Molds (fungi) and bacteria frequently grow heavily in water damaged buildings. Molds produce hundreds of different allergens which can worsen asthma and sinus problems. Molds also produce hundreds of different toxins called mycotoxins- including aflatoxins, ochratoxins, and trichothecenes.

Jannette Hope. A review of the Mechanism of Injury and Treatment Approaches for Illness Resulted from Exposure to Water-Damaged Buildings, Mold and Mycotoxins. Scientific World Journal, 2013; In Press.

Janette Hope, MD has recently published an interesting review of health effects of exposure to indoor molds, mycotoxins, bacteria and water damaged buildings. It is available freely at

Many bacteria can cause infections and Gram negative bacteria produce endotoxins which can worsen asthma and allergies and damage the immune system.

Several studies have reported that heavy indoor mold exposure is associated with significantly poorer memory and concentration in adults and significantly lower IQ scores in children. Other symptoms associated with heavy indoor mold exposure include headaches, chronic fatigue, tremors, and problems with balance. Many studies have reported that indoor mold and bacteria exposure can increase risk of asthma. It has been estimated that as much as 21% of asthma in the USA is associated with dampness and mold exposure. Heavy indoor mold exposure has also been associated with chronic sinus problems and growth hormone deficiency. Heavy indoor bacteria exposures have been linked to increased risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

How can heavy exposure to mold and bacteria be treated? The best method is to avoid heavy exposure in the first place. Since the limiting factor for growth for many molds and bacteria is water, all water damaged areas in buildings should be fixed within 24 hours to prevent heavy growth of mold and bacteria. Dehumidifiers and air conditioners can be useful for keeping homes dry and preventing excessive mold growth. Homes with large areas of mold or water damage may require professional remediation.

Nutritional and detoxification strategies may be useful for reduce the toxic effects of mycotoxins and speeding their elimination in the body. Gluthathione is a tripeptide and a powerful antioxidant produced in the body from cysteine, glycine and glutamate. Some studies have shown that nebulized glutathione to be very helpful to people with many types of respiratory disease included mold related asthma/allergy. Use of oral charcoal, clay and the drug cholestyramine can also bind some mycotoxins in the intestines to speed mycotoxin removal. Many oral nutrients such as antioxidant vitamins (A,C,E), whey protein (rich in cysteine- which is a precursor to glutathione) and revasterol (a phytochemical found in red or black grapes) can reduce the toxic effects of mycotoxins. The use of sauna and regular exercise have also been found to be useful in treating mold exposed patients.


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