Many people are currently suffering from mold and mycotoxin toxicity. However, ironically many people are unaware that they may have been exposed or at risk of exposure to these toxins. What exactly are these toxins and their consequences on your health?
What is mold?
Mold refers to a variety of fungi that grow in filaments and reproduce by forming spores and as mentioned, they thrive in warm and damp conditions. Therefore, they are almost everywhere – outdoors, indoors and even your food. Mold outdoors is sometimes useful because they are nature’s little helpers for decomposing wastes. Therefore exposure to a small amount of mold is usually harmless. But when they start growing in your home, inhaling spores can cause serious health problems.
What are mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are toxic chemicals that exist on certain types of mold that can naturally occur in foods such as cereals, nuts, spices, dried and fresh fruits, and coffee beans when the right temperature and humidity levels present themselves. And the scary thing is, a lot of these mycotoxins are chemically stable and can survive food processing. The mold containing mycotoxins can have a variety of negative effects on your health. Long term exposure can even result in serious health conditions such as immune deficiency and certain types of cancer. And you can be exposed to mycotoxins by either directly consuming foods contaminated with it or consuming meat from animals who have been fed with feed that was contaminated with it.
Common types of mycotoxins include:
- ergo toxins
- fusaric Acid
- penicillic Acid
- T-2 Toxin
- patulin zearalenone
- and more.
Aflatoxins are probably the most poisonous of these and they can grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay and grains. Crops that are commonly known to be prone to the type of mold that carries aflatoxins include corn, sorghum, wheat and rice, seed oils such as soybean, peanut, sunflower seed oil, and cottonseed oil, spices such as chili peppers, black pepper, coriander, turmeric and ginger, and tree nuts such as pistachios, almonds, walnuts, coconut and brazil nuts.
Symptoms of mold and mycotoxin exposure
Mold and the mycotoxins they carry are like silent killers because the effects of overexposure manifests itself in what appears to be other illnesses. Overexposure to toxic mold can bring about the following symptoms:
- asthma or other breathing problems
- weight gain/loss
- insulin resistance
- respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, COPD
- chronic sinus infections
- muscle and joint pain
- weakness or numbness
- teeth issues
- difficulty concentrating or focusing
- chronic fever
- blurred vision
- skin rashes
- swollen lymph nodes
- mood swings and behavioral changes
- nose bleeds
- hair loss
- heart failure
- abdominal cramps or pain
- digestive issues
- constipation or diarrhea
- chemical sensitivities
As you can see from the list above, many of these symptoms are similar to the symptoms of common ailments such as flu, or cold. Hence the danger of mold exposure.
Mycotoxins disrupt hormone function
One of the scariest havocs that mold and mycotoxins toxicity can cause to your body is hormonal imbalance. Several scientific research studies have been done to show that certain mycotoxins and their metabolites can act as potential endocrine disruptors at the level of your nuclear receptor signaling and cause a change in your body’s ability to produce and regular your body’s hormonal network. In my other articles about hormonal imbalance, I explain the important role that different hormones in your body play and how an imbalance can drastically affect your health and wellbeing. So mold and mycotoxin toxicity are no small matter for sure.
Types of molds found in your food
1. Bread Mold (Rhizopus Stolonifer)
Bread is one of the most common foods you leave on your counter and chances are, if you see this on your baked good, it probably was already there back at the bakery. Mold loves starches.
2. Penicillium Chrysogenum
This is a bluish looking mold that also thrives on bread and baked goods. This is not the same as the mold that makes blue cheese. So stay away.
3. Wallemia Sebi
This is an odd mold in the sense that it thrives in super salty or super sugary foods such as maple syrup. These thick brownish blobs can also thrive in otherwise dry conditions.
4. Flyspeck (Zygophiala Jamaicensis)
Commonly found on apples and grapes, this mold appears as little black bumps on apples and are usually only skin deep. Still, avoid them if you can.
5. Maize Ear Rot (Fusarium Verticilliodes)
These are pink slimy looking mold that can be found on an ear of corn and they can produce some really nasty mycotoxins that can cause estrogenic effects and immune suppression in your body. Maize Ear Rot are also especially dangerous because they can survive food processing. So think corn chips and fake-meat patties made of corn.
6. Noble Rot Fungus (Botrytis Cinerea)
These are grey fluffy looking mold that loves strawberries and grapes and usually comes with the berries from the field. So when buying fresh berries, look through your pint carefully.
7. Black Mold (Aspergillus Niger)
This is a black flecky mold that grows on onions in between the layers. Exposure to this mold can result in ear infections and even as serious as liver cancer.
8. Diplodia Natalensis
This is a black greenish looking mold that you can find on a lemon’s stem end and cause the lemon to look mushy.
9. Mucor Circinelloides
Commonly found on fruits, vegetables, and dairy, this mold can survive the passage through your digestive tract and cause you some pretty nasty nausea and vomiting.
10 Top Foods High in Mold and Mycotoxins
I have listed some common foods that are prone to mold and mycotoxins above. Let me run down a top 10 for you in more detail.
1. Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic beverages are made by fermenting grains or fruits and mold and mycotoxin contamination can happen if moldy grains or fruits are used in the production process. Usually, the darker the color of the beverage, the higher the potential for mold content. So something to think about the next time you pick a drink off the menu.
Corn is found in almost all processed foods and therefore you need to know that they are almost universally contaminated with mycotoxins.
So think common food items made from wheat such as bread, cereals, and pasta. Unfortunately, mold does not choose between organic and non-organically grown wheat to house themselves.
4. Processed Meats
Deli meats such as ham, hot dogs, salami, etc. contain nitrates and are prime breeding grounds for mold and mycotoxins. They have been shown to cause chronic conditions such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
Shelled peanuts especially those that have been sitting in bulk bins for long periods of time are a prime breeding ground for mold and mycotoxins. Try other nut and seed butters if you are a fan of peanut butter.
6. Bread and Malted Products
Dough conditioners such as those used in sourdough bread have high mold content because of the fact that they are usually left to sit at room temperature for long periods of time for the yeast to culture and grow. Bread can develop surface mold in just one day. So buy only quantities that you need and keep the rest in the freezer for later consumption if needed.
7. Canned Fruit Juices
Always choose freshly squeezed juices if you can because processed juices are allowed to sit for long periods of time during processing and that can promote mold growth. Remember? Mold loves sugar!
8. Tomato Products
Unfortunately, although cooked tomatoes have higher nutritional content than fresh tomatoes, one of the downsides of using processed tomato products is the use of moldy tomatoes by food manufacturers. So try to buy reputable brands.
Cheeses are fermented products and the longer they age, the more mold they have. Blue cheese, gorgonzola, and Roquefort especially are very moldy cheese. Although the mold used to culture them are edible forms of mold, you want to limit your consumption of mold in general.
10. Dried Fruit
A lot of fruits are now sold in dried form to make them available all year round such as raisins, apricots, figs, and prunes. Although convenient, the surface of dried fruits is prime breeding grounds for different types of mold. Eat with the seasons. That is my recommendation.
How to minimize your risk of mycotoxins exposure?
Dangerous mycotoxins not only grow and show on the surface of foods and crops, but they can also penetrate deep into the food itself. Properly storing foods is a great first step to preventing mold growth in your food. Here are some other helpful tips to minimize your risk of mycotoxins exposure:
- Inspect the dry goods that you buy. From whole grains (especially wheat, rice, corn, and sorghum) to dried fruits and nuts (especially peanuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and brazil nuts). Look for any evidence of mold and discard anything that remotely looks moldy, discolored or shriveled.
- Buy grains and nuts from a store that is popularly shopped which usually means a higher turnaround of products to ensure freshness.
- Avoid buying and storing large quantities of food that is much more than you can consume in a reasonable amount of time.
- Always check the expiration date on processed foods before buying or consuming.
- Eat a variety of foods in your diet so that you are not overexposure to any one type of food or crop in case of contamination. And it does not hurt to improve the nutritional value of diet from following this one simple tip either.
Natural treatments for mold and mycotoxin toxicity
If you do have mold and mycotoxin toxicity, fret not because there are ways to reverse the situation and improve your health. Besides getting rid of the mold source, there are several natural health supplements on the market that you can take to reverse the damage that mycotoxins have done to your body.
Here are some really great products I like to recommend to get my patients started on their healing path which can be found on my estore:
Silvercillin™ (a colloidal silver product) is a highly effective broad-spectrum antimicrobial composed of pure silver complexed with purified water. It comes in liquid, spray or gel form and can help reverse the damage that mold exposure has done to your body. I recommend the liquid Silvercillin be taken one to several times a day at 1 tablespoonful for each serving depending on the severity of your issues. You can also try the Silvercillin™ spray for specific mouth or throat symptoms.
2. Oil of Oregano softgels
Oil of Oregano is another antimicrobial product that contains other health beneficial compounds such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and cancer-suppressor agents.
3. ProbioMed™ 100
This probiotic is a high potency, shelf-stable and dairy-free supplement for gastrointestinal health.
NAC, short for N-Acetyl-Cysteine, shows that consuming adequate amounts of NAC can help replenish your body’s stores of the most powerful antioxidant – glutathione. Glutathione is an amino acid that can help with detoxification, and diminish the damage to your kidneys and liver. It can also help improve your immune function and reduce oxidative damage. In addition, NAC is heavily researched for its role in optimizing lung health and is also beneficial for protection against normal exposure to heavy metals.
How to get tested for mold and mycotoxin toxicity
Some of us are more vulnerable to mold toxicity than others and one of the reasons why mold is so dangerous is because these mycotoxins can cause an undesirable domino effect on your health. Your body’s inflammatory response goes into overdrive and some exposure can be deadly for some of us. Some of us, unfortunately, have a genetic susceptibility (HLA-DR) to mycotoxins, meaning that the body is not able to properly excrete small amounts of mycotoxins. Therefore it is important for you to understand and find out if you have this underlying genetic challenge. If you suspect that you might have toxic mold symptoms or a mycotoxin illness, I highly recommend that you seek help from an integrative physician or a professional functional nutritionist like myself to get the appropriate testing done as soon as possible.
There are several tests that I offer in my practice. The results reveal the root causes of many symptoms you may have and also serve as a great tool to gauge your exposure to mold and mycotoxins.
Do not wait any longer. CONTACT ME today and let me help you get to better health right away.
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