The process of recovering from toxic mold exposure requires body-wide detoxification. While supplements can certainly come in handy, there is much you can do with food and probiotics to support your endogenous detoxification pathways. Read on to discover how probiotics and functional foods can support your natural detoxification systems and enhance your recovery from toxic mold exposure.
Start with Your Gut
Probiotics Assist Mycotoxin Elimination
When working with clients who have suffered toxic mold exposure, I always begin by focusing on the gut. Research indicates that beneficial gut bacteria are crucial for binding and transforming mycotoxins, preparing them for removal from your body.1 Some probiotic species also inhibit the translocation of mycotoxins across the intestinal epithelium, preventing them from entering your systemic circulation, and mitigate the immunotoxicity of mycotoxins.2,3 Given this evidence, I recommend that all my mold-affected clients take a high-quality probiotic daily.
There is no single probiotic that works for every client. The type of probiotic I recommend will depend on my client’s bowel habits (tendency towards diarrhea vs constipation), the presence of gut issues such as SIBO, and sensitivity to histamine and D-lactate, microbial metabolites that contribute to allergic-type symptoms and cognitive dysfunction, respectively.
Support Bile Flow with Bitter Plant Foods
To be removed from your body, mycotoxins need to be “conjugated,” a process in which they are bound to certain molecules that make them more water-soluble and ready for excretion in urine and stool. Glutathione conjugation is one of the primary modes of excretion for mycotoxins. Toxins conjugated with glutathione are eliminated via the bile, a dark green or yellow fluid produced by the liver and stored and concentrated in the gallbladder. Once emptied from the gallbladder, bile delivers conjugated toxins to the intestine, where they can be eliminated in stool. If you have insufficient bile flow, your elimination of mycotoxins will be significantly impaired.
One of the most efficient ways to enhance bile flow is to eat bitter foods! Bitter plants such as broccoli sprouts, radishes, dandelion greens, and arugula contain phytochemicals that activate bitter taste receptors, causing a chain reaction of physiological events that lead to enhanced bile flow. I am a proponent of growing your own organic broccoli sprouts at home (it’s fun and inexpensive!), but you can also drink organic dandelion tea, eat arugula salads, and take an herbal bitters supplement.
As a side benefit, some bitter plants (broccoli sprouts in particular) contain a phytochemical called sulforaphane that enhance your body’s own production of glutathione.4 Eating broccoli sprouts can thus boost your glutathione level, providing more glutathione for mycotoxin detox. Deficient glutathione exacerbates mold-induced illness, so maintaining a robust glutathione level is crucial for healing.5
Glucuronidation is another biochemical pathway by which your body prepares mobilized mycotoxins for excretion.6 In this process, mycotoxins are bound to a molecule of glucuronic acid in phase II of liver detoxification. You can boost your natural glucuronidation process by taking calcium-d-glucarate or by eating foods that naturally contain enhance glucuronidation, including cruciferous vegetables, watercress, and citrus fruits.
Protect Against Mycotoxin-Induced Inflammation
A variety of foods can help protect your body from mycotoxin-induced inflammation. Quercetin, a polyphenol found in grapes, apples, and onions, protects against mycotoxin-induced cell toxicity.7 Resveratrol, the antioxidant widely promoted for endowing red wine with health-promoting properties, also mitigates mycotoxin-induced inflammation.8 However, resveratrol is also found in blueberries, cranberries, and pistachios.
While dietary supplements have their place in mold illness treatment protocols, a diet conducive to detoxification and healing is also essential. If you feel that you could use nutrition support in your recovery from mold illness, consider booking a free 15-minute consultation with me to learn how I can help!
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Liew WPP, et al. Mycotoxin: Its impact on gut health and microbiota. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2018; 8: 60.
Liew WPP, et al. The binding efficiency and interaction of Lactobacillus casei Shirota toward aflatoxin B1. Front Microbiol. 2018; [online].
Jebali R, et al. Ability of Lactobacillus plantarum MON03 to mitigate aflatoxins (B1 and M1) immunotoxicities in mice. J Immunotoxicol. 2015; 12(3): 290-299.
Sedlak TW, et al. Sulforaphane augments glutathione and influences brain metabolites in human subjects: A clinical pilot study. Mol Neuropsychiatry. 2017; 3(4): [online].
Guilford FT, Hope J. Deficient glutathione in the pathophysiology of mycotoxin-related illness. Toxins (Basel). 2014; 6(2): 608-623.
Vidal A, et al. Humans significantly metabolize and excrete the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol and its modified form deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside within 24 hours. Sci Rep. 2018; 8: 5255.
Escriva L, et al. Effects of quercetin against mycotoxin induced cytotoxicity: A mini- review. Curr Nutr Food Sci. 2017; 13(4): 240-246.
Sang Y, et al. The protective effect of resveratrol against cytotoxicity induced by mycotoxin, zearalenone. Food & Func. 2016; 9. [online].