Do you suffer from unexaplainable illness and suspect that mold is the culprit? Read on to learn more about mold exposure and what you can do to heal naturally with a natural mold detox protocol!
Mold is made up of dust-like structures that are formed by various fungi naturally in any environment with moisture and oxygen. Outdoor mold is helpful in the decomposition of organic matter, but its growth should be avoided indoors.
Exposure to the interior of water-damaged buildings (WDB), however, results in mold sickness. This is a chronic inflammation of the body as a result of an ‘out-of-sync’ immune system, which is a subcategory of a CIRS or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.
According to the Centre of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM), CIRS is a “progressive, multi-symptom, multi-system illness that can affect virtually any organ system and become debilitating if left untreated”.
It is impossible to avoid all mold, but excess moisture indoors allows mold spores to form new colonies. When you inhale, ingest, or touch these spores, they pose a health hazard and can result in reactions ranging from slight allergies to lifelong illnesses.
However, the good news is that it is possible to remove the effects of toxic mold in your body naturally. Once you know the symptoms of mold toxicity, you can test for mold and then begin a mold detox protocol to regain full health.
According to the National Center for Health Housing, mold affects an average of 6-10% of the United States population. This number is even higher for those who are genetically prone to allergies at 15-50%. How likely is it then that you, or someone you know, may have had a reaction to mold?
Let’s look at how you can control mold in your home to reduce the risk of mold toxicity in the body.
Mold Exposure Symptoms
Some types of mold release substances known as mycotoxins, and these are toxins that eventually result in a toxic body. The effect of mycotoxins on humans is a fairly new field of research, but generally, it is known that they occur in wet and damp environments. One mycotoxin may have many different symptoms; conversely, one symptom may be caused by different types of mycotoxins.
Regardless, when you are exposed to mold spores, especially over a long period of time, there is a high chance that you will succumb to mold toxicity.
Mold toxicity presents itself in a variety of different ways that may leave medical practitioners unable to diagnose the ailment accurately. It may seem that the combination of symptoms does not provide enough evidence for a specific prognosis, as medical practitioners cannot classify them.
Often, those that suffer from mold exposure have symptoms that are dismissed by medical practitioners who are unable to identify anything wrong in regular blood work and tests. They may even be told their symptoms are “in their head,” as they continue to suffer.
Know that if you had a similar experience, you are not alone, and that research, awareness, and reaching out to a holistic practitioner who is more aware of toxic mold exposure can help you get treatment sooner.
Here are just some of the major mold toxicity symptoms:
- sharp, ‘lightning-bolt’ like pains,
- random numbness or tingling
- tics and spasms
- seizure-like events
- coughing, chest tightness, and/or wheezing
- upper respiratory infections
- exacerbation of asthma
These symptoms often occur concurrently with more common symptoms such as:
- electric shock sensation throughout the body
- pulsing or vibrating sensations running along the spine or confined to specific segments
- memory loss
- eye and/or skin irritation
- gastrointestinal upsets
- excess fatigue
More severe health impacts linked to exposure to mycotoxins include:
- fungal pneumonia in those with low immunity
- birth defects
- lung inflammation
- hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP)
This plethora of ailments often leaves traditional doctors baffled, meaning you may go through a range of different prognoses and treatments without any permanent relief.
Given the mainstream medical industry’s reliance on tests for diagnoses and lack of time to understand a patient’s history, it’s essential for us to take health into our own hands! If you are experiencing any, a few, or even all of these symptoms, you need to start by confirming the presence of mold in your living environment and then undergoing a natural mold detox protocol.
How to Test for Mold Exposure
The dangers of indoor mold have been known for centuries, including during Biblical times. In fact, Leviticus 14 gives step-by-step instructions on how to deal with household mold. The procedure described involves the complete gamut of mold prevention from cleaning and inspection all the way through to demolition.
But worry not! It is often possible to detect and prevent mold in your home easily in our modern times if you take the proper steps.
Usually, when indoor surface mold has been persistently growing, you can often see or smell it. It usually looks slightly furry or has slimy patches. It also varies in color, from black, gray, white, orange, and green.
On the other hand, airborne mold spores are undetectable as they often float through the air. Therefore, given these two different scenarios, there are two testing types to consider – surface testing and air testing.
Surface Testing for Mold
If you are experiencing some of the mold exposure symptoms mentioned above, you will definitely want to test for mold in your home.
Perform a visual inspection of your home, focusing on damp areas, including common places such as:
- under kitchen/bathroom sinks
- around leaky windows
- in ventilation ducts
- behind the refrigerator
- under carpeting that has been wet
- under stacks of newspapers or cardboard boxes
If the mold is fairly manageable, you could use the following DIY steps to get rid of it for good:
- Removal and replacement: This will usually be necessary if you find mold in your carpet, ceiling, drywall, or insulation. After removal, make sure to thoroughly clean and dry the area to get rid of the source of mold.
- Scrub surface: For surfaces made from tiles, wood, metal, or stone, you can use a soapy water solution, bleach solution, baking soda, vinegar solution, or commercial cleaning products to scrub off the mold. Clean all surrounding areas and vacuum the floor.
- Immediately dry surfaces: After a thorough cleaning, ventilate the area often and dry the surfaces completely to prevent future mold occurrences.
- Regular checks: Check the area often for signs of further water damage or mold growth.
Air Testing for Mold
If you do not visually detect mold or the conditions that may lead to mold growth, you may need to take an at-home airborne mold test.
Air sampling devices should be used to collect air samples from the most lived-in rooms. These may include air pumps, cassette samplers, or air particle collectors that trap spores in a culture dish.
Air testing is affected by many variables, such as weather conditions and airflow in a room, so it is advisable to use this as one tool for mold inspection along with visual inspection and surface sampling.
Mold Detox Lifestyle Protocol
We all know water is essential for a healthy body, so make sure you drink sufficient purified water (particularly distilled) as you begin your mold detox. Regular but gentle exercise that doesn’t stress the body (which creates uric acid) also aids in detoxing your body, as do six to eight hours of sleep per night.
A simple lifestyle habit you can use to help promote your mold detox is dry skin brushing daily. This entails using a firm, bristled brush to brush your whole body towards the kidneys to encourage lymphatic and blood flow.
Dry brushing can also help you unclog your pores, making it easier for your body to sweat and eliminate toxins. Likewise, it can improve kidney function and digestion – all part of mold detoxification.
Another way to improve your lifestyle to support your mold detox process is to support your limbic system. The limbic system comprises three parts of your brain – the amygdala, thalamus, and hippocampus which work together to maintain your emotions, stress response, and memory.
This system works as an in-built stress detector system, whether from foods, the environment, situations, people, or chemicals. In order to determine whether a stressor is a threat, it may need to be retrained by a professional neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) trainer.
They guide you through brain exercises using hand motions and phrases interrupting thoughts about your symptoms. Instead, you imagine yourself 100% healthy and reduce the negative effects of your immune response to mold sickness symptoms.
Improve Home Microbiome to Discourage Mold Growth
Mold can’t grow without sufficient moisture, so this is the starting point on your journey to eradicate your mold problem. The following are everyday habits that go a long way to discourage mold growth in your home.
Take practical measures such as:
- Ventilating moist areas such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and cooking areas.
- Fixing all leaky windows, pipes, or ceilings.
- Avoiding carpeting around moist areas such as bathrooms or basements.
- Maintaining your HVAC system.
- Cleaning, disinfecting, and drying any areas you find the slightest trace of mold.
- Controlling the moisture level in your home and reducing humidity by improving airflow across the house. Check humidity levels during the course of the day and aim for levels between 30-50%.
These simple habits are the starting point to a healthier, mold-free environment that will provide a basis for you to begin cleansing your body from toxic mold.
Mold Detox Diet
A low-mold diet can help you get rid of mold toxins more efficiently as you alter your environment and lifestyle in the same direction. Certain foods are known to increase the amount of mold in your body, while others will decrease it.
Below are some foods you should eat and those to avoid when on a mold detox diet.
|Foods to Include in a Low Mold Diet||Foods to Avoid in a Low Mold Diet|
|High fiber foods & non-starchy vegetables
Kidney beans & lentils
Cookies and cakes
|Antioxidant & anti-fungal herbs/spices
|Packaged & processed foods
|Cold pressed juices
Apple cider vinegar
Herbal teas (except black tea)
Conventional fruit juices
Extra-virgin olive oil
|Industrial seed oils
Altering your diet from acidic to alkaline can greatly improve your health and help eliminate mold in your system.
In addition to altering your diet, some methods have successfully reduced the effects of mold exposure. It is recommended to consult a detox specialist before your endeavor, as they can guide you on the best way to alter your diet and lifestyle to achieve ultimate freedom from your mold symptoms safely and effectively.
The Antifungal Food List
In order to detoxify the body from mold, it is important to starve the major food source of mold – body acids. To do so, your diet has to be predominantly alkaline, which will make the internal environment inhospitable for mold to proliferate.
Unfortunately, most of the foods we consume on a daily basis are acidic and feed the problematic pathogens in our bodies. The acids make it possible for these opportunistic agents to get stronger and cause frequent health issues.
In addition, if the body has long-term exposure to acids without properly purging them through the elimination organs (which takes energy and a properly functioning lymphatic system), the acids will cause cells to degenerate, which is a precondition for most chronic diseases.
Alkaline food is also highly hydrating and regenerating, meaning that you will be able to heal yourself back to health simply by committing to a diet that is predominantly fruit and veggie-based!
Here are my favorite foods for starving mold growth in your body and should be a regular part of your mold detox protocol:
Here are some antifungal fruits and vegetables that you can include in your diet:
1. Garlic: Garlic has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It can help fight against fungal infections like candida.
2. Onions: Onions contain a compound called allicin, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
3. Ginger: Ginger has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help fight against fungal infections like candida.
4. Turmeric: Turmeric has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help fight against fungal infections like candida.
5. Coconut: Coconut contains caprylic acid, which has antifungal properties. Coconut oil is the perfect antidote to fungal growth and should be taken daily to kill off mold growth.
6. Berries: Berries are high in antioxidants and boost the immune system. They also provide the body with plenty of energy to ignite its self-healing capacities.
7. Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges are high in vitamin C, which can help boost the function of the immune system and the lymphatic system.
8. Cruciferous vegetables: Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage contain sulfur compounds that have antifungal properties. They can help fight against fungal infections like candida.
9. Leafy greens: Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens are high in antioxidants and can help boost the immune system. They also have antifungal properties and protect the liver.
10. Tomatoes: Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has antifungal properties. They can help fight against fungal infections like candida.
11. Celery (especially celery juice): Celery juice has been suggested to have antifungal properties due to its high content of certain compounds such as luteolin and apigenin. Celery is also high in electrolytes and essential minerals, helping the kidneys function more properly to expel mold and fungus from the body.
Natural Methods That Support the Mold Exposure Diet
Another helpful detox tip you can do at home is to use toxin binders. These natural substances can remove toxins from the body and prevent reabsorption into the intestine. They should also be gentle enough to not place excess strain on your body’s elimination organs, mainly the liver, and kidneys.
Let’s look at some of these common treatments.
- Activated charcoal: Known as an adsorbent, activated charcoal or AC binds toxins and removes them safely from your body. Its large surface area allows dissolved toxins to adhere to its surface. Its role in medicine has been known from as early as 1500 B.C and was even recommended by Hippocrates (The Father of Medicine). Activated charcoal for mold detox is one of the most common treatments for mold sickness and aids in slowing the effects of mold toxicity.
- Chlorella: These chlorophyll-filled microalgae bind to toxins within your digestive tract and help excrete them from your body. One of chlorella’s main benefits is that it helps boost immunity naturally, enhancing your body’s natural ability to clear toxins. A major advantage of chlorella for mold detox is that it doesn’t remove minerals and nutrients like other binders.
- Bentonite clay: This clay is made from volcanic ash and has been used to absorb heavy metals and toxins for thousands of years. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It binds to pathogenic stomach microbes and reduces the negative effects of toxins in your body.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help improve and maintain your gut health. The phrase, ‘you are what you eat,’ refers to the fact that 70% of your immune system is in your gut. This means a well-functioning GI tract will directly impact your health. Some foods high in probiotics include:
- Green peas
- Apple cider vinegar
- Glutathione: Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants and is touted as ‘the maestro of the immune system’. It is the first line of defense against toxicity and oxidative stress. You can incorporate high glutathione foods such as cucumber, okra, and asparagus into your diet for best results. These increase the amount of raw glutathione in your body, but it is poorly absorbed in the human body. You should increase glutathione-supporting foods, including:
– Cruciferous vegetables
– Vitamin C-rich foods with low sugar levels include lemons, limes, kiwis, grapefruit, bell peppers, kale, parsley & tomatoes
– Selenium-rich foods like sunflower seeds, avocados, broccoli, barley, and chia seeds
In addition to these healing foods, including powerful detoxifying herbs in your diet will help starve the mold from proliferating in your body and regulating the levels of exposure to toxins.
Essential Oils to Use in Mold Treatment
Essential oils have gained popularity in eliminating fungal growth, including mold and mold spores. Certain essential oils are very beneficial for lymphatic drainage and can help your body circulate cellular waste from various organs back to the kidneys for elimination. However, in terms of fungal and parasitic growth, the following essential oils are powerful antifungals that should be a part of your anti-mold regimen:
- Tea tree oil: This oil has been widely used to treat skin and health conditions. Diffused tea tree oil contains antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that can kill mold spores and reduce the growth of airborne molds.
- Clove oil: This ancient oil has been used for centuries due to its antifungal properties. It can help you deal with mold exposure and reduce microbe exposure.
- Eucalyptus oil: This essential oil helps purify the air within your home by purifying air molds.
- Lavender and thyme essential oils also possess antifungal properties that can be used in the fight against mold in your home.
Mold Detox Symptoms
You need to be careful when beginning a mold detox because mold die-off may kill too much mold too quickly for your body to handle. This is why you need to go slow and strengthen the function of your kidneys (which purge acidic and toxic waste from the body) before you engage in a full body detox.
Because of this die-off and acidic overload on the body, you may experience detox symptoms during the elimination phase of your detox. Likewise, mold detoxification causes the mold in your body to release mycotoxins resulting in symptoms of illness. These symptoms of healing are known as a Herxheimer reaction, and you have to get through these temporary symptoms (which may mimic your illness to the extreme) before getting better. It’s important to not get scared and to gently ground yourself through the process. Know that you will get better and healthy should you proceed!
The mold may release toxins faster than your body can flush them out, especially if your elimination organs are backed-up,leading to other more serious symptoms that are only temporary. Make sure you consult a detox specialist or a naturopath when going through a mold detox, especially after prolonged exposure.
Some Herxheimer reactions may cause you to feel:
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Skin rashes
- Brain fog
- Irritability or mood swings
Not everyone has these adverse reactions, but if you do, adjust your detox regime by pausing or reducing your detox program’s length. You can reduce the effect of mold detox symptoms by consuming grounding foods, taking an epsom salt bath, dry brushing, spending time in a sauna, taking a walk in nature, and getting adequate rest.
Mold exposure can have devastating effects on health, especially if not treated. The sad part is that many who suffer from exposure may not have concrete evidence of it unless they test their homes, making their assumptions less credible to their families, friends, and the medical community. Oftentimes, their symptoms are dismissed to be “all in their heads,” making mold exposure both a medical and psychological struggle.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way! By using your intuition that your home is making you sick, you can then act to find the truth of the matter and be empowered to find the right health practitioner with experience treating patients with mold exposure symptoms.
And if you’d like to learn more about the effects of mold exposure, I recommend you watch the following free documentary: Moldy movie. Always trust your instincts and let nature guide you back to wholeness!
This article was written in collaboration with Wanjiku Kimani.