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Think Fungus: Holistic Approaches to Black Mold

With numerous hurricanes having recently brought deadly winds and floodwaters, we are now left with a crisis on numerous levels.  For many, getting the basics of food, water, and dry shelter from more flooding is still a major concern; electricity remains to be a problem and could continue to be for quite some time; the elderly, young children, and those with special medical needs remain to be at high risk; and, the task of rebuilding is physically, emotionally, and financially overwhelming, to say the least. 

Unfortunately there is another, more hidden, health risk looming in the future for everyone whose property was touched by the floodwaters...Black Mold.  And, in fact, this hidden risk has the potential to cause more harm to more people than the actual hurricane itself.  While dealing with immediate crisis and emergency situation needs to be the first priority, I urge everyone to make sure that they seriously consider whether they or family or friends could be affected by deadly black mold.

As you probably know, around the house and, indeed, around virtually any property for that matter, mold is a fairly common sight. Now, we know that black mold is bad for our health, but many people don’t realize just how harmful it can really be. Every day, people up and down the country are exposed to black mold and it, along with other similar forms of fungus, is responsible for countless chronic illnesses and disease symptoms, which we’ll be covering in more detail a little later on.

Black mold is such a problem that, recently, the CDC actually held its very first fungal disease awareness event. They also echoed what we have been saying for years, which is that, if you are suffering with an unknown illness or condition, with no obvious causes or triggers....please consider the possibility of it being caused by a fungal disease such as black mold. You see, the issue is that problems brought on by fungus, and fungal diseases, are often not diagnosed instantly because the symptoms are similar to those associated with other, more common, ailments.  As the CDC now says, "Think Fungus," if you find yourself not getting any better with treatment and be sure to consult your doctor or integrative medicine specialist and raise your concerns over the possibility of a fungal infection.

What exactly is black mold? – Black mold goes by scientific names such as stachybotrys, aspergillus, and fusarium and, as mentioned in the intro, it is unfortunately very common in homes, even without the hurricane floodwaters. This form of mold thrives on materials where there are naturally high levels of cellulose present: wood, cardboard, hay, straw, wicker, fibreboard, and so on. Mold also thrives in locations that are warm, with high levels of moisture, which is why your bathroom, especially around the shower, probably has traces of at least some black mold, even if it isn’t visible to the naked eye. There are other forms of mold, but as you can probably guess, this particular form of mold is distinguishable because it is dark black in color. Sometimes it can take on a green tinge and will also emit an unpleasant odour which can be musty, similar to mildew.

Black mold poisoning and what to do about it – Black mold poisoning is far more common than a lot of people realize, and there are a number of common symptoms to be on the lookout for. These include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Tickly cough
  • Allergenic symptoms

Integrative, holistic medical experts can help people suffering from black mold poisoning; and, the thing to remember, is that the severity of the symptoms will all depend on the amount of mold spores that you have inhaled and your state of health previous to the black mold exposure. If you suspect that you, or somebody you know, may be suffering from black mold poisoning, you should consult an expert. They can use ELISA urine testing to determine the presence of mycotoxins such as aflatoxins, tricothecenes, and ochratoxins.

Other, more chronic, symptoms - One of the main issues regarding black mold poisoning is that there are certain misconceptions, even within the medical community, that the condition is purely allergenic. Therefore, many of the current tests out there will not test for the more aggressive mycotoxins found in individuals who have been more heavily exposed to higher traces of black mold. This is why it pays to adopt a more holistic outlook as high exposure can lead to very serious illnesses. Though the spores are not visible to the naked eye, once ingested, the spores can cause a whole variety of serious symptoms. This is known as mycotoxicosis and can cause things like:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Asthma attacks
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hypersensitivity
  • IBS
  • Memory loss
  • Vision problems
  • Brain fog
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hyper sensitivities
  • Hair loss
  • Weight changes
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Seizure
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Flushing of the face
  • Fertility problems
  • Irregular heart beat
  • And even death in more severe cases

Roger and Maggie’s story – Two patients who recently benefitted hugely from an integrative, naturopathic treatment plan were Roger and Maggie. Both in their fifties, this couple were the epitome of health: They ate organic, they exercised several times each week, took health supplements, drank filtered water, and really took care of themselves. They should have been in peak physical shape but for some reason they both began finding themselves being tired, lethargic, dealing with headaches, and generally feeling unwell.

They saw a doctor who couldn’t diagnose any clear problems and chalked their symptoms down to a mild cold virus, prescribed antibiotics and told them to come back in a couple of weeks if they felt no better. Weeks later, they felt worse but unfortunately the doctor had no idea what was going on, as all of their lab tests were perfectly fine.

Eventually, they mentioned their health issues to a friend, who happened to notice a musty odor in their home and advised them to speak to an integrative medicine expert and consider the possibility of black mold poisoning.  An ELISA test was performed and, presto, a diagnosis was finally made.

Further research into their environment revealed the problem in the AC ducts...water was condensing around improperly sized/fitted AC ducts, leading to the growth of mold spores.  So, not only were there localized spores around the ducts and in the walls and ceiling, but when the AC was switched on, the spores were actually being circulated throughout their home. Their bodies were riddled with toxins causing all types of ailments. This particular strain of mold is potentially very deadly; it actually produces a toxin which has been used by the military for chemical warfare purposes, to produce ‘yellow rain’.

Roger and Maggie were treated and, thankfully, they both recovered. They were incredibly fortunate as the doctor actually told them that the amounts of black mold spores found in their bodies were normally found during autopsies. Fortunately their healthy lifestyle may have been enough to keep them alive long enough to seek help, as people in poorer health would likely have lost their lives weeks ago.

We are here to help!

At The Renewal Point, we truly understand just how frustrating it can be to have symptoms with an unexplained root cause.  Furthermore, merely treating the symptoms (depression, cough, brain fog, etc) is not only pointless, but actually deadly because the root cause, such as mycotoxicosis in the body and black mold spores in the house, still remain.  We feel that it's important to take a look at what could be behind the symptoms and make sure that we are targeting the problem at its source.

We are so relieved that the CDC is helping to bring awareness to this issue ~ too many people have suffered and died from black mold poisoning and it's time to put an end to it.  Whether your house was damaged by floodwaters, you have the symptoms mentioned above, or you "Think Fungus" for any other reason, then we urge you to come to The Renewal Point, or find another expert in mold poisoning.  Determining the presence of mycotoxins and immediately beginning treatment could be your lifesaver!

To schedule an appointment, ask questions, or get more information, you can call us at 941-926-4905, email us at info@therenewalpoint.com, or visit our website at TheRenewalPoint.com. 

About Dr. Watts

With a Board Certification in Integrative Medicine and over 15 years of experience using integrative, holistic, and functional therapies, Dr. Watts has put together an Integrative Medicine Program that has helped thousands of patients,  including hundreds of those suffering from black mold.  He has over 35 years experience in surgery and family medicine and holds a post-doctoral certification in Metabolic Endocrinology and  a Fellowship in Anti-Aging, Regenerative, and Functional Medicine.    For more information on his credentials or to see his complete CV, please follow this link: https://www.therenewalpoint.com/sites/default/files/Dr.%20Watts%20CV081017.pdf