A Deep Dive Into Mold Toxicity, With Functional Medicine Practitioner Evan Brand
Tell us a bit about yourself
"I have been a top health podcaster and functional medicine practitioner for the last 10 years. It all started because I was suffering with IBS, skin issues, and mood issues that conventional doctors couldn't help me with. I embarked on the journey to live a pure and natural lifestyle which included diet, lifestyle, personal care, clothing, bedding, and supplement changes.
It wasn't until I found functional medicine testing that I was able to really get to the root of my issues which turned out to be a nasty combination of H pylori, parasites, candida, mold toxicity, lyme, bartonella, and babesia. This was all from various mold exposures throughout my life, chronic stress, and tick bites. I now share my stories and solutions on my Evan Brand Show podcast."
How common is mold toxicity?
"When you're working, living, and breathing in a water-damaged building, you're being exposed to mycotoxins. Think of these as "mold farts". Mold that grows in a water-damaged building off gases airborne toxins which can accumulate in the body, and create havoc in the gut microbiome as well as the brain.
Since I run a telemedicine practice, I've tested thousands of people from around the world and been fortunate to see people's test results from the USA to Australia, Canada, Africa, Europe, and many other countries. At least 90 out of 100 people I test show up positive for these mycotoxins. All of us have a story about playing in our grandma's moldy basement that smelled like must, don't we?"
Is it frequently overlooked or misdiagnosed?
"It's extremely overlooked, especially due to the specialization of medicine. I believe that everyone should run a mycotoxin screen - it can change your life, especially the lives of your children. If you're pregnant or plan to become pregnant, I highly recommend testing since mycotoxins go through the placenta and breastmilk."
Tell us a bit about the role that environmental toxins, like mold, play in one's overall health?
"Here's the long story short...
Kidney function declines significantly with exposure to mold. You will often have to pee 3 too 4 times per night which makes it difficult to get solid rest. Mold toxicity also affects the part of the brain that makes dopamine which influences your energy levels, drive, motivation, and attention span.
We often see issues with low serotonin as well which can cause OCD symptoms, anxiety, irritability, rage, and difficulty sleeping. Moreover, it can cause sugar, alcohol and cannabis cravings, or many other vices to try and give you a short hit of pleasure. You'll be wired but tired. You may become chemically sensitive and dread the thought of someone coming into your house with perfume, tide and dryer sheets. I was there...but I'm better now."
What are some psychiatric and physiological symptoms to look out for?
"Irritability, anger, rage, violence, thoughts of hurting someone or yourself. Dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, blurry vision, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, insomnia, low libido, hormonal imbalances, infertility, PANS...the list goes on.
There's research also linking chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, thyroid issues, weight changes, skin changes, blood pressure issues, neuropathy, POTS, and many other chronic health conditions to mold toxicity."
What's the mold-hormone connection?
"What happens is pretty complex but I'll simplify it the best I can. When you're exposed to mold, it opens the back door for bacteria, yeast, and fungus to move in. Those bacteria which may simply be called "dysbiosis" or "SIBO" elevate an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase. When this enzyme is high it causes the recirculation of toxins and hormones. These bacteria are making you sicker by breaking the normal detox process.
This is when things get exponentially worse in regards to your PMS, mood issues, depression, fatigue, and insomnia. Once we measure that enzyme on a stool test, we can use specific nutrients to help that pathway work more efficiently. It may sound complex but these issues are completely reversible in most cases."
What does a typical treatment protocol look like with you?
"Everything I do in my practice is individualized and based on what the lab testing uncovers. Sure, everyone could benefit from some activated charcoal and chlorella, but it's important to figure out what you're really up against.
My protocols typically include some level of adrenal/hormone support, liver support, kidney support, digestive enzymes, binders, herbal antifungals, herbal antimicrobials, herbal antiparasitics, multivitamins, and probiotics which are tailored specifically to your needs.
I have worked with over 3,000 clients and developed various broad-spectrum protocols that most people can follow and benefit from. At betterbellycourse.com I have over 1,000 students which range from medical doctors to naturopaths, health coaches, and DIY-moms who want to learn how to use, interpret, and make their own protocols based on these labs. It's a great opportunity to learn how to help yourself and your family."