Toxic Mold with Dr. Jill Carnahan: Rational Wellness Podcast 87
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Dr. Jill Carnahan discusses Toxic Mold with Dr. Ben Weitz.
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2:52 Dr. Carnahan explained that she suffered with mold toxicity in 2013 after there was a big flood in Boulder, Colorado and they found Stachybotrys mold in the basement of the building where her office was. Dr. Carnahan started to have symptoms, including shortness of breath and exercise intolerance. She would get brain fog and was having trouble finding words and it would take her twice as long to write an article. She had skin rashes and burning eyes and eczema on her scalp. Dr. Carnahan tested her urine and found Trichothecenes, which are mycotoxins that are very toxic. She left her office with her patient charts and never set foot in that office again. Even the paper patient charts were bothering her, so she needed to scan them in and throw them out as well.
6:54 When Dr. Carnahan is taking a patient’s history, her intuition can help her connect various bits of data and give her a sense of what’s going on with the patient. She will ask when the patient first got sick. Was it after a move to a new home? She asks about allergies, asthma, respiratory immune issues. Did multiple family members all get ill with some unexplained illness? Was there water damage in their home? If you just ask people if there is mold in their home, most people will say no because they don’t know that it’s there. Did they feel better when they went on vacation and got out of their home? Dr. Carnahan asks about washers, dryers, dishwashers, flat roofs, leaks in the basement, the sump pump, the crawl spaces, window condensation, etc. The mold can be behind the walls or under the floors. It can be in the schools. Musty smells are often VOCs from mold. And there can also be other toxins in their environment for chronic illness besides mold, like radon and heavy metals.
10:37 When it comes to testing, Dr. Carnahan will start with a questionnaire, the cluster symptom analysis for CIRS. If 8 out of 13 symptom clusters are present, it is considered positive.
Dr. Carnahan will also do a visual contrast study in her office that tests retinal acuity between darkened and light lines. If this is impaired, there is likely a biotoxin exposure. If either the questionnaire or the visual contrast study are positive, then she will do further testing. She will do chronic inflammatory response labs, which you can do through any major lab, like LabCorp or Quest, which will include TGF Beta, MSH, melanocyte stimulating hormone, and VEGF. She may also look at genetics, though she has been finding genetics testing less reliable for predicting outcomes. Dr. Carnahan will also do urinary mycotoxin testing, which measures mycotoxins being excreted from the body in the urine. The controversy here is could they be from food, but usually we can see a pattern if there’s a lot of different micro toxins in a person that has mold related illness, it’s more likely the environment than foods. Dr. Carnahan started out using Real Time Labs, which does Elisa testing, but she has been using Great Plains Labs, since it uses mass spectroscopy, which is more sensitive. She will usually have her patients take glutathione or use an infrared sauna or both to help mobilize the mold prior to the urine test. She will recommend that her patient take 500 mg liposomal glutathione twice per day for five days prior to the urine test.
15:33 For Functional Medicine practitioners who would like to get more training about treating patients with toxic mold, Dr. Carnahan explained that Dr. Richie Shoemaker has been at the forefront in this training for years, but he was reprimanded from the Maryland State Board of Physicians in 2013 and he closed his practice then, and there has been a lot of controversy over his methods. From my perspective, Dr. Shoemaker is clearly an innovator and has pushed the limits with his testing and protocols, including the use of various prescription drugs off label. But Dr. Shoemaker has set up protocols and some basic treatment protocols that are very helpful today. Dr. Carnahan is now on the board of a new group, known as International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness, ISEAI.org. This is a non-profit group that is devoted to bringing science to the field of mold and toxic exposure and they will be having their first conference May 3-5, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona entitled Healing Complex Patients in a Toxic World.
16:57 Treatment for patients with mold toxicity must involve first removing yourself from further exposure to mold, whether that be proper removal or remediation of the mold or moving out of the home or office that is contaminated with mold. Second, treatment should involve either taking liposomal or IV glutathione or the glutathione precursors, vitamin C, glycine, and NAC. Third, treatment should include binders, including bile acid binders, like cholestyramine. We can also use clay, charcoal, zeolite and other binders, depending upon which mycotoxin you are trying to bind. For example, okra toxin is probably best bound by cholestyramine, whereas aphlatoxin is better bound by clay and charcoal. Binders need to be taken away from food or supplements, either an hour before a meal or two hours after. They can be taken all at once or twice a day is usually sufficient. Supporting the gut, treating dysbiosis, and making sure their GI tract is moving is also very important. Due to weakened immune systems, many of these patients will also have viral and fungal infections. You also have to check the sinuses for colonization by antibiotic resistant strep infection known as MARCONS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci). She also recommends vitamin D, a probiotic, fish oil, Alpha Lipoic acid, NAC, milk thistle, green veggies to alkalinize the body, infrared sauna, and epsom salt baths. Dr. Carnahan recommends going slow with binders since as these toxins are leaving the body, the patient is getting re-exposed to the toxins and can get very sick.
24:45 Dr. Carnahan recommends her patients who have been exposed to mold to follow a low mold diet and it should also be low in carbs and sugar, since they feed fungus. This diet should avoid grains, legumes, and dried fruits. Coffee and chocolate tend to have a higher mold content. You should also avoid fermented foods and mushrooms.
Dr. Jill Carnahan is a Medical Doctor who runs the Flatiron Functional Medicine clinic in Louisville, Colorado and has a specialty in treating patients with chronic diseases, including with mold related toxicity. Dr. Carnahan speaks around the world and lectures for the Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Carnahan can be reached at JillCarnahan.com. Here is a link to a free guide to mold toxicity for Rational Wellness listeners from Dr. Carnahan: https://www.jillcarnahan.com/exposed-to-mold-now-what/
Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111.
Dr. Weitz: This is Dr. Ben Weitz with the Rational Wellness podcast bringing you the cutting edge information on health and nutrition from the latest scientific research and by interviewing the top experts in the field. Please subscribe to the rational wellness podcast on Itunes and YouTube and sign up for my free e-book on my website by going to drweitz.com. Let’s get started on your road to better health. Hello Rational Wellness podcasters. Thank you so much for joining me again today. For those of you who enjoy the rational wellness podcast, please go to iTunes and give us a ratings and review. That way more people will find out about the rational wellness podcast.
Our topic for today is toxic mold, it’s effect on our bodies and how to get rid of it with Dr. Jill Carnahan. Exposure to mold and micro toxins affects many people and often is an undiagnosed underlying trigger for many other symptoms and conditions. Many people are unwittingly living or working in water damaged buildings. This exposure may be causing many negative effects on their health. Not only can mold and micro toxin exposure cause a host of symptoms that we will go into, but it can also be an underlying trigger or root cause for many other serious health problems, including affecting our sex hormones, thyroid, adrenals, fibromyalgia, hypertension, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer. When looking at a patient from a Functional Medicine perspective, we usually focus on underlying triggers and root causes of their health condition. Mold may be one that is frequently overlooked. Research indicates that mycotoxins can bind to DNA and RNA and cause damage, alter protein synthesis, increase oxidative stress, deplete antioxidants, alter cell memory, function, act as potent mitochondrial toxins, and alter apoptosis, which is important for killing off cancer and other cells that we don’t want in the body.
Dr. Jill Carnahan is an MD who runs the Flat Iron Functional Medicine clinic in Louisville, Colorado. Dr. Carnahan is one of the first hundred doctors certified by the Institute of Functional Medicine. She’s a survivor of breast cancer and Crohn’s Disease and she’s a sought after speaker and she loves teaching other healthcare practitioners the Functional Medicine approach, which is to look for the root case and underlying triggers for chronic illness. Thank you Dr. Carnahan for joining us today.
Dr. Carnahan: Thanks. Excited to be here.
Dr. Weitz: Thank you. So how did you become interested in studying mold and patients suffering with mold toxicity?
Dr. Carnahan: Well like things in my life, there’s a happenstance. In fact, in 2013 was the big flood in Boulder. There’s been a lot of this lately with climate change. We had a massive epidemic –
Dr. Weitz: Fake news. Fake news.
Dr. Carnahan: Yeah. We had a massive epidemic flood in Boulder in 2013 and ever since as a physician who knows mold, I’ve been picking up the pieces. But it hit me very personally because my office basement was flooded. I think the office itself maybe had some minor issues even before the flood and the flood just took it over the edge. I was two stories up above the basement where there was water damage and Stachybotrys mold which is a really nasty, toxic black mold in the outside of a crawl space right under my office that in hindsight was probably really toxic, as well. There was probably water sitting in there.
So bottom line is I started to have symptoms. Shortness of breath, exercise intolerance. I used to be able to run a 5k no trouble and then I was having trouble running and breathing. So my respiratory system was affected. I would have brain fog in the sense of I could still do my work, but I would have difficulty finding words. I would misplace words and say the wrong words when I meant something else and it was kind of strange. Focus concentration was affected, so instead of being able to write an article in an hour, it would maybe take me twice that time. My skin was affected, so I had rashes. Red, itchy, burning eyes, eczema on my scalp. Just all kinds of things as far as on the body and skin.
Mold, one of the things it does is create a lot of histamine response. So a lot of the symptoms we see with mold exposure are histamine, or mass cell related. All this to say I kind of knew there was something going on. And I have such compassion for my patients who go through this because I myself ignored it for about six months. I thought no, this can’t be mold. If it were mold, it would affect my office or workplace or home and I didn’t want to deal with it. I kind of put my head in the sand. But finally, it got bad enough that I knew I had to check it out. I actually was diagnosed with an immune deficiency, so it was significantly impairing my health.
So I did my own testing of my urine and found Trichothecenes, which is some of the mycotoxins you talked about. Trichothecenes are used, they’re actually being studied as chemical warfare agents. They’re so toxic. They are neurologically toxic, immune toxic brain toxic, so very, very toxic to the body. I had this actually in my body from the exposure. Then we found the Stachybotrys in the basement and I literally, this was at the very end of 2014, the day after Christmas. And I never set foot again in that office. I left everything. I ended up getting my paper charts because obviously for patient care I needed those, but every single book, desk, everything else I left and walked out and started over.
It was one of the hardest and best things I’ve ever done because now I’m completely well, but it took really getting rid of all those things and getting out of that office in that time. Even my paper charts ended up bothering me quite a bit until I scanned them in a few months later. So even that paper. Now we know that those mycotoxins and VOCs can actually attach to course materials. If someone’s exposed, they don’t always have to leave everything. It’s not all catastrophic. But in my case, it just made sense. I wanted to get well and I didn’t want to be exposed at all. But it was quite an experience. And then over the following year or two, I really dove in because I wanted to heal from this exposure and I learned how it all connected. I just, understanding it from that level as an experience gives me a whole different level of understanding. Now when I hear patient’s histories in front of me, there’s so often clues in their history that remind me of a likely mold exposure. Then I ask more questions and do more testing. But because I’ve lived it and overcome it, I really have a greater understanding of what it looks like and I can see it. And once you know this, a lot of practitioners don’t know mold illness, it’s very, very prevalent. It’s very prevalent. Surprisingly so. So that’s my story.
Dr. Weitz: What are some of those things that make you suspect mold?
Dr. Carnahan: Yeah, so history is huge. Before you spend a penny on testing, I would say 99% of the time, I have a really good idea just from the questions I ask, the patient may have a mold exposure and I’ll tell you some of those things. But you don’t always, if you’re a good clinician and a good detective, history can tell you so much. I know you understand this well. My staff actually jokes because literally when I go to test for mold or some of these other infections really, some of the diagnoses that I think might be there to prove it, I’m pretty much batting 100%. If I think it’s there, it’s almost always confirmed. That’s just because of the history and really knowing what to ask.
So what questions-
Dr. Weitz: Yeah. I think a good clinician really does testing to confirm what they already suspect.
Dr. Carnahan: Yes. And you know, I just have to stop here because, at least in my training, there was so much emphasis on objective science which I love. I’m all about science. But I kind of lost my intuition for several years. I put it aside and felt like it wasn’t valid. I feel like now, I’m really, really embracing that intuitive sense that tapes together millions of pieces of data much more quickly than my brain could do. Then I confirm it with the science, but my intuition is right on. And most of the time and most of us in this field, we have a very strong intuitive sense. And we actually rely on that and then prove it out. It’s probably the best tool that we have. Yeah, you’re nodding. I know you understand this. Back to the question. I’ll ask for the history. When did you get sick? What happened? Was it after a move? So a couple of things that would be … a new move to a new home and then the next year or so, lots of different autoimmunity, allergies, asthma, respiratory immune issues, all kinds of things crashing. If there’s a family and multiple family members are all ill with unexplained illness, that’s guaranteed there’s some environmental trigger, especially if they’re all pretty healthy, they all move into a new home and within a year they all have issues. That’s classic for an environmental trigger.
I ask about water damage because if you ask point blank have you had mold in your home, most people would say no. They don’t know it, they don’t see it. Musty smells, because people don’t understand that those are VOCs from mold, so if there is a musty, kind of bad smell, that probably means there’s mold growing somewhere. Again, just them moving to a new environment. If they have maybe gone on vacation for 10 or 14 days and started to feel better out of that environment, that could be a trigger. And mold is one thing. There’s other things in the environment that could be issues. Like radon, heavy metals, chemicals. But typically mold is a real clear thing as far as a new home or water damage. I’ll ask about washers, dryers, dishwashers, flat roofs, leaks in the basement, the sump pump, the crawl spaces, window condensation, all of these. I’m kind of becoming a building expert too even though that’s not my expertise because you really have to understand how the envelope of the building and intrusion of water can create a mold illness. And most of the people, I’d say 90%, you don’t see this. You don’t really see it. You don’t know it’s there. It’s behind the walls, it’s under the floors. I just found out this last month that in many of the schools that uses vinyl tile, there’s actually a huge problem, there’s this variegated system that goes under to hold the tile in place and it actually has these ridges where when they flood the tile with water, it’s porous. It goes into these ridges and just sits there in this dark, warm, damp space. And it’s going to be an epidemic like the asbestos stuff for school systems because it’s a really big deal and no one knows about it. So things like that where you can’t see it, you can’t smell it, but it is causing illness. And I see school systems as probably being the number one areas, kids and teachers that are affected by mold, it’s epidemic.
Dr. Weitz: Wow. You mentioned testing. What kinds of testing do you find are helpful once you suspect that a patient has mold?
Dr. Carnahan: Yeah. I just want to emphasize history because I get a ton with history, asking the right questions.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Carnahan: There’s a symptom cluster analysis that I do that’s been validated. So I’ll give them that questionnaire.
Dr. Weitz: Oh yeah, good. What is the name of that questionnaire?
Dr. Carnahan: It’s just called cluster symptom analysis for CERES and I’m happy to share that with you or your listeners.
Dr. Weitz: That would be great. We’ll put it on there.
Dr. Carnahan: You got it. Basically, there’s 13 different categories and if you have any one symptom in each category, eight or more out of those 13 are positive. It includes things from brain fog, focus concentration, memory issues to trouble breathing, cough, shortness of breath, sinus pressure, congestion, numbness, tingling, something called “ice pick pain” where you have these sharp, stabbing pains, digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, heartburn are really common. The skin, the rashes. The brain fog. Fatigue is incredibly common. Weight gain or weight loss. Just all systems are affected. So symptom analysis is free. I do that to every patient that I suspect. Then I also do a visual contrast study in office. This test, retinal acuity between darkened and light lines and if this is impaired, there is likely a biotoxin exposure. They used this in the 1940’s, years ago in the armed services for their armed service people exposure to chemicals. So it’s not just mold, but it tells you if you have kind of a toxic exposure that affects the retinal blood vessels that are so small that it’s one way you can actually test for that capillary cytokine damage in an easy way in the office. So those two things are free and I always start there. Then of course if they’re positive, I go further. Testing wise, doctors, people I work with, always want to know what’s the one test. Unfortunately, this is a very complex field and there is no one test. You really cannot rely on one thing. History is huge. I just cannot emphasize that enough. But testing wise, there’s about three different things that you can do. One is chronic inflammatory response labs, which you can do through any major lab, like Lab Corps, Quest, or your hospital lab. The most common ones to check are TGF Beta, MSH, melanocyte stimulating hormone, VEGF, and then you can check genetics. Genetics we’re finding are less and less reliable for really predicting outcomes. So while there is a stratified risk, it’s not that … they used to call the set of genes a dreaded gene and that really is not valid.
So people who thought they were dreaded and they never get well, it just doesn’t prove out in science. So while I do look at the genetics to follow that, I don’t rely nearly so much on the genetics as I used to. That’s kind of new in this field to not rely on those. Often, we’ll do urinary mycotoxin testing, so testing for the mycotoxins coming out of the body in the urine. The controversy here is could they be from food, especially okra toxin and that answer is yes. So while we don’t always know, usually we can see a pattern if there’s a lot of different micro toxins in a person that has mold related illness, it’s more likely the environment than foods.
Dr. Weitz: By the way, do you use a glutathione ahead of time to increase the likelihood that they’ll be excreting mycotoxins?
Dr. Carnahan: Yes, great point. So four or five days prior, I like to instruct them to use either infrared sauna or glutathione or both because what you want to have … years ago, I did a couple of these mycotoxin tests in the early days and I had patients that I was sure there was mold issues and they came back completely negative. Really sick people, mold issues and I was so puzzled. I thought how in the world are these people negative? But what I realized is our very sickest people are so toxic, they’re not excreting anything. So you just hit the nail on the head in the sense that some of those really sick people, you will get false negatives if you don’t pre-treat them with something to push those toxins a little bit. Now you still, even if someone is very toxic, you still might get a false negative, so you just have to know that is a possibility, but you’re going to be less likely if you pre-treat with glutathione or infrared sauna.
Dr. Weitz: How much glutathione?
Dr. Carnahan: Yeah, I do 500 BID for five days.
Dr. Weitz: Great. Do you find the Real Time labs, or Great Plains, one more reliable than the other?
Dr. Carnahan: Yes. The first one that came out was Real Time Labs and they do Elisa testing and they’re fantastic. They have a really large panel. That was who I, when I first got sick, used. Then Great Plains came along and their technology is a little bit more sensitive with mass spectroscopy. So we pick up more detail. It’s more sensitive. The downside is you may pick up foods more quickly than you would environmental. So there’s pros and cons of both. I probably use Great Plains more now because of the sensitivity. But every once in a while I’ll go back to the Real Time just because they really both are valid. They’re both great tests.
Dr. Weitz: Related question for those Functional Medicine practitioners who might be listening to this conversation, what’s the best training or learning program for them to become more knowledgeable about treating patients with mold?
Dr. Carnahan: Yeah. Dr. Shoemaker’s been at the forefront in this training. He really set a lot of the foundation in place. The newest group that I would highly recommend is ISEAI, it’s International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness, so ISEAI.org. It’s non-profit. I’m on the board, so I’ll disclose that, but other than that it’s completely non-profit. The real push there is literally I don’t get paid by them at all. I just want to bring the science to this field and so does everybody else who’s there. So a lot of the docs who have been doing this the longest and really understand all the nuances have created this organization. They’re bringing, in fact in May there’s going to be the first conference so stay tuned for that. But I really think the best and most scientific data will come from that organization. So most of my colleagues and friends who ask how can I learn more? I would say join the ISEAI group because you’re going to stay in touch with the latest scientific. There was a lot of politics historically in this field, and I won’t go into that, but I feel this is really free from those biases and really the people who are in charge are trying to bring great science to a very difficult and changing field.
Dr. Weitz: Great. Let’s get right into treatment. How do we treat patients who are sick from mold or mycotoxin exposure?
Dr. Carnahan: Yeah. This is … if you’ve ever heard me lecture on toxic exposure and environmental toxicity, it’s all about toxic load. So I always talk about the bucket capacity. We are born, some of us genetically have a very small bucket, but that’s our capacity to hold onto toxins and to actually get rid of them and deal with life. What we should have is a nice little margin at the top and that allows us to take in and get out every day. Most people should actually do a daily detox, whether it’s making sure they’re eating clean, incorporating infrared sauna or Epsom salt baths. There’s all kinds of ways, but just a 21 day detox once a year is probably not going to cut it in our toxic environment.
Most people, including myself that I see at least, have a smaller bucket and they’ve completely reached capacity. They’re spilling over the top. That’s when they present with us with illness. Commonly with environmental toxicity, it’s neurological illness, it’s autoimmunity and it’s cancers. So these things we see are all epidemics. But back to treatment. Thinking about the toxic load, the first thing you want to do is start to decrease that load. So you cannot really … you can give them glutathione or binders which I’ll talk about specifically. But if you don’t get them out of that exposure, you’re not going to get very far and you may not make any progress at all. So the hardest thing is to find where this exposure is coming from and get out, because it could involve selling, losing a house, losing your job. There’s some really big ramifications of this illness. It’s like a tornado or fire sometimes when people lose a lot of stuff. But, the bottom line is your health is the most valuable asset you have. For me, I was worth walking away from probably hundreds of thousands of dollars of things that it didn’t matter because my health really did matter.
All of that is replaceable. So when patients finally get that, they get it and they’ll do anything. And I don’t mean to be fatalistic, because not everybody has to give up everything. You can move and keep your stuff, no problem. But it is a big deal to make sure that you’re in a pretty clean environment because you will not be able to get well without that piece. I always just have to emphasize because people think they can take a bunch of stuff and stay in their home and that will not work. So once you find the culprit, get it out. And again, it could take a few months or a few weeks. You do what you can in the meantime. But, when you get out, or even while you’re getting out, glutathione is really powerful because when you have a mold exposure, you tank.
You basically use up your glutathione, especially if you have any SNPs for glutathione synthase, or any of those which a lot of our patients have. They will be impaired. Now, I will say not everyone tolerates glutathione for reasons that they can cause oxidation. So there are people who need precursors like glycine, vitamin C and maybe NAC and they do better with those than glutathione. I’m one of those. I’ve never done well with glutathione, but I can take all the Vitamin C and glycine in the world and I do fine as long as I take the precursors. So everybody is different, but you need to be producing glutathione and you need to give your body all the raw materials or the liposomal or IV forms.
Second would be binders. The way these mycotoxins and molds are detoxed from our body, one of the main pathways is the liver-gallbladder transformation there. What happens is phase one, makes an intermediate that’s very toxic. Then phase two takes it into a more water soluble form. It’s excreted into the bile and stored in the gallbladder. So our bile excretion is actually one method of elimination of these toxins. What you’ll find is bile acid binders, or sequestrins, are very powerful ways to pull those toxins through the bile out of the body. If we do not do that, about 95% of the bile is intrahepatically recirculated. It just is like a merry go round and those toxins go right with it and they never really get out of the body. So we can use clay, charcoal, zeolite, a cholestyramine, Welchol, these are all substances that have affinities for toxins. I like to combine binders because each of them have a different affinity to different mycotoxins and even endotoxins from the gut. So we’re getting a much bigger, broader spectrum when we combine. I will say that for example, okra toxin is probably best bound by cholestyramine, whereas aphlatoxin is better bound by clay and charcoal.
So there is differences to the types of mycotoxins and based on the results, I can pick and choose the binders to use. But, it’s probably best to use a multiple. People can take them all at once and usually twice a day is sufficient. They need to be taken an hour away from food or supplements, either an hour before a meal or two hours after. So it’s a little tricky. In the old days, we used four times a day, but I find that just to be incredibly difficult and people can get well at a little bit lower dosing.
Dr. Weitz: That’s great. Let’s see. Do you also support liver detoxification as part of the program?
Dr. Carnahan: Yeah. That’s just scratching the surface because surely as you do, I do a complete Functional Medicine approach.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah.
Dr. Carnahan: You have to get the bowels moving. You have to treat dysbiosis, which is really common. A lot of these patients because of weakened immune system will have viral or fungal burdens, very commonly fungal burdens and also viral. So you have to treat those in the gut or in the body. You have to check sinuses for colonization of MARCONs, which is a methicillin resistant bacteria or also fungal and treat that as well. So you’re really treating the whole body for infections and toxic load. There’s a lot more things I put people on. The very basics would be a Vitamin D, a probiotic, fish oil. Fish oil actually helps with the detox and the reactions people have.
Then, making sure they have all the Alpha Lipoic acid and the N-Acetyl cysteine; milk thistle, glutathione, all the good liver support. And you sometimes have to go very slowly because as you bind, I think of it as if you have a magnet and metal filings on your desk and you pull that magnet and most of the metal filings stick, but there’s a little trailing along. It’s very similar when you’re binding mycotoxins out of the body with these binders. They don’t have an iron grip. They’re pulling gently with a small affinity, but you’re actually often in the beginning getting re exposed on the way out. So when you start binders, if you start too heavy, often people will feel more sick, they’ll have more symptoms because they’re actually kind of getting re-exposed to this toxin on the way out. That’s super common. My best tips for that would be mineral water or alkalinization of the body with greens and things. Infrared sauna is super powerful. Epsom salt baths are amazing. And go slow. So all those things can be helpful in the process.
Dr. Weitz: What’s the typical length of treatment?
Dr. Carnahan: Yeah, I would say six to 18 months is pretty typical. Sick people are pretty resilient and sometimes longer. Again, in that period, they become hyper sensitive. There’s an unmasking. So when they’re in the moldy house or the moldy office, they don’t feel well. But they don’t even notice the mold as far as smell or how they feel. As they start to detox, what’ll happen is they’ll become super sensitive and they’ll notice if they walk into a building or somewhere with mold. So they think they’re getting worse. It’s actually a really good sign because all of a sudden, the water… sensitive. Some develop multiple chemical sensitivities.
Dr. Weitz: Okay, great. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but consumer products with charcoal are really hitting the market big time these days.
Dr. Carnahan: Yeah, you find it … in the airport the other day, I saw lemonade charcoal for post hangover. I’m like gosh, they’re really getting into this. Just a travel tip; I always, always travel with charcoal and I pretty much take it every day when I’m on the road because it’s a great binder for bad food. I don’t drink, but too much alcohol if someone were a drinker. It’s also a binder for just environmental toxins. I find I feel much better when I travel to take that charcoal.
Dr. Weitz: Maybe in the last few minutes we have, we could talk a little bit about a low mold diet, which I know you recommend.
Dr. Carnahan: Yeah. When patients are in the midst of this detox, often getting mold out of the diet can be a really helpful thing. Also, like I said, some of them are colonized with fungal species like candida or even they could have aspergillus in their sinuses or lungs as well. All of these things feed on refined carbs and sugars. So at the very core, it’s eliminating … like a paleo-style diet tends to be fairly close, because it’s grain free and legume free, especially the flours and the sugars. Those just have to be out. Dried fruits are notorious for not only mold, but high sugar, so dried fruits should be out. Coffee and chocolate tend to have a higher mold content unless you’re really sure about the clean. So those are better to avoid or be cautious. Then anything that’s … your blue cheese, fermented foods, things that are either fermented or moldy by nature are a problem. Mushrooms are usually a problem. So temporarily, patients can get all of these things out of their diet and then start to add them back in as they get better. It’s just most patients who have mold related illness are incredibly sensitive to both alcohol and sugar. Those are probably the two biggest things to avoid.
Dr. Weitz: That’s great. So for listeners who’d like to get a hold of you, what’s the best way for them to contact you and find out about your programs?
Dr. Carnahan: Thank you. Yeah, my website is just a plethora of information, all free. So I hope you visit. It’s just my name, JillCarnahan.com. I do have a free mold guide. I’ve updated it just this last year. A lot of patients, I get all the time emails from patients how have just read the guide and started to get well. I can’t sere them, but it’s free. And it is out there for your listeners. I’ll be sure and send you the link, but if you have trouble, if you just Google Dr. Jill mold guide, you will get it right there up on Google and it’s free. I hope you’ll download that. [Here is the link to the mold guide: https://www.jillcarnahan.com/exposed-to-mold-now-what/ ]
Dr. Weitz: Excellent. Thank you so much Dr. Carnahan for joining us today.
Dr. Carnahan: You’re welcome. Thank you for the interview.
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