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The Hidden Danger: Mold Toxicity and Infection

Written by Portland Clinic of Natural Health on June 27, 2023

Mold is a common household issue that often goes unnoticed until it becomes a visible problem. What many people fail to realize is that beyond the unsightly appearance and unpleasant odor, mold can pose a significant threat to our health. In this evidence-based blog post, we will delve into the world of mold toxicity and infection, with a specific focus on mycotoxins—the potent substances released by mold spores that can infiltrate every organ in our body despite their minuscule size. (1)

Understanding Mycotoxins and Mold Toxicity:

Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by certain types of fungi, including molds. When mold spores are released into the air, they can carry these mycotoxins. What makes mycotoxins particularly concerning is their microscopic size. They are estimated to be approximately 1/500th the size of the mold spores themselves, allowing them to infiltrate even the tiniest of spaces and travel through the air with ease.

Once mycotoxins are inhaled or ingested, they can enter our bloodstream and be distributed throughout the body, affecting multiple organs and systems. Due to their potent nature, mycotoxins can trigger a range of adverse health effects, including respiratory problems, neurological symptoms, immune system dysfunction, and even organ damage. (2)

The Far-Reaching Effects of Mycotoxins:

Given their small size and ability to permeate various bodily systems, mycotoxins have the potential to impact nearly every organ in our body. Here are a few examples:

  1. Respiratory System: Inhalation of mold spores containing mycotoxins can lead to respiratory issues such as coughing, wheezing, asthma exacerbation, and allergic reactions.
  2. Nervous System: Mycotoxins can cross the blood-brain barrier and affect neurological function, leading to symptoms like brain fog, memory problems, headaches, dizziness, and mood disturbances.
  3. Immune System: Mycotoxins have been shown to disrupt immune system function, making individuals more susceptible to infections, allergies, and autoimmune disorders.
  4. Digestive System: When mycotoxins are ingested through contaminated food or water, they can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
  5. Liver and Kidneys: Mycotoxins can place a burden on these vital organs, potentially leading to liver and kidney dysfunction over time.

Recognizing and Addressing Mold Toxicity:

Identifying mold toxicity can be challenging as symptoms can overlap with other health conditions. However, if you suspect mold exposure or have persistent unexplained symptoms, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional who specializes in environmental medicine or mold-related illnesses.

To address mold toxicity effectively, the following steps are recommended:

  1. Mold Inspection and Remediation: If mold is present in your home or workplace, it is crucial to have a professional inspection and remediation to eliminate the source of exposure.
  2. Testing for Mycotoxins: Specialized laboratory tests can detect the presence of mycotoxins in the body, providing valuable information for diagnosis and treatment. One also has to test for internal infection which is different than mold exposure to toxins in the environment.
  3. Supportive Treatment: Working with a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner is vital to develop an individualized treatment plan. This may include nutritional support, detoxification strategies, immune system modulation, and addressing underlying health issues.

Mold toxicity and infection are serious health concerns that should not be taken lightly. The ability of mycotoxins to permeate every organ in our body despite their tiny size emphasizes the potential harm they can cause. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mold exposure, seeking appropriate medical guidance, and taking necessary steps to address


  1. 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.
  2. Fung F, Clark RF. Health effects of mycotoxins: a toxicological overview. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2004;42(2):217-34. doi: 10.1081/clt-120030947. PMID: 15214629.

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