The Body’s Toxic Load, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (“MCS”), and “Super Mold Sensitivity”
By Cesar Collado
Every day we are all bombarded with thousands of toxins. We breathe and inhale them, eat them, and can absorb them through the skin. Toxins come from many sources in our industrialized world. There are 80,000 chemicals known to the EPA and just a fraction of them have been studied to know the toxic effects. Regardless, known and unknown toxins are utilized in the production process in building materials, heavy metals, paints and finishes, flame retardants used on furnishings, household cleaners, personal health and skin products, air fresheners, candles, air pollutants, and even medicines and food products. The list is overwhelming. Pesticides and pollutants can also contaminate the foods we eat and the water we drink, cook with, and bathe in.
Our bodies can metabolize only a fixed amount of toxins in our lives. Toxic mold exposure is the most likely and prevalent cause of having an immediate, catastrophic overexposure, leading a person to reach their toxic load in immediate fashion. What happens then?
The “Toxic Load” (sometimes called the “Body Burden”) is the accumulated amount of toxins affecting your bodily systems at any given time. It is like a “bucket” that can handle only a fixed amount of contents. Once full, any additional antigen becomes dangerous with adverse reactions. Toxins are significant stressors to the immune system, as well as all of your other bodily systems, and even your mental state. Toxins in the body can be accumulated slowly over time or with one significant toxic exposure. Once the body hits its total toxic “fill,” it can become ultrasensitive to any foreign contaminant. When this occurs, minor and slight exposures trigger the body’s worst-case response, making life miserable and lonely.
Our Bodies and Toxins
Our body has natural abilities to metabolize and excrete toxins. When we are exposed to toxins, in most cases, the skin, colon, liver, and kidneys are somewhat effective in metabolizing and removing them. Toxins exit the body via waste removal mechanisms during digestion, excretion, and perspiration.
However, if the amount of toxins we are exposed to exceeds the body’s ability to get rid of them in a normal fashion, they can be stored in fat as well as body tissue. This can be particularly detrimental for those that carry very little or significant excess fat. This is because whenever weight is lost or fat is utilized or burned, toxins are then re-released into the body, where they will continue to be circulated, absorbed, metabolized and excreted. In the event toxins reach organs or even the brain by penetrating the blood brain barrier, devastating disorders, including neurological and cognitive problems can result.
The “Body Burden”
Consider a bucket being filled with water. Once it is full, water spills over the side and can go anywhere. Our body’s ability to metabolize toxins operates in a similar fashion. When a person is exposed to toxins from a variety of sources over time, his/her bucket fills until it
cannot remove additional toxins. That is the Body Burden or Toxic Load. (I actually understand the body burden to be the amount of accumulated toxins in your body at any one point in time. In other words, my body burden can actually fluctuate. On the other hand, if I have hit my toxic load, my bucket is completely full and spilling over. You may need to check this to clarify.) Our Bodies can metabolize a fixed amount of toxins over our lifetimes. It can be reached slowly over time or by a significant, overexposure to any toxin. If an exposure is significant enough, a person can reach their lifetime limit in just an instant. Once that limit is reached, an additional exposure can cause damage.
Not everyone is exposed to hazardous toxins in their lives. Those who are exposed due to work are trained to take necessary safety precautions and workplace environments are regulated to manage the risk. On rare occasions, when a worker is exposed to a specific hazard, emergency medical treatments and protocols are followed immediately to mitigate health fallout.
However, many of the environments we live in contain toxic chemicals and pollutants that we will likely absorb in some manner over time. For example, the air we breathe outdoors can be polluted with gases and chemicals, chlorine and fluoride are present in our drinking waters, and some heavy metals can be present in our food sources (some are essential nutrients, typically iron, cobalt, and zinc, while others, such as cadmium, mercury, and lead, are highly poisonous). In addition, pesticides are used in landscaping and farming. New construction is built with materials that are treated with flame retardants, fungicides, and other processes that involve toxic chemicals. Paints and primers can have Volatile Organic Compounds (“VOCs”). New home furnishings, paints, and carpets often off-gas chemicals for a period of time.
The critical message here is that once you reach your toxic load, your body becomes ultra-sensitive to many environmental elements. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (“MCS”) is a medical diagnosis for patients who react to everything in their environments to the point that they are very debilitated in the presence of anything their body registers as toxic. After reaching their body’s toxic burden, regular household and personal products become extremely irritating, even in miniscule amounts. The very sensitive olfactory nerves in the nose also become very sensitive, causing difficult and debilitating reactions for persons who may not have been vulnerable to them before. Perfume, household cleaning, and personal care products can make people sick. For some who have become sensitized to mold, any exposure (which happens often as mold is naturally-occurring in our outdoor environments) can negatively impact health at a moment’s notice.
Why is Mold Exposure Critical To A “Toxic Load Discussion”?
Mold, albeit an antigen or pathogen, can also trigger an immune response which is different than the histamine response produced by most allergens. In true allergy or histamine-response cases, antihistamines and steroids may be prescribed and effective to mitigate a reaction. The mold inflammatory response exacerbates any other debilitating conditions that a person is dealing with. To make matters worse, many common species of mold release potent mycotoxins (poisonous chemicals) that can negatively impact the body or can cause severe illness, infection or disease when they reach the many organs in the body, including the brain.
Mold and their mycotoxins make up a very small portion of the possible toxic elements to our bodies, but they are some of the most harmful if allowed to gain entrance and accumulate. Thus, being constantly vigilant about mold exposure helps to keep the toxic burden in check. To watch for mold, it is important to understand that there are two common elements that are ubiquitous across all of our homes, making mold growth likely if they are not properly controlled: moisture and ample organic building materials that make great food for mold. When humidity or moisture, due to a common roof or plumbing leak, humid weather, poor water management meet any organic material (including dust, fabric, wallpaper, wood, and carpet), mold can thrive. Then, mold mycotoxins can be inhaled into our sinuses where they are microns away from our brains. Due to the mechanism of entrance to the body, and to the high toxicity of mold spores, mold is likely the greatest threat to any normal person reaching their toxic load in a normal environment.
Any mold infestation where you can visually see it or smell it is a likely very dangerous situation for even healthy inhabitants. If it is a minor infestation, any DIY person can take safety precautions like a N95 face mask and gloves and follow clear directions to remediate it themselves. Larger infestations that penetrate walls or large areas or major water damage are severe health hazards. These should be remediated by a professional. Also, musty, damp basements or crawlspaces can have an overwhelming amount of mold. Without professional containment, removal can disrupt the mold releasing spores and toxins into the air and distribute the mold throughout the home through the HVAC. Simply living in such an environment can lead you to reaching your toxic load and a lifetime of debilitating sensitivities when exposed to minimal amounts of mold or chemicals.
When you are living in a home with toxic mold and have little control of the moldy situation due to renting, financial restraints, etc., there are still some strategies you can employ to lessen the blow to your body and health. You can do the following:
- Cold fog with the SANI+TIZER Fogger and EC3 Mold Solution to keep the mold counts low;
- Use EC3 Mold Solution Spray on virtually any surfaces to clean for mold and mycotoxins;
- Rinse the nasal passages daily with a rise system and CitriDrops Dietary Supplement. For mold sensitive people, rinsing should be done as consistently as brushing your teeth (2X/day);
- Burn EC3 Air Purification Candles in your immediate environment to eliminate mold and mycotoxin counts in the areas you relax or work in.
Other Factors to Consider
Modern Medicine Limitations
When we go to the physician, we are diagnosed based on our symptoms and treated with medicines. The medicines themselves could also be toxic. Where we are particularly vulnerable is that many symptoms of toxicities are similar to many chronic illnesses. These symptoms can steer us to many specialists and to try many medicines. Most general practice physicians and practitioners see numerous patients each hour; and there is little time to investigate every patient’s individual exposure to toxins in their environments. Unfortunately, most of the burden to recognize toxins in our environments and foods fall on us, the patients. The only way to address this is to educate ourselves and seek physicians or other healthcare professionals that diagnose and treat environmental illness.
The Modern Diet
Over the past several decades, the industrialization of the food industry has introduced toxins in exceedingly high amounts to our diets. You can read more about gut health in an earlier published article here. Your Gut Health is Critical to Your Overall Well Being.
Our Hormonal Systems
Since the majority of mold and toxins are inhaled, the highest concentration of toxins will likely reside in sinus tissue. The sphenoid sinuses lie adjacent to a thin layer of cerebral spinal fluid. Infection and inflammation can cause tissue damage, reach the brain, and cause damage to the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland controls 8 hormonal systems in the body. Disruption can cause numerous debilitating symptoms including chronic or adrenal fatigue.
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Easing the Toxic Burden at Home
- Eat Organic. Non-organic foods expose you to pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, artificial flavors and sweeteners
- Avoid fish that are high in mercury.
- Decrease your intake of sugars and other carbohydrates. These foods feed fungus and lead to fungal overgrowth in the body.
- Switch to green or all-natural cleaning products. Avoid bleach and ammonia.
- Hydrate well with filtered water. Water helps to dilute and flush out toxins.
- Improve the quality of your air. Invest in an air purifier
- Try to use glass instead of plastic containers with BPA.
- Choose safe, natural, and organic personal products.
- Carpet is notorious for releasing toxic fumes and chemicals and collecting mold. Choose carpeting with natural fibers, like wool or cotton rugs. Whenever possible, use flooring materials like real hardwood or ceramic tiles.
- Service your HVAC regularly and replace filters regularly.
- Consider seeing a physician that treats environmental illness if you are suffering from a mysterious illness your physicians have trouble diagnosing.
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