Mold Exposure and Mycotoxin Illness


Molds are a type of fungus that grow exceedingly well in damp, wet environments. They may be growing underneath your bathroom sink, or in your recently flooded basement. They love to multiply in stacks of wet newspapers or cardboard boxes, around air-conditioning units and leaky windows, and beneath refrigerators.

Mold is more than a pesky housecleaning problem. While not all types of mold are harmful, many are classified as toxic molds. Mold exposure can have real effects on your family’s health. Here’s what you need to know to protect you and yours from mold exposure symptoms.

What are mycotoxins?

Molds reproduce by forming spores, which are so small they are not visible to the naked eye. It is the spores produced by toxic molds that contain extremely toxic compounds called mycotoxins. The spores are so tiny and lightweight that they easily travel through the air. While exposure to mycotoxins can come from ingestion (eating) or from topical (skin) absorption, by far the most common and dangerous form of exposure comes from inhalation, or breathing the mold spores.

How does the body react to mold exposure?

We have natural defense mechanisms that prevent many inhaled substances from entering our lungs such as coughing, sneezing, nasal mucous and also nasal hairs that act as filters. However, mold spores are so tiny they can bypass our defenses and gain entry into the lungs. In addition to their small size, mold spores can overwhelm our defenses by the sheer magnitude of their numbers. Measuring from 1 to 20 microns in size, approximately 250,000 spores can fit on the head of a pin and people often inhale in excess of 500,000 spores per minute in a moldy environment.

Once mold spores and/or their mycotoxins enter the lungs and pass into systemic circulation, they can cause inflammatory responses that make the body display mycotoxin symptoms. Mold toxicity is often misdiagnosed because the mold exposure symptoms can mimic so many other illnesses.

Mycotoxin illness can even increase your risk of developing cancer. Powerful toxins called aflatoxins are associated with mold exposure, as they can occur in water damaged buildings where mold loves to grow. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the specialized cancer agency for the World Health Organization (WHO), has classified aflatoxins as a Category 1 carcinogen.

Mycotoxins deplete glutathione

Mold exposure and mycotoxin illness creates intense inflammation and free radical oxidative stress. Glutathione, a naturally-occurring antioxidant found in plants, animals and the human body, fights mycotoxin symptoms and toxicity. It’s so powerful that glutathione is often called the “mother of all antioxidants” or the “master antioxidant.” However, your body may not be able to produce enough glutathione to combat your mold exposure symptoms. That’s why glutathione supplements are the most important natural supplements for mold exposure you can take.

Here’s a more in-depth look at how glutathione interacts with mycotoxins. At low doses, the body detoxifies mycotoxins such as aflatoxin by binding the toxin to glutathione, which then gets excreted. However, at higher levels of exposure, glutathione levels are depleted. When this happens, the mycotoxins exert their toxic effects by damaging cells throughout the body, especially nerves, lungs, kidneys and the liver. Hence, mycotoxins are classified as neurotoxins (nerves), hepatotoxins (liver), nephrotoxins (kidneys) and immunotoxins (immune system). Mycotoxins are toxic to every tissue and organ system in the body.

Boost your glutathione levels with the best supplements for mold exposure

Researchers have devised many ways to protect the body from mold exposure and mycotoxin illness. These include wearing masks, using HEPA filters, and boosting glutathione intravenously or through a nebulizer (a drug delivery device that delivers medication through a mist you inhale). But by far the easiest way is through an oral supplement.

In 1995 scientists identified a unique strain of probiotic bacteria named Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 (often referred to simply as ME-3) which synthesizes glutathione. In a human clinical trial, individuals taking ME-3 gained a remarkable 49% increase in the ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione.  Since then, products containing Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 have garnered world-wide recognition as the fastest and most efficient way to reliably boost glutathione levels on a daily basis. These natural supplements for mold exposure are a fast, reliable and affordable way for you and your family to combat mycotoxin illness.