The Risk of Exposure to Mycotoxins is Real––What Can You Do?
In August of 2018, and article emerged detailing an alarming trend; mycotoxin contamination in crops and feed has risen dramatically in Europe, North America and in Asia in Q2 from Q1 of 2018. This, itself, should be alarming, but the article goes on to detail that not only have the incidences of contamination risen just in 2018, but these incidences are rising from prior years, as well. In 2017 in North America, for example, the risk level for mycotoxin contamination was assessed as “extreme”, which is the first time this has happened since 2013. Mycotoxins that have been shown to have increased include Deoxynivalenol, Zearalenone, Fumonisins, Aflatoxins, T2, and ochratoxin. (1) Authorities have attributed this sharp rise in mycotoxin contamination to factors related to climate change, including rising atmospheric temperatures, higher levels of carbon dioxide and water stress.
We have known for some time that mycotoxins contaminate a wide variety of crops. Among the more prominent studies detailing this problem was published by Ruth Etzel in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002. Her study concluded that corn is universally contaminated with mycotoxins, while wheat is commonly contaminated. (2)
So, this information is not necessarily new; what is alarming, however, is that the problem is clearly getting worse.
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?
Primarily, the concern about mycotoxins relates to the impact these toxins have on livestock, but we have known with certainty that these poisons can have serious health consequences for people, as well. Mycotoxins can induce a wide variety of health problems, including cancer. In fact, aflatoxins are among the most carcinogenic, naturally occurring substances in the world. While it is good to know that governing bodies are beginning to monitor this problem more closely––especially in light of the fact that levels of the poisons have been on the rise––invariably, some of these toxins do wind up both in our food supply and the feed that is given to livestock. Simply put: It is important to be proactive in protecting yourself and your family from toxic fungal byproducts.
One of the best ways that you can prevent exposure to mycotoxins is to eliminate foods that are most at risk for mycotoxin contamination. These include corn, wheat (and most other grains), sugar, soy, peanuts, and pistachios. Attention should be paid to other kinds of nuts and fruits such as bananas. Potatoes should also likely be avoided. While it is not always possible, it is best to look for varieties of grass-fed meat, free-range poultry and wild-caught fish as well––these products are less likely to be given feed contaminated with mycotoxins, making them less likely to be subsequently contaminated. Many of the foods that are at risk for mycotoxin exposure are eliminated on the Kaufmann Diet, which is a diet designed to starve pathogenic yeasts inside the body and eliminate the risk of mycotoxin exposure via diet.
While most medical authorities flatly deny that these poisons play a role in health problems, reports from our regulatory agencies might be suggesting otherwise; it is becoming more and more difficult to deny that these poisons are common in our food supply and may therefore by contributing to health problems on a large scale.