If you look at microscopic photos of mold, you’ll notice beautiful, flower-like structures in many colors. Mold is abundant, and our ecosystem could not survive without it. In nature, mold’s essential purpose is to break down and digest dead, organic matter like leaves, dead trees, and other decaying material.
Mold is considered part of the Fungi family and is found naturally in outdoor and indoor environments. In fact, one type of mushroom (fungi) can even help clean up after oil spills. The food industry uses specific molds to make flavorful cheeses, fermented foods, and alcoholic beverages. Without mold, the circle of life would be incomplete. The problems with mold occur when it’s found in places where it shouldn’t be.
Environmentalists have focused on smog and outdoor air pollution as root causes of disease. Still, for many people, poor indoor air quality can significantly threaten human health. Those living in a mold-toxic home or water-damaged environment may experience a wide variety of symptoms as a result of contaminated indoor air:
- Skin rashes and itching
- Unusual skin sensations (tingling and numbness)
- Fatigue and weakness
- Respiratory issues (asthma, shortness of breath, chronic cough)
- Cognitive impairment and brain fog
- Neurological issues (poor memory, difficult concentration)
- Morning stiffness and joint pain
- Headache, vertigo, or lightheadedness
- Body temperature problems
- Red eyes, blurred vision, or tearing
- Appetite changes and mood swings
- Abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea
So how does this happen? Mold produces toxic compounds called “mycotoxins.” Even low-level exposure to mycotoxins can trigger inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune system suppression in some people — especially those who have difficulty eliminating toxins through standard detox processes. For these individuals, mycotoxins can accumulate to levels that cause severe symptoms.
Mycotoxins are abundant in water-damaged environments as well as in the food supply. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that mycotoxins taint up to 25% of the world’s food supply, resulting in significant economic losses and damage to human health.
Certain mycotoxins have been linked to cancer. For example, aflatoxin B1, a potent carcinogen, is linked to an increased risk of liver cancer. Similarly, ochratoxin A is known for increasing the risk of kidney cancer. Research shows that mold, yeast, and fungi in the digestive tract (or “mycobiome”) can play a role in cancer development.
Whether you have been recently diagnosed with “mold illness,” are recovered, or want to protect yourself from excessive mycotoxin exposure, there are two critical areas of focus: your indoor environment and your immune system.
Clean Up Your Indoor Environment
Mold needs only moisture and oxygen to reproduce and thrive. Molds produce spores that spread by floating in the air. These spores can be present in all indoor environments and may persist even where mold itself can’t grow. It’s essential to keep an indoor home environment inhospitable to mold.
- Inspect regularly for water damage (especially after heavy rain), including the roof, windows, faucets, and toilets where leaks may occur. Replace faucet aerators as needed.
- Dry showers after use (at least squeegee the glass doors, tile walls, and floors. Spread shower curtains so they dry completely, and wash them regularly.
- Clean air ducts, replace filters regularly (look for a MERV 13 rating which can remove mold spores from the air), and clean all ducts at the end of summer.
- Consider using a whole room HEPA air filter. Sanoviv recommends the Austin Air HealthMate Plus (available at www.sanovivstore.com)
- Use dehumidifiers in areas prone to moisture, like basements and bathrooms.
- Inspect the north wall of your home regularly, inside and outside. The outside north wall may grow algae and need to be washed annually (use dish detergent only, no bleach since it will damage other landscaping). Avoid pressure-washing since it can damage your home. Ensure air circulation between the inside wall and any boxes or storage items.
- Clean with since chemical toxins affect your immune system and create indoor air pollution.
Strengthen Your Immune System
Those with a healthy immune system should be able to detoxify mold and remain symptom-free. Here are some tips for maintaining a strong immune system:
- Reduce or eliminate mycotoxin-containing foods. These include peanuts and most tree nuts, grains, seed oils, dried fruits, processed meats, coffee, some cheeses, and alcoholic beverages (especially wine and beer).
- Eliminate indoor chemical products such as cleaners, laundry detergents, air fresheners, and insecticides.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of organic whole foods; avoid highly processed foods and added sugar.
- Engage in low to moderate exercise regularly. Avoid excessive physical activity.
- Consider regular detoxification therapies such as infrared sauna, lymphatic massage, and meditation.
Keep in mind that mold illness can be pretty debilitating. No one is exempt from mycotoxin exposure, but it affects some people more than others. Because of the complex nature of mold illness, those affected often experience a lowered disease resistance and heightened sensitivities. Working with a knowledgeable physician who understands mycotoxins and their impact on human health is essential.
At Sanoviv, our medical professionals are among the few who understand the implications of mycotoxins on the human body. We are committed to helping those dealing with this condition, responding to our vision to achieve health from a whole-body approach. The Sanoviv Mycotoxin Detox program supports the body’s ability to remove biotoxins by improving the detoxification pathways.
Each program focuses our assessment and treatment tools towards a specific health issue and your individual experience of these health issues, you can find more about our programs here.
Contact a Health Advisor
If you feel that your specific health issue or area of interest does not fit into any of these areas, please contact us to speak with a friendly admissions person. They will be happy to answer your questions and provide information.
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