If you’re struggling with chronic fatigue, poor sleep, or asthmatic flare-ups, you might be wondering if you are suffering from mold toxicity.
This is a legitimate question because some recent studies have shown that over 70% of homes have some sort of mold toxicity. So, are you?
In this article, Julie Helm is going to unpack the signs and symptoms of mold toxicity. Then she will unpack how to test for it, along with a brief overview of treatment. As a functional medicine practitioner, Julie knows that every body and situation is unique, but there are a few cutting-edge techniques that she provides her patients, techniques you won’t find at a conventional doctor’s office.
Ready to learn more about mold toxicity? Keep reading.
Manifestations of Mold Toxicity
Do you have mold toxicity? One way to start the investigation is by looking at your symptoms. Mold symptoms can manifest in three main ways: allergies, asthma, and chronic inflammatory responses. In many cases, people will experience two or three of these reactions.
Mold spores are a well-known trigger for allergies in susceptible individuals. When mold spores are inhaled, they can cause allergic reactions, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, itchy or watery eyes, nasal congestion, and skin irritation.
Asthma sufferers may experience heightened symptoms from mold, including wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and increased frequency of asthma attacks.
Chronic Inflammatory Response
In some cases, individuals may develop a condition known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) due to exposure to mold and other biotoxins. CIRS is an immune-mediated response in which the body becomes overwhelmed by the presence of biotoxins, leading to chronic inflammation throughout the body. In genetically susceptible people, this can trigger inflammation that continues even after the biotoxin exposure has been resolved.
Symptoms of CIRS can vary but often include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Frequent urination
- Cognitive difficulties (brain fog, memory problems)
- Joint and muscle pain
- Digestive issues
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Mood disturbances (anxiety, depression)
How to Test for Mold Toxicity
After evaluating your symptoms, you might be thinking, “Ok, so I might have mold toxicity.” Now it’s time to test. An effective treatment plan can’t be developed until we get a baseline for your lab draws and determine that mold is, in fact, causing your health issues.
Dust sampling for mold is a commonly used method to assess the presence and levels of mold spores in indoor environments. It involves collecting samples of settled dust from various surfaces, such as furniture, shelving, cabinetry, carpets, or other areas prone to dust accumulation.
Dust sampling for mold can help determine the type and concentration of mold spores in an indoor environment, providing valuable information for assessing potential health risks and guiding remediation efforts, if necessary. It is often used in conjunction with other testing methods to gain a comprehensive understanding of the mold situation within a given space.
Integra Health and Wellness recommends two mold testing companies: Mycometrics and Envirobiomics
Blood Testing Panel
Dust sampling checks to see if mold is present in your home. But how do you know if you are suffering from mold toxicity? The answer lies with blood testing panels. While there are various types of blood tests available, the following are commonly included in a comprehensive mold toxicity panel:
1. Inflammatory Markers:
Mold exposure can trigger inflammation in the body. Blood tests may measure specific markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and pro-inflammatory cytokines (e.g., interleukin-6 or tumor necrosis factor-alpha). Elevated levels of these markers may indicate ongoing inflammation, potentially linked to mold exposure and associated health effects.
2. Immune System Function:
Mold toxicity can impact the immune system, leading to immune dysregulation or chronic activation. Blood tests may assess immune system markers, such as immunoglobulins (IgG, IgM, IgA), natural killer (NK) cell activity, or T-cell subsets.
Abnormalities in immune function markers can indicate potential immune system dysregulation caused by mold exposure.
3. Oxidative Stress Markers:
Mold toxins can induce oxidative stress, which can damage cells and contribute to various health problems. Blood tests may measure markers of oxidative stress, such as malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione (GSH), or antioxidants like superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx). Assessing oxidative stress markers can provide insight into the body’s ability to counteract and manage the toxic effects of mold exposure.
A Functional Medicine Approach to Mold Toxicity
If testing determines that you do have mold toxicity, then Integra Health and Wellness can provide relief. Using a personalized functional medicine approach, we work with you to restore health, reduce inflammation, and help your body rid itself of of toxins naturally.
To start, you’ll complete a questionnaire and consultation. These assessments will help Julie determine what’s going on with you health and whether it’s worth looking further into mold toxicity. Afterward, we will send samples in for lab analysis. These labs will be similar to the ones listed above.
The treatment process comes in two phases, and both phases can range from 6 months to multiple years. Depending on your unique situation, Julie may recommend supplements, prescriptions, nasal sprays, and general lifestyle changes to help you recover your vitality.
Don’t spend your life suffering from mold toxicity. There is hope. Reach out to Integra Health and Wellness today for a consultation.