Mold is a silent, hidden problem lurking in 50% of our homes and workspaces. It is stated up to 28% of the U.S. population or 80 million people are profoundly affected by mold toxins with symptoms that are both physical and psychiatric.

Now we are learning mold can affect everyone to some degree when chronically exposed—yet we have no idea of the number of those affected. That’s because those suffering, without the classic symptoms of a mold allergy, are chronically misdiagnosed by the medical community. They do not test positive for any typical medical tests, leaving them feeling even more confused and depressed.

Cherry, a resident in Denver, suffered for many years. When she had tested negative for a mold allergy, her doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

Her symptoms included, developing sleep apnea, inflammation issues, weight gain, fatigue, and immune issues.

Finally, after getting a diagnosis of CIRS from a functional medicine Doctor,  she received special testing and it showed high levels of mold toxicity in her system.

Cherry moved out of her home of 15 years (built in the 1910’s) into an apartment (built in the 1930’s) but it tested even higher for mold.  The landlord gave her the option of a newer apartment (built in the 1980’s) and this one tested higher than the first two! “The age of the house has nothing to do with it” Cherry stated. However, landlord liability can be loose in being required to remedy the issue and she doesn’t want to go through moving again until she can figure out her environmental needs. She has decided to purchase an air purification system costing $1000 that can move with her. At this point there is not enough proof for the medical and housing/building communities that mold is really that big of a problem to start legislating responsibility.

Residential home and building construction methods drastically changed in 1970. New innovations and technologies made it possible to build virtually with paper, also know as drywall, sheet rock and particle board cabinetry. All buildings are susceptible to water damage but many of the homes in Colorado’s building boom were after 1970s. With age and poor material, there’s an increased possibility of a leaky roof, flooded basement and plumbing problems. That leads to one major issue: Once water touches cellulose material, harmful mold can grow unseen. Occupants get sick and have no idea why.

Many people have all heard about fibromyalgia, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic inflammatory response syndrome, auto immune disorder and Alzheimer’s. However, did you know mold (also known as biotin illness) could be the possible culprit of these conditions?

Or, could these conditions be the symptoms of mold illness?

“Millions of people are suffering from chronic illnesses that, unbeknownst to them, are the result of exposure to environmental toxins and infectious agents such as mold and Borrelia, which causes Lyme disease,” writes Dr. Neil Nathan in his book, Toxic. Dr. Nathan continues in the book, “Because the symptoms of these illnesses are so varied and unusual, many of these individuals have sought medical care only to be dismissed, as if what they are experiencing is ‘in their head.’ Many (if not most) have tried to tough it out and continue to function without hope of improvement. Unfortunately, their illnesses are very real.”

Because it’s not on the medical community’s radar, the medical community doesn’t generally test for mycotoxins sensitivity or bio-toxin buildup. This illness is not an allergy, it is an inflammation within the body which is caused by an immune system gone haywire.

Genetics have been shown to be a known factor for sensitivity. People can get tested for the HLA-DR gene, and researchers have found that those with the gene can have challenges removing and recovering from toxins. Cherry carries this gene. 

“A common concern for those who are trying to understand cognitive problems in moldy patients is to answer how is it that inflammation in the body is inflammation in the brain,” according to NeuroQuant links mold Illness to structural change in brain

NeuroQuant continues, “The blood brain barrier, as it is called, results from additional “tight junction features” between cells that line blood vessels. These tight junctions are loosened by particular inflammatory processes including TGF beta-1 and IL-1B. These two compounds are well shown to be significantly elevated in patients with systemic inflammatory response syndromes acquired following exposure to the interior environment of water-damaged buildings

“Mold toxins are lipophilic, meaning their molecular structure consists of fatty acid molecules. For this reason, mold toxins migrate to and deposit in the brain because the brain is the ‘fattiest’ organ, consisting of 60% fat.”

Once the mold enters the brain the swelling caused starts to destroy neurons, receptors and hormone production. One study showed that 93 out of 100 fibromyalgia patients tested positive for mold sensitivity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705282/

If you suspect a client might be suffering from mold sensitivity or bio-toxin illness, here are some common complaints to be aware of: chronic fatigue, memory issues, mood swings, skin issues, gut issues, increased sensitivity to chemicals, muscle cramps and aches, headaches, mental focus, disorientation, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and of course, fibromyalgia, CFS,  CIRS and sleep apnea. The very first line of defense is to have one’s environment tested and remediated if needed.

Erik Hansen, of Green Home Solutions in Denver, states,https://www.greenhomesolutions.com/centennial-co/  “It is a good idea for people to be mindful of any unwanted moisture or humidity inside of their homes.  Very small amounts of moisture can lead to large mold problems. Any unwanted moisture, whether it from interior plumbing leaks or exterior precipitation, that comes into contact with building materials, can cause mold start growing within 24-48 hours. Without a moisture source, toxic mold will not be able to colonize.” 

If the environment tests positive, www.survivingmold.com has a wealth of information on testing, diagnosis, treatment and remediation solutions. Dr. Nathan’s book, Toxic is a great resource for mold illness and other environmental toxins that affects us.

The good news is that once the diagnosis is made, this is a very treatable condition. The treatment must be done carefully and slowly as it can shock the system as the body detoxifies and symptoms can worsen through the process, as the mold toxins are mobilized. Cherry is feeling better with treatment, but understands that this will be a lifelong battle to find and maintain a mold free home.

People are exposed to even more mold toxins in our environment, toxins that we ingest; citric acid, magnesium citrate and zinc citrate. Today’s citrates are grown on mold for mass production because it is much cheaper to use than natural citrates that come from acidic fruit. This mass-produced citrate is now used in so much of our food, medication and supplements and vaccines. It’s almost impossible to avoid. Do folks with mold allergies and sensitivities know this?

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