Mold Exposure Affects Brain Health, Focus, and Mood

July 18, 2022 | Dr. Linda J. Dobberstein, DC, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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 Mold Exposure Affects Brain Health, Focus, and Mood
Summertime humidity, storms, and more can quickly bring on mold issues in your work or home environment. Mold toxin effects are more than just a musty smell in the basement or the need to open a window to let in some fresh air. It can have long-lasting effects for all ages. Protect your body from the health robbing effects of mold toxins.

A leaky pipe or air conditioner, a sink that overflowed, a poorly built or excessively airtight building, or natural disasters are common scenarios for costly property damage from water and moisture build-up. This damage quickly increases the risk for mold and mold toxins in your environment unless immediately resolved. Mold toxins can also be found in various foods.

Some individuals are affected by mold spores and toxins from water damaged buildings that cause a sneaky decline in health. Individuals who have underlying immune dysregulation are more susceptible to mold toxins. Even with chronic low levels of mold exposure, mycotoxins can adversely affect your health.

Mold toxins are absorbed into your respiratory and digestive tracts as well as your skin. These mycotoxins can cause fatigue, brain fog, poor mood, lethargy, chronic sinus issues, difficulty with learning and memory. Mycotoxins or mold biotoxins can your affect joints and muscles, lungs, and especially your brain and peripheral nervous system not just with the immediate exposure, but can cause chronic damage.

Mold Toxins Are Significant Risk for Cognitive Decline


Mold toxins are considered a significant risk factor for cognitive decline. Evidence demonstrates that brain health is alarmingly impacted by biotoxins released from mold. Research shows that chronic exposure to molds and their biotoxins may adversely affect the cognitive health of children and adults alike with long-term effects if not cleared and detoxified.

Mold Causes Deposits of Amyloid Beta Proteins in Brain and Mitochondria


Mold toxins provoke substantial oxidative stress to the brain. It causes mast cells and other immune cells in your brain to release significant amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines and free radicals. These mycotoxins and pro-inflammatory responses can induce cell apoptosis (death), inflammation and oxidative damage and cause deposits of amyloid beta proteins in your brain and its mitochondria.

As amyloid beta accumulates in mitochondria, cellular energy production breaks down and more free radicals are produced. This creates a snow-ball effect of declining cognitive function over the course of years and decades. Decreased assimilation of knowledge, difficulty with word finding, concentration, memory and mood swings may be caused by mold toxins. Mycotoxins can also affect your pain tolerance, balance, coordination, and movement.

If you live or work in a musty smelling building and notice that memory, balance, and the ability to think has declined, don’t just attribute the changes to age and stress. Your brain may be suffering the effects of chronic inflammation induced by mold toxins.

Mucosal Barrier Integrity Breakdown


Mold toxins and cytokines can also adversely impair the mucosal barrier integrity found in your lungs, gut lining, as well as the blood brain barrier. Mold toxins affect the balance of your gut microbiome and either trigger or worsen inflammation in the digestive tract. A breakdown in mucosal barriers and gut dysbiosis can contribute to more stress on the gut-brain connection and further worsen cognitive challenges

Think About Your History


If you find that your energy, mental clarity, mood, gut, respiratory health, and general well-being has changed after living or working in a water-damaged building, mold toxins may be affecting your health. Even if the mold and damaged items have been cleaned up, the inflammatory effects triggered by the mycotoxins can still affect you.

Individuals who have underlying immune dysfunction have a greater susceptibility to the pro-inflammatory path of destruction. More information may be found in the article Mold Allergies and Toxins – Damaging Effects Must Be Managed

Bleach Does Not Completely Remove Mold and Mycotoxins


The first step to recovery is to remove all sources of mold and water-damaged materials. Mold spores and toxins absorb readily into soft materials like fabrics, plastics, furniture, mattresses, pillows, etc. and may need to be replaced.

Research demonstrates that bleach, ammonia, ozone, ultraviolet radiation, and heating does not completely remove mold and mycotoxins. Mold toxin and spore removal products are available in your hardware stores. If there is major water damage, work with a trained professional for mold remediation. Also consider use of an air purifier or air sterilizer specifically designed for managing mold spores and toxins for your home or office.

Nutritional Support to Optimize Toxin Clearance, Mitochondria, and Mucosal Barriers


Nutritional support such as glutathione, NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine), chlorella, montmorillonite or activated charcoal, etc. help bind onto and sequester mold toxins in your body. Glutathione levels are often low in individuals exposed to mold toxins. Daily Detoxify and Glutathione Ultra are great nutritional supplements for your needs.

Antioxidant support is essential to protect mitochondria from mycotoxin free radical stress and aid detoxification. B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, coenzyme Q10, melatonin, and whey protein have been found helpful to support glutathione and restore depleted antioxidant levels associated with mold toxins. Astaxanthin and Grape Seed Extract also provide support against the toxic effect of mold.

If you suspect chronic mold exposure, also support the integrity of your mucosal barriers. More information may be found in the article Healthy Mucosal Barriers Makes for a Healthier You

Mold and its toxic effect is nothing to sneeze at. It can greatly impact your health quality now and contribute to significant decline over the years. Be proactive.

Additional information may be found in the articles:

Mold Allergies and Toxins – Damaging Effects Must Be Managed

Astaxanthin: Anti-Aging, Immune Support, Mitochondria, and Mold Protector

Grape Seed Extract: Versatile and Valued Antioxidant

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