• Siri DeMarche

You're Probably Ingesting More Mold Than You Think-The Dangers of Mold Consumption

Updated: Jul 22

*As always, scroll to the very bottom for a TLDR synopsis*


Most people are aware of the dangers that come with ingesting toxic mold spors from a water-damaged building. Less are aware of how these spors can live on clothing and possessions long after they've exited the moldy building, and the true havoc that mold ingestion can wreak on one's health. Fewer still are aware of the origin of mold toxins in our food supply (aside from food left out too long). Regardless of water-damaged buildings or food gone past its expiration date, mold toxins are critically damaging to physiological and neurological function. Currently the majority of folks experiencing related toxicity symptoms are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed completely. Hopefully this will change as research migrates from scientific journals and papers to the mainstream medical community.


Mycotoxins are mold toxins found in yeast and fungi. While far from a recent discovery, we have only been categorizing them since 1985. The first known mycotoxin is penicillin and it was first discovered in 1928 as a hairy mold on a cantaloupe, designed to kill any bacteria that might eat the cantaloupe. Another commonly known mycotoxin is LSD, derived from ergot fungus on grains. While these two mycotoxins do not necessarily wreak havoc on your health per se, one being an antibiotic and the other the cause of powerful hallucinations, it is very apparent the impact that they can have in even small quantities. However we are not only dealing with antibiotic or hallucinogenic molds in our food. The mycotoxins identified in our food supply are arguably worse for your health and harder to detect due to lack of regulation. They are; potent xenoestrogens that cause weight gain and fertility problems, cancer-causing mutagens, and other mycotoxins that are associated with several cardiovascular diseases, nervous system disfunction, and RNA synthesis depression.



Think about ranchers. Cattle ranchers use a form of the Zearalenone mycotoxin (a strong xenoestrogen) to fatten their cattle on less food. When you eat these cattle you also ingest this mycotoxin, causing your weight gain as well. Zearalenone can cause infertility, abortion, and other breeding problems. The livestock most affected by this mycotoxin are pigs. This is alarming to humans because the reproductive system of pigs is similar to ours. Zearalenone causes an imbalance in sex hormones. In pigs, just trace amounts can affect hair and semen loss, while it takes only 3 ppm Zearalenone to cause end-of-pregnancy defects.


Mycotoxins were not always the issue for humans that they are today, and it is important to note that not everyone is equally susceptible to their adverse effects. 28% of the population is more susceptible to the ill effects of toxic mold found in water-damaged buildings & the same 28% is at a higher risk for experiencing more severe effects from consumption as well. For years, humans have used mycotoxins to ferment and preserve foods (think alcohol formed by yeast). The real problem began in 1964 when Stauffer chemical company patented the herbicide Glyphosate, aka Round-up. With the introduction of Round-up, protective bacteria in the soil was damaged and extremely aggressive pathogens were introduced. Glyphosate works by chelating (chemically binding) the essential nutrients in the soil (ex. zinc, iron, manganese, copper). This is such a problem because soil microbes are to the planet what probiotics are to your gut. Soil microbes keep pathogenic fungi from becoming dominant. This is one of the reasons why the consumption of Round-up can cause skeletal deformation in rats. Luckily the use of Round-up is becoming less frequent, but for the previous thirty years it has been used recklessly and has destroyed the balance of our soil.


Like humans, soil is a complex system and is wholly affected when a new variable is introduced. One pathogen stimulated with the introduction of Glyphosate is Fusaria. Fusaria causes sudden death syndrome in soybeans and contaminates most corn, wheat, and other grains. It has also been found on coffee. While it is becoming easier to avoid contaminated corn, soybeans, and grains, coffee beans is another matter. The lack of U.S. regulation of coffee beans makes it difficult to ascertain contaminated beans from non-contaminated beans. In fact, coffee that has been deemed unsafe to drink by other countries with stricter regulations has been sent to the U.S. for consumption. While the levels found in one cup of morning Joe may not be cause for high alarm, the repetition of consumption day after day could be cause for concern. If you experience jitters, headaches, a crash afterwards, and stomach discomfort, contaminated beans may be to blame.



Interestingly, many studies demonstrating the ill effects of coffee (anything from mild discomfort to cancer) do not control for its production process. Different processing methods can introduce various amounts of potent toxins depending on the duration of fermentation and the level of damage done to the the beans before roasting. Currently it is up to the consumer to discern the optimal coffee to purchase.


Some things to look for when purchasing coffee:


-Single-origin coffee rather than blends (blends increase the likelihood of toxins present in at least one source)

-When on the go, look for coffee houses that roast their own beans

-Coffee beans grown at high-elevation (mold is less prevalent)

-Buy Arabica beans (less likely than Robusta beans to grow mold)



Fusarium creates a dozen plus known mycotoxins. Included are: Fumonisins (associated with nervous system irregularities & cancer), Trichothecenes (most potent and damaging), and Zearalenone (a strong xenoestrogen, discussed above). Fumonisins are broken into two subcategories, B1 & B2. B1 fumonisin has been recorded in corn with levels of milligrams of toxin per gram of corn. However B1 fumonisin affects human health at the microgram level. B1 damages the liver and kidneys, contributes to the development esophageal cancer, and has been associated with defects of the brain and spinal cord in human embryonic development (neural tube defects). B2 fusarium is similar to B1 fusarium but with less severe associated consequences.


Trichothecenes are powerful protein synthesis inhibitors that react with sections of the ribosome inside a cell. They do not need to be metabolized to be harmful to cells, as they are harmful on initial contact with your skin and G.I. tract. Side note: in 1950, trichothecenes derived from fusarium contaminated grains killed 100,000 Russians though cereal consumption. Recall that the widespread abuse of glyphosate did not begin until in 1964, with the introduction of Round-up....


The dangers of mold consumption are very real. Fortunately the dangers of Round-up have been mainstreamed and it is becoming easier to avoid mycotoxins in our food supply. Here are some tips to avoid consuming glyphosate and associated toxins in anything from your cereal to your ice cream;


-Opt for organic when possible (if needing to choose between organic and non-organic because of expense, choose organic for anything where you will be consuming the skin-i.e. apples, berries, non-peeled potatoes, carrots...etc and non-organic for things with peels or skins that you do not eat, like bananas, squash...).


-Find locally sourced foods (less travel distance=less chance for contamination)


-Shop farmer's markets (you can ask right there if any chemicals are used)


-Choose whole foods over processed foods


-Choose grass-fed over grain-fed (grass-finished too if you can get it)


-Eat at home (you know the ingredients)


-Use a quality water filter to filter out contaminates like glyphosate


-Duh, don't use Round-up if you grow your own food or have a garden


-Refer above for coffee-related toxin consumption

And of course, I am always happy to answer any questions or provide additional information on how to avoid toxin consumption on a budget and without driving yourself insane :)



References


An investigation into Fusarium spp. associated with coffee and banana plants as potential pathogens of robusta coffee

Aspergillus to Zygomycetes: causes, risk factors, prevention, and treatment of invasive fungal infections.

Trichodermin, a possible inhibitor of the termination process of protein synthesis.

Genotoxicity of zearalenone, an estrogenic mycotoxin: DNA adduct formation in female mouse tissues.

Mycotoxins

Worse than DDT: When You Eat This, it Ends Up Lingering in Your Gut

The teratogenic potential of the herbicide glyphosate-Roundup in Wistar rats.

Mycotoxins


TLDR


Mycotoxins are mold toxins found in yeast and fungi. Due to lack of regulation, potent xenoestrogens that cause weight gain and fertility problems, cancer-causing mutagens, and other mycotoxins associated with several cardiovascular diseases, nervous system disfunction, and RNA synthesis depression have been identified in our food supply. With the introduction of Round-up (glyphosate), protective bacteria in the soil is damaged and extremely aggressive pathogens are introduced. Glyphosate works by chelating (chemically binding) the essential nutrients in the soil (ex. zinc, iron, manganese, copper). This is such a problem because soil microbes are to the planet what probiotics are to your gut. Soil microbes keep pathogenic fungi from becoming dominant. One pathogen stimulated with the introduction of glyphosate is fusaria. Fusaria contaminates most corn, soybeans, wheat and other grains. It has also been found on coffee.


-->To avoid potential toxins in coffee:

-Look for single-origin coffee rather than blends (blends increase the likelihood of toxins present in at least one source)

-When on the go, look for coffee houses that roast their own beans

-Coffee beans grown at high-elevation (mold is less prevalent)

-Buy Arabica beans (less likely than Robusta beans to grow mold)


Fusarium creates a dozen plus known mycotoxins. Included are: Fumonisins (associated with nervous system irregularities & cancer), Trichothecenes (most potent and damaging), and Zearalenone (strong xenoestrogen). Fumonisins are broken into two subcategories, B1 & B2 (B1 is more harmful).


-->To avoid potential toxins in your food:

-Opt for organic when possible (if needing to choose between organic and non-organic because of expense, choose organic for anything where you will be consuming the skin-i.e. apples, berries, non-peeled potatoes, carrots...etc and non-organic for things like bananas with a peel that you do not eat).

-Find locally sourced foods (less travel distance=less chance for contamination)

-Shop farmer's markets (you can ask right there if any chemicals are used)

-Choose whole foods over processed foods

-Choose grass-fed over grain-fed (grass-finished too if you can get it)

-Eat at home (you know the ingredients)

-Use a quality water filter to filter out contaminates like glyphosate

-Don't use Round-up if you grow your own food or have a garden



Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or any other medical body. I do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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