Mycotoxin Illness: Is Your Home or Office Making You Sick?

By Sangita Pedro, ND

Mycotoxins are toxins released by mold spores. Mold spores emit them to kill other mold species and limit local competition for space. That is all well and good outside the human body but once inside the human body those toxins can wreak havoc.

Mold spores are relatively large and when inhaled they cannot get much further than the sinuses. Mycotoxins, on the other hand, are much smaller and can get through the lungs, into the blood stream and into every tissue and across every cell membrane.

Mold spores alone can cause allergic reactions and irritation in the sinuses but because of their special design and small size, the mycotoxins they produce are potentially more damaging and more difficult to eradicate.

Most people (about 75% of the population), develop antibodies when they are exposed to mycotoxins that bind the toxins and remove them from the body.  The other 25% of the population does not make antibodies to mycotoxins and therefore cannot clear them once they enter the body.  In these people any exposure can cause illness and supporting the body to remove the toxins is essential for recovery.

Mycotoxins tend to colonize the sinuses and the gastrointestinal system but symptoms can be felt far beyond those two areas and may include any of the following:

·      Muscle weakness, numbness and tingling

·      Fatigue and cognitive impairment (ie. Brain fog, difficulty finding words, memory loss, etc.)

·      Gastrointestinal symptoms

·      Chest tightness and pain

·      Disequilibrium, dizziness

·      Anxiety and depression

·      Joint and muscle pain

·      Headaches

·      Frequent acute illnesses that last a long time

·      Tics, spasms, seizures

Although mycotoxins can be the sole problem it is more common to find them alongside other conditions especially when those conditions have been treated for long periods of time with little to no improvement or with brief periods of remission followed by a worsening of symptoms. Some of those conditions include:

·      Lyme disease and co-infections

·      Fibromyalgia

·      Chronic fatigue

·      IBS, SIBO and other gastrointestinal disorders

Some diagnoses themselves may point to mycotoxins as an underlying problem such atypical Alzheimer’s, MS or ALS. 

In addition to similarities with other illnesses, there are a few symptoms that, if present, along with any of the symptoms listed above, are most indicative of mycotoxins and should not be ignored:

·      Ice pick or lightning-like pains

·      Electric shock sensations 

·      Pulsating or vibrating sensation along the spine

Inhalation of mold spores is the most common and potent form of exposure. Exposure can happen at home, at work or in your car. 

Mold frequently lives under flooring and behind walls making it invisible and odorless. If you suspect mold in your home, find a qualified mold inspector to tell you exactly what is there and where. Once you have isolated the problem, find a qualified mold remediation company to do the clean up and test again when the clean up is finished to make sure they got it all.  If you can, don’t stay in the house during remediation to avoid further exposure.

If you think mycotoxins might be obstructing your health, eliminate the source of your ongoing exposure first and then find a qualified practitioner who can test and treat you effectively.