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Mycotoxins in Food (Part One)

As we attempt to rid our bodies of unwanted pathogens, it's critical to choose healthy, fresh foods which are both easily digested and uncontaminated. The following peer-reviewed study, published in 2003 by Tulane University, looks at the implications of mycotoxins in foods.

Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals. Because of their pharmacological activity, some mycotoxins or mycotoxin derivatives have found use as antibiotics, growth promotants, and other kinds of drugs; still others have been implicated as chemical warfare agents. This review focuses on the most important ones associated with human and veterinary diseases, including aflatoxin, citrinin, ergot alkaloids, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, patulin, trichothecenes, and zearalenone.

The study, which is lengthy and scholarly, looks at each mycotoxin and its threat to human and animal health. It gives the following information about ochratoxin, the mycotoxin which is emitted from some species of aspergillus and penicillium:

With other mycotoxins, the substrate on which the molds grow as well as the moisture level, temperature, and presence of competitive microflora interact to influence the level of toxin produced. Ochratoxin A has been found in barley, oats, rye, wheat, coffee beans, and other plant products, with barley having a particularly high likelihood of contamination. There is also concern that ochratoxin may be present in certain wines, especially those from grapes contaminated with Aspergillus carbonarius.

Of the Aspergillus toxins, only ochratoxin is potentially as important as the aflatoxins. The kidney is the primary target organ. Ochratoxin A is a nephrotoxin to all animal species studied to date and is most likely toxic to humans, who have the longest half-life for its elimination of any of the species examined. In addition to being a nephrotoxin, animal studies indicate that ochratoxin A is a liver toxin, an immune suppressant, a potent teratogen, and a carcinogen. Ochratoxin A disturbs cellular physiology in multiple ways, but it seems that the primary effects are associated with the enzymes involved in phenylalanine metabolism, mostly by inhibiting the enzyme involved in the synthesis of the phenylalanine-tRNA complex. In addition, it inhibits mitochondrial ATP production and stimulates lipid peroxidation.

To read the study in its entirety, click here.

Quotes

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"...at age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

Dedication