When you think of mold in a house or building, what comes to mind?

Perhaps an old, dirty shower with blackened grout between the tiles, or the mildewed odor in a damp basement?

While these are absolutely two very obvious examples of mold, often is the case that mold is hiding where you least expect it.

And it could be part of, or the entire root cause of your health issues!

We tend to think of air pollution as what we may experience outdoors- in a crowded city street or when stopping at the gas station.

Have you ever considered that the very air you’re breathing in your home could be polluted, too?   With mold.

One very common example of sickness or simply not being well due to mold is asthma.   Of the 21.8 million people reported to have asthma in the U.S., approximately 4.6 million cases are estimated to be attributable to dampness and mold exposure in the home. (EPA and Berkeley National Laboratory, 2007) (1)

One recent study (2) found mold in every public building studied, with an average of about 14 instances of mold per building.

Reports say that around 70% of U.S. homes contain a certain level of mold (3)!

The most common symptoms of black mold, one of the more common types, exposure include (4):

  • Sneezing.
  • Coughing.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Postnasal drip.
  • Red eyes.
  • Black mold exposure can also trigger or worsen asthma symptoms, including:
  • Wheezing.
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea).
  • Dry cough and chest tightness 

Keep in mind, however,  that you don’t need to be experiencing symptoms if there is, in fact, mold in your environment,

If you inhale too many mycotoxins, even unknowingly, they will suppress and weaken your immune system. Then you could become more susceptible to diseases, viruses, infections, and other forms of sickness (5), making it a common underlying, or root cause to a plethora of autoimmune (AI) concerns as well as mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and bipolar.

On a personal note, we first investigated our own home about six years ago as part of my preparation for becoming pregnant.   Not only did I want to ensure my body was as healthy as it could be; I also wanted to make sure there was nothing untoward in our home.

Fortunately, our home checked out clean and the next step was checking our bodies; my functional medicine doctor opted for a test called Real Time Labs (6) in which a urine sample is collected.

That was clear, too, thankfully.

In the event that mold is, in fact found in home or body, there are treatments for the two, both conventional as well as a more natural approach.

A Western physician may recommend taking decongestants, antihistamines and even nasal corticosteroids (7) to ‘ease symptoms’, but they are not without consequence as side effects can include nosebleeds, dryness, insomnia, loss of appetite, heart pounding (palpitations), anxiety and restlessness.     Another common prescription, Montelukast (Singulair) is a tablet taken to block the action of leukotrienes — immune system chemicals that cause allergy symptoms such as excess mucus. However, concerns about side effects, including anxiety, insomnia, depression and suicidal thinking, are increasing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently put a warning on the box about the drug’s use!.

Functional Medicine doctors are more likely to offer holistic approaches, including eliminating the source and treating with food or plant based remedies, with little to no side effects.

Dr. Axe shares an excellent guide on his site (8), entitled “12 Natural Ways to Deal with Black Mold Symptoms” with remedies such as raw garlic, charcoal and chlorophyll.

Take away message:  if you have not had your home, office (and body!) tested for mold, there’s no drawback to doing so.

Hopefully you’ll find nothing, but if you do, it’s a must-do in achieving your goal of optimal health.

Checking with your functional medicine doc about ordering a mycotoxin test for yourself and your family and scheduling a mold check for your home with a locally based company is the first step to ensuring you are mold-free!