How Does Mold Affect The Human Body – Fungi are well-known triggers of chronic disease because they can create inflammatory responses, activate previously dormant infections, and create an environment that supports autoimmune disease. Mold, along with the mycotoxins it releases, wreaks havoc on the immune system, creating oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and dozens of so-called “random” symptoms like hair loss, chronic fatigue, and nerve damage.
An estimated 50% of buildings have moisture/mold damage problems. This poses a great danger to both your homes: your home and your body.
- 1 How Does Mold Affect The Human Body
- 2 Top 4 Types Of Mold To Look Out For After Water Damage
How Does Mold Affect The Human Body
Mold is a type of fungus that grows in moist places (plants, wood, dry walls, floors, ceilings, food, etc.). It can appear in a variety of colors including: black, white, green, purple, orange and blue. All colors and types of mold produce microscopic spores that germinate where moisture collects. These spores multiply and lead to larger infestations that can cause serious health problems.
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Mycotoxins are natural fungal toxins found in fragments and spores of fungi. These toxins are released into the air, creating an environment that is harmful to a person’s health. Mycotoxins can also be absorbed into the body through direct skin contact and ingestion of mold-contaminated food.
Mycotoxins can have harmful effects on humans. Unlike bacterial toxins, which are proteins, mycotoxins have different structures that use different mechanisms to cause debilitating symptoms. Mycotoxins cause adverse effects by interfering with transcription and translation. Transcription is the biological process in which DNA is copied into RNA, and translation is the process in which RNA is used to make proteins. According to a 2017 study, “mycotoxins have a strong tendency and ability to penetrate human and animal cells, and reach the cellular genome causing large mutagenic changes in the nucleotide sequence causing severe and permanent defects in the genome. These defects will eventually be transcribed, translated and lead to the development of cancer.”
Mycotoxins also produce adverse effects through cytokine-mediated inflammatory responses. Cytokines are small proteins important for cell signaling that aid in communication between cells while allowing cells to travel to areas of infection, inflammation, and trauma. Due to the inflammatory effects of mycotoxins, the body is stimulated to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines that create an inflammatory response. Hence, why fungal diseases are called “Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome”.
According to a 2013 study, 104 of 112 (93%) patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were reported to be positive for at least one mycotoxin. The study states that “exposure history indicates current and/or previous WDB [water damaged structure] exposure in more than 90% of cases.” Another 2016 study reported that patients exposed to mycotoxins experienced changes in neurological function, including changes in body balance, blink reflex latency, visual field, reaction time, and color discrimination. The group exposed to mold also showed depression.
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Chronic inflammatory reaction syndrome often appears in people shortly after exposure to mold in water-damaged buildings. Symptoms of CIRS can persist for decades after the fungus is cleared. The persistent inflammation of CIRS can affect any organ system and can be completely debilitating if left untreated.
CIRS is a fungal disease NOT a fungal allergy. Mold allergies are a specific response to histamine. Mold allergy symptoms are usually found in the respiratory tract, similar to seasonal allergies. Diagnosis of mold allergy requires a skin test or a blood test for allergen-specific IgE.
CIRS is a type of biotoxic disease that indicates the body’s inflammatory response to mold. The precise definition of CIRS is “a syndrome of an acquired acute and chronic systemic inflammatory response following exposure of a water-damaged indoor building environment to toxic organisms, including, but not limited to, fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes, and mycobacteria, as well as inflammatory agents such as endotoxins , beta glucan, hemolysin, proteinase, mannan and possibly spirocyclic driman; as well as volatile organic compounds.”
Since all humans are bioindividuals, a small exposure to mold can adversely affect one person while leaving another completely unaffected.
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For example, about 25% of the human population has the HLA-DR (human leukocyte antigen) gene, which makes people susceptible to fungal diseases. This gene creates this vulnerability by making the body unable to recognize and detoxify biotoxins. People with the HLA-DR gene harbor these toxins while exhibiting a chronic inflammatory response. This can lead to chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS).
If a person has a mutation in the MTHFR gene, it can also cause difficulty in eliminating toxins, including mold and mycotoxins, from the body. MTHFR is an acronym for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, an enzyme used to convert folic acid (vitamin B9) into the active form of folate, methyl-folate (5MTHF). Methylfolate plays an important role in a biological process called methylation. This process is a detox plan. If this process does not work when biotoxins enter the body, the body will suffer the consequences causing debilitating symptoms.
Mold can also affect people with Lyme disease quite seriously. Exposure to mold can worsen Lyme disease symptoms and create an environment where cure is nearly impossible if left untreated. Mold can cause Lyme disease to go into remission and cause greater effects on the body. If someone uses the Lyme protocol but does not address the mold toxicity already present in the body, they may not be able to overcome the symptoms of Lyme disease. Addressing mold toxicity before curing Lyme disease is critical to recovery.
Fungi are insidious pathogens and are often overlooked as the main cause of serious illness. For example, mold has been linked to the development of multiple sclerosis (MS). Certain types of mold/mycotoxins are known to cross the blood-brain barrier. This leads to damage to the myelin sheath (the insulating layer that protects the nerves). Without a myelin sheath, nerves cannot conduct normal electrical impulses. This causes MS-like symptoms which are actually the body’s response to mold toxicity/CIRS.
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Recently, researchers have also discovered a link between CIRS and Alzheimer’s disease type 3. According to a 2016 study, “it is unlikely that Alzheimer’s disease type 3 and CIRS described here could have occurred by chance: although Alzheimer’s disease and CIRS is a relatively common disease, which is the finding that most patients with Alzheimer’s disease type 3 also suffer from this disease. laboratory abnormalities typical of CIRS, the recurrent discovery of biotoxin-sensitive HLA-DR/DQ haplotypes in patients with Alzheimer’s type 3, the discovery of well-described genera of neurotoxin-producing fungi in the homes of these individuals, the early response to treatment, and All the similarities in symptoms suggest that Alzheimer’s type 3 disease most commonly IAD, a phenotypic manifestation of CIRS.”
Mold has also been shown to be a major cause of “neurological, autoimmune diseases, such as hypothyroidism, as well as cancer and multiple chemical syndromes (MCS), and even higher mortality rates”.
Additionally, mold has been found to be a major cause of insomnia. The fungus causes this by interfering with the production of neuropeptides in the brain’s hypothalamus. Melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH) is a family of specific peptide and neuropeptide hormones responsible for the regulation of melatonin. Because mold interferes with this process, people with mushroom poisoning may suffer from sleep disturbances. Reduced levels of MSH can also cause intestinal permeability and mitochondrial dysfunction.
Fungal infestations are not always obvious. You can start by keeping an eye out for leaky pipes (especially under the sink), inspecting your washing machine (especially front-loading machines), checking your HVAC unit for musty odors or mold growth, and looking for hidden leaks in walls/ceilings . and inspect your crawl space/attic for improperly ventilated areas that pose a risk of mold growth. If mold is a serious problem for you, an ERMI home test or Mycotox urine test can be helpful, as well as checking certain blood and urine markers that are often increased/decreased due to mold exposure.
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If you think you have a yeast infection, see a functional provider. Dr. Jaban Moore, a functional medicine provider, can help if you have chronic symptoms.
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If you read our previous article, you may remember that fungal disease is also called CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Reaction Syndrome). CIRS is a condition that occurs when someone susceptible to mold has experienced significant mold exposure. Significant exposure can mean high exposure over a short period of time or low exposure over a long period of time. Those who are genetically susceptible to the fungus (those with the HLA-DR gene) are the group most affected.
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By being exposed to these molds, they are exposed to mycotoxins, toxic chemicals found in mold spores and fragments of molds or fungi. Mycotoxins can and are easily spread through the air and inhaled
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