Airborne Mycotoxins

            As a functional MD caring for a multitude of mold toxic patient, I am frequently fielding the question of “how did I get mold toxins in me?”.  I am also faced with defending this field of mold detox to conventional medicine.  This particular article provides a few answers to how this whole process occurs and leads to patients experiencing multi-symptom, multi-system chronic illness.

This 2017 article in the journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, explains how fungi growing on water damaged building materials can transport their toxins into our bodies.  The authors looked at three species, Penicillium brevicompactum, Aspergillus versicolor, and Stachybotrys chartarum, as they grew on wet wallpaper.  They blew air across the horizontal surfaces at varying speeds to determine how much air blowing was required to send fungi fragments and toxins into the air.

The researchers set up parameters that could occur in an average home with warm, dark, and humid conditions.  They started by measuring several mycotoxins found in the wallpaper which had mold growth.  With the varying air speeds, they determined that different molds released toxins into the air at different air speeds. They also looked at how these toxins traveled and found most traveled on spores.  However, a significant portion did travel on much smaller fragment which could travel all the way into the lower air ways for absorption into our blood stream.

While many in conventional medicine have limited the entrance mechanisms of mycotoxicity to food and the GI tract, this provides empirical evidence for other mechanisms in sick building syndrome.  Hopefully, further research will continue down this path and help us care more effectively for our mold toxic patients.  A key step in their recovery requires avoidance of further toxin exposure.  Knowing how molds grow and spread their toxins may open avenues to countermeasures so our patients can return to normal life.


Original Article

Brankica Aleksic et al. Aerosolization of mycotoxins after growth of toxinogenic fungi on wallpaper. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, June 2017 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01001-17

Thanks to Science Daily:

American Society for Microbiology. “Fungal toxins easily become airborne, creating potential indoor health risk.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2017. <>.

Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.

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