Could Mold be the Cause of Your Woes?

Mold can be extremely impactful, and manifest symptoms that people can spend their lives having without knowing the root cause.

Mold illness can take many forms, creating a myriad of unique symptoms.

Some common ones can look like:

  • Fatigue
  • Breathing problems
  • Sinus issues
  • Ear pain
  • Tinnitus
  • Brain fog
  • Eye pain
  • Itchy eyes
  • Itchy all over
  • Isomnia
  • Increased histamine
  • MCAS
  • New food allergies
  • Postnasal drip with sore throat (may only notice sore throat– often dry, irritated)
  • Lowered Immune function
  • Headaches
  • Congested lymphatic system
  • Anger
  • Restlessness
  • Acne
  • Edema (swelling all over, “moon” face, etc)
  • Hair falling out
  • Anxiety, mind or body
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Right shoulder or upper right abdominal pain or, indicative of increased liver burden
  • Rapid weight gain or swollen appearance, edema

Living in mold can be debilitating to the point that you can’t think well enough or have the energy to make the right choices to get you out of the situation. It can really make you feel powerless and hopeless. It doesn’t help that many states don’t have many laws about mold and those that do sometimes aren’t enforced. Where I live, code enforcement and the health department won’t even bother to come out and look at mold! Making the problem worse, even when you do know what to look for and remediate, remediators and even inspectors often cause more problems from not containing the issue, letting the mold spores loose all throughout the house (an air scrubber or negative pressure should be used, with the afflicting area(s) sealed off). It’s easy to miss places even when companies are doing everything right. Any material within about 4 feet of known mold should be removed, which is very frequently not done.

Mold can invade belongings too, harboring spores and carrying allergens people become reactive to even when they move away from the mold. Those aware of this might throw away all of their belongings after learning the hard way. Mattresses and items you can’t wash or get to the interior of are especially problematic, and may look fine on the outside where they’re exposed to light and oxygen.

Mold’s intense, abrupt negative affect can make you feel desperate to get out right away the soonest chance you get. Unfortunately, a lot of people jump right into a property that has other kinds of mold problems (there are lots of different varieties). This can just create a new set of symptoms.

What to do if you’re living in mold?

When you make a plan, try to be outside, away from the source of brain fog and other mind- impairing symptoms.

Aside from that, considering one of the most damaging parts of mold isn’t necessarily the mold spores themselves, but rather the mycotoxins which are not commonly considered by health authorities, remediation resources, and information sites. These are present even when the mold is dead. That’s why it’s important to clean up after any kind of remediation that’s done.

Mold fights back– any time it’s killed, it releases these when it’s being threatened by bleach, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide. For this reason, essential oil- based products are best for combatting surface- mold or minimizing detrimental remnants post- remediation.

Essential oils have anti- mycotoxic properties that can be one of your best bets while living in mold. Some of the best for mycotoxins include cedar leaf, scotch pine, thyme, ajwain, rosemary, geranium, lavendar, citrus, clove, and cedar wood.

Diffusing is a good idea but should be done without water which can feed mold. Atomizing diffusers, reed diffusers, or even a cotton ball with 20-30 drops of oil around the area can be helpful.

Sealing off the area is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself if the area(s) are isolated rather than widespread throughout the house. Having a “safe space” where you spend most of your time, and keeping your belongings in the lowest- mold areas will optimize your health in the situation and reduce contamination. The longer your items are exposed to higher concentrations of mold, the more contaminated they’ll become for the future when you’re out of mold.

Unfortunately, a lot of people find they have to get rid of some belongings, especially un-washable porous items like couches and mattresses, There can often be visible, growing mold inside of these items that you don’t want to bring along with you. This episode of Mold Finders is a good resource for knowing what to take, leave behind and how to clean.

It’s important to optimize the quality of the air. The best filter I know of for the cost is the BlueAir air purifier, particularly beneficial for it’s air quality indicators and filters down to.1 microns, which is known to be the smallest possible size of mycotoxins. This also addresses VOCs which mold releases. Even better, helping to capture mold fragments that can enter the bloodstream is the AirDoctor. Many in the forums I’m in for those affected by Mold swear by this one.

Nutrition that can be helpful:

Foods with fiber help bind mycotoxins, releasing them from the liver and gallbladder. Additionally, plants have had to fight of fungi, bacteria and viruses since the beginning of creation, so they have a bit of “knowledge” and tactic stored within them, that we can use for our benefit.

  • Fruits and vegetables for their fiber and plethora of unique antioxidant complexes.
    • Apples have additional benefit of malic acid, a great binder as well as pectin that’s also a binder.
  • Chia, flax, psyllium seed, beans, oats, peas, and nuts
  • Supplements can include things like:
  • NAC to help boost glutathione and detox
  • A multivitamin including sufficient copper and zinc
  • Sacromyces Boulardii crowds out fungus in the gut
  • Boron natural kills fungus, preventing colonization
  • Oxygen elements by TRACS- oxygen is very important to supply the lungs when they’re at risk of being colonized and potentially literally choked out by fungus (see aspergillosis)
  • Omega 3s help protect cells from mold infiltration by supplying cell membranes with healthy lipids as well as aiding in anti- inflammation. I prefer krill oil. I noticed when I moved into mold, I started getting really intense cravings for sushi— something I hadn’t had for about 10 years
  • Quercetin has shown to be protective against mold exposure, an antioxidant to protect the cell and natural antihistamine
  • Vitamin C is vital against oxidation, inflammation and depletion caused by the powerful offender as well as mitochondrial damage
  • Binders are one of the most important defenses to “mop up” any toxic products inevitably left in the body by mycotoxins and spores. Incorporating things like food1 grade diatomaceous earth, Bioactive carbons (by Microbe Formulas), modified citrus pectin or activated charcoal all have specific benefits. Diatomaceous earth has the added benefit of fighting against mold growth in the body
  • Gymnema can help prevent against the mold morphing into the hyphae form which protects you from colonization and makes it easier to kill
  • Herbs with beneficial compounds for fighting mold include garlic, clove, pau de arco, nigella sativa or black seed, oregano and thyme, just to name some!

When transitioning out of mold there are important steps to take to keep all of the damage where it came from:

Items have to be cleaned with things like EC3 mold cleaner with essential oil, and clothes washed with borax and vinegar. What the process will look like my vary with your level of sensitivity. You’ll want to limit exposure to these items once you’re out of the toxic place. Place the items you can in the sun for a day to minimize the toxic burden and wear an N95 or higher filtration respirator when going through items and cleaning things.

Especially when you’re out of the moldy environment, you can become more sensitive to these items as you’re not as numbed to them or immersed in the effects of mold anymore. Make sure you do what you can to minimize contamination.

Ozonation can be helpful with this process.

How to avoid properties with mold?

Signs of water damage are a good clue. Discolored paint, staining, bubbling or cracked paint are often a sign the material of the building has been absorbing water, swelled, and clearly not been dealt with. A musty smell is a tell- tale sign to avoid. Make sure you open cupboards and closets and spend as much time as possible to pick up any scent smells masked by fragrances or paint smells (that can make things more difficult). Look out for places with crawl spaces as those are notorious for harboring mold, as can attics– which you should check out if possible. You can also try disclosing to the prospective landlord that you have sensitivity to mold, and ask if there’s been a history of water damage.

Not all water damage necessarily means mold, but when there are numerous signs, or you don’t have a complete picture it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. When buying a home, you want to look at all of the property records that show the history which should include accidents like flood or causes of water damage. Don’t just look at the most recent ones, because often things can be left out one or more times. Home buyers have another advantage in that they get a trial period where if they find something after buying, that can be addressed, or they can back out. It’s a good idea to do mold testing at this time, or as soon as possible otherwise. For renters, try to stay in the home for at least 20 minutes to see how you feel, if you start smelling anything, and to give yourself ample time to look in cupboards, closets, and all of the like. A great indicator of the health of a home is what the crawlspace is like– whether it’s moldy, as well as what air filters such as in air conditioners, or an HVAC looks like. For me, I’ve found my intuition or “a hunch” has indicated to me in the past something was off, but I wanted to deny it. As in many cases in life, there isn’t always definite evidence, but rather something not immediately identifiable that gives you pause. In many cases, others who are less sensitive or observant, or vested in your interest will deny there’s any problem, assure you everything is fine, but you need to trust yourself if you have a feeling. If you don’t the first times, you’ll learn to. You’ll more than likely learn there were signs that were instilling these feelings and learn how to identify them even when others are writing them off.

If you’d like help being supported through whatever situation you’re in, be it toxic mold, other toxins, or something you’re currently unsure of, I offer one on one consultations to help identify the underlying cause of your symptoms, tailored to your bio-individuality. You can learn more about that here.

You can also get help learning to identify your pain and symptoms to get in touch with your own root causes and sign up for my “Use your Symptoms as a Compass Navigation Guide” which will put you on my direct contact list, where you’ll get help applying the guide as well as any updates and discoveries regarding getting to the root of often deemed “unsolvable” health issues.

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