Have you ever asked yourself or been asked questions such as, “Can mold cause brain damage?” or “Can mold cause memory loss?” While exposure to mold is never good, it is mycotoxin exposure that can significantly affect your brain and physical health.
But what are mycotoxins and why are they harmful? Mycotoxins are, in essence, fungal poisons produced by microfungi that can range from a mild case of athlete’s foot to a life-threatening condition. Mycotoxins can invade your body through foods that contain mold, like grains, or through your respiratory system.
When you are affected by mycotoxins, you experience a poisoning known as mycotoxicosis. Your mycotoxicosis symptoms can differ depending on the types of mycotoxins you are exposed to, the extent of exposure, and other factors of mycotoxin exposure, including:
You may have heard of the link between mold and mental health, as well as some of the long term effects of mold exposure, but did you know that certain mycotoxins can impact your brain and cause neurotoxicity?
In 2011, a review published in the Journal of Molecular Science took an indepth look at specific mycotoxins known to affect brain functions--namely fumonisin B1 (FB1), macrocyclic trichothecenes, ochratoxin A (OTA), and T-2. Below, you will find a breakdown of the toxic effects of mycotoxins in humans who are exposed to these specific types:
One of the most toxic and abundant of mycotoxins, FB1 can be found in many cereal and corn products. It causes DNA fragmentation and cell death, inhibits protein synthesis, and disrupts the fatty acids within the brain and nervous tissues. Symptoms of exposure include:
Loss of appetite
Wet building materials that contain cellulose can harbor macrocyclic trichothecenes, which can cause neurological impairment, cell death, chronic inflammation, and damage to the pulmonary tissues. Exposure to this mycotoxin may manifest as:
OTA can be found in many foods, but cereal is a main source. It results in oxidative stress, mitochondrial impairment, enzymuria, and kidney disease, causing symptoms such as:
Chronic fatigue syndrome
T-2 can affect barley, grain, and rice while the crops are in the field or in storage, and has been linked to diseases such as red mold disease and alimentary toxic aleukia. Symptoms of T-2 are:
Further symptoms of alimentary toxic aleukia can include:
Perhaps the safest method to avoid mycotoxin poisoning is to limit your intake of common foods with mold in them, such as those mentioned above. If you are unsure how to recognize the symptoms of mycotoxins or how to remove mycotoxins from your body, I invite you to contact Sage Nutrition and Healing Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at 303.503.5969 today. I would be happy to discuss with you the relationship between mold and neurological problems, as well as your options for mycotoxicosis testing.