Mothers cherishes their little bundles of joy. We celebrate their birth and joyously commemorate the day for a lifetime. So much is poured into the infant’s first months and years in order to raise them into healthy adults. We should not ignore the fact that the little life has been swimming in amniotic fluid, absorbing both nutrients and possible toxins from mom’s body prior to their ‘birthday’. Chemicals that the mother would never dream of pouring over their baby may be bathing the baby inside. When it comes to smoking, this reality has led many mothers to abstain, but in the case of mold toxins in amniotic fluid, the potential adverse effects are not as well appreciated.
Researchers in the primary study knew from prior research that a few different mold toxins were correlated with a variety of early life conditions (see additional reading below). Some link fetal mycotoxin exposure with impaired growth, others with autism, and still others with neural tube defects. These researchers want to measure just how much of these mold toxins were floating in the amniotic fluid, the fluid surrounding the fetus inside the mom’s uterus for the duration of any pregnancy.
Normally, moms would not have an amniocentesis done for a normal pregnancy. This procedure involves inserting a needle into the uterine cavity and sampling the amniotic fluid to see if any genetic or metabolic abnormalities were present prior to birth. This allows early interventions for the baby’s health after delivery. The only time this procedure is performed occurs when a pregnancy is higher risk for such problems. The researchers enrolled 86 women who were already having this procedure and measured the levels of several mycotoxins in the sampled fluid.
75% of the samples taken demonstrated levels of at least one mycotoxin. This was similar to the 73% of diagnosed genetic defects demonstrating mycotoxins. Nivalenol and aflatoxins were the 2 mores commonly found toxins. Ochratoxin A and deoxynivalenol were also commonly found. The study did not attempt to prove connections between the mold toxins and any specific disease, but their article provided a lot of further reading for the interested who want to know what other researchers have found concerning mycotoxins and infant health. For the time-crunched, the summary of the literature is that while several different studies suggest connections, there is sparse research on whether mycotoxins do or do not cause fetal disease. Basically, this is a much under-researched area that deserves a lot more attention given the widespread exposure and the potentially life-long effects.
For now, until more research money and effort is poured into this unexplored field, we work to lower the toxic burden for any pre-pregnant or currently pregnant patient. We repeatedly urge mold toxic patients delay attempting pregnancy until after their toxin load is reduced to a safe level. We want both the mom and their babies to have a healthier more abundant life without the adverse effects of mold toxins in their bodies or their amniotic fluid.
Gromadzka, Karolina et al. “The Presence of Mycotoxins in Human Amniotic Fluid.” Toxins vol. 13,6 409. 9 Jun. 2021, doi:10.3390/toxins13060409
Barbara De Santis, Carlo Brera, Alessandra Mezzelani, Sabina Soricelli, Francesca Ciceri, Giorgio Moretti, Francesca Debegnach, Maria Clara Bonaglia, Laura Villa, Massimo Molteni & Maria Elisabetta Raggi (2019) Role of mycotoxins in the pathobiology of autism: A first evidence, Nutritional Neuroscience, 22:2, 132-144, DOI: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1357793. https://doi.org/10.1080/1028415X.2017.1357793
– The link between Fusarium toxins and autism.
Kyei, Nicholas N A et al. “Maternal mycotoxin exposure and adverse pregnancy outcomes: a systematic review.” Mycotoxin research vol. 36,2 (2020): 243-255. doi:10.1007/s12550-019-00384-6
- A great overview of links between mold toxins and adverse pregnancy effects
Alvito P, Pereira-da-Silva L. Mycotoxin Exposure during the First 1000 Days of Life and Its Impact on Children’s Health: A Clinical Overview. Toxins (Basel). 2022 Mar 4;14(3):189. doi: 10.3390/toxins14030189. PMID: 35324686; PMCID: PMC8955462.
- Early life mycotoxin effects
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.