Mould & mycotoxins
| Educator
21st Jul, 2022Podcast

 

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Wendy McLean (00:04): Welcome to Common Ground, a podcast series discussing new research and interesting projects in the field of complementary medicine. Hello, my name is Wendy McLean, Senior Writer & Presenter at vital.ly.

vital.ly is a digital platform, a health professional resource, and a distribution service all in one.

Firstly, I'd like to begin by acknowledging the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians on the land on which we gather here. I would also like to respect their elders, both past, present, and emerging.

The unprecedented rainfall and floods experienced in Eastern Australia during 2022 may now have subsided, but a huge public health issue remains – mould. Moreover, this will continue to be a growing health emergency over the coming years, and a challenge for individuals and practitioners alike.

Joining me today to discuss mould illness and mycotoxins is Carolyn Ledowsky. She is a Health Scientist, Researcher, naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist who has a Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy) Honours, Bachelor of Herbal Medicine, Bachelor of Naturopathy, Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy and Diploma of Nutrition and a Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University. She has also studied courses in genetics at Duke University and The University of Maryland.  She is currently doing her PhD at the University of Technology Sydney to study the effect of different forms of folate on fertility in those with MTHFR polymorphisms.

Carolyn spent 12 years studying chronically ill patients from all over the world, who have searched, sometimes for decades, to find the reason behind their ill health. Her strength lies in her ability to reveal layers of dysfunction and not give up until results are seen. Most of her patients have MTHFR mutations and/or associated methylation disturbances. Her key passions are fertility, anxiety, and depression. Her practice specialises in genetic susceptibility and how this, with overlying environmental factors contributes to biochemical dysfunction and chronic health conditions.

We're very pleased to have Carolyn share her knowledge and experience with us today on Common Ground.

Welcome Carolyn.

Carolyn Ledowsky (02:30): Thank you. Great to be here.

Wendy McLean (02:32): It's great to have you on Common Ground again. Carolyn you and I know, and as do the population and practitioners, we're facing a mould epidemic at the moment, and it's an epidemic that we're going to be facing for years to come. And we know that it can cause serious health issues, particularly in vulnerable populations, such as children and people with compromised immune systems. And, you know, as practitioners, we're going to be dealing with this, now and in five, ten years down the track. So, let's just start with some of the key considerations for practitioners when addressing mould. What symptoms might suggest that the person sitting in front of us is suffering from mould exposure?

Carolyn Ledowsky (03:15): Yes, it's such a good question. And we probably think neurological firstly, but if I was to categorise it, I think the key things that make me think mould, is someone who's had sinus for a long period of time, they would get recurrent sinus or they've got hay fever all the time. I think that's a really big one. I think anyone who has had a really sharp decline in neurological function, so things like brain fog, you know, acute anxiety, depression that's come on and memory issues are probably the next.

And then I think sleep going haywire. So almost a complete change in your circadian rhythm is probably my number one.

Wendy McLean (04:10): Right. That's really interesting.

Carolyn Ledowsky (04:12): It is. And I think anyone where you are treating them and you are thinking, you know what, you are not quite reacting the way I think you should. You're not responding to my protocols and there's weird things going on. Then I would check, always check mycotoxins.

Wendy McLean (04:34): Right. And I've read that there are weird symptoms, aren't there? I've read that there's things like, they describe it almost like an ice pick pain in random body parts, getting electric shocks, you know, all the time and just unexplained symptoms like that.

Carolyn Ledowsky (04:54): Yes. And things like metallic tastes in the mouth or sweating at night, panic attacks that sort of have just suddenly happened. And don't forget hand in hand with this is because it's often setting off a mast cell activation. You get the concurrent histamine response.

So anyone that's got a histamine issue, I think you have to question mark whether or not there's a mycotoxin issue as well.

Wendy McLean (05:26): I see. And I guess with the histamine, so you'd be seeing things like the sinus, but rashes as well.

Carolyn Ledowsky (05:34): Yes. Sneezing all the time. Any sort of allergy symptoms, migraines, headaches, period pain, cramping, you name it, hives, eczema, all of these and all, any of these yeasty things that come up in the body, like, you know, jock itch for men or fungal nails or recurrent candida or recurrent thrush. You've got to think that there's possibly a problem when someone's got a recurrent issue. And I've got to say, and a lot of praccies are going ‘no, don't tell me this’. But I actually think SIBO and people who have recurrent gut issues, you have got to look at mould. And ever since I did my recent webinar on mould where I did a bit of a deep dive into the gut, I honestly believe that recurrent SIBO is because you have such issues with mould. The mould mycotoxins really affect gut. And I know we'll talk about this a bit more, but you have to be thinking if someone's getting something recurrently, you are not fixing the problem.

Wendy McLean (06:56): Yeah, I absolutely agree. And I guess you know, there are so many symptoms involved with this and I guess a lot of differential diagnoses that we need to consider. So how does a practitioner know when they should test and how should they test?

Carolyn Ledowsky (07:16): Okay. So if someone's got recurrent sinus, I think that's sort of big alarm bell. If someone's got recurrent respiratory issues, I think that's a big alarm bell. If someone has got sleep issues that are not responding at all to your normal calming people down, the normal herbs you might use or whatever, I think you've got to think about it. So it's anything outside the norm where you are saying this isn't quite fitting. For example, if you've got someone who has huge hormonal issues and you think, hang on, I'm doing everything I can, their genetics are not indicating they have necessarily a susceptibility to having oestrogen dominance, but I'm seeing massive oestrogen dominance, I'd be thinking mould because the mould mycotoxins are really, it's the glucuronidation pathway that they are jamming up because that's the pathway we have to eliminate, we use to eliminate mostly these mycotoxins. And so if it's jammed up by the mould, then you are not going to clear toxic oestrogen. So you can have these women that are presenting with oestrogen dominance. Yet you look at their family history, you look at their genetics and you say, there's got to be an environmental reason for this because this shouldn't be the case.

Wendy McLean (08:52): Absolutely. And so when you are seeing these people is that one of the first steps that you take in your assessment as well? An environmental health assessment?

Carolyn Ledowsky (09:05): Definitely. Yeah. And it's got to always be a consideration. And now we never do not have a first appointment where we don't ask the question. Has there ever been exposure to mould? Have you ever lived in a house that has had water damage?

Wendy McLean (09:22): Yes.

Carolyn Ledowsky (09:23): Do you have any recurrent sinus issues or respiratory issues? They're the most and if someone says, right, yeah, I actually, my house before this had had exposure to water, because let's face it. This is what we're talking about. Any water damage, you have to think there's going be mould. And so if they've lived in that environment, that has to be the question mark at the end of the first appointment, do I think there's sufficient information to suggest that it warrants a mycotoxin test.

Wendy McLean (10:01): Right. And so now just touching on that, so the mycotoxin test what does that involve and are there other tests that you do as well?

Carolyn Ledowsky (10:11): Yes. So I would, and don't forget bilirubin is a good blood marker to be getting an indication whether or not the glucuronidation pathway is having issues. So is the glucuronidation marker in the gut test. So there's a few markers that can give you an indication, but we pretty well always do an organic acids test which is a urine collection. And if we see, if those Aspergillus markers in that first section of the organic acid test are elevated, then that is telling us that there's a colonisation of mould in the gut. Now if there's that, then you have got to think there's possibly a mycotoxin exposure. So that's the first thing that would give us indication. And the second one is the mycotoxin test by Great Plains. And it, again, it's a urine collection. But why it's so valuable is because to address the yeast and the mould mycotoxins, you really have to know what mould type you are dealing with because binders are specific for the mould type.

Carolyn Ledowsky (11:38): And therefore, the mycotoxin test will tell you, is it the Fusarium? Is it the Aspergillus? Is it, you know, is it an aflatoxin? Is it an ochrotoxin? Is it the zearalenone, which is more of the oestrogenic. So, it tells you a great deal of information. You can always go and say, well, I think it is, but what I've found is unless you're doing the mycotox profile, you don't get your baseline. And so your treatment protocols will depend on how you are progressively moving those mycotoxins. Are you seeing them come down?

Wendy McLean (12:23): Okay. And are there any other markers you would look at as well after that, like say inflammatory markers?

Carolyn Ledowsky (12:34): Yes. So if you are seeing eosinophils elevated. If you're seeing even things like CRP, which is obviously a nondescript. We actually had a patient case this morning where we knew there's inflammation of some sort, her CRP was in the twenties. So we knew there was inflammation, but the organic acids wasn't really telling us that there was any issue in the gut. But when we did a thorough history, she had had considerable mould exposure in the past, which then told us we needed to look further and consider the mycotoxin.

Wendy McLean (13:15): I see. Okay. So it's quite complex, isn't it? And it takes quite a lot of detective work and thorough investigation.

Carolyn Ledowsky (13:23): Yes. And I think a as long as you get used to asking the questions, and if you are seeing a patient that isn't really reacting the way that you think they should, then I would definitely think about the mould because don't forget mould also depletes glutathione. And so if you are seeing an incidence of oxidative stress, if you're seeing mitochondrial markers in the organic acids that are way out of whack, or you're seeing immune activation and people are having serious immune issues or infertility or gut dysfunction, but they're not recovering the way that you think they should. It's incredibly important that mycotoxin is evaluated.

Wendy McLean (14:16): Absolutely. And I guess I'm wondering if you know, the current pandemic and COVID that overlap of people experiencing COVID and, you know, mould exposure. Are they experiencing more severe illness because of this? And is it COVID or is it activation of mycotoxins?

Carolyn Ledowsky (14:36): And it's probably all of the above. What we know from the people, particularly that reacted to the vaccines the most, we knew that they had immune compromisation and we know that they more than likely had inflammatory cytokines that were already elevated. And so we could suppose that those people that had the reaction, some of them had this underlying inflammation, and many of those people could have had the mould mycotoxins and not even known it. And it's, you know, really those markers, like the interleukin six and the TNF alpha, which we can test for that are really being activated when you've got these mycotoxins. So you are seeing, you know, elevation in inflammatory cytokines, you're seeing problems with detox and glutathione. You're seeing potential problems with decreased blood flow. You're seeing pituitary issues like the sleep-wake cycle being affected. You're seeing gut, you're seeing immune, there is a lot that you will see, and it just takes a practitioner to have, you know, even as you said, print out the webinar notes that I did and tick it off and say, well, is this a possibility?

Wendy McLean (16:08): Yeah, absolutely. And you know, we need to address it because, it can cause these really serious health consequences. It can potentially lead to things like cancer and kidney disease.

Carolyn Ledowsky (16:26): Absolutely. And the sad thing about it is most of them at some level, at a serious level, are carcinogenic and things like Aspergillus is carcinogenic to the liver, the testes you know, and it's affecting the gut. The ochratoxin we know that, and there's really good studies on this, that it predisposes to kidney cancer and urethral tract cancers. So it is definitely something that I think we have to go, take this very, very seriously. And the reason I did the webinar is because I was just so concerned about all these people who have just been flooded out and a lot of them don't have the means, they don't have the opportunity and they don't have the insurance to be able to just completely rip everything out and start again. So if you've got particle board that has been completely inundated with water, there's actually no way you should be living in that. But many people are.

Wendy McLean (17:36): I know it's, it's absolutely heartbreaking. And it's, you know, it's something that, it's going to take years to recover from this. Now you touched on it before Carolyn, I just want to come back to it. And that's the importance and the role of the gut. Our gut is so important for health, our microbiome and the gastrointestinal tract. You know, we need that to filter out these harmful mycotoxins, yet the mycotoxins can actually attack our intestinal barrier and our microbiome. So can you just talk a little bit more about this?

Carolyn Ledowsky (18:12): Mm, well, as you quite rightly said, the, the gut microbiota is that important bridge between the environment and the body itself, but these mycotoxins are actually residing in the gut and affecting, as you said, it's causing leaky gut, breaking down the intestinal barrier and upsetting, particularly, bile acids. So there's been research to show that the bile receptors are actually blunted by the mycotoxin. So if we're then reducing bile, then we're reducing our ability to get toxic anything out of the body. And then that can lead to gut inflammation because of the issues with the intestinal permeability, and then it's also affecting our fats. So just being able, and that's why I really think that the SIBO, the recurrent SIBO, this is a really big issue because you've got this increase in intestinal permeability, and you've got reduction in fats like phosphatidylcholine, which then allow these mycotoxins to enter that intestinal epithelium and cause the problem. And as we know, SIBO is all about the small intestine being able to have this sweeping motion to clear out the bacteria, but without phosphatidylcholine, we can't do that effectively.

Wendy McLean (19:45): Yeah, that's right. And so I guess when you're looking at this, what do you do first? Do you deal with that issue or the mould or is it hand in hand?

Carolyn Ledowsky (19:57): That's a really good question. And from our perspective, we always work not on gut. Because the mycotoxins have such a serious effect on everything, there's no point in treating the gut until you've addressed the mycotoxins because while they're there, they're actually going to cause further inflammation of the gut. So what we tend to do is say, okay, let's accept that we need to get the bile moving. So usually bile, getting bile to move, is our number one thing that we start with. And then being able to make sure that we're opening detox. Now I said, opening, I didn't say detoxing. So being able to open these pathways to allow them, because with a lot of these patients, you're also seeing multiple chemical sensitivity going hand in hand, because these mycotoxins have essentially shut down detox pathways because glutathione is being reduced. Phosphatidylcholine is being reduced. The methylation is being reduced. So everything from a detox perspective is down regulated.

So we need to open pathways up and we do things like making sure that we do have enough glucuronidation support. Firstly, like the calcium D-glucarate is a really important first step because at least it allows some of these mycotoxins to be eliminated. Binding with something gentle like charcoal is a really good first step, because again, you are helping the elimination first. So you've got to get the elimination going. You've got to move the bile. You've got to get people going to the toilet. You've got to move things before you can start to detox. And so we've found that the calcium D-glucarate together with some, you know, good quality magnesium to make sure they're going to the toilet. Some bitters, some Tudca [Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid], something like that to get the bile going is incredibly important. That's step one. And then we look at reducing the mould mycotoxin and then we move to the gut.

Wendy McLean (22:19): Right. And so you mentioned binders and there's different binders and also for the different mycotoxins. So activated charcoal is more on your gentle end. What are some of the other binders and what are some of the pros and cons with them?

Carolyn Ledowsky (22:39): Yeah. So Neil Nathan has done some and Beth O'Hara have done some really, really good research around this. And what they found was that depending on the mycotoxin you have, there are different binders that support it. And so you may, for example, have someone who's got not only aflatoxin, but they're also got gliotoxin and they've got ochratoxin. So you need to look at this. There's a good spreadsheet that I put into the mould webinar in the notes there, which is a clarification of what their research has done. So for example, charcoal is a pretty good place to start where you're dealing with aflotoxin, you're dealing with ochrotoxin and the, the trichothecenes because it's gentle. The worst thing a practitioner can do is use a strong binder to start with, because what we've found is, you know, patients might go away and then they see someone who pushes detox pathways and they put in a really strong binder. And the problem is their detox isn't open enough to get rid of these toxins. So they end up being reabsorbed into the enteric nervous system. And the first thing that goes is mood, anxiety and brain fog. And they can have a health crisis that can set them back months. So what we do is progressively move the binders to be from really gentle to the more aggressive as we move on.

And I think there's, I can't talk about the brands, but I can, you know, we can use anything from chlorella and diatomaceous earth and glucomannan and all of these things. But there's some products that I like over others.

Wendy McLean (24:41): Yes. And while you're doing this, do you deal with the inflammation as well?

Carolyn Ledowsky (24:46): A hundred percent. And that's where you really, because it's a terrible catch-22 because the mycotoxins are causing often a mast cell activation, a histamine response. And the more inflammation you have, the more that these biochemical pathways are being upset. So for example, our nitric oxide and our kynurenine, I don't want to get too technical, but inducible NOS [nitric oxide synthase] is going to release nitric oxide a thousand times more when there's significant inflammation. And if that happens, then you've got pathways that are upregulated that shouldn't be. So your kynurenine pathway, your detox pathways, and unfortunately the person can't cope. So by reducing the interleukin six, by reducing the TNF alpha, it's a really, really good place to start.

Wendy McLean (25:48): Yeah. And are there specific herbs or nutrients that you would use for that?

Carolyn Ledowsky (25:53): Yes, there's so many good ones. So quercetin is probably my favourite because not only does it down regulate interleukin six, but it's also got that antihistamine response.

And so we can use beautiful things like resveratrol. I found a really good study about Boswellia that says it really helps with gut neuroinflammation. So some of these people that get almost like a gastroparesis, I think the Boswellia is really nice. Skullcap we know is fantastic. So is curcumin, I mean, there's so many herbs. But if you specifically want to look at TNF alpha down regulation, Boswellia, green tea, resveratrol, they're all good. Good herbs to be using. iNOS down regulation, things like Andrographis, Boswellia, these are all good. And so combinations of those can be fantastic.

Wendy McLean (26:55): Yeah, absolutely. And I do like quercetin as well. And would you use n-acetyl cysteine (NAC) in the process as well?

Carolyn Ledowsky (27:04): Yes. Because not only is it really good for our gliotoxin, so the people that have got that neurological inflammation, it's a fabulous neurological anti-inflammatory, but it helps downregulate the nitric oxide component of it, the enzymes that are upregulating nitric oxide, it helps dampen it down. And one of the things about NAC that is so good is that in inflammation, superoxide dismutase is upregulated. Now the problem with that is if you've got nitric oxide, upregulated and superoxide upregulated, you get peroxynitrite. That's a great environment to produce that. And we know that that is incredibly damaging for cell membranes and incredibly damaging for the brain. Now NAC will dampen down and slow down superoxide dismutase. And I find that a lot of praccies go, yeah, but you can't use NAC long term because it downregulates SOD, but it's the best thing to do because that's what you want to do in the short term.

Wendy McLean (28:12): Absolutely. And you would use NAC as opposed to pure glutathione.

Carolyn Ledowsky (28:18): Yes. Always. start, always to start, because NAC has so many benefits other than just a precursor of glutathione.

It's the sulfur, it's the neurological anti-inflammatory, it's the SOD regulator, whereas glutathione, don't forget until you've got all those downstream, you don't want to be putting your glutathione in too quickly. And one of the interesting things about these mycotoxins is, although it does reduce glutathione, it's really not the elimination pathway for most of them.

So you want to be going very, very slowly.

Wendy McLean (28:58): Yes. And at the same time that you're doing this would you suggest any particular dietary changes or special types of diets for your patients?

Carolyn Ledowsky (29:10): We usually would say combination of a low histamine, low oxalate diet. Now the histamine is pretty self-explanatory because most of these people with the mycotoxins have some upregulation of this, of a histamine response. But you might ask why the oxalates because mould and yeast in their very metabolism are producing oxalic acid. And so you often see particularly in the organic acids test an elevation in oxalates. And so unless you are addressing that at the same time, you are getting this, particularly as we find that as you are eliminating the yeast, you are creating more oxalic acid. And so people get joint pains, they can get thyroid disturbances, they can get increase in, you know, yeasty type things when this oxalic acid is being increased. So it's really important to identify. And that's why the OAT is such a good test to do that. And just put them on that diet, that would probably be my number one diet to start people off.

Wendy McLean (30:26): Right. Yeah, absolutely. And so I guess you've shared so many important steps and things that practitioners should do and consider. And so just to I guess summarise that. So your key steps for approaching someone with suspected mould illness.

Carolyn Ledowsky (30:48): Yes. Okay. So the number one thing is you have to get the person away from the source. Now, if you do not do that, then you are probably not going to get the results that you require. So we usually send a building biologist in, we get them to do an assessment. If it comes back with high mould counts, then we then refer them to a company that will do some sort of remediation. Some of these counts that we're getting from some of these houses, if, if the normal is under 500, we've had counts in some people's houses that are 500,000. And they don't even know it, you know, if you turned around. And, and so when I see little kids being exposed to these mycotoxins, I always say to the mum, there's a mould exposure in your house. You have been living in that house since he was born. There has to be mould.

Wendy McLean (31:52): Yeah. And that's the thing, isn't it? Because I mean, often you can smell it, that musty smell, but you know, not always, you know, it can, it absolutely be hidden.

Carolyn Ledowsky (32:01): A hundred percent. And that's what I think is really alarming. This I'll give you this case. It was a little boy that had been diagnosed with autism and he was having nonverbal. I mean, he was pretty much nonverbal, couple of words here and there. And he was 13. And he just wasn't improving. So we did, we happened to do an OAT and it came up with Aspergillus in the gut. And I said to his mum, ‘oh, I don't like the look of that. And with all these symptoms, I think we need to do a mycotoxin test.’ So we did that and it came up really high. So we sent the building, no, we actually went straight to the mould company and they did the test. And I said to her, do you think you've got mould? She said, no, I really don't think we have no smells. We have no nothing. I can't see mould anywhere. So I don't think we do, but for the sake of my son, we will test. And I said, did you ever have a leak? Yes, we did once in the bathroom upstairs. And that was it, but it was fixed. Okay. So the company goes in and he says this is the worst case of stachybotrys I have ever seen in my life.

Wendy McLean (33:20): Oh my goodness.

Carolyn Ledowsky (33:21): Pack up the house and leave today.

Wendy McLean (33:24): Oh my goodness.

Carolyn Ledowsky (33:25): So they left with one suitcase each and they never went back. Now that child has gone from nonverbal to sentences at school, interacting with children, all these headaches have gone. All these tantrums have gone. He then did a test for a non-autistic school because he was told, the parents were told he'd have to go to a special needs school, but he actually applied for a normal school. He won a scholarship and is now in normal school.

Wendy McLean (34:05): That's astounding.

Carolyn Ledowsky (34:07): And so I would just say to any parents or any praccies where they have kids that are not behaving in a normal way, that you have got to check, check, check for mould mycotoxins because the significance for kids is phenomenal. And then of course, once they've got the mould mycotoxins they become a lot more reactive to Wi-Fi and electromagnetic fields. And that can then set them off. So it is yeah. I think that's a really, so that's the number one thing they've got to find the source. Then they've got to test and find out, well, what are they actually dealing with? What are my baseline levels that I need to look at, then move the bile, move the blood, open the detox pathways, support the detox pathways, then the elimination of the mould and then your other stuff, you know, the gut and the mood trumps all for me.

Carolyn Ledowsky (35:08): So I would always try and get the mood under control really quickly, keeping in mind that you're going to have significant shifts in serotonin and dopamine. And we have serotonin, usually being stolen to support the kynurenine pathway because of that inflammation. So you can end up with low serotonin irrespective of your genetic polymorphisms and you end up with a high dopamine because dopamine beta hydroxylase is inhibited by mould. And so they're not breaking down the dopamine. So that's why kids end up being more aggressive and throwing tantrums and you know, doing all these things because there's such a seesaw in their serotonin to dopamine pathway.

Wendy McLean (35:54): Yeah, absolutely. And then I guess, you know, for adults as well on top of all of that, you've got this stress particularly if they have to suddenly just pack up and move out of their house or you know, they might not have, you know, most people don't have that option. And particularly with seeing the people in the flood affected areas. So there's stress and then this imbalance with neurotransmitters.

Carolyn Ledowsky (36:17): Yes. And I think that's the biggest concern for me. And I've actually said to some of my patients, because I did read that the insurance companies were actually taking note of the mould. So what I would actually do, is if they're in that situation, I would contact the mould company it's called Pure Protect. I would contact them. They actually do free assessments and I would get them to come in, do an assessment and then take that assessment to the insurance company and say, I want this fixed. And I want this company to do it because I don't think we can just sit back and say, well I've got insurance, but you know, I can't afford to do what the mould company is telling me. I think we really need to put pressure on these insurance companies to a) address it, but b) address it properly. Because you can't get some, you know, person who's a builder just to come in and rip out a few walls. It's not the way to treat it. There's a very specific way to address the mould. And I would also say don't let any of your patients address the mould themselves because it will, it could actually, make them really, really sick.

Wendy McLean (37:40): I have certainly seen this myself, you know, people even just going oh, it's just a little bit of mould ,do a little bit of a clean, but you know, not wearing a respirator or a mask, not wearing gloves, you know, and just really putting themselves into a bad place.

Carolyn Ledowsky (37:56): Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, keeping air flow through the house is really important. Opening your windows, opening your doors. And one of the things that Jeanette, the Building Biologist we use says is dust all the time, get a good microfibre cloth and just, you just need to use water and a bit of soap. You don't need to use, you know, anything heavy and you just wipe down everything and remove dust off every surface.

Wendy McLean (38:28): Yeah. because that's the substrate they need, isn't it to thrive.

Carolyn Ledowsky (38:28): Exactly. That's their food. And so where you've got dust, particularly on timber furniture, that's your, that's the food. So if you can make sure that you are, you are keeping your rooms uncluttered, number one and two, get rid of all dust. I think that's really key.

Because I've just had my house done by Jeanette and I was, I thought, I'd said to her, I don't think you'll find any mould. But she actually did on some of the furniture, but right underneath on the bottom of it where I would never even look and we had to lie down on our backs with a torch and have a look and there were a few specs of mould underneath. Wow. And you think of looking there?

Wendy McLean (39:20): No you wouldn't.

Carolyn Ledowsky (39:22): So my cleaners are going to come this week and I'm going say, get on your back. Get underneath and get rid of that mould. But it just shows you that you can think that there's absolutely no mould, but I would probably say with the amount of water exposure we've had over the last two years, I doubt there'd be any house in Sydney or Queensland without it.

Wendy McLean (39:47): Absolutely. You know, Sydney normally, you know, our humidity, it's an issue anyway. So I think yeah, patient education around this is really important as well.

Carolyn Ledowsky (39:59): Yeah. And I think, I think for practitioners, I think the message has to be: don't think it's not necessarily going to come up. Almost think of it in your first appointment for every single person, because I don't think I've tested anyone in the last four years where I haven't thought mould and mould hasn't come up. It's much more common than we think. And if there's the potential for some of these to cause cancer as natural health practitioners, we have to be preventative.

Wendy McLean (40:42): We do.

Carolyn Ledowsky (40:44): And it was really interesting. And it's only in hindsight that I realised this, but a few years ago I had a patient whose whole family had had their spleen removed.

Wendy McLean (41:00): That's really rare. I would say.

Carolyn Ledowsky (41:03): Really rare. And they all lived under the same roof for many, many, many years. And it wasn't until preparing for this webinar that I just did that I realised that that is a major side effect of some of these mycotoxins because it's the organs that are really being affected. And so I think to myself now, in hindsight, I wonder if they were all exposed to mould? I have to investigate. So fusarium not only will cause hormonal issues and oestrogenic activity and infertility, but the spleen is attacked by fusarium.

Carolyn Ledowsky (41:51): So I think we can learn a lot by, and I think we'll learn a lot more as time progresses, but I guess the key message today is don't be afraid to check. It is a costly, unfortunately, it is costly to do the mycotoxin test, you know. It's $500. And most people would say, oh, I don’t if I can afford that. And I really understand that. And it's such a shame; it's such an expensive test, but I think unless you are really getting the data, you need to help them remove it. And you don't really have to do it many times. Like I would do it at baseline and then I probably wouldn't do it for another year because these things don't come out of the system quickly. So I think if they can afford it, even if, you know, they can pay in installments, I think something like that, it's just such a valuable test.

Carolyn Ledowsky (42:50): And one word of caution is this, that if glutathione is really, really affected, then sometimes you don't see the mycotoxin come up until you open the glutathione pathway and start working on it.

So sometimes if you see patients, for example, that have multiple chemical sensitivity or, you know, they have real snips around glutathione. What we do is challenge with glutathione for a week before they do the test, but they have to be obviously able to cope with the glutathione. So it's a bit of a dodgy call in some way, because it's hard. But just keeping that in mind, if you absolutely know that this person has mould and everything's telling you there's mould, then I'd be inclined to do a little bit of work first.

Try and get a little bit of glutathione in before you do the mycotoxin test so you can see. And don't be alarmed if you do the baseline, and then, you know, six months later you do the test, but it's higher than it was at baseline. It actually means it's coming out.

And some people get really alarmed by that, but I say, no, I think that's a really good thing because you're clearing it now. And it may take months and months and months for you to clear it, but eventually it's going drop. So there's a few nuances, you know, in how to look at these tests, but don't be, don't be alarmed if the test goes up, don't think you're not doing a good job. It actually means you're doing a good job and you're getting it out.

Wendy Mclean (44:45): Yeah, that's right. And sometimes yeah, you're going feel a lot worse before you feel a lot better.

Carolyn Ledowsky (44:52): Yes. And that's why it's really important to not push that detox too quickly. You've got to go at the patient's pace. And I don't really like to cause too many side effects. I like our protocol to be fairly gentle so that they sort of don't feel it, but you know, you're doing things because some of these patients we first see are so chronically ill, it takes us six months just to open the detox pathways.

Wendy McLean (45:26): Absolutely. And there's, you know, they're people that yeah. Their quality of life is so poor. They can't work.

Carolyn Ledowsky (45:34): Exactly.

Wendy McLean (45:36): Yeah. Well look, Carolyn this talk has been, well, I'd say alarming, but really, really insightful as well. And you know, it's so many good clinical tips there today and I'm sure there's a lot of practitioners out there that will get so much out of this and also will have so many more questions as well. And you know, this is a learning journey for all of us and there definitely needs to be a lot more research around this. So thank you so much for your time today.

Carolyn Ledowsky (46:04): You're so welcome. And if any of the practitioners want to know more, don't forget. We have our Institute where we do deep dives into protocols and things like this because I can understand that it is a bit of a minefield when you're starting out. But that's what the Institute program is for to just help pries work through some of these protocols that can be quite difficult at times.

Wendy McLean (46:28): Yeah, absolutely. Well, thanks Carolyn. And thanks for tuning into this episode today. We appreciate your support. Feel free to leave us a review. We'd love to hear from you. Thank you.