I know I may sound like Chicken Little here, but everyone reading this needs to understand the dangers of mold, yeast, and fungus that we are exposed to far more than we think. These organisms are hidden in our homes, food, environment, and even our own bodies. Here are some of the molds that you need to be concerned about in your own home:
Aspergillis Niger is a”black mold” and it is found in almost every house in America. Exposure to it is mainly through water-damaged buildings and dwellings, and it produces toxins that have been linked to cancer, and an infection of it may even be cancer itself: “Pulmonary aspergillosis can present as an infectious pseudotumour with clinical and imaging characteristics mimicking lung cancer. Even in the presence of cerebral lesions, radiological appearance of abscesses can look like brain metastasis1. Ochratoxin produced by this mold can cause kidney disease and has been linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It also raises brain levels of Dopamine, which could be very damaging to brain tissue. It is highly toxic to kidneys and can induce significant oxidative damage to the brain and central nervous system. Gliotoxin is an exceptionally hazardous toxin produced by the Apergillis genus of mold. The organism releases Gliotoxin as a means of inhibiting the victim organism’s defenses. Gliotoxin down-regulates the phagocytic defenses, which can lead to other infections from other organisms, such as bacterial species like Clostridia Difficle and other fungi such as Candida Albicans. Think of Gliotoxin as a sort of biological “EMP”, as it can lead to the self-destruction of immune and neurological cells. Aflatoxins are also produced by Aspergillis, and they are very serious, dangerous toxins. They are some of the most carcinogenic toxins in the environment (further supporting the postulate that mold plays a very important role in cancer development) and can cause liver damage, mental impairment, abdominal pain, hemorrhaging, coma, cancer, and deathA. Alflatoxins are extremely immunosuppressant. These toxins can increase the presence of other mold species toxins, such as Ochratoxins and Fusarium toxins.
Penicillium is a nasty mold that produces an immuno suppressant toxin called Mycophenoilc Acidand is associated with miscarriages and congenital defects. Exposure to this mycotoxin increases susceptibility to opportunistic infectious agents such as Candida and Clostridia, and perhaps even other pathogenic organisms. Penicillium also produces Sterigmatocystin, a toxin that has been linked to brain tumors in rats and increases in oxidative stress. It depletes Glutathione and can cause excessive oxidative stress to the liver. Sterigmatocystin is a known carcinogen to the gastrointestinal tract and liver, and it is toxic to kidneys, as many mcyotoxins are. It is a common contaminant of many commonly eaten foods, such as soybeans, corn, breads, cheese, spices, and pistachio nuts. It is possible that people who test high for this toxin are likely consuming it in their food or are getting exposed to it from damp, dusty, old carpets. Penicillium also produces Ochratoxin, as does Aspergillis.
Fusarium mold produces a toxin called Zearalenone. Exposure to this toxin is found mostly in water-damaged buildings and is toxic to the blood, liver, immune system, and it can also damage DNA. It is also a known “xeno-estrogen”, which is a form of estrogen that is alien to the human body, and can be linked to estrogen-dominance like symptoms and possibly breast cancer. Zearalenone can also be found in certain grains and foods such as wheat, rice, and corn. It is especially sinister because it can grow in much more temperate climates and in lower temperatures than other molds such as Aspergillis. A patient of mine had high levels of the toxin Zearalanone and we saw the estrogenic effects of the mold, but we couldn’t get any additional test data from salivary hormone reports. So, she was experiencing estrogen-dominance-like effects but we couldn’t find any evidence that it was coming from endogenous estrogen. We increased transdermal progesterone, removed possible sources of the toxin (such as bales of hay around the patients home), and went ahead with the mold toxin detoxification, and in a few months the Zearalenone was completely gone. It is entirely possible that the transdermal (Bio-identical) use of progesterone was the key factor in detoxifying from this mycotoxin and/or reducing its xeno-estrogen effects. The presence of other mold toxins, such as Alflatoxin or Ochratoxin can increase the presence of Zearalenone A.
Citrinin is a general mold toxin that is produced by both Aspergillis and Pennicilium, as well as Monascas mold. The most common means of exposure are inhalation, ingestion, or through direct contact with the skin. Citrinin can cause kidney disease, and it causes kidney cells and mitochondria to be more permeable thus making them susceptible to greater oxidation and other infectious agents. This toxin can also weaken host immunity and suppress immune response, further increasing the chances of opportunistic pathogens like Candida and Chlostridia gaining an advantage and becoming invasive.
Stachybotrys is a green-black mold that is found contaminating ceiling tiles, walls behind wall paper, and fiberboard. It’s common in water-damaged buildings, and produces some of the most sinister and stubborn toxins of all molds, including multiple immuno-suppressors. two toxins that this mold produces, roridin E and verrucarin, are so toxic that they have been used as chemical weapons in wars and armed conflicts. Even low levels of exposure to these dangerous toxins can cause severe neurological damage, immunosuppression, endocrine disruption, cardiovascular problems, and gastrointestinal distressA. Stachybotrys toxins can also be found contaminating grains.
It is important to consider getting tested for exposure to these and other molds, as this could be the missing link in finding solutions for your health concerns. The Great Plains Laboratory in Lenaxa, KS has a MycoTox urine test that is an extraordinarily useful tool in detecting not only exposure to these and other molds, but also in assessing possible mycotoxin toxicity in tissue.
Additional sources: A) Mycotoxins: The Hidden Threat of Mold to Our Bodies and Brains By Matthew Pratt-Hyatt, Ph.D.; Great Plains Lab, Lenaxa, KS
For more great articles keep checking back on Drugless Functional Medicine on a regular basis!