This one is super close to my heart as my daughter got unbelievably sick with mould when we lived in Spain in 2016.
The recent floods across Eastern Australia have provided a thriving environment for mould to grow and have a terrifying impact. Mould is dangerous for everyone; however, for those with pre-existing conditions or poor health, the threat is so much greater.
Find out how you can identify mould toxicity in your body, and most importantly; what you can do about it.
What is mould?
Plain and simple – mould is a type of fungus; and it’s everywhere – inside, outside, and even in the air.
There are basically hundreds of thousands of different types of mould species (more than 300 000+) and whilst it’s very damaging for people exposed to it; mould is really important for our planet’s ecosystem, as it helps break down waste products; garbage, leaves, trees.
As we know, mould needs moisture to grow and damp, humid environments are particularly prone to mould growth.
As the mould grows, it makes spores and toxic compounds (volatile organic compounds; VOCs) that can contaminate the air and spread throughout the entire home. The mould, spores and VOCs are super damaging for everyone; but can most certainly make some people really sick.
So it will come as no surprise that the recent floods on the east coast of Australia have provided ample moisture to fuel incredible amounts of mould growth.
Signs and Symptoms of Mould Toxicity
- Fatigue and a feeling of weakness and fibromyalgia
- Confusion and disorientation
- Mycotoxins impact the brain – causes brain inflammation, causing changes in cognitive function, mood, dementia symptoms.
- Shortness of breath – after exercise, and even at rest
- Memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and problems managing emotions (executive function)
- Vertigo and light headedness
- Muscle aches, cramping, and joint pain
- Hypersensitivity to bright light, blurred vision, burning or red eyes, and tearing
- Persistent cough, asthma-like wheezing, and chronic sinus congestion
- Abdominal problems including nausea, cramping, and diarrhoea
- Severe eczema
- Allergies; especially when symptoms improve out of the home.
What can you do about it? How to ‘treat’ mould
1. Avoid it
There’s no point trying to treat mould and improve any symptoms in your body without avoiding it altogether. If/when you find mould; whatever you do, do not use bleach; it will cause the mould to spread spores and mycotoxins, and basically compound the problem you are trying to resolve.
Consider vinegar & baking soda; and even borax to remove the mould. All of these contain no toxic fumes, no irritations to the skin or the lungs and are not harmful to the environment.
If your house or living area has been exposed, consider investing in a quality air purifier. These work to filter out the small particle sizes of mycotoxins, VOCs and spores. Mould spores range in particle size from 3-40 microns. Some air purifiers filter out at .003 microns. Plus, it will also filter out smoke, bacteria, viruses, pollen and dust mites.
Watch for moisture in your car – Cars can easily grow mould as they are sealed up tight and covered in upholstery and carpeting. All you need is a tiny amount of moisture for mould spores to germinate. Be sure to thoroughly dry out your car if you accidentally leave the windows down and it rains. Dry out wet floor mats. Change out your car’s air filter regularly to improve the air quality inside your car.
2. BIND IT
Binders are supplements, herbs and nutrients that work to physically and electrically bind toxins on their way out of the body. Top binders include
Charcoal - There’s a reason why charcoal in skincare has boomed of late and stands the test of time. Great news is it’s a super cheap and cheerful remedy and if mould isn’t your issue, charcoal can help with gut health, pain and bloating.
Clay – bentonite and zeolite
Zeolite – made of volcanic ash + seawater
Diatomaceous Earth - A type of microscopic algae collected for thousands of years in now-dry lake beds. Similar to zeolites, the unique shape of these diatoms makes them an excellent natural cleanser of the body.
Chlorella; a fresh water algae/high in protein, vitamins A, C & E. Good for heavy metals as well.
Pectin - Commonly found in apple skins, pectin is a type of fibre that can bind to toxins in the body.
3. BRUSH IT.
Dry skin brushing is a very affordable and effective way to move our lymphatic tissue and fluid to gather toxins from your body. I suggest using a dry brush each morning – it’s a great way to start the day and super invigorating.
4. FLUSH IT – Coffee Enemas
Whilst I appreciate this particular piece of advice isn’t for everyone and I 200% recommend you consult with a specialist before doing a coffee enema. (#donttrythisathome); but……don’t knock it till you try it. Coffee enemas can help to clean your blood and produce a massive amount of the strongest antioxidant in your body; glutathione.
5. SWEAT IT OUT
Our skin is our largest organ of detoxification and we have a great capacity to sweat out toxins, including mycotoxins and heavy metals through the skin through sweat. Find out where your latest and greatest infrared sauna is and go
I wouldn’t be doing my job as a naturopath if I didn’t talk about food. Be aware that mould is also in a number of foods and you may want to limit or avoid your exposure to;
- Gluten in particular wheat
Check ingredients. Malted means mouldy. Dough conditioners are mouldy. Sourdough is often the worst. Bread develops surface mould after just a day so store in the freezer and use as needed.
- Coffee (especially cheap coffee)
Sugar feeds yeast and suppresses the immune system. Did you know 1 teaspoon can supress your immune system for up 16 hours??!!
- Limit/avoid corn, soy and canola oil and products that contain these ingredients as. They are generally genetically modified foods (GM)
- Mushrooms (obviously….)
- Tinned and jarred tomato products (e.g. sauce, passata etc)
These are generally made with mouldy tomatoes!
- Hamburger meat – beware!
These are often made from aged meat!
All foods become mouldy with time. Shop frequently and buy in small quantities. Mould thrives on sugar so reduce your intake. Organic foods are more likely to mould. Check out the Environmental Working Groups (EWG) easy to follow advice on the clean 15 (think cleanest fruits and vegetables – i.e. it’s ok to get these from non-organic sources) and dirty dozen (think dirtiest – wherever possible, get these guys from organic sources!).