When I was asked to talk about mold on a nationally syndicated television show along with celebrity advocate Bianca Jagger, I realized that one of the hottest topics in medicine today had reached consumer consciousness. Mold was becoming an everyday problem: infiltrating our homes, schools, and workplaces. It was literally making people sick, and the public needed to know why. Because of my expertise, I was invited to explain one of the most pervasive health problems we are all facing today.
There are millions of types of naturally occurring molds in the world, and most of them can be considered as beneficial. Molds are used in making antibiotics, including penicillin and other medicines. Mold is also found in many of the foods we eat: We use it to ferment alcohol, beer, and vinegar, and to make bread (yeast), and to make a malted. Many types of fungi (another word for molds) normally live in our bodies: in the nose, sinuses, lungs, and in the gut. Generally, people do not react to these organisms. However, when this internal mold gets
out of control, or if our bodies create an inflammatory response to this mold, significant health problems can result.
Mold can cause devastating systemic problems. Usually, it is the subsequent inflammatory process, and not the actual mold, that makes us sick. However, excessive mold growth can lead to a variety of health issues, from athlete’s foot to jock itch, to fingernail or toenail mold, to fungal sinusitis. Though extremely rare, mold infections can invade the brain.