We’ve come a long way in our understanding chronic inflammatory response syndrome, also known as CIRS. Though we still have more to understand, living with mold toxicity and CIRS is no longer without solutions. I have some great tips for surviving and thriving after a mold exposure.
Though it may take more time for some doctors to fully recognize this condition, there are enough practitioners making a true difference in their CIRS patients lives to give anyone with this condition hope. If you want to learn more, I suggest checking out the new International Society or Environmentally Acquired Illness for up to date clinical research and education on this timely topic. See more details at end of article.
Sure, living with a chronic condition does mean you’ll have to make some adjustments and lifestyle changes. But when you finally get a system in place, it’s my sincerest hope that the richness of life returns to you. Many of you know I had my own experience with mold-related illness and CIRS when my office building was found to have stachybotrys and I became very ill. Fortunately I recovered and you can too!
In an effort to provide you with support in wrestling your CIRS into submission as much a humanly possible, I’ve compiled my best tips for living with mold toxicity and CIRS.
You’ll notice right away that many of these have to do with avoiding mold and mycotoxins. This is because not only have I seen the the dramatic impact to health when one cannot avoid mold exposure, but I have seen the significant toxic and immune damage that occurs with persistent and chronic ongoing exposure. This is a much bigger problem than most people realize.
Mold and its mycotoxins have even been indicated as a major cause of Alzheimer's disease! But I digress…
Imagine your mold toxicity and CIRS as a bucket – with each exposure and toxin we remove from your bucket, the lighter and easier your life will be. When your bucket fills to overflowing, illness will ensue and the path to wellness is all about decreasing total toxic load… bailing water out of your bucket!
1. Check your home and office for mold
We now spend about 90% of our time indoors and mold is estimated to be in about 50% of homes. Together these two statistics create a perfect storm for causing or aggravating CIRS symptoms. This is why I always recommend anyone with mold toxicity or CIRS has their home and office checked.
You should have an ERMI mold test completed by a trusted inspector. If you find your home or office contains mold spores, you must find the source and get a certified specialist to properly remediate. This includes removing yourself temporarily from the environment, remediation, and removal of any porous items from your abode.
Look, I get it.
Finding mold in your home or office can be scary. And the prospect of having to uproot your life can seem like a nightmare, but I assure you it’s essential if you want a full, healthy life.
When I discovered our office was moldy, I was unable to remediate so I left immediately. I left all of my belongings behind and moved on. It was tough to lose all of my twenty years of medical books I had acquired but regaining my health was worth it in the end. The benefits to the health of my staff and myself (I’m the canary in the coalmine when it comes to mold) FAR outweighed the loss of belongings or cost of remediation.
Life is too short to let the fear of finding mold in your home or office keep you from finding solutions to your illness! Your health is the most priceless thing you own.
2. Clean up your air
It’s a little known fact that most indoor air is actually worse than the pollution outside.
Even if your home and office pass the mold inspection, there are tons of other indoor air contaminants worth worrying about, including volatile organic compounds, gram negative and positive bacteria, glucans, endotoxins, microbial particulates, non-microbial volatile organic compounds, and microbial volatile organic compounds.
We haven’t evolved to live in contained spaces with recycled air and poor ventilation. So, one of the best things you can do for yourself (and your family) is invest in a high quality air filter. I recommend Austin Air purifiers because they filter ultra tiny particles and I’ve had personal success with them. Though, there are other great options out there, just makes sure you find something that filters at least 0.3 microns in size.
You’re in your home between 8 to 12 hours each day and in your office between 6 to 10 hours. That’s most of your life – don’t you think it’s worth it to clean up your air? If you’re interested in an Austin Air purifier, you can call the office at 303-993-7910 and get a 10% discount.
3. Get on a low mold diet
A low mold diet reduces the likelihood that you’re going to be exposed to inflammation causing foods. Even if your CIRS isn’t directly caused by mold exposure, this is a beneficial diet regardless.
In general, the low mold diet looks like this:
- Eliminate sugar in all forms.
- Avoid processed foods – canned, boxed, bottled etc.
- Avoid mold and yeast containing foods – cheese, alcohol, condiments, fungi, cured and smoked meats, dried fruits.
- Avoid gluten and grains.
- Choose a mold-free coffee.
- Organic, pasture raised animal products.
- Low carbohydrate vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, chard, cabbage, arugula, peppers, tomato (fresh only), cucumber, onion, kale, asparagus, spinach, leeks, garlic, artichokes, etc.
- Raw nuts and seeds – sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, and other low mold nuts (No peanuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans,brazil nuts).
- Healthy Fats – extra virgin olive oil, coconut milk, coconut oil, ghee, avocado, organic butter.
You can read my full article on The Low Mold Diet here.
4. Use detox binders
Binders like charcoal and bentonite clay are great for pulling toxins out of the gut. Anyone living with CIRS, should be working to support processes like this and reducing the buildup of toxins, heavy metals, and other chemicals. Binders can also be effective in reducing the impact of mold exposure and other unknown impacts.
My two favorite binders are GI Detox and Upgraded Coconut Charcoal. These are effective and can safely be taken daily (but not with other supplements). You can read more about these in my article, Safe and Effective Detox Binders that Actually Work.
5. Adopt detoxifying techniques
Incorporate detoxifying and anti-inflammatory techniques and lifestyle changes. An added bonus is most of these improve health overall and some feel downright great. Detox support can include:
- Infrared saunas
- IV detoxification support (Meyer’s cocktails, IV glutathione, NAD, PC)
- Supplements may including:
- Liposomal glutathione
- Milk thistle
- Alpha lipoic acid
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Dry brushing
- Epsom Salt baths
- Mineral or alkaline waters
CIRS is a war of attrition and the less you you feed the inflammatory pathways, while supporting detox – the better off you’re going to be.
Other factors you might want to consider include:
- Reducing chemical exposures – think plastics, cosmetics, cookware, and cleaning products
- Reducing EMF exposure
- Filtering drinking water
Introducing the International Society of Environmentally Acquired Illness
As a prominent educator about environmental toxicity and mold-related illness and board-member of the organization, I am delighted to introduce the NEW professional society International Society of Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI) whose mission is to “raise awareness of the environmental causes of inflammatory illnesses and to support the optimal health of individuals affected by these illnesses through the integration of clinical practice, education, and research.”