Wellness Wisdom Video Extra: Healing from Mold
Season 3, Episode 68
In this week’s Be HEALTHistic Video Extra, Dr. Drew Sinatra discusses a health issue that has impacted him personally — healing from mold and mycotoxin illness. From the critical first step of getting out of a moldy environment, to some key foods to avoid, to the supplements, antifungals and antioxidants that can help you feel better, Dr. Drew shares his best advice for treating the wide-ranging symptoms. He also suggests simple but effective lifestyle solutions that could help rid the body of mold and mycotoxins — such as exercise, sauna therapy, and cold immersion — in this Wellness Wisdom video segment.
LINKS & RESOURCES
- Visit the Healthy Directions website for more health and wellness content and information!
- Check out the Healthy Directions Articles Archive, where you can search for specific, health-related content from all of our Healthy Directions doctors and experts.
- During the segment, Dr. Drew talked about healing from mold and mycotoxin illness; for more information from him on this insidious issue, check out this video on how to deal with mold exposure.
- Dr. Drew has been outspoken about his experience with mold illness; watch this video where he’s interviewed by mold expert, Dr. Andrew Campbell, about mycotoxins and treatment.
- Do you have symptoms of mold exposure? Read this article from Dr. Drew with the most common indicators and what you can do.
- Dr. Drew discussed how effective hydrotherapy can be in treating mold exposure, especially cold immersion; check out this video about the benefits of immersion therapy.
- Detoxification is an important step in ridding your body of mold and mycotoxins; read this article from Dr. Drew with his top tips for natural detoxification.
- The symptoms of mold and mycotoxin illness can be vague, making it hard to diagnose and treat; Lyme disease is another such condition. If you missed it the first time or want to hear it again, listen to Episode 32: How to Treat Lyme Naturally with Dr. Lee Cowden.
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Dr. Drew Sinatra: Welcome to Be HEALTHistic. For this Wellness Wisdom segment, I’ll be discussing how to heal your body post-mold and mycotoxin illness, and really, what steps you can take to feel better.
So I’ve talked a lot about mold in the past. It’s a very insidious illness when you get exposed to it, and it can really affect your body in negative ways. And I’ve also talked about my personal experience, dealing with mold, and how it really just wrecked my whole system. And it took me months, and months, months to recover. And today I’ll be outlining some of those treatments that I’ve done, personally — but also treatments that I do with my patients to get them better from mold and mycotoxin illness.
Now, number one, and this is so, so important that you get this message, okay? You can’t get better from mold if you’re still living in a moldy environment. So you absolutely have to remove the mold from your environment — like a remediation, have someone come take it away, or you get away from your place. Because really, the number one rule in toxicology is you must remove yourself from the toxin, or the toxin must be removed from yourself. And if you don’t do one of those things, or both of those things, you’re not going to get better. And I don’t mean to be mean by saying that in any way, but really, you absolutely have to get away from the mold, and that is the number one thing. And we’ll talk about ways to get mold out of your body, as well.
Now, as a reference point, your hair, one little hair is around 80 microns in size, okay? A red blood cell is around eight microns in size. Mold spores are 10 microns in size. So around the same size as a red blood cell. And a mycotoxin, which is really a toxin produced from mold, is around 0.1 micron. Okay, so very, very, very, very tiny. These things go all throughout your body — into your brain, into your blood vessels, all throughout, into all your organs. And they can cause oxidative damage, and they can really destroy cellular membranes, and they can create lots of inflammation. So a lot of these therapies that I’ll be talking about right now are going to be targeting in terms of repairing tissue and reducing inflammation.
Now, starting with number one, diet. So you really want to avoid sugar and processed foods. And you also want to avoid foods that are higher in mold. So grains and corn, for example, are notorious for having high mold counts. Cheese, especially blue cheese. If you’re living in a moldy environment and you’ve just cleaned it up, don’t eat blue cheese, okay? It’s just not going to be good for your system, you’re going to be introducing more mold into your body, which you don’t want to do. Dried fruits are also notorious for having a little higher mold count, and also mushrooms.
And really, when someone’s recovering from mold, I also like to have them avoid alcohol, especially wine. Because wine can have all sorts of things in it, but really, it can have fungus in it, too. So you really want to avoid wine. I see that aggravate most people who have a mold illness.
Now in your home environment, once you’ve cleaned up the mold, once you’ve removed it from your house or wherever it is, you want to get a high-quality air purifier to improve air quality. And there’s debate whether an air purifier can really remove mycotoxins from the air, because they really are quite small. But air purifiers do help remove VOCs, which are volatile organic compounds. And VOCs are really what contributes to that moldy and musty smell in your house. So you really want to make sure that you’re purifying the air and removing them.
Now, another lifestyle thing I like to recommend is sauna therapy. Or exercise, really, because either it’s going to help boost circulation and promote sweating. And sometimes people who are recovering from a mold illness can be incredibly weak, and their vitality is so low that they can’t even handle a five, 10-minute sauna. So this may not be for everyone, initially — but long-term, you can sort of work your way up to sweating more. And exercise is a great way to begin this process. So if you want to go outside and hike up a hill, or up some steps in your neighborhood, get your heart rate up, maybe boost a little bit of a sweat. That would be really good, because when you sweat, you’re basically improving your lymphatic flow, as well, and you’re helping remove toxins from the body.
Cold immersion is another thing that I’ve been really into lately. But I’ve always been sort of recommending hydrotherapy as a way to support blood flow and lymphatic flow. Now cold immersion can be as simple as just taking a cold shower — or at least taking a hot shower, and then doing the last 30 seconds or so, or even 15 seconds, on cold. And this hydrotherapy of doing hot, cold, hot, cold is really a way to promote lymphatic flow and also blood flow, which is going to be really good for overcoming a mold and mycotoxin illness. Now I’m at the point now where I jump into a lake at least five days out of the week, and it’s freezing. But I feel amazing after — and in terms of mental clarity, as well, this is one way to help people get out of that mold fog they experience, where their brain isn’t working. Because when you do cold immersion, you have just incredible focus and concentration immediately afterward.
Now moving on to some supplements that you can take to help with mold and mycotoxin exposure. Glutathione is probably the number one thing that you want to have on board. I like to recommend a liposomal glutathione, because I do feel that it gets into your cells a little bit better. And when you’re exposed to mold, mold depletes your body’s endogenous production of glutathione. So when you supplement with it, you’re going to help support antioxidant pathways and really build up the body’s levels of glutathione.
Binders are very common in treatment for those that are suffering from mold illness. And I like to recommend either a charcoal or a clay formula, sometimes a Zeolite. And you can even use whole-food forms of binders — like flax seeds, or psyllium husks, or even apple pectin. And these binders, as the name implies, they help bind out these mycotoxins from the gut so that you poop them out. And what happens with mold and mycotoxins is that there is the internal hepatics circulation. And so these mycotoxins, they keep getting re-circulated in your gut — from your gut, into your liver, into your bile, back into your liver, back into your gut. And the whole process just happens over and over again. So the binders come in, and they kind of mop up and they take out those mycotoxins, and then you eliminate them more efficiently. So binders should be taken away from other supplements because they can affect the absorption of other supplements, so be mindful of that.
Next I like to recommend antifungals. And this can either be herbal — with something like oregano oil, or olive leaf, or Pau d’Arco. Or sometimes if I think that mold has colonized the sinuses, or it’s colonized the gut, or it’s colonized another part of the body, I might recommend a pharmaceutical like Sporanox, which is an antifungal that I find to be pretty safe if taken short-term, around three to four weeks. But really, not everyone responds well to antifungals because sometimes there can be a die-off reaction. Like there is with treating another bacteria or a fungus in the body, where a Herxheimer reaction, or a side effect presents. And that’s when you start to feel a little bit worse before you start to feel better. And so sometimes people need to start really, really, really low dose on these antifungals, and kind of work up from there — or else they might have a lot of die-off reaction, and they might not feel well.
Next are antioxidants, because like I mentioned in the beginning, mold can really create a lot of oxidative damage and damage certain cells. And so you want to make sure you’ve got enough vitamin C on board, you want to make sure your vitamin D levels are robust. Melatonin’s a great antioxidant to have, especially if you’re having lots of insomnia from mold and mycotoxin illness. I like NAC, which is N-acetyl cysteine. I like CoQ10, and I also like resveratrol. And there’s certainly other antioxidants out there, as well. And you want to make sure you’re getting a lot of antioxidants from your foods — like fruits and vegetables, for example. I also like to recommend cell membrane support, and I generally think of essential fatty acids from fish oil, or phosphocholine to help with this. And I also like to add on certain herbs. So for example, if the liver is really burdened, and it’s sluggish, and it’s having a hard time, I might add on milk thistle, for example. And we know that milk thistle is a great antioxidant, as well, and it’s really supportive for the liver.
I find that people who are suffering with a mold or mycotoxin illness, they’re depleted in certain trace minerals and electrolytes. So I typically like to add on some form of trace mineral or electrolyte formula. Common symptom for those that have suffered with mold illness is they urinate a lot at night. And so, sometimes giving electrolytes or trace minerals that can help reduce the nighttime urination, so that they’re not going to the bathroom three, four times in the middle of the night, which can really disrupt sleep. Which can then affect your energy the next day, and etc.
I also like to recommend nasal support, and the reason I like to do this is that mold can colonize the sinuses and really affect the whole sinus area. So if people are prone, or if they’re okay to use like a NeilMed rinse, or a neti pot, I’ll recommend something like that. Or I’ll also recommend a silver nasal spray, in case I do suspect some colonization up there. And then sometimes I need to compound a certain medication, like EDTA, which is a biofilm busting agent, to help break up some biofilm up there to get to the mold a little bit more efficiently. So it depends really on what’s going on for someone, but generally speaking, I do like to add on some nasal support because I do find that those who are suffering from mold and mycotoxin illness, a lot of it can affect the sinuses.
And lastly, I like to recommend IV therapy, if people can financially afford this. And something like a Myers cocktail, which is really just B vitamins and vitamin C, really low dose. Or Phosphatidylcholine IV, or glutathione IV, or even an NAD IV — these are all great ways to help support the system, boost vitality, and support elimination in the body.
So these are all my recommendations for mold and mycotoxin illness, in terms of the steps that you can take to get better. I know I listed a lot of them, and you don’t have to do all of these, of course, and you always want to start slow. But make sure you do work with a practitioner that is aware of how mold affects the body. And you can start some of these things at a time, and see how your body feels and how you react to it. But the message I want to send to you now is that you will get better from mold and mycotoxin illness.
I mean, it can take months and months — and sometimes even upwards of a year, because of the damage that’s been done from the mold and the mycotoxins. But just hang in there…and sometimes it’s a two step forward, one step back process. Meaning you might improve a little bit, but then something may become aggravated and you might develop a symptom in a new system in your body. Don’t fret on that, you’re going to improve again. So just know that when you get better from mold illness, it’s like getting better from Lyme disease. It’s like this sort of up and down, almost like a stock market, but it always goes up. Okay? So there’s going to be ups and downs, but ultimately the trend is up.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: So again, my name is Dr. Drew Sinatra. This is Be HEALTHistic, and we’ll talk to you soon.
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Meet Dr. Drew Sinatra
Dr. Drew Sinatra is a board-certified naturopathic doctor and self-described “health detective” with a passion for promoting natural healing, wellness, and improving quality of life by addressing the root cause of illness in patients of all ages. His vibrant practice focuses on treating the whole person (mind, body, and spirit) and finding missed connections between symptoms and health issues that are often overlooked by conventional medicine.