How to Help Our Bodies Heal from Exposure to Mold and Environmental Toxins
By: Cesar Collado
Mold and Environmental Toxins are Everywhere!
Mold spores are living organisms produced by fungi as part of nature’s decomposition process. Once mold is present, all it needs to reproduce is food and moisture. To that end, it is present everywhere outside. When humidity is low and there is little moisture, mold cannot reproduce; but it is still present and can stay dormant. During the summer and fall months, when humidity is high, rain is consistent, and natural organic nutrients such as leaves, dust, and pollen are abundant, outdoor mold levels go up significantly. We do what we can indoors to manage humidity through our HVAC systems and de-humidification, if needed. We also address any water leaks in our homes. Keeping humidity at or below 40% is crucial to keeping our indoor air free of mold. While we clean our homes regularly, not all cleaning products are effective in removing mold permanently.
Toxins are everywhere as well. We are exposed to 6 million pounds of mercury and 2.5 billion pounds other toxic chemicals each year. There are also approximately eighty thousand toxic chemicals that have been released into our environment since the dawn of the industrial revolution, and very few have been tested for their long-term impact on human health. They are in paint, building materials, furniture , outdoor pollution, insecticides, pesticides, and food.
How Do Our Bodies Respond?
Our Immune Systems
The immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system identifies marks, and attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease. This includes mold. When mold is present, our bodies respond with an immune reaction that causes irritation, inflammation, and pain. Unfortunately, our bodies can also become hosts for mold and fungus. Our sinuses are warm, dark, and moist and provide a perfect environment for mold to reproduce. In addition, when we eat any sugar-containing foods, we can be feeding any fungus and/or yeast present in our guts. This can contribute to any number of symptoms that also mimic many other chronic diseases, making mold sickness difficult to diagnose.
Our Detoxification Processes
Toxins or foreign chemical substances enter our bodies through breathing, our skin, and our food. They can cause debilitating symptoms, both physical and neurological. The only way to address and remove toxins from our bodies is to rely on our natural systems to remove them. Your body has three central functions to aid in the natural detoxification process: the first line of defense against toxins is your liver, which acts like a filter in preventing toxic substances contained in foods from passing into your blood stream; the colon has bacteria that produce both healthy and unhealthy chemicals—you want to keep your colon flowing regularly since its main role is to flush out toxic chemicals before they can do you any harm; and the kidneys are constantly filtering your blood and getting rid of toxins and expelling them in the form of urine. Unfortunately, each of these organs has limits to the amount of toxins they can remove at any given pass. Toxins that are not effectively metabolized or excreted are then stored in fat and tissue cells. These stored toxins continue to affect our bodies, sometimes creating debilitating symptoms.
What We Can Do to Help our Bodies with Detoxification
The human body possesses an enormous, astonishing, and persistent capacity to heal itself. Disease generally occurs when we abuse our bodies or deprive them of basic requirements to keep us healthy over extended periods. This healing process is not just for injuries. It also takes care of normal, everyday wear and tear. Damaged, destroyed or dead cells are replaced in great numbers daily from our skin, mouth, intestines, and blood. In order to optimize our body’s ability to heal and detoxify, the following steps are recommended:
- Eat a healthy diet, rich in vegetables, good fats, and lean proteins;
- Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, refined sugars, and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to healing and detoxification;
- Avoid exposure to chemical-based household cleaners and personal hygiene products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants);
- Be active and exercise consistently—it is scientifically proven that the body responds to exercise with increased vibrancy, cellular energy, detoxification, and system efficiency;
- Allow for adequate sleep—sleep is the body’s chance to recover and repair itself;
- Employ an antifungal diet, if you know mold or yeast overgrowth is a problem;
- Avoid stress–stress makes the body release stress hormones, which hinder cellular repair and promote inflammation.
When to Seek Medical Help to Aid with Detoxification
When toxic substances reach levels that cause debilitating symptoms, identifying a medical provider that treats Environmental Illness is critical. Because the symptoms of environmental illness have similar profiles as many other chronic diseases, diagnosing mold and toxic poisoning is challenging and requires specific attention, not only to symptoms, but also to lifestyle and environment. Medical providers that treat Environmental Illness, such as Naturopathic Doctors and some Medical Doctors, use distinct diagnostics, homeopathics and protocols to aid our bodies in processing and removing toxins. You can find these specialized providers by searching online specifically under “Environmental Illness practitioners.”
Other than the suggestions above, cellular and organ detoxification should always be done under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider. The detoxification process is very complex. It works because it addresses the needs of individual cells, the smallest units of human life. A physician or Naturopathic Doctor, ND, will perform diagnostics to identify your specific deficiencies and may prescribe any of numerous nutrients, supplements, and treatment modalities. Treatments should target assistance to specific bodily natural functions, so that the body is properly primed and readied to dump the toxins, and to the healing process. Unfortunately, there have been a proliferation of products online and in stores that make claims to safely detox your system. These products possess significant risk of utilizing the wrong components and dosages, and can actually cause more harm to your body than good. They are generally unregulated and can provide any number of ingredients in various doses that may not prove effective, and in extreme cases, can even prove toxic, especially to someone with an already high toxic load. Medical Providers often advocate a steady, but gradual approach to detoxification, allowing the body to detox with healthy eating and lifestyle habits, prior to intervention with specific supplements, nutrients, treatment modalities, and binders. (Binders are substances that attached themselves to toxins in our systems and escort them through the excretion process.)
The Mold Hygiene Piece of Detoxification
There are several steps we can take to regularly combat mold in our bodies and homes:
- We can irrigate our sinuses regularly. Since mold enters mainly through our sinuses, removing the specific spores that are causing irritation is the most effective means to preventing infection or excessive mold growth;
- We can properly clean our homes and clothes with non-toxic mold-specific products;
- We can regularly fog or spray carpeted or upholstered items to eliminate any mold that can bind to these items;
- We can diligently inspect our homes for leaks and water intrusion, solving any issues before mold has a chance to flourish;
- We can control indoor moisture levels with the use of humidity sensors, proper ventilation and fans, and dehumidifiers where applicable;
- We can use HEPA filters to manage indoor air quality and regularly HEPA vacuum all of our carpets and upholstered items;
- We can prevent tracking of mold inside by removing shoes and coats at the door. As an extra measure, we can treat these items with EC3 Mold Solution Spray to eliminate any mold they may have picked up outside.
Immune Support for Detoxification
If you are suffering from mold illness, supporting your immune system with a healthy diet and lifestyle is essential. In many cases, an antifungal diet is necessary to “starve” the fungi in your body. This allows your immune system to be most effective.
In addition, Micro Balance Health Products provides the following products for immune support, and cellular healing specific to those who are suffering from mold-related illness:
- Sinus Defense provides transfer factor to encourage cell-mediated immunity, which, in turn, supports the body’s natural humeral immunity, promoting the production of antibodies to mold over time;
- CellTropin stimulates pituitary function, which also supports other hormonal healing and combats adrenal fatigue.
The following infographic from Micro Balance Health Products illustrates the 7 Steps to Mold Relief, using Micro Balance and EC3 products. It can be used as a starting point, if you are curious as to how to begin your own body and home detoxification process.