mould. 


Prevent & Treat Mould Exposure: Tips and Tricks for Health

Mould and mycotoxins are a threat to our health and wellness. But what can we do about it? While mould is an invasive and sometimes tricky problem in our homes, there are many ways we can work to reduce our exposure and protect our health.

What can you do to remove the causes of mould toxicity but also prevent mould exposure? 

    • Let your house breathe. Just like you, your home needs a breath of fresh air once in a while. Properly ventilate humid areas like the bathroom, kitchen, or basement regularly.
    • Control humidity levels. Excess humidity indoors makes it easy for mould to grow. Keep your humidity levels between 30-50% with an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
    • Fix leaky household items. Anywhere there is water or dampness, there is the potential for mould. Promptly fix leaky roofs, windows, pipes, walls, plumbing, or other areas where water collects.
    • Assess your susceptible areas. Check your bathrooms, basement, attic, furniture, windows, and other potential areas for the presence of mould. Remove any carpeting in these areas and call for professional mould removal services if needed.
    • External use of ozone is an effective treatment in addressing surface mould or airborne mould spores. For example you can use ozone water to clean bathrooms, showers, surfaces etc. https://o3academy.com/mold-can-be-the-cause-of-your-disease/.

       

What can you do internally? 

Internal use of ozone is very effective (major autohemotherapy or rectal insufflations) to support the body in healing from mould toxicity, supporting immune regulation and general recovery. 

In addition to ozone, it is important to improve your body’s ability to detox. By supplementing with powerful antioxidants like glutathione, sulforaphane, and diindolylmethane, you can improve the body’s own natural defence against mycotoxins.

The miracle mould detox box helps to upregulate phase I, II and III detoxification, improve mitochondrial function and supports electrolyte balance and remineralization. It may also aid in balancing and stabilizing glutathione levels which may otherwise be deterred by mold toxicity. We've heard some outstanding and expectional results from some of our readers.

Detox box – review here: https://trulyheal.com/quicksilver-scientific-black-box-ii-detox-review/

Prevent Mould-Related Illness Naturally

From respiratory issues to fatigue and illness, the damaging effects of mould are not to be ignored. Thankfully, we can stay healthy with a proactive approach to eliminating mould in our homes and protecting our bodies from the inside out. Reach out today to learn more about how a Functional Medicine Health Coach can help you find freedom from environmental toxins like mould. 

Brewer, J. H., Thrasher, J. D., Straus, D. C., Madison, R. A., & Hooper, D. (2013). Detection of mycotoxins in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Toxins, 5(4), 605–617. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins5040605
Kuhn, D. M., & Ghannoum, M. A. (2003). Indoor mold, toxigenic fungi, and Stachybotrys chartarum: infectious disease perspective. Clinical microbiology reviews, 16(1), 144–172. https://doi.org/10.1128/cmr.16.1.144-172.2003
Hope J. (2013). A review of the mechanism of injury and treatment approaches for illness resulting from exposure to water-damaged buildings, mold, and mycotoxins. TheScientificWorldJournal, 2013, 767482. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/767482
Bennett, J. W., & Klich, M. (2003). Mycotoxins. Clinical microbiology reviews, 16(3), 497–516. https://doi.org/10.1128/cmr.16.3.497-516.2003
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