Do you suffer from mystery symptoms and unresolved anxiety? Toxic mold is one possible unrecognized root cause – it can create hormonal imbalances, brain disrepair and neurotransmitter imbalances, chronic gastrointestinal issues and multiple autoimmune conditions.
Almost 20 years ago, your host, Dr. Margaret Christensen, was a successful OB-Gyn with a booming practice. She began having debilitating fatigue, was unable to think clearly and she ached all over, to such an extent that she had to close her practice.
Her family also showed symptoms: learning difficulties, insomnia, severe mood swings, migraines, ADD, asthma and bronchitis, tremors, sinusitis. After 8 years of sickness, they finally found toxic mold in their water-damaged house.
You should suspect and look into mold toxicity if you are:
- Enduring terrible mood swings, anxiety and/or depression
- Suffering from sinus infections, bronchitis and migraines
- Weakened by gut issues, brain fog, fatigue, neurologic symptoms
- Constantly challenged with sleep issues
- Reacting to chemicals, smells, foods, medications
You may have told mold toxicity isn’t a real issue or that it is a pseudo condition. I was digging through the recent research and it’s not surprising that many doctors say it’s not real especially with studies like this one: Toxic mold: phantom risk vs science:
Indoor mold growth is variable, and its discovery in a building does not necessarily mean occupants have been exposed. Human response to fungal antigens may induce IgE or IgG antibodies that connote prior exposure but not necessarily a symptomatic state.
When mold-related symptoms occur, they are likely the result of transient irritation, allergy, or infection. Building-related illness due to mycotoxicosis has never been proved in the medical literature. Prompt remediation of water-damaged material and infrastructure repair should be the primary response to fungal contamination in buildings.
There are a rather large number of studies that reach the same conclusion (it’s not real) but the good news is that there is a 2013 paper – A review of the mechanism of injury and treatment approaches for illness resulting from exposure to water-damaged buildings, mold, and mycotoxins acknowledging that mycotoxins are an issue for many individuals:
Illness results from a combination of factors present in water-damaged indoor environments including, mold spores and hyphal fragments, mycotoxins, bacteria, bacterial endotoxins, and cell wall components as well as other factors. Mechanisms of illness include inflammation, oxidative stress, toxicity, infection, allergy, and irritant effects of exposure.
And ask anyone who has lived through mold toxicity and then healed and thrived, just how real and debilitating it is trying to figure out if it is in fact toxic mold that is the root cause and then what to do about it.
This same paper reviews commonly used treatments
such as glutathione, antioxidants, antifungals, and sequestering agents such as cholestyramine, charcoal, clay and chlorella, antioxidants, probiotics, and induced sweating.
All of the above will be covered in the summit (and much more).
Here are a few highlights and insights from me.
The interview with Dr. Ann Shippy – “Overview of the Journey to Recovery” – is just that, a very useful summary of all the mold connections and it highlights many of the other speakers and topics. She also shares this about Lyme disease, toxic mold and your total toxic load
Patients can have Lyme disease and not be sick but when they are sick it’s often because mold is suppressing the immune system and causing symptoms. It may not even be Lyme but mold instead.
Yuli Horesh covers: “Diffusing Probiotics to Defend Your Environment.” It is a fascinating interview I look forward to seeing some long-term research on the safety aspects. Other than this it makes so much sense and is a very exciting approach together with everything else. I also want to say that we don’t want to be thinking of this as a short-cut/quick-fix and not doing anything else.
Dr. Mary Ackerly’s interview is fabulous and is not to be missed– “Brain on Fire: The Role of Toxic Mold in Triggering Psychiatric Symptoms”. It’s very exciting to hear a psychiatrist who is so knowledgeable and passionate about this topic. I loved that she talked specific testing and about group 1, 2,3 and 3B in terms of how sick folks are and how quickly they respond to treatment and what needs to be done in terms of remediation.
I was also thrilled to learn about the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI) and encourage you to check them out as a resource for both your own recovery and if you’re a practitioner, for learning. They are hosting their first conference in May: “Healing Complex patients in a Toxic World”.
I was hoping to learn more about the NeuroQuant Triage Brain Atrophy Report (from Cortech) from her and other speakers. I wanted to know if a contrast agent is needed during the MRI as many folks have issues with gadolinium toxicity when having MRIs and I’d be very concerned about adding to the toxic load. It seems the contrast isn’t needed.
In Dr. Jill Carnahan’s interview – “Metabolic Endotoxemia and the Gut-Brain Connection”, she recommends a provoked or challenged urinary myctoxin test with some glutathione or sauna because you can get false negatives if you don’t do this before testing. She also shares all her favorite binders: charcoal, clay, zeolite, glucommanan and citrus pectin.
They also talk about SIBO (small intestinal bacterial infection) and say that a lot of SIBO is really SIFO (small intestinal fungal infection), how toxic mold can impact gut motility and and how antifungals rather than anti-bacterials are the way to go in this instance.
Jeff Bookout’s interview on “Non-Toxic Remediation for Chemically Sensitive” is wonderful. They cover dry-fogging, using non-toxic citrus based oils, practical tips for travel and hotel rooms, keeping dorm rooms safe from toxic mold and how best to clean the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) system so you’re not dispersing toxic mold throughout the house. This is a very practical and common-sense interview.
If you didn’t register yet, I’m hoping this inspires you to register and tune in. It’s one of the most popular summits I’ve promoted and I feel it’s a topic we all need to learn about and ideally before it’s a problem because when you’re in the midst of it, it makes it that much more challenging to deal with. You just never know when you may need this information. Take for example all the people affected recently by the dreadful floods in Townsville in Australia, and elsewhere.
If you are in the midst of dealing with your own mold toxicity I know you’re getting great resources for remediation and recovery. Be sure to have a friend or loved one who has not been affected, listen in and read the transcripts so you’re not alone in figuring things out.
Even if you don’t currently have symptoms of mold toxicity, it’s an excellent resource so you can be prepared the next time you have water damage in your home, office or school. It will also allow you to make sure you don’t have a growing mold problem which may affect your health down the road.
The Toxic Mold Summit health experts, air quality experts and mold remediation specialists will help you identify if you have mold exposure and share the latest tools and techniques for dealing with toxic mold.
When you register be sure to check out the ebook, “Got Mold? Now What? Hope for Health and Home: Overview of Toxic Mold and Biotoxin Illness!” It covers why you get the following symptoms and the mechanisms, total toxic load, recommended testing for you and your moldy home (or work place or school etc.), resources to make you more resilient, basic treatment steps and dietary approaches to consider.
Here are symptoms and illnesses caused by toxic mold exposure. Dr. Christensen explains that mold/biotoxin illness may present in many ways, even within the same family who have been exposed to mold, and often with some kind of pain or inflammation, and in almost any area of the body:
- Chronic recurrent upper respiratory and sinus infections
- Chronic headaches/migraines
- Severe chronic fatigue or ongoing flu-like symptoms
- Fibromyalgia (tender, sore muscles)
- Neurological issues (tremors, neuropathy, brain fog, ADD, learning issues, etc.)
- Neuro-degenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, MS, ALS, Alzheimer’s and other dementias)
- Severe gut symptoms (IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, SIBO/SIFO)
- Autoimmune disorders (thyroid, Hashimoto’s, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, hives)
- Multiple chemical sensitivities and histamine intolerance (rashes and hives)
- Night sweats (common in men of all ages, as well as women)
- Psychiatric symptoms (anxiety, depression, panic attacks, bipolar symptoms, psychosis)
- Severe sleep disturbances
- Recurrent interstitial cystitis, bladder infections and frequent urination
- Hormonal imbalances (adrenal and thyroid hormones)
- Infertility, heavy periods and cramps, endometriosis, PMS, PCOS
- Cardiovascular disease
- Lyme and co-infections, including viral infections like EBV, HHV6
- Cancer (especially hormonal, leukemias/lymphomas and bladder/kidney)
- Children: chronic ear, throat and upper respiratory infections, asthma, allergies, ADD/ADHD, sleep, irritability, bedwetting
In the testing section she does state that “HLA genetics tests are not necessary but can be interesting” and I was intrigued to hear this because I considered this a gold standard test to have done.
Here are some of the excellent topics and speakers:
- Chemical Sensitivity and Detoxing Your Home with Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP
- Heavy Metals, Fatigue and Detox with Wendy Myers, FDN-P, NC, CHHC
- Essentials Oils to Treat and Prevent Mold Toxicity with Jen Broyles, CHC
- Mold Inspection and Detection with JW Biava
- Mold, Mental Illness and Suicide Prevention with Jill Sheppard Davenport, MS, CNS, LN
- Mold, Histamine and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity with Gail Clayton, RPh, MS, CNS
- Brain on Fire: Mental Illness and Mold with Mary Beth Ackerley, MD, MD(H), ABIHM
- Advanced Therapies for Mold Recovery with Mark Hyman, MD
- Finding a Quality Mold Inspector and Remediator with Jason Earle, IEP
UPDATE: March 28, 2021
This summit is being re-released for a third time on April 26 – May 2, 2021 due to the high demand and excellent content.
I was thrilled to be invited to speak on this summit AND my interview, Immediate Relief for Anxiety, also happens to be one of the registration gifts so you get access right away!
We initially cover some of the many connections between mold toxicity and anxiety and low mood. I share from this 2018 paper, Effects of Mycotoxins on Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Immune Processes:
- the presence of mold and dampness was associated with the prevalence of depression and emotional distress
- it’s unclear whether neuropsychological problems are due to the adverse effects of mycotoxins or the emotional and financial stress of keeping a house clean in the face of recurrent mold [it’s very likely both + the loss of treasured possessions for some folks too]
- a low sense of control may lead to an elevated risk for anxiety and depression.
I also share how much I learned from Dr. Neil Nathan’s presentation at one of the IMMH conferences: “Mold Toxicity as an Unrecognized Cause of Mental Health issues.” He shares that “mold toxicity may directly trigger anxiety, panic attacks, depression, depersonalization and hallucinations AND mast cell activation, multiple chemical sensitivities, secondary porphyrias, methylation dysfunction and pyroluria” … all of which plays a role in anxiety/depression.
I go on and cover the solutions for the anxiety and panic attacks (often directly triggered by mold toxicity) and the sense of loss while you are dealing with the mold toxicity and home remediation or move:
- mold anxiety and how to use GABA and serotonin support to ease the anxiety, fears, insomnia, worry and panic attacks that are so common with mold toxicity (so there is not the added toxic burden of psychiatric meds)
- how certain mycotoxins may actually lead to high serotonin and what to do in this instance
- using DPA (an amino acid that boosts endorphins) to help comfort folks who may lose their homes and beloved contents/books/photos due to mycotoxins
If you or a loved one suffers from mystery symptoms and/or unresolved anxiety I encourage you to tune in to learn more.
I’ll see you online at this educational summit when you register here.
Can you relate to any of this? Have you been ill as a result of toxic mold exposure? Or do you suspect mold is one of your root causes?
Have you remediated a moldy home and healed your self with a functional medicine approach?