Let’s back up for a second. Mold is a fungus that exists anywhere there is moisture; so basically, it’s everywhere — in the air and vents, under the floor, and in your walls and carpet. Some mold is OK, but when you’re exposed to too much toxic mold that releases mycotoxins or mold toxins (such as stachybotrys, aspergillus, fusarium and citrinin) it can trigger inflammation. It’s also worth noting that mycotoxins aren’t the kind of mold you see growing on expired yogurt or forgotten leftovers, they’re not actually visible to the naked eye.
It’s important to know that some people are more sensitive to mold than others. Most people have healthy detox and methylation pathways to clear out mold, but some people, especially people with a family history of autoimmune issues, may have more of a challenge flushing them out.
In my experience working with patients, I’ve found mycotoxin exposure can trigger inflammatory issues and mimic symptoms of other health problems (think: chronic fatigue), which means a lot of people miss this piece of their health puzzle. While I often recommend that my patients test for mold in their home, car, or workplace, I sometimes find that diet is a major factor—particularly when a person’s home test comes back clean.
And sure enough, when I dive a little deeper into their health history and run urine and blood mycotoxin labs (note: these aren’t yet recognized by the CDC, but I’ve found useful in my work), they often reveal a diet high in mycotoxins. So, if any of the above applies to you, you’ve hit a health plateau, or you’d just like to be particularly cautious about what you eat—consider proceeding with a bit of caution when it comes to these potentially moldy foods.