The Essentials to Getting Better Are a Mold-Free Environment and Consistency–
Supplements, Medications, and Treatments Fill in the Gaps
“What mold toxicity treatment protocol did you follow to get better? I have tried everything, and worked with numerous doctors, but nothing seems to be working for me. I am still very sick. I fear that I will never get my health back.”
I receive an email containing a version of the above statements almost everyday from someone seeking information about how to recover from mold toxicity. And, I get it. Who doesn’t want real, actionable answers on how to treat mold illness from someone who has been there and seemingly pulled through? Heck, I even wrote a few of those emails myself back when I was in the throes of sickness, confusion, and hopelessness. It is normal and understandable to just want answers and a roadmap back to health.
Many of those who write to me have been suffering for months, some even years, and they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. They want to know the EXACT medications, treatments, actions, and supplements I took to heal my body. They want to know if there is something that they are missing, and why, after spending thousands of dollars and doing everything imaginable, they are still sick. They want someone to just tell them what to do, so that they can finally heal too.
Am I withholding that valuable information? Is it somewhere on my blog already, and they are just missing it?
I do not have a definitive answer to these questions, except to say that, “No. My treatment protocol is not on the blog anywhere yet.”
The reason? Because I do not believe in protocols and strict rules when it comes to treating mold illness. A strict treatment protocol preceded by a battery of tests and genetic mapping is NOT what healed me. In fact, I found all of the strict adherence to rules, testing, protocols, and treatments a barrier to understanding and conquering this illness. I even think a lot of the science on Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) and published literature on mold and mold illness is so confusing that it keeps people sick. Lot’s of the information out there on this illness is convoluted, circular, and unnecessary for helping people get better.
On this blog, instead of presenting a series of mandatory diagnostic tests and medications that have shown little widespread success, I decided to feature respected mold-literate doctors speaking about what works for them when treating patients, and to only mention supplements, treatments, and environmental recommendations that worked for me. In addition, I only share and write about things that have made real, measurable, positive impacts on my health. I also do my best to explain the why’s behind acquiring mold illness, because, in my opinion, knowing the CAUSE of an illness or disease is the best way to know how to treat it. It is the whole “going back to the scene of the crime” method of solving the problem: We know that mold causes our symptoms, so let’s figure out where that mold exposure is coming from and stop it. I feel so passionately about this, because I know from my own experience that understanding mold and what to do to keep it out of your indoor environment is THAT important to regaining your health. In other words, you eliminate the exposure, you heal. It is so simple, but so difficult at the same time.
I also haven’t ventured as far as to post my treatment protocol step-by-step on the blog, because I am not a doctor. Writing any treatment guide feels a lot like giving medical advice—of which I am NOT qualified to do. I also know that every person and every situation is unique. Symptoms, current environment, and financial situation dictate treatment, and no two people are exactly the same. Thus, I do not presume to know any universal answers. But what I do know, and what I do share in almost every single post (here I go again) is that getting out of the moldy environment is the MOST IMPORTANT and MOST POWERFUL treatment available. Getting away from the toxic exposure is the most difficult step, but consistently works every time.
So why is this still so difficult?
Why Mold is Hard to Treat
Mold is unpredictable. It is also insidious, resilient, and adapts to any situation or environment. And, what worked for me to heal my body may not work as well for you. Mold has many ways it can make you sick, and many ways it can affect your body once you are sick. But, while mold may be hard to fully figure out, it is not invincible or unexplained. Mold illness always happens for a reason–an exposure somewhere.
In addition, your body, in its infinite wisdom, does not like mold either. The mold comes in and disrupts many systems—your immune system, digestion, hormones, nervous system, cognition, etc. Your body does not like disruption, so it becomes angry, inflamed and defiant in an attempt to fight the mold. It will remain angry, inflamed and defiant until it is given the proper tools and a mold-free environment to successfully detox and reclaim homeostasis. Thus, what someone battling mold toxicity really needs is not a protocol or rule book, but a template or a mold treatment key, able to be adjusted by the user, with the tools and information needed, so that they can put up a winning fight.
So, if you are ready, I am going to go against what I have done before and map out a basic mold toxicity treatment guide. It is not short, and not simple, but can get you where you need to be for your body to recover. I hope that it will demystify some things and shed light on areas in your health that you might need to also explore to help you heal. It may look similar in some places, but very different in other places from treatment advice that you have already seen before. All I know is that it contains all of the components needed to get better. It is then up to you to put things into place and to go to your doctors and support network to get the additional help you need to get your health back.
My Mold Toxicity Treatment Key
(Obligatory Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. What follows is NOT medical advice. It is a treatment key that can be used as a guide to explain and walk you through the many facets of healing my body from the damage done by mold and mycotoxins. Any decision that you make about your treatment should be done under the guidance of your personal doctor or trusted medical authority. This treatment key should never replace the experienced care and guidance of a trained mold-literate doctor. It is intended for informational purposes ONLY.)
This guide is firmly based on the goal of removing fungus from the body, air and belongings. A clean, mold-free environment is the most important piece of treatment. Begin with your environment and the environmental changes necessary and go from there. There is no treatment, medication, or supplement that is as powerful to your healing as the air that you are breathing everyday.
- Get into a healthy, mold-free environment, so that medical treatment can work. This is the first and MOST IMPORTANT STEP in treating mold illness. This means getting into a healthy, clean place, in which you feel good, and are improving. A mold-free environment is paramount for your recovery.
A HEALTHY environment is a place where the fungal load has been removed or is not present before you enter. A healthy environment meets the following criteria:
- The mold counts are 0-2 using EC3 Mold Screening Test Plates. These numbers should be the test results on BOTH the contents and air in the home. In addition, diagnostic testing for molds and mycotoxins can be done using Immunolytics Diagnostic Testing Plates, or by performing an EMMA Test by RealTime Lab;
- No contaminated belongings or contents from the moldy home should be present in the healthy environment, unless they have been fully remediated for mold, and also pass the abovementioned EC3 plate screening test.
(Note: The major reason people do not improve is because they are still in the mold- and mycotoxin-heavy environment and are continuing to be exposed to the toxins that made them sick in the first place. There is much scientific evidence to suggest that the molds and environmental conditions that made a person sick are the ones that will remain most inflammatory to their body. Thus, any remnants of or exposure to that environment or those things tend to keep the person sick or re-ignite symptoms. Sometimes, cross contamination occurs—either a person moves and takes moldy items with them, or someone from a moldy place comes into their environment. This can also keep people exposed to mold and sick. In some cases, remediation fails and the person moves back in and continues to be sick. Whatever the case, the solution always is to get into a healthy place where you feel better. For a time, not allowing contaminated people or items into your safe space will have to also be part of this strategy.)
- Clean contaminated belongings – Any contaminated belongings and clothing must be either washed with EC3 Laundry Additive per package instructions, remediated, or gotten rid of. These items CANNOT enter your safe environment without contaminating it and making you sick. (I have MANY posts about effectively remediating various belongings. Just use the search tool at the top of my website to find what you need.)
- General Lab Testing – Because mycotoxins and fungi from a “sick” indoor environment enter through the nose, mouth, and/or skin, you have to take those entry points into account when testing is done on your body. I did not find the genetic testing helpful, because I was already sick and knew we had a serious mold problem in our home. The following tests are ones I found helpful for effective treatment to occur:
(Note: All tests for your body should also be accompanied by environmental testing. Knowing where the mold exposure is occurring and eliminating that as much as possible is the most important part of healing the body. Doctors are also usually not open to being told what to do as far as testing their patients is concerned–nor can I blame them. Their job is to diagnose and treat a patient according to that diagnosis. Mold illness is, by definition, difficult to diagnose as it is an illness of exclusion. Thus, finding a mold-literate doctor is a good first step to getting the help that you need. I always advise people to do that first, so that you are speaking the same language from the get-go. My post about how to find a mold-literate doctor can be found HERE. )
- Nasal mold culture – Ask your M.D. for a referral to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor who treats fungal sinusitis. The ENT will swab your nasal passages and culture the mucous to see which mycotoxins are present;
- A mold-allergen specific IgG antibody test – This is a blood serum antibody test that can be used to show exposure to specific molds and mycotoxins. Direct your physician to conduct this test or you can order it online in most states;
- Sinus CT SCAN – This imaging will reveal fungal balls or obstructions in the sinuses. If sinusitis is a persistent symptom, having this done by a qualified ENT can inform treatment, because fungi growing in the sinus cavities can excrete mycotoxins and continue to make a person sick, even after they are in a mold-free environment;
- Urine Mycotoxin Panel – RealTime Lab and Great Plains Lab offer this testing. It must be ordered by a doctor. It will show what mycotoxins are secreted in the urine. Linking this information with information from environmental testing can be very helpful with remediation and treatment decisions. It can also be helpful in showing whether or not a person’s body is excreting mold toxins. For example, if other diagnostics indicate mold toxicity, but a person is not excreting toxins in their urine, detoxification and liver support strategies will need to be employed to keep the body safe during treatment. For more on detox, HERE is my recent post.
- Treat Nasal Passages for Mold – The nose is a main entry point for fungus and one you can actively treat quite easily to prevent and mitigate mold exposure.
The following methods and products are useful for treating nasal passages for mold:
- Twice-a-day saline nasal irrigations with Nasopure rinse system and Citridrops Dietary Supplement. If allergic to citrus or your sinuses are sensitive, you can try ChitoRhino. It has salt, baking soda and chitosan, which is anti-fungal and antibacterial. All rinses should be made with distilled or bottled water ONLY. NEVER irrigate with tap water. (HERE is my post on nasal irrigation.)
- Natural antifungal nasal sprays (CitriDrops Nasal Spray, ChitoRhino Nasal Spray ) or for more severe sinusitis, nebulization with Amphotericin-B or Voriconazole. For the nebulizer, both antifungals are by prescription only.
- If fungal masses are found in the sinus, they must be endoscopically removed or properly treated. An ENT specialist who treats fungal sinusitis should be consulted at this juncture. (HERE is my interview with Dr. Dennis on fungal sinus colonization.)
- Natural antifungal nasal sprays (CitriDrops Nasal Spray, ChitoRhino Nasal Spray ) or for more severe sinusitis, nebulization with Amphotericin-B or Voriconazole. For the nebulizer, both antifungals are by prescription only.
5. Address Pituitary and Endocrine System Damage:
Mold toxins directly affect the pituitary gland and endocrine system. Hormone dysregulation, poor sugar metabolism, weight gain, sleep issues, body temperature fluctuations, chronic fatigue, etc. are all indicators of endocrine/pituitary damage. There is also good scientific data showing that growth hormone production is compromised in patients with mold toxicity. (HERE is link to an article on mold toxins, chronic fatigue, and growth hormone depletion.) A good self-assessment technique is to gage, on scale from 1-10, with 1 being can’t get out of bed, and 10 being full of energy and stamina, your energy level. If your energy level is consistently at 5 or less, you may have pituitary damage and growth hormone deficiency. If you are out of the moldy environment, a homeopathic remedy could be enough to kick things back into gear. You can try CellTropin to stimulate the pituitary gland, so that your body can regain balance. But, if no relief or improvement occurs, further testing should be done. A good endocrinologist is best qualified to address any thyroid or growth hormone issues that require supplemental therapies.Important notes that may be helpful in finding the right endocrinologist and for communicating with your doctor are as follows:
- A free or total triiodothyronine (free T3 or total T3) test is a good way assess thyroid function. Free T3 levels that are in the medium to high normal range are the most beneficial for an antifungal effect within the body. Free T3 levels in low-normal range indicate that sugar levels outside of your cells are too high. In simple terms, your body is not utilizing sugar effectively for energy, so fat stores and mold toxins are harbored more easily. Higher free T3 levels make you more antifungal. In addition, thyroid hormone controls the rate at which oxygen and iodine circulate through your cells, both of which are antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial. You need to get your thyroid functioning properly and at optimum levels, so that your body can dispel the mold toxins and can heal.
- A test to measure the amount of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in your blood can be helpful to determine whether or not you are producing growth hormone. This is a good test, because you are tested before and then after your body is provoked to release IGF-1. If your body is not producing growth hormone on its own, you may need HGH (human growth hormone) injections in order to fully heal.
6. Address Your Digestive System and Gastrointestinal Issues:
- Many mold-toxic people experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and extreme acid reflux. Contrary to the acidy symptoms, most sufferers are refluxing because digestion is NOT functioning properly and stomach acid production is low. The potential causes are either mechanical—digestive system is sluggish, a food allergy—many times caused by leaky gut from Candida and impaired detox, Candida overgrowth, the air fungal load is too high, too much sugar in the diet, or low digestive enzymes—bile production and digestion slows as the body becomes more and more toxic.
- Changing the diet to minimize sugar and gluten consumption will help Candida overgrowth symptoms. If a Candida Diet is not enough for improvement, supplements to fight the yeast (see antifungals below) and heal the gut lining (colostrum can be helpful) will need to be used. Healing and repairing the gut is key to building immunity, improving detoxification, and to overcoming yeast overgrowth issues.
- Only drinking purified or spring water will help to restore mineral balance and heal your gut. Consuming water treated by municipal sources adds to digestive distress, because most tap water contains chlorine, fluoride, antibiotics, and hormones, all of which contribute to gut permeability.
- Introduce beneficial bacteria that can fight against the yeast to your GI tract. This usually requires supplementing with a high-potency probiotic, such as Visbiome (450 Billion/D) or OrthoBiotic, if dairy sensitive. There is also good scientific data to show that certain probiotics actually actively prevent and destroy biofilm formation.
- Test for food allergies using both the ALCAT and IgG test. Combine results of both tests to give for the best nutritional roadmap for recovery. Avoiding foods that are causing inflammation and histamine reactions will allow your body to heal more effectively.
7. Support Your Liver and Detoxification Pathways:
- Liver enzymes are elevated in most mold patients, because of the high levels of mycotoxins their bodies are storing and trying to process. Detoxing the liver with products, like Opticleanse GHI or UltraClear, and targeted supplements is often needed and extremely helpful. These products help with nutrition and vitamin absorption as well as with regulation of liver enzymes. They are healing to the digestive system and digestive healing prevents toxin recirculation and storage in the liver.
- Glutathione production is diminished or halted in most mold-toxic people, so supplementation is key to getting things excreted and not recirculated. (HERE is a post about glutathione.) Taking Acetyl Glutathione or nebulizing with Glutathione, will help your body with all phases of detoxification.
- Binders can also be helpful to aid the body in getting rid of toxins. ZeoBind removes all mycotoxins that are now tested, while other binding agents like charcoal, Cholestyramine, and Bentonite clay cannot. Ultra Binder is also a good choice. Binders are not a panacea. (HERE is my post about detoxification.) They only work optimally when a person is supporting their liver and kidneys, their detoxification pathways are open, and they are out of the toxic environment. Binders are best used as part of treatment protocol, or if an exposure occurs and symptoms are returning on a small scale. Binders should not be relied upon as a cure for a moldy environment. Any prescription binders must be used under the care of a physician.
- Increase oxygen going into your cells. Oxygen therapy, either with a hyperbaric chamber, or by using 100% oxygen, administered through a face mask, will help cells revitalize, open capillaries, detox all toxins, and make the body more resilient.
- Employ vitamin and nutritional supplementation as needed. Helpful supplements that worked for me include, but are not limited to the following:
(This will change as your body adapts and changes throughout your recovery.)
- Liquid, organic carbon-bound IntraMax vitamins and IntraMin minerals;
- Vitamin D3 – Levels need to be at 80-100 to increase immune and cancer resistance;
- Phosphatidylcholine – This will help with cellular resilience, detox, and rebounding the body from the toxic hit.
9. Use whole body or prescription antifungals, if needed, to aid with Candida control and fungal colonization. You must start with gut, though. Any sugar will defeat antifungals, because it will feed Candida. Start with herbal supplements and graduate to prescription under a doctor’s care, if there is no improvement.
What if nothing works?
If all of the above steps are taken, and there is zero to little improvement in your health and symptoms, go down this check list. You may be able to pinpoint where things are going wrong by asking yourself the following questions:
(You are NOT a hopeless case! There is ALWAYS a reason. There is ALWAYS something that can be done.)
- Is the fungal load continuing somewhere? Think about your air, your belongings, your car, your work, etc. Retest all areas with mold plates, and do TAP tests. Look inside your washing machine– front loader washers are notorious for mold. Do you have contaminated items from a moldy house in your environment? Are you around leaf blowing, mulch, straw, compost, or are you cleaning or going through old boxes or papers? Is someone going to a moldy place and coming back home and contaminating you again like in a moldy work place? These things can keep you sick!
- Do you have fungus and mycotoxins trapped in your sinus mucosa? Ask your doctor to order a sinus CT scan and ENT consult. You can have this, even if you are not aware that you have sinus symptoms. If you have a fungus ball inside your sinuses it must be removed with the mycotoxins for you to improve.
- Are you eating sugar and refined carbohydrates? Until you are better, you must be very careful with your diet. Candida has a sugar receptor which morphs from a harmless yeast to an invasive hyphal form. Yeast overgrowth can keep you sick.
- Have you addressed your pituitary? In order to recover, some people need growth hormone, thyroid, cortisol, etc.
- Is your immune system is depressed? This can manifest as Lyme, Epstein Barr, Cytomegalovirus, herpes, etc. Autoimmune diseases are sometimes symptoms of mold exposure and mycotoxicosis. The mold invades and depresses the immune system to the point that the virus/infection becomes problematic. Once the mold is treated, the autoimmune symptoms often resolve. Transfer Factor (Sinus Defense) helps to kill microbes and normalize autoimmune disease.
- Do you have heavy metal toxicity? Mold toxins bind to heavy metals, so the two often coexist. Work with your doctor to test and detox, if needed.
- Are you a poor methylator? Impaired methylation can lead to depression, anxiety, histamine intolerance, increased risk of cancer, hormone imbalance, poor detox capacity, infertility, birth defects, fatigue, low energy, and the turning on of genes that make you more susceptible to environmental insults. Test for MTHFR mutation test and supplement with methyl donors, like B12, 5-tetrahydrofolic acid, and carbon as needed. (Note: Some binders can also impair methylation, so keep this in mind with your treatment.)
- Is there something affecting your health other than mold? It is rare, but cancer, like lymphoma, leukemia, and others could be factors. Always dig deeper when all else fails.