Recently I interviewed Evan Brand, and we talked about mold-gut-thyroid connection. If you would prefer to listen to the interview you can access it by Clicking Here.
Dr. Eric Osansky:
I am super excited to chat with today’s guest, Evan Brand. He is going to be chatting about the mold-gut-thyroid connection. I am going to dive into Evan’s impressive bio here. He is a Board-certified holistic nutrition and a functional nutrition therapy practitioner, who has transformed the lives of thousands of clients with his online practice by finding and fixing the root causes of fatigue, depression, anxiety, digestive, and other issues. Evan solved his own health struggles using the same advanced lab testing, strategies, and protocols that he now uses in the clinic.
He has accumulated over 22 million downloads of his podcast and has been featured on hundreds of other health podcasts, webinars, summits, as well as practitioner training events. He also offers at-home functional medicine training courses through his Functional Academy of Medicine and Epigenetics, also known as FAME, on gut, mold, and energy issues. Thank you so much for joining us, Evan. Appreciate you being here.
Thanks for having me. I was looking back because I had you on my podcast six years ago, 2017.
Wow, that long. It’s great to have you now on my podcast. I know you will share a wealth of information with the listeners.
Let’s give your background for those who aren’t familiar with you. How did you start doing what you’re doing today, get to the point where you have one of the top podcasts in health?
The podcast was really just a way for me to learn. I was in it for myself at the beginning. It was very difficult to reach some of these practitioners, naturopaths, and functional medicine people that knew a lot. You’d have to fly to their clinic, or you’d have to pay $500-$1,000 an hour to get ahold of these people. Well, what if I just start interviewing them? I can get information from them to help myself. As I started to get better, I thought, well, other people need these pieces of advice and information. Practitioners are booked. People are booked out. Why don’t I start helping people?
I had personal training certifications at the time. I went into the Nutritional Therapy Association and picked up the FNTP credential, which taught me food is medicine. I also learned a lot of hands-on things that I ended up using in a brick-and-mortar practice; I worked out of a chiropractic physician’s office for a while. I started getting his patients so healthy that they didn’t need an adjustment every week, so that was a natural parting of the ways there.
I left the brick and mortar and went full-time online with my practice in 2015. At the time, it was the Wild West. Nobody was doing online telemedicine then. I know that sounds like yesterday, but in the internet world, that was a long time ago. It was a new idea. I can stay here in Oregon, Idaho, or California, and you will send test kits to my house? That was odd.
I guess I was ahead of my time there because now, a lot of the practitioners that reach out to me for coaching—I do a lot of doctor and business coaching nowadays, and I am coaching these people to convert their brick and mortars. I had a guy in the middle of California in Beverly Hills. He’s a 70-something conventional MD who has been practicing for 35 years. We’ve taken this guy from 25 employees and $40,000 a month in rent for his Beverly Hills office to just online. He has two employees, and he’s happier than he’s ever been.
My joy and love now is helping other practitioners, but also I still do clinical work three days a week. I’ll have people from California to, yesterday, Australia, South Africa, all across Europe. People who are seeking answers that they can’t find locally. People who have been to five, 10, 20 doctors, and they call me as the last effort, the last hurrah. Usually, we uncover things that have never been uncovered before, so it’s a true blessing.
That is an awesome story. That’s also funny about working for a chiropractor and getting people better to the point where they didn’t need weekly adjustments. Being a fellow chiropractor, I can understand the chiropractors in the practice not being too happy about that, but obviously, that’s good. That’s what you want. You don’t want someone to come in on a weekly basis or 2-3 times a week for many weeks, many months.
It was funny how it worked out. A lot of it was adrenal issues. Nutrition was a big piece of it as well. I still implement a lot of nutritional therapy strategies. These were people back in Kentucky, where they are eating garbage. They come in with their big Polar Pop; it’s this giant, probably 64-ounce soda. They will put that down and put down their Oreos and get adjusted and go right back to the bag of Doritos in their purse afterwards. It was just a mess.
I encourage people if you are in a brick-and-mortar practice like that, and you do have a lot of hands-on skills, I would try to implement the things we are talking about today. You can increase their health and their outcome. If you’re worried about the financial piece of it, like, “Hey, well if I get everyone so well, and they don’t need adjustments every week,” now they will tell all their friends and family, “This guy turned my life around.” The referrals you’ll get will totally maximize your ability to help more and generate more revenue. If you’re freaked out about getting people so well there will be nobody left to help, I promise that won’t happen.
How long have you been helping people with mold? That’s the topic today. I know you recently started- How long have you been speaking for Great Plains? Now they’re Mosaic Diagnostics, I believe. You have been lecturing for them. How long of a focus have you had on mold issues?
It started in 2017 or 2018. My wife and I built a house, and it was a on a cross base foundation, which is a terrible idea. Don’t do cross bases. Try to do a slab or even a walkout basement. A cross base is basically a basement that you can’t see. You’re not down there to check on it.
We built this new house. I love trees, so I plant trees everywhere I move to. We had this water hose connected to the house. I was dumb. I was watering trees in the winter. I thought I needed to. I left the hose on, and it froze. That busted a sillcock valve in the crawl space. There was some water in there, and that evaporates up to the home and creates mold.
I was having blood pressure issues and all sorts of problems. My friend Jack Wolfson, a cardiologist, I texted him, “I’m having these weird blood pressure issues. I’m dizzy when I wake up.” He texts me back in one word in all caps, “MOLD.” After that day, my life was never the same.
My wife and I were reminiscing and laughing about it. It’s not funny because it put me through hell, and we are still recovering. When I went to investigate, I got stung by a wasp at the same time. I found the water, and I got a wasp sting on my hand at the same time. It was a whole cascade of symptoms.
I’d say 2018 is when it all started. Now, you and I are recording here in late summer 2023. I don’t think I’m 100%. I don’t know if you ever fully get 100% back from a mold incident. Your immune system gets affected. Your endocrine system gets affected. Your GI system gets affected. Your brain, specifically your limbic system, gets affected. Now, you’re stuck in fight or flight, whether you want to or not. You become more hypersensitive. I had debilitating chemical sensitivity to all sorts of fragrances, laundry, dryer sheets. If I’m around people, I don’t like it. I want people to be fragrance-free. It’s better for your health and others. I still react to it, but it’s far less, maybe 90% less than it used to be.
You’re a lot better, not quite where you used to be. You might not get to 100%, like you said. It’s also a lesson for those listening who might be dealing with mold toxicity. This isn’t a three-month process. It’s not a six-month process. Let me ask you: Can it be a three- or six-month process? Is it something where no matter the case, it will probably be a few years where you get to the point where you’re 95% or 98%?
The fastest recovery was in a three-year-old little boy. We ran his organic acids test, and he was colonized. We also ran his mycotoxin profile. Do you post video, or do you just post audio for the podcast?
The podcast portion is just audio, but I do post this on YouTube. If you want to share anything, we could do that.
Let’s do it. A picture is worth a thousand words. I will show you the case that answers the question of timeline. Many people are unrealistic with their expectations. As you know, I love the OAT test. It’s amazing. This is a first-morning urine sample that people run. You get it back to the lab. When you have yeast or mold issues, you’ll then spit off these organic acids. We can infer based on what we find in the urine what’s happening internally.
You can see here in this poor boy—this is a three-year-old. The mother had five children and ended up working on the whole family, including the mom. They had tree roots that busted through the foundation in their home. They had water that came into the basement. They all had mold toxicity. You can see here this marker, 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furoic. For folks listening, we are looking at these long words that indicate that this boy was growing, and/or he was colonized for Aspergillus, probably in the gut, but also the sinuses.
Arabinose was very high. We knew we had a candida problem. Bacterial overgrowth was a mess. He had some Clostridia, which we’ll often see in mold. Oftentimes, you will see mitochondrial issues, too. People with chronic fatigue, there is a massive link with mold there.
In his case, neurotransmitters were okay, but a lot of times, you’ll see low dopamine. Ochratoxin, which is one of the most popular, common mycotoxins we find, that affects the part of the brain that makes dopamine. We will often see issues with energy, drive, focus, and concentration. In his case, he looked okay. Nutrient levels, we’ll often see those crash out quite a bit.
This was in April 2021. We put together a protocol, and we retested in April 2022. Just less than a year. You can see we pretty much fixed everything. No more colonization. No more candida at all. Tiny bit of bacterial overgrowth on this one. The Clostridia was normalized.
That’s about the fastest you can do it in my opinion, a year. It doesn’t mean it’s a year to feel better. It just means a year to really resolve it. That would be really fast, especially if you have been sick for 20, 30, 40 years. People have to know and remember that if you had mold exposure when you were a kid, and genetically you don’t detox it well, and now you’re listening to this at 52 years old, and you want to get better in a year, that’s unrealistic. You’ve had this stuff for five decades; you won’t get it out in a year.
It’s important for the practitioner to set realistic expectations of the timeline. We are so used to that conventional medicine model. You take antibiotics for a week, and everything is better. That’s just not the case. You’re going to feel better gradually though, sometimes within just a couple of weeks or months, using the right protocol, the proper binders, antifungals up the nose and in the gut. You can make significant progress with depression, fatigue, sleep issues, gut problems, etc.
I think you’d agree that probably all cases, you need to address the source of the mold. Either get rid of the mold or remediate. There are people who are not in a position to move. I’ve come across patients, and I’m sure you have, too, who for whatever reason, they couldn’t remediate. Maybe the spouse wasn’t on board, or whatever. If that’s the case, is there any hope of taking binders, doing things from a glutathione perspective? Do they really need to get rid of that source of the mold?
Great question. It’s like a seesaw. If you have a fat guy on one side and a skinny guy on the other, the fat guy will always win. If you take that analogy and visualize that for the rate of detox as opposed to the rate of exposure. If you have this massive exposure, your bathroom or kitchen leaked or your basement flooded, you have exposure off the charts, and you’re doing a couple capsules of charcoal per day, you will lose the battle.
But if you flip that, and you were able to remediate some of the issue—you can’t fix the whole house, but you fixed the wet wall or the cabinet that flooded—your rate of exposure is now lower than your rate of detox, then you win the game.
You can implement fresh air into the home. If you have decent weather outside, and you can open your windows and flood the place with fresh air and dilute the mycotoxins, that’s obviously helpful. If you spend a lot of time outside, and away from it, maybe you work outside the home. Maybe you have the ability to work out in the garden during the day and air the house out if you truly can’t cut it out.
Cost-wise, it shouldn’t be much. Some of these remediation companies will charge you $10,000+. You have to be careful about vetting these people. If they do mold testing and remediation, it’s probably not a good idea because they’re biased. Of course, they will say it’s a problem and need to remediate. I would try to find an independent tester that doesn’t do remediation. Sheet rock is not expensive. If there is wet drywall and baseboard, cut it out, pick a new piece in, patch it up, paint it up, put your new trim back on. You’re done.
People get overwhelmed by this conversation because it’s their personal home. It’s their sacred space. It’s their sanctuary. People think that when they talk about mold, it means they’re dirty. No. My house was pristine. I had air filters in every room. I had a whole house water filtration system. This was a top-notch house. It was still moldy and still made me sick. Get rid of any brainwashing you have. Don’t feel that you’re dirty or a messy person or a nasty person if you have mold. This happens to the best of us. I’ve seen houses that are $2-3 million, and they’re moldy. I’ve had clients in these $1 million+ homes that are moldy.
It’s the husband usually who is a skeptic, who’s this online guy. What does he know? Guess what? The wife continues to suffer, and then it affects their marriage because now she is exhausted, so she has no sex drive. The husband’s mad about that. Dude, look, if you want a good sex life, fix the mold. If you use that as the carrot in front of them, usually they’ll get motivated enough to fix it. If they can save their sex life and marriage, unfortunately, our hedonistic, human traits can’t be ignored. If you lean into that, usually you can get these people on board to fix the home.
You mentioned, which I agree, about hiring someone who maybe is not doing the remediation because they are more likely to find something that might not be there. What do you think about doing it on your own? There are companies like Mycometrics, where people can order the test and do it on their own without hiring a specialist.
I love it. I think it’s a great place to start. I encourage almost every client I work with to do that. If you are going to do a HERTSMI or an ERMI, where you go around and grab a bunch of dust and send it back to the lab and see what shows up, you can do that.
I prefer the petri dishes. They are these plates that have a gum resin on them, where mold can start to grow. These petri dishes, you put them on the floor in various rooms of the home for an hour. You put the lid on, mark them with the room they’re in.
Also your car. A lot of cars are moldy. Mercedes did a recall on 2.5 million cars because mold was growing in the air conditioning system. Even if you have a luxury car, it could be moldy. If you drive somewhere, and by the time you get to work you have a headache, consider that it could be your car.
These petri dishes are cheap. They’re like $3. If you do it with a lab analysis, it’s like $30 for a plate. You get a health score.
Based on that score, we also like to see what’s in the home. Does that match up to what’s in the urine? 90% of the time, it does not match. This means that mold exposure was from years ago. That was the moldy college dorm. That was your previous house. That was your childhood home. That was your grandma’s house you hung out in. It’s rare that we find current exposure as the source. It still happens. We often find that this is a story that started long ago, but we’re just now getting the answers, just now getting the data.
Just to clarify, you’re saying that someone might do a home test for mold, or even have someone come to the house and test for mold, and it might be negative, yet they will show positive findings on either an OAT or a mycotoxin test?
Exactly. They scratch their head and say, “Where the heck is this coming from?” It was probably a long time ago. Could be months, years, decades. Or it could be their office. If the office is in a commercial building with water damage, something like that. We try to find it. Sometimes, we don’t find the source, so we have to assume that it was from the past.
It’s also been proven that mold toxin goes through the placenta. This could even happen from birth. I have been fortunate to test many young children. Almost half my practice is children these days. We see kids who are six months old off the charts with mycotoxins, even if they are living in a new house or apartment. Then we test the mom. The mom has the same mold toxins but way higher. Oh my god, look, we have just opened up the dam through the breast via the breast milk and/or the placental transfer. That’s how we see it.
Same with flame retardants. Unfortunately, breast milk is highly contaminated with various toxins. It’s a bit thing, where we are seeing one and two-year-old children who have major gut issues, major skin issues. We are even seeing thyroid antibodies in young children. It’s very difficult to get blood on them. When some things are severe enough, we do. We are seeing Hashimoto’s in young kids. It’s nuts.
When it comes to mold in children, do you treat them the same as far as using binders and glutathione? Obviously, you try to get rid of the exposure. But is the actual treatment similar?
Yeah, the protocol is the same. We use more liquid protocols than capsules. Certain binders, you have to open up, but we can mix them in with juice or applesauce. I try to find alternatives to the capsule formulas. We use liquid antimicrobials instead. We do nasal sprays. It works great.
Kids get better faster. Their immune systems are generally more robust than us adults. Their thymus is much bigger, so they have this big immune reserve if you will that we don’t. It’s a lot easier, and it definitely makes you look like a better practitioner when you’re working with a kid because you can get them better in half the time that it takes for an adult to get better generally.
You brought up an example of a patient’s organic acids test, which showed mold. Let’s say everything was negative the first time you tested. Have you seen where the OAT is negative, yet the urinary mycotoxins test is positive?
Yeah, that’s a great point. There are two things that can happen. You can be colonized for mold, meaning you’re a mold factory, so you’re growing it. Maybe you had a lot of exposure, or the exposure was long, or your immune system was weakened. For example, maybe you had COVID, so your immune system was weak, and you got exposed to mold and became colonized. That’s what we look at on the OAT. Are they growing it? Do we see on page one these yeast or fungal metabolites elevated, indicating they are currently growing mold?
Or, if that’s all negative, but the mycotoxins are positive, then we assume they are just a mycotoxin reservoir. That’s the most accurate thing. Technically, it’s not a mold. It’s a mycotoxin they are holding in them. it’s a mold fart. That’s the mycotoxin. We see that all the time. Half the people are colonized, and half aren’t.
But you still have to work on the client and not just the paper. If we see that there is gut issues and skin issues, maybe we run a stool test on them as well, and we see dysbiosis or other infections. As you know, a lot of these herbs are pretty broad spectrum. If I am working on parasites, let’s say, I might have some herbs in that formula that also kill yeast and/or fungus and/or mold anyway. Even if the OAT wasn’t a big smoking gun for mold colonization, we’re probably helping to fix it anyway.
It sounds like you don’t test everybody for urinary mycotoxins. Is that correct?
I do. If budget permits, I am going to tell them, at least initially for our first call together, I want everybody to have an OAT and a myco. I am seeing too many to ignore it. If budget doesn’t permit, or if this person says, “Hey, I know I feel better on binders. I’ve already done this in the past,” okay, fine. If you don’t care to see the numbers, these tests aren’t perfect. They’re good but not perfect. If you’re not wanting to spend the money or can’t spend the money, and/or you’re already feeling good on binders, just keep them up. I’m okay with that.
I can’t say I test everyone for the urinary mycotoxin test, but when I do test for that, I typically use Great Plains, now known as Mosaic. Have you had Dr. Neil Nathan on your podcast?
Evan: I haven’t. He’s not a fan of that. I know he likes RealTime.
I think he uses both, right? I think it was him. Maybe it was someone else who uses RealTime and Great Plains/Mosaic because sometimes, I’ll find mycotoxins on one but not the other.
Evan: Vibrant is another competitor as well. I’ve used them before. Vibrant showed mycotoxins in me personally that I didn’t see anywhere else. I don’t know what to make of it.
If you talk with Neil, he basically says binders for life. I’m cool with that. These things that we’re using—zeolite, clay, silica, fulvic acid, chlorella, etc.—these are great for heavy metals and pesticides. We are all exposed to that, too, no matter how hard we try. I love the idea of keeping up with low dose binders. Maybe your test missed something. Maybe your mycotoxin test wasn’t perfect. I still do binders.
It helps with die-off from gut infections or other issues we’re working on, like Lyme, bartonella, babesia. The die-off from that stuff can be intense, and the binders help mop that up. Zeolite can help with histamine issues. A lot of these people have histamine problems as well.
I like to implement binders for everyone, even if the test says nothing is there. We will still use it and say what they report back. If I’m sleeping better, which is my story, I started experimenting with binders for bed. My wife and I both noticed we’re sleeping better. We started using it with our kids, and they slept better, too. Everyone needs binders at night. Done.
Everybody in the household is taking low dose binders on a wellness basis then?
Yeah, we are. My kids do. My wife and I do, too. I do a couple capsules a night. Sometimes, I’ll do them in the middle of the day as well if I feel out of it. I still sometimes experience brain fog from it. When you are colonized with mold and/or candida, a lot of people will have brain fog. You walk into the pantry and forget what you’re looking for. You forget your keys. Where’s your phone? You’re always losing something. That type of brain fog can happen a lot with candida, too.
Mold is the bad guy that allows these other things to take place. If you have been working on candida and bacteria, and you’re struggling and not beating that, it’s like this relapsing phenomenon. Assume there is mold there. Candida rarely occurs in isolation.
I did a summit on candida years ago in 2017. At the time, I didn’t know much about mold. Now that I look back, all these people that have all these candida problems, we were using herbal antimicrobials to hit those, herbal antifungals. The candida would come back. Let’s rotate herbs. Now I realize, crap, that was mold. Mold was allowing the candida to come back. Mold was giving candida the opportunity to thrive. Candida produces acetaldehyde, which is very similar to alcohol. People feel drunk and spacy with candida. That would get better temporarily, and then they’d relapse. Now, I go back and test those people, and they all have mold.
Wow, that’s something that is definitely overlooked. I don’t know if you can answer this, but if you had to put a number on it, what percentage of clients that you see would you say have the mold problem? I’m sure it’s high because a lot of people now know you as a mold expert and see you. Yours might be higher than the average person. If you had to guess the average household maybe that doesn’t see you, would you say it’s 50%, 60%, 80%?
I’d say probably 90%.
It’s huge. I think it’s the biggest epidemic facing the country if not the world right now. I know you’ve seen this with your clinical work. Even in the last five years, the average person is sicker and more complex and more sensitive than ever before. There is a lot of things that go into that. Media and bioweapons and other things that play into this. Overall, I find the population to be getting sicker, more sensitive, more nutrient depleted, more depleted of vitamins and minerals. Therefore, this mold is the final dagger, if you will.
It’s probably 90%. It’s very rare these days that I test someone and don’t show up with something. You’re right. A lot of people are saying, “I heard you talk about this. I had this exposure. I have 50 symptoms. Can you help?”
There are still average guys. I had a case in California. This is some real estate investor guy who said, “Hey, I feel pretty good, but I heard you, and I want to get a good functional medicine workup. I don’t have many complaints.” We looked at this guy’s lab, and he is colonized with mold. His mycotoxins were off the chart. “You’re sure you have no energy issues? You’re not depressed or anxious? You don’t have erectile dysfunction? Your blood pressure’s okay?” “Yep, I’m fine.”
This is weird, but I don’t want to ignore this because mycotoxins are very carcinogenic. Ochratoxin affects the brain and kidneys. Things like aflatoxin can affect the liver and be a big driver of liver cancer. “Look, if we don’t want you to end up with some neurodegenerative disease as you get older, let’s get this stuff out now.”
We got this guy on the protocol. Now, he is losing body fat. He was working with a personal trainer, and he couldn’t lose much body fat. Now he is leaning out. We are seeing some cool benefits, even though he didn’t have many complaints. Now, he is saying, “I am not as tired as the end of the day. I thought that was normal because I’m working hard.” But you shouldn’t be crashing at 3pm. You should be able to keep going. That’s fun, when you see a case where supposedly, they’re okay, but you fix them anyway, and now they’re better. That’s always rewarding.
It is a lot of fun when you see someone, the life changes they make and their health.
Thyroid. As you know, this is the Save My Thyroid podcast. People want to know: How does mold affect the thyroid? Let’s dive into the mold-gut-thyroid connection.
Sure. I would say it’s a domino effect, like everything else. There is this perfect storm that happens. Do I think that Hashimoto’s and Graves’ and other thyroid issues can happen on their own with stress and that sort of thing? Maybe. The more I look at this, I really think of the thyroid issue as the effect, the end result. Here are the domino effects that I have seen. I’ll just lay it out to you the way I perceive it now. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, too.
Step one is a trigger, if you will, like mold, for example. Let’s role play and say you had this mold exposure. That weakened your immune system. Now you develop candida overgrowth. While the backdoor was open, so to speak, now you have developed Klebsiella, which we know is a big bacterial trigger of any sort of thyroid issue, autoimmune thyroid. Now, you have Klebsiella and maybe Prevotella and Proteus. Now you have a diagnosis of RA and Hashimoto’s or Graves’. You have this multiple autoimmune thing happening. Now, we see you have gut inflammation. The nutrition’s off. You’re super stressed. You’re working too much. Your kids are crazy. Your marriage is on the rocks. All those things add up. Boom, you happen to test blood, and there is a big thyroid issue. I think there is probably other things predating you seeing that manifestation there.
I’ve seen cases where we have seen TPO antibodies in the thousands, like 2- or 3,000. We have seen that drop thousands of points just by fixing what I’m describing to you: the candida, the bacteria, the mold piece. All of a sudden, antibodies go way, way, way down. I didn’t even give any “thyroid support” or thyroid protocol. Maybe I did basic stuff, like zinc, selenium, those things.
It’s actually rare that I have to make a full thyroid protocol. It’s almost as if these other gut detox protocols are actually helping the thyroid. It’s almost like we are removing the roadblocks that allow the thyroid to be under attack in the first place.
I agree. In most cases, it’s not a thyroid problem. Graves’, Hashimoto’s, they are immune system conditions that affect the thyroid. All these things you just mentioned, the mold, the candida overgrowth, the Klebsiella, all these other factors can affect the gut, which you need a healthy gut to have a healthy immune system.
One thing I don’t think either one of us mentioned is mold can increase the permeability of the gut as well.
Good point. There is some good literature on that. If you put in PubMed “leaky gut” or “mycotoxin leaky gut,” you can find it.
These people who are so clean with their diet, they’re confused. “How could I have some autoimmune issue? I’m off gluten, dairy, grains. I’m doing the perfect diet that everyone tells me to do,” this AIP diet. Yet their gut is still a mess.
That’s right. Not only do the lipopolysaccharides and the endotoxins from bacteria affect the gut barrier, but mold toxin does as well. If you’re taking all these leaky gut protocols, leaky gut supplements, but you’re full of mold and mold toxin, you’re not going to get fully better.
What impacts will moldy foods have? We focus more on the indoor air. If someone is eating grains or nuts that are moldy on a regular basis, I would assume that also could prevent someone’s gut from healing.
Yeah. I think this is tough to prove. If I were to give you a pie chart of exposure, I would say the biggest piece of the pie is 90% inhalation. You breathe on average like 20,000 times a day. Versus you’re eating and snacking 3-5 times a day. Just your overall consumption is significantly less in the diet, I think.
It is true that you can have moldy coffee, moldy chocolate, moldy grains. For example, there is one study out of Guatemala. Apparently, liver cancer is very high in Guatemala. It was connected to moldy corn tortillas, which are a huge staple in the diet down there. Corn can be highly contaminated with various mycotoxins. This also can affect fertility and create miscarriages and birth defects and other problems for females.
Remember that we are talking gut-thyroid here, but there is this big endocrine system effect as well. A lot of mycotoxins are highly estrogenic, so if you’re having breast tenderness or other problems, female issues, hormone problems, PMS, and worse, that could also be a part of it.
I would say the diet is a smaller piece. I will say this is probably why some people feel better on a grain-free or more paleo template. They have already eliminated some nuts, seeds, grains, so they got rid of the mold.
You won’t have a moldy steak. Now, the cows, if they’re fed grain that’s moldy, moldy corn that is sprayed with glyphosate, and the GMO products are in the cow’s diet, could that impact the quality of the meat? I would say so. I would still prefer people to get pasture-raised meats if they can.
Overall, if you had to choose your battles, and you had the option of living in a moldy home and eating clean, or living in a clean home and eating a McDonald’s hamburger patty with no bun and cheese, I would probably do that. The buildings will really wreck you far more.
That’s interesting. Obviously, you’re not recommending for people to eat McDonald’s hamburger patties. But if they had to choose between being in that moldy environment and not eating as clean as you would normally recommend, that does make sense.
I know you use natural binders. What are your thoughts on cholestyramine? I am asking you for a reason, not just for the mold. I don’t know if you know this, but cholestyramine can also bind to thyroid hormone. It’s actually used as a treatment for some people with hyperthyroidism. This is in the literature. I didn’t know this years ago. I found it in the research.
Since then, I have had some patients get cholestyramine prescribed by their endocrinologist if they are unable to tolerate antithyroid medication. It’s not ideal, definitely not the first line of treatment. I wanted to get your opinion. What do you think of cholestyramine in general? In this situation, for the binding of mycotoxins.
That’s cool. I didn’t know that. It’s a pretty remarkable compound. Folks listening that might not be familiar with it, it was created sometime in the ‘60s or ‘70s. It was used as a cholesterol-lowering medication. Statins came out, and they work in a different mechanism than this. Cholestyramine fell off. Maybe there is not as much profit in it. I don’t know what the story was as to why it became this forgotten-about product or compound. You can get it compounded from compounding pharmacies, which I have, and I have personally taken it.
I’ll tell you this though. Nobody is talking about this. It’s frustrating. If I would have gotten more warning on this, I wouldn’t have messed with it. 1) It’s tough on the gut. I think it really exacerbated histamine problems for me. I don’t feel like I had many histamine issues until I started to use cholestyramine. I don’t know if it changed something with the gut barrier, if it was too harsh, if it was detoxing too strong, and that aggravated my mast cells, creating more histamine issues, or what the mechanism was. I definitely felt that it messed up my gut.
Secondly, there is an impact on the mitochondria from cholestyramine. I think it made my fatigue issues worse. Most people don’t mention that. If you’re a Ritchie Shoemaker-trained MD, a lot of these conventional mold doctors make fun of natural binders. Natural binders have saved hundreds and hundreds of cases in my situation. These people were at the end of their rope, and we got them better with natural binders. This idea that one is better than the other, or natural compounds can’t work, it’s simply not true.
Cholestyramine in the beginning though did get me out of the hole. I was in a dark place for a while. I had a lot of dizziness and vertigo. When I started it, I almost had instant relief. It’s a much stronger binder than something like charcoal. Stronger, meaning it’s a tighter bond to that toxin, whereas charcoal is a weaker bond. Think of it as a strong magnet versus a weaker magnet.
When you’re using something like charcoal, it is true that some of the mycotoxins will essentially fall off and get reabsorbed back into the system. You can have a die-off or a Herxheimer reaction from binders. You would think binders are just this perfect, benign substance, and all it will do is pull bad things out of you.
When I was taking 6-8 charcoal capsules per day, to experiment, I was messed up. I was not feeling well. That told me, “Hey, this is not a perfect product.” When I did cholestyramine, it was so strong that I almost felt more clear-headed with the natural binders.
There are pros and cons to everything. Do I think it’s necessary to get better? No. But cholestyramine apparently is one of the only compounds on the planet to get out nonstick chemicals. Like the forever chemicals we hear about. It appears that cholestyramine can bind to those and pull those out. That’s cool. Maybe at a minimum, I at least pulled chemicals out of my body that natural compounds wouldn’t.
That’s interesting. I didn’t know that. I can’t say I’ve had a lot of patients on cholestyramine. Typically, they’ll either be on the herbs, things like bugleweed or motherwort for those with hyperthyroidism, or they will be on antithyroid medication. If they can’t tolerate the medication, and the herbs aren’t effective, if it’s a choice between getting their thyroid removed or radioactive iodine or the cholestyramine, I will recommend the cholestyramine.
Agreed. They probably have mold toxin anyway, so why not give them cholestyramine? Then you are helping them with thyroid and detoxing them. in your case, it would be a good strategy.
I love that you use and implement motherwort. You are one of the few guys who know and talk about motherwort as much as I do. It’s one of my favorite herbs. I take it a few times a week, 5-10-15 drops sometimes.
The stress and trauma and grief associated with this whole conversation is significant. We are talking uprooting people from their family homes. We are talking having to sell or remediate or renovate. You’re talking marriage stress, financial stress. There is a lot of other collateral damage that happens with this whole conversation. Motherwort is not only a great tool for the thyroid cases, but it’s amazing for emotional trauma and grief, heart palpitations, afib, atrial flutter, blood pressure irregularity. Motherwort is a really good ally throughout this process.
I agree. It also has some antimicrobial effects as well. It’s cool that you take it on a regular basis. I didn’t know that.
I know there is so much more we could cover, but I know you have to run soon. Before we wrap it up, is there anything burning in you that you want to say? Did you want to give a summary? If someone is suspecting they might have a mold problem, what would be the next steps?
If you haven’t done some good labs, test your home, and test your body. That would be a great investment. If you wait until you get the cancer diagnosis or the Alzheimer’s diagnosis or some other really scary thing that will have a lot of pharmaceutical interventions and potentially surgeries and all of that, you can save yourself from some of that if you get your body clean. You get these toxins out.
This is not a rare situation. This is an extremely common situation. I bet a large amount of money that folks listening and/or their family members, their parents, their children, their grandchildren are probably walking around with mold toxin in them because the average person spends roughly 95% of their time indoors in the modern world.
Versus just a short time ago, in the 1800s, when we were all farmers, we were all outside all day. Even if the old farmhouse was moldy, which it was probably less moldy because they used plaster and not drywall with paper backing, so the housing materials have changed. How tight our homes are have changed. There is a lot of things that have happened in a very short amount of time in terms of building technology that have made us more prone to having mold issues.
I encourage people to remember that this is a multigenerational problem. I have tested grandma, daughter, granddaughter, and I have seen it through the family line. If you are one of those people who walks around saying, “Hey, mental illness runs in the family,” you’re maybe indicating there is mold illness running in the family. That’s why you’re all chronically fatigued, obese, depressed, anxious, etc. Of course, nutrition plays a role.
But I have seen these families where they are all crazy. Mold causes rage. If the kid’s having behavioral issues, the mom is on an antidepressant, and the grandma had a nervous breakdown, these are the things you have to look for in people in a workup, to plot the dots here. “Grandma was nuts. Mom’s nuts. Kids are nuts. Okay, we have to figure this out.”
If you dig deep enough, you’ll spend a couple thousand bucks to do a really good workup on yourself. If you do this, you will save yourself massive suffering. You’re potentially going to save your marriage if it’s not good. You will save the money from not having to send your kid to behavioral therapy and speech therapy and occupational therapy and interventions that you’ll try to do to mitigate the toxicity.
The speech can be affected in children as well. That’s something that most practitioners don’t recognize.
There is also a big link, and that’s why you and I love and have used Great Plains/Mosaic because of the link between autism spectrum issues and mold toxin. Any child who is on the spectrum at any level, any degree of severity, we are going to run chemicals and mold toxin. Guess what? We will find it 99/100 times in these kids.
This is something I hope will become more popular and mainstream. At this time, there is very few people talking about this. Even less pediatricians talking about this. I know some really good functional pediatricians. Even they are not doing the work that I’m doing with this stuff.
That’s why I have built up and had to become an expert in kids, mainly because I have three of my own, but also because who else is going to save the kids?
At the current rate of toxicity that I’m seeing and the current rate of fatigue, behavioral issues, lack of motivation, I really don’t know how society will continue to function if we don’t start getting people healthier. Who is going to be the garbage man? If everyone is too tired to pick up a garbage can and throw it in the back of the truck and drive away, who is going to take care of society? How is society going to continue to run if our health is so chronically bad like this? We have a mess on our hands.
I hope people like you and I can put a dent in it. We need others out there. If you are a parent, and you need help, reach out. Let’s help your family.
If you’re a practitioner, I would encourage you to learn about this stuff. If you’re interested, I have functional medicine training courses that people can take. I have over 1,200 students in there. A lot of them aren’t practitioners. It’s maybe an 80/20 split. 80% health seeker, 20% practitioner.
The big flagship one I have is called Better Belly. This is a course where I have taken a lot of case studies and put them into an easy to understand and digest format. I’ll show you real quick. We could probably get a coupon code, too. If people want to get a better deal on it, they can. This is a fraction of the cost of one semester of college, and you will learn way more than you will in college, I promise.
This course, I have a full curriculum. It’s over 53 lessons, anything from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, IBS, candida, candida protocols, stomach acid. We talk about SIBO and SIFO, H-pylori, Clostridia, heart issues, parasites. I have all these calls where I am on them with my clients, and you can listen to what the clients are saying. A histamine intolerance case study. We go into lab testing, supplements. I have some mold experts here. This is a professional mold inspector. This guy here owns a mold testing company. Here is a talk I gave on how mycotoxins create all these issues. I have a presentation on how to improve your home health. There is a lot of stuff.
I am motivated and hungry to get this out. I am going to keep charging full speed ahead. I appreciate our time together. It’s been great.
Same here, Evan. Can you verbally say the website? Where can people sign up for Better Belly? If they want to work with you one-on-one and check out your podcast?
It’s EvanBrand.com. Everything is there. You can check out the podcast, too. We will get you on there as well. You will see Eric’s pretty face on the podcast soon. The podcast is free. The courses are paid. A consultation, I have me and another functional practitioner on my team. If you all need help, we’ll be here.
Awesome. Thanks, Evan. Great chatting with you. Definitely check out Evan’s podcast. Look into his Better Belly course. If you want to set up a consultation with Evan, contact him and his team. Thank you so much for this conversation. I learned a lot as well.
Thanks for having me, man.