What is the Connection Between Mold, PMS, and Depression?

What is the Connection Between Mold, PMS, and Depression?
Recently, a health writer and former nurse, Helen Marino, wrote an article, What Does Mold Have to Do with PMS and Depression? We have written extensively about mold and health and this article provides further proof.
Mold will grow as long as there is moisture and food and this is one of the key reasons that mold inspections are so crucial if you suspect moisture issues in your property.
There are three distinct types of mold: Allergenic which are not life-threatening, but can aggravate allergies; Pathogenic can cause infections like hypersensitivity pneumonitis, suspected of killing actress Brittany Murphy and her husband; and Toxigenic also known as toxic molds which produce mycotoxins
Mycotoxins are naturally occurring substances produced by mold and are pathogenic. More than 300 mycotoxins are produced by some 350 species of fungi. The T-2 mycotoxin, which is classified as a trichothecene mycotoxin, comes from the fusariam, aspergillus, and stachybotrys (black mold) species of mold and is used in biological warfare. Unfortunately, mycotoxins are produced by the five most common molds and include Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys. Since these types of molds release mycotoxins which can cause adverse health reactions, it is important that the species of molds are determined during mold investigations. It should also be noted that mycotoxins are not only harmful to humans, but animals as well. Interestingly, in addition to causing death to animals, it has been suggested that mycotoxins in stored animal feed are the cause of an apparent sex change in hens.
According to Marino, mycotoxins create unwanted immune reactions that can lead to inflammation. Marino believes that these immune reactions will aggravate PMS specifically because:
The livers of women with PMS symptoms are unable to degrade and excrete estrogen through the process of methylation. The mycotoxins will get accumulated in the liver and lead to elevated toxic stress. This will further reduce the efficiency of the liver and cause the accumulation of estrogen. Excessive estrogen levels can lead to PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness, uterine and abdominal bloating, irritation, fatigue, headache and gastrointestinal disturbances. They can also increase your risk of estrogen-related cancers.
Simply put, one of the functions of the liver is to filter harmful substances from the blood and body. When women are exposed to mold and mycotoxins, this will create additional stress on the liver, reducing its efficiency and ability to filter toxins. When this occurs, estrogen levels increase, causing PMS symptoms.
In 2010, Got Mold? was asked to investigate an office building because employees were getting sick, suffering from upper and lower respiratory infections, fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and depression. During our investigation, we found significant moisture problems leading to mold growth. We also found high levels of Stachybotrys Chartarum, a toxic mold that releases mycotoxins. Fortunately, we successfully remediated the mold and not surprisingly, many of the health complaints subsided.
We have reported on the link between mold and depression before. The first article, Healthy Homes Promote Healthy Lives cited research from Brown University which was based on an analysis of data from a questionnaire. This study provided indirect proof of a link, citing psychological reasons: mold related health problems such as wheezing, fatigue and colds causes depression because the home owner has a perceived lack of control over their housing environment. However, research by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, cited in a more recent article, Mold Got You Down!, examines the scientific reasons mold is linked to depression based on Shoemaker’s research on Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.
Marino’s article provides further proof of a link between mold and depression. In her view, one of the problems that mycotoxins cause is inflammation of the brain tissue:
Mycotoxins produced by molds cause inflammatory reactions in the nervous system, and disrupt the production of neurotransmitters such as gamma-amino butyric acid, serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine. The neurotransmitters control your brain’s ability to focus and stay calm, and to process information efficiently. Abnormal neurotransmitter levels in the brain can manifest as fatigue, depression, brain fog, anxiety, aggression, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficiency, impaired speech, vision, and poor mental processing. Mycotoxins can also impact the temporal lobe of the brain, and increase the susceptibility of the brain to secondary infections caused by Streptococcus and other bacteria, which can in turn, lead to other serious complications.
It is clear that chronic exposure to mold and the mycotoxins produced by mold will cause health issues. In order to effectively deal with mold, we suggest that you contact a professional who understands how to safely and effectively remediate mold problems. The cost of this service pales in comparison to the health issues caused by long term exposure.