Mycotoxins are a structurally diverse group of compounds, produced mainly by fungi, or molds. They can develop on various foods and agricultural crops, causing serious risks for animal and human healthcare. There are currently more than 300 mycotoxins known, but scientific healthcare attention is focused mainly on those that have proven to be carcinogenic and/or toxic.
How Are You Exposed?
Human exposure to mycotoxins occurs through ingestion of contaminated foods and dirt, through skin contact with contaminated surfaces, and inhalation of air and dust containing mycotoxins. Food sources include plant-derived foods that are contaminated with mycotoxins and their metabolite in products such as meat and eggs. Unfortunately, mycotoxins are resistant to most food processing methods, including heat.
Water damaged buildings are a common route of mycotoxin exposure, and one that often goes unrecognized as molds can grow on almost any wet and warm place including inner walls of buildings, fiberglass insulation, and wallpaper.
Functional Medicine Interventions for Mycotoxin Exposure
In addition to removal of the initial source of mold and mycotoxin exposure from diet or environment, there are a number of supportive supplemental healthcare therapies that can aid in full body detoxification of mycotoxins.
Because mycotoxins are so inflammatory to the liver’s normal detoxification capacity, detoxification is often impaired and the individual may become susceptible to multiple toxicities during this time. Supporting healthy liver detoxification, and keeping all detoxification pathways open and functional is critical to elimination of toxins from all sources, to reduce overall toxic load and improve your healthcare in Springfield Missouri.
Supplements That Bind Mycotoxins To Increase Excretion
- Activated Charcoal: Activated charcoal is able to absorb toxic substances in the gut, and possibly systemically, therefore is a top choice for mycotoxin binding during treatment. Product Recommendation: Bulletproof Coconut Charcoal
- Bentonite Clay: Bentonite clay is a byproduct of a highly nutritious volcanic ash, which is high in minerals and other charged particles. These positively charged ions are able to bind negatively charged ions and other toxins. Product Recommendation: Bio Botanical Research – GI Detox
Liver Detoxification and Antioxidant Support
Glutathione reduces oxidative stress from exposure to mycotoxins and promotes detoxification of a number of toxic substances. It is also the master antioxidant, which gives it the ability to regenerate other antioxidant vitamins, including vitamins A, C, and E.
Antioxidant vitamins that should be supported through diet and additional supplementation where appropriate:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Additional Supplemental Therapies
- Nasal passage rinse: This may be beneficial healthcare for those affected by mold and mycotoxins, especially with upper respiratory symptoms, to help clear mycotoxins from the nasal passage, which is one of the first places they land in the human body.
- Silver nasal spray: This can reduce the chance of sinusitis and penetrate biofilm in nasal passages/ sinuses.
Complementary and Supportive Lifestyle Interventions
- Sauna therapy: Saunas are a powerful healthcare tool to enhance detoxification. Because some toxins are difficult to excrete through renal pathways, and when digestive function is impaired, reducing biliary output of bound toxins, sweating is often the alternative exocrine pathway of detoxification that the body prefers to use. Start slow, no more than 5 minutes 3-5X weekly and advance as tolerated.
- Warm Epsom Salt baths: Take baths 2-3 times per week using 2-3 cups of Epsom salt per bath.
- Exercise: Exercise can promote movement of lymph system and sweating, both of which encourage detox, boost mood, and the immune system. Exercise daily as tolerated. Gradually increase exercise to sweat.
- Diet: Prioritize dark colored organic fruits and vegetables to enhance overall antioxidant and nutrient intake. Eat plenty of apples, cruciferous vegetables, and food sources of lycopene. Avoid high sugar, processed food, and avoid moldy foods such as peanuts, blue cheese, and fermented foods.
Environmental Considerations for Mold Exposure
Mold remediation should be accomplished while or prior to attempting to treat clinical mycotoxin exposure. If environmental sources of mold are not removed and eliminated, treatment for internal mycotoxin/mold in the affected individual will be unsuccessful.
Mold spores can travel throughout an indoor space and collect in dust and on other surfaces. While removing the water-damaged surfaces is critical to mold remediation, thorough cleaning of all surfaces indoors should be accomplished after remediation, in order to ensure that spores are not able to flourish elsewhere and continue to infect humans in the area.
After removing water-damaged sources of mold in a building, but before cleaning other surfaces, test the air outflow coming from ventilation to determine if toxic mold spores have infiltrated the ventilation system and are continuing to spread throughout the air in the building.
If there is a serious toxic mold infestation anywhere in a building, airborne mold spores from such mold locations will usually enter and contaminate the heating/cooling equipment and ducts. Consider having a professional contractor with experience in mold remediation test for this.
Indoor Air Quality
Consider using industrial strength HEPA filters in fans or other filtered air devices that can remove and isolate mold spores, preventing them from re-entering the circulated air in the building/office/home. Air purifiers do not all remove very small particles such as mold spores. Triple element air filter especially in your bedroom. We recommend Austin Air filters. Change filters often.
Before cleaning surfaces that have been exposed to mold or mold spores, wear eye protection and a respirator mask that has been approved for use in water-damaged areas. If a large area has been water-damaged, consider hiring a professional contractor with experience in mold remediation to remove large areas of damaged wall, floor, carpet, or other structures in a building.
After removal of the water-damaged areas is complete, all exposed surfaces in the indoor environment should be wiped down with one or more anti-fungal products to kill and inhibit mold. This includes:
- Crown Molding
- Windows / Window Sills
- Furniture such as; desks, filing cabinets, bookshelves, bed frames, dressers, etc.
- Fabric surfaces should be washed with Borax laundry detergent; if a surface cannot be placed in a washing machine, take the item outside to brush off excess mold so as not to continue to spread spores inside, then consider a fabric-safe anti-fungal spray applied daily for 2-3 weeks
- Wipe down tops and bindings of books and paper exposed
- Clean floor and ceiling fans thoroughly with solution, including interior surfaces and replace filters from tower fans/air purifiers; discard fans or air flow devices that cannot be taken apart and cleaned thoroughly
- Replace filters in vacuums
- Wash all clothing exposed
Anti-fungal Products: Hydrogen Peroxide, Chlorine Bleach, Ammonia, Distilled White Vinegar, Baking Soda & Borax
There are three things necessary for mold growth: mold spores, porous surfaces, and moisture (with humidity 55% and higher). A critical part of mold remediation in environmental maintenance of buildings to prevent further mold growth is controlling the humidity indoors.
Mold cannot grow in dry environments, therefore, using a dehumidifier in affected areas, to reduce humidity to below 55%, can reduce the possibility of mold re-growing. Humidity levels below 50% will cause current mold to go dormant, but will not completely kill it.
If you feel you may be dealing with the effects of mycotoxin exposure, it’s time to give Kare Health & Wellness a call at (417) 881-4994 to schedule your evaluation and testing. With our Functional Medicine approach you can regain the health you deserve.