It’s easy to assume environmental factors that contribute to the decline of our health usually come from outside our homes. When we think of environmental toxins, pollution most often comes to mind. And while pollution is a concern, we can’t forget that toxins also exist inside our homes. In fact, a lot of homes are idyllic places for toxin producing mold to reside.
What’s more, there are reports coming out that sometimes mold is preexisting in building materials. This means mold grows easily when the surface becomes damp or there is high humidity. I’ll be writing more on this soon, so keep a lookout.
One of my biggest concerns about mold is the research that indicates it plays a role in the development of dementia. With dementia on the rise (Alzheimer’s is now the third leading cause of death), it’s important we examine underlying causes and take preventative measures earlier.
To examine this, I want to take you to Finland. A developed country known for being wealthy and progressive. And yet, Finland has the highest rate of dementia in the world.
New research in Finland is finding that the reason could be largely mold. I’ve talked about mold and dementia before, and these findings further support the effect of mycotoxins on inflammation and dementia. There are also certain nutrients and toxins from other sources researchers believe might contribute to Finland’s high rates of dementia, which may expose clues about this condition.
Finland’s Dementia Crisis is Shining a Light on This Deadly Disease
Finland’s climate is very cold and humid. So, the homes must be well insulated, which can trap moisture within the walls. This creates the perfect climate for mycotoxin producing mold to grow.
Once these mycotoxins are in the air, they begin their infiltration into our bodies. Breathing in toxic, damp air can cause neuronal abnormalities, which have been linked to the exposure of water damaged buildings.
A considerable number of homes in Finland are thought to have mold. Mold can cause brain abnormalities, systemic inflammation, and changes in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Not only are Finnish homes breeding grounds for mold, researchers believe other factors may be contributing to this alarming situation.
What Else Could be Contributing to Finland’s Dementia Crisis?
Researchers believe other factors that are contributing to the dementia crisis include:
- Mycotoxin producing cyanobacteria in the water supply, which end up in fish.
- Mercury and methyl mercury, which can be found in the water supply.
- Naturally low levels of selenium in the soil, and persistent selenium deficiencies.
Finns consume 72 pounds of fish per year on average. This increases their intake of mycotoxins and heavy metals. Other countries in the Nordic region with similar ecosystems are known to experience higher rates of dementia as well, and this is thought to be a possible reason as to why.
Finland is also known to have a low concentration of selenium in the soil. Selenium is a vital nutrient needed for brain function. It also fights free radicals that can cause oxidative stress. Selenium helps produce glutathione peroxidase, an protective enzyme that helps guard neurons from damage. A deficiency in selenium could inhibit the body’s ability to detox properly and increase oxidative stress on the brain.
Mycotoxins Cause Serious Inflammation
Research on Finland shines a light on a very complicated condition. Mycotoxins are turning out to be a major suspect of dementia development, which isn’t known by most people at this point in time. It’s not mainstream knowledge that Alzheimer’s can start as early as your 20’s, or that it can be due to exposure to harmful mold.
But we need to spread the word. Just because mold doesn’t affect you immediately does not mean you can ignore it. Mycotoxins from mold can lead to a gamut of health concerns. Once mycotoxins enter the body, they pass through the cell membranes causing damage to various systems in the body.
Prolonged exposure to such toxins through inhalation or ingestion creates systemic inflammation. This can lead to chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS), which has been associated with dementia. Scientists have even identified Inhalational Alzheimer’s as a separate subtype. Many doctors don’t consider mold in their testing. This means exposure often goes undetected for years and is sometimes misdiagnosed.
We must take mold more seriously. These mycotoxins cause an uproar in the immune system which can lead to all sorts of health issues including:
- Cognitive Impairment – Memory loss, confusion, emotional and behavioral issues and an overall decline in day to day performance.
- Respiratory Issues – Coughing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.
- Weakened Immune System – Frequently sick and unable to fight off infection.
- Digestive Disorders – IBS, constipation and stomach upset.
- Muscle Weakness – CFS, joint pain and stiffness.
- Mood Changes – Depression, anxiety or loss of motivation.
…And the list goes on.
Reducing Your Risk – A Future Focus
Dementia is the degenerative disorder causing cognitive impairment – memory loss, confusion, and the inability to perform daily tasks. Battling a disease like dementia is daunting. It’s hard to see your loved ones struggle with this condition, and it’s even harder to understand why it’s happening.
Because early signs can be difficult to pinpoint, a diagnosis must be made through an examination of symptoms and environmental factors such as mold exposure. Taking measures to test and clear your home (or your loved ones’ home) of potential toxins like mycotoxins could help prevent illness. Check out my article Five Essential Tips For Living With Mold Toxicity and CIRS to uncover more ways to battle mold toxicity in your home. The Finland studies also suggest we should consider taking selenium and sticking to fish that’s lower in mercury.
Dementia is turning out to be a sometimes preventable disease, but if we are going to prevent it, we must first know about it. Knowledge truly is power when it comes to dementia. You can check out my article for more on this: 2 Surprising Facts About Alzheimer’s: Mold Can Cause Alzheimer’s & It’s Reversible.