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Got Mold? Take Back Your House and Health




Welcome to the Gut Honest Truth blog where a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner gives you digestible information to tackle your chronic health concerns.


That’s me, Katie Morra;


As always, working one-on-one for your specific needs is always our top recommendation, check out our appointment options to get started with one of our licensed health care professionals today.


On to the post...


What is mold?

Mold illness can present on a spectrum from mild flu-like symptoms all the way to debilitating fatigue that impacts daily life. Mold can not always be seen by the naked eye and spores can spread throughout the home, increasing the presence of mold, and thus associated symptoms. Mold is a classification of organisms that contains mold, mushrooms, and yeasts that produce mycotoxins or little toxic compounds that pose harm to humans when chronically exposed.


What are some symptoms of mold toxicity?

  • Poor memory and confusion

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Tingling and numbness in your hands and feet

  • Appetite swings and weight gain

  • Increased thirst

  • Hair loss

  • Metallic taste in your mouth

  • Abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea

  • Muscle cramps

  • Joint pain

  • Anxiety

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Fatigue and weakness

  • Headaches

  • Joint pain and stiffness

  • Shortness of breath, sinus congestion, and/or a chronic cough

  • Difficulty with body temperature regulation

  • Increased urinary frequency and/or increased thirst

  • Mood swings

  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating

  • Metallic taste in your mouth

  • Static shocks

  • Vertigo or feeling lightheaded

  • Abdominal pain

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Swollen legs

  • Allergic reactions

  • Asthma

  • Neurotoxicity (damage to the brain, spinal cord, and/or nerves in the body)

  • Skin infections

  • Systemic infections (infections affected the entire body system)

  • Immunosuppression (weakened immune system)

  • Coughing

  • And more..




How do you get exposed to mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are the naturally occurring toxic compounds produced by mold that can contribute or cause significant health risks when exposed day after day.

  1. Absorption through the skin.

  2. Inhalation through a home or other building like your place of work.

  3. Ingestion of food exposed to mold.. Did you know that at least ¼ of our crops have fungal overgrowth? Foods to be wary of: cereals, coffee, beer, dried fruits, nuts, spices, cocoa.

Where does mold live?

  • Paper

  • Cardboard

  • Wood

  • Fabric

  • Carpet

  • Drywall

  • Mattresses and bedding

  • Washers & dryers

  • Air conditioners

  • And more

How does mold thrive?


Under the right circumstances, mold can actually spread like wildfire, and usually in unseen places in your home. What are these “right circumstances” you may be wondering?


Moisture

  • Have you had a leaking roof or pipe break? Thought that everything was handled perfectly but something just hasn’t felt physically quite right since that incident? I recommend that you get both your home and self for mycotoxins. If you ever experience flooding or pipes breaking, remove the wet carpets and get a team out to remedy the situation AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. It can make a huge difference waiting even a day.

Condensation

  • Do you often see condensation on your home’s windows? When the warm air inside the house hits a cooler surface, like the windows, it will cause condensation, which can lead to mold. You can actually get products to specifically reduce this in your home.

Humidity

  • If you live in a humid part of the world, I recommend that you purchase at least one dehumidifier for the house. This can ensure that you are able to keep the humidity of your home at the 50% mark, making it less likely mold can spread. Pro tip: if you live in a humid environment, you should consider both testing your home and self for mycotoxins.

    • Do not neglect your home’s air conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems for cleaning and maintenance. These systems can literally circulate mold spores throughout your entire home. I would also recommend getting at least one HEPA air filter in your home and preferably on the floors you spend the most time or have the most potential for mold.


A few favorite home additions and switches:

Air filter:

  • Austin Air Filter Healthmate removes up to 99.97% of airborne contaminants, including mold spores.

House plants:

  • English Ivy, Spider plants, Peace Lily, Palm Plants and Orchids can add another layer of defense towards mold problems in the home.

Coffee swap:

  • Purity Coffee is the gold standard for a mycotoxin free cup of coffee.

Sauna:


Testing the home for mold:


EMMA testing:

Real time labs provides us with some information on The EMMA (Environmental Mold & Mycotoxin Assessment) test. “It uses sensitive molecular detection technology to look for the presence of 10 of the most toxigenic molds. It determines their presence and determines their relative abundance. EMMA also tests directly for 16 of the most poisonous Mycotoxins using its patented Mycotoxin detection test. Testing is simple, only requiring small amounts of dust or material from AC or heater filters. “


ERMI testing:

Mycometrics provides us with some information on The ERMI test (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index). “It was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development (ORD). ERMI uses the analysis of settled dust in homes and buildings to determine the molds' situation. The methodology is based on using a mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (MSQPCR) to quantify 36 molds and calculate an index number for comparison with a database of reference homes.”


Useful websites:


What is an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP)?

An Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) specializes in indoor environmental assessments in relation to environmentally acquired illnesses, working closely with patients and their healthcare providers as well as homeowners, landlords, and architects to identify and address environmental concerns.


Before hiring an IEP, do your homework and make sure to hire a professional with a top-notch credential. Among these “gold-standard” certifications are:

  • ACAC: The American Council for Accredited Certification

  • CIH: Certified Industrial Hygienist

  • NORMI: National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors

  • AIHA: American Industrial Hygiene Association

  • CSP: Certified Safety Professionals


How Do I Find a Practitioner That Orders Mycotoxin Testing?

You can actually test an individual's total mycotoxin burden relative to environmental exposures. At Gut Honest Truth, we primarily use a urine provocation test to give us deeper insights as to what YOU specifically are carrying in excess in the body and often this gives us hints and clues to what is truly problematic in your home or work place. Then we can work to not only support the home remediation piece as discussed above but we can support the body in ridding the excess mycotoxin burden so our patients can not only heal, but thrive.


Ready to get started? Schedule a consultation today with our Institute for Functional Medicine trained and certified health care practitioners.



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