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Mold: A Potential Trigger of Hashimoto’s

0 2 years ago

For many people with Hashimoto’s, the root cause of their hypothyroidism can be linked to dietary triggers. Often times, eliminating problematic foods is key to finding healing and eventual remission. However, there are other toxins that can contribute to the autoimmune response, some of them less obvious than others. One such trigger that we hear about less often is mold.

Though not everyone is sensitive to mold, a surprising number of people will find that their deteriorating health, including respiratory, digestive and cognitive issues, can be linked to exposure to toxic mold. In fact, almost 10 percent of the people with Hashimoto’s that I surveyed said that they had been exposed to mold—and that number only accounts for those that knew they were exposed!

In this article, I’d like to explore the connections between mold and Hashimoto’s, including:

  • The difference between mold versus toxic mold
  • The connection between mold toxicity and Hashimoto’s
  • Dave Asprey’s Hashimoto’s success story
  • Symptoms of mold exposure
  • Diagnosing and addressing mold toxicity

What is Mold?

Molds are a form of fungi and are a natural part of the environment we live in. They can be found almost anywhere, wherever oxygen and moisture are present, and can spread through the air by way of spores, their reproductive cells.

Mold often lurks in damp, dark environments within the home, such as bathrooms, kitchens, recently flooded areas, and basement areas. It can also be found under sinks and in areas with poor ventilation.

Outdoors, mold is often found in moist soil and decaying organic matter. High levels of mold spores in the air are often to blame for environmental allergic reactions. Indoors, when moisture is present, mold can be found in building materials, carpeting, and even foods. Mold can often accumulate when a home is flooded or if there is a hidden water leak that is left unaddressed.

Though molds are all around us, it’s exposure in large quantities that can sometimes lead to serious health problems. Indoors, the most common types of mold typically found are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Common health complications related to indoor mold exposure include asthma attacks, headaches, dizziness, sinus infections, and skin rashes.

Some molds produce toxic secondary metabolites called mycotoxins. We call these “toxic molds,” as their mycotoxins can cause serious health problems for both humans and animals. Exposure to mycotoxins has been linked to neurological problems and even death.

Stachybotrys chartarum (sometimes referred to as “black mold”), which grows on household surfaces such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint, is one of the most commonly known toxic molds.

Mold: A Potential Root Cause of Symptoms

There are hundreds of peer-reviewed articles discussing the harm that “black molds” are capable of causing to the brain and immune system. The work by mold researcher Dr. Enusha Karunasena has demonstrated that the endothelial cells that make up the blood-brain barrier can become compromised by these molds. Since the endothelial cells make up the brain’s primary protection mechanism against outside threats, damage to them means that the toxic molds can easily get into the brain and damage the neurons.

Additionally, the damage to the blood-brain barrier can allow substances (which are otherwise harmless to the rest of our systems) to cross into the brain and further damage the delicate neurons. This makes it possible for individuals who have suffered damage to the blood-brain barrier due to toxic mold, to develop sensitivities and become affected by exposure to a variety of other substances, from wood smoke to air fresheners. (Read more about multiple chemical sensitivities here.) Mold toxicity is also a potential environmental trigger of Hashimoto’s symptoms, and I’ll discuss this in a minute.

It’s important to note, however, that not all molds are harmful. In fact, molds have many valuable functions, including pharmaceutical and food production uses. After all, penicillin, soy sauce, and blue cheese wouldn’t exist without the presence of mold! However, those who are sensitive to mold may find that even the small amounts of mold present in cheese, nuts, or coffee may be enough to create an adverse reaction.

Symptoms of Mold Toxicity

When it comes to mold exposure, not everyone is affected in the same way. Even those living in the same home may develop different symptoms depending on their genes. Sometimes, multiple family members in the same household may have varying levels of immune-related diseases, but others may not exhibit any symptoms.

That said, common symptoms of mold exposure include brain fog, respiratory issues, cognitive impairment, immune suppression, fatigue, depression, arthritis, digestive problems, poor sleep, inflammation, and joint pain.

Those who have an allergy to mold may experience watery, itchy eyes, a chronic cough, headaches or migraines, difficulty breathing, rashes, fatigue, sinus problems, nasal blockages, and sneezing.

Some of the clients that I’ve seen affected by mold have shown me unbelievable before and after photos. People who were once thin and athletic can put on weight and collect so much inflammation in their bodies that they become virtually unrecognizable within months of mold exposure.

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