Can eating mold make you sick?
No – mold on your food isn’t the type of mold that’s going to make you sick.
The molds that make you sick are found in water-damaged buildings.
Today, we get to debunking the claim that mold on food makes you sick (it doesn’t!). Let’s get going!
Is your food moldy?
A lot of the food you eat contains mold. Some, more than others.
Mold on food can occur three ways:
- Before harvest
- After harvest
- While being stored in a warehouse
Warehouse-based growth is what manufacturers try their best to control.
The top place to find mold is in grains. Whole grains are the main culprits, including:
Alas, going organic is not going to save you when it comes to mold on your food. Even organic grains contain molds.
Moldy food 101
Currently, there are around 400 mycotoxins. These molds are naturally occurring and there’s not a whole lot you can do to prevent or avoid them.
You can measure the amount of mold/mycotoxins you consume by analyzing a urine sample. The urine of both healthy and unhealthy people contain a high amount of mycotoxins.
Take Patulin as an example. Patulin is a fungal toxin found in fruit juice. It’s almost impossible to find apple juice that doesn’t contain Patulin. Yet you don’t hear about apple juice causing severe allergic reactions or GI distress.
That’s because Patulin, like most other food molds, is destroyed by your stomach acid upon ingestion. If mold on food caused human illness, you’d see a pandemic. Yet billions of people eat moldy food every day. Most of whom experience little to no adverse effects.
Estimates say at least 25% of all the food in the world might be contaminated with mold. Assuming that’s true, you would expect anywhere between 1 1⁄2 to 2 billion individuals sickened by mycotoxins. Yet that’s not what you see. Mold on food is not a common cause of illness.
Allergy to mold in food
If you have a mold allergy that has been confirmed by an allergist, food molds may trigger symptoms.
A mold allergy occurs when your body is exposed to a substance and creates too many antibodies.
Here’s a list of symptoms commonly experienced in mold allergies:
- Runny nose
- Dry or scaling skin
If you have the unfortunate experience of getting a fungal colony taking up residence in your nostrils, you’ll like experience inflammation of the nasal pathways, watery eyes, and/or postnasal drip.
What about all the foods containing lots of mold?
I’m sure you’ve come across a list on the internet that identifies the ten moldiest foods! The article then went on to describe all the ways these ten foods make you sick. However, mold on food will only make you sick if you have a mold allergy. Even those of you with debilitating illnesses like chronic fatigue or CIRS will not be made worse by consuming moldy foods.
The mold toxins on food are different than the mold toxins in a water damaged building.
Mold on food will only make you sick if you have a mold allergy. For everybody else, there is no issue with consuming moldy foods.
Here’s a list of foods commonly thought to contain high levels of mold:
- Dried fruits
- Conventional coffee
- Wine and beer
- Nuts and seeds
If you have a mold allergy, you shouldn’t eat food from any of these categories. If you have CFS or another chronic illness, you don’t need to worry about them. Instead, you should be focusing your efforts on consuming whole foods. Whole foods are foods that rot. If your food can sit on your shelf for months, it’s not going to help your fatigue. Period.
Not all mold is evil
There’s good mold and then there’s bad mold. Good mold is what makes a stilton cheese taste divine. Bad mold makes you incredibly sick.
Fortunately, we find good molds and bad molds in very different places. If you’re really sick – like chronic fatigue or multiple chemical sensitivities sick – you might be dealing with a condition known as mold illness, or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).
Mold triggers mold illness (CIRS). But this mold does not come from your favourite blue cheese. Rest assured you can eat all the blue cheese your heart desires – even with a condition like mold illness (CIRS).
Toxic mold found in water-damaged buildings triggers mold illness (CIRS). Mold on your food does not trigger mold illness. A lot of the molds found on food – while not ideal – are not going to make you sick. At least not to the same degree of sickness as someone dealing with mold illness.
Now, let’s get into the types of molds that will actually make you sick. Really sick. Some molds do trigger a chronic inflammatory response. But these molds aren’t found in food…
Will mold on food make you sick?
We need to start this section with the distinct separation between the condition known as mold illness (CIRS) and another condition known as a mold allergy. These two conditions are worlds apart.
If you’re dealing with a tangled web of confusing, seemingly random, yet debilitating symptoms that no practitioner seems to be able to understand or piece together, you’re more likely to be dealing with CIRS.
This post is written for those of you dealing with CIRS. To the chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, IBS crowd – this post is for you. Know that mold on your food is not making you sick. Your strange array of symptoms was most likely triggered by a water-damaged building.
If you’re dealing with CIRS, mold on food won’t make you any sicker.
A little more clarity on whether or not mold on food makes you sick
If you have a chronic condition like CIRS, food molds will not trigger symptoms.
How do you know which you’re dealing with?
Here’s a list of some of the more common symptoms associated with CIRS:
♦Fatigue ♦Weakness ♦Aches ♦Muscle Cramps ♦Unusual Pain ♦Ice Pick Pain ♦Headache ♦Light Sensitivity ♦Red Eyes ♦Blurred Vision ♦Tearing ♦Sinus Problems ♦Cough ♦Shortness of Breath ♦Abdominal Pain ♦Diarrhea ♦Joint Pain ♦Morning Stiffness ♦Memory Issues ♦Focus/Concentration Issues ♦Word Recollection Issues ♦Decreased Learning of New Knowledge ♦Confusion ♦Disorientation ♦Skin Sensitivity ♦Mood Swings ♦Appetite Swings ♦Sweats (especially night sweats) ♦Temperature Regulation or Dysregulation Problems ♦Excessive Thirst ♦Increased Urination ♦Static Shocks ♦Numbness ♦Tingling ♦Vertigo ♦Metallic Taste ♦Tremors
CIRS and mold allergies are worlds apart. Mold allergies are annoying. CIRS will change your life – and not in a good way. If you have CIRS, moldy food is not what’s making you sick. But if you have a mold allergy, you may want to pay attention to the next section!
If you have mold illness, can you eat whatever you want?
Just because mold on food isn’t what’s making you sick does not mean you have free license to eat whatever your heart desires. If you’re dealing with CIRS, you’ve probably found that the types of foods you actually tolerate is minimal. Many of my CIRS patients come in tolerating only 5-10 foods. Everything else worsens their symptoms.
If you’re dealing with a complex illness like chronic fatigue syndrome, your first step towards reclaiming your health should be dietary change. Here are some guidelines for what to eat if you’re dealing with mold illness:
- Eat as much meat and seafood as you like.
- Eat all the vegetables you tolerate.
- Limit fruits to berry.
- Avoid grains. Especially gluten.
- Avoid refined and processed foods. Especially refined sugar products.
You can also check out my article on the best diet for chronic fatigue syndrome for a deeper dive on how you should eat when dealing with a chronic illness.
Now you know the truth behind mold on food – it’s not as bad as you think it is. Water-damaged buildings are the real problem.
However, if you’re dealing with chronic fatigue, mold illness needs to be on your radar. The same goes for other weird conditions like fibromyalgia, IBS, mast cell activation disorder, or multiple chemical sensitivities. Even though toxic mold is almost always at the root cause of these conditions, the source of that mold isn’t what you think.
Flourish Clinic specializes in mold sickness and CIRS – learn more!
It’s time for me to hear from you!
How has mold on food impacted your health?
Leave you answers in the comments section below!
If you really want to know what foods are negatively impacting your health, be sure to check out my digital product, Stop Feeding Fatigue.
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