With everyday stresses and pressures, it's easy to explain away chronic fatigue: I ran a lot of errands today. I didn't drink enough coffee. I stayed up too late planning the next day. While those explanations can be true, there comes a time when being tired isn't normal. If you're excessively tired every day, there may be something else at play — according to scientists, toxins caused by mold can be the culprit behind exhaustion. Keep reading to discover whether mold toxicity is causing your chronic fatigue, and what you can do to reverse it.
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Mold Toxins Trigger Fatigue
Exposure to mycotoxins (toxins produced by mold) raises risk of fatigue, suggests a study published in Safety and Health at Work. People exposed to mold were likely to suffer brain fog, as well. "Mycotoxins trigger an inflammatory response that wreaks havoc on the immune, nervous, and digestive systems," says Taz Bhatia, MD, author of Super Woman Rx (Buy from Amazon, $12.07). Another study from Clinical and Translational Allergy finds mycotoxins impair lung function, raising the odds of asthma and other breathing problems.
Adding to the problem: While water-damaged buildings that teem with mold are a well-known hazard, research in Clinical Therapeutics reveals exposure to mycotoxins may trigger other, more complex health problems, like cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and neurological issues.
Could mold toxicity be draining your energy?
If you‘re suffering from fatigue and at least two of these symptoms, mold may be to blame:
Shortness of breath
Mold Toxicity and Diabetes
Minimizing your exposure to mycotoxins may decrease diabetes risk, suggest findings from a study in Health Science Reports. Investigators determined that diabetes was more common in people who harbored high levels of a food-borne mycotoxin known as aflatoxin. And though the study authors point out the mechanisms behind the link require further study, the scientists note that previous research has linked aflatoxin and other toxins produced by mold to endocrine-disrupting effects that increase resistance to blood sugar–balancing insulin.
What do I do if I’m experiencing mold toxicity?
Doctors can diagnose mold toxicity with blood and urine tests, and VCStest.com offers a free screening test. While prescription medications are often advised to treat toxicity, the steps below can reduce mold exposure to restore energy.
Minimizing mold is key. Dr. Taz advises cleaning shower heads, stalls, and tubs with white vinegar, which kills mold. Also smart: Flush sink drains with ½ cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar weekly. For help assessing and removing extensive mold caused by flooding or leaks, visit NORMIpro.com to find a mold professional near you.
Diet changes can help. Avoid or limit wheat, corn, barley, oats, nuts, and cheese, which can harbor mold and mycotoxins, says Fred Pescatore, MD. And consider supplementing with N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) daily (Buy from iHerb, $ $18.27 for 120 tablets). The body uses NAC to produce glutathione, a substance that serves as the body's master detoxifier.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.