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10 Warning Signs of Mold Toxicity: What You Need to Know

Written by Portland Clinic of Natural Health on May 25, 2023

Mold is a silent intruder that could be lurking in your home, workplace, or school without you even knowing it. While it may seem harmless, certain types of mold produce toxins that can negatively impact human health. Let's explore the top 10 warning signs of mold toxicity to keep you aware and safe. (1)

  1. Allergic Reactions: Mold often triggers allergies. It could be due to mold exposure if you're experiencing persistent sneezing, coughing, runny nose, red eyes, or skin rashes.
  2. Breathing Problems: Difficulty breathing, wheezing, or shortness of breath, especially in a location like your home or office, could point towards mold toxicity.
  3. Sinus Issues: Mold can cause chronic sinusitis. Frequent sinus infections, nasal congestion, or sinus headaches could be signs of mold exposure.
  4. Fatigue and Weakness: If you're always feeling tired or weak without an apparent reason, this could be a symptom of mold toxicity.
  5. Memory Problems and Brain Fog: Mold toxins can impact your cognitive function leading to memory issues, lack of focus, and general brain fog.
  6. Unexplained Muscle and Joint Pain: If you have persistent pain in your muscles and joints that isn't related to any physical activity or injury, it could be a warning sign of mold toxicity.
  7. Digestive Issues: Nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal pain can also be indicators of exposure to mold toxins.
  8. Sensitivity to Light: If you've recently become unusually sensitive to bright or fluorescent lights, mold toxicity could be the culprit.
  9. Mood Changes: Depression, anxiety, or mood swings that seem to appear out of nowhere might be a response to mold toxins.
  10. Unusual Skin Sensations: Tingling and numbness in your skin, particularly in your hands and feet, could indicate mold exposure.

These symptoms may seem broad and overlap with many other conditions, which is why mold toxicity often goes unnoticed. But if you're experiencing several of these symptoms, especially in combination or persistently, you may want to consider the possibility of mold exposure, mold colonization/ infection, or both, and consult with a holistic healthcare provider, such as a naturopathic physician who specializes in environmental medicine and chronic infections. (2)

Mold Exposure VS. Mold Colonization/ Infection

Mold exposure and mold colonization or infection are two different facets of the same problem. When we talk about mold exposure, we're referring to the process of coming into contact with mold spores in the environment. This can happen through inhalation, skin contact, or sometimes even ingestion. These spores can produce toxins that lead to a wide array of health issues as your immune system reacts to them. (3)

Mold colonization or infection, on the other hand, is a step further. This occurs when the mold spores actually start to grow and multiply within the body, usually in the respiratory system, but it can also happen on the skin or in other organs. This is more serious and typically happens when a person has a weakened immune system. It's not just the toxins causing issues now; the mold is actively living in your body and can lead to severe health problems. Therefore, if you've been exposed to mold and are experiencing persistent symptoms, it's essential to seek medical attention to prevent potential colonization or infection. (4)

Remember, your health is a priority. Don't ignore the signs your body is giving you. Be vigilant, stay informed, and take action when necessary.

Resources:

  1. Edmondson DA, Nordness ME, Zacharisen MC, Kurup VP, Fink JN. Allergy and "toxic mold syndrome". Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2005 Feb;94(2):234-9. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)61301-4. PMID: 15765738.
  2. Khalili B, Montanaro MT, Bardana EJ Jr. Inhalational mold toxicity: fact or fiction? A clinical review of 50 cases. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2005 Sep;95(3):239-46. doi: 10.1016/s1081-1206(10)61220-3. Erratum in: Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2005 Nov;95(5):494. Montanaro, Marc T [added]. PMID: 16200814.
  3. Kraft S, Buchenauer L, Polte T. Mold, Mycotoxins and a Dysregulated Immune System: A Combination of Concern? Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 12;22(22):12269. doi: 10.3390/ijms222212269. PMID: 34830149; PMCID: PMC8619365.
  4. Hardin BD, Kelman BJ, Saxon A. Adverse human health effects associated with molds in the indoor environment. J Occup Environ Med. 2003 May;45(5):470-8. doi: 10.1097/00043764-200305000-00006. PMID: 12762072.

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