This post is dedicated to the late Andreas Moritz, an educator and author, who passed away on October 21st. As a prominent holistic healer who had helped many people to overcome their health challenges, his premature death sent shock waves through the world of natural medicine. The speculation now seems to be over. Andreas Moritz was exposed to mold a few months before he died. The route of infection was inhalation, and the world has lost a peaceful champion, a man who loved nature and lived his truth in a manner that allowed others to share his passion and compassion.
Strange as it may seem, our paths never crossed, but I was aware of his work and dedication. Unfortunately, he appears not to have been aware of mine. So, my purpose today is not to write a eulogy of a man I never met but rather to discuss what has been stated in various posts for the last twelve years or more.
The first point to understand about mold is that is can be viable. Well, it usually is viable. It can survive practically any challenge and adapt itself to freezing temperatures, raging heat, dryness, radiation, light . . . oh, yes, and positive thinking. If mold were not so clever, we would all be living with trash up to our gills and beyond. So, dangerous as mold is, it has its place and a role to play. The distinction we all need to make between mold and chemical or metallic toxins is that the amount of the exposure does not define the risk. So, excuse me, CDC et al, the exposure could be token and still become a threat over time. In short, the exposure could have been 10, 20, 30, or 50 years ago but if the risks were not addressed, a crisis could still be on the horizon. I do not say this to threaten anyone, rather to nudge people to take mold very seriously.
Let me take a paragraph to interpret this remark. The problem with so many textbook discussions of mold is that the view is narrowed to a recent window of exposure. If the time period observed is small, then it is reasonable to distinguish between a small exposure and large exposure, but if we are talking about years, then the small exposure could have contained enough viable spores to enable a very large colony to develop. In reality, a tiny, tiny exposure could harbor such risks, but if this tiny exposure is put out of mind, it could be hard to connect the dots later.
Obviously, I don't want anyone to become paranoid about mold, but somewhere between fear and naïveté, there is room for rational assessment and reasonable action. I am saying this because so many people are not taking their exposures seriously enough and others might be oblivious to the risks.
The first step is assessment but one of the symptoms of mold exposure is often poor decision making so someone else sometimes has to make decisions to rescue the mold-infected individual from the impasses that impair reasonable action.
I believe mold is Neptune-ruled. This means that we can easily indulge in wishful thinking, including that a white knight will rescue us and suffering will end. In reality, there might be a far greater chance that the veil between the present and beyond is lifted and we find ourselves on the other side.
Like much that is Neptune-ruled, there is, in all likelihood, both confusion and denial. There is a lack of credible information, misinformation, and disinformation. I would like to give some examples to emphasize my point. Few mold resources address both the property issues and health issues. When the property issues are discussed, the testing methods may or may not be reliable, the products recommended for remediation may or may not work as wished, and correct instructions for use may be lacking. Where health is concerned, nearly everyone downplays the risks. The texts used in medical schools and information posted on official web sites nearly always makes an attempt to identify immune-compromised individuals as susceptible, implying that if one is healthy, the Tyvek suits and respirators may be optional or the exposure could be harmless. I actually saw this during the mold remediation done after my house flooded. On their web sites, the correct procedures were usually depicted but when the workers showed up, they did not have the proper attire or equipment, meaning that employers were putting their employees at risk and the self-employed were showing their ignorance by skipping safety precautions.
At the seminar on mold remediation, I tried to interject a statement to the effect that based on my observations of mold in darkfield microscopy, there was no basis whatsoever for assuming that anyone who had been exposed was safe. I could feel the energy in the room. They wanted to make sure I never spoke another word. Why? The people in the seminar were mostly looking for accreditation to pick up large contracting jobs in the Bayou after Hurricane Katrina. Didn't they want these people to know the truth? The work is super dangerous.
At the same seminar, the products sold for mold remediation of property were bashed, but it was implied that reliable products do exist (lift the veil?) In reality, such products do not exist because mold is practically invincible. It has to be. Mold survives hot lava and ice, radiation and fumigation. Worse, if the remediation products are stronger, i.e., more toxic, the mold adapts and produces stronger mycotoxins. So, the name of the game is to move the mold from one's living and breathing spaces and put it where it is needed, like landfills.
As for the air filtration systems, they are potentially helpful as far as they go. The idea that every cubic centimeter of ambient air will eventually pass through a filter and become trapped on something is wishful thinking. Worse, all these systems rely on movement so the spores that escape the filters are grateful for the opportunity to relocate since without feet or wings, they rely on this kind of help to expand their turf. Moreover, to the extent that there are people and pets in the room, their risk of exposure might be temporarily increased while the air is being moved. I am not saying that these units are useless, but if one is going to use them, do be sure that the air is sucked away from your lungs so that exposure is not increased.
I used many brands of air filters. I would say that all are overrated, even the one- and two-star models are overrated. The reason is that a lot of mold is either too moist to be moved by air and some has settled deep into the piles of carpets (close to the backing) or in dust under the bed or at least under the blankets and sheets so that "ambient air" has very little meaning in the context of where the risks are greatest. I am not saying not to buy such units, just not to place blind faith in their capacity to provide the 100% protection you actually need.
A lot of remediation work is done with huge suction devices where the exhaust vents outside the property. When I was in Switzerland, I met two patients whose mold symptoms were both sudden in onset. Both infections were linked to remediation done on properties next door. In Germany, I saw lots of remodeling in which the buildings were completely enclosed in plastic, even huge buildings. If one has a social conscience, this would be a way to protect the innocent, providing all the dust and contaminated building materials were properly bundled up before the containment was breached.
So, now that a few risks are underscored, let's turn to the medical issues. The idea that immuno-compromised persons as well as the very young and elderly are most at risk of mold-infection is completely misleading. One is at risk if one inhales or ingests mold. The capacity to cope with the infection may vary, but the notion that strong people in the prime of life have nothing to worry about is misleading and totally irresponsible. All mold that is within a living organism is a time bomb. Again, my purpose is not to frighten anyone but I cannot tell you how many times a week people write saying that they have x,y,z symptoms but are clueless as to the cause. Obviously, mold is not always the cause, but it is frequently the cause.
Since first starting the moldmisery.com web site, countless people have written about their mold exposures. Many lost pets, family members, and, of course, personal property, everything from photo albums to homes. Even more people who were exposed to mold did not connect the dots so they were undergoing treatment for everything from obesity to cancer, not realizing that the multitude of symptoms they were experiencing could be tied to mold. A few people began to think back to times when they might have been exposed to mold. Looking back, I now see that when I was involved in a ugly law suit over the flooding of my house, many of the questions asked were an attempt to get the case dismissed by showing that the opportunity for mold exposure could have occurred elsewhere. I thought they were wasting my time with questions about every hotel I ever stayed in. It seemed like a "paper her to death" strategy, not a sincere effort to find the truth; but I have no doubt that if one of the hotels on the list had been the infamous Hilton in Hawaii that they would have instantly moved to dismiss the case.
Now, in retrospect, I see that unfriendly as the tactics were, the fact is that mold exposure can occur somewhat capriciously. One may encounter mold in any building or restaurant and not have been aware. I believe that darkfield microscopy is a reasonable preliminary screening method for mold, but finding a competent microscopist is difficult, especially in the U.S. However, if one could find someone who would look carefully at a number of samples, I think many people would at least find out that there is an explanation for their symptoms. They are not crazy or hypochondriacal, but they have an infection that is rarely diagnosed.
Mold spores are microscopic so if you see mold, you are seeing a colony that consists of hyphae and spores. The hyphae are part of the feeding system that sustains the colony and my observation in darkfield is that certain herbs disrupt this system. The hyphae can be compared to roots. Just as the roots support the above ground plants, the hyphae support the mold. The hyphae have "joints" that make the hyphae look a bit like bamboo when magnified. These are the vulnerable parts of the mold's feeding system so when given the right herbs, the joints become the target points for the white blood cells. By this I mean that the when the system is disabled, the white blood cells will attack. Under normal circumstances, they avoid fungi because the risk is enormous, basically fatal. Now, if the immune system were compromised, the white blood cells would probably not be able to attack so this can partly explain the higher susceptibility of immuno-compromised individuals as compared to those who have good immune systems. However, it does not mean that anyone is safe, merely that this part of the response mechanism works better for some people than for others.
Basically, all molds, even the ones that are supposedly non-toxic, secrete substances that facilitate their digestive proclivities so there is really no such thing as a benevolent mold if it is inside the body. All molds are naturally vegetative and all will eat virtually any organic material, everything from erythrocytes to petroleum residuals and radioactive waste. The question is then whether or not the mold is performing a needed service and my answer is no because the mold does not ingest these nasty substances in order to support your health but simply because it is indiscriminately vegetative. Well, I am not sure it lacks food preferences. When I see it eating, it definitely exhibits a passion for red blood cells so this is not really good news.
Now, to take the darkfield adventure a step further, let's say there is a friendly blood parasite. This particular type of parasite may elect to eat only erythrocytes that are crenated, weak, infected, or dying. I suppose we would have to ask what happens if after eating everything of that description, he or she is still hungry? I suspect we would not like to see the next act of this drama. With mold, it doesn't work this way at all. It secretes a substance that vanquishes everything that comes in contact with that mist. It then vacuums up the tenderized cells via its feeding system. I don't believe anyone is exempt from such hazards, even Olympic athletes, so I stand by my statement that while it's no fun to be immuno-compromised, mold is not friendly when it is inside the body.
As the feeding system gets bigger, vast areas of the body can be consumed. In radiologic tests, these look misty because all the dense structure has been consumed. Sad to say, the foraging or colonizing can occur in virtually any tissue, including our precious brains, central nervous system, lungs, stomach, joints, or any other tissue. In many cases, these colonies are deemed to be malignant but in actuality, they are fungal . . . which does not take me to Dr. Simoncini but rather to Geraldine Kaminski, an Australian mycologist whose photographs can be found on the University of Adelaide web site.
So, let's see if I am finally getting my points across. First there is a mold exposure and then a colonization. Those who are allergic may have incredible reactions to the very first exposure, even if it is mild. I am that allergic. This is actually good because it gets some bells ringing to alert me to danger. Those whose bells do not ring should not be complacent. None of the patients seen in our trial clinic in India exhibited signs of allergies but they were very, very ill. Assuming one does not go into anaphylactic shock, the allergic reactions ought to prompt some investigation.
The next phase involves secretion of dangerous substances and consumption of various cells, tissues, and body parts. It might go on for years and years, but I have never seen it go away by wishful thinking. My opinion is that this phase is dangerous for everyone.
Then, some molds emit mycotoxins that linger in the body indefinitely. Some people excrete some of the toxins but many linger for decades and contribute to health complications such as stomach and liver cancer. Much of the weight gain experienced by those exposed to mold is due to retention of fluids, even osmosis of fluids, to dilute the mycotoxins. Weight loss occurs when these toxins are gradually eliminated, but like all detoxification, the pace has to be tempered to the body's ability to eliminate the toxins. Otherwise, the skin becomes red and itchy.
I believe that everyone can potentially arrest mold growth. I am not talking about killing mold, I am talking about disrupting the feeding system and inhibiting recolonization. However, success depends on being free of the risks of renewed exposure and diligence. Quitting too soon can be impulsive and unwise. Stay the course and gradually phase in herbs that aid tissue regeneration.
I am sorry that Andreas did not have a chance to teach this to his followers, but I am sure he would want this information circulated widely so I dedicate this post to him. May he enjoy the peace and harmony of heaven.