There are so many things to LOVE about the climate that we live in and the beauty of the nature around us here in the Pacific Northwest. We definitely have the rain and moisture to thank for all this amazing greenery we so appreciate every day. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of molds and fungi that thrive in this same moist environment. In a healthy and dynamic system (like in the forest) those fungi are an important part of maintaining a balanced ecosystem. But when there is mold or fungus thriving in your home or water damaged building that is your workplace, there is nothing to keep the mold in check. Without remediation, the mold will continue to grow and produce unhealthy levels of mycotoxins.
When your body is out of balance, stressed, and having to process high levels of mycotoxins (mold toxins) in your living or work environment, many health-related issues can arise. Some of the common health conditions we see in our practice related to mycotoxins are seasonal allergies (fall and winter, but also contribute to spring allergies as well), asthma, eczema, hives, chronic fatigue, dizziness, hormonal imbalances, insomnia, and digestive complaints. Mycotoxins do a great job of getting our immune surveillance to go awry. When mold levels are high (and we are overly reactive) we spend much of our energy on immune surveillance dealing with the mold, and we don’t have much left over for the rest of our system to function properly.
If mold is something you suspect to be a concern with your current health picture, let us help you determine if it needs to be addressed. Mycotoxin health related issues may be from a current day exposure and /or they may be triggered from past exposures as well.
Mold toxins (aka mycotoxins) are an issue that can often be a root cause of chronic diseases, especially digestive and sinus conditions. Naturopathic doctors will suspect mycotoxins when a condition initially improves with treatment, but often comes right back afterwards. Because of the climate here in Portland, we can be more susceptible to ongoing mycotoxin exposure as molds thrive in wet, mild temperatures.
The process of uncovering mycotoxins starts with testing. If there is not a known or visible mold in your home or work space, there is an online visual test you can do as a screen for $15. This test is easy to complete online and will show that you failed (or as a positive for mycotoxins) if you have a current or past exposure. The only way to know which exact mycotoxins you’re dealing with and how heavy the load in your system is, is by further testing. We use a urinary test through Great Plains Laboratory. You must have a visit with a
provider for this urinary test to be ordered for you.
If you test positive by one of the above tests, the next step is to schedule an appointment with one of our providers to go over what treatment will look like. At Amber Wellness Group, we individualize treatment plans based on symptoms, testing, exposure, and patient preference.
Mycotoxin Prevention and Removal
One important step in ridding your body of mycotoxins is prevention of or remediation to exposure. The common route of exposure is living or working in a water damaged building. This can sometimes be hard to identify. Mold can linger in areas that aren’t visible on a daily basis and are rarely visited. Some examples are in crawl spaces, under sinks, behind the furnace, and even behind drywall or under floorboards.
If you find mold on surfaces in your home, you can clean it with a 50/50 vinegar solution, any natural cleaning products that contain thymol, or ammonia “409” products will adequately get rid of mold on window sills, sinks, and bathrooms. Do not use bleach. Not only does bleach not get rid of mold, but it is also quite toxic and shouldn’t be an added stress on your body while dealing with mycotoxins.
If you find mold or suspect mold in other areas of your home, it’s best to have a company out to treat and remove it. There are several options for this depending on your area, but in the Portland area Oregon Restoration is one option. Be sure whomever you use is well versed on eradicating and safely removing the mold and any damaged wood, drywall, or floorboards.
Another way to prevent mold growth is to use a dehumidifier in your damp spaces. This could be in a basement, bedroom, or bathroom. Many bathrooms have adequate ventilation, but this would be the next best option if yours does not. You will want to keep humidity levels below 50%.
Mycotoxin Detox Support Tips
We have written in previous newsletters about ways to support detoxification and why. You may have guessed but with the name mycotoxins, detox support is one of the most important steps in treatment. One issue is that mycotoxins are known to deplete your body’s glutathione. This article from our November 2020 article goes into detail about glutathione as a mycotoxin treatment. One take home, be sure you’re taking liposomal glutathione so it can get into the cells to do its job.
One nutrient that can also help with detoxification and glutathione production is n-acetyl-cysteine, aka NAC. This nutrient helps your body make glutathione and helps support detoxification.
Another great way to support your body’s ability to detoxify, is by eating a well balanced diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. These contain antioxidants that supply your detoxification systems with nutrients and cofactors needed to move through the various stages of detoxification.
As always, we strongly recommend having individualized support and guidance with something as complex as mycotoxins with one of our amazing providers at Amber Wellness Group. Please know that you’re not alone, mycotoxin symptoms can be a source of great frustration, but we are here to support you and get you back to feeling like your best self.