Home Interviews Hope and Support for Mold Canaries

Hope and Support for Mold Canaries

by Catherine

Dr. Jill Crista’s Online Community Gives Support and REAL Answers for Those Struggling With Mold Illness

Are you a mold canary? You know, someone that is beacon or early warning sign for trouble or danger when it comes to mold and mycotoxins—as in your body knows and feels the presence of mold from miles away? I definitely am. If I enter a moldy space, my whole body indicates the danger—my skin flushes, my heart races, my nose starts to run, and my throat closes. My anxiety also shoots through the roof. I have come to realize that if I don’t leave immediately and start on my mold protocols, I know I can expect a decline in my health for the next few days. If the mold “hit” is significant (for me this means being in the moldy place for an hour or more or if that place happens to contain high levels of mycotoxins), it sometimes takes a pretty concerted effort to get myself back to homeostasis afterwards. While I am thankful for the insight my body provides, sometimes, this “moldy” lifestyle can be the pits; anyone with extra insight or tips on how to navigate it a little easier is a welcome friend.

A Safe Place for Mold Canaries

If you happen to be a mold canary or just someone particularly interested in mold-related illness, Dr. Jill Crista, ND, has instituted a wonderful membership service within a private group she has set up through her website www.drjillcrista.com. Once you join and become a member, you are automatically notified and given exclusive access to upcoming events, mold-centered information, Live Q & A’s (hello Zoom for moldies!), and new uploaded videos that Dr. Crista offers to help her patients and others out there struggling with mold-triggered illness.

A Mold-Literate Practitioner Who Gets It

It is no secret that I am a fan of Dr. Crista’s. When it comes to mold and mold patients, she just gets it. Her aim is never to confuse people with medical jargon and hard-to-decipher studies and scientific literature. She just explains things in layman’s terms and gives real-life examples of what she is talking about. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t do her homework or rely on testing to confirm diagnosis and treatment. Rather, it just means that she doesn’t mind bringing her successful treatment modalities for mold patients down to a level that everyone can understand. In fact, her book Break the Mold is one I would recommend to anyone needing a place to start and to get a grasp on what mold does to the body and how to go about treating it with some very actionable steps and guidelines.

You don’t have to be a doctor to understand the book. It is a quick read (not the norm for books on mold and environmental illness, I assure you.) In it, Dr. Crista is able to take the complex and ambiguous world of mold and to help people understand a starting and ending point to self-treatment strategies that can get them out of the weeds (or mushrooms since we are talking about mold here) and on their way to healing. After being confused and thousands of dollars poorer from money spent on moving or remediation, doctors’ visits, unnecessary testing, and on a lifetime’s supply of supplements, most of us could use Dr. Crista’s no-nonsense approach. Am I right?

Additionally, Dr. Crista has been in the “mold hole” herself and has been through healing her body and the bodies of her children from mold toxicity. She also knows her fair share about remediating her home and belongings and moving into a new home with avoiding mold in mind. Her personal experiences give her an empathy and understanding for mold canaries that is often absent with other practitioners in this space.

Mold Canary Membership Has Its Privileges

Now for the specifics of mold canary membership. According to Dr. Crista’s Membership page—with my added notes, of course—the following benefits are available for those who decide to join:

  •  Private community forum where members can share ideas, ask questions, and support each other in a safe and secure environment. The forum also has a searchable database, so you can find exactly what you are looking for by topic or keyword;
  • Two LIVE Q&A’s monthly where you can pick Dr. Crista’s brain on all things mold and mold-sickness (more later on why this kind of access to Dr. Crista is worth its weight in gold);
  • Access to the Q&A replay library and transcripts of the sessions (The Q & A’s are videos, but you could also just listen to them in your earbuds while out for a walk or doing your mold-avoidance cleaning routine, or you can read the written transcripts, if the mold is still keeping you awake all night. Ugh. 😊. Each session is FULL of useful and helpful information—all questions Dr. Crista answers are from fellow mold sufferers. Thus, if someone else is asking, you are probably wondering too. She also has a separate membership and space for practitioners and the more technical side of things, if you are interested.);
  • Featured lab result of the month (I’m a HUGE advocate for understanding labs and for learning more about what to look for and what questions to ask your doctor or your environmental inspector about the results. Labs are only a piece of the diagnosis puzzle—that goes for your home and your body.);
  • Product review of the month and product discounts;
  • Pearls of wisdom, searchable FAQ database (in development);
  • Dr. Crista’s favorite recipes, cheat sheets, interviews, and more!

Dr. Crista has even decided to wave membership fees until August 1 to help those struggling financially during COVID. Once August begins, membership will be $25 per month. Members can cancel anytime.

Live “All Things Mold” Q & A

Since a blog post of mine would not be complete unless I shared the inside scoop (or unless it was 5,000 words—so sorry!), I am going to give you the fly-on-the-wall experience of being front and center for one of Dr. Crista’s Live Q & A’s. Additionally, to increase your reading “value” and pleasure, I am going to share some of Dr. Crista pearls of wisdom learned from the session I attended to push you forward in your mold journey.

First things first. You will finish reading this post, click on THIS LINK and join Dr. Crista’s group. Then, you will receive an email about the next LIVE Q & A session, the date and time for the session, and information about how to submit your question(s) via email to Dr. Crista. There is no guarantee your question will be answered, but she does her best to get through as many as possible in the time allotted.

Closer to the session day, you will get an email link to join the Q & A via Zoom. When I joined, Dr. Crista was also live on Facebook and Instagram (both pages of which are FULL of information), so that more people could attend at the same time. Zoom limits the number of attendees, so to get everyone access. All attendees are asked to turn off their cameras and to mute their mics, so that everything flows seamlessly, and without interruption. (Each live session only lasts about an hour, so there is a LOT to cover.) The cool thing is that you don’t have to attend in person if the date or time doesn’t work for you. Once you become a member, you have access to the Q & A replays, so you can listen or watch as you have time, as well as skip around to find which questions or topics interest or apply to you. It is a great way to streamline and individualize the information to your needs and time limits. Additionally, transcripts will be available for members to download if you prefer reading the material.

Once everyone who is attending seems present and accounted for, Dr. Crista begins. She “broadcasts” from her home and home office, so the setting is intimate and like you are having a personal chat, more than attending a webinar or something. The whole thing is very informal and takes the format of Dr. Crista reading a question and then answering it. The pace is fast, but the information is rich, so have a pen and paper ready. Before beginning, Dr. Crista also gives the disclaimer that nothing she says is to be mistaken as medical advice between a doctor and a patient. Most of the information about human health and mold is severely lacking; therefore, Dr. Crista’s knowledge is from her clinical experience and translational medicine applied to humans from information from animal studies. Dr. Crista also states that she is good at bodies, not buildings, and tries to stick to “people” questions as much as possible.

Dr. Crista Answers Your “Moldy” Questions

What follows are some of the questions asked during the Q & A that I attended followed by a brief, summarized version of Dr. Crista’s answers. (Note: This is my version of the highlight reel, and NOT Dr. Crista’s word-for-word answers. To view a session in its entirety, to “try before you buy” click HERE or view the session included below.)

In the session I attended, Coronavirus was, of course, the opening topic. The cytokine storm caused by the virus and its ability to take down those already immunocompromised is of particular concern for moldies.

Member Question: What is the best way to protect the nose, lungs, and respiratory system in this season with rain, molds, and now Coronavirus?

Answer:

Dr. Crista begins by sharing that she has posted videos of the business of getting through COVID for her and her family on her website. Dr. Crista and her children were infected, and she has shared what worked for them and continues to share videos about their recovery.

Dr. Crista’s COVID-related Tips and Supplements:

  • Propolis – Nasal Sprays (Natura Nectar) are great. The research on Propolis and mold/fungus and Propolis and Coronavirus is very good. It seems to mitigate and diminish symptoms and shorten illness duration. Propolis is also great for allergies, but should come in the form of eating local honey and or royal jelly. It is important to use your local honey, because it contains the pollens and allergens the bees in your community are exposed to, thus those are also the ones YOU are exposed to.
  • Nasal Washes – Definitely a great idea for symptoms and for prevention. Dr. Crista suggests using nasal rinses with Propolis, silver, Biocidin, monolaurin, and just with saline. Salt is great for the common cold (antifungal and antiviral), so a saline rinse is great to knock out the virus where it enters the body in the nose. Dr. Crista also suggests making the saline solution hypertonic to help it get into the cells to be the most beneficial.
  • Quercetin – A bioflavonoid that is the color of pollen, quercetin has inflammation calming properties and can work well for allergens. Like cures like in naturopathic medicine, so as indicated by its color, quercetin helps with pollen and outdoor allergens. It has also been shown to lessen COVID symptoms in some recent studies.

When things get bad with COVID symptoms, Dr. Crista suggests:

  • Steam inhalation – Dr. Crista suggests using steam inhalation to aid the lungs directly. She has a video on her website with a recipe for thyme inhalation
  • NAC 500 mg once per day and up to 3 times per day – NAC reduces symptoms and helped her son with his respiratory and lung issues from COVID. NAC is also helpful for reducing mycotoxins in the body.
  • Vitamin C – This bioflavonoid seems to keep folks off ventilators and helps stabilize membranes to prevent hypercoagulability (inflammation that leads to thrombosis formation in the veins and pulmonary embolism in the lungs). Mold patients often suffer from hypercoagulability as well which slows detox and prevents blood flow and healing, so Vitamin C is beneficial on both fronts.

Member Question: When do you seek help and how do you determine lung damage with COVID?

Answer:

Dr. Crista begins by saying that if you have shortness of breath – Go to doc and get assessed immediately. That is an indicator that something is wrong. You can monitor your O2 levels with a Pulse Oximeter – This is especially helpful for kids, because they can have low O2 and not complain about breathing trouble. Kids usually exhibit low O2 levels by being sluggish. If you are monitoring your O2 levels, then you are immediately aware of dips, so that you can seek help when you need it. (My note: People with mold toxicity also often have low blood O2 levels as vessels slam shut to protect against mycotoxins. This is why using home O2 can be a beneficial treatment in opening vessels and increasing O2 saturation for better and easier detox.)

Additional Help for Hypercoagulation in Lungs – Glutathione (if tolerated) and enzymes are helpful with the hypercoagulation in the lungs. Both supplements help to break it up and keep blood flowing. Glutathione and enzymes also help with mold, but if you are not out of the mold, using them can liberate to many toxins into the bloodstream and will not help unless the person is also on antifungals. Enzymes for moldies need to be things like bromelain and papaya enzymes, and lumbrokinase, because they are not from fungus. If you are a moldy, you cannot be on a fugal-derived enzyme, because it will make you worse.

Member Question: Does mold only become a problem when the immune system is compromised, like with chronic fatigue syndrome? Also, when chronic fatigue gets better, does sensitivity to mold decrease?

Answer:

This is sort of a chicken or the egg scenario, and Dr. Crista takes a different approach in that, like indicated in studies by Dr. Joseph Brewer, MD, she believes that mold inhalation creates or leads to the chronic fatigue. She confirms seeing mycotoxin exposure indicated in the blood or urine testing of over 80% of people diagnosed with chronic fatigue. In Dr. Crista’s opinion, you need to address the mold in some way to help the chronic fatigue. Mold patients have low killer T cell function, and low immunoglobins, so how you combat the chronic fatigue is to address the mold. With mold illness, if the exposure is long enough, the body eventually engages its own flora to act aggressively. In other words, the body senses the threat from the mycotoxins, and then the flora secretes mycotoxins itself. This happens most often is the sinuses and gut. As the body becomes more inflamed, immune function reduces. When you are exposed to mold over a long period, viruses and previous illnesses are reactivated and create the fatigue symptoms. Thus, Dr. Crista often uses antivirals in her practice. In a moldy environment, your body cannot keep chronic infections at bay. Furthermore, Dr. Crista says that if you get through her protocol, and still feel fatigue, 1.) you are probably not out of the mold, and 2.) you likely have a viral thing that needs addressing.

Member Question: How can someone healing from mold exposure improve vision?

Answer:

Dr. Crista starts by explaining that vision loss is a problem for moldies, because the retinas and visual processing center of the brain are affected by mycotoxins. (My Note: This is why the VCS Test is so helpful for both diagnosis and for assessing treatment progress.) Thus, both need to be addressed. Dr. Crista suggests the following:

  • Exercise your eyeballs – Get your body oxygenated by going for a 10-minute brisk walk and then do eye exercises. Look at something close and then far away in each quadrant and do this repeatedly.
  • Hydrotherapy – Alternate hot and cold water over the eyes. Use wash cloths. Get a bowl with ice water prepared and use your sink for hot water. Run the water hot. Dip one washcloth in hot water and one in cold and place over the eyes alternatively. Press the saturated cloths over the eyes. It should take the pattern of 3 min hot, 1-minute cold, and repeat the cycle 3 times. Dr. Crista does 3-5 minutes hot to get to the retina. The entire therapy takes about 20 minutes and really improves vision.
  • Get bile flowing – Mycotoxins gum up bile. Bile is a critical component of the retina of your eye. If you are not moving bile, your retina will be affected. Take bitters and bile building nutrients to help move bile.
  • Beta Carotene and Vitamin A – These are the eye- and vision-building nutrients. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, so you can get too much. Beta Carotene can be found in carrots, and squash, and can be taken as a supplement.

Member Question: What About Chemical Sensitivity? How and when should that be addressed for mold patients?

Answer:

Dr. Crista does believe that chemical sensitivity comes from a toxic overload and that detoxification is very important in treatment, but protect your body first! Before you detox, you must get the body ready to detox. A mold-injured body is usually nutrient, and vitamin depleted, because the mold can block all kinds of absorption. If you are trying to detox before the body is stable and ready, you are going to get worse, not better. Dr. Crista suggests going through the following steps first in order to address the chemical sensitivity, which is likely a downstream symptom:

  • Bioflavonoids – Sufferers need to make sure that they are getting tons of colorful vegetables. Dr. Crista suggests trying to eat the whole rainbow, and if you cannot get a certain color, taking it as a supplement.
  • Fat – Mold toxins are fat soluble and accumulate in all fatty tissues, organs, etc. So, in order to liberate the toxins from the fat, getting enough dietary fat is crucial. Dr. Crista’s fat phrase is copious, clean, correct fat. Fats should be present in 2-3 meals a day.
  • Treat the mold – Knocking down the fungal burden of the body and the factory making toxins inside of you eliminates a major source of toxicity within the body. For most of her patients, they treat the mold, the chemical sensitivity is improved.

Well, I’ve run out of steam, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. There was so much more to this session. I hope it gives you an idea of the value of the membership, though.

I love hearing from you! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me at catherine@moldfreeliving.com.

 

 

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