If you suffer from unexplained exhaustion, mold exposure could be the culprit.
Toxins produced by mold (mycotoxins) have devastating consequences for women, says Jessica Jellison, M.D., of Jellison Integrative MD in Overland Park, Kansas. ″Mycotoxins damage cell membranes, impairing their ability to generate energy.″ Functional medicine expert Jill Carnahan, M.D., founder and director of Flatiron Functional Medicine, adds they also disrupt thyroid and adrenal function, leading to brain fog and tiredness for 75 percent of her patients.
In addition to exhaustion, mold exposure can also cause emotional outbursts. Toxins produced by mold can trigger outsized emotional reactions so severe, they’ve been dubbed ‘mold rage.’ ″Mold exposure can absolutely affect the brain to cause dramatic mood changes and trigger anxiety, irritability, anger and aggression,″ notes Dr. Carnahan. Indeed, in a study conducted at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, participants who had been consistently exposed to mold tested 92 percent higher on anger measurements than those who weren’t exposed. Fortunately, the strategies at right will reduce your exposure to smooth your mood. Adds Dr. Carnahan, ″They can also improve your personal relationships in a very big way.″
Mold remediation experts can clear mold from your home, but you risk exposure elsewhere: 60 percent of public spaces like office buildings, stores and restaurants have water damage where mold thrives.
How to Tell If You’ve Been Exposed to Mold
If you’re struggling with exhaustion and at least two of the following symptoms, you may be reacting to mycotoxins produced by mold.
- Anxiety/blue moods
- Frequent headaches
- Body aches
- Shortness of breath
- Nasal congestion
- Skin rashes
- GI problems
- Brain fog or forgetfulness
A free test can help you find out if toxins are causing your symptoms. ″The Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test (at VCSTest.com) doesn’t differentiate between damage done by mycotoxins and problems like Lyme disease,″ says Dr. Carnahan. ″But it’s helpful in guiding treatment and tracking recovery.″
How to Treat Mold Exposure Symptoms:
- Cutting out foods that harbor mold can reduce your toxic burden, says Dr. Jellison. She advises avoiding top sources such as corn, wheat, peanuts, cashews and sugar cane.
- Soak for 20 minutes a day. Adding three cups of Epsom salts to a hot bath can remove mycotoxins via the lymphatic system, says Dr. Carnahan.
- Two supplements can help. Dr. Carnahan advises taking GI Detox by Bio Botanical Research ($31.50, Buy at Biocidin.com) twice daily (its pyrophyllite clay and activated charcoal bind to toxins in the gut), and pairing it with 1,000 mg. of Bulletproof Upgraded Coconut Charcoal ($18.95, Buy at Amazon). ″It works in combination with other binders to optimize toxin removal. It’s especially good to take before eating foods that may harbor mycotoxins.″
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.