Are Mycotoxins Behind Your Health Issues?
Do you eat nutritious food, sleep well and manage your stress yet still experience health issues? Have you tried to find the cause of your symptoms without success? Maybe you feel there’s a missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle between you and good health.
Have you ever considered the impact moulds could be having on your health?
In this blog you’ll discover more about moulds and mycotoxins and why they’re an often unsuspected cause of health issues.
What are Mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are chemicals produced by some moulds. If they get into your body they can cause serious health issues.
Once mycotoxins enter your bloodstream they’ll travel around your body, affecting your liver, kidneys, digestion, nerves and immune system, as well as reducing your cells’ energy production and even damaging your DNA.
Symptoms of mycotoxin exposure are varied but include cough or shortness of breath from lung inflammation, asthma, heart problems, joint issues, muscle cramps, fatigue, headaches, skin issues and eye problems.
Mycotoxins can disrupt your microbiome causing digestive and immune issues and play a role in chronic fatigue syndrome. They’re toxic to nerves, being implicated in mood disorders, anxiety, brain fog, autism and degenerative brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Mycotoxins in Your Environment
Moulds love warm damp environments. You’ve probably seen black mould in bathrooms but moulds can also grow unseen behind wallpaper, in carpets, furniture, your house’s insulation, on paper, ceiling tiles, in your washing machine and even on your car seats. They’re easily recycled through air ducts, particularly in tightly-sealed, insulated homes and offices.
Mould spores can attach themselves to clothes, shoes, bags and even pets, and if there’s a hint of dampness in your home, they’ll enthusiastically reproduce.
Moulds release mycotoxins into the air where they’re inhaled. Given you may spend the majority of your time indoors, particularly recently, the conditions inside your home can have a profound effect on your health.
Mycotoxins in Your Food
Mycotoxins are present in many foods. Toxin-producing moulds are often found on grain and seed crops, and can form before or after harvesting and during food storage. Mycotoxins then make their way into products from animals fed on these crops. They’re chemically stable and heat resistant and aren’t destroyed by food processing. You can’t see, smell or taste mycotoxins so they give no clue to their presence.
Foods commonly harbouring mycotoxins include those stored for long periods, so as well as grains this means sugar, dried fruits, processed meats and condiments. Other culprits are fruit juices, coffee, soya products, peanuts, hard cheeses, mushrooms and alcoholic beverages.
Our changing climate bringing warmer, humid weather is predicted to increase the levels of mycotoxins in crops.
Mycotoxins and Your Health
Ideally, your body would expel mycotoxins without any problem, but if it can’t do this efficiently they can build up in your body, encouraging inflammation. You may be someone with a natural genetic predisposition meaning your body can’t easily identify and remove mycotoxins. If your immune system is compromised, for example if you suffer from an autoimmune disease, you’re recovering from a serious illness or your body has stored heavy metals such as lead, arsenic or mercury, you’ll have a harder time expelling mycotoxins.
If you’ve noticed your symptoms have become worse after water damage to your home, you can see visible mould in your surroundings, your symptoms increase during damp weather or you feel better when you’re away from home or the office, mycotoxins may be an issue for you.
In fact, if you’re struggling with symptoms that won’t go away no matter what, think about mycotoxins as a possible cause.
If you feel mycotoxins may be behind your health issues, avoiding exposure as well as removing them from your body is key.
It’s important to address any dampness in your home and clean off any visible mould from surfaces. It can be helpful to use a dehumidifier, and open windows to encourage air circulation.
Avoiding mycotoxins in food can seem challenging because they’re present in so many foodstuffs, but emphasising foods typically low in mycotoxins can be less daunting than focussing on what to avoid. So, enjoy starchy vegetables, low sugar fruits such as berries, grass-fed meat and poultry, wild-caught oily fish and leafy green vegetables. Onion, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, ginger and turmeric can help to detoxify mycotoxins.
Make sure you’re hydrated to aid detoxification. Massage, exercise and sauna therapy can all be useful.
If you suspect mould is behind your health issues, I’m here to help. Mycotoxins are linked to many varied health issues, making diagnosis difficult from your symptoms alone. A urine test can be useful to reveal whether you’re exposed to mycotoxins. I can recommend nutritional and lifestyle strategies to support your liver and digestion and help you expel mycotoxins.