Article published in the Autism Eye Magazine, written by Stella Chadwick
Mould is a common type of fungus that grows in damp environments, and it can be found in many homes, schools, and other buildings. According to the National House Building Council (NHBC) Foundation in 2018, it is estimated that up to one-third of UK homes may be affected by mould. It’s generally well known that mould can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions, but recent research suggests that mould exposure may also have a significant impact on brain health and the nervous system, leading to a range of health issues.
There is evidence to suggest that exposure to mould can cause inflammation in the body, disrupting the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain and leading to symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, chronic constipation or diarrhoea, nerve and joint pain, balance problems, overactive bladder, tics, OCD, unexplained seizures, constant colds and flus, and mood swings. Mould exposure can also cause oxidative stress, which can damage the nervous system and lead to inflammation. We know from many years of research that a subset of autistic children, and children with PANDAS and PANS, suffer from high levels of oxidative stress and disrupted neurotransmitters.
Studies have found a potential link between mould exposure and autism. Children who were exposed to mould during infancy were found to be almost three times more likely to become autistic than those who were not exposed. Exposure to mycotoxins, toxic compounds produced by certain types of mould, during pregnancy was also found to be associated with an increased risk of autism in offspring.
PANDAS and PANS are autoimmune disorders that affect the nervous system, characterized by sudden onset symptoms of OCD, tics, anxiety, and other neuropsychiatric symptoms. Studies have found that children with PANDAS/PANS were more likely to have been exposed to mould in their homes than children without the disorder. Exposure to mould toxins can trigger autoimmune responses in the body, leading to PANDAS/PANS.
While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between mould exposure and the nervous system, these studies suggest that mould exposure may be a risk factor for the development of autism, PANDAS, and PANS in some children. It’s important to identify and address any mould problems in homes and other buildings to minimize the risk of health issues associated with mould exposure.
If you suspect that your child may have been exposed to mould and is experiencing symptoms related to the nervous system or autoimmune disorders, it’s important to remove yourself from the mouldy environment in order to get better. Moving out and or remediating the mould are the only real long term options. I would recommend you work with a mould literate professional to advise you through your health journey. They can advise you on the right tests to do and create a health plan that is specific to your needs.
Testing your home for mould needs to be done by a professional so seek advice and thoroughly vet any remediators. Make sure they don’t use chemicals that may add to your toxic burden and that they don’t’ simply patch over the problem.
In the meantime, there are steps that you can take to reduce your child’s exposure to mould:
Mould exposure can have a range of impacts on the nervous system and other health implications, particularly in autistic children and those with PANDAS, and PANS. While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between mould exposure and these conditions, the evidence suggests that reducing mould exposure may be beneficial for children’s health. If you’re concerned about your child’s exposure to mould, talk to your healthcare provider about testing and treatment options.
Please note you must always discuss any supplements or changes to diet with your medical doctor or practitioner. This article is for education purposes only.
FOODS TO AVOID
LOW OXALATE ANTIOXIDANT FOODS
Romaine, Butter, & Iceberg Lettuce, Bok Choy, Chives, Red Bell Pepper, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Capers, Cauliflower
Celeriac Root, Coriander, Courgettes, Cucumber, Purple Kale, Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, Radish, Turnips, Boiled Green Peas, Pumpkin, Winter Squash, Watercress, Water Chestnuts.
Gala Apple, Ripe Haas Avocado, Cranberries, Cherries, Coconut, Seedless Grapes, Kumquat, Peaches, Banana, Mango, Papaya, Fresh Plum, Watermelon, Honeydew,
Lemon & Lime juice. Blueberries, Strawberries