Top Signs You Have Mold Toxicity – What to know for people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
For decades, I struggled with numerous, terrible symptoms. But my bloodwork was always completely normal.
All of these issues started when my family moved into an old farmhouse in the country. I was 7 years old. That farmhouse was full of toxic mold.
At that time, we didn’t know how toxic mold could be…or how being exposed to it could affect you even years later.
When you live in the country, you usually have a big garden. We picked a lot of green beans for canning back then.
But anytime I had to pick green beans something about them would drive my Mast Cells crazy. And, I would end up covered head to toe with hives.
I remember the first time it happened.
My mom had asked me to pick a ½ bushel (this is a lot of green beans).
Halfway through, I started itching and itching.
And by the time I got inside, I had hives covering my entire body. The itchiness was so intense. I scratched my skin so hard and so much, my skin was bleeding.
I ended up having to get a Benadryl injection. And I missed getting to go to the big slumber party that night I’d been excited about.
This was one of the first histamine reactions I can remember having. Although, at the time, I didn’t know anything about Histamine Intolerance or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. No one did, really.
I also didn’t know Mold Toxicity was keeping my body from healing from these things that were going wrong.
By the time I was 28, I had crushing fatigue, was unable to walk due to severe joint pain, my period had completely stopped, my digestion was a mess, and my depression and anxiety were so severe I could barely leave my house even on good days.
I had numerous diagnoses:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Urticaria (hives)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Lyme disease…
The list went on and on. But nothing got to the bottom of it.
I ended up seeing over 75 practitioners and spending well over $350,000 in 15 years to try to get well.
I slid backwards so many times. And I reacted to all supplements and most foods.
Even the most experienced functional medicine doctor in my area ran out of ideas for me to try.
My major breakthroughs came when I finally learned that Mold Toxicity was keeping me from healing from all the other issues I was having.
It took a lot of training and education for me to learn how to detox the mold in a way my body could handle.
But thankfully, once I got mold detox right, my body finally started to heal. I can finally work and enjoy my life to my full potential. This is what I want for you too.
Does any of my story sound like yours? Every day I talk with people who are dealing with similar problems.
And, like me, they’ve worked so hard to do everything they could to heal. The worst part, in my mind, is how many times those of us with Mold Toxicity are told it’s all in our head.
Being told you’re crazy or you want to be sick is a crushing experience. Especially when you’ve been putting your all into healing.
Now I’ve made it my mission to help others who are dealing with similar “mystery” health issues. I’ve helped over 600 clients and found Mold Toxicity to be a major contributor in the vast majority of those cases.
Mold Toxicity is the #1 Root Trigger I see underlying issues like Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Histamine Intolerance, and so many related conditions.
But how did Mold Toxicity become so common?
How Mold Toxicity Has Become Epidemic – What to know if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
Mold Toxicity is more common than you realize. And it’s gotten worse in recent years.
Part of this started to happen with the new building codes put in place in the 1970s. Buildings are more energy efficient now.
However, part of the reason for that means airflow has been reduced in buildings. And reduced airflow can mean more humidity.
Which then means a better environment for mold to grow.
Also, “newer” materials like drywall can grow mold more readily than concrete. Drywall can serve as a type of food source for mold.
Just how common is mold toxicity?
In 2007, the EPA and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that 47% of all homes in the US have water damage leading to toxic molds!
A study in 2002 by the EPA reported that 85% of commercial buildings have water damage that can grow mold. In 1995, the US government found 30% of schools have major mold growth.
If you are exposed to mold like this, research shows you are 30-50% more likely to develop major health issues from it. It can contribute to anything from weight gain to serious neurological symptoms.
In addition to moldy buildings being more common, mold and their toxins also have become more aggressive.
Why has this happened? Preliminary studies and observations by top mold inspectors are pointing to EMFs from WIFI routers and the tons of WIFI devices everywhere these days.
See, EMFs are unfamiliar to mold. So, the mold sees them as a threat.
And when mold feels threatened, it produces more toxins. And their toxins become more dangerous.
Although studies are clear that Mold Toxins are very dangerous, it has gone highly under recognized.
And this has taken a toll on all of us who have been suffering with it.
Here’s the good news, though…
Addressing Mold Toxicity is the
I see in my practice for people with
Mast Cell and Histamine issues.
Let’s look next at why mold triggers Mast Cells so much.
How Mold Toxins Are Connected to Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
Studies show that Mold Toxins are strong Mast Cells activators.
Mast Cells are your frontline defender immune cells. Their job is to detect things that can harm you. They then cause reactions to get rid of anything harmful.
They do this by releasing chemicals called mediators. There are hundreds of these mediators. Histamine is just the best known one.
You probably know this by now if you’ve been reading this website for long.
Now, when Mast Cells release these mediators, they can activate the rest of the immune system. They can cause inflammation and tons of other symptoms, depending on which Mast Cells are affected.
See, Mast Cells are found all through your body. They are in your sinuses, your eyes, your gut lining, and even your tendons and bones.
And very importantly, the brain and whole nervous system have mast cells. There are mast cells at every nerve ending in the body.
But for all this Mast Cell Activation to occur, the Mast Cells have to be triggered by something.
And Mold Toxins are some of the nastiest triggers for Mast Cells.
When Mold Toxins are activating your mast cells, it can keep your system on high alert. Additionally, when your system is on high alert (or haywire), you can experience a wide range of symptoms.
There is another way mold can wreak havoc on your body, too. It has to do with when they colonize.
Mold reproduces using spores. This are microscopic things put off by mold. And kind of like plants seeds, if you add water and food to mold spores – they grow mold.
When mold spores get into our bodies, they colonize. This means they start growing in us.
This is bad news because anywhere mold grows inside us, it is decomposing our tissues to feed on our nutrients. Yuck!!
In my opinion, this makes Mold Toxicity much worse than things like Lyme or EBV. That’s because bacteria and viruses just want to weaken our bodies.
But think about the last time you left a piece of fruit sitting around too long and you saw mold growing on it.
The mold caused that food to deteriorate and break down.
This is what molds do in the human body, too. They start to decompose us.
First this happens on a microscopic level. And this can go on for years without lab tests showing anything outside of “normal” range.
Meanwhile, as you can imagine, you feel awful.
The ways you can feel awful can show up in a number of ways.
So how do you know if you might be dealing with Mold Toxicity?
The key to major health breakthroughs is figuring out what your absolute biggest underlying triggers are. And Mold Toxicity is huge in Mast Cell and Histamine issues.
That’s what this post will help you discover next – whether Mold Toxicity might be one of the biggest root factors underlying your own health struggles.
Classic Signs and Symptoms of Mold Toxicity – Info for those with Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
It’s important you know that this blog post is for informational and educational purposes. It’s not meant to treat any health condition or to be prescriptive for anyone. Always be sure to work with your healthcare practitioner.
Many of the nightmare symptoms I experienced over the years stemmed in some way from Mold Toxicity.
But symptoms can vary person to person. That is why many healthcare practitioners have a tough time pinpointing what is going on.
And that’s why, even with “normal” bloodwork, so many practitioners told me I must be fine…even when I clearly wasn’t.
Of course, it’s very important to get a medical screening to rule out any other conditions!
Not everyone with Mold Toxicity has all of the symptoms listed below. But usually, they have at least 20 of these. Often, people have many more.
Particularly check out the tell-tale signs below.
Do you have any of the tell-tale signs?
How many of the other symptoms of Mold Toxicity do you have?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Let’s look first at the top tell–tale signs of Mold Toxicity I see in my Mast Cell 360 practice.
Tell-Tale Signs of Mold Toxicity (and possibly Bartonella)
As we’ve talked about, there are a lot of different symptoms that can be related to Mold Toxicity. These are the ones that are very specific to Mold Toxicity.
Now, the only other thing I’m aware of that can mimic these is Bartonella. So, this is why it’s important to get those medical screenings.
And the best way to know if it’s Mold Toxicity is to do a Mycotoxin urine kit for it.
These are often very specific to Mold Toxicity. I’d encourage you to look further into Mold Toxicity if you experience any of these:
- Internal vibration/tremor
- Nerve pain – lightning-bolt or ice-pick type pain
- Strange skin sensations
- Sensitivities to everything (foods, chemicals, supplements, medications, sound, light, touch, EMFs, etc.)
- Static shocks
Let’s look at these in more depth:
Mold Exposure can significantly mess up nervous system signaling. One of the unique and classic signs of Mold Toxicity is internal vibration and tremor.
This means it feels like you are trembling on the inside. But nothing is visible from the outside.
It literally feels like a mild earthquake happening. If you’ve ever experienced this, you know what I’m talking about.
Nerve pain – Lightning-bolt or Ice-pick Type Pain
Mold Toxins can damage the nerves. They can also activate pain-sensing neurons.
A symptom unique to Mold Toxicity is what people call a lightning-bolt or ice-pick type pain.
This is a searing, intense pain that hits quickly and then goes away. It also moves around.
Weird Skin Sensations
The nerve issues in Mold Toxicity can extend to weird skin sensations. People sometimes report that they feel like bugs are crawling on them.
Some people have skin burning – without an actual burn.
I used to have this bug crawling sensation. It would drive me crazy. For years, I kept a flashlight by my bed at night to make sure I didn’t have bedbugs on me. *shudder*
Sensitivities to Everything (foods, chemicals, supplements, medications, sound, light, touch, EMFs, etc.)
This is again related to how much Mold Toxins can hurt the nervous system.
The nervous system is very involved in sensitivities. In fact, with Mast Cells at every nerve ending, the nerves constantly talk to the Mast Cells. And vice-versa.
When this Nerve-Mast Cell communication gets messed up, sensitivities to all kinds of things can develop.
Some people can become very sensitive to light and sound. Some people have more trouble with supplements, medications, or foods.
Others can’t handle any EMFs. Still others can’t handle the smell of gasoline or fragrances.
And some people become more and more sensitive to everything.
This is an interesting one. And again, it’s related to the nervous system.
If you have nerve issues from Mold Toxicity, things can shock you more.
Do you often get shocks when you reach for a door handle? Or hug someone in a wool sweater? Or even pet your cat or dog?
I remember when I was really sick with Mold Toxicity, even touching my dog would shock me. My poor puppy… 😏
People with Mold Toxicity don’t always have those tell-tale signs. So, what if you don’t have any of those?
There can be some other clues, though…
Consider Mold Toxicity as a Mast Cell trigger if you have even just 1 of these:
Chronic, Stubborn SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
How can Mold Toxins be involved in SIBO?
Well, there is a huge amount of the immune system in the gut. And it keeps bacteria levels in check so nothing gets out of balance.
This keeps any bacteria from overgrowing.
But Mold Toxins mess up this immune balance in the gut. And then bacteria start to overgrow.
Mold Toxins also can take a toll on gut motility. This means the bowel movements can get sluggish. Which also increases bacterial growth.
Mold Toxins affect the gut so much, many people with Mold Toxicity end up with SIBO.
Even with repeated protocols, many people have struggled with SIBO coming back again and again.
When this is the case, there is a good chance that Mold Toxins are keeping the gut from fully recovering.
In these chronic, stubborn SIBO cases, consider checking your body for Mold Toxins. I’ll tell you at the end of the article how you can learn more about this.
Chronic, Persistent Lyme or EBV (Epstein-Barre)
You’re probably wondering how Lyme and mold could be related.
Have you ever wondered why some people get bitten by a tick carrying Lyme and get very sick? But many other people get bitten by Lyme ticks and never develop symptoms?
Mold Toxins keep your immune system from being able to effectively fight off bacteria and viruses.
They also increase inflammation that can worsen Lyme and EBV symptoms.
My mentor, Neil Nathan, MD, is a Mold Toxicity and Lyme expert. He has seen that many patients who have chronic Lyme that just won’t go away also have Mold Toxicity.
Mold Toxins can make people very sensitive. That can also make it hard to handle harsh Lyme treatments.
Getting rid of Mold Toxicity allows the immune system to rebalance. Then it can be much easier to get rid of bacteria like Lyme or viruses like EBV.
Anxiousness, Low Mood, or Feeling on Edge
The effect of Mold Toxins on the nervous system can trigger anxiety or low moods.
These neurotransmitter and nerve signaling problems can make you feel on edge and panicky.
People start to feel like it’s their fault. Or they should be able to just snap out of it. But it’s hard to shake without getting rid of the Mold Toxins.
This is a common symptom I have observed among my clients with Mold Toxicity.
Hypermobility is when some or all joints are extra flexible. And this can cause joint pain.
These joints are held together by what are called connective tissues. But Mold Toxicity (and Bartonella) can eat away at the connective tissue faster than the body has built it.
There are some genetic forms of hypermobility. And those can be harder to work with.
But the kind caused by mold or Bartonella can often improve.
My own hypermobility has reversed by over 50% with detoxing Mold Toxins.
Chronic Sinus Issues
Mold Toxins can irritate the sinuses and activate Mast Cells in the sinus areas.
Also, mold can grow in the sinuses. When this happens, there will be even higher levels of Mold Toxins from the colonized mold.
This can all trigger the Mast Cells in the sinuses to create swelling and extra snot.
And, if you have sinus issues, you know how painful sinus swelling can be.
Heavy metals, like mercury and lead, are highly toxic. Your body wants to make sure they are not in your bloodstream.
Normally your body will try to excrete heavy metals. But, if the detox pathways stop working well, your body stores them in your tissues instead.
Meaning, if you have high heavy metals, it likely means your body cannot move them out.
Mold Toxins can slow down detoxification significantly. This is why Mold Toxins are often the reason people struggle to detoxify heavy metals well.
If someone can’t get rid of those heavy metals, it can make a big difference to check out whether Mold Toxins are causing problems.
Other Symptoms Linked to Mold Toxicity:
There have been links in numerous research studies to Mold Toxicity:
- Pain disorders, such as fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, genital pain
- Brain fog
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Multiple Sclerosis
- Hormonal problems, including estrogen dominance and endometriosis
- Abrupt weight gain and difficulty losing weight
- Mold allergies or fungi intolerance
- Feeling worse after mold exposure in food, environment, or other contamination
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
If so, chances are that if Mold Toxicity is contributing to your conditions, testing and detoxing mold correctly could be extremely helpful.
Correctly testing and detoxing mold brought breakthroughs in my healing after decades of suffering. I’ve also found this to be key for my clients.
There are many other symptoms people can have, too.
Nervous System Symptoms
Some people will experience nervous system symptoms, such as:
- Pain in muscles, joints, or nerves without clear causes (like without an injury)
- Cognition and memory issues
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Tics and twitches
- POTS, low blood pressure
- Sensitivities to lights, sounds, or touch
- Sensitivity to foods, supplements, and/or meds.
Many people have experienced persistent allergy-like symptoms, such as:
- Sinus issues
- Throat closing
Headaches and Migraines
Mold Toxins can irritate the nerves in the face.
This can cause headaches.
Even people who have not had chronic headaches or
migraines previously can develop migraines after
Joint or Muscle Pain
Mast Cells can activate pain neurons. We talked already about the lightning- bolt or ice-pick type pains.
Mold Toxicity can cause joint and muscle pains, too.
Those toxins cause inflammation, and inflammation that can lead to pain in the joints and muscles.
Joint and muscle pain is something I struggled with a lot. There were times when I hurt so badly that I would put off going to the bathroom just so I wouldn’t have to hobble down the hall.
Getting the Mold Toxins out was a game-changer.
People exposed to mold in their homes are much more likely to have chronic sleep problems.
In a study of 11,318 European adults, those with dampness and mold at home showed increased risk of insomnia, snoring, and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Histamine is also involved in sleep issues.
And mold can trigger the mast cells to over-release Histamine. This can disrupt sleep.
Also, the sinus and lung problems caused by Mold Toxins may disrupt breathing during sleep, making good, restorative rest challenging.
This is another issue I struggled with as far back as childhood.
There were times when I slept (if you can call it that) only 2-3 hours each night. Again, my doctor didn’t believe I could be functioning on this little sleep.
Getting rid of the Mold Toxicity went a long way in fixing my sleep.
Getting good, deep, sleep is something I fully appreciate more than ever now!
Gut problems are among the most common of symptoms I see with my clients. And so many times, mold is the root cause.
Mold Toxins can activate Mast Cells in the gut mucosal lining. This can lead to a leaky gut. And leaky gut can contribute to all kinds of trouble in the rest of the body – like food sensitivities and even autoimmunity.
Mold Toxins also mess up the immune balance in the gut. This gut immune balance should be keeping bacteria levels in check.
But Mold Toxicity can lead to bacterial overgrowth in the gut. This is very uncomfortable.
Additionally, if Mold Toxins damage the vagus nerve, the result can be abnormal gut motility. When that happens, you are more like to see conditions like:
- Slow stomach emptying
- Slow GI motility
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Constipation and/or diarrhea
I’ve certainly had more than enough dealings with all of the above! And my clients have experienced this, too. Gut problems can really alter your quality of life.
You might be able to relate to “Alicia” (name changed to protect privacy).
Alicia dealt with IBS and diarrhea for years. It started affecting her job. She did contract work for events like weddings.
And her job meant she had to be “on” all evening long to not miss a thing. But sometimes, even just eating a few veggies from the appetizer tray sent her right to the bathroom.
She was embarrassed that guests or the bridal party would hear her in the bathroom.
But more than that, she had to worry about missing some of the couple’s critical moments.
She didn’t know that musty smell in her basement was, in fact, toxic mold. And it was making her sick.
But she finally learned mold was making her gut a mess. When she got the Mold Toxicity handled, her gut issues cleared up fairly quickly!
Histamine Intolerance is mainly a food intolerance. People with Histamine Intolerance have trouble breaking down histamine.
When those histamine levels build, it can trigger the mast cells.
One of the main enzymes that breaks down histamine in the gut is Diamine Oxidase (DAO). This enzyme is in your gut lining.
Mold Toxins can inflame and damage the gut lining. The chronic inflammation from mold can also damage the gut.
This can contribute to Histamine Intolerance because the damaged gut lining cannot produce enough DAO.
As a result, it can cause you to develop histamine reactions to high histamine foods.
Also, Mold Toxicity causes the body to make more histamine as well. Which can cause a lot of Mast Cell Activation.
Another problem common in Mold Toxicity is Salicylate Intolerance. This is where people can have a lot of symptoms after eating colorful fruits and veggies, which are loaded in what are called salicylates.
This can cause trouble breathing, ear ringing, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even hives.
So how can Mold Toxicity cause Salicylate Intolerance?
It has to do with detox.
Both salicylates and Mold Toxins require Phase 2 detoxification in the liver to detox them.
Mold Toxins can slow down Phase 2 detoxification by hogging up those Phase 2 detox enzymes. When this happens, your body can’t move salicylates out.
Many common substances, foods, and medications contain salicylates, or are similar to salicylates, such as:
- Herbs and spices (most)
- Most herbs, both medicinal and culinary
Ear ringing is also called tinnitus.
Salicylate Intolerance isn’t the only thing that can cause ear ringing.
Mold Toxins can trigger nerve endings in the ears to create ear ringing.
Mold exposure can cause mold colonization in the ears. This can also cause you to hear ringing in your ears, even though nothing is producing a sound.
Many people get relief by working through a comprehensive, but gentle, mold detox protocol.
So often, we can get run down by any number of things. Stress, lack of sleep, over-exertion, just to name a few. But fatigue can start inside the body, too.
Mold Toxins and overgrowth can cause long-term inflammation, leading to persistent fatigue. And they can also cause something called Cell Danger Response.
This is where your body shuts different processes down to try to survive. It includes energy production.
Therefore, chronic fatigue is common among people with Mold Exposure.
Some of my clients are highly motivated by their families. Some are motivated to get back their purpose in life. Either way, they want energy again.
They want to have the energy to enjoy a vacation. They want to be able to cook homemade meals. They want to be able to go back to work.
There was a time when I could only work five hours a week. And what I thought was my purpose (going to medical school) fell apart completely. I couldn’t even make it to a class that started before 11am.
But I wanted to work. I wanted to have purpose and independence.
Fatigue played a huge role in me not going after what I initially thought was my purpose. In the long run, I think the bigger purpose found me.
Now, I am fulfilled in my work helping others. And I have energy to work full time…and I’m able to go on adventures like hiking and even scuba diving!
I want for you to get back to having adventures, too.
What Can You Do About Mold Toxicity, Especially with Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?
Every week, someone reaches out to me saying that they are down to tolerating 10 foods or fewer. Or they can’t walk through the detergent aisle at the store without feeling nauseated.
But many of my clients start to see improvements once they get the mast cells calmed down and once they start addressing mold.
I have worked with many clients who were house-bound and felt like there wasn’t anywhere else to turn.
I remember specifically a woman I’ll call “Madelyn.” She hadn’t left her house in over a year because of how sick she was.
She’d been trying to recover her health for 10 years. But she just kept getting worse.
We figured out she had Mold Toxicity. And she started on a very gentle, customized mold detox.
16 months later, she was not only getting out of the house. She went on a trip to Sedona! This was only a pipe dream 2 years before.
After years of not having strength or stamina, she was able to see hope again. She was able to envision being able to go to her daughter’s wedding. It was a big deal.
I’ve found that 99% of my clients have Mold Toxicity. But, once they detoxify mold correctly, they can significantly reduce their Mast Cell Activation.
A lot of advice out there for people with major health issues, though, doesn’t take into account Mold Toxicity.
Many people with Mold Toxicity are often highly sensitive and have trouble detoxifying.
As a result, they tend to not get better from that advice. Worse yet, it can make them even sicker.
I have taken the wrong advice and suffered badly from the consequences many times. I don’t want that to happen to you.
If you have some of the symptoms above, it is likely that you have inflammation and toxicity from mold. So, I recommend getting tested and addressing Mold Toxins.
However, it is important to do it correctly and slowly, step-by-step. Detoxifying mold in the wrong order or too fast can make you very sick.
My MC360™ Precision Mold Detox Protocol is science-based and optimized through working with over 600 very sensitive clients with Mold Toxicity.
Currently, my practice has a 1-year waiting list.
But I know there are people who need this information who can’t wait a year. So, I’m teaching my detox method, along with all the science, in my MC360™ Precision Mold Master Class.
I want you to experience your own health breakthroughs, just like I did. I want you to get back to living your best life!
References on Mold Toxins for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
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