Allergies and The Impact of Mould on our Health
How to avoid Food Allergens
Eliminating or reducing offending foods from the diet is harder than it sounds- food rotation may be suitable for foods that cause a milder response
- Read all product labels carefully before purchasing and consuming any item.
- Home cooking is best – you know what you’re putting in.
- Be aware of unexpected sources of allergens, such as the ingredients.
- If you are FxMed Practitioner account holder we have Patient handouts for Dairy Allergy / Egg Allergy / Wheat Allergy – Available on request.
- Common sources of allergens include pollution, pollens, dust, mould spores, animal dander and perfumes.
- Inhalant allergies generally result in symptoms that affect the respiratory system.
- Symptoms can range from very mild to debilitating, depending on an individuals’ health, the number and volume of allergens a person is exposed to, and other factors that affect the severity of a reaction.
- A mild environmental allergic reaction might include sneezing or a runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, headache, hives, diarrhoea or nausea.
- A more severe reaction could include extreme difficulty in breathing, with compromised lung function or intense pressure causing significant pain and inability to function normally.
Reduce exposure to Allergy Triggers
- Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
- Check pollen forecasts and current pollen levels for your region on metservice.com
- If high pollen counts are forecast, begin allergy support supplements before your symptoms start.
Avoid hanging laundry outside — pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
- Close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high.
- Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.
- If you use a heat pump / air conditioner, regularly clean the filters.
- Drive with the windows up and the air conditioning on ‘recycle’.
- Consider replacing carpets with flooring options such as linoleum or tiles.
- In bedrooms, make sure that all bedding is washed at least weekly and put allergy-grade covers on mattresses and pillows.
- Use a high-quality vacuum cleaner with a filter. Furnishings such as couches or curtains need to be vacuumed in addition to your floors.
- Keep pets away from the bedroom of the affected individual.
- Regularly vacuum of the environment.
- Frequent bathing of the pet (if appropriate for the type of animal) may improve the environment.
Mould spores are a common inhaled allergen for many. Mould is a part of the fungus family and the spores can easily become airborne, unfortunately leading them to our nasal passages. Mould spores produce toxic chemicals called Mycotoxins, which are released into the environment and can infest buildings, vehicles and foodstuffs.
Moulds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, provided moisture and oxygen are present. There is no way to eliminate all mould and mould spores from your indoor environment; the only way to control indoor mould growth is to control moisture.
The most common indoor places for mould to take hold are damp areas, such as:
- Bathrooms and kitchens, especially under sinks—particularly leaky ones.
- Behind or under appliances that hide slow plumbing leaks (refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.).
- Roof leaks.
- Around windows where condensation collects.
- High humidity areas of your home.
Disorders and Symptoms Associated with Exposure to Mycotoxins
Toxic mould releases biotoxins into the body that can alter the entire functionality of body systems including immune, endocrine, dermal, nervous and respiratory. Most mycotoxins are actually classified as Immune suppressors and nervous system inhibitors. When the above systems are weakened it opens the door to opportunisitc pathogens like: candida, bacteria (eg SIBO), parasites and viruses.
Diseases and symptoms linked to mycotoxin exposure include fever, pneumonia-like symptoms, heart disease, rheumatic disease, asthma, sinusitis, cancer, memory loss, vision loss, chronic fatigue, skin rashes, depression, ADHD, anxiety, and liver damage.
Recommendations for Treatment of Mycotoxins
Recovering from a mould-induced illness requires a holistic approach. Many primary care practitioners are restricted to using steroids and antifungal medications, which may have an impact on the liver. If you or a patient has done a mould test and the results show moderate to high levels of mycotoxins there are steps you can take to help the body eliminate the toxins and prevent future exposures.
Eliminate or Reduce exposure to Mould
- The source of the toxin must be determined and the mould eliminated. Mould spores will not grow in the absence of moisture, so controlling moisture is the key to preventing mould growth recurring.
Bind the toxins and prepare elimination from the body
- Specific nutrients including plant fibers have the ability to collect toxins and escort them out of the body via the stool. Fiber increases the transit time of toxins through the intestines, binding these substances and lessening their contact time with the intestinal wall.
- Detoxification of mycotoxins occurs through the liver, gall bladder and kidneys. Botanical and nutrient support will assist and strengthen both phases of liver detoxification.
Reset/Rebalance the immune system
- Mould toxins have a tendency to inhibit the immune system in an effort to prevent detection. Over time, those with chronic mould exposure have inefficient immune systems and low grade bacterial and/or viral infections that remain undetected, contributing to chronic fatigue and other symptoms.
Recommendations for Treatment of Mycotoxins
HPA Axis Support
- Those with chronic mould exposure may have inefficient immune systems and impaired HPA Axis function contributing to chronic fatigue and other symptoms.
Energy Production/Mitochondrial Function
- Mycotoxins have the ability to bind to DNA and RNA, alter protein synthesis and act as potent mitochondrial toxins, affecting mitochondrial function and ATP production.
Gastro Intestinal Support
- GI support is required to help repair the damaged intestinal lining and leaky cell membranes that may result from mycotoxin exposure. Nutrients such as glutamine will improve GI health by providing fuel to the intestines to rebuild and repair and improve cellular detoxification. Probiotics aid repopulating your GI tract with beneficial bacteria and help keep other organisms (like mould and yeast) in check.
Anti Inflammatory Support
- Chronic inflammation is the underlying commonality in diseases caused by mould and other fungi. The toxins produced by these microorganisms cause our innate immune system to respond to the foreign antigens, resulting in inflammation.
Anti Viral/Bacterial Support
- Microbes exist in communities. Bacterial infections/viruses may surround themselves with other microbes including mould.
- Neurological symptoms are commonly seen with mould toxicity as fungal toxins can affect our brain. There are specific nutrients to reduce the free radical inflammation in the cells that surround and support the brain cells.
- Mycotoxins create oxidative stress. A major mechanism in the cellular defense against oxidative stress is activation of the Nrf2-antioxidant signalling pathway, involved in detoxification.
Dietary recommendations (short-term to support elimination and recovery)
- Follow a strict ‘Mould Detox Diet’ and avoid foods that fuel fungal growth—i.e. junk foods, processed foods, takeaways, left overs, foods containing sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, grains and yeast, edible fungi such as mushrooms, peanuts, beans, cheese, fruit (high in sugar), processed meat, starchy vegetables (corn and root vegetables) coffee, tea, alcohol, fruit juices and soft drinks. Be careful with fermented foods (i.e. tofu, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh, miso, coconut kefir).
- Do eat: high fibre / low starch vegetables, un-processed meat, fish, eggs.
- Increase antioxidant and anti inflammatory rich foods.
- Increase water intake (filtered/mineralized) – to help flush out organs and prevent dehydration.
- Support the liver, kidneys, gall bladder, lymph system to detox with raw vegetable juices (fruit juices may be too high in sugar), herb teas.
- Avoid smoking, drinking or drug use.