By Michael Biamonte CCN.
Molds live in the soil, on plants, and on dead or decaying matter. Outdoors, molds play a key role in the breakdown of leaves, wood, and other plant debris. Molds belong to the kingdom Fungi, and unlike plants, they lack chlorophyll and must survive by digesting plant materials, using plant and other organic materials for food. Yeasts, one type of mold, particularly like carbohydrates and sugars. Without molds, our environment would be overwhelmed with large amounts of dead plant matter. In addition, there are molds/fungus that live in the body of all animals. This fungus is called Candida Albicans. It behaves just like any environmentally found mold, but its home is the digestive tract of animals, including the human digestive tract.
Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce, just as some plants produce seeds. These mold spores can be found in both indoor and outdoor air, and settled on indoor and outdoor surfaces. When mold spores land on a damp spot, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Since molds gradually destroy the things they grow on, you can prevent damage to building materials and furnishings and save money by eliminating mold growth.
Moisture control is the key to mold control. Molds need both food and water to survive; since molds can digest most things, water is the limiting factor in mold growth. Molds will often grow in damp or wet areas indoors. Common sites for indoor mold growth include bathroom tile, basement walls, areas around windows where moisture condenses, and near leaky water fountains or sinks. Common sources or causes of water or moisture problems include roof leaks, deferred maintenance, condensation associated with high humidity or cold spots in the building, localized flooding due to plumbing failures or heavy rains, slow leaks in plumbing fixtures, and malfunction or poor design of humidification systems. Uncontrolled humidity can also be a source of moisture leading to mold growth, particularly in hot, humid climates.
Health Effects and Symptoms Associated with Mold Exposure
When moisture problems occur and mold growth results, building occupants may begin to report odors and a variety of health problems, such as headaches, breathing difficulties, skin irritation, allergic reactions, and aggravation of asthma symptoms; all of these symptoms could potentially be associated with mold exposure. The effects of molds have been found to be far more severe in those who suffer with chronic overgrowth of candida in their bodies.
All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Molds produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, toxins that may cause reactions in humans. The types and severity of symptoms depend, in part, on the types of mold present, the extent of an individual’s exposure, the age of the individual, and their existing sensitivities or allergies. What is of great interest to my practice is that those who suffer with intestinal infections of Candida Albicans suffer and react more severely to molds found in a home or building than non-infected people.
For many years people have wondered why some people occupying a home of office would be affected by the environmental molds more severely than others. The simple answer lies in the person’s immune system. Those who have been infected by Candida Albicans are far more sensitive to molds found in building or homes than those who are not infected.
When someone has Candida Albicans infecting their body, the body produces antibodies against molds in general and the immune system is on guard against them. The immune system in time becomes very allergic to these internal mold toxins that are being produced by the candida infections within the body. When the person is then subjected to external molds producing similar toxics, the results are devastating. Not only does the body now have to defend against the toxins being produced inside the body by the Candida Albicans, but it now has to protect itself from the mold and spores that it is breathing in from the house or building.
Candida Albicans also releases alcohols as part of its metabolism. These alcohols are called aldehydes. These are very toxic to the body in general and affect the nervous and neurological systems.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
A side effect of mold exposure and candida infections is Intestinal Permeability, often know as “Leaky Gut Syndrome.” Leaky Gut means that because of damage to the gut lining, bacteria, undigested food, chemicals, in short the content of the intestinal tract, is leaking into the blood stream. Normally the intestinal tract would bar these substances from entering. In a person with Leaky Gut they pour from the intestines into the blood stream and cause a chain reaction of allergy, immune and inflammatory disorders. The symptoms of Leaky Gut include, asthma, skin rashes, arthritis, chemical intolerances, memory problems, cognitive disorders, autism-like symptoms and all manner of digestive disorders to name a few.
People with Leaky Gut are also more reactive to molds found in building and homes, often to the point where they cannot function normally. Their lives are destroyed and they cannot pursue a job or education, hobbies, relationships, etc. They are often bedridden and spend most of their time searching for the cause of their illness. This cause is often hidden in their floors, walls and in their own digestive tracts.
The health effects listed above are well documented in humans. Evidence for other health effects in humans is less substantial and is primarily based on case reports or occupational studies. In all cases these symptoms are worsened in individuals with candida and Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Specific reactions to mold growth can include the following:
- Allergic Reactions: Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic reactions to mold are common — these reactions can be immediate or delayed. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Mold spores and fragments can produce allergic reactions in sensitive individuals regardless of whether the mold is dead or alive. Repeated or single exposure to mold or mold spores may cause previously non-sensitive individuals to become sensitive. Repeated exposure has the potential to increase sensitivity.
- Asthma Attacks: Asthma molds can trigger asthma attacks in persons who are allergic (sensitized) to molds. The irritants produced by molds may also worsen asthma in non-allergic (non-sensitized) people.
- Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis: Hypersensitivity pneumonitis may develop following either short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) exposure to molds. The disease resembles bacterial pneumonia and is uncommon.
- Irritant Effects: Mold exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, and sometimes can create a burning sensation in these areas.
- Opportunistic Infections: People with weakened immune systems (i.e., immune-compromised or immune-suppressed individuals) may be more vulnerable to infections by molds (as well as more vulnerable than healthy persons to mold toxins).
Candida Albicans is the most common cause. There are other species of candida as well. It causes gas, bloating, constipation, skin rashes, asthma, cognitive problems, memory problems, extreme fatigue, menstrual problems and impotency in men to name a few.
Aspergillus Fumigatus, for example, has been known to infect the lungs of immune-compromised individuals. These individuals inhale the mold spores which then start growing in their lungs. Trichoderma has also been known to infect immune-compromised children. Healthy individuals are usually not vulnerable to opportunistic infections from airborne mold exposure. However, molds can cause common skin diseases, such as athlete’s foot, as well as other infections such as yeast infections.
Mold and Fungal Toxins (Mycotoxins)
Some molds, such as Candida Albicans, Aspergillus Versicolor and Stachybotrys Atra (Chartarum), are known to produce potent toxins under certain circumstances. Although some mycotoxins have been shown to be responsible for human health effects, for many mycotoxins little information is available, and in some cases research is ongoing. For example, some strains of Stachybotrys Atra can produce one or more potent toxins. In addition, preliminary reports from an investigation of an outbreak of pulmonary hemorrhage in infants suggested an association between pulmonary hemorrhage and exposure to Stachybotrys Chartarum. Review of the evidence of this association at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) resulted in a published clarification stating that such an association was not established. Research on the possible causes of pulmonary hemorrhage in infants continues. Consult the CDC for more information on pulmonary hemorrhage in infants. (See Resources list for CDC contact and other information.)
Molds can produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. Some mycotoxins cling to the surface of mold spores; others may be found within spores. More than 200 mycotoxins have been identified from common molds, and many more remain to be identified. Some of the molds that are known to produce mycotoxins are commonly found in moisture-damaged buildings. Exposure pathways for mycotoxins include inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. Although some mycotoxins are well known to affect humans and have been shown to be responsible for human health effects, for many mycotoxins, little information is available.
Aflatoxin B1 is perhaps the most well known and studied mycotoxin. It can be produced by the molds Aspergillus Flavus and Aspergillus Parasiticus and is one of the most potent carcinogens known. Ingestion of aflatoxin B1 can cause liver cancer. Aflatoxin B1 interacts with Candida Albicans and worsens the symptoms of both infections. There is also some evidence that inhalation of aflatoxin B1 can cause lung cancer. Aflatoxin B1 has been found on contaminated grains, peanuts, and other human and animal foodstuffs. However, Aspergillus Flavus and Aspergillus Parasiticus are not commonly found on building materials or in indoor environments.
Some molds can produce several toxins, and some molds produce mycotoxins only under certain environmental conditions. The presence of mold in a building does not necessarily mean that mycotoxins are present or that they are present in large quantities.
Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (mVOCs)
Some compounds produced by molds are volatile and are released directly into the air. These are known as microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs). Because these compounds often have strong and/or unpleasant odors, they can be the source of odors associated with molds. Exposure to mVOCs from molds has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea. Research on mVOCs is still in the early phase.
Glucans or Fungal Cell Wall Components (also known as β-(1->)-D-Glucans)
Glucans are small pieces of the cell walls of molds which may cause inflammatory lung and airway reactions. These glucans can affect the immune system when inhaled. Exposure to very high levels of glucans or dust mixtures including glucans may cause a flu-like illness known as Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome (ODTS). This illness has been primarily noted in agricultural and manufacturing settings. There exist natural remedies and enzymes which can destroy these glucans.
Mold spores are microscopic (2-10 u m) and are naturally present in both indoor and outdoor air. Molds reproduce by means of spores. Some molds have spores that are easily disturbed and waft into the air and settle repeatedly with each disturbance. Other molds have sticky spores that will cling to surfaces and are dislodged by brushing against them or by other direct contact. Spores may remain able to grow for years after they are produced. In addition, whether or not the spores are alive, the allergens in and on them may remain allergenic for years.
The Good News: How to Kill Molds and Candida Albicans Hiding in Your Body
An Outline of the 5 Phases of Candida and Mold Elimination
Phase 0 Many years ago I discovered that parasites and airborne molds could cause candida. This is covered in other articles and writings that you can find on our Website. The exact mechanics of this are simple. Parasites and molds destroy friendly flora just like antibiotics do. Many parasites excrete ammonia and other toxic chemicals that destroy friendly flora like acidophilus. Some parasites and molds also depress the immune response in the intestinal tract, allowing yeasts to overgrow. Anything that destroys friendly flora can cause an overgrowth of candida, since friendly flora holds candida in check. The purpose of Phase 0 is to eliminate enough of the parasites and molds from the lining of the intestinal tract so that the person will not quickly relapse on Phase 1. Phase 0 also eliminates the top layers of candida growth so there is less die-off from Phase 1 that could make you feel sick. This also allows Phase 1 to absorb faster and deeper into your system.
Phase 1 The purpose of Phase 1 is to eliminate and destroy most of the candida and mold in the body, particularly in the lungs, sinuses and stomach. This program destroys candida in the intestines, the blood, lymph and vital organs. This is known as the rotation program. Once we have tested the person to discover the type of candida and molds they have, we now select 4 substances that are especially effective on that type of candida and mold. The first one is taken for a 4-day period, after which another is taken for the next 4 days. The process is repeated over and over. This is done so that the candida does not develop a resistance to any one substance. (This concept is covered in my earlier articles on candida). At this time hormones are checked and a program to correct them is begun as an adjunct. If the hormones are imbalanced the candida will not fully clear and Phase 1 will not kill all of its intended victims!
Phase 2 The purpose of Phase 2 is to: 1) Destroy the candida and molds buried in the intestinal tract. If this candida is not removed it will eventually cause a full-blown relapse within 6 months to a year; 2) To establish friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract and stimulate the immune response in the intestines that fights candida and harmful organisms. This is not done in Phase 1 or Phase 0 because we have proven that candida will prevent friendly acidophilus and bifidus bacteria from growing. The candida must be eliminated first before the friendly bacteria will grow. An analogy would be trying to plant flowers in a garden of weeds; 3) To repair any damage to the intestinal tract (Leaky Gut) that has occurred that may be causing food allergies and chemical sensitivities. At this time the fecal toxic metal test is performed to check for the metals referred to in the Toxic Metal Connection? section earlier in this article.
Phase 3 The purpose of Phase 3 is to completely eliminate all toxic metals and then to correct any deficiency of vitamins, mineral, amino acids, hormones or fatty acids that exists. Special tests are performed to measure all the nutrients. The most common mistake in trying to regain energy in one who has candidiasis is the use of many vitamins and minerals or other exotic supplements intended to boost energy while the candida still exists in the body. Giving a toxic body dozens of nutrients is to ask for trouble. One can become severely ill if they take many nutrients when they are chronically toxic. The nutrients will cause a mad, uncontrolled release of toxins that the body was not prepared to release. The result will be feeling terrible. Candida sufferers usually get bad reactions to vitamin supplements. This is why vitamins are not given until Phase 3 after the candida is gone.
Phase 4 The purpose here is to stimulate the immune system. In order to prevent relapse of candida, molds or any chronic viral condition, proper immune function must be restored. After Phase I and Phase II (killing the yeast and molds), and Phase III (restoring vitamin and mineral balance and energy) have been completed, the immune system is perfectly set up to be restored. Immune function will not come back if we have deficiencies and toxic metals, as these problems suppress the immune system. You certainly cannot restore the immune system while you have an active candida infection. If your house was on fire (which is like having an infection) would you put out the fire or would you run into the burning house with new rugs, wallpaper and furniture, and try to build the house back up while it was burning down? I doubt it! Special testing may be done to measure immune function.
Why This Works! This method has a success rate of better then 90% according to our recent surveys. Much of the success of this approach is not in what we do but when we do it and what we DO NOT DO! Mixing these phases together results in a patient that either responds slowly, does not respond at all or gets worse. Most doctors get poor results with candida because they fail to understand the interactions between candida, vitamins, hormones and toxic metals. The true benefit and importance of this program is in preventing relapse. This program has 2 basic purposes. The first is to eliminate candida using our advanced methods. The second is to prevent its relapse by systematically correcting all the known causes.