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Genetic Study Reveals Why Household Mold Causes Severe Reactions in Some People and Not Others


Is mold dangerous to your health?

What if I told you there could be something lurking behind the walls of your house and above your ceilings that might be making you sick? Yep, I’m talking about mold. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Most people only think about mold when they’ve left their cheese in the fridge a bit too long or when they’re doing the miserable task of cleaning their gutters once a year. But with roughly 70% of houses having mold problems, mold is something that should become more of a concern for all of us.

And it’s not only homeowners who have issues with mold. Apartment buildings, office buildings, and other structures can have mold problems as well. No matter where you live or work, you should be thinking about whether mold is present–and how it might be affecting your health.

Here’s the thing: mold doesn’t impact everyone in the same way. That’s why you might have health issues caused by mold while your roommate seems perfectly fine. New research from the DNA Company explains why some people experience severe reactions to mold and others don’t. It all comes down to whether you have the genes that can properly remove toxins from your system or not.

What can you do if you realize your health issues might be caused by mold? There are ways you can check your house for mold and get rid of it if necessary. Aside from that, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself from toxins that could be causing inflammation in your body.

How mold affects your health

Again, it’s important to remember that mold affects everyone differently. Mild symptoms can include having a runny nose and red eyes. Those on the more severe side of the spectrum can experience asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath along with itchy skin and fever.

Unfortunately, mold is often overlooked as the source of these symptoms. In fact, many doctors don’t consider the possibility of mold when diagnosing their patients. This can cause many people with mold sensitivity to assume they have some kind of autoimmune disease or very severe asthma.

Of course, a misdiagnosis can prevent you from escaping the mold that’s causing all of your problems. That’s why it’s so important to get your genes tested so you can know whether you’re at risk of mold illness.

The gene that makes you vulnerable to mold

Just like we have enzymes that break down lactose and sugars, we also have enzymes that remove oxidants from our bloodstream. Sounds important, right? The two enzymes that are responsible for this essential task are the GSTP1 enzyme and the GSTM1 enzyme. They correspond to two conveniently-named genes: the GSTP1 gene and the GSTM1 gene. These are known as your detoxification genes.

The GSTP1 enzyme is the one that protects you from mold. It also clears toxins that come from cigarette smoke, perfumes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (think chemicals from coal and gasoline). The problem comes when you have the suboptimal version of the GSTP1 gene.

Having this gene variant will make you more sensitive to mold. This could cause you to face health issues from mold that others simply don’t experience. You might also find yourself more sensitive than others when it comes to cigarette smoke, perfume, and pesticide.

The GSTM1 gene, on the other hand, gets rid of toxins that go into the gut after eating mold. The way your body deals with this mold is very different from how it deals with the mold spores you breathe in. It’s very possible that you could have the suboptimal version of the GSTP1 gene and the optimal version of the GSTM1 gene, which would make you sensitive to mold that’s in your house but perfectly capable of dealing with the moldy bread you ate for breakfast.

Case study: Vivian

Vivian* had been having health issues ever since her house was renovated a few years ago. The strange thing was this: her husband and kids had no health problems, even though they all lived together.

Although it seemed far-fetched, Vivian was absolutely convinced it was the house remodel that was causing her health problems. The difference before and after the renovation was so stark that she knew they were somehow related. She just didn’t understand how that could be possible.

When we checked Vivian’s genes, she was missing some key detoxification genes. This meant she had very little protection against the toxicity of mold and other substances. Her body was completely unequipped to clear free radicals from her system.

Unsurprisingly, we discovered that Vivian’s house was full of mold. When they had done the remodel, the mold was exposed and spores were released into the air that began making Vivian sick. While the rest of her family had strong detoxification genes, Vivian had the opposite. Once she was able to manage the mold situation, her health improved drastically and she finally felt like herself again.

How to check your house for mold

Of course, the most important thing you can do when you discover that your detoxification genes are suboptimal is to check your house for mold. You might notice some signs of mold, such as a musty smell, discolored spots, or water damage. But sometimes mold can be hidden. For that reason, it’s good to check your house for mold even if you don’t see any signs of it.

The easiest way to check your house for mold is to use a viable mold test kit. You can order one online for about $50. This kit lets you know whether there are mold spores in the air you breathe. If the test comes back positive, you should send the results to a lab so they can tell you what kind of mold is present in your home.

There are some situations when a mold problem is quite obvious. If that’s the case, there’s no need to buy a home test kit. Instead, contact the Environmental Protection Agency (or the equivalent in your country if you’re not in the US) so experts can come to your house to examine and remove the mold.

As someone who is especially sensitive to mold, it’s wise to find places to live and work that don’t have a mold problem. If you’ve already bought a house that’s infested with mold, you should probably hire someone to get rid of it. Although it will likely be a sizeable investment, it’s totally worth it because of your health.

Aside from dealing with mold, there are other steps you can take to protect yourself against toxins:

  • Eat plenty of broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale, collard greens, radishes, arugula, and brussels sprouts for liver support
  • Stay away from areas that have lots of pesticides such as golf courses, parks, and soccer fields (unless you confirm they have not been sprayed recently)
  • Make sure you get lots of sleep
  • Remove harsh household cleaners from your home and use natural ones instead

Are you wondering whether you’re genetically predisposed towards mold sensitivity? The best way to find out is by decoding your genes through our 360 DNA Report. You’ll discover whether your detoxification genes are suboptimal as well as 37 other custom reports surrounding sleep, diet, nutrition, hormones, fitness, cardiovascular health, immunity, and behavior.

Each custom report includes your genetic tendencies as well as practical steps you can take to optimize your health and wellness. You are a unique individual, and you deserve health strategies that reflect your unique genome. Get started today. 

*Client’s name is withheld to protect her privacy.

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