Mold and Mycotoxins: Drop Dead Fatigue And The Hidden Hazards In Water-Damaged Buildings

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Along with providing information on illness related to mold and mycotoxins, this article also links to Fullscript where you can buy binders for mycotoxins online through the secure healthcare formulary and get free shipping and 20% off the retail price of professional-grade supplements.

Profound and mysterious fatigue plagues many people. Sometimes the cause is related to mold toxins from water damaged buildings or mold contaminated foods. Certain supplements are useful in helping eliminate mold and mycotoxins from the body. In this article, we delve into how the body handles mycotoxins, genetic susceptability, and the role that nutritional supplements can play in binding mold and mycotoxins to help remove them from the body.

What Are Mold and Mycotoxins?

Mold and mycotoxins are common concerns that can affect indoor environments, posing potential risks to health. Mold refers to various types of fungi that thrive in damp and humid conditions, often found in areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and poorly ventilated spaces. When mold spores land on damp surfaces, they can multiply and form colonies, releasing spores into the air. Mycotoxins are the toxic substances produced by certain molds as they grow, which can contaminate indoor air and surfaces.

Exposure to mold and mycotoxins can lead to a range of health symptoms, varying in severity depending on factors such as the individual’s sensitivity and the type and amount of mold present. Common symptoms of mold exposure may include respiratory issues such as coughing, wheezing, and throat irritation, as well as nasal congestion, sneezing, and eye irritation. Some people may also experience skin rashes, fatigue, headaches, and worsening of asthma symptoms.

Several factors can contribute to the growth of mold and the production of mycotoxins indoors. High humidity levels, water leaks or flooding, inadequate ventilation, and poor building maintenance are common culprits. Additionally, certain building materials, such as drywall and ceiling tiles, can provide an ideal environment for mold growth if they become damp or water-damaged. Poor indoor air quality and prolonged exposure to mold-contaminated environments can worsen health issues and increase the risk of developing respiratory problems and other adverse health effects. Understanding the causes and symptoms of mold and mycotoxin exposure is crucial for effectively addressing and mitigating these potential health hazards.

Mycotoxins in The Body

Mycotoxins enter the body through breathing the air in a water damaged building or eating contaminated food such as grains, nuts, spices, and coffee. Once inside the body, mycotoxins are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed to various organs including the liver for detoxification.

The liver’s ability to detoxify and excrete mycotoxins can be impaired for several reasons. Genetic variations may decrease the efficiency of detoxification enzymes, while liver overload from prolonged exposure or existing liver conditions can further hinder this process. Nutrient deficiencies can impair the liver’s detoxification capabilities. Phase 1 liver detoxification requires nutrients such as B vitamins (B2, B3, B6, B12), folate, glutathione, and antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E), while Phase 2 detoxification relies on compounds like glutathione, amino acids (glycine, taurine, glutamine), sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine, cysteine), and molybdenum. These factors can compromise the liver’s detoxification effectiveness in susceptible persons, potentially leading to an accumulation of mycotoxins in the body. Read more in our article: Detox: An A to Z Guide.

Genetic Vulnerability To Mold

Genetic factors are another reason people vary greatly in their ability to detoxify and excrete mycotoxins. The HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) genes are important for the immune system’s ability to distinguish between self and non-self molecules. The HLA genes control how antigen presenting cells respond to mycotoxins. Certain HLA gene patterns can make individuals more susceptible to chronic inflammatory responses when exposed to the mycotoxins found in water-damaged buildings.

This genetic pattern can lead to chronic inflammatory responses when exposed to environments contaminated with mold. This condition is often referred to as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). CIRS results when alterations in the antigen presenting cells cause a failure to make specific antibodies to clear mycotoxins. CIRS arises from the immune system’s use of prolonged inflammation to clear the unrecognized pathogen.

Research suggests that nearly a quarter of the population carries genetic variations in their HLA genes that make them more susceptible to mold illness, also known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) when exposed to environments with high levels of mold toxins. These individuals may have a harder time clearing mycotoxins from their bodies due to an impaired ability to recognize and respond to these toxins, leading to prolonged exposure and accumulation in the body, which can trigger a range of chronic symptoms and health issues.

Urine Tests For Mold Exposure

Testing For Mold Toxicity

In the NutriScape Lab Shop, there are two urine tests for mycotoxins. There are probably countless other mycotoxins that could cause issues that have not yet been discovered.

The MycoTOX (affiliate link) from Mosaic Diagnostics tests for:

  • Gliotoxin
  • Zearalenone
  • Verrucarin A

  • Aflatoxin M1
  • Chaetoglobosin A
  • Citrinin
  • Dihydrocitrinone
  • Enniatin B1
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Ochratoxin A
  • Roridin E
  • Sterigmatocystin

The Total Mycotoxin Panel (affiliate link) from Real Time Laboratories tests for:

  • Gliotoxin
  • Zearalenone
  • Verrucarin A

  • Aflatoxin B1
  • Aflatoxin B2
  • Aflatoxin G1
  • Aflatoxin G2
  • Isosatratoxin F
  • Ochratoxin A
  • Roridin A
  • Roridin E
  • Roridin H
  • Roridin L-2
  • Satratoxin G
  • Satratoxin H
  • Verrucarin J

For people with certain HLA gene variants and mold illness (often referred to as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, or CIRS), urinary excretion of mycotoxins may not be efficient. This inefficiency can lead to an accumulation of mycotoxins in the body, contributing to the ongoing symptoms of mold illness. Consequently, improving detoxification pathways through dietary adjustments and binder supplements is necessary to improve the excretion of mycotoxins and alleviate symptoms.

The liver processes mycotoxins and releases them along with the bile into the intestines. When there is no fiber or other binders in the intestine, these toxins can easily be reabsorbed into the bloodstream rather than being eliminated from the body in the stool. Binders work by physically binding to the mycotoxins in the gut, preventing their reabsorption.

Binders act like sponges that cling to the mycotoxins and help increase their direct excretion through the feces. This mechanism effectively reduces the body’s toxic burden by interrupting the cycle of toxin recirculation and aiding in the detoxification process. Common binders used include activated charcoal, bentonite clay, and specific types of fiber, each with unique properties that make them effective against different toxins. By incorporating binders, people with mold illness can improve their ability to clear mycotoxins.

Binders

Different types of binders have unique chemical properties and mechanisms of action so they vary in their ability to bind the different mycotoxins. Depending on the exact types of mycotoxins you are trying to remove, some binders will work better than others. The best researched binders are:

  • Cholystyramine: This is a prescription medicine that was designed many years ago to bind cholesterol in the gut. It is highly effective at binding Ochratoxin A.
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Clay
  • Glucomannan Fiber
  • Chlorella
  • Okra Fiber
  • Probiotics: It is a good idea to alternate various types of probiotics.
    • Saccharomyces boulardii
    • Lactobacillus species

Probiotics

What many do not realize is that these organisms can also directly bind to mycotoxins. Lactobacillus strains work to directly bind Aflatoxins, especially the B1 variety. The specific strains are L. pentosus and L. beveris. Another promising strain is L. plantarum C88. This strain works not only to bind to Aflatoxins but also by upregulating the antioxidant activity of glutathione s-transferase. It also shows great binding capacity to the common mycotoxin, Sterigmatocystin.

Strains of saccharomyces also work well to bind mycotoxins. S. cerevisiae has been shown to bind tightly to aflatoxins. It has also shown great efficacy in binding to OTA and Zearalenone. Saccharomyces boulardii, clinically, has shown great efficacy against Gliotoxin. It has also shown efficacy in reducing Aspergillus and Fusarium molds in the GI tract. This will indirectly reduce mycotoxins, as it reduces the producers of mycotoxins including Zearalenone, Enniatin B, OTA, Gliotoxin, and Aflatoxins. Mannan oligosaccharides (MOS) are prebiotics derived from the outer cell wall of S. cerevisiae. This prebiotic has been shown to bind to Citrinin, which a wide variety of molds produce.

Mosaic Diagnostics: Comprehensive Guide to Mycotoxin Binders
Print this chart Source: https://mosaicdx.com/resource/comprehensive-guide-to-mycotoxin-binders/

Mycotoxins in Food

A low mold diet focuses on minimizing exposure to molds and mycotoxins by emphasizing fresh, whole foods and avoiding those known for mold susceptibility. This includes opting for fresh fruits and vegetables (while being cautious with mold-prone items like berries), choosing fresh, unprocessed meats, poultry, and fish over aged or processed varieties, and selecting whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice instead of mold-prone grains like corn. Dairy alternatives, fresh or roasted nuts and seeds (avoiding peanuts, pistachios, and Brazil nuts due to higher mold risk), and limiting high-sugar and leftover foods are recommended to reduce mold growth opportunities. Alcoholic beverages, especially beer and wine, should be avoided due to their potential mold content. Proper food storage and selection, such as choosing organic produce and avoiding cooking methods that introduce moisture, are also key components of maintaining a low mold diet. For those with mold sensitivities or related health concerns, consulting with healthcare professionals for personalized dietary advice is advisable. Mosaic Diagnostics has put together this resource showing the possible food sources of mold contamination.


Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article aims to offer valuable insights into which nutritional supplements have undergone scientific study and shown promise in supporting specific health conditions. We break down the research, so you can work with your medical providers to make informed decisions about adding supplements to your health regimen. For personalized advice tailored to your needs, we recommend consulting with a registered dietitian in addition to your primary care provider.

Check with your physician when adding supplements. While supplements are generally safe for most people, do not add nutritional supplements without your physician’s specific approval if you are pregnant or nursing, are undergoing cancer treatment, have a history of organ transplant, liver or kidney disease, or take medications that interact with supplements.


Order Supplements For Managing Mold and Mycotoxins

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  • Free shipping over $50 and best prices when you order through Supplement Sciences.
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Supplement Safety Information

Nutritional supplements offer a safe and effective approach to managing mold and mycotoxin exposure, providing valuable support for overall health and well-being. When used appropriately and under the guidance of a healthcare professional, supplements such as probiotics, antioxidants, and essential nutrients can help bolster the body’s natural defenses against the potential adverse effects of mold and mycotoxins. Unlike some conventional treatments, nutritional supplements generally pose minimal risk of side effects when taken at recommended doses.

Medication Interactions:

  • Antifungal Medications: Antifungal medications may interact with certain nutritional supplements, such as probiotics and activated charcoal, by potentially reducing their effectiveness. This interaction could hinder the body’s ability to restore gut health and eliminate toxins effectively.
  • Immunosuppressants: Immunosuppressant medications may interact with supplements like chlorella and berberine, possibly reducing their efficacy in supporting immune function. This interaction could compromise the body’s ability to combat mold-related infections or mitigate the effects of mycotoxins.
  • Blood-Thinning Medications: Blood-thinning medications may interact with supplements like garlic and grapefruit seed extract, increasing the risk of bleeding. This interaction could lead to excessive bleeding or clotting complications, especially when dealing with mold-related inflammation or mycotoxin-induced coagulation issues.
  • Liver Metabolism: Medications metabolized by the liver, such as statins and certain antidepressants, may interact with supplements like grapefruit seed extract, affecting drug metabolism and potentially leading to increased drug levels in the bloodstream. This interaction could result in adverse effects or reduced drug efficacy, impacting the management of mold-related symptoms.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics may interact with supplements such as probiotics, potentially altering gut flora balance and reducing the effectiveness of probiotic supplementation. This interaction could hinder the body’s ability to maintain a healthy gut microbiome and combat mold-related gastrointestinal issues.
  • Blood Sugar-Lowering Drugs: Blood sugar-lowering medications may interact with supplements like berberine, affecting glucose metabolism and potentially leading to fluctuations in blood sugar levels. This interaction could complicate the management of mold-related symptoms, especially in individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance.
  • Blood Pressure Medications: Blood pressure medications may interact with supplements like N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), potentially altering blood pressure control mechanisms. This interaction could lead to fluctuations in blood pressure levels, impacting cardiovascular health and the body’s ability to manage mold-related inflammation.
  • Calcium Channel Blockers: Calcium channel blockers may interact with supplements like grapefruit seed extract, affecting blood pressure regulation and potentially leading to fluctuations in blood pressure levels. This interaction could impact cardiovascular health and the body’s ability to cope with mold-related cardiovascular symptoms.
  • Antidepressants: Antidepressant medications may interact with supplements like St. John’s Wort, affecting neurotransmitter levels and potentially leading to changes in mood or mental health. This interaction could complicate the management of mold-related symptoms, particularly in individuals with co-existing mental health conditions.

Supplement Interactions:

  • Probiotics: Probiotic supplements may interact with activated charcoal by potentially reducing their effectiveness when taken together. This interaction could hinder the body’s ability to restore gut health and eliminate toxins effectively.
  • Activated Charcoal: Activated charcoal supplements may interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients and medications, including probiotics, when taken concurrently. This interaction could reduce the effectiveness of probiotic supplementation and hinder gut health restoration.
  • Garlic: Garlic supplements may interact with blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin or warfarin, increasing the risk of bleeding. Combining garlic with other blood-thinning supplements or medications could further elevate this risk, potentially leading to excessive bleeding or clotting complications.
  • Berberine: Berberine supplements may interact with other blood sugar-lowering medications or supplements, such as metformin or insulin, potentially leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Combining berberine with other blood sugar-lowering agents could increase the risk of dangerously low blood sugar levels.
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC): N-Acetyl Cysteine supplements may interact with nitroglycerin, a medication used to treat angina, by potentially reducing its effectiveness. This interaction could compromise symptom control and cardiovascular health when using both supplements concurrently.
  • St. John’s Wort: St. John’s Wort supplements may interact with certain antidepressants or mood-stabilizing medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). This interaction could lead to serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by elevated serotonin levels in the brain.
  • Chlorella: Chlorella supplements may interact with certain medications or supplements, such as immunosuppressants or anticoagulants, by potentially altering their effectiveness or increasing the risk of adverse effects. This interaction could compromise immune function or lead to bleeding complications when using both supplements concurrently.
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract: Grapefruit seed extract supplements may interact with medications metabolized by the liver, such as statins or calcium channel blockers, by inhibiting liver enzymes responsible for drug metabolism. This interaction could lead to increased drug levels in the bloodstream and potential adverse effects or reduced drug efficacy.
  • Quercetin: Quercetin supplements may interact with certain medications or supplements, such as blood thinners or antihypertensive drugs, by potentially enhancing their effects. Combining quercetin with other supplements or medications that affect blood clotting or blood pressure regulation could lead to excessive bleeding or lowered blood pressure.
  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K supplements may interact with blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, by potentially reducing their effectiveness. This interaction could compromise blood clotting function and increase the risk of bleeding complications when using both supplements concurrently.

What Other Lab Tests Might Be Helpful In Managing Mold and Mycotoxins?

Several lab tests can be helpful in managing mold and mycotoxin exposure. These tests can provide valuable insights into the presence of mold in the environment, the extent of exposure, and any potential health effects. Some lab tests that may be useful include:

  • Visual Contrast Test: Failing the Visual Contrast Test (VCS) indicates biotoxin illnesses including either mold exposure (as seen in conditions like Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, CIRS) or Lyme disease. The rationale behind the test is that biotoxins can affect the nervous system, including parts of the brain involved in processing visual information, potentially leading to a decreased ability to distinguish visual contrasts. Learn more on SurvivingMold.com.
  • Mold Testing: Various methods, such as air sampling, surface sampling, or dust sampling, can be used to detect the presence of mold in indoor environments. These tests can help identify the types and concentrations of mold spores present, providing information about potential sources of exposure.
  • Mycotoxin Testing: Laboratory analysis of biological samples, such as urine or blood, can detect the presence of mycotoxins in the body. Mycotoxin testing can help assess the extent of mycotoxin exposure and evaluate its potential health effects on individuals.
  • IgE/IgG Testing: Allergy testing, including IgE and IgG antibody testing, can help identify immune reactions to specific mold species or mycotoxins. IgE testing is commonly used to diagnose mold allergies, while IgG testing may indicate past or ongoing exposure to mold or mycotoxins.
  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP): Laboratory tests measuring inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) or cytokine levels, can assess the body’s inflammatory response to mold exposure. Elevated inflammatory markers may indicate ongoing inflammation and immune activation.
  • Neurological Testing: Neurological tests, including cognitive assessments, imaging studies (e.g., MRI or CT scans), and neurophysiological tests, can evaluate any neurological symptoms or complications associated with mold exposure. These tests can help identify changes in brain structure or function and guide treatment decisions.

To Sum It Up

By combining mycotoxin binding supplements with a low mold diet and healthy habits, we strengthen our body’s defenses and detoxification processes. Seeking personalized guidance from a healthcare professional familiar with CIRS and mold illness is essential in navigating the complexities of managing mold-related health issues. Learn more on SurvivingMold.com.


This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.


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