Mold Illness

Twenty years ago virtually no one in the medical community recognized this very common cause of fatigue, pain, cognitive and mood issues. Check out this list of common mold symptoms to see if you might be exposed to a toxic mold.

Common symptoms of mold exposure

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Confusion, “brain fog,” memory loss, loss of cognitive function
  • Abnormal weight gain
  • Chronic sinus or lung issues
  • Burning eyes, blurred vision
  • Stiffness and body pain, especially in a.m.
  • Vertigo, dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Unusual sensations – numbness, tingling, shocks, jolts, bolts, shooting pains
  • Getting sick more often than others
  • Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Frequent urination, drinking lots of water but still feel dehydrated
It’s estimated that 50% of buildings have a toxic mold overgrowth due to water damage of some type. Due to modern building practices, this is much more common than you might think.  Tightly sealed buildings made of “fast food” for mold i.e. particle board, OSB, drywall and other easily digestible organic substances combined with shoddy building practices around drainage, plumbing, and moisture management equals a great environment for mold.

Anywhere that humidity stays above 45% for more than 24 hours plus a food source (any organic material) equals the potential for a health-threatening mold problem.

Suspect a mold issue? Test Home and Office

  1. ERMI - this test involves sampling the area of interest with a cloth that is sent to a lab for identification and testing of 26 toxic/potentially toxic types of molds and 10 “normal” everywhere/outdoor types of mold to arrive at an index of relative moldiness with a ratio of harmful to harmless molds. Upside: Gives a comprehensive picture of all mold blooms since the last deep cleaning of the space with good sensitivity. Downside: Can’t localize the problem.
  2. Environmental Mycotoxin Test – There are several labs that offer this test for the poisonous compounds that can be made by the harmful molds. This sample is usually taken from the furnace/HVAC filter. Upside: Can occasionally find a problem that’s hidden (mold spores are trapped under a floor or behind a wall but the toxins can get into living space when spores can’t). Downside: May be low sensitivity if the furnace filter hasn’t been in use for several months or more.
  3. Spore trap testing - This is the type of testing performed by all mold remediation contractors. It samples current levels of several types of mold spores in the air for 1 minute in each location of interest. Upside: Can localize the issue if it’s active at the moment of testing. Downside: It may miss a problem on a day with low humidity or a problem that may occur intermittently with moisture intrusion into a space such as a crawl space, attic, basement, or interior of a wall.

Test For Mold Yourself

Thorough exam by a mold-literate physician and applicable lab testing:
  1. Visual contrast study – Take it ONLINE or at our office
  2. Testing of inflammatory markers commonly associated with mold exposure
  3. Testing of your urine for evidence of toxins produced by toxic molds with RealTime Laboratories or Great Plains Laboratory
  4. Organic acids urine testing for evidence of abnormal mold growth within the body.

Get Treated

Here’s the 1,2,3 to get you started. These simple steps help a great many people before they even arrive at Dr. Barter’s office or the office of another specialist:
  1. Toxin binders such as charcoal, bentonite clay, cholestyramine (prescription), or chlorella (organic glass-grown) help to neutralize and bind up these potent poisons in the gut after they are expelled by the liver. The binders prevent recirculation into the bloodstream.
  2. Detoxification aids such as:
    1. Liposomal glutathione – this is listed first for a reason.
    2. Alpha-lipoic acid
    3. Curcumin (from turmeric)
    4. Milk thistle
    5. Amino acids – glycine, taurine, glutamine
    6. Sauna
    7. Dry skin brushing
    8. Exercise
    9. Neti pot or sinus rinses
    10. Electrolytes for alkalizing urine and enhancing hydration
  3. Adrenal support – the vast majority of mold patients seen in my office have drastically reduced ability to manage inflammation due to hypothalamic/pituitary/adrenal axis dysregulation cause by mold. Herbals or prescriptions to support these systems are often key to recovery.

Clean It Up

Get a mold remediator who understands the difference between a MOLD SPORE and a MYCOTOXIN. If your mold remediation company hasn’t heard of a mycotoxin (mold toxin), run the other direction. A mold remediation contractor who doesn’t understand what molecular compounds toxic mold produces and what it takes to clean these out of the environment is likely to aggravate your problem by spreading it around.

Here’s more on the topic of MOLD and MYCOTOXINS:
  1. Regular everyday harmless molds do NOT produce substances that make humans and animals sick, but you might be allergic to them. This is an easy fix. Get rid of the mold source (mold spores and hyphae, do a medium-duty housecleaning, and you’re cured.
  2. Toxic molds produce compounds ranging from benzene, toluene and other organic solvents to airborne gaseous compounds known as mycotoxins that can soak in directly through the skin, the lining of the lungs, eyeballs, and cause significant illness to human and livestock. This is why the livestock industry has been testing animal feed for these compounds for far longer than we’ve been testing humans for them!
    1. These compounds are exceedingly challenging to remove from an indoor environment due to their minute size. An air filter that can remove particles and molecules down to 0.2 microns in size is required. A vacuum that likewise can grab onto particles of this size, known as an ULPA vacuum is required. HEPA filters and vacuums won’t cut the mustard for a toxic mold problem.
    2. Mycotoxins are STICKY. They have strong electrostatic charges and stick to walls, ceilings, furnishings, and can soak into any porous object. We’ll go into more details on how to handle personal objects, but the big picture take-home is that everything needs to be wiped down or vacuumed with an ULPA vacuum or something capable of grabbing and neutralizing mycotoxins.
Get rid of the mold-affected building materials under negative air pressure and isolation of the area.

Run industrial air scrubbers while you or your remediation company scrubs/wipes down/ULPA vacuums every single surface and fumigates the entire space with a non-toxic mold-inactivating agent such as Enzacare® or a desiccating agent of which there are several commercially available.

Non-porous belongings can also be wiped down with hydrogen peroxide wipes. These are commercially available on Amazon.

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