Watching the horrible aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I know from my own personal experience that flooding leaves behind an enemy so dark and treacherous, few people understand the far-reaching, devastating effects.
My husband and I were affected by black mold, a condition I was unaware of when I moved into a leased house after my home burned to the ground several years ago. The rental was a beautiful home: glass, spectacular views, space. Luxurious is how you would describe it, so beautiful it helped ease the pain of losing all our belongings to the fire.
A year after moving in, we began to have health problems. At one point an attack hospitalized me for six days, horribly misdiagnosed as cancer, until it was discovered to be mold fungus. Around the same time, my very healthy husband started experiencing hair loss, red irritated eyes, and a sinus and fungal nose infection that wouldn’t go away. We both started having GI tract problems; bloating, yeast, candida, and cramping.
It wasn’t until I was interviewing Dr. Rick Sponaugle of the Sponaugle Wellness Institute — who has successfully treated over 2,000 patients suffering from mold toxicity — that I started piecing together the puzzle that had been eluding my husband and me.
We had mold. A professional remediator found standing water all over a lower floor that had never been finished. Black mold was crawling everywhere, including into the air-conditioning and heating vents, blowing into all the rooms.
We had to move. And detox …
I recently talked again with Dr. Sponaugle, preparing for a segment of “The SUZANNE Show.”
I started by asking him, “Can you explain mold and the affects that you can predict the victims of Hurricane Sandy might experience?”
He said, “Mold toxins are toxic gases produced by indoor molds, always present in water-damaged buildings. Most of these people will be unaware that they are suffering from gases produced by mold infestations hidden behind water-damaged walls, shower tile, and above wet ceilings because we cannot see or smell them.”
I see … like the silent enemy.
Dr. Sponaugle reminded me that three out of four Americans who naturally produce antibodies to mold toxins can live and work in water-damaged buildings without suffering significant demise in their health. But patients who carry the HLA-DRBQ gene — as he and I do — have no antibodies to deactivate and remove harmful mold toxins. They develop an excessive accumulation. Mold toxins are lipophilic; they consist of fatty acid molecules. For this reason, mold toxins migrate to and deposit in the brain because the brain is the ‘fattiest’ organ, consisting of 60% fat.
Mold toxicity causes many psychological and neurological disorders, including but not limited to: addiction, anxiety, bipolar II, chronic fatigue, depression, fibromyalgia, insomnia, MS, Neuropathy, OCD, panic disorder, paranoia and schizoid syndrome.
It also brings on conditions like the ones my husband and I experienced; sinus trouble, red watery eyes, fatigue, inflamed GI tract, unexplained weight gain. But people experience other negative effects including; slurred speech, disorientation, feeling irritable or paranoid, insomnia, craving sweets, itching nose at night, static shocks, muscle aches, food allergies, antibiotic allergies, blurred vision, confusion, very high blood pressure, mono-like symptoms, skin rash, cystic acne, joint pain, swollen gums, tongue swelling, a change in your menstrual cycle, stuttering, and throat closing.
Your body on mold? Severely depressed.
Dr. Sponaugle says there are three mold toxins associated with depression, panic disorder, and bipolar symptoms. They are; aflatoxins, ochratoxin and trichothecene. The government-set toxic level for trichothecenes, the family of mold toxins produced by Stachybotrys (known as black mold), is 0.2 parts per billion. He routinely sees patients with levels as high as 3.2, which is 16 times the government-set toxic threshold.
So what does this do to your body? Dr. Sponaugle has successfully treated hundreds of toxic patients who had been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, panic disorder, or misdiagnosed bipolar. Most doctors, unaware of the effects of mold toxicity, give these patients drugs like Klonopin or Xanax to calm their anxious brains. But when their anxious or over-electrified brains come from mold toxins, the mold needs to be detoxified from the body.
“Mold-toxic brains produce excessive levels of two powerful electrifying brain chemicals; glutamate and PEA,” said Dr. Sponaugle. “The increased activation of glutamate and PEA nerve receptors throughout the body produces an over-electrified nervous system. Mold-toxic patients experience a gradual progression as they slowly accumulate more mold toxins. Their symptoms usually begin with insomnia, powdery fingernails, and hair loss and then progress to anxiety and then full blown panic disorder. In the most severe cases of mold toxicity, bipolar symptoms of rage and paranoia emerge.”
Worse, many victims develop addiction issues because of their undiagnosed mold toxicity. The patients, suffering from over-electrified brains, self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to calm down.
“When you have a mold-toxic brain, specifically the hypothalamus, it can’t properly stimulate the brain’s primary hormonal factory, the pituitary gland. Pituitary insufficiency results in hormonal deficiencies in the downstream hormone factories — the thyroid, adrenals, and the sex organs. Mold-toxin-induced deficiencies of these hormones cause inactivation of the three adrenaline chemicals, causing symptoms of severe depression, lethargy, and chronic fatigue.”
Mold: the primary cause of fibromyalgia in many middle-aged women
It causes total body pain because of the excessive production of the electrifying neurotransmitters, glutamate, and PEA. Dr. Sponaugle explained, “The excessive inflammation comes from the toxic load and deficiencies of the calming neurotransmitters; taurine and serotonin. This causes mold-toxin-induced destruction of the intestinal lining, which leads to poor absorption of the essential amino acids, tryptophan and taurine. The resulting up-regulating of electrical voltage in the body’s nervous system can be dramatic, and it directly correlates with the measured level of mold toxins. When these women go to their doctors, they are usually misdiagnosed and prescribed addicting pain medication and drugs like Lyrica, which treats the symptoms but not the true cause of fibromyalgia, which is mold.”
What about MS?
I once saw two side-by-side slides, one from a healthy person, the other from a person with MS. The healthy cells moved constantly, all clumped together. The MS cells were not clumped together, but moved slowly; all had a white ‘film’ surrounding them. The scientist told me that ‘film’ was toxins. Dr. Sponaugle confirmed that mold toxins destroy the myelin sheath on brain neurons, causing the classic white spots seen in MS.
Mold lurks deep in the roots of your house. If you’ve had water damage, in particular those affected by Hurricane Sandy or Katrina, know that there is likely a hidden enemy in your home. There is an answer to this problem. For more information, go to www.floridadetox.com.
Suzanne Somers, one of our most informed and dedicated health care advocates, is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and the host of “The SUZANNE Show” on Lifetime.