What Black Mould Exposure Means For Your Health and How To Support Your Body And Skin
We know about toxins (or toxic chemicals) commonly found in fake tans, cosmetics and cleaning products, but have you ever considered the toxins that may live unknowingly in your home too?
Mould is one of the most under-recognised yet overly common toxins that we are exposed to.
You may know mould when you see it but what exactly is it and why is it bad for our health?
An airborne toxin derived from a type of funghi and grown in damp or poorly ventilated areas, mould works by reproducing itself into tiny particles called ‘spores.’
As spores release into the air they can transmute into different chemical byproducts, such as toxic compounds like mycotoxins, which when exposed to us can have detrimental impacts on our health such as causing the immune system to crash.
In Australia the World Health Organisation estimates indoor dampness affects between 10 and 50 per cent of indoor environments in Australia, due to the amount of river valleys and coastal areas we live close to.
So why is this something we should know about or are speaking about?
In a nutshell, because we believe we need to be as conscious of our home environment being clean and toxin free as we do our skincare.
Why? Well mould tends to go under the radar but mould exposure is in fact the leading reason our founder Corbin Halliday turned to clean, toxin-free living and created Three Warriors as a toxin-free tan.
Prior to Three Warriors, Corbin was a hairdresser and often exposed to hair chemicals with no understanding of toxin impacts.
However after he began to suffer from daily migraines, high blood pressure, hives, brain fog, short term memory loss, anxiety, nerve pain and constant fatigue, he started to look into what could be causing the long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Upon meeting with specialist Dr Ashley Beckham, a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, cellular detox and epigenetics expert and Functional medicine practitioner Corbin finally was diagnosed with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).
It turns out Corbin had experienced a build-up of toxins due to very high levels of black mould in his body, known as Mycotoxin Poisoning, which led to his health deteriorating.
Mould exposure, be it from mycotoxins or other funghi is according to the National Institute of Environmental Health found to contribute to a range of health symptoms.
CIRS is a chronic illness that can take years to recover from and the journey to recovery hasn’t been easy. To learn more on mould exposure and health effects, see the current government health page here.
For now, as part of his recovery, Corbin now eats only clean organic food and regularly still has treatments and consults with Dr Ashley.
With this in mind we want to share why even when you eat clean, organic, chemical free foods and use only the cleanest plant based skincare (and tan) on our skin you may still unknowingly be inhaling or exposing our skin to toxins every day.
To learn more about black mould and how to support your body we sat down with Dr Beckham. Read our interview below.
Q. How Common Is Black Mould Exposure?
It is very common actually. 50 per cent of homes have mould damage so it’s not abnormal to live with it, however it can depend on the individual and their tolerance, the types of mould, and even location of where it is as to how it affects people.
Interestingly, about 25 per cent of the population carries the gene that makes them more susceptible to mould toxicity. This means that even at a low dose exposure it can still create very bad symptoms. This is also another explanation why various people can live in one home and all be affected differently when exposed to mould.
Q. Why Are The Health Impacts Of Mould So Rarely Spoken About?
In recent years, mould has began to gain more attention from trained physicians, but currently most people do not believe or recognise mould toxicity. The reality of this is that when I then see clients, they have been set back for many years, if not a decade, due to not getting the proper treatment and support.
Most of my clients do not come to me because they know they have mould toxicity. They come often for auto-immune issues or conditions like Epstein Barr.
Q. What Drew You Into Working As A Mould Expert In This Space?
My interest in treating mould exposure came from seeing it as a common thread with a lot of my clients that had auto-immune issues, chronic illness or stubborn gut imbalances like candida overgrowths and SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).
Often I would send in tests for clients and I consistently would see mould exposure markers come back on the lab reports. Once I began checking for mould exposure as a fundamental part of examining the root causes of my client's health concerns, mould was what kept coming up over and over again.
Professional life aside, I recently (three years ago) had an increase in symptoms that I had not experienced in over 15 years. I tested myself and my home and found out there was significant mould exposure in my body, my family members and upon a home inspection, our home as well. This then inspired me to dive even deeper into the issue and has led me to where I am today.
Q. What Are The Common Signs Of Mould Exposure?
Mould exposure can include a range of symptoms such as: fatigue, joint pain, headaches or migraines, hormonal imbalances, thyroid imbalances, especially hashimoto’s, anger or irritability, depression or changes in mood, anxiety, frequent urination, digestive issues, food intolerances, chronic candida, skin issues (like hives, rashes, psoriasis), asthma, chronic sinus infection, changes in vision, reactivation of past viruses (EBV,HSV), brain fog or memory issues, weight gain or weight loss, chronic UTI’s.
Q.How Do We Treat Mould Exposure?
Well it’s still a relatively new space in healthcare. Currently most practitioners, even the holistic or functional doctors, do not know how to work with mould toxicity, so it is critical to find a mould detox expert.
I take a root cause medicine approach that focuses on analysing functional lab work, integrating high-quality supplements, and mind-body medicine to address these root cause problems. This whole-body approach to optimal wellness is where I see that true healing lies. As well as using meditation and stress relief techniques as supportive tools for the nervous system as well.
To know if you are directly exposed, test with Mycotoxin strips created by Dr Ashley.
To learn more about how treatment works, stay tuned for Corbin’s personal account after recent treatment.
Q.What Are The Best Ways To Support Our Health?
Keep in mind mould is not the only pathogen that will need to be addressed as it also suppresses the immune system. What this means is it can allow for other viruses, yeasts, bacteria and pathogens to flourish and re-activate.
Therefore our foundations of health are critical even when dealing with mould toxicity. This includes: regulating your nervous system, doing detox protocols and having a clean environment to all accelerate the healing process. See further tips below.
- Go to bed between 9-10 pm - your body processes toxins and recouperates during sleep.
- Eat the right foods for your body with minimal processing - think home cooked, simple meals.
- Drink clean water.
- Learn to regulate your nervous system - yoga, meditation, breathwork are all great.
- Eliminate well - you must be pooping, sweating and urinating regularly.
- Move your body - even if you can only walk, it is important to keep things moving.
- Request a customised protocol from a specialist (like from me Dr Ashley). A specialist can help support your detox pathways and binders (for binding up mould toxins) and adjust your needs along the way.
- Keep an eye out in areas like the bathroom, kitchen, ac unit, washing machine and basement - these are the most common areas mould grows.
- Remove mould using a targeted cleaning product like Mold Solution Concentrate.
- Clean mould off clothes with Borax - it’s an effective solution to add to your laundry when washing due to its high pH levels.
- Consider a P2 face mask if removing mould from the house. For more safety tips see here.
- Steer clear of bleach - despite it being popular online, bleach is not effective, according to Dr Ashley.
The World Health Organisation promotes the following to reduce mycotoxin exposure from food…
- Inspect both whole grains like corn, sorghum, wheat, rice, dried figs and nuts including peanuts, pistachio, almond, walnut, coconut, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts. These all can regularly be contaminated with aflatoxins, so look for evidence of mould, and discard any that look mouldy, discoloured, or shrivelled.
- Avoid damaging grains before and during drying, and in storage - damaged grains are more prone to invasion of moulds and mycotoxin contamination.
- Buy grains and nuts as fresh as possible.
- Always ensure foods are stored properly – kept free of insects, dry, and not too warm.
- Do not keep foods for extended periods of time before being used.
- Keep a diverse diet – this not only helps to reduce mycotoxins exposure but also improves nutrition.