Our homes are a place that we come to everyday to feel safe and protected. But if our homes become too toxic to live in, we can find ourselves in a very awkward predicament.
Unfortunately, the dangers of black mold exposure aren’t something to be taken lightly. If your home has black mold, it needs to be addressed immediately.
But sometimes we may not even know our homes harbor black mold. And our homes aren’t the only culprit. Mold can grow inside schools and the workplace, and can go undetected for years.
The Dangers of Black Mold Exposure
Black mold is a silent health threat that can easily be mistaken for other health conditions. It prefers moist, humid conditions, and for these reasons is often found in places like cabinets, basements, crawl spaces, in drywall, and any areas that have had water damage in the past. Bathrooms and kitchens can also be breeding ground for mold spores, because of water use and lack of proper ventilation.
When mold starts to grow in a building, it can encourage the growth of “gram negative” and “gram positive” bacteria (1). The synergistic action between the mold and bacteria can exacerbate inflammatory conditions even more than just the mold itself. When it comes time for treatment, it becomes difficult, because you aren’t just dealing with a fungal infection, but a bacterial one as well.
Another issue with black mold is the toxic substances produced by the mold itself, called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are more toxic than heavy metals, because they affect more biological systems in the body. They do so by escaping the helper cells of our immune system, rapidly mutating and producing chemicals that suppress the immune system (2).
If you already have a compromised immune system (such as anyone with an autoimmune condition), or if you’re naturally just very sensitive and have allergy-like reactions to different agents (like multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome), you’ll be even more sensitive to mold than the average person. As a result, you’ll display more symptoms, and your health could rapidly deteriorate faster than someone who isn’t as sensitive. Even if you are quite healthy, mold can still affect the way you live and function.
Mycotoxins are extremely potent and affect almost every organ system in our body. The central nervous system is often most heavily targeted by the toxic mold spores, and can produce cognitive and behavioral changes, ataxia and convulsions. The reason for this is that mycotoxins have the ability to cross directly into your brain.
According to mold expert, Dr. Jack Thrasher, your olfactory neurons are in direct communication with your brain – there is no barrier. If you’ve ever inhaled or smelled something that has mold spores on it, these spores can go directly into your brain via these olfactory neurons (3, 4). Mycotoxins have also been found to enter the brain by way of the optic muscles and optic nerves (that’s right – they can enter through your eyes, folks!).
When you’re living in an environment that has these mycotoxins present, they can suppress and destroy your immune system. The result is short-term health issues which can eventually turn into larger chronic conditions that are often diagnosed as “mystery” health conditions.
Symptoms of Black Mold Toxicity
The first signs and symptoms of black mold toxicity can easily be mistaken as other health issues. Because most of the symptoms are characterized by allergen-like reactions, people can easily mistaken them for spring-time allergies or the like.
Some common initial symptoms of being exposed to black mold can include the following (5):
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Dermatitis and skin rashes
If left untreated, or if the source of the issue is not dealt with properly, mold will continue to build up inside your body. Mold and fungus favor warm, moist conditions – so the mucous membranes of the lungs and respiratory tract (like the nose, mouth and throat) will quickly become colonized.
As mold builds up in the body, it can develop into more “mysterious” chronic health conditions such as the following:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic coughing
- Depression and anxiety
- Memory loss
- Autoimmune disease
- Nerve issues (like numbness in the hands and feet)
Other symptoms like ice pick headaches, hair loss, muscle cramps, digestive complaints (like diarrhea), abdominal pain, joint pain, nervous system disorders, night sweats, excessive thirst, metallic taste, vertigo and increased urination could also be longer-term symptoms of black mold poisoning (6).
While eradicating mold completely isn’t always an easy process, it needs to be done in order to get better. It is a two step process that first involves clearing up the problem areas in the home (and purifying the air from mold spores), and then pulling mold from the body through the use of different herbs and supplements. By doing so, you’ll dramatically reduce the toxic effects of mold infestation, both in the home, and body.
How to Detox Your Home of Black Mold
When addressing the dangers of black mold exposure, you’re probably only thinking about how to get the mold out of your body. But there is more to it than that. You can continually treat yourself with all the supplements and foods in the world, but unless your environment is free of the mold spores, they’ll continue colonizing every cell of your body.
There are two main things that need to happen in order to detox your home of black mold. The first is getting to the source.
1. Get to the Source
Eliminating black mold from your home altogether is the single most important step that should be taken before anything else. Black mold is incredibly harmful, and should be removed by a mold removal company as quickly as possible.
According to the CDC (7), “In most cases mold can be removed from hard surfaces by a thorough cleaning with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Absorbent or porous materials like ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpet may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. If you have an extensive amount of mold and you do not think you can manage the cleanup on your own, you may want to contact a professional who has experience in cleaning mold in buildings and homes. It is important to properly clean and dry the area as you can still have an allergic reaction to parts of the dead mold and mold contamination may recur if there is still a source of moisture.”
Another option to ensure what you have is actually black mold (since black mold can easily be confused by other mold types), is to order a black mold test kit, which you can use to collect mold samples yourself. You can then send the samples to a professional mold testing company and get the results back within a week.
2. Invest in A High-Quality Air Purifier
The second most important step for ensuring the air in your home is spore-free, is by investing in a high-quality air purifier like the Intellipure.
The second most important step for ensuring the air in your home is spore-free, is by investing in a high-quality air purifier like the Intellipure.
I’ve personally been using an Intellipure for over two years, and I honestly wouldn’t know what to do without one.
The Intellipure Compact unit I recently got the opportunity to own a compact Intellipure unit, and wanted to share with you guys how amazing this little machine is, because it is so much more affordable than the larger unit. Even though the unit is cheaper, it still comes with the same air filtration properties as the Intellipure Ultrafine 468 (the larger unit). The only difference is that the compact cleans a space of 500 square feet, compared to 1,000 square feet for the larger unit.
The Intellipure Compact machine is great for home or small office use. It utilizes the same DFS technology as the Ultrafine 468, capturing 99.99% of all particles down to 0.007 micron in size! That’s 40x better than standard HEPA filtration (meaning 40x better efficiency for ensuring mold particles don’t make it out alive).
The Compact machine features a 5-stage volatile organic compound (VOC) adsorption filter for heavy removal of harmful gasses and odors, and will create a substantial reduction in airborne microorganisms, mold, chemicals, smoke, pet dander, bacteria and viruses.
Intellipure’s revolutionary DFS technology reduces bio-burden and inhibits microorganism growth passing into the system through Microbiostasis condition. One of the major drawbacks of HEPA filters (which essentially all standard air filtration devices use) is that if they are not changed timely and frequently, they present the opportunity for the breed through effect, in which microorganisms captured inside the filters live, grow, and reproduce inside the machine (and in turn, as released back into the air inside your home). The DFS technology in this machine protects you from the possibility of the breed through effect.
The three options on the Intellipure Compact – Low, Medium and High filtration. When you press the power button once it will automatically gear into high filtration. By clicking the power button again, you will go lower and lower, until the machine shuts off again. The DFS light will be illuminated blue to signal that the DFS technology is working. Machine pictured as off.
The 500 square foot cleaning capacity of the Intellipure Compact machine makes it the perfect option for a bedroom, small living area or office space. Even at 500 square feet, this machine will give you a high rate of filtration with 35-100 CFM (cubic feet/minute).
The machine is super quiet, too, and I personally keep it turned on in my room 24/7 (yes, I even sleep with it on!). Not to mention, all of the Intellipure machines are incredibly efficient, and if you kept the machine running on low 24 hours a day, you’d only be spending around one dollar a month extra on your utility bill.
I trust and believe in the Intellipure so much, that I partnered up with them to make it easier for you to try the same air purifiers I’ve been using for years.
How to Detox Your Body of Black Mold
You can detox your body of black mold during or after the process of black mold removal from the home. If you decided to move out of your place and into a different one, you can start the body remediation process immediately.
Since many people don’t normally take these supplements or perform these therapies on a daily basis, do beware that some minor detox symptoms may present themselves during the process.
When utilizing the following therapies and supplements, also take a look at your diet and focus on whole, plant-based, living foods. When the body is properly supported with the right nutrients and fiber, the body has a better idea of how to get rid of what isn’t supposed to be there (like mold spores). Eating a healthier diet will also improve digestion, which will naturally boost the immune system.
Eliminating inflammatory foods like processed meats, gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and refined sugar is of upmost importance.
The supplements and therapies mentioned below help support the immune system, boost our detoxification systems, nourish the gut, reduce inflammation and boost our mitochondria. Mycotoxins mostly target your mitochondria (8) and immune system, which explains why mold poisoning affects the brain and heart more than anything else (these areas of the body house the highest concentration of mitochondria). When your mitochondria and immune system are properly supported, mycotoxins stand no chance.
Here are 8 natural remedies to help eliminate the danger of black mold exposure:
The mitochondria of the brain undergo a lot of inflammation and structural damage from mycotoxins. By supplementing with phosphatidylcholine, you’ll help build up the defense system of your mitochondria by strengthening their outer membrane. You can take phosphatidylcholine on its own, or take it mixed with a liposomal vitamin C supplement (as an added immune system boost). You can take 1,000-2,000mg of the liposomal vitamin C supplement or phosphatidylcholine supplement every day, with food.
Glutathione, known as the “master antioxidant” is great at protecting your mitochondria from the damaging effects of oxidative stress. This antioxidant will help your mitochondria ward off the damage caused by mycotoxins so that they can return to their normal state of being and start repairing themselves (9). One of the best brands of glutathione that I know of is by the company Pure Therapy RX. Aim for around 200mg each day (this can be gradually increased up to 500mg per day).
Raw garlic is an excellent anti-fungal, which is exactly what your body needs when put up against the pressure of dangerous black mold exposure. It fights off all sorts of fungi, molds and yeasts, so if you take enough of it, you’ll be sure to kill off all those nasty spores. For toxic mold exposure, take around 2-4 grams of fresh garlic per day, or 600-900 mg of garlic tablets daily (10).
Chlorophyll protects DNA from damage caused by mycotoxins like aflatoxin (11). It also possesses antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, making it the perfect supplement for remedying black mold symptoms. Chlorophyll is what makes green vegetables & leafy greens, green, so if you eat them regularly, then you’re getting plenty of chlorophyll. You can also purchase chlorophyll online – my favorite brand is Earth Circle Organics.
CoQ10 is the primary antioxidant that helps protect and support mitochondria. Without enough CoQ10, the level of ATP (energy) that the mitochondria produce drops, the energy that is available to that tissue decreases, and dysfunction and health conditions can then develop. Since mycotoxins target our mitochondria, adding in some CoQ10 to our diet can help strengthen the mitochondria, and naturally provide us with more energy. Taking around 200mg a day of CoQ10 should suffice.
6. Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal can be taken as a supplement for assisting in the removal of mold from the body. Because of the adsorbent properties of activated charcoal, it quite literally traps toxins (like mycotoxins) in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so that the body doesn’t reabsorb them. Just make sure the activated charcoal you take is made from coconut shells or other natural sources (like this brand).
Our immune system starts in our gut, so if our gut isn’t properly supported, then our immune system will fail as a result. If your immune system is strong, mycotoxins will have a hard time colonizing the body. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, water kefir and the like. You can also take a high-quality probiotic supplement to help rebuild healthy levels of good bacteria in the gut.
8. Ozone Therapy
Ozone therapy can help recover mitochondrial function and clear out mold from the body. While this option is a little less easier to do (as it has to be done with a doctor’s supervision), it is a great option for people dealing with extreme mold toxicity in their body.
Blog written by Carly Fraser, Live Love Fruit