Mycotoxins and Our Health
Having spent quite a lot of time with the mycologically enthused, I consider myself fortunate to be a part of a community that readily embraces the holistic pursuit for personal health and wellness. Over the years I have come to believe deeply in the importance of learning how to harvest and make our own medicines from fungi. Empowering ourselves with these skills, we make way towards reclaiming our health from the industrialized medical system which all too often works against us rather than with us. When talking about fungi and human health, however, there is a critical piece of the conversation that is largely missing from the general mycological community, and that is the conversation about human fungal pathogens. Particularly I am referring to mold and the mycotoxins produced by these organisms. Being able to truly understand the ways in which mycotoxins can affect our health negatively is just as empowering as understanding their medicinal benefits.
Recently, Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Radio released a documentary called Moldy which explores the many ways in which molds inhabit the foods that we eat, the structures in which we live, work and learn, and how the mycotoxins they produce truly affect us. The list of symptoms that can be caused by mycotoxins is extensive:
Migraines, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, unusual periods, abdominal pain, joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, weakness, muscle cramps, focus/concentration issues, short term emory loss, mood swings, depression, sleep disorders, autoimmune disorders, inflammatory problems, diarrhea, weight gain, shortness of breath, sinus problems, cough, sweats, stiffness, confusion, disorientation, rashes, numbness, tingling, vertigo, increased urination, anxiety, panic attacks, fungal infections, metallic taste…
The most important thing to be aware of when looking at a long list like this one, is that mycotoxins create a collection of symptoms. It may be one symptom that is initially noticed, but over time as the days and weeks pass, the list of symptoms grows until an average of about 20 symptoms can be seen in an individual. The reason why I say that understanding how these symptoms can be traced to mycotoxins is just as empowering as understanding the medicinal benefits of other fungi is because many western medical practitioners are not trained to make this connection. As can be heard through the interviews in the documentary, many people who seek help for these symptoms are not believed by their doctors; they are often called hypochondriacs or crazy, are put on a slew of different medications which can include antidepressants and antipsychotics, and on top of dealing with all the side effects from said medications, are sent back to their home which is the environment that is usually making them sick in the first place.
Being able to identify that molds may be causing you serious health problems enables you to take the steps necessary to confirm or rule out this diagnosis. You can avoid being put on unnecessary medications, or perhaps now come off of the ones you were already prescribed. There are medical practitioners that do possess an in-depth understanding about mycotoxins that are open and willing to help you navigate this process, including helping you to develop a plan of detoxification — sometimes it’s just a matter of finding them. Most importantly, knowing what is causing your ailments can give your spirit the strength it needs to heal and open up to a new chapter of wellness in your life.
Though I found the documentary interesting and helpful, I find the extended interviews to be even more intriguing and useful. Below is one that I particularly recommend which also talks about the fascinating notion that cancer (and diabetes and other chronic illnesses) are in fact fungal in nature.