Dr. Jill Carnahan (“Dr. Jill”) practices Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado. She is board certified in both Family Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine. Dr. Jill completed her residency at the University of Illinois Program in Family Medicine at Methodist Medical Center and received her medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Bio-Engineering at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Dr. Jill has overcome cancer, Crohn’s disease, and severe mold toxicity.
Functional Medicine is personalized medicine that deals with root causes of disease instead of just treating symptoms. Dr. Jill has successfully uncovered the underlying triggers that were contributing to many of her patients’ illnesses through in-depth lab testing and tailored intervention to individualized specific needs.
What are the symptoms one can develop as a result of exposure to mold?
• Fatigue or weakness
• Headache, light sensitivity
• Poor memory, difficulty finding words
• Difficulty concentrating
• Morning stiffness, joint pain
• Unusual skin sensations, tingling, or numbness
• Shortness of breath, sinus congestion, or chronic cough
• Appetite swings
• Body temperature regulation issues
• Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst
• Red eyes, blurred vision, or tearing
• Mood swings
• Sharp pains
• Abdominal pain, diarrhea, or bloating
• Metallic taste in mouth
• Static shocks
• Vertigo, feeling lightheaded
How widespread is the problem of mold toxicity?
It’s estimated that indoor air pollutants, including mold and mycotoxins, may be contributing to more than 50% of our patients’ illnesses. Typically we think of smog, smoke, and outdoor pollution as detrimental to our health, but indoor air quality may be an even bigger risk to your health. Many patients are unaware that a toxic home or workplace is contributing to their symptoms.
If one of your patients comes to you with some of the symptoms you described above, what questions do you ask them to help you deduce whether mold exposure might be the culprit?
• Do musty odors bother you?
• Have you worked or lived in a building where the air vents or ceiling tiles were discolored?
• Have you noticed water damage or discoloration elsewhere?
• Has your home been flooded?
• Have you had leaks in the roof?
• Do you experience unusual shortness of breath?
• Do you experience recurring sinus infections?
• Do you experience recurring respiratory infections and coughing?
• Do you have frequent flu-like symptoms?
• Do your symptoms worsen on rainy days?
• Do you have frequent headaches?
• Are you fatigued and do you have skin rashes?
What is the treatment protocol for mold exposure and sensitivity?
1. Remove yourself from the contaminated environment first. (Don’t even think about going on to other treatments until you get out of the contaminated environment.)
2. Avoid exposure to porous items (paper, clothing, etc.) from the moldy environment.
3. Use clay, charcoal, cholestyramine, or other binders to bind internal mycotoxins.
• The Shoemaker protocol has proven effectiveness for cholestyramine powder or prescription Welchol as off-label bile sequestering agents to decrease total toxic load of mold and other toxins from water damaged buildings.
• I also recommend Upgraded Coconut Charcoal or GI Detox to bind toxins in the gastrointestinal tract and Glutathione Force to support glutathione, which is often depleted in toxin-related illness.
4. While you are using binders, you must maintain normal bowel function and avoid constipation. You can add magnesium citrate, buffered C powder, or even gentle laxatives if needed, but constipation is the enemy of detoxification!
5. Treat colonizing molds/fungal or bacterial infections in the body.
• Common locations of colonization include sinuses, gut, bladder, vagina, and lungs.
• Test and treat for candida overgrowth—living in an environment with mold leads to immune dysregulation that allows candida to overgrow in the body in some immunocompromised patients.
6. Enhance detoxification support.
• Some common supplements used to aid detox are liposomal glutathione, milk thistle, n-acetyl cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, glycine, glutamine, and taurine. Methylation support is also key and involves optimal levels of methylcobalamin (B12), methyl-folate, B6, riboflavin, and minerals.
7. Invest in a high quality air filter at home and at work, like Austin Air Healthmate.
8. Avoid common mycotoxin containing foods:
• Corn, wheat, barley, rye, peanuts, sorghum, cottonseed, some cheeses, and alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer. Others include oats, rice, tree nuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, chiles, oil seeds, spices, black pepper, dried fruits, figs, coffee, cocoa, beans and bread.
How is electromagnetic radiation exposure causing problems for many of us today, and what tips do you have for minimizing this risk?
Patients who have a biotoxin illness such as mold toxicity often have increased sensitivity to electric and magnetic fields radiation. Basic precautions include putting devices on airplane mode at night, limiting time on laptops or computers, avoiding use of cordless phones, using grounding devices and grounding sheets, turning off routers at night, and employing devices to limit “dirty electricity” at home.
We encourage you to listen to this podcast with Dr. Jill as she shares more fascinating information about mold toxicity, including her personal experience detecting and overcoming this debilitating affliction.
Dana Rutscher is the Practitioner Relations Manager at Hyperbiotics and possesses a vast and ever-expanding wealth of microbial health knowledge. With a graduate degree from Baylor University and a passion for helping others, Dana incorporates her enthusiasm for health and scientific discoveries into her professional pursuits and parenting. For more ideas on how you can benefit from the power of probiotics and live healthier days, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.