Hashimoto's Disease and Mold Exposure: Symptoms, Testing & Solutions with Jason Earle - Inna Topiler

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Hashimoto’s Disease and Mold Exposure: Symptoms, Testing & Solutions with Jason Earle

Improve Hashimoto's Symptoms: How to Identify & Address Mold at Home (featuring Jason Earle)

The Case: 

  • Bonnie has Hashimoto’s and is experiencing brain fog, fatigue, and respiratory issues
  • She joined my Thyroid Mystery Solved program to get to the bottom of these symptoms
  • We worked on her immune triggers but something still wasn’t adding up.

After we started to address her immune triggers, Bonnie wondered if maybe mold might be the culprit but wasn’t sure how to figure it out. I knew exactly where to start. 

In this episode, I’m thrilled to welcome back Jason Earle. We last chatted with him in episodes 117 and 118. Jason is an indoor air quality crusader and is so informed about all things mold. He’s the founder & CEO of 1-800-GOT-MOLD and MycoLab USA. He even created the GOT MOLD?® Test Kit so I knew he’d be able to shed some light on where Bonnie could start in investigating the potential link between her Hashimoto’s issues and mold. 

The Health Risks of Mold with Hashimoto’s and Autoimmune Disease 

Mold can be a major immune trigger for people with Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune diseases.  Jason explains that mold exposure can be surprisingly sneaky. You might not always see or smell it, especially when it comes to food.  Earle points out that a shocking 60-80% of imported grains are contaminated with mycotoxins (poisonous substances produced by mold). These toxins can also be found in nuts, seeds, spices, and even conventionally raised meat and dairy. This happens when animals themselves are fed moldy grains that wouldn’t be fit for human consumption, and those mycotoxins get concentrated in their tissues and then in ours. It’s important to note that mycotoxins are heat-resistant and store in fat cells, making them difficult to eliminate from the body. One way to decrease exposure to mycotoxins through your diet is to eat whole, local, and organic food.  

Urine Tests for Mycotoxins and Mold Exposure

One of the best ways to determine mold exposure is through a mycotoxin urine panel – popular with integrative and functional medicine practitioners. These tests analyze urine samples for metabolites and toxins produced by mold. While there are various panels available, they typically focus on a limited range of “primary violator” molds.  This can be a double-edged sword.  According to Jason, these panels often trigger unnecessary and expensive home inspections because they miss the biggest culprit: food. He points out a crucial limitation of these panels: they only test for toxins from a small fraction of mold species. He argues that this narrow focus can be misleading.  Mold-related illness likely involves more than just the 100 or so toxin-producing mold species covered by the panels. Building mold, for example, produces other chemicals that can contribute to health problems but wouldn’t show up in these tests.

High Mycotoxin Lab Results: Should You Get a Home Inspection?

Many people who discover high mycotoxins (through their lab test) think the next step is a home inspection to track down the source of mold exposure.  Jason explains that while these tests can be a valuable tool they only reveal a limited picture. Even if the test shows high levels of mycotoxins, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s mold in your home. But, people might get spooked by a high mycotoxin reading and jump straight to a home inspection. The problem is, these inspections aren’t always reliable either.  Jason points out that a common test called the ERMI is overly sensitive and frequently produces high readings even in homes with no water damage or mold problems. So, you could end up with a high mycotoxin test, a high ERMI test, and a lot of worry, even if there’s no actual mold issue in your house. This can lead to expensive and unnecessary remediation work.

Jason makes a key point here: the focus should be on the most likely source of exposure, which is often food. By addressing your diet, you could save yourself a lot of money and stress.

How to Reduce Mycotoxin in Your Diet

So, if you’re concerned about high mycotoxins and suspect food might be the culprit, what do you do? Jason recommends a significant dietary shift. It’s similar to a keto diet but with an emphasis on organic, local, grass-fed, and pastured meat and dairy. In other words, a true whole foods diet. While organic produce is important for other reasons, it’s less of a concern for mold contamination than other foods.

Here are some specific things to avoid:

  • Processed foods: Anything that comes in a box, bag, or powdered form is suspect, especially if the origin of the ingredients is unclear.
  • Peanut butter and applesauce (unless homemade)
  • Tomato sauce: Commercially-produced sauce is likely made with less-than-perfect fruits and may contain mold toxins.
  • Cured meats: The spices used in curing can sometimes be contaminated with mycotoxins, especially if sourced from developing countries.

Basically, be super aware of anything that’s been stored for a long time or anything restaurant-made unless you can confirm organic, local, and grass-fed ingredients. This goes for both the protein and the carbohydrates in your meal – the burger might be okay, but the bun is probably not.

For those of you already on keto, Jason says you’ll need to take it up a notch by focusing on local, seasonal, grass-fed, and pastured meats and dairy.  This is crucial because toxins are stored in fat, and you want to make sure the fat you’re consuming is clean.

The impact of mold exposure can be amplified if you’re dealing with it in both your food and your environment. Mycotoxins from food tend to target your organs, while inhaled mold can affect your cognitive function (brain fog, fatigue, etc.). This can lead to a combination of gut issues, organ problems, cognitive difficulties, and even the triggering of autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s. No wonder Jason calls mold “kryptonite”!

Reintroducing Grains After Mycotoxin Detox

Improving your detox pathways and methylation by eliminating grains and other risky foods is the first step. But if mycotoxins are a Hashimoto’s trigger and so many of them are foodborne and found in grains, you might be wondering if you can ever eat grains again. Jason believes it depends on the individual. Many people find they simply feel better without grains in their diet, and the appeal of those foods diminishes once you’ve cleaned up your eating. He advises trusting your intuition. Do the hard work of adjusting to a new lifestyle first. Then, you might find you can comfortably incorporate some occasional treats without feeling bad.

Jason emphasizes the importance of addressing the source of the toxins first.  Genetics aren’t set in stone, and your body’s ability to detox can improve. The key is to stop overwhelming your system with new toxins. He explains that when bombarded with mold toxins, the body prioritizes defense over other processes, like digestion or hormone regulation. This can lead to a cascade of symptoms.

The good news is that your body is resilient. By eliminating exposure and supporting your detox pathways, you can allow your body to heal. Sometimes, people see a rise in their mycotoxin levels after cleaning up their diet and environment. This is actually a good sign. It means your body is finally excreting those stored toxins. A low mycotoxin reading with persistent symptoms might indicate that your body isn’t detoxifying effectively.

Mold in Your Environment: Moisture is the Key

Let’s address mold exposure in your environment, besides the food you eat. Jason emphasizes that mold growth is all about moisture. Mold spores are airborne but only germinate and become problematic when they land in a damp environment. In a home or office, this could be caused by leaks, poor ventilation, or condensation.

Here are some signs you might have a mold problem at home or work:

  • Visual signs: Look for water damage like blistering paint, stains, discoloration, or floors pulling away from walls.
  • Smell: A musty odor is a red flag. This smell indicates active mold growth and even non-toxin-producing mold can be hazardous.
  • Physical signs: Pay attention to how you feel in different environments. Do your symptoms improve when you leave a particular building? This could be a sign of mold-related illness.

Don’t Ignore that Musty Smell

Jason highlights the musty odor as a crucial indicator of mold growth. Recent studies show that the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by actively growing mold can have neurological effects. In animal studies, exposure to these VOCs led to symptoms like dopamine reduction, movement problems, and even damage to the mitochondria (the cell’s energy centers).

The key takeaway here is that the musty smell itself is a health hazard, regardless of whether the mold produces mycotoxins. If you smell mold, find the source of the moisture and address it.

DIY Home Mold Testing Options

If you suspect mold in your home, a test might be helpful to confirm your suspicions and identify specific types of mold present. Jason recommends his company’s test kit as a cost-effective way to get a preliminary mold screening. It works similarly to a professional spore trap but allows you to collect samples yourself. The kit provides a color-coded interpretation of the results and identifies the types and quantities of spores found. (He’s extended a 10% discount to my listeners. Just use this link and enter promo code mysteries10).

This test doesn’t replace a professional inspection, especially if you need to pinpoint the exact location of the moisture problem. It’s more like a pregnancy test – a positive result indicates a potential issue, but further evaluation is needed.

Here are some of the benefits of this DIY test kit:

  • Easy to use – takes about 20 minutes to test 3 rooms
  • Affordable – starts at $199
  • Gives a preliminary idea of the mold situation in your home
  • Helps you decide if you need to hire a professional inspector

Remember, even if the spore count is low but there’s a musty odor and visible water damage, you likely have a mold problem. The musty smell itself is an irritant and can compromise optimal health.

Does Air Purification Help Mitigate Mold Issues for Hashimoto’s?

As we’ve learned, mold exposure can be a major trigger for Hashimoto’s symptoms. So, what can you do to decrease mold exposure while you work on addressing the source of the problem? According to Jason, air purification can be a helpful tool.

Here are some key takeaways from Jason’s advice:

  • Three approaches to indoor air quality issues: There are three main ways to tackle indoor air quality problems like mold:
    • Source removal: This is the ideal solution – eliminate the mold growth itself. It’s also important not to bring a new source into the home. When building or renovating, ask the contractor for VOC-free products.  A great resource for VOC-free building materials is greenguard.org. 
    • Air filtration: Air purifiers can help remove mold spores and other contaminants from the air. Choose an air purifier with a HEPA filter and a carbon filter. HEPA filters capture particles, while carbon filters remove gasses like VOCs emitted by mold.
    • Increased ventilation: Improving ventilation can help reduce moisture levels and remove some airborne contaminants. In some cases, an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) or heat recovery ventilator (HRV) can be a good option for bringing in fresh air while exchanging heat to maintain energy efficiency.
  • Air purifier recommendations:

Remember, air purification is not a substitute for addressing the source of the mold problem. Replace your air purifier filters regularly to ensure they continue to function effectively.

Next Steps 

It was time for Bonnie to determine if mold was a trigger for her Hashimoto’s. She started by using a DIY kit to test her house. It came back indicating that mold was, in fact, a problem in her home. So, she hired professionals to properly clean and fix the underlying moisture issues and properly ventilate her space. 

Once we knew that her environment was healthy, it was time to work on her body. We started by cleaning up her diet and used a protocol that included binders, glutathione, and anti-fungal nutrients. 

Happy Ending

After 3 months of living in a clean-air environment and adhering to the detox protocol, Bonnie noticed a huge improvement. She said she felt like a new person! Her memory and thinking were sharper and that meant that she could be much more productive. 

Eliminating Health Mysteries

For Bonnie, we were able to find that missing piece of the health puzzle and help her regain her health. Could this be the missing clue for you or someone in your life? 


Resources mentioned

Thanks to my guest, Jason Earle GUEST NAME. You can connect with him and grab a DIY Home Testing Kit here:


Suggested Products

Thyroid Mystery Solved program Glutathione Biotoxin Binder

Related Podcast Episodes:

Busting the Biggest Myths about Mold and Mycotoxins with Guest Jason Earle Top Health Strategies for Dealing with Mold and Mycotoxin Exposure with Guest Jason Earle (Part 2) The Case of Hidden Mold w/ Dr. Tim Jackson Can Mold Cause Digestive Issues and Increase Hashimoto’s Symptoms with Evan Brand The Case of the Dizzy, Tired, Confused Brain w/ Evan Brand

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