How to detox from a mould sensitivity

Removal of or a reduction in your exposure to mould is the first step to recovery. The majority of our mould exposure comes from poor indoor air quality, with exposure to water-damaged indoor environments being the largest contributor.

Here are some things you can do to minimise your indoor mould exposure:

  • Fix leaks as soon as possible.
  • Dry any damp materials affected by leaks as soon as possible.
  • Get rid of any carpets, tiles and any other absorbent or porous materials if they become mouldy.
  • Scrub mould off hard surfaces and make sure to dry the area completely.
  • Don’t paint over or cover up mouldy surfaces.
  • Ensure you have proper ventilation – avoid areas that are “stuffy”.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean.
  • Keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent.
  • Use air filters and purifiers/sanitizers.
  • Ensure the ground slopes away from building foundations, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundations.

Once you have improved your indoor environment, you can start to remove the toxins that have accumulated in your body.

Steps you can take to detox include:

  • Take high quality supplements that promote detoxification such as benzene clay, activated charcoal, cholestyramine powder and other binders that bind internal mycotoxins.
  • Supplement with glutathione (which is often depleted in toxin-related illnesses).
  • Test and treat for candida overgrowth –mould can lead to candida overgrowth.
  • Supplement with vitamin B12, methyl-folate, B6 and riboflavin to support methylation.
  • Avoid common mycotoxin containing foods.
  • Use infrared saunas.

If you’re one of the 28% of people in the world who have a genetic susceptibility to mould, you may be unable to remove the toxins that have accumulated in your body. Unfortunately, this means that you can help to stop the build-up of these toxins in your body, but you will have difficulty removing them.

In our next article, we’ll talk about mouldy foods.

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Mould sensitivity – Do you suffer from it?

This post is the second instalment in our mould toxicity series, read the first post here.

The problem with determining if you suffer from mould sensitivity is the fact that its symptoms are often similar to those of autoimmune diseases. Often, its things like mould exposure that trigger inflammation in the body, worsening autoimmune diseases.

The Environmental Health Center – Dallas has created a checklist to determine if you have been exposed to mould and suffer from mould sensitivity. This checklist includes:

• Do musty odours bother you?
• Have you worked or lived in a building where the air vents were discoloured?
• Have you noticed water damage or discoloration on ceilings or elsewhere?
• Has your home been flooded?
• Have you had leaks in the roof?
• Do you experience shortness of breath?
• Do you experience recurring sinus infections?
• Do you experience recurring bronchial infections and coughing?
• Do you have flu-like symptoms?
• Do you notice an increase of symptoms on rainy days?
• Do you have frequent headaches?
• Are you fatigued and have a skin rash?

If you answered yes to these questions, there’s a high chance of mould toxicity. In our next post, we cover the actions you can take to reduce your mould exposure. If after this, you are still suffering and your symptoms have not improved, there are a number of lab tests that can be done. Surviving Mould has a list of these tests.

Fighting Adrenal Fatigue – The Impact of Mould

So you’ve cleaned up your diet, reduced work stress and switched HIIT for yoga…but your adrenal fatigue still hasn’t improved. It might be time to look at your living conditions.

A clear link exists between mould exposure and autoimmune diseases. It’s been estimated that approximately 50% of illnesses are caused by exposure to mould and the toxins it secretes – mycotoxins.

Exposure to the mycotoxins can have significant impacts on your health, triggering or worsening inflammation. Symptoms of toxic mould exposure can include:

• Fatigue and weakness
• Anxiety
• Brain fog
• Highly sensitive emotions
• Regular sinus problems
• Brain fog
• The feeling of being hung over all the time
• Headaches
• Light sensitivity
• Tingling and numbness of the skin
• Increased urination
• Vertigo
• Reduced memory function

If you’re one of the 28% of people in the world who have a genetic susceptibility to mould, the impact of exposure can be dangerous, often leading to chronic inflammation and ill health.

In our next post, we’ll cover how to tell if you suffer from mould sensitivity and exposure.

How to exercise with Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue Recovery

When suffering from adrenal fatigue, it’s important to understand how your gym habits are effecting your recovery. We’ve already covered how working out can impact our cortisol levels (read the post here), so this post is for all of the other exercise addicts out there who just can’t bare giving up your daily workout!

Ok so we admit it, continuing to workout when you are suffering from severe adrenal fatigue may not be in your best interest. In fact, working out when you’re suffering from stage 3 or stage 4 adrenal fatigue might seriously worsen the state of your health. If you are in either of these stages you really should give up exercise until your symptoms improve (and seek professional help).

However, if you’re in the early phases of adrenal fatigue some exercise might be beneficial to your recovery. But it’s all about how you workout.

As your cortisol levels are at their highest in the morning, it’s better to get your exercise in in the morning, rather than in the evening. This way your body will be better able to handle the stress impact from the spike in cortisol.

Instead of a high intensity workout, try a less strenuous exercise like yoga or taking a walk around the block. If you are seriously addicted to exercise and would find this change too difficult to deal with, you could start incorporating there exercises into your workout plan by taking a yoga class one day a week instead of a spin class.

Progress with your recovery will take time. As you make these changes to your workout, try to keep a journal on how your symptoms respond. If you feel more stressed after yoga, try tai chi instead. Finding what works best for you is the most important thing.

Working out with Adrenal Fatigue

Exercise_Basics

Working out, and working out hard, is healthy right? Well not always…

High intensity workouts cause a rush of cortisol to be released by our body. Our body then reacts to this the same way it would if we were under stress (think fight or flight mode). Whilst typically healthy people can manage this spike in cortisol, those of us who suffer from adrenal fatigue can’t and the response can really mess with our healing progress.

Unfortunately, people suffering from adrenal fatigue often get a surge of energy in the evening. So instead of winding down after a busy day, we’re tempted to use this energy as motivation and head to the gym for a workout.

However, high intensity workouts at night can disrupt our body’s natural cortisol cycle (read more about your cortisol levels here), as our cortisol is starting to lower. This can worsen your adrenal fatigue (not to mention, interrupt your sleeping patterns further, lowering your mood and even causing weight gain).

In the really severe stages of adrenal fatigue (read about the 4 stages here) it might be best to skip the workouts for a while. This should let your body recover from the added stress of high intensity exercise.

Don’t get us wrong, exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But, just like any healing plan, finding what works for you is the most important thing.

If you really can’t give up the gym, read our next post on how to exercise with adrenal fatigue.

 

Improve your sleep with this one easy task

What does your average day look like? Is it filled with rushing around, trying to fit in everything? Do you sacrifice an hour or two of sleep just to make sure you can tick those jobs off your to-do list? We definitely do.

But have a think about this…how do you feel when you don’t exercise for a week? Sluggish? Lazy? Tired? Ok, now have a think about how you feel when you don’t sleep for a week…that’s right, you probably can’t think! Or function for that matter!

Sleep is vital to everything we do. It’s our body’s way of recovering.

sleeping

Unfortunately, in today’s fast paced world we often sacrifice sleep to get our jobs done. Or when we do sleep, it’s often broken or disturbed. Who can remember the last time they woke up feeling well rested and ready to take on the day? Hmmm, not us.

That’s where a sleep diary comes in. Keeping a sleep diary can help you to identify things that happened during the day that may be impacting your ability to have a good night’s rest. It might seem like a pain, and just another thing to tick off your to-do list, but it can really help.

Here’s how to start one:

Draw up a simple table, divided by morning, during the day and at night. In each section, record particular events, such as:

Morning

  • What time you got out of bed
  • What time you wake up properly (because how many of us really wake up as soon as we jump – or roll – out of bed?)
  • Whether or not you feel rested when you wake
  • Any aches or pains not felt the previous night, especially jaw/tooth related aches

During the Day

  • The amount of caffeine consumed (type e.g. coffee or tea, amount and what time was it)
  • The amount of alcohol consumed (again, type, amount and what time it was)
  • Any stressful events (what kind of events were they, work related, family related? Do you think they will continue tomorrow or were they a once off?)
  • Exercise (what exercise did you do, at what time and for how long)
  • Did you have any daytime naps (if so, what time of day and what was the length of nap)
  • Any medications taken, whether they worked and how they made you feel the next day

At Night

  • What time you went to bed
  • The last foods eaten before going to bed, including the amount of each food
  • The estimated time it took you to fall asleep
  • How many times your sleep was disturbed and how long it took to fall back asleep
  • The total time spent sleeping (not lying in bed)
  • Anything else about the night you feel is relevant to record.

It’s important to make sure you are consistent with this diary. Ideally you should keep one for a couple of weeks to help accurately determine the root cause of your sleep problems.

By being diligent about updating your sleep diary throughout the day, you can also start to determine what is inside and outside the realm of your control. Hopefully keeping this diary will help you realise what is impacting your sleep. If after a couple of weeks of recording your sleep you can’t pinpoint the root cause of your poor rest, take it to a doctor or sleep specialist and they may be able to help with diagnosing a particular sleep disorder.

Why I Love…Sleep

Unfortunately, the fast paced, Western world we live in is interfering with our natural sleep patterns. Not only are we sleeping less than we did in the past, our sleep quality has also decreased.

We all know that a bad night’s sleep is not beneficial. Besides the dark circles under the eyes and a foggy brain, lack of sleep can actually increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, obesity and negatively impact your immune function!

Sleep is vitally important, not only for your health, but also your wellbeing. Here are some of the reasons why we love sleep (we say ‘some’ because our list of why we love sleep would top at least 100).

Recover from Adrenal Fatigue

  1. It can help to balance your hunger hormones

You know that feeling of endless hunger, where no food will satisfy your cravings? You’ve probably experienced it after a late or restless night. Studies show that sleep deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories. A good night’s sleep helps to maintain a balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) and full (leptin). When we have a poor night’s sleep, this balance is disrupted, leading to poor appetite regulation.

     2. It can reduce inflammation

Sleep loss has been linked to long-term inflammation and cell damage. Poor sleep can adversely impact our body’s inflammatory responses and increase the risk of inflammatory disease recurrence. Studies have shown that patients with Crohn’s disease who were sleep deprived were twice as likely to relapse compared to patients who slept well. On the other hand, solid sleep helps the body in its recovery process and keep inflammation at bay.

     3. It can help to improve your workouts

Have you ever tried to workout after a night of poor sleep? Yep, not that great. That’s because sleep has been shown to improve athletic performance, including reaction time, speed and accuracy. If you really want to improve and make decent progress with your exercise plan you may want to consider getting more shut eye.

      4. It can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke

Did you know, sleeping less than 7 hours a night has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke? Both sleep quality and duration are believed to drive chronic disease. Get some rest!

       5. It can improve your immune function

A good night’s sleep can improve your immune function and ability to fight of disease – especially the common cold. Even a minor loss in sleep can impair your immune function. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than 7 hours a night are almost three times more likely to catch a cold than people who sleep 8 or more hours.

Copper Toxicity and Adrenal Fatigue

Copper and Adrenal Fatigue (AF) are deeply intertwined. Even a slight imbalance in the copper to zinc ratio can set up a positive feedback loop between copper, stress and AF.

Using technical, scientific language:

Zinc is required for the production of adrenal cortical hormones. Therefore, if zinc levels are too low, or copper levels too high, the production of these hormones decreases – and quite rapidly!

Copper is needed for our body to form ATP (aka energy). However, in order to do so, it has to bind to either metallothionein or ceruloplasmin. These two substance though, are only produced when our adrenals send a signal to our liver to do so. When our adrenals aren’t working properly (in the case of AF), they get a little bit slack (slackness depending on your stage of AF) and don’t do their job. Consequently, instead of being used by the body, copper accumulates in the blood and/or tissue.

But copper stimulates our nervous system and brain function increasing the response of our fight-or-flight mode. As we become more sensitive to stress we lose zinc quickly and our adrenal glands become even more depleted. But as our adrenal glands become more depleted less copper is utilised, perpetuating the problem!!

Furthermore, excess copper impacts the functioning of our liver causing it to not be able to produce the copper binding substances. When these aren’t produced, we have trouble forming ATP and fatigue entails.

If that got a bit confusing, here is a diagram to show the feedback loop between copper toxicity and adrenal fatigue.

Copper Toxicity and Adrenal Fatigue

Copper&AF

 

Adrenal Fatigue vs. Addison’s disease – What is the difference?

Here at Healed by Bacon we suffer from a myriad of health problems – autoimmune diseases, adrenal insufficiency – you name it, we’ve got it! (All jokes aside, if we didn’t have them we wouldn’t be able to help everyone else struggling to find answers about why they feel the way they do).

If you have read my About section, you would know that I have Addison’s disease – an autoimmune disease whereby the body attacks the adrenal glands and therefore can’t produce enough cortisol. Addison’s is quite rare; affecting only 1 in 100,000.

However, in the later stages of adrenal fatigue the line between AF and Addison’s (or adrenal insufficiency) can become blurred.

While the two conditions are etiologically different (that is the causes are different), the symptoms they produce are quite similar – both resulting in the dysfunction of the adrenal glands (i.e. feeling like crap!).

addison's disease

So what is Addison’s disease anyway?

Addison’s is a hormone, or endocrine, disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands don’t produce enough cortisol and aldosterone. Adrenal insufficiency can be categorized as primary or secondary. Addison’s disease is the common term for primary adrenal insufficiency. Secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when the pituitary gland fails to stimulate the adrenal glands to produce enough of the hormone cortisol.

Approximately 70% of diagnosed cases of Addison’s disease are caused by autoimmune disorders, where the body’s own immune system gradually destroys the adrenal cortex (the outer layer of the adrenal glands).

Symptoms of Addison’s disease

The symptoms of adrenal insufficiency usually begin gradually and can often be confused for the later stages of adrenal fatigue. Common symptoms include:

  • Salt cravings,
  • Irritability,
  • Muscle weakness,
  • Hyperpigmentation and/or vitiligo,
  • Hypoglycaemia,
  • Dizzy spells or fainting (due to low blood sugar),
  • Irregular or non-existent menstrual periods,
  • Loss of libido (especially in women),
  • Depression, and
  • Extreme fatigue (often chronic fatigue).

Diagnosing of Addison’s disease

In its early stages, adrenal insufficiency can be difficult to diagnose (due to the similarity of symptoms with the later stages of adrenal fatigue). Generally, the presence of hyperpigmentation and/or vitiligo will provide a significant indication of suspected Adison’s disease.

A diagnosis of Addison’s disease is made by biochemical laboratory tests. The aim of these tests is first to determine whether there are insufficient levels of cortisol and then to establish the cause. X-ray exams of the adrenal and pituitary glands also are useful in helping to establish the cause.

Adrenal Crisis

Sudden, severe worsening of adrenal insufficiency symptoms is called adrenal crisis or, when suffering from Addison’s disease, an Addisonian crisis. In the majority of cases, symptoms of adrenal insufficiency become serious enough that medical treatment is sought before an adrenal crisis occurs.

Common symptoms of adrenal crisis can include:

  • Sudden, severe pain in the lower back, abdomen, or legs,
  • Severe vomiting,
  • Severe diarrhoea,
  • Dehydration,
  • Low blood pressure, and
  • Loss of consciousness.

If not treated, an adrenal crisis can cause death.

How is adrenal crisis treated?

Adrenal crisis is treated with adrenal hormones. People with adrenal crisis need immediate treatment. Any delay can cause death. When people with adrenal crisis are vomiting or unconscious and cannot take their medication, the hormones can be given intraveneously.

A person with adrenal insufficiency should carry a corticosteroid injection at all times and make sure that others know how and when to administer the injection, in case the person becomes unconscious. They should also wear a Medicalert bracelet detailing their illness and medication requirements.

Adrenal Fatigue (AF)

If you have read my about me, you would know I suffer from Addison’s disease, which is also known as adrenal insufficiency or hypoadrenia. Addison’s is a disease whereby the adrenal glands are unable to produce sufficient cortisol to support normal bodily functions. This can leave you with extreme fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, hypoglycaemia, reduced muscle mass, insomnia and lethargy, depression, brain fog, decreased productivity and a feeling of overall life discontent.

Whilst Addison’s is a relatively rare disease, adrenal fatigue (or Non Addison’s Hypoadrenia) is in fact, quite common. Adrenal fatigue is the result of severe, acute or chronic stress whereby the adrenal glands can no longer keep up with the increased cortisol demand. In a nutshell, adrenal fatigue occurs when the amount of stress overextends the body’s capacity to recover from the stresses. This results in the same problems which occur with Addison’s.

Adrenal fatigue is becoming increasingly common as a result of the stressful western lifestyle; we are constantly stressed from study, work, family, money and never take the time to de-stress, relax and heal our bodies.

AF