By Dr. Todd Maderis
There is an often overlooked toxin that can live in our homes which can cause extremely debilitating symptoms such as severe fatigue, respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath or coughing, headaches, nasal congestion and sinus infections as well as mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. This small, but toxic substance is mold!
What most people do not know about mold toxicity is they can be exposed to mold, and then remove yourself from the moldy environment, but mycotoxins can continue to be produced in their body. Mold is most commonly inhaled and lands in our paranasal sinuses where it will reside. This mold will go on to produce mycotoxins until effectively treated.
Mold is a fungi that grows in damp environments in buildings. Water can come from faulty construction or poor building design, leaks in water pipes, inadequate drainage, subterranean areas like basements or houses build on grade, HVAC units or improper mold remediation. Testing houses and structures is not a perfect science, and I have seen variations in results. As a clinician, it is a priority for me to know if my patient has mold toxicity before their house is diagnosed. One possible sign a person is being exposed to mold is if their symptoms improve when they travel away from the water damaged building. Other people in the household may not be manifesting symptoms due to genetic variations and/or concomitant issues.
In my experience, the preferred method for testing a human for mold toxicity is a urinary myctoxin panel. Myctoxins are the byproducts the mold produces which adverse health affects. I will use a “provoking” agent to increase urinary excretion of these mycotoxins to ensure an accurate result.
- Chronic nasal congestion or recurrent sinus infections
- Shortness of breath, asthma, cough, wheezing
- Eye and skin irritation
- Headaches, brain fog
- Irritability, depression, insomnia
If you suspect you have mold toxicity, ask your provider about mold testing and treatment.