Are you suffering from Mold Sickness / Mycotoxin Toxicity?

The mysterious symptoms around Mold Toxicity: A deep dive on Molds & Mycotoxins

Taken from a medical paper by Andrew W. Campbell, M.D.

What are Molds and Mycotoxins? 

Molds produce toxins known as mycotoxins. Molds are ALWAYS present in homes or other places that are water damaged and they are ALWAYS producing mycotoxins.
It is well established in medicine and science that exposure to molds and mycotoxins indoors is hazardous to health, and more so in children and the elderly. Molds grow on wet surfaces and sporulate. They produce spores of different colors. Molds can grow on dry wall, attics, insulation, basements, underside of carpeting, ventilation ducts, crawl spaces,
and many other places.

Even small amounts of mold growth in an air conditioner or in ducts will result in the occupants being chronically exposed, constantly breathing mold spore and mycotoxins causing illness. As a result of water damage, a home and/or workplace can also have other factors involved, usually bacteria growing and releasing endotoxins into the ambient air. When people smell something “musty” or “moldy”, they are actually smelling VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) produced by molds.

Chronic exposure to even low levels of molds, mycotoxins and VOC’s, can cause serious health problems. Diseases caused by fungi (molds) are called mycosis, and fortunately they are not a communicable disease. Mycoses have increased over the last 4 decades as a result of the AIDS pandemic and the advent of chemotherapy, transplantation, immunosuppression with medications including corticosteroids, access to the vascular system, as well as climate change with more floods, hurricanes, storms, etc.

Mycotoxins are toxins produced by certain molds (fungi). Mycotoxins are odorless, invisible, and tasteless. Mycotoxins can cause a variety of adverse health effects and pose a serious health threat to humans. The adverse health effects of mycotoxins range from acute toxicity to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer. To use an analogy, molds are the gun and mycotoxins the bullet.

Mycotoxins are what mold spores produce which weaken and destroy human health. Mycotoxins are very strong and powerful and destructive to our organs and systems. Mycotoxins can suppress the immune system. The alteration of immune responses due to chronic mycotoxin exposure may also adversely affect the ability of the immune system to fight infections and other environmental challenges. This may explain why patients complain of increased susceptibility to infections and increased responses to chemical irritants. Patients may report more sensitivity to a number of chemicals, odors, etc.

It has been well documented in the literature that water intrusion from leaky roofs, pipes, windows, poorly maintained flashings, flooding from leaking washer, dishwasher, ice maker, etc. in the home as well as in the workplace cause mold growth with the subsequent addition of mycotoxins. Reports of exposure include homes, office buildings, courthouses, hospitals, hotels, schools, and universities. The effects of filamentous molds and mycotoxins on human health have been written about for centuries. An excellent protocol on what to do with
a dwelling affected by mold can be found in chapter 14 of Leviticus in the

How a person reacts to molds and mycotoxins depends on that person’s
health and nutritional status, if they have other medical conditions, and
how long was the exposure.

It is important to know that one mold can produce a number of different mycotoxins and one mycotoxin can come from several different molds. It is not a one-to-one ratio. Mycotoxins are not easy to get rid of. It takes heat at 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius) for half an hour or fire at 900 degrees Fahrenheit (482 degrees Celsius) for 10 minutes to destroy
trichothecene mycotoxins. Ozone is supposed to get rid of all or most mycotoxins, but the level of ozone needed is toxic to humans. HEPA filters do not remove mycotoxins from the air, though activated carbon filters can help. This is due to the size of mycotoxins: 0.1 microns. As
a comparison, human hair is about 100 microns and mold spores about 2-3 microns.

Can mycotoxins come from foods and beverages?

The short answer is no. Many patients ask if molds and mycotoxins can come from foods and beverages. It is possible, but the amounts are parts per billion. To visualize this, cover 100 football fields with one layer of golf balls. One part per billion is removing one golf ball. Foods and beverages may contain less than 10 parts per billion. It is too little an amount to affect people’s health and is easily and quickly excreted in urine. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), low levels of mycotoxins are found in many foods. For that reason, they are routinely present in the urine of healthy people. Therefore, it does not mean that the person is suffering from any disease or disorder related to molds or mycotoxins if they injest mycotoxins orally or if a urine test comes up positive for them. *If a urine test comes back with an concerningly high amount of mycotoxins well above the allowance, this would be a potential for concern. 

The most important point is that if you have NORMAL mycotoxin levels in urine, it is a good thing: the body is doing its job of getting rid of tiny amounts of mycotoxins from foods and beverages. Urine is an excretion and how the body gets rid of things. For example, a study from July 2021 shows that in samples of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk from cows, 92% had one or more mycotoxins. However, the levels of mycotoxins were all below maximum allowable levels set by the Federal Government, showing that this is all easily excreted.

Mycotoxins Are Linked to Many Illnesses:

Autism: Exposure to molds and mycotoxins have been linked to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism is slowly but surely increasing, currently at one in 54 children. A published study looked at 172 children with ASD and 61 controls. The authors showed significant differences comparing mycotoxin antibody levels between the two children’s groups, with the ASD group having much more elevated levels of mycotoxin antibodies. In a subsequent study of ASD, these researchers linked ASD to ochratoxin. We have many case reports where autistic children have improved after treatment for mycotoxins. The mycotoxins in these studies are tested for by Mymycolab.

Alzheimer’s disease: Exposure to molds and mycotoxins have been linked to Alzheimer’s
disease (AD). In autopsies conducted on persons who died with Alzheimer, a significant percentage were found to have mycotoxins in the brain. There are a number of published studies linking AD to mycotoxins.

Autoimmune Disorders: Antibodies to mycotoxins can form adducts and bind to human tissues, triggering autoimmunity. Many patients suffering from autoimmune thyroiditis, Addison’s disease, lupus, MS, etc. may have been affected by mycotoxins. If the test for
antibodies is positive, then the patient should be treated for the mycotoxins and the
autoimmune reaction can fade away.

Chronic sinusitis: It has been demonstrated in studies that molds cause sinusitis and that this is much more common than what was previously thought. A publication from the Mayo Clinic showed that 96% of chronic sinusitis is caused by molds.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease) The well-known scientist at Cambridge University, Dr. Stephen Hawking, who recently died suffered from this disease. It is a progressive and fatal disease and approximately 90% cases of ALS are sporadic, possibly caused by mycotoxins, with 5-10% due to genetic mutations. A 2019 published review of ALS looked at exposure of neurons (brain cells) to mycotoxins showing how these mycotoxins can
cause ALS.

Asthma: Asthma is frequently a result of exposure to molds and mycotoxins,
especially in children and also in adults.

Demyelination in the Brain and Peripheral Nervous System: There are many published studies demonstrating that the effects of mycotoxin that can result in demyelinating diseases. In one such study of 119 patients exposed to molds and mycotoxins, all tested positive to
mycotoxins antibodies, and all had demyelination, and there are many more publications. This demyelination can result in Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP), or mimic Guillain Barre Syndrome.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Studies have shown that exposure to molds and mycotoxins is a risk
factor in MS and other autoimmune diseases. Rutgers University
Medical School and other medical centers have published studies
showing how mycotoxins can cause MS.

Mastocyte Activation: IgE antibodies to mycotoxins affect mast cell and can lead to Mast
Cell Activation Syndrome. The IgE antibodies to mycotoxins also
trigger mast cells to release pro-inflammatory cytokines


Many patients suffering from Lyme disease Chronic Lyme disease may have mycotoxicosis, or both. The symptoms for both are very similar, and when the treatment for Lyme, which is a bacteria, fails to cause a significant improvement in a person, the reason may be that
it is mycotoxins actually causing the problem. This is why I published an article in 2019 about how to tell if a patient has Lyme disease or mycotoxicosis. It is included in the references.


Many patients get misdiagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and others. The accuracy and specificity of IgG and IgE antibodies to mycotoxins is of the highest levels available and will help any clinician in the differential diagnosis of many medical conditions.


The chronic inflammatory response from mycotoxin toxicity can affect hormones in men and women. There is upregulation of the enzyme aromatase, which is responsible for the last steps of estrogen biosynthesis from androgens (i.e., testosterone), resulting in the increased conversion of testosterone to estrogen. All estrogens need the appropriate function of the liver and of cytochrome. P450 enzymes to enable them to be metabolized. Cytochrome P450
enzymes are essential to the body to detoxify. Mycotoxins block P450 enzymes, making it much more difficult for the body to get rid of toxin, but also affecting estrogens.

T-2 mycotoxin, part of the trichothecene family of mycotoxins, has been shown in studies to decrease testosterone biosynthesis and secretion. Alternariol mycotoxin is antiandrogenic, meaning it reduces the effects of testosterone, as does Ochratoxin and Deoxynivalenol aka Vomitoxin.

Another factor is that mycotoxins can affect the thyroid hormone and this is more common than many clinicians realize. Also, from what is written above, mycotoxins can cause autoimmunity; therefore, autoimmune thyroiditis is found in patients affected by mycotoxins. In these cases, after treating the patients for mycotoxins, the autoimmune thyroiditis fades away.

Blood serum testing for mycotoxin antibodies have been used for over 20 years and are highly accurate. The specificity and sensitivity of blood serum testing for the presence of IgG and IgE antibodies to mycotoxins in the blood are of the highest degree.


Mycotoxins Include: 

1. Satratoxin
2. Verrucarin and Verrucarol 8
3. Ochratoxin (A and B)
4. T2 Toxin
5. Vomitoxin aka Deoxynivalenol
6. Cladosporium toxin (Cladosporium HSP 70)
7. Alternaria toxin (Alternariol)
8. Aspergillus Toxin (Aspergillus hemolysin)
9. Aspergillus Auto-Toxin (Sterigmatocystin)
10. Penicillium Toxin (Mycophenolic acid)
11. Asp/Pen Neuro Auto-Toxin (Gliotoxin)
12. Stachybotrys Toxin (Trichothecene)

A brief explanation of each mycotoxin:

Satratoxin: is a trichothecene mycotoxin mainly produced by Stachybotrys, also known as “black mold” and is one of the most potent mycotoxins. It is known to cause neurotoxicity and inflammation in the brain and induces apaptosis of the olfactory sensory neurons. Satratoxin can cause fatigue, headaches, nosebleeds, pulmonary hemorrhage, chest pain, moist dermatitis, and fever. It is neurotoxic and causes neurocognitive symptoms. Individuals exposed to Satratoxin can develop a chronic immune response (inflammation and oxidative stress) leading to brain and nerve cell damage.

Verrucarin and Verrucarol: are trichothecene mycotoxins mainly produced by Fusarium and Aspergillus species and are known to cause tremors, immune toxicity, inflammation, are
cytotoxic, and are potent protein synthesis inhibitors.

Ochratoxin: can cause immune suppression, lung disease, urinary tract tumors, and is toxic to kidneys, liver, and is carcinogenic (causes cancer). This is due to its ability to affect DNA and inhibit protein synthesis. Ochratoxin can potentiate the effects of IL-1β on IL-8 secretion
with a range of 35% to 138% increase and augments the transepithelial passage of commensal bacteria with a 12- to 1522-fold increase.

Studies have shown it causes leaky gut syndrome and changes the nutrients that are absorbed from foods. It cannot be excreted in urine. The highest Ochratoxin levels are found in breast milk.

Ochratoxin’s major targets are:
Skeletal muscle 9
Fat tissue
Ochratoxin crosses the placenta.

T2 Toxin: are trichothecene mycotoxins and are the only mycotoxins that have been used in biological warfare. They can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and intestinal hemorrhage, as well as changes in reproductive cycles and infertility. This mycotoxin is known to decrease testosterone.

Vomitoxin aka Deoxynivalenol: are trichothecene mycotoxins and can destroy intestinal barrier function, resulting in anorexia, inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease. They can increase IL-8 secretion with a 10- to 15-fold increase. This mycotoxin can affect both estrogen and testosterone.

Cladosporium Toxin (Cladosporium HSP 70): The airborne spores of Cladosporium species are significant allergens, and they can severely affect asthmatics and people with respiratory diseases. Cladosporium also produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are neurotoxic. Severe headaches, seizures, and sleepiness are the most common clinical

Alternaria Toxin (Alternariol): is cytotoxic (toxic to cells), mutagenic (causes mutations), genotoxic (genes), and causes immune suppression. This mycotoxin is also known to form reactive oxygen species (ROS), causing inflammation, and to lower testosterone.

Aspergillus Toxin (Aspergillus Hemolysin) can cause immune suppression and is carcinogenic. It is toxic to cells (cytotoxic) especially neutrophils and macrophages. It is a hemolytic mycotoxin, meaning it destroys red blood cells.

Aspergillus Auto-Toxin (Sterigmatocystin) carcinogenic (causes cancer), mutagenic (causes mutations), and teratogenic (causes malformations of the fetus), hepatotoxic (liver); can cause autoimmune diseases.

Penicillium Toxin (Mycophynolic acid): can cause immune suppression.

Asp/Pen Neuro Auto-Toxin (Gliotoxin): can cause immune suppression,
neurotoxicity (has been linked to multiple sclerosis and others), and
immune toxicity. It is toxic to genes (genotoxic) and show potent
cytotoxic activity against white blood cell (leukocytes) such as
macrophages and polymorphonuclear leukocytes at extremely low

Stachybotrys Toxin (Trichothecene): Trichothecene mycotoxins can 10 cause the following: Vascular system: increased vascular fragility (blood vessels), pulmonary hemorrhage or hemorrhage into body tissues.
Nervous system: tremors, headaches, seizures, sleep disturbance, incoordination, and depression. It can also cause demyelination of nerves leading to Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy(CIDP).
Digestive system: vomiting, diarrhea, liver toxicity, intestinal hemorrhage, and anorexia. It is a cause of intestinal permeability.
Cutaneous (skin) system: rash, photosensitization, sloughing of skin, burning sensation.
Endocrine system: decrease in testosterone in men and women; increase
in estrogens in men and women.

Basic Immunology of IgG and IgE antibodies

In Microbiology, there are 4 classic pathogens that cause an immune
1. Bacteria
2. Viruses
3. Pathogenic fungi (i.e., Aspergillus, Penicillium, etc.)
4. Parasites

The immune system will make antibodies to these and once the infection is over, it will remain in “memory” as an IgG antibody. For example, if you had the chicken pox as a child, you would still have antibodies to this virus as an adult. These 4 pathogens a living, have cell walls, etc.

Toxins are a group of molecules; they are not alive, do not have cell walls, etc. Therefore, the immune system will make antibodies to toxins as long as they are present in the body. Once the toxins are cleared from the body, the antibodies fade away. This is a major difference between microbiology and toxicology.

What is IgG?

Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is the predominant immunoglobulin present in human serum (blood). This immunoglobulin constitutes approximately 75% of total serum immunoglobulin. IgG is the only immunoglobulin that can cross the placenta in humans, and it is largely responsible for protection of the newborn during the first months of life. Because of its relative 11 abundance and excellent specificity toward antigens, IgG is the principal antibody used in clinical diagnostics and immunological research.

What is IgE?

The immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to mycotoxins are often associated with allergies. IgE antibodies to mycotoxins cause mast cells to release histamine, heparin and other compounds called cytokines. These cytokines cause inflammation and can trigger what is known as
mast cell activation. Mast cells are located near blood vessels, nerves, and the lymphatic system. Many inflammatory diseases involve mast cells, such as arthritis, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis.

Mycotoxins also cause immune complex issues leading to inflammation, as well as mitochondrial cytophathy where mitochondria cause cell death, endocrine disruption, and others.

The following list are common symptoms caused by mycotoxins:

• Fatigue, usually mode worse by exercise
• Short-term memory loss
• Headaches
• Confused easily or changes in ability to learn Blurred vision
• Seizures
• Loss of equilibrium
• Light headedness
• Feeling “spaced out”
• Sleep disturbance
• Tremors
• Numbness and tingling in hands and fingers, feet and toes
Twitching muscles
• Ringing in ears
• Intolerance to alcohol Decreased libido
• Low testosterone
• Sores that will not heal Bruise easily
• Joint aches and pains Shortness of breath, cough
• Abdominal pain and discomfort, diarrhea, nausea
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Hair loss
• Nosebleeds
• Skin rashes, Hives
• Itchy skin 12
• Chronic sinusitis
• Recurrent flu-like illnesses Painful lymph nodes
• Severe nasal and other allergies Abnormal weight gain
• Low grade fever or feeling hot
• Uncomfortable urination
• Dry eyes and mouth
• Frequent canker sores
• Cold hands and feet
• Thyroid inflammation
Multiple sensitivities to medicines, foods, chemicals, etc. And... pets
get sick from mycotoxins too!

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the CDC,
low levels of mycotoxins are found in many foods. For that reason, they are routinely present in the urine of healthy people. Therefore, it does not mean that the person is suffering from any disease or disorder related to molds or mycotoxins. The urine test does not measure mycotoxins, it measures metabolites of mycotoxins. What does that mean? When a
person eats asparagus for lunch and the urine smells of asparagus for the
rest of the day, those are asparagus metabolites. A recent study published in the medical journal Toxins showed that milk, either pasteurized or unpasteurized, can contain mycotoxins, with anywhere from 1 to 4 mycotoxins. None were above the Total Daily Intake limits set by government agencies worldwide. These are safe levels and excreted in urine and don’t accumulate in the body.

Urine levels of mycotoxins mean excretion: it does not mean pathology. Furthermore, some mycotoxins cannot be measured in urine, such as ochratoxin. Almost all, 99.8%, of the ochratoxin in the body is very tightly 13 bound to the body’s main protein, albumin, so it cannot be excreted through the kidneys. It is reabsorbed from any part of the nephron by both active
and passive transport and by passive diffusion. Even so, there are laboratories offering urine testing for ochratoxin and it is the most commonly found in urine test even though it cannot be excreted in urine.

The FDA has not approved any urine test for mycotoxins. The CDC warns that such tests have not been approved for diagnostic purposes and have not been validated, meaning that you can’t trust them to tell you if anything is wrong with you or what to do about it.

Where do Mycotoxins Attack First? THE BRAIN

Mycotoxins have a significant toxic effect on the central and peripheral nervous systems. Studies have demonstrated that mycotoxins can cause loss of myelin leading to multiple sclerosis- like symptoms and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). It is common for patients to complain of neurologically related symptoms such as headache, blurred vision and other visual problems, brain fog, numbness and tingling, short- term memory loss, tremors, and many others.

Neurophysiological testing is very effective in pinpointing potential causes of the neurological effects of mycotoxins. Nerve conduction velocities can detect demyelination in the peripheral nerves of the upper and lower extremities and is more effective and sensitive than an EMG.

Along with your clinical protocol
It is very important to control and minimize environmental exposure to many toxicants:
This includes avoiding: 
  • Processed foods
  • Artificial sweeteners, colorings & preservatives in foods and beverages
  • Heavy metals
  • Living near golf courses, factories, agriculture areas where pesticides are regularly used
  • VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). Many VOCs are human-made chemicals that are used and produced in the manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants. They are typically industrial solvents, or by-products produced by chlorination in water treatment, such as chloroform. VOCs are often components of petroleum fuels, hydraulic fluids, paint thinners, and dry cleaning agents, paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions. VOCs are common ground-water contaminants.
  • EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields) which include the electric frequencies emmitted by: cell phones, computers, WiFi routers, blue tooth devices, light bulbs, wiring in homes and offices, TV's, cordless phones, microwaves, radios, "smart" electronics, baby monitors, electric vehicles, battery powered objects, power lines, cell phone towers, sattelites, communication devices and anything that has power. 
  • Living near freeways or heavy traffic
***Testing and natural protocols for Mold Sickness and Mycotoxin Toxicity can be found here at DMD Natural Medicine - in office and virtual appointments available. 
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