The Neurological Connection With Mycotoxins
Anna is a happy-go-lucky twelve year old that has recently begun middle school. She typically enjoys knitting, reading, hiking, and baking. After only a few months of 6th grade, she began to get daily headaches that didn’t seem to go away with over the counter pain medication.
The headaches became so severe that Anna begins to feel isolated, frustrated, and sad. One month after the headaches begin, Anna begins to notice that her arms are twitching without her wanting them too. This has begun to really scare her as she has also developed daily body rashes and a chronic case of Candida.
Her parents are divorced but remarried and her father has chalked up Anna’s issues to stress from middle school. Anna’s mother has been really worried and has taken Anna twice to the pediatrician with no real outcome or path to follow afterwards.
A few months later, Anna develops heart palpitations on top of her other chronic symptoms that have not resolved.
Anna’s mother suddenly recalls her daughter’s telling her their dad’s house suffered significant water damage from a rainy season two years ago. The water had infiltrated through the wall in the main living area and nothing had been done about it.
Alarmed, Anna’s mom starts researching the potential neurological effects of mycotoxin toxicity. As it turns out, a build up of mycotoxins in the body can very well cause some of the neurological symptoms Anna is suffering from.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of mycotoxin toxicity can mirror many complaints seen today that have no real root cause. Things like headaches, nerve pain/tremors, depression, anxiety, candida, and skin rashes are often thrown in a general “allergies or sensitivities” bucket without a known cause (1,2) but the presence of water damage in a building inhabited by those that are vulnerable and symptomatic should shine a brighter light on the possible presence of mold.
Mycotoxins can affect the neurological system via multiple mechanisms, including the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, the suppression of GABA-producing neurons, cytotoxicity (killing of cells), and/or inhibiting cell division, to name a few.
Neurological symptoms of mold toxicity can show up as migraine headaches, tremors, pain throughout the body, imbalance, difficulty walking, and cognition issues. People affected by mold also often report episodes of heightened anxiety and depression (3).
Once Anna’s mother made the connection between the potential for mold toxicity and her daughter’s symptoms, she immediately found an environmental-focused practitioner to order a urine based mycotoxin test which showed high levels of three different types of mold.
One of these – Ochratoxin A, is highly related to exposure to water-damaged buildings. Anna is currently taking supplements to help lower oxidative stress in her body as well as bind the mycotoxins for elimination.
After 3 months on this program, she reports a drastic reduction in tremors, no more heart palpitations, and less headaches. Her father has also agreed to perform remediation in his house to properly get rid of the mold -damaged walls.
If this story sounds similar to something you or a family member or friend has experienced, consider that mold exposure may be at the root of their symptoms. Water-damaged buildings are becoming more and more commonplace due to weather and climate pattern changes across the globe, which have led to greater incidence of flooding.
And, because symptoms can take a few months to develop into something very noticeable, many people often do not attribute their chronic inflammatory symptoms to mold from previous water damage.
If you suspect you have been exposed to mold or mycotoxins produced by mold, consider having your doctor order the Vibrant Mycotoxins panel. It is the most extensive panel available, with over 30 varieties of mycotoxins tested from the widest variety of known toxic molds found in both contaminated foods and environments.
1) L. Curtis and A. Lieberman, “Adverse health effects of indoor molds,” Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 261–274, 2004.
2) W. J. Rea, N. Didriksen, T. R. Simon, Y. Pan, E. J. Fenyves, and B. Gri ths, “Effects of toxic exposure to molds and mycotoxins in building-related illnesses,” Archives of Environmental Health, vol. 58, no. 7, pp. 399–405, 2004.
3) Hope J, “A Review of the Mechanism of Injury and Treatment Approaches for Illness Resulting from Exposure to Water-Damaged Buildings, Mold and Mycotoxins,” Scientific World Journal Volume 2013, Article ID 767482