There are many factors which can block weight loss, but few people know that mold exposure is one of them. As we come into rainy season in Hawaii, when homes are more at risk for mold growth, I want to help people who are having trouble losing weight understand that there are many factors involved, and they may not understand all of them.
That’s where a professional weight loss doctor can really help you identify what’s blocking your weight loss, and what you need to get to your target weight.
There are two main ways in which mold exposure blocks weight loss.
Inflammation From Mold Exposure
When you are chronically exposed to mold from water-damaged buildings, these microorganisms create toxins and metabolic byproducts that may trigger inflammation. Even if you’re not “allergic” as such, the constant irritation in your environment creates issues for your body. In fact, roughly one in four people have a genetically-influenced innate immune response that gets turned on by a moldy environment – and once turned on, it doesn’t easily turn off.
Hormonal Changes Due To Biotoxins
Mold exposure also creates issues with Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), created by your pituitary gland. Because MSH is a “master hormone”, issues with other hormones can occur, including leptin and thyroid hormone, both of which can significantly affect weight.
“One of the detrimental effects of the inflammatory cytokine cascade is the mismanagement of the fat cell hormone leptin. And once leptin is disturbed, you will no longer be able to lose weight. It becomes nearly impossible.”
– Organic Medicine Now
For those who are genetically “extra” vulnerable to mold, just walking into a moldy building can have serious health consequences. Weight gain from mold is mentioned starting at 12:18:
Diagnosis Of Mold Related Illness
If you’re in a building with a chronic mold problem, the chances are it will affect your health. Diagnosis can involve taking a patient medical history as well as diagnostic blood tests. There is also a test called a visual contrast sensitivity test which is helpful in diagnosing health issues caused by mold. Genetic testing can also identify a sensitivity to mold.
There are also various ways of checking the building – even mold-sniffing dogs! Because some types of mold are known to be more seriously detrimental to human health than others, testing for the type and quantity of mold present can be important to recovery.
Treatment For Biotoxic Illness
Dr. Richie Shoemaker, an acknowledged expert in mold and mold exposure, recommends a drug called cholestyramine to bind and carry the mold and its byproducts from the body. Of course, even more important is removing yourself from exposure, so if you’re living in a moldy building, you need to remedy that.
“In order to treat them, we need to both remove them from exposure and remove toxin from their body.”
– Dr. Richie Shoemaker
Once you’re removed from daily exposure, dietary changes can also be helpful. If you know you’ve been exposed to mold, a temporary (three months) choice to avoid gluten and/or milk products can be worthwhile.
“One of the things that toxic molds can do is they can cause your immune system to cross-react with gluten and casein, so when you’re exposed to the molds, especially airborne molds, you become more sensitive to gluten and casein.”
– Dave Asprey
While eating clean is helpful for people who have been exposed to mold (particularly avoiding gluten), exercise is not. In fact, attempts at pushing oneself to exercise can cause a “crash” in these patients. It’s important during recovery not to attempt too much, too fast. Over time, gentle exercise can be helpful, but not at the beginning of treatment for mold exposure.
As I mentioned in a previous article, if you sincerely feel that you’ve made the right lifestyle choices and “should” be losing weight, it can be important to your health to identify why you’re not. Mold exposure is just one of the seldom-considered issues that stop weight loss. A professional weight loss doctor can help you figure out what it will take to get back to a healthy weight for you.