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Mold: The Hidden Health Crisis of the 21st Century

Picture an enemy, quiet and invisible. It lurks in the shadows, creeping into the fabric of our lives with relentless stealth. This enemy is mold, and it’s not just an aesthetic blight but a serious health threat. More than a nuisance, it’s a deep-seated threat we’re only beginning to understand.

You might not have heard about this under-the-radar health crisis, and that’s precisely the problem. Mold is more than a cause of sneezes or a reason to toss out old bread. It’s an insidious health villain linked to a staggering array of ailments. Today, we’re focusing on a particularly terrifying revelation: mold’s harmful impact on cardiovascular health.

Prepare for a jolt: our hearts are under attack by an enemy we cannot see.

While we worry about various toxins like heavy metals, air pollution, pesticides, flame retardants, dry cleaner chemicals, and plastics, mold stands apart. Yes, these toxins are all bad, but they lack one critical characteristic that mold possesses: a drive to survive and flourish. With its 750 million-year history on our planet, mold knows how to persist, making it uniquely dangerous.

Recently, I spoke at a conference of over 800 healthcare professionals. MDs, DOs, chiropractors, NMDs and more. My topic was Mold Mycotoxins: The Cardiovascular Connection. My presentation was over 1 hour long with dozens of references. I did a similar version in an online webinar. You can watch the video here:

Our understanding of the mold crisis from water-damaged buildings is just unfolding, and the implications are as unsettling as they are enlightening. With mold, what we don’t know can indeed hurt us. This invisible enemy is our biggest health crisis.

Understanding Mold

Meet John. He’s a 64-year-old man from Boston with a fierce spirit and an unstoppable zest for life. Despite his vitality, John’s health tells a different story – one of cardiomyopathy and sarcoidosis. The best health institutions in the United States have tried to crack the code of his illness, labeling sarcoidosis as a “multisystem inflammatory disease of unknown etiology.” In other words, they don’t know what causes it.

The vast landscape of modern medicine, with all its breakthroughs and knowledge, and yet, the origin of John’s disease remains an enigma. However, an overlooked test revealed an unexpected revelation – John had high levels of mold mycotoxins in his system. The professionals hadn’t thought to look for mold, but there it was, the unseen assailant. But what is mold exactly?

Mold is a fungus organism that thrives in damp, warm environments, reproducing via microscopic spores that float through the air. You’ve seen it, perhaps on a piece of bread left too long on the counter or in the corner of a damp basement. The thing is, mold is much more than a homeowner’s nightmare. It’s a complex life form, and certain types can generate substances that are downright harmful to our bodies.

Enter mycotoxins, the dangerous byproducts of some molds

The number one goal of mold is survival. But how does it do that? Mold produces poisonous substances called mycotoxins. These mycotoxins have an essential job: damage anything that could interfere with mold’s survival attempts. When mold finds itself in the right conditions, it can churn out these toxins, readily hitching a ride on mold spores.

Once in our bodies – inhaled with our breath, absorbed through our skin, or ingested with our food – these mycotoxins can wreak havoc. Even though we can’t see them or feel them enter our systems, these invisible chemicals are behind many health conditions. They embed themselves into our lives silently, but dangerously.

The key to understanding our health, then, might be found in the invisible world of mold and mycotoxins. For John, that understanding was a turning point. And as we delve deeper into the realm of mold, we’ll find that his story isn’t as unusual as it may first appear.

The Hidden Symptoms of Mold-Related Illness

Mold mycotoxins are more than unseen infiltrators – they’re the root cause of an array of health conditions that plague countless individuals. The real kicker? Most doctors, even the best in their fields, are likely treating symptoms of mold-related illnesses without realizing it.

When we think of mold, we tend to think of the musty smell in an old basement or the discolored grout in a neglected shower. What we don’t think about is how mold exposure can manifest itself as an array of puzzling symptoms that baffle even the most seasoned medical professionals. Here’s the unsettling truth: the symptoms of mold exposure can mimic many common health complaints, cloaking themselves in a veil of medical mystery.

The wide-ranging symptoms of mold exposure include:

  • Respiratory issues: Persistent coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath
  • Allergic reactions: Sneezing, runny nose, or sore throat
  • Energy levels: Chronic fatigue and a general feeling of low energy
  • Physical discomfort: Vague aches and pains throughout the body
  • Neurological effects: Headaches and brain fog, disrupting focus and clarity
  • Unexplained illness: A continuous feeling of being “sick” without a specific identifiable cause
  • Digestive troubles: Nausea, bloating, diarrhea, and unexplained abdominal pain
  • Body temperature dysregulation: Inability to properly regulate body temperature, resulting in feeling too hot or too cold
  • Night sweats: Profuse sweating during sleep
  • Skin conditions: Persistent itching and unexplained rashes
  • Psychological issues: Anxiety, depression, and panic attacks

Mold’s Impact on the Heart

Mold, or more precisely, the toxins it produces, can profoundly impact our cardiovascular system. While the connection might not seem obvious, these toxins can directly influence our heart’s health and function. They can create a series of changes that harm our cardiovascular system, leading to a range of health issues. Let’s break down how these mycotoxins work and why they’re so harmful to our heart health.

Mechanisms of Mycotoxin Cardiovascular Toxicity

14 ways mold mycotoxins impact the cardiovascular system
  • Alterations in the gut microbiome

    Mycotoxins disturb the delicate balance of bacteria in our gut, causing unhealthy bacteria to outnumber the good, which can indirectly affect heart health.

  • Intestinal hyperpermeability (leaky gut)

    Mycotoxins damage the gut lining, causing gaps that allow substances to leak into the bloodstream, prompting an immune response that can also affect the heart.

  • Decreased glutathione production

    Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that protects our bodies from damage. When mycotoxins lower glutathione production, it leaves our heart more vulnerable to injury.

  • Increased inflammation

    Mycotoxins trigger inflammation throughout the body, a condition linked to heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.

  • Oxidative stress – lipid peroxidation

    Mycotoxins cause oxidative stress, which can damage fats in our bloodstream (lipid peroxidation), leading to heart disease.

  • Endothelial dysfunction

    The endothelium is the inner lining of our blood vessels. Mycotoxins can impair its function, which may contribute to cardiovascular diseases.

  • LDL receptor dysfunction

    LDL cholesterol is controlled by receptors. When mycotoxins interfere with these receptors, it can lead to an unhealthy rise in LDL cholesterol, a known risk factor for heart disease.

  • Apoptosis

    Apoptosis is a process of programmed cell death. Mycotoxins trigger apoptosis in heart tissues, damaging the heart.

  • DNA/RNA/Protein synthesis inhibition

    Mycotoxins interfere with our body’s ability to make DNA, RNA, and proteins, essential processes for the health and repair of all body tissues, including the heart.

  • Decreased nitric oxide production

    Nitric oxide helps our blood vessels relax and improve blood flow. When mycotoxins decrease its production, it contributes to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.

  • Immuno-dysregulation

    Mycotoxins disrupt the normal function of our immune system, leading to inappropriate responses that can damage heart tissue.

  • Mitochondrial dysfunction

    Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of our cells. Mycotoxins cause these to malfunction, leading to energy deficits that impair heart function.

  • Autonomic dysfunction

    The autonomic system controls many bodily functions, including heart rate. Mycotoxins disrupt its normal function, which can lead to heart rhythm problems.

  • Coagulation abnormalities

    Mycotoxins interfere with the body’s ability to form clots, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Has Mold Impacted Me?

When it comes to understanding mold’s impact on your health, the golden rule is simple: Test, Don’t Guess. Only through proper testing can we truly discern the hidden influence of mold on our well-being. It’s not enough to simply observe symptoms or speculate. Concrete data offers the most effective pathway to understanding mold exposure.

There are two primary methods of testing you should consider:

  1. Testing yourself

    The first line of defense is personal testing, allowing you to determine whether mycotoxins are present in your body. Testing can be done in one of two ways: through a Vibrant Mycotoxin Urine Panel or through a more comprehensive NHD Level 2 Testing Package, which includes the Vibrant Panel, plus many more health markers to determine the extent of the mold damage.

  2. Testing your environment

    Mold often lurks in places we spend the most time in – our homes and workplaces. You can determine whether your home or workplace has mold contamination by using an Envirobiomics ERMI Mold Test- #1 Swiffer or a Swiffer Test #8 for Mold, Actinomycetes & Endotoxins.

Remember, testing is the only surefire way to understand if you’ve been impacted by mold. Ignorance may be bliss in some situations, but knowledge is undoubtedly power when it comes to your health.

I have mold - now what?

Whether it’s lurking in your body or dwelling in your home, confronting the unsettling truth of mold contamination can be a heavy blow. But even in the face of such challenges, panic doesn’t serve us. Instead, understand that there’s a roadmap to navigate this murky terrain. There are actionable steps to wrestle back control, to handle this issue head-on.

  1. Treating Your Home or Impacted Area

    The first step to reclaiming your health from mold exposure is addressing the source. Is the mold coming from your home, workplace, or a loved one’s home?

    • Remediation: Depending on the extent of the mold contamination, remediation may be possible. Professional mold remediation can clean and treat areas affected by mold, although relocating might be the safer option in extreme cases.
    • Personal Belongings: The items in your home could also be potentially contaminated. Certain items can be cleaned and saved, but others, especially porous materials, may need to be discarded.
    • Air Quality: If you remain in the location of the mold, you must improve the air quality in your living spaces. Do so by investing in a high-quality air purifier. The Austin Air System is a medical-grade air purifier that can reduce the concentration of airborne mold spores in your environment.
  2. Healing Your Body

    Once your environment is addressed, you can focus on removing mold from the inside and healing your body.

    • Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well: Adopt the philosophy of “eat well, live well, think well,” which encompasses an organic diet that mimics our Paleolithic ancestors, healthy lifestyle choices, and maintaining a positive mindset – all critical components for holistic healing.
    • Cell Core Foundational Protocol: The four-step Cell Core Foundational Protocol moves you through a detox with more ease, energy, and clarity. This step-by-step program supports the body’s natural processes to detoxify from mold and rebuild at a cellular level.
    • Heart Hacks: Incorporate practices like regular sauna sessions, red light therapy, and cold therapy. These are all beneficial for boosting heart health and promoting overall wellness.

Next Steps

Navigating the labyrinth of mold illness can feel overwhelming. It’s a silent menace, often misdiagnosed or overlooked entirely due to its complex and varied symptoms. This complexity can make it difficult for individuals to understand and deal with the issue effectively on their own.

But you don’t have to walk this path alone. To help you illuminate the way forward, we’re offering a free 20-minute health consultation with one of our experienced NHD health coaches. This consultation will provide personalized insights and guidance, helping clarify the next best steps to reclaiming your health.

Remember, understanding is the first step to overcoming. We’re here to ensure you’re equipped with the knowledge, support, and resources to confront and conquer mold illness. Let’s work together to turn this challenge into a catalyst for a healthier, happier heart.

About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

Dr. Keith Smigiel

Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.