"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
- Thomas Edison
Some molds produce materials called mycotoxins, which can even cause
CANCER. They do this by messing around with your genetics. The most
powerful naturally occurring carcinogen (something that causes cancer) is an
Aflatoxin which is produced by mold.
- Dr. G. W. Graham
J Food Prot 2001 Jan;64(1):120-31
Dietary strategies to counteract the effects of mycotoxins: a review.
Galvano F, Piva A, Ritieni A, Galvano G
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agroforestali ed Ambientali,
Universita di Reggio, Gallina di Reggio Calabria, Italy
We reviewed various dietary strategies to contain the toxic effects of mycotoxins using antioxidant compounds (selenium, vitamins, provitamins), food components (phenolic compounds, coumarin, chlorophyll and its derivatives, fructose, aspartame), medicinal herbs and plant extracts, and mineral and biological binding agents (hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate, bentonites, zeolites, activated carbons, bacteria, and yeast).
Available data are primarily from in vitro studies and mainly focus on aflatoxin B1, whereas much less information is available about other mycotoxins. Compounds with antioxidant properties are potentially very efficacious because of their ability to act as superoxide anion scavengers. Interesting results have been obtained by food components contained in coffee, strawberries, tea, pepper, grapes, turmeric, Fava tonka, garlic, cabbage, and onions. Additionally, some medicinal herbs and plant extracts could potentially provide protection against aflatoxin B1 and fumonisin B1. Activated carbons, hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate, and bacteria seem to effectively act as binders.
We conclude that dietary strategies are the most promising approach to the problem, considering their limited or nil interference in the food production process. Nevertheless, a great research effort is necessary to verify the in vivo detoxification ability of the purposed agents, their mode of action, possible long-term drawbacks of these detoxification-decontamination procedures, and their economical and technical feasibility.
Publication Types: Review Review, tutorial PMID: 11198434
The chlorophyll in green leafy vegetables may provide useful protection against liver cancer caused by aflatoxin, a product of mold often found in peanuts.
"I don't think supplementation is necessary when all the chlorophylls you would ever want are sitting there at the vegetable counter, just waiting to be eaten. Liver cancer is already claiming thousands of lives in the U.S. We also know that an even more frequent cancer, that of the colon, is significantly cut by a plant-based diet. Perhaps chlorophylls are working there as well." - From Dr. Robert Jay Rowen's Second Opinion April 2002.
Eight Defenses Against Aflatoxin
It is generally a good idea to avoid eating moldy and rotten food. This is your first line of defense against aflatoxin and the other mycotoxins.
A second line of defense is a properly functioning liver, which is the organ of your body that detoxifies harmful chemicals. You can improve your liver function by taking supportive herbs such as milkthistle, and by detoxifying the body with hyperthermia.
Plants and foods with high Brix readings will dehydrate before spoiling (getting moldy). Therefore, we would suggest that high brix readings are your third line of defense against mold, helping to prevent consumption of aflatoxin.
Your fourth line of defense from aflatoxin is antioxidant foods such as
vitamin C and Maharishi Amrit Kalash (MAK) that support the liver by helping to
neutralize toxic chemicals.
A fifth line of defense is chlorophyll found in all green leafy vegetables.
Your sixth line of defense is certain foods that seem to provide a defense against aflatoxin: coffee, strawberries, tea, pepper, grapes, turmeric, Fava tonka, garlic, cabbage, and onions.
The seventh line of defense is electro-medicine. The blood electrification devices developed by Dr. Bob Beck are reported to neutralize mycotoxins in the blood.
The eighth line of defense is
sodium chlorite. Sodium chlorite "inactivates neurotoxins from
fungi and moldy foods" - McCabe, page 182.
Sodium chlorite also destroys fungi in the body.
Read more about sodium chlorite
2 and watch the DVD.
For a "maintenance dose" we suggest a few
drops of sodium chlorite with water first thing in the morning on an empty
stomach. The taste is OK and stomach acid will activate it.
Electro-medicine and sodium chlorite may be connected
because "chlorites are products of electrolysis, and bioelectrolysis
suggests that body electricity may generate these helpful oxidants"
- McCabe, page 184.
If you follow all of these
eight defenses against aflatoxin and other mycotoxins, you may help prevent many other diseases as well.
Besides food, another potent source of toxins may be your bed and pillow. People spend around 1/3 of their life in bed. The presence of moisture and food makes the bed and pillow ideal habitats for mold, fungus, dust mites, and a variety of other unwanted guests. Every time you move in bed you stir up a cloud of dust mite fecal material and other substances that get rubbed into your skin and inhaled. We highly recommend covering your mattress and pillow with a waterproof mite barrier, and wash this material in hot water every two weeks. For example, see www.healthguard.com. Do an Internet search for "bed covers and dust mites".
While we are on the subject of mites, you may be interested to know that most acne
may actually be caused by mites, not by bacteria. The mite known as "human demodex follicular mite" inhabits hair follicles and the pores of the skin. About 98% of humans have these mites. The human immune system can make antibodies to defend against mites. However, when the immune system is stressed or compromised (such as with cancer patients) the mite population may expand quickly.
Other factors that stimulate the mite population include poor diet (the
waste coming out of your pores provides a feast for the mites), and teenage
hormones which also come out of pores to be ingested by mites. The mite can be killed by a special soap from China that contains seabuckthorn oil (Hippophae rhamnoides). This soap is available from www.TaoOfHerbs.com and is called Herbal Rejuvenating Soap by FaceDoctor.
The Top-10 MYCO-Toxic Foods
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
Dr. Dave Holland is the co-author, with Doug Kaufmann, of the best-selling book The Fungus Link, and the new book, The Fungus Link, Volume 2. In these books, and in their other books (Infectious Diabetes, and The Germ that Causes Cancer) they discuss the ravages that yeast, fungi and their mycotoxins (fungal toxins) can cause us when we are exposed to them. Health problems ranging from cancer to heart disease to asthma, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes may all be related to mycotoxins.
Mycotoxins cause a wide range of health problems in humans when we are exposed to small amounts over an extended period of time, and can even be lethal if taken in large quantities over a short period of time. Given the large number of diseases linked to mycotoxins* (see Dr. Holland¹s list at the end of the article) and our tendency to eat a large amount of grains in our typical American diet, this is a very concerning problem. As Dr. Holland said, "Grains are sources of carbohydrates, or sugars, and as such, they risk contamination by certain fungi. These fungi produce secondary metabolites, or mycotoxins."
Dr. Holland has put together a list of the top-10 mycotoxic foods. You¹ll notice as you browse through the list that it mentions lots of grains (wheat, barley, rye, etc.). You¹re probably familiar with some of the dangers of grains mentioned on this site, and now you have one more reason not to eat them--they are commonly contaminated with mycotoxins.
You¹ll also notice that peanuts are on the list. Peanuts are not only commonly contaminated with aflatoxin, a carcinogenic mold, but they will also distort your omega-3:6 ratio. A much better choice if you want to eat nuts are walnuts, as they will give you some beneficial omega-3.
One food that is not mentioned on the list is coconut oil. I want to point out that, while coconut oil is an incredible food in terms of nutrition and taste, many coconut oils contain mycotoxins. This is because they are commonly made with copras, or dried coconuts, which are often contaminated with mycotoxins. So in order to fully enjoy the benefits of this coconut oil, you will want to be sure that you find a company that uses only fresh coconuts to make their oil, like the Tropical Traditions virgin coconut oil on this site.
With that, here's the top-10 list of mycotoxic foods that you will want to avoid.
By David A. Holland, M.D.
1. Alcoholic beverages
Alcohol is the mycotoxin of the Saccharomyces yeast--brewer¹s yeast. Other mycotoxins besides alcohol can also be introduced into these beverages through the use of mold-contaminated grains and fruits. Producers often use grains that are too contaminated with fungi and mycotoxins to be used for table foods, so the risk is higher that you are consuming more than just alcohol in your beverage (Council for Agricultural Science and technology. Mycotoxins: Economic and Health Risks. Task Force Report Number 116. CAST. Ames, IA. Nov 1989). Before you drink for the health of your heart, consider the other possible risks of drinking. There are safer ways of consuming antioxidants.
Corn is "universally contaminated" with fumonisin and other fungal toxins such as aflatoxin, zearalenone and ochratoxin (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. Mycotoxins: Risks in Plant, Animal and Human Systems. Task Force Report No. 139. Ames, IA. Jan 2003). Fumonisin and aflatoxin are known for their cancer-causing effects, while zearalenone and ochratoxin cause estrogenic and kidney-related problems, respectively. Just as corn is universally contaminated with mycotoxins, our food supply seems to be universally contaminated with corn--it¹s everywhere! A typical chicken nugget at a fast food restaurant consists of a nugget of corn-fed chicken that is covered by a corn-based batter that is sweetened with corn syrup!
Not only is wheat often contaminated with mycotoxins, but so are the products made from wheat, like breads, cereals, pasta, etc. Pasta may be the least-"offensive" form of grains since certain water-soluble mycotoxins, such as deoxynivalenol (vomitoxin), are partially removed and discarded when you toss out the boiling water that you cooked the pasta in. Unfortunately, traces of the more harmful, heat-stable and fat-soluble mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin, remain in the grain. Regarding breads--it probably doesn¹t matter if it¹s organic, inorganic, sprouted, blessed or not--if it came from a grain that has been stored for months in a silo, it stands the chance of being contaminated with fungi and mycotoxins.
Similar to other grains that can be damaged by drought, floods and harvesting and storage processes, barley is equally susceptible to contamination by mycotoxin-producing fungi. Barley is used in the production of various cereals and alcoholic beverages.
5. Sugar (sugar cane and sugar beets)
Not only are sugar cane and sugar beets often contaminated with fungi and their associated fungi, but they, like the other grains, fuel the growth of fungi. Fungi need carbohydrates--sugars--to thrive.
Sorghum is used in a variety of grain-based products intended for both humans and animals. It is also used in the production of alcoholic beverages.
A 1993 study demonstrated 24 different types of fungi that colonized the inside of the peanuts used in the report (Costantini, A. Etiology and Prevention of Atherosclerosis. Fungalbionics Series.1998/99). And this was after the exterior of the peanut was sterilized! So, when you choose to eat peanuts, not only are you potentially eating these molds, but also their mycotoxins. Incidentally, in the same study the examiners found 23 different fungi on the inside of corn kernels. That said, if you choose to plant your own garden in an attempt to avoid mycotoxin contamination of corn or peanuts, it does you no good if the seed (kernel) used to plant your garden is already riddled with mold.
The same goes for rye as for wheat and other grains. In addition, when we use wheat and rye to make bread, we add two other products that compound our fungal concerns: sugar and yeast!
Cottonseed is typically found in the oil form (cottonseed oil), but is also used in the grain form for many animal foods. Many studies show that cottonseed is highly and often contaminated with mycotoxins.
10. Hard Cheeses
Here¹s a hint: if you see mold growing throughout your cheese, no matter what you paid for it, there¹s a pretty good chance that there¹s a mycotoxin not far from the mold. It is estimated that each fungus on Earth produces up to three different mycotoxins. The total number of mycotoxins known to date numbers in the thousands.
On the other hand, some cheeses, such as Gouda cheese, are made with yogurt-type cultures, like Lactobacillus, and not fungi (Costantini, 1998/99). These cheeses are a much healthier alternative, fungally speaking.
Naturally, with this list coming from a group that opposes eating food that is merely contaminated with fungi, we¹d certainly oppose eating the fungus itself! That would include common table mushrooms and so-called myco-protein food products.
Other foods that could potentially make our list are rice, oats and beans, given that these too are sources of carbohydrates. And occasionally food inspectors will come across a batch of mold-contaminated rice or oats. However, all other things being equal, these crops are generally more resistant to fungal contamination (CAST 1989).
*Diseases caused by fungi and their mycotoxins (Costantini, A. et al. The Garden of Eden Longevity Diet. Fungalbionics Series. 1998):
* Alcoholic cirrhosis
* Anorexia Nervosa
* Balkan Nephropathy
* Biliary cirrhosis
* Crohn¹s disease
* Cushing¹s disease
* Muscular Dystrophy
* Familial Mediterranean Fever
* Heart failure
* Hyperactivity Syndrome
* Hyperlipidemia (high lipids)
* IgA Nephropathy
* Kidney stones
* Leukocytoclastic vasculitis
* Inflammatory bowel disease
* Mollaret¹s meningitis
* Multiple Sclerosis
* Nephritis (kidney inflammation)
* Precocious puberty
* Pulmonary Hypertension
* Raynaud¹s Syndrome/disease
* Reye¹s syndrome
* Rheumatoid Arthritis
* Shoulder-hand syndrome
* Thrombocytopenic purpura
* (low platelets)
The Five Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat
Multiple Sclerosis: A Chronic Mycotoxicosis?
The Fungal Etiology of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Is Cancer Contagious?
Return to Table of Contents #478
Print this Page
E-mail to a Friend
Privacy/Security Current Newsletter Contact Info
©Copyright 2004 Dr. Joseph Mercola. All rights reserved.This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Dr. Mercola is required.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.