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Can Mold Cause Cancer? 5 Shocking Science-Based Facts

Can Mold Cause Cancer? 5 Shocking Science-Based Facts

Ever wondered to yourself, “Can mold cause cancer?” I can give you the answer.

As a registered dietitian who has helped countless people overcome years of illness that many doctors were unable to help, and having gone through and overcome mold illness twice myself, I feel more qualified than most to talk about this topic.

Keep reading to know the answer as we dive into 5 shocking science-based facts.

False Information on “Can Mold Cause Cancer”

First, let’s address some of the lies that are out there. Here is a screenshot from a Healthline article on this very topic:

Screenshot of text from a Healthline artcile saying there is not evidence mold causes cancer with a red arroiw pointing to it that it is Fake News!

The statement above is 100% not true.

Unfortunately, in an effort to constantly pump out new articles, this was likely written and reviewed by medical professionals who have never helped someone overcome mold or biotoxin illness or even thoroughly reviewed the research, for that matter. 

And trust us, we WISH that was a true statement.

Not to worry, though. We can provide a factual answer, and here is why:

  • We’ve helped many clients overcome indoor mold illness and understand how the body responds to mold mycotoxins, A.K.A the toxins mold spores produce that make humans sick. 
  • Unfortunately, we know at least two clients who have had cancer and spent years connecting the dots to figure out mold eventually was the driving force behind the illness. 
  • We’ve reviewed the research and can show from reliable sources that mold can perpetuate cancer. 

>>Struggling with mold illness that you would like to overcome? Work with us now.

Can Mold Cause Cancer? 5 Facts You Need to Know

Screenshot showing that the World Health Organization specifically discusses mycotoxins.

1. The World Health Organization Says Mold Can Cause Cancer

The WHO specifically states,  “The adverse health effects of mycotoxins range from acute poisoning to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer.”[1]

Mycotoxins are the spores given off by mold and are the the toxin that makes us sick.

Pro tip: How can you limit the spread of mycotoxins if you have mold somewhere? Take away humidity.

When humidity is below 50-55% mold goes dormant and stops putting off mold spores. Use a dehumidifier and run exhaust fans in bathrooms to reduce humidity and the release of mold mycotoxins until you can have the mold removed/remediated by a professional.

We use switches with timers, which are seen below, to have the heater and ventilation fan run for 30-60 minutes after showers to reduce moisture levels after showering.

Timer switches to improve ventilation after bathrooms to reduce the development of cancer-causing mold.

2. The National Institute of Health Says Alfatoxins Cause Liver Cancer

The potential for mold to cause cancer is recognized by government agencies. Most notable is the fact that aflatoxins have proven to be cancerous.

Which cancers are associated with exposure to aflatoxins?

Unfortunately, exposure to aflatoxins is associated with one of the most deadly forms of cancer, liver cancer.[2,8]

Now, we’re not here to say that government agencies are the most reliable source of information. Remember when they said glyphosate was safe for human consumption? They certainly had to do a 180 on that one.

However, we want to point out that when the research says mold causes cancer, the WHO says mold causes cancer, the NIH says mold causes cancer, and more, you can start to connect the dots to see there is probably some truth here.

3. Research Shows Mycotoxins Have Cancer-Causing Effects in both Humans and Animals

 A 2015 study on the effect of indoor toxic molds on bone marrow cells showed, “Exposure to both mycotoxins and VOCs has been shown to induce multiple adverse effects, including respiratory complications, immunotoxicity and carcinogenic effects in both animals and humans”[3]

In other words, mold exposure can lead to immune-related disease conditions. 

How?

Well, bone marrow stromal cells are vital for developing and activating immune cells.

VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from mycotoxins impair the health and fluidity of our cells. This leads to changes in our cell membranes, including the breakdown of normal cell function and cell death. 

Put simply, mold releases toxins that impair how our cells work, which can lead to cell damage, impaired health, and cancer.

4. Mycotoxins in Food Have been Associated with Immune Deficiency and Cancer

Many foods that we regularly consume are contaminated with mold.

Many of our clients are shocked when we tell them that the foods they’re eating have mold in them, and that it is acceptable to sell them this way.

Don’t believe us?

One study of 17,316 food samples found 72% were positive for at least one mycotoxin, and 38% were contaminated with more than one mycotoxin.[10] 

Even more concerning is that while Europe has an acceptable limit for the number of mycotoxins that can be found in cereal grains such as oats, in the U.S., this is not regulated for domestically grown crops.

The USDA says, “Testing for mycotoxins in grains that are not exported is voluntary, and contamination levels are not considered part of official grading standards for agricultural commodities.”[9]

Wow. 😒

Additionally, it is clear that the molds found in food can be harmful to humans and cause cancer.

“Consumption of foods contaminated with mycotoxins can lead to serious health implications if the toxins are present at very high levels… Long-term exposure to mycotoxin-contaminated foods can increase cancer risk and suppress the immune system. Diagnosing a patient for suspected mycotoxicoses is challenging because the symptoms are similar to those caused by other pathogenic microorganisms.”[4]

In addition to aflatoxins and ochratoxins, fumonisin is another common mold found in foods that can be problematic.

“Mycotoxins are hypothesized to be the cause of a variety of pathological disorders in humans. Fumonisin B1 has been connected to esophageal cancer.”[5]

What foods tend to have the highest levels of mold?

There are many foods that can be problematic, but here is a short list of a few that tend to be the most problematic:

  • Grains, especially rice, corn, and oats
  • Cheeses
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts

For a more detailed list of the foods with the highest mold contamination, scroll down to table 1 in this research article.

5. Mold Stresses the Immune System, Which Increases Cancer Risk

When individuals are already stressed from environmental toxins, processed foods, life stressors, etc., their immune system is weakened.

Research shows that those with chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorders are vulnerable to disruption to their immune system when encountering mold.[6] 

Why is mold such a problem in this scenario?

Because it causes immune impairment, gene mutations, and kidney DNA damage.

The research states, “Along with the significance of mycotoxin toxicities and their toxicological mechanisms, there are associated health concerns arising from exposures to these toxins, including DNA damage, kidney damage, DNA/RNA mutations, growth impairment in children, gene modifications, and immune impairment.”[6]

Female making a green smothie to boost her detoxification in an effort to help recover from mold illness.

How Can I Detox My Body From Mold?

Does this information hit home?

Are you now wondering what type of mold is growing in your home, what type of fungus is living in your body, and whether mold is the driving force behind your allergic reactions?

Everything you need to know about mold toxicity, biotoxin illness, mold growth, types of mold, potential health risks and the best mold free coffee beans can be found below!

Looking for professional help and treatment options?

Our dietitians on staff have extensive experience treating the variety of health problems that come from mold and biotoxin illness. We can help create nutrition plans to alleviate symptoms from water damage exposure and guide you through the detoxification process. 👉Here is a link to book our complimentary 15-minute strategy call👈 to get started today. 

What Happens if You Breathe in Mold for a Long Time?

What happens if you breathe mold in for a long time?

A ton of fatigue, sinus and gut issues, and respiratory problems, that’s for sure!

As clinicians, we are interested in what the research regarding mold exposure and lung cancer reveals over the next ten years.

It is wild how many people we see mistake chronic seasonal allergies, difficulty breathing, and chronic skin irritation for what is caused by and are truly symptoms of mold exposure. 

Why?

After breathing in mold, the fungal spores have the ability to lodge themselves in our sinus cavities, lungs, and gut. Then, surprise, the mold, fungus, and yeast grow biofilm to protect themselves so they can live more easily in our bodies.

This is one of the reasons it can be incredibly difficult to clear. It is also why you will see antifungal medications prescribed when more severe symptoms are present.

Speaking from a personal standpoint,  I ended up with chronic sinus issues, shortness of breath, and a ton of random food sensitivities when I was previously able to eat anything and everything after I had lived in an apartment with black mold for three months.

This is what I call the mycotoxin trifecta– the sinuses, gut, and gastrointestinal breakdown that occurs after breathing in tiny spores in high concentrations for weeks. 

Wondering how long mold can stay in the body? We have all the answers in this post – How Long Do Mold and Mycotoxins Stay in the Body?

Mold on the ceiling of an attic.

How Do You Know if You Have Mold Toxicity

Knowing if you have mold toxicity can be a tricky puzzle because symptoms can manifest quite differently from person to person.

However, in a nutshell, if you start to feel poorly and there is no improvement or explanation after weeks or even months, mold toxicity may be to blame. 

Our article on biotoxin illness provides a comprehensive list of the most common symptoms.  Fatigue and brain fog tend to be the most common co-occurring symptoms.

It is also worth testing yourself to see if your body is struggling to clear mycotoxins. 

A link to mold mycotoxin testing can be found here – be sure to scroll to the 4th row and click on the test that says “Mycotoxins.” The test is a urine collection and can be completed in the comfort of your own home.

Wondering if mold may be in your home or work environment? Could Ochratoxin A be contributing to your health issues? Here is our guide to mycotoxin testing in your home.

Keep in mind it is not possible to avoid mold completely- it’s everywhere!

The trouble begins when you are exposed and unable to clear the toxin exposure. This is when our immune systems start to scream, “NO THANK YOU!”

Want to take matters into your own hands and start clearing mold from your body? Here is our tried and true mold removal kit

Summary

In summary, mold exposure can be one of the most hazardous situations when it comes to human health. Few things on earth lead to a weakened immune system more quickly than the toxic substances released from certain mold strains. 

From something as simple as chronic congestion to something as serious as breast cancer –  black mold exposure and other mycotoxins, in general, can be the driving force.

If you feel you have been exposed, or perhaps know you have been exposed and are looking to finally feel like yourself again, schedule a free 15-minute strategy call with one of our dietitians specializing in mold exposure

Multiple members of our team have healed themselves after mold exposure, and we are confident we can help you, too. If you have doubts, just check out our 100+ 5-star reviews on Google!

References: 

  1. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mycotoxins#:~:text=Mycotoxins%20can%20cause%20a%20variety,as%20immune%20deficiency%20and%20cancer.
  2. https://www.cancer.gov/types/liver/what-is-liver-cancer/causes-risk-factors
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4603560/
  4. https://www.qualityassurancemag.com/article/aib0814-toxic-fungi-contamination-concerns/
  5. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00216-007-1317-9
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8619365/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8949390/
  8. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/aflatoxins#:~:text=Which%20cancers%20are%20associated%20with,increased%20risk%20of%20liver%20cancer.
  9. https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/41603/15640_aer828h_1_.pdf?v=0#:~:text=U.S.%20Regulatory%20Provisions&text=The%20standard%20for%20aflatoxins%20is,immature%20animals%20or%20unknown%20destinations.
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23670211/
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2772566922000155

About The Author

Kylene Bogden

Meet Kylene Bogden, a trailblazer in sports nutrition and the Performance Dietitian/Nutritionist for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With a prestigious background that includes contributions to the renowned Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, Kylene holds certifications from the Integrative Functional Nutrition Academy and is a Certified LEAP Practitioner for food sensitivities. Notably, she is also a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. Kylene's holistic approach to nutrition sets her apart in the field, making her a go-to authority. Her collaborative work with players, coaching staff, and medical professionals has solidified her reputation. Kylene's expertise has been recognized by major publications, including features in Vogue, Women's Health, STACK, and other prominent websites, where she shares evidence-based strategies to fuel peak athletic performance. Beyond accolades, Kylene is an educator, actively engaged in initiatives promoting health and wellness. With a personal commitment to a well-rounded lifestyle, Kylene, alongside her husband Dr. Bogden, exemplifies the transformative power of nutrition. In the dynamic world of sports nutrition, Kylene Bogden's unparalleled expertise continues to elevate both individual athletes and the Cleveland Cavaliers to unprecedented levels of success. As a high school and collegiate sprinter, she experienced recurrent injury and fatigue. After years of constant struggle, she eventually learned that an abundance of processed foods and poor fueling strategies were the root of her performance issues. Kylene's personal journey as an athlete fueled her passion for finding a more progressive approach to sports nutrition. Since then, she has helped thousands of individuals dramatically improve overall health and athletic performance by taking a whole food approach.

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Family picture of Dr. Michael Bogden and licensed dietitian nutritionist Kylene Bogden

Meet Kylene & Dr. Michael Bogden

Kylene is a licensed dietitian nutritionist board-certified in sports nutrition as well as Integrative and Functional Nutrition. She is a certified food sensitivity LEAP therapist and the Performance Dietitian for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Michael, a physiotherapist with dual fellowships, merges sports nutrition with rehab to enhance client recovery.

Together, they've conquered personal health challenges that hindered their athletic pursuits including mold toxicity, Celiac disease, SIBO, and food sensitivities. Inspired by their journey, they founded a thriving private practice in 2017, now boasting three expert-trained dietitian nutritionists specializing in functional nutrition.

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