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Healing Mold Illness Naturally- Hope for Healing
It’s taken me a long time to finally write this post. It feels like there are SO many sources popping up now about mold exposure and everyone has a different take. I’ll try my best to outline as many aspects as I can so everyone can make their own informed decision. There is a LOT to this topic so I’m going to write about what the most important pieces are, and I’ll have links for more reading below for those that want to dig deeper.
When I first started learning about how horrible mold exposure can be, I will admit I was scared. It seems like once you’re exposed it can be SO hard to undo the damage. I let the thought consume me for awhile (because we’ve had 2 instances of mold exposure in our current home- the first time I was not as knowledgeable on the risks so I didn’t take it as seriously though). But in the last few months I realized that the fear is half the problem sometimes- we cannot let it own us or control us. Mold IS scary. But being stressed 24/7 about it can also create even more health issues for us!
Since beginning to write this draft, things have changed quite a bit for me with mold. We found a new exposure in our home, we cleaned that up with a peroxide mix, got a small air filter, and within a few weeks many of my symptoms disappeared. Fast forward several months, and we’ve finally invested in a Hi-Tech air filter, which I’ll talk more about below. Healing from mold exposure IS possible! I wanted to really be sure about how I would address this issue before finishing this post too.
Why is Mold an issue?
Normally, mold would not affect healthy individuals (or at least people that don’t have a compromised immune system). I remember being exposed to mold many times as a child (we had a pretty musty basement!) but I never suffered health issues from it. It is estimated that about 25% of the population has a genetic susceptibility to mold illness, and it’s estimated that at LEAST 50% of building in the US are water damaged. It’s almost a given that you’ve been exposed to mold at some point in your life, but not everyone will react to it (at least not immediately).
Mold itself isn’t always the problem- it’s the mycotoxins that start to create the health issues! Mycotoxins are toxic chemicals that are found in mold spores that are released into the air. Most mycotoxin exposures happen from contact to contaminated food and from the inhalation of these spore-borne toxins, which is usually caused by water-damaged buildings. Common culprits are air conditioners, bathrooms with little to no ventilation, basements, and kitchens (under the sink).
Even if there is no visible mold, there can be mycotoxins in the air. This is the reason why it can so hard to figure out if mold is an issue- you don’t necessarily have to see the water damage or the mold growing for there to be a problem.
Mold illness can harm the brain, nervous system, endocrine system, as well as the gastrointestinal and immune systems. If you’re already dealing with EBV, parasites, or Lyme/co then being exposed to mold can reactivate or create even more issues with these other infections. Many people cannot properly detox while living in a moldy home either, so healing gets even harder until this blockage is addressed.
Symptoms of Mold Illness
The most common symptoms of mold illness include (but aren’t limited to):
- Insomnia, and even sleep apnea
- Chronic sore or swollen throat
- Overactive immune response
- Food intolerances, especially with histamine
- Brain fog, confusion
- Sensitivity to EMFs (mold proliferates 600x faster when exposed to EMFs!)
- Chronic cough
- Neurological symptoms
These days, many infection experts are saying that MOLD is the biggest trigger to wake up other infections like Lyme and Co, EBV, parasites etc. So on top of the mold illness, you can wake up the other beasts hiding. Parasites especially harbor ALL of these issues, as well as other toxins like heavy metals. So for most people, working on the parasites will help the most to get rid of the rest of these issues. Foundational care is STILL essential, and for some that is enough to get the body to start working on parasites on its own (this was actually my personal experience!).
How to Fix Mold Issues in your Home
Mindset is a HUGE part of healing from any health issue. Mold is no exception. If you allow fear to control you, then it’s only going to make things worse. Try to keep this in mind if mold becomes an issue for you.
If mold is a definite issue, then you have several choices, but it depends on the severity of the issue. Do you best to read about all of your options and choose the one that suits you best. Remediation, moving, or just trying to manage your exposure
Testing for Mold in the home:
ERMI testing seems to be the most recommended and more accurate way to test for mold. I have seen that Mycometrics is a great company to test with, and you can check their site out here for more info.
It’s not always enough to just kill or clean mold- you have to be getting rid of the mycotoxins as well. I have a fellow practitioner/friend that has gone through mold illness as well, so I reached out to her once I realized what was going on. She gave me some info to look into, and I decided to try the Hi-Tech Filter since that is what she used (her FB Group is linked below too!).
Hi-Tech Air Solutions have several models, the most common one being the 101 for small apartments and homes. This is the exact one I opted for and I highly recommend it.
These filters are designed for the eradication of viruses, bacteria, mold, mildew, odors, pet dander, formaldehyde, as well as VOCs in small rooms, buildings, or homes. This filter helps to clean the air but it can also be used to disinfected items that might be from a moldy home (furniture, books, clothes, etc).
There are a few other filter options in this post too. I only have experience with the Hi-Tech for this specific issue so far though! It’s absolutely been worth the investment and it’s helping immensely.
This is going to depend on the severity of the issue, where the water damage is, and your current financial situation. There is no one right answer for this, and many people are going to have different views on this.
If you have a small leak or exposure where the mold is visible you can use a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution (opinions on this vary- I use 1 part HP and 2 parts water in a spray bottle, some say dilution isn’t needed) to clean the area. I highly recommend using a face mask, gloves, and ideally have a filter in place too. Peroxide is safer than bleach and it can reach non-porous areas (where bleach only gets into porous).
If you have a bigger issue like a basement, attic, or crawlspace issue, or a whole wall is water damaged then it is better to consult with a professional to figure out the next steps to take.
Preventing Future Exposure:
Make sure to clean and dry water spills and damage properly as soon as they occur. Create proper ventilation for bathrooms, laundry areas, basements, and kitchens. Control humidity levels in the home, especially in areas where mold exposure is more likely to occur. Store food correctly in airtight containers and dry areas. When moving, make sure to test your new home for mold by a professional service before closing on the home or moving in.
Healing from Mold Illness: Foundational Care is non-negotiable
If we had a strong foundation to begin with, we wouldn’t get sick in the first place! This is why it is essential to start working on a strong foundation before working on healing from ANY illness. Our bodies get so weak and depleted from these issues and we have to start nourishing them and working on detox pathways in order to properly heal.
What do I consider to be basic foundational care?
- Clean diet
- Heal your gut
- Assess your mineral status with HTMA
- Work on detox pathways (colon/bowel, lymph, liver, kidneys, skin)
- Support your adrenals/HPA axis
- Work on underlying emotional trauma
- Clean up your environment
Seems a bit daunting, I know. But I outline more about these steps here to give more info. Baby steps is always the best way to get started, and if you can work with a practitioner it can make things a bit easier. If you’re ready to really heal your foundation, check out my newest ebook about healing.
Binders are also helpful when dealing with mold specifically:
- Activated Charcoal is the most common one you will come across. This can be great for acute situations, but I would not recommend long term use. It only binds to toxins in the GI tract and over time it can interfere with nutrient absorption.
- Bioray FOCUS (for kids), Mind Focus, or NDF Plus: Bioray is one of my favorite companies ever, and I’ve been using them in HTMA protocols since I started doing them. These 3 suggestions all have similar ingredients but they are different strengths. Focus is for kids, Mind Focus is for teens and sensitive adults, and NDF is the strongest one overall. These help to bind with heavy metals, mycotoxins, pesticides, and other toxins. You can read my post on how to properly use the Bioray items here for more information.
- Takesumi: This is another binder that I see people speaking about that helps with binding toxins. It is carbonized bamboo. I have not used it yet, or read much about it but I know of several practitioners that use and love it.
- I would personally not use or recommend Cholestyramine though. Seeing that it binds with bile and it can be hard on the liver- it was a no-go for me. We need that bile flowing to properly eliminate these toxins! Seems like there are safer ways to do this than pharma drugs. I have also seen a handful of people that have used this and ended up with very high copper levels in their blood- proof that bile was not being used properly!
How to Properly Detox Mold
BILE + FIBER + GOOD BACTERIA are key!
Binders can be helpful for mold illness but the REAL healing tools we need are:
BILE + FIBER + GOOD GUT BACTERIA.
This the trifecta for detoxing ALL major toxins.
Binders will bind to the mold but they don’t guarantee REMOVAL from the body. This is why we’re so huge on foundational care- fixing the body from the ground up, not just adding in bandaids.
What is BILE?
Bile is a clear yellow (or orange or green) liquid that is created in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. A healthy liver will create 1 quart of bile per day- that is quite a bit of bile! Most of us have not been very loving to our livers though, and when we are healing we need a LOT of focus on liver health and bile flow.
In a healthy person, bile is made in the liver with no issue. But for those that are deficient in crucial nutrients or overloaded with toxins, it is hard for the liver to keep up with the demand to produce bile. Why exactly is bile so crucial?
We need bile to digest and assimilate fats and protein, to help alkalize the intestines, and to help us absorb fat soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, and E.
How to Support BILE Flow
Anything that supports the liver will help with increasing bile flow.
My favorite items include:
- Dandelion root tea (quadrules bile flow!)
- All Bitter Herbs
- Castor Oil Packs
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Healthy Fats
- Sunflower Lecithin
- Bioray Liver Life (one of the strongest liver healers we’ve been able to find)
How to Support FIBER
Ideal daily fiber intake should be at least 30-40 grams. It’s best to spread this out through the day in smaller amounts. Some say our ancestors ate up to 100 grams a day!
- Medium Apple with skin- 5 grams
- Medium Banana- 4 grams
- 2 medium dried figs- 3.7 grams
- 1 cup of raspberries- 6.4 grams
- Oatmeal, 1 cup- 12 grams
- 1 cup of black beans- 14 grams
- 1 cup garbanzo beans- 6 grams
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds- 4 grams
- 1 avocado- 12 grams
- A cup of cooked carrots- 5 grams
- 1 medium sweet potato- 5 grams
- Olipop Drinks- 9 grams
The Relationship Between Bile and Fiber- Our NATURAL Binders
Fiber and Bile are basically a tag-team when it comes to detoxification. They both help with binding or flushing out a lot of the gunk that our bodies are trying to eliminate.
Without enough fiber, our bile can become thick and almost like sludge. If this continues, the possibility of developing gallstones becomes higher because the bile will solidify in the gallbladder and runs the risk of getting stuck . Fiber essentially is the key to “cleaning” our bile as bile is technically recycled. Because of our imbalances and toxicities, it is common for the body to recycle the same bile over and over again (up to 17 times! The missing link for cleaning bile is FIBER.
How to Support GOOD BACTERIA
Some of the best fermented foods include:
Kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, organic grass-fed yogurt, kefir, Gut Shots from Farmhouse Culture, Bubbie’s brand pickles or kraut, Inner Eco You Gut This water kefir, or make your own at home.
Bioray items like Belly Mend, Tummy (for kids) or Cytoflora help your body to hold onto good bacteria better.
You do not need large amounts of fermented veggies each day- a few tablespoons is a good goal. Gut bacteria is crucial for many reasons: creating certain vitamins, keeping harmful pathogens under control, and plays a role in keeping many illnesses at bay, especially colon cancer. If you do not tolerate fermented foods right now then you can hold off until your gut and liver heal more.
Fermented foods are MUCH better than probiotics. With food you will have a more synergistic effect, plus many other benefits. The key is bacteria diversity- if you’re taking the same probiotics for years you’re only getting a few strains. With foods, you get a LOT more!
SO! What is our biggest takeaway here?
That there is no *one* magic thing that will help us heal, especially when it comes to detox. Our bodies are extremely complex and there are a ton of functions that require many steps.
Our gut, liver, lymph, kidneys, skin, and colon are all important for overall detoxification. Learning how they all work in tandem is fascinating!
More reading and sources:
- EMFs and Indoor Mold
- Symptoms of the common Lyme Co-Infections (mold included)
- Surviving Mold
- 5 Things to Know about Mold Illness
- Check out this group on FB for more information on healing from Mold/Biotoxin illness
- Liver Healing (to support Bile flow)
- More about Bile and Fiber
- Fermented Food Recipes
At the end of the day, the key points to remember are:
- Don’t let fear rule you
- Work on foundational care and use binders
- Figure out the best course of action (moving, remediation, etc)
- You CAN heal!