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Allergic to Mold?
Diet Modifications Helped My Son

 

Also see: Allergies - Get Rid of Mold and Mildew in Your Home


I think that diet is a very important, yet often overlooked factor in mold allergy treatment. Besides trying to get rid of all of the mold and mildew in our house, listed below are the diet tips and changes we made that seemed to help my son get over the headaches and itching he would get whenever he was around mold.

  • We kept a food diary of everything he ate and looked for patterns. From his diet journal we found that he did better on low fat, acid producing, high protein foods. (Click here to read my section on acidic foods and alkaline foods.) He didn't have to stay on this diet for ever, just a few months until he stopped having so many problems being around mold.

    Foods that he especially needed to avoid were:

    • Cheese
    • Salami
    • Potatoes
    • Hot dogs
    • Most nuts, especially pistachios and cashews
    • Chocolate
    • Sugar
    • Anything with yeast - breads, bagels, etc.
    • Raw vegetables and fruit
    • Saturated fats, including butter
    • Garlic
    • High vitamin A and high provitamin A beta-carotene foods - especially carrots, liver and pumpkin
    • Fruit juices
    • Refined grains
    • Dairy

  • Foods and supplements that seemed to help him were:

    • Probiotic supplements containing acidophilus
    • Chinese pickled cabbage
    • Cooked vegetables
    • Meat
    • Apple cider vinegar

  • Sugar always made him especially itchy. I think this is because fungus (mold is a subset of fungi) tend to thrive in alkaline, sugary environments.

  • Interestingly, my son's foods to avoid list that we developed from his food journal ended up coinciding with the lists of foods that are often mentioned as migraine headache triggers. He had to avoid these foods for about a month until his mold allergies subsided, and then he could start eating them again without getting headaches or itches.

  • For a good article on the links between systemic yeast infections, and sensitivity to molds, dampness and smells see Nutritional Program for Yeast Syndrome by Elson M. Haas M.D.

  • In my son's case, allergy testing for mold wasn't very enlightening. I think that is because there are thousands of types of molds and yeast, so any testing only covers a very small portion of of the possible mold allergens.

  • My son's health issues came on the heels of a month long course of antibiotics for a chronic sinusitis. Antibiotics can actually contribute to systemic mold and yeast infections because along with getting rid of the pathogenic bacteria, they also eliminate the body's good bacteria that keep members of the fungus family in check.

  • We had the whole family tested for nutritional deficiencies. The one difference between our son with the extreme mold allergies and the rest of us who were not as bothered as much by mold was that my younger son had a magnesium deficiency. Interestingly, he was also the only person in the family bothered by frequent headaches and multiple chemical sensitivities, other conditions which are commonly linked todeficiencies of this mineral in the medical literature.

  • We tried a liver detox diet for my son and that seemed to help, too. From browsing around on the Internet, it seems like itching issues are not only associated with mold allergies, but also almost any condition that stresses the liver (high amounts of vitamin A from high beta carotene foods like carrots and pumpkins, being overweight, high levels of saturated fat, hypothyroidism, ingesting a lot of dyes and other chemicals, etc.). I think this is because when the liver isn't working properly or gets overloaded, it can't handle the toxins produced by molds as well as it would when it is operating at peak efficiency.

  • When my son's itching from mold and other allergies was at its worst, plus when I found myself itching, too, we both noticed that the soles of our feet were bright orange. I researched that condition on the Internet and found that it can happen as a result of ingesting too much vitamin A or beta-carotene. Interestingly, after reading up on beta-carotene and vitamin A, we recalled that our son's first itching episode had occurred right after he ate pumpkin pie. Initially, I thought he was allergic to a preservative in the pie, but now I'm not so sure that was the cause. I now believe it may have been just from all of the vitamin A in the pumpkin.

    He and I both used to eat a lot of carrots and other vegetables high in provitamin A beta-carotene, which gets converted to vitamin A and stored in the liver. In know now that one carrot has over 400% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin A from beta-carotene, and we were each eating several carrots a day.
    If the liver gets saturated with vitamin A, then the skin begins to take on a yellowish tint, especially in the palms and soles of feet. And when the liver isn't functioning well, itching often occurs. So mold may have been what triggered our itching, but it was not a singular factor. An overloaded liver seemed to be part of our problems as well as exposure to mold.

    The people in our family, my husband and older son, who did not eat a lot of carrots and did not have orange feet, did not have the same problems with mold as my younger son and I did, even though they were living in the same house and were exposed to the same levels of mold and mildew. I think this was because their bodies were just better able to deal with any mold because their livers were working better.

    Many medical processionals say that vitamin A overdose can only come from taking too much vitamin A from supplements, but I question this generalization based on our experience. My son and I certainly had too much vitamin A in our bodies. I checked with my son's pediatrician and she agreed that his feet were indeed orange compared to the average patient, and she advised us to have him cut back on vitamin A and beta carotene rich foods such as carrots until his feet returned to a normal color. However, neither my son nor I ever
    ever took any supplements - not even multivitamins. All we did was eat many foods high in beta carotene like carrots and pumpkin.

    In any event, one of the things that we believe helped decrease our itching from mold allergies was to cut out foods with beta carotene and vitamin A for awhile. I think it helped to de-stress our livers, leaving them better able to deal with the toxins from every day mold and mildew. We did notice that the skin, and especially foot itching that happened around mold decreased in conjunction with our feet returning to a normal color.

  • During the time my son was having mold allergy issues, he also had a lot of sinus infections. Recent studies have shown that people with chronic sinus infections. See below to read my section on sinus infections.

Also see: Mold Allergies - Get Rid of Mold and Mildew in Your Home

 

 

 

Related sections of interest:

Allergic to mold? Diet changes might help.

Beneficial Bacteria

Diet Tips for Irritable Bowel

Read my Section on Sinus Infections

Itchy Skin / Sensitive Skin

MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities)

Natural Therapies for Morgellons - The cause of this disorder is controversial and not clearly understood. My family had some similar symptoms so I wrote up what we found helpful.

Selected Links:

E-medicine: Mold Article - a good article on the health consequences of exposure to fungi.

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