There are a wide variety of treatment options for mold exposure. Genetics, finances, circumstances, and individual physical needs play a role in determining the best option. The following is an overview designed to stimulate further research rather than suggest a specific protocol.
- Cholestyramine (CSM) is commonly prescribed for mold exposure. This is a bile acid sequestrant, which binds bile in the gastrointestinal tract to prevent its reabsorption. It also works as a mycotoxin binding agent. CSM can be compounded to contain no sugar. (One pharmacy which does this is Hopkinton Drug.) It is important to take CSM two hours before or after any nutritional supplements, as it will bind these as well.
- Activated charcoal and bentonite clay are two natural binding agents and often taken with CSM.
- Antifungal drugs. These include the plyenes, the triazoles and imidazoles, allylamines and more. Nystatin is an example of an antifungal drug. Antifungal drugs can be taken in nasal spray form.
- Low-dose Naltrexone. Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist. Low-dose Naltrexone (LDN) has been shown to be effective in treating immunologically related disorders.
To find a doctor, check the list of physicians on the American Academy of Environmental Medicine website. The level of knowledge regarding toxic mold varies. Other resources include the American Board of Environmental Medicine, which is currently working on an online list of physicians, and the Institute for Functional Medicine.
Natural Options (often integrated with conventional medical therapies):
CholestePure is often suggested as a natural option for those who cannot tolerate or want to avoid cholestyramine.
Garlic, oil of oregano, pau d'arco, olive leaf extract, caprylic acid (found in coconuts), barberry, and grapefruit seed extract are some of the natural antifungals.
Dr. Grace Ziem's Chemical Injury website contains a nutritional and environmental protocol for chemical injury.
Glutathione therapy is often vital to recovery. For more information, see this article.
Rashes often appear during mold exposure, as well as during the detox process.
Ketoconazole cream is a topical antifungal cream. Other skin remedies include tea tree oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and grapefruit seed extract (diluted).
Charcoal soap can be used as a detox agent. It can be combined with ketaconazole shampoo lather.
One goal of an antifungal diet is to starve the fungus, thereby halting the cycle that often occurs. Sugars and processed carbohydrates feed the fungus. Natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola discusses the benefits of an antifungal diet in his article titled Forget Antibiotics, Steroids and Medication - Starve This Toxin Out of Your Body.
For a helpful comparison of various antifungal diets, including a downloadable chart, see our article on Gut-Restorative Diets.
The entire body is impacted by mold exposure. Digestive tracts are hit hard, and so are endocrine systems. The brain is invariably involved as well.
Brain retraining programs often play a part in recovery based on the premise that the amygdala, a critical structure of the brain, is involved with protective mechanisms related to chemical and immunological threats. The amygdala often becomes hyperreactive to environmental triggers in response to toxic exposure, without the affected person realizing it.
Examples of brain retraining programs include:
Alternative Health Options:
A wide variety of alternative health options exist. Practitioners may not be familiar with the specifics of mold exposure but can address the need to detox.
These are a few of the numerous options available: orthospinology (a chiropractic specialty), ONDAMED, acupuncture, oxygen chamber therapy, IV therapies, chelation therapies, far infrared sauna, and much, much more.
It's important to note that a healing crisis can occur as detox from mold exposure begins. This is known as a "Herx Reaction"and is an increase in the symptoms caused by toxin circulation and inflammation. It is, therefore, not unusual to get worse before getting better.
If you are overwhelmed as you consider all of these options, remember that the detoxification process takes time. Trust your instincts. Begin with mold avoidance and diet as you consider the next step on your journey to recovery.