Mycotoxins: The Inconspicuous Culprit For The Cause Of Anxiety

Complexities brought about by mental health problems have been a constant battle for both patients and medical practitioners over the years on a global scale. More often than not, a silver lining presents itself for a promising course of treatment when the cause is clearly identified to be psychological, biological, environmental or a combination of these factors.

Why do I feel worse? Is it all in my mind?

A growing number of sick people of unknown cause are actively speaking out, seeking answers and help for their worsening health and mental conditions despite going through several lab tests, which come back with negative results and seeing multiple medical specialists. Although introduced decades earlier, recent scientific studies are progressing towards determining the role of mycotoxins as a missing link and noteworthy detrimental agent of mental illness and many more health concerns

What are mycotoxins?

The World Health Organization defines mycotoxins as naturally produced toxic compounds from molds that proliferate in warm and humid conditions, normally in food crops as hosts. Its investigated purpose is to protect its mold source while it thrives, without the origin they continue to exist therefore becoming a plausible health threat to humans and animals. Due to its airborne characteristic, these toxins can find their way into the human body through inhalation of contaminated air and skin exposure. In a favorable moist indoor environment, molds multiply into colonies, which in turn leads to increased mycotoxin levels in the surroundings. From thousands of identified mycotoxins, ochratoxin (OTA), aflatoxin, and trichothecene are the more commonly encountered types capable of causing diseases, including neurotoxicity.

Concomitant to mold toxicity, black mold illness is an equally important subject to discuss and understand since exposure occurs in homes and buildings. Stachybotrys is a more familiar greenish-black mold type to be vigilant of. It is likely that mold growth takes place when a damp area is left unattended, especially on cellulose-rich and low-nitrogen surfaces such as wood, fiberboard and drywall or gypsum board. Moreover, the presence of black mold is characterized by an earth-musty smell and discoloration of walls in bathrooms, laundry rooms or any area where water was stagnant from spills or leakages. Water damage from floods is another venue for growth. Spaces behind walls, floors and ceilings not easily seen are also considered danger zones. With poor ventilation, some people will immediately have an allergic or respiratory reaction upon exposure to black mold, which is entirely different from mold toxicity. We have to keep in mind that the latter condition manifests depending on the length of exposure, toxin levels, and a person’s susceptibility taking into consideration genetic predispositions.

Can mold cause anxiety?

In 2017, Dr. Tsafrir of Psychology Today wrote an elaborate article discussing mold toxicity as a viable cause of psychiatric symptoms enumerating its link to anxiety, depression, brain fog, insomnia and attentional problems to name a few. Quite often, because of the indistinct nature of molds, there are diverse symptoms making physicians conclude an incorrect diagnosis.

The connection between mold and anxiety comes into play when brain inflammation results from prolonged mycotoxin exposure. Dr. Rick Sponaugle, the founder of Sponaugle Wellness Institute in Florida, USA, is a Lyme Disease and mold specialist doctor. He explains that mycotoxins are lipophilic, which means fat-loving. Physiologically, the cell membrane is composed of a fatty layer to serve as a barrier and filter, regulating what comes in and out of the cell. Given this premise, toxins are able to enter the bloodstream eventually reaching the brain via blood circulation. The brain is at least 60% fat, making it the fattiest organ in the human body and very attractive to mold toxins. Neurotoxicity becomes evident when these toxins accumulate and displace the healthy fatty acids. The myelin sheath is then destroyed by oxidative processes and lipid peroxidation, which marks the beginning of inflammation and manifestation of brain disorder symptoms. This alteration affects the electrical activity of the brain sending off excessive signals depicting anxiety. The conditions are aggravated if the person is more vulnerable to these notorious toxins. The body’s immune defences are down and the toxins are more difficult to get rid.

A Mold Toxicity Story

One of the many patients of Dr. Sponaugle was Lindsay, a mother of two from Canada. She was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and insomnia and had to take medication that was nowhere near curing her. The misdiagnosis took a heavy toll on herself and family, thus pushing her to fly to Florida and undergo weeks of intensive treatment. Dr. Sponaugle was very much taken aback to see her lab results showing severe mold toxicity. Her trichothecene level holds the highest number to date among the physician’s patients, which exceeded 902 times the US government’s acceptable limit. Lindsay’s health was fully restored after successful completion of her treatment at the Sponaugle Wellness Institute in 2017.

What are Symptoms of Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders account for the majority of mental health issues, a condition that hits early at adolescence and also women who comprise a large percentage of sufferers. If you suspect that you have been exposed to deleterious black molds and are experiencing the following symptoms, reach out to a trusted mold specialist immediately before it gets any worse:

  • Nervousness

  • Feelings of Panic or Dread

  • Rapid Breathing and Heart Rate

  • Increased Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Lethargy and Weakness

Compared to other illnesses, mold toxicity treatments are lengthy. But the great news is, because of tremendous research, they are now improved and more accessible. The challenge lies in identifying the source of these mental health issues such as anxiety, most especially for those with recurring symptoms or deteriorating health even after taking medication. Ultimately, the journey to recovery starts by choosing an expert in the field and specialised facilities that can determine the underlying cause on point.


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