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Four Ways Mold Can Affect Your Health

An overview of the kinds of issues that mold can cause.
Nafysa Parpia, ND with input from Jamie Kunkle, ND

Mold illness symptoms manifest in multiple different ways that need to be addressed. In every case, removal from the exposure is critical. 

We find that diagnosis and appropriate treatment for mycotoxins and other environmental toxicants needs to precede and be concurrent with treatment for other chronic illnesses. 

The Mycotoxin and Chronic Illness Summit is over. There was so much important information, it can be hard to know where to start.

Following are the ways in which mold exposure can manifest clinically: 

  • Mold Allergy – Immune system reaction to mold exposure. Usually, removal of the mold exposure source will also remove symptoms.
  • Mold Toxicity – Many molds generate mycotoxins and biotoxins that impact several of the body’s systems. Simply removing the source of the mold exposure may not be sufficient to remove symptoms, as the toxicity has already started the process of inflammation and can continue in the body even after exposure has been discontinued.
  • Mold Colonization – Beyond the initial exposure comes a possibility of colonization, where mold becomes a resident within the living system, colonizing the surfaces of the body in the sinuses, lungs, GI system, and/or on the skin. Colonization does not reach into the deeper tissues, but now becomes an ongoing exposure to allergens, mycotoxins, and biotoxins and will complicate the impact. Even if the environmental source has been removed, exposure continues inside the body. 
  • Mold Infection – In very rare cases, when a patient’s immune system has been damaged by chemotherapy, AIDS, or other immunosuppressive factors, mold may infect tissues deeper in the body than what is seen with colonization, causing severe acute infectious disease.

Symptoms of mold exposures are many and can mimic and exacerbate those from other complex chronic illnesses such as Tick-Borne illness and other chronic infections, environmental toxicity, cognitive decline and neurological disorders.

Common Mold Exposure Symptoms

  • Confusion, disorientation
  • Difficulty in word finding
  • Impaired concentration
  • Difficulty assimilating new information
  • Reduced task completion
  • Hypersensitivity to bright light
  • Night blindness
  • Tearing, redness of the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Chronic aching muscles
  • Joint pain, morning joint stiffness, pain in weight bearing joints
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight gain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chronic sinus congestion
  • Chronic cough that mimics asthma
  • Shortness of breath
  • Ice-pick like pain, or shooting electrical pain
  • Nosebleeds
  • Metallic taste or other unusual taste
  • Vertigo, dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Rage or inappropriate anger, mood swings
  • Increased sensitivity to touch

  • Difficulty with sleep: getting to sleep difficulties, difficulty staying asleep
  • Excessive thirst, or frequent urination
  • Impotence
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding
  • Low body temperature
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Low blood pressure
  • Chronic yeast infections
  • Early onset of menopause
  • Panic attacks or anxiety, depression
  • Tingling, “needles and pins” sensations

Every generation has accumulated but often unseen toxic burdens that can affect their health and wellness. We have survived and adapted under substantial duress and adversity as a species. However, there are limitations on an individual’s health and functioning as these burdens continue to accumulate. Unfortunately, few of these toxicants are routinely tested for or identified until disease develops, and a syndrome diagnosis (based on signs/symptoms) is established. You may receive a diagnosis of an autoimmune condition, chronic fatigue syndrome or even Lyme disease (among others).

Mold is one of the most commonly missed and/or understated toxins of our lifetime. Many of us have had, or are currently experiencing an exposure to mold and its toxins (mycotoxins), and it may not be obvious. Identification is often challenging, and exposure can harm your system for years without a clear diagnosis.

Mold exposure can cause inflammation and toxicity in the body which further complicates symptoms from existing chronic illnesses. For example – many of our patients who already have chronic Lyme disease, neurological issues, cognitive decline, fibromyalgia and ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) also have exposure to mold and the toxins that it creates – mycotoxins. In our clinical experience, treating the patient for mold exposure, and mycotoxins if it is also an issue, helps allow for their other multiple diagnoses to resolve faster.

It is said, if one works with Lyme, they will often find toxicity. The presence of such can be a predisposing factor or a relative result of the chronic illness itself. Many have developed increased sensitivities and poor detoxification responses after developing Lyme illness. Some were already exposed to the toxins themselves, suppressing and dysregulating their immune system response and allowing for a less favorable terrain and resilience to illness. Toxicity can be responsible for relapsing symptoms and can easily affect multiple different organ systems.

Other toxicants exist and should be evaluated for health/wellness and success of treatment are not to be understated either. This includes heavy metals, glyphosate, industrial, agricultural and water contaminants to name a few. These are also easily hidden from view as many are consumed or inhaled often with little immediate response.

Depending on each individual patient’s manifestation of symptoms and concurrent diagnoses, treatment may include oral, intravenous and physical therapies. Treatments are highly personalized to each patient.

There are many ways to support detoxification, some gentle and some more aggressive. The level of intervention is typically dependent on the overall toxic burden and constitution of the individual. This process is often gradual but has the potential to reestablish a more positive momentum of healing in the living system.

Allergies, Biotoxin Issues, Complex Chronic Illness, Detox + Toxins, Gastrointestinal Disorders, Immune Issues, Jamie Kunkle ND, Mold + Mycotoxin Illness, Nafysa Parpia ND

Preventing the Failed Patient – Detoxification

The important factors we consider when working
with complex chronic illness

Environmental toxicants impair cellular functions. Lyme/tick-borne disease/co-infections, parasites, and viruses all modulate immune function to their advantage and the host disadvantage.

With exposure, the immune system is over-activated, causing hypersensitivity, allergies, mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and/or autoimmunity. The immune system may also be misdirected, and does not mount an appropriate response to infection.

Preventing-the-failed-patient

Most of our patients who present with long standing Lyme disease have evidence of a high environmental toxicant load through clinical history and laboratory results. They respond well to therapies that reduce the toxicant load, which leads to normalization of the immune response. Everyone benefits from detox, but in these patients, it is mandatory.

Toxicants that hinder the healing cycle may include: mold toxins, biotoxins and other neurotoxins, heavy metals, high EMF exposure or high sensitivity to it, environmental toxin burden such as high perchlorate, PCBs, glyphosate (Roundup), other pesticides and other chemicals.

Consider whether you:

  • Live/lived in a home with mold or water damage?
  • Live/lived near or on a farm or vineyard? how far from?
  • Live/lived near freeway? How far from?
  • Live/lived in an industrial location?
  • Live/lived in home while it was being renovated?
  • Ever worked with chemicals – artist, dark room, painting/renovating homes, industrial work?
  • Use pesticides, insecticides, herbicides in your garden or your neighbors use them in their gardens?
  • Have metal amalgams in your mouth?

Treatment for toxins needs to precede and be concurrent with herbal and antibiotic treatment of persistent tick-borne disease. It includes appropriate oral, IV and physical detoxification therapies PLUS MCAS treatment. If mast cell activation is on a hair trigger even detox may cause flares.

Biotoxin Issues, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Complex Chronic Illness, Detox + Toxins, Detoxification, Lyme Disease + Coinfections, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), Mold + Mycotoxin Illness, Nafysa Parpia ND, Toxicity