Hey there, health enthusiasts! I often talk about eating right, exercising, and managing stress, but have you ever thought about how the environment around us can impact your health? Yes, even the air you breathe will profoundly affect your health – all the way down to your DNA! This is Epigenetics!! Epi means “above” or “on top”; thus, Epigenetics is the study of how external influence is impacting our genes! This is has been a passion of my studies for over 15 years, and why I do DNA testing with clients.
Now, let’s get back to the air we breathe!
As I shared in my last blog post, the air I was breathing in a mold-infested home shut down my health and hormonal expression for years!! Thus, the reason I want to shed light on the link between mold toxicity and hormonal imbalance. It’s time to uncover the science behind it, understand how our hormones can go haywire due to mold exposure, and learn what steps you can take to stay on top of your well-being. So, let’s jump right in!
The Mighty Impact of Mycotoxins on Our Hormones
You might have heard about mycotoxins – these are like the secret weapons molds use to throw our bodies out of balance. Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by certain fungi types, commonly called molds. These molds can grow on various organic materials, such as crops, food products, building materials, and even in damp indoor environments. Mycotoxins are naturally occurring secondary metabolites of these molds and serve various purposes for the molds themselves, such as defense against competing organisms.
Mycotoxins are a diverse group of chemicals with varying chemical structures and properties. They can be classified according to their chemical structure and biological effects. Some common types of mycotoxins include aflatoxins, ochratoxins, fumonisins, deoxynivalenol (DON), zearalenone, and trichothecenes.
The presence of mycotoxins in food products, animal feed, and indoor environments poses significant health concerns for humans and animals. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) mycotoxins can invade up to 25% of the world’s food crops, impacting potentially millions of people. When ingested, inhaled, or even absorbed through the skin, mycotoxins can have adverse effects on health, ranging from acute toxicity to long-term health risks. The severity of these effects depends on factors such as the type of mycotoxin, the amount ingested or exposed to, the individual’s age, health status, and duration of exposure.
Buckle Up: The HPA Axis Ride
Okay, buckle up for a little science ride! We’ve got this thing called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis that runs and manages our adrenal glands and cortisol. It’s like the body’s stress control center. Imagine mold exposure as a rock thrown into a calm pond – it causes ripples. Similarly, mold toxins can trigger a stress response in the HPA axis, leading to an overproduction of cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone.”
Ever heard of prolonged stress? Well, mold-induced cortisol spikes can keep us in that mode, affecting our immune system, messing with our metabolism, and even making it harder to concentrate. It’s like having a cranky conductor in our hormonal orchestra, messing up the rhythm.
If you have been a reader for a while, you know that I discuss over and over and over again how cortisol imbalance is one of the major disruptors of sex hormone imbalance. Thus, the reason that I was in premature menopause at such an early age (more details of my story below)
Navigating the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Thyroid (HPT) Axis Maze
Let’s meet another player in this hormonal tale: the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. This axis is all about our metabolism, growth, and overall health – pretty important stuff! Mold toxins, especially those from molds like Aspergillus and Penicillium, can throw a wrench into the HPT axis machinery.
Imagine the thyroid hormone production line being sabotaged by these toxins. It’s like a roadblock preventing thyroid hormones from doing their job properly. The result? A condition that looks a lot like hypothyroidism, where we might feel fatigued, gain weight, and struggle with brain fog. The connection between mold and hormonal imbalance becomes clearer as we see these effects unfold.
Real Stories: Mold’s Impact on Real Lives
Let’s get real for a moment. Meet the Smiths – a family living in a home plagued by mold. Over time, they started experiencing strange symptoms like hair loss, fatigue, and difficulty focusing. Their hormone tests revealed that mold exposure had thrown their thyroid hormones and adrenal function out of whack. It’s like mold had a direct line to their hormones, disrupting their well-being.
In another scenario, a bunch of colleagues working in a mold-infested office building noticed some troubling changes. Mood swings, sleep troubles, and even irregular menstrual cycles among women were all on the rise. Hormone tests revealed cortisol imbalances and wonky sex hormones, showing just how mold can sneakily affect different aspects of our health.
Mary’s story – I got a phone call from a High School friend last year. She told me of her own health struggles and those of her partner. She has severe fatigue and now lung issues – she must be on oxygen. Her partner, well, he has lung cancer! They live in a big city in a very arid state, but they had a pipe burst in their apartment building. The remediation team only chose to do part of the building, so their condo unit was not remediated. Mary and her partner’s health issues began shortly after the water damage and have continued to get worse and worse!
Again, for myself – the black mold levels in my body were 150x normal!! While I had worked tirelessly (so incredibly fatigued for SO long), I had no idea this was all lurking! While I worked for years to rid my body of the heavy metal toxicity, I was still SO fatigued, and my hormones were still a mess. Then Epstein Barre hit because my immune system was shot! My White Blood Count was as low as my best friend who was on chemotherapy! In spite of all of this going on, NO one checked me for mold. It took FIFTEEN years before someone thought to check!!
Once I found the black mold, I attacked it with ozone therapy every other day, and it was gone in six months. Nada. Gone!! Wahoo!! But then, weird new mycotoxins were showing up every six months in my urine tests. New species every six months. What?? My amazing environmental MD, who diagnosed the mold in the 1st place, suggested I get my sinuses scanned. Lo and behold, I had a mold factory in there!! Now, it’s been pressure washed, and HVAC’d out by an amazing ENT 😉 Good riddance!!!
Taking Charge: Seeking Help and Tackling Mold
Now that you know how mold and hormonal imbalance are connected, what’s next? Well, the first step is to pay attention to your body. If you suspect mold exposure is playing havoc with your health, it’s time to seek medical advice. Hormone tests can help pinpoint any imbalances caused by mold toxins. The test that I use personally and recommend to my clients is called the MycoTox test. I also recommend the OAT test, too.
Now, remember, it’s not just about our bodies but also our living spaces. Did you know that nearly half of U.S. homes have mold growth? Yep, it’s a pretty common issue. So, professional mold remediation is key. Taking care of the mold problem at its source protects our health and prevents future exposure. Going to the local Home Depot, Lowe’s, or hardware store is NOT good enough. You can easily track mold spores ALL OVER your home and contaminate everything, not to mention be breathing them into your nose where they will start creating a colony!! The team that remediated our home was in Hazmat suits. This is NOT to be taken lightly.
Conclusion: Unraveling the Mold-Hormone Puzzle
So, there you have it – the unexpected connection between mold toxicity and hormonal imbalance. It’s fascinating how these mold toxins can disrupt our HPA and HPT axes, causing a whole array of health issues. Real-life stories remind us that this is more than just a theory – it’s something that can affect anyone, anywhere.
Remember, knowledge is power. If you suspect mold is messing with your health, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention and tackle the mold issue head-on. By understanding the mold-hormone connection and taking proactive steps, you’re setting yourself up for a healthier, happier future. Here’s to staying informed, taking charge, and living our best lives!
Next week I’ll share some additional symptoms of mold/mycotoxin illness that you may not be aware of.