Mold doesn’t get a lot of respect as a health threat, generating much less notoriety than things like pesticides, heavy metals, processed foods and sedentary lifestyles. But it should – particularly after the major flooding caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Mold can affect anyone’s health. About 25 percent of us are especially vulnerable to the fungi’s toxins due to genetics and the toxins can trigger a wide range of chronic diseases over time, including liver disease, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal issues, recurring infections, sleep disturbances, hormonal disruptions, and breathing problems.
Mold is also ubiquitous. It thrives in houses, workplaces, schools and any other type of building that has ever suffered any water damage. Estimates of water-damaged buildings in the U.S. range between 25 percent and 40 percent not including the damage caused by Harvey and Irma.
Despite its widespread presence and harmful effects on the body, mold is one of the last things primary care physicians typically check in trying to diagnose an ailment. But if you have a chronic condition that standard medical care is not helping, the experts suggest consulting a mold toxin specialist.
Water stains on walls or ceilings are dead giveaways of a leak, but other water intrusion may be hidden. If you smell a musty odor, that’s mold. But some varieties, including toxic black mold, aren’t easy to detect by nose. A water-damaged building is likely a job for experts, who can find hidden leaks with specialized equipment and clean out the mold properly.
Treatments for mold exposure vary, but they all are designed to remove the toxins.
• One of the best detoxifiers is the powerful antioxidant glutathione.
• The cholesterol drug Cholestyramine is often used because it forms a strong bond with biotoxins and escorts them to the bowel for excretion.
• Bentonite clay and diatomaceous earth are also commonly used detoxifiers.
• Other things that may help are infrared saunas, which mobilize toxins, and working up a good sweat, which facilitate their excretion.