As we hit winter many of us are alert to the common illnesses that come with it such as colds and flu. However, the weather can also affect the environments we live in, leading to further medical issues. One such issue to be wary of is mould toxicity.
Mould is caused by excessive moisture, making some homes prone to it in the damper, colder months.
“Mould toxicity is an insidious infection, and can result in system wide dysfunction in the body,” he said.
“Mould can colonise the sinuses and the gut, after having been breathed in from a mouldy environment and ingested from mouldy foods. Both routes of colonisation can result in debilitating symptoms.”
He warned about substances found in mould called mycotoxins.
Mr Batt said: “Mould is a threat on its own, but also releases toxic substances called mycotoxins.
“Since mould can colonise the body, it can release mycotoxins internally. Mycotoxins can also be inhaled directly.
“These mycotoxins can wreak havoc on the body and its cellular processes, and lead to chronic illness.
“Mycotoxins are a mitochondrial poison – they essentially throw a spanner into the cogs of how the mitochondria work. Mitochondria are the body’s energy factories, and their dysfunction is implicated in a range of chronic diseases.
“Mitochondria drive numerous processes in the body, through being the generators of metabolic energy. If mitochondria are impaired, a lot of things can go wrong throughout the nervous, immune, cardiovascular and hormonal systems.
“There are also quite severe neurological effects as a result too.
“Mycotoxins can exacerbate and cause severe inflammation, which also underlies a lot of the symptoms associated with mould toxicity.”
Chronic inflammatory response syndrome
Mould can cause a condition called chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS).
“Biotoxins such as mould can prime and trigger the immune system into a state which propagates chronic, unrelenting inflammation which can lead to debilitating and persistent symptoms,” he said.
Symptoms of CIRS can include tingling and numbness in your hands and feet.
Neurological symptoms of CIRS include:
- Poor memory and confusion
- Difficulty concentrating and poor executive functioning
- Disorientation and confusion
- Vertigo and lightheadedness
- Hypersensitivity to bright light, blurred vision, burning or red eyes, and tearing.
Respiratory symptoms of CIRS include:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Exacerbation of asthma
- Respiratory infections
- Allergic alveolitis
- Allergic fungal sinusitis
- Chronic rhinosinusitis
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Other symptoms can include:
- Appetite swings and weight gain
- Increased thirst
- Hair loss
- Metallic taste in your mouth
- Abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhoea
- Muscle cramps
- Joint pain
- Fatigue and weakness
- Worsening of symptoms after exercise
- A propensity to experience static shocks.
If you think you have mould or damp in your home the NHS recommends dealing with it as soon as possible.
This could mean simply taking steps to reduce moisture in the air or getting something repaired.
People who are more vulnerable to mould and damp include:
- Babies and children
- Older people
- Those with existing skin problems, such as atopic eczema
- Those with respiratory problems, such as allergies and asthma
- Those with a weakened immune system, such as those having chemotherapy.