When you think of mold, what comes to mind?
Maybe you picture furry leftovers forgotten in the back of the fridge. Or a black-spotted window sill that leaks every time it rains. (You’ve been meaning to get that fixed!) Perhaps you remember a white fuzzy growth in your garden.
Mold is everywhere. Indoors and outdoors. In fact, scientists have identified more than 100,000 species of mold, including about 80 species that are considered harmful to humans.
For many people, mold is a mystery: Where does it come from? What’s the best way to get rid of it? How is mold affecting my health?
It’s easy to misinterpret symptoms of mold exposure, because they mimic so many other conditions. That’s why people with mold allergies and mold-related illnesses often have no idea mold is causing harm.
Supporting your body’s natural detoxification system can be helpful, regardless of your health status. In this article, you’ll learn 6 practical tips to help you overcome the effects of mold toxins by detoxing your body and home.
Who Needs to Detox from Mold?
“Detox” is short for detoxification. It’s a popular buzzword but it also refers to the biological process of removing toxins or unhealthy substances from the body. Detox can also mean eliminating or modifying unbalanced environments, behaviors or thoughts.
It’s not a new concept. Cultures around the world have used detoxification practices for thousands of years.
It’s important to keep in mind that your body is already equipped with a highly-effective detox system that involves the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs. There are many things you can do to keep these systems humming along.
Which Mold Detox Methods Help?
Sometimes people have conditions that require extra help with detoxification. Here are 6 ways to boost mold detox.
1. Detox with Sweat
Skin is your body’s largest organ, and
sweating is one of its superpowers. Here’s what sweating can do for you:
- Regulate your body’s temperature, keeping it as close to 98.6 degrees as possible.
- Improve your body’s anti-inflammatory response.
- Help you detox heavy metals, eliminate chemicals and cleanse bacteria.
Consider sweat-inducing ideas that don’t require a gym membership:
- Playing football, baseball, soccer, etc.
- Playing tennis, pickleball
- Swimming (You will sweat, even in the water.)
- Ozone Detox Chamber
The Ozone Detox Chamber offers the benefits of sweating and detox from sauna, along with the ozone’s ability to kill bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. It also improves energy and assists with mitochondrial function and oxygenation in the body. Studies show it’s 7 times more effective than a traditional sauna.
2. Detox your home
Humans have coexisted with mold since the beginning of time. Even the Bible talks about a “spreading mold” that defiles a house. And it doesn’t matter if you live in a mansion or a mud hut. If the conditions are right, mold will thrive.
Controlling the moisture inside your home is key to reducing this unfriendly fungus. Once you identify the source of mold, get rid of it.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created an online “Mold House Tour” designed to teach you how to protect your home. In addition, the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI) provides resources to help you find the right Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to assess your home.
Need to figure out what to keep and what to toss after major water-damage to your home? Try this clean-up guide from ISEAI.
3. Detox with glutathione and other supplements
Glutathione is considered “the mother of all antioxidants.” It’s made of three types of molecules known as amino acids. It’s also found in every cell in your body. Glutathione’s job is to oxidize toxins and free radicals and help other antioxidants work better. Your body is able to make glutathione in the liver. Low levels of this antioxidant have been associated with several medical conditions.
Some of the richest dietary sources of glutathione are spinach, avocados, asparagus, and okra. In addition to glutathione, quercetin and N-acetylcysteine support mold detox.
If you’re recovering from mold exposure, you may benefit from a concentrated dose of glutathione through supplement pills, inhalation or IV.
The power of IV therapy is that it allows nutrients to be absorbed quickly and directly into the bloodstream, which boosts your body with higher levels of vitamins and minerals.
Our Detox IV features glutathione and may promote better energy levels, circulation, blood sugar, immunity and more.
4. Detox with binders
Sometimes the veins and nerves in the gut lining pick up toxins and recirculate them back into the body. The intention of mold binders (a.k.a. mycotoxin binders) is to attract and bind toxins and move them through the gastrointestinal tract. Your mold-savvy medical provider may recommend a prescription binder. Nonprescription binders may include activated charcoal or bentonite clay.
5. Detox from stress
Dealing with a mold-related illness can be overwhelming and it’s natural to feel stressed-out. If you resolve to de-stress each day, your whole world can change.
- Take a break – Go for a walk, watch a funny video, read a magazine, notice animals frolicking and flying outside, listen to the wind blowing through the trees.
- Breathe deeply –Slow, deep breathing helps you disengage from stressful thoughts.
- Pray – Saying one prayer or a series of prayers can calm you down.
- Meditate – Simply quiet your mind and be in the moment. Even if it’s only for a minute.
- Exercise – Moving releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins.
- Disconnect – Refocus on real life by turning off the TV, computer, phone, radio, and anything else that keeps you plugged in.
- Engage in favorite activities – Take a bubble bath, listen to music, spend time on a forgotten hobby.
6. Detox your diet
What you eat and drink matters. The foods you choose can promote a vibrant and vital life, or a sluggish and sickly one. When your immune system is compromised by mold-related issues, your body needs you to avoid certain foods, including some that are considered healthy.
The low-mold diet focuses on building a healthy food foundation by eliminating sugar and ultra-processed foods, as well as foods that contain mold and yeast.
The quality of foods you choose is important. When buying meat, look for pasture-raised and grass-fed options. When buying fish and seafood, choose wild-caught. When buying produce, get organic.
Before launching any detox food plan, it’s best to get your provider’s input regarding your unique needs. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of the low-mold diet:
- Indulge in these foods freely
– Other meats
– Raw nuts and seeds
– Leafy greens
– Root vegetables
– Gourd vegetables
– Other vegetables
– Healthy fats
– Filtered or mineral water
– Non-fruity herbal teas
– Fresh vegetable juice
- Avoid sugar. Sugar fuels fungal growth, which could make your mold symptoms worse. Unfortunately, food manufacturers use lots of different names for sugar. (Have you ever heard of treacle?) This makes food shopping extra challenging. Before you read food labels, you may want to check this list of the 56 most common names for sugar.
- Nix packaged and ultra-processed foods. These foods often contain sugars, simple carbs, and/or additives that can ramp up fungal growth in your body.
Ultra-processed foods contain ingredients you’d never use when cooking homemade. These fake foods are notorious for their long, hard-to-pronounce lists of ingredients. Unfortunately, they’ve become a staple of the Standard American Diet, because they’re generally low in cost and require little, if any, preparation.
A popular system called the NOVA classification was introduced in 2009 to classify processed foods. It lists four categories detailing the degree to which a food is processed.
- Avoid foods that contain mold and yeast. Some foods are intentionally processed with mold and yeast (e.g., cheese, alcoholic beverages). All foods are susceptible to unwanted mold growth. If you’re following a low-mold diet, it’s best to cancel mold-contaminated foods. Common culprits include cheese, nuts, dried fruit, grains, packaged and smoked meats, edible fungi, alcoholic beverages, and fermented foods.The U.S Department of Agriculture offers these helpful guidelines to help you protect food from mold.
- Enjoy these foods in moderation. Balance your diet with gluten-free grains, starchy vegetables, legumes and low sugar fruits on occasion.
– Oats (certified, gluten free)
– Brown rice
Starchy vegetables and legumes:
– Butternut squash
– Sweet potatoes
– Lemons and limes
If you don’t always have the ability to buy organic produce, you can use the Environmental Work Group’s (EWG) annual guide to fruits and vegetables.
The Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™ tell you which produce has the highest and lowest traces of pesticides.
What’s The Problem with Mold?
As you start to boost your body’s detox process, it helps to understand what mold is and where it comes from.
Microscopic Mold Spores
Mold is a fungus that begins life as a single spore. Mold spores are invisible, so you need a microscope or heavy-duty magnifying glass to see them. It’s impossible to avoid them, because they’re everywhere — floating through the air and landing in random locations.
Did you know you breathe in mold spores all the time?
Moisture & Mycotoxins
Mold needs water to grow and it thrives in damp, warm and humid environments. When you notice mold with the naked eye, you’re actually seeing colonies of thousands of mold spores growing together. Pay attention to this clue, because it means there’s excessive moisture. It could be a leaky roof, humid bathroom, an overwatered plant, or any number of other water sources.
Mold reproduces by releasing more mold spores into the air, continuing their life cycle. The dangerous by-product of mold — the thing that makes you sick — is called a mycotoxin. It’s a poison that can cause severe health problems and many different symptoms. You can be exposed to mycotoxins through inhalation, ingestion or by direct skin contact.
According to the CDC, mold can enter your home through any opening — doors, windows, vents, heating and air conditioning systems, etc. It can also attach to pets, clothing, shoes, bags, and more.
Mold’s Leading Roles
Mold has a few redeeming qualities, including its essential role in nature. Mold is an important part of the ecosystem, because it breaks down decaying organic matter, such as dead plants, leaves and dead animals. Mold can also save lives. For example, penicillium mold is the source of the penicillin antibiotic. Food companies also use certain molds to make cheese, soy sauce, vinegar, fermented drinks, and other products.
Mold can be unsightly and smelly. It can damage and destroy homes, as well as other buildings and structures. It can also make people and pets miserable. The color of mold is not an indication of how dangerous it can be.
Scientists generally categorize mold species in one of three ways:
Allergenic – This mold is unlikely to cause illness, although it may aggravate mild allergies.
Pathogenic – This mold can cause infection in people with compromised immune systems.
Toxigenic – This mold is toxic to all who come in contact with it.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria.
Mold Allergies & Mold-Related Illnesses
For some people, mold is a nuisance. For others, it’s a nightmare.
If you have a mold allergy, your immune system overreacts when you breathe in mold spores. Symptoms for mold allergy are the same as symptoms for other airborne allergies. For example, the following mold allergy symptoms sound an awful lot like hay fever:
- Runny, stuffy or itchy nose
- Itchy or scratchy throat
- Red, itchy or swollen eyelids
- Trouble breathing
Beyond allergy symptoms, mold-induced asthma may cause respiratory symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest pain/tightness.
Mold may also trigger more serious health problems, including certain cancers. Learn about The Impact of Mold: 5 Steps to Regaining Health.
Who Can Help with Mold-Related Illnesses and Mold Detox?
In addition to considering your symptoms, your provider may want to conduct a physical examination to identify or exclude other medical problems. He or she may also recommend one or more tests. Schoenwalder Health & Wellness providers are members of the ISEAI–a medical organization of professionals who specialize in environmentally acquired illnesses.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with symptoms that you suspect are related to mold exposure, we’re here to help. Contact us for an appointment. To identify and overcome mold-related health problems, it’s best to work with a provider who is an expert in mold and mold detox.
9. Healthline article – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/56-different-names-for-sugar