Episode 14: How Mold, Roundup, and Tap Water Are Undermining Your Microbiome
Your musty basement. That rainstorm where you forgot to roll up the windows on your car. That persistent fatigue that you can’t kick no matter how many hours you spend under the covers. Turns out, toxic mold is a big problem.
In fact, our guest today, Dr. Ann Shippy, calls toxic mold exposure an epidemic. Dr. Shippy spent a decade working as an engineer at IBM before turning to medicine after her own health issues went unanswered. After med school, she became interested in functional medicine and turned her attention to uncovering the root cause of her symptoms, rather than simply masking them with drugs.
Now, she has a thriving practice in Austin, TX, and regularly sees patients for whom mold is a huge issue. She’s also the author of Shippy Paleo Essentials and the Mold Toxicity Workbook.
On this episode, we dig into how toxic mold and environmental exposure to chemicals such as glyphosate are disturbing our guts and causing chronic disease.
To connect with Dr. Shippy, check visit annshippymd.com. To learn more about your mold status, visit blackmoldscan.com.
On this show, you’ll learn:
- The beginning of Dr. Shippy’s journey with celiac disease (5:28)
- Why glyphosate (Round Up) is turning up almost everywhere, and why we should be worried (7:39)
- How even the tap water you drink may be unsafe (11:03)
- How environmental toxins like mold disturb your gut health (15:28)
- The gut health impact of your daily commute (17:23)
- The role epigenetics play with how toxins impact gene expression (18:37)
- How to test for a high level of toxicities (20:22)
- The percentage of people exposed to mold daily (28:56)
- Ways to help the body detox better (34:40)
Andrea Wien: I'm your host, Andrea Wien, and you're listening to the Microbiome Report powered by BIOHM Health. Have you ever thought that your leaky basement or musty car air conditioner could be undermining your health and your microbiome? On this episode with Dr. Ann Shippy, we dig into how toxic mold and environmental exposure to chemicals like glyphosate are disturbing our guts and causing chronic disease.
After a decade of working as an IBM engineer, Dr. Shippy became discouraged that traditional medicine couldn't find answers to her own health ailments. So, in her 30s, she went back to school, becoming a doctor to help others uncover the root cause of their illness. Her interests and areas of expertise are varied, but on this episode, we dig deep into the environmental factors that are undermining our health such as mold toxicity. Dr. Shippy is also the author of two books, Shippy Paleo Essentials and the Mold Toxicity Workbook. Enjoy the show. I know that you have had a lot of your own health issues, and that's really what brought you to functional medicine. So, can you tell us a little bit about your life path and how you came to be in the role that you're in now?
Dr. Ann Shippy: I feel so fortunate that I've had multiple health crises, believe it or not, because it really has helped me change the direction in my life to get to do something so rewarding. I started out as a chemical engineer, working for IBM, climbing the management chain, really making a difference in helping to get environmental toxins out of our manufacturing processes, and I got really sick. People thought I was dying. I got so skinny. I just could not maintain my weight. I went to doctor after doctor, after doctor and could not ... Nobody could figure it out.
So, finally, I started thinking outside the box. It was before the internet. I was reading everything and then just really starting to take an integrative approach like seeing a nutritionist and an acupuncturist, an herbalist, really outside the box thinking immunologist, and finding what I pieced together was that I had picked up a parasite in Mexico on vacation, and it really triggered my celiac disease. So, I had had like low grade infections all my life, but then when they tested me for celiac disease, I was in the spectrum of I still had some celia where I was absorbing some, but there was a ton of inflammation. So, at that point in time, they didn't know that that could be a sign of celiac.
So, one morning, I woke up and decided to switch careers. I got so passionate about the fact that we could do medicine differently. We could really not just Band-Aid things but really solve things and have such a personal connection with patients rather than just kind of feeling like a number or a specimen going through the process. So, I spent my 30s going to medical school and residency, and I had a baby in med school and one in residency. So, when I finished, even though I knew I wanted to do something more integrated, something more holistic, I had two young children, and I had just spent plus really eight years because I had to take some biology classes before I could get into medical school, dedicating my life to this. So, I just needed to pause and kind of figure out what the next steps were.
So, I did three years of internal medicine, which I think was a great thing because I really got to understand better how the current allopathic medicine system works. Unfortunately, I got sick again, and I developed a couple of autoimmune diseases. So, that really got my attention. I was like, "Okay, I got to get back on my path and really see what other resources are out there to gain the other tools that I need in my toolbox to really do medicine the way that I wanted to do it." That's when functional medicine was just coming on the map. It was about 14 years ago. So, finally had the more comprehensive system biology approach to really getting back to the science, the biochemistry and physiology, and a way to really look below the surface and see what's going on with patients.
Andrea Wien: Wow. That is such an impressive story. It's such a brave move to go back to school at that stage in your life when you're really climbing the corporate ladder and have this path laid out in front of you and to take such a huge risk and spend so many years of your life in your 30s to do that is something you don't hear a lot. So, that's very impressive.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yeah. I'm so lucky that I did and that I was in a situation that I could make those changes. It's really fascinating when I was leaving IBM because I loved my work there, and I loved the people that I work with. So, going around and saying goodbye to people, there were so many people that, if they weren't working for IBM and management or whatever they were doing, so many people were like, "Oh, yeah, I wish I could go back to the seminary or go to law school or become a sociologist." There were so many people that had this nudge to make a change and do something different, so I really felt fortunate that I was in a situation that I could fulfill my dreams.
Andrea Wien: Yeah, absolutely. It sounds like you found out you had celiac quite early on. I also have celiac, and I found out about 20 years ago. So, I always feel like I'm the one that was gluten-free before everyone. I always say gluten-free before it was cool but before anyone really knew what that was all about. It sounds like you had a similar journey where you found out quite early.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yes. It really was challenging back then because even in a regular grocery store, unless you were just buying fruits and vegetables and meat, you couldn't find even like sauces and condiments that you knew for sure were going to be gluten-free. So, I feel so fortunate again that now, you can even find things in airports and regular grocery stores, and most restaurants actually know what gluten is rather than looking at you cross-eyed.
Andrea Wien: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I know. I joke with people that I didn't eat bread at all until I was like 24 because it just wasn't worth it. The bread of the early '90s, I guess, was just like a brick, and it was terrible, so now, there's so many great products out there. So, I feel very fortunate too that it's come into the mainstream.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Well, and what's fascinating is when I started my practice about 14 years ago in functional medicine, I kept seeing that patients started to do better whether they were celiac or not. Even though celiac was on the map, the whole gluten sensitivity thing was just people thought it was kind of a farce. They're like, "Well, what is this? Why would gluten cause a problem for me?" So, what's been so fascinating is now, all the research coming out, backing up that gluten sensitivity is also a huge issue, and it may or may not show up with digestive symptoms.
Andrea Wien: Absolutely. Yeah. I actually don't get digestive symptoms. If I accidentally get glutened now, I get more brain foggy. The next few days are just kind of a little bit more depressive, I would say. Sometimes, it's hard to tell. Did I truly get glutened, or am I just in a bad mood?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Well, which leads to the, yeah, the gut-brain connection and how the brain symptoms can be such an amazing indication of how the gut is doing.
Andrea Wien: Absolutely. Let's talk specifically since we're on this topic of celiac about Roundup and glyphosate and why we're starting to maybe piece together that those two things could go hand in hand. Can you talk a little bit about what exactly that toxin is and why there's such an alarm cry about it?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yeah, it's very concerning. So, glyphosate now is the main pesticide that's used to grow food. It's a Monsanto product called Roundup. Most of the farmers are using it on wheat and soy and corn and many others. Then, a lot of people are using it for a weed killer, and it's becoming ubiquitous in the environment. So, the problem is that when it was put into production and now being massively used in the U.S. and many places around the world, very little research was done. So, now, we know that it's likely carcinogen. It's probably a major hormone disruptor, so it's probably, especially from an estrogen testosterone standpoint, it's majorly causing people to have hormone imbalance. Then, it's really disrupting the gastrointestinal tract. It's causing something called leaky gut. So, the inflammation in the gut and so the body's ability to be able to absorb the nutrients, digest the nutrients and detoxify is all being disrupted by glyphosate.
So, now, we actually do a test to see what levels of glyphosate people are being exposed to, and so, urine test. The lab that I use is called Great Plains Laboratory. It's a really nice add-on test for me if I'm looking for patient's levels of mycotoxins or other chemicals, or I think it's $89, I can add on a glyphosate. So, what's really been shocking to me is every single person I've tested has had some in their bodies even if they think they're eating organic. So, it's getting into our water, it's getting into the food supply, even if we think we're getting organic. Then, there's a whole research looking at rivers that empty into the ocean. There are big stones in the ocean where glyphosate is impacting the sea life as well as the rivers and streams.
Andrea Wien: So, you mentioned eating organic, but are there other ways that people can avoid this?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Well, you definitely want to eat organic as much as you can because of glyphosate and other fumigants and pesticides being used, so you can definitely reduce the load. I just thought, well, if you're eating all organic, the amount that you're exposed to would be zero, but it's not, but I do see a big reduction when people are eating mostly organic and then trying to eat organic from sources that you know of like if you can shop at the farmer's market and eat the local foods, I think that also can really make a difference with truly getting the least amount of pesticide as possible.
Andrea Wien: I've noticed too a big difference just in my drinking water when I filter. I have the Berkey Water Filter, and I've noticed such a large difference just in the taste of the water. Number one, now when I drink regular tap water, which is rare but when I do, it just smells like a swimming pool to me. I can only imagine all of the other toxins and pharmaceuticals and things that are in our everyday tap water that we're thinking are safe but actually are being effected by all the runoff from these pesticides.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yeah. It's really a dilemma because a lot of the city plants have to ... They end up having to use chemicals to try to clean certain things out, so I think the more we can do to filter our own water, the better off we'll be. If you can even do a whole house filter where you're filtering the bathing water too, that's really the ideal situation. There's just not legislation in place to even check for most of these toxins at the water plants, so we can't really count on the water being clean. Then, if you buy bottled water in plastic, you're going to get the plastic leaching into the water. Then, even the glass water bottles, you don't know for sure what's even in that. Then, people that are on well water need to be extra careful because there's no doubt that the ground runoff is going to go into the well.
Andrea Wien: Yeah, absolutely. It's pretty terrifying for sure when you start thinking about just the ubiquitousness of all of these things, and I think now, people are starting to hear more and more about Roundup, but there's a lot of environmental toxins, and I think we're less clear on exactly what those are and where they're coming from. Can you give a quick overview on the different types of toxins that you see in your practice that people are coming into contact with on a regular basis?
Dr. Ann Shippy: I like to group them into things that we can control and things that we can't, we don't have a lot of control. So, there's the obvious things like a lot of areas have some type of air pollution, and the best thing to do there is to have some type of a HEPA filter in your home, but then some of the things that we can control better are what we have in our homes, so what kind of mattress we're buying and sleeping on, what kind of cleaners we're using, the food that we're buying, what we use on our hair, skin and nails. There's a wonderful website called the Environmental Working Group, ewg.org, and they have a cosmeticdatabase.org associated with them where you can look up each one of the things that you're using, and find the things that are more likely to be healthy. So, they actually rate everything. What I try to do is only put the things on my skin that I could imagine eating. If I don't recognize the ingredients, I definitely look it up and try to find the least amount of chemicals and things.
One of the other areas that I personally had a run in with is toxic mold, so that's become a whole another area of research that's really expanding. Our technology for being able to check for toxic mold is getting much better. It still has a long ways to go to be ideal, but there's some toxic molds in the food supply, so things like coffee and chocolate and nuts can be ... and corn. Corn's a huge one. I never eat corn anymore because there's always alerts on corn having high levels of mycotoxins. So, we want to be careful about our food and then the environment. So, people often don't know how to handle leaks and water damage appropriately that they don't know that they really need to get everything completely dry within 24 to 48 hours. So, it will have some hidden mold behind the walls or materials. So, that's a really, really important thing to know.
Then, often, there's a hidden lake that people don't know about, a little [inaudible 00:14:42] that's not enough to show through the paint on the wall or around a window or behind a toilet. It's really been fascinating to find out the digestive systems and the disruption to the microbiome that happens from these mold exposures.
Andrea Wien: The Microbiome Report is brought to you by BIOHM Probiotics, the first probiotic designed to balance both the bacteria and fungi in your gut. To check out BIOHM Probiotics, go to biohmhealth.com and use the code BIOHM10. That's B-I-O-H-M-1-0 to get 10% off. So, these environmental toxins, mold, how do they translate into perhaps fungal infections that could really disturb the gut?
Dr. Ann Shippy: That's such a great question because so many of the patients that I see that are exposed to mold actually then have fungus or mold growing in them somewhere like in their sinuses or mouth or digestive track, their skin. So, what happens is it's probably a combination of these mycotoxins disrupting the immune system in the gut because 60 to 70% of our immune system is in our digestive tract, but then it can also be a direct injury to the cells and then suppress the immune system that way. So, it's very challenging to do studies on humans with the mycotoxins because we can't get poisons to people. So, then it ends up just being associations based on what we see in people, but there's a lot of studies done on animals because when animals are exposed to mycotoxins, they see a very high increase in infections. Their immune system is extremely suppressed, so all kinds of infections including fungal infections.
So, that's something to think about when people are constantly dealing with a fungal infection. They just can't quite get on top of the fungal infections to think about, "Am I getting a mold exposure either in my food or in one of the buildings that I'm in or even in my car?" I've had a number of people where they had a big mold exposure in their car because it happened in the air conditioning system, or they had a spill or a carpet and upholstery cleaning gone awry, like leaving it closed up rather than airing it out when it's drying after a big shampoo.
Andrea Wien: Interesting. So, even that short amount of time, maybe a 20-minute commute, let's say, every day could really impact this issue.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yes, and it depends on the type of mold because some molds are more like Kryptonite for Superman, and some are just a little bit irritating. It really depends on what type of mold it is and what particular toxins it's making, what kind of mycotoxins or VOCs it's making.
Andrea Wien: Yeah. We hear a lot about candida. Obviously, candida, we feel like, is everywhere, but are there other strains that you see that are common terms of fungal infections that people get?
Dr. Ann Shippy: I do. There are actually quite a number of fungal infections and even mold. So, Aspergillus is one of the common molds that I see growing either in the digestive tract or in the lungs or in the sinuses. I've seen a little run of the fungus called malassezia lately, but any of the molds can get colonized in the body if there's enough exposure and the immune system is suppressed enough.
Andrea Wien: I have to imagine in a person with a susceptibility to a gut disease like celiac or Crohn's, these toxins can really play a big role in whether those diseases take hold. So, you mentioned the immune system being suppressed, but can you talk a little bit about maybe epigenetics and how these toxins can really impact our gene expression?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Oh, yes. That's one of my favorite topics too. So, even back to when I look back to when my celiac disease really took hold, pretty sure I was living in a moldy house. We had built a house, and it had a couple of roof leaks. So, I think that kind of the combination of those toxin exposures, along with then picking up a parasite in Mexico really triggered those celiac genes, which were fairly dormant. I mean, I did have like a little bit of IBS symptoms, a little bit of diarrhea or constipation when I was under more stress, but then having those big exposures caused those genes to express more. So, the epigenetics is just the understanding that genes can actually change how significantly they're being expressed, either being very quiet or being more pronounced. I think a lot of times, these genes like the celiac gene that ends up causing a lot of problems for those of us, there are certain situations where that level of gene expression could actually be helpful and protective.
Andrea Wien: So, I'm curious. People that might be hearing this, maybe they're thinking, "I live in an apartment building, or I live in a home where I don't know if maybe there's mold or if my car might have mold in it," who would someone call to ask to come over and kind of do a deep dive into that? Then, on the other side, in terms of them not feeling well perhaps in going to their doctor, what kind of tests should people be asking for to find out if they either have a high level of toxicity from pesticides or environmental toxins or mold?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yeah. So, we've put together a handout, annshippymd.com/mold, that people can download to have some of that information readily available. The challenge with the medical issues is that many physicians, when we're trained, were taught about the allergy side of mold or the full blown infection in people who are immunocompromised, like they've had a kidney transplant, or they're going through chemotherapy, getting a fungal infection. They're not taught about the toxins causing the negative effects or these low-grade chronic infections that basically shifts in the microbiome. So, it's very challenging to find a healthcare practitioner to help, but that field of functional medicine is one of those areas where we're educating the healthcare practitioners more and more. Actually did a webinar a couple of years ago to help with some of that training and then also have been lecturing it at some of the medical conferences. I guess the point with that is don't be frustrated if your healthcare provider doesn't understand it and doesn't recognize it. So, look for a functional medicine trained doctor to at least get you started.
Then, as far as finding somebody to help assess it, there are some things that you can do yourself with ordering the right test kits. We can give a link to a website to get the one that I use as well. It's blackmoldscan.com. So, there's special wipes that you can get some dust, get as much dust as you can actually in the building or car or whatever that you're testing, and then there's a DNA probe to look for the different types of mold. There are 45 different ones that we can check for on that scan. Then, there are a number of mycotoxins that can also be detected. So, you can do some of the testing yourself. It's still somewhat expensive. It ends up being between seven to $800 to do both of those.
Then, once you've determined whether there's a problem there or not, then I would interview inspectors. It depends on the state that you live in, but I really think it's good to keep inspector from who's going to fix it. So, find somebody who does justice the inspection, and they're really thorough in their detective work. They're willing to pull out the dishwasher. They're willing to take the plugs out of the walls and put a little scope in there to look in the walls or cut a little hole in the air conditioning vents, open up the air conditioning system. Ask them exactly what they do in the inspection so that they don't miss the hidden problems.
Then, once you find the source of the mold, it's really important to find a remediator who gets the health implications. If they don't say, "We set up containment so that the mold spores and the toxins aren't flying all around. It's like putting up plastic walls, covering air conditioning vents," and that they wear protective clothing, that's like they're being exposed to biological warfare because some of these mold toxins are like, they are used for biological warfare. So, they really protect their workers, they protect your home and your belongings by setting up the containment. So, we have a lot of that listed in the handout so that it's like a guide because it can be really overwhelming if you're already sick, you're worried about what's going on with your health, and then you have to deal with figuring this out. It can be very overwhelming and very challenging. Yeah.
Andrea Wien: Yeah, and we'll link to that. I know you provided that handout for us, so we'll definitely link to that in the show notes and also the blackmoldscan.com, so people can go to our website at biohmhealth.com and find that information. Would you recommend, if someone is sick and they are wondering if it is mold, to do the testing on themselves first, identify that they have maybe a fungal overgrowth, and then take the steps to figure out where it's at in their environment?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Ideally, I like to do both because the testing is not perfect, so I just don't want to miss it. There's also tests that they can do in addition to looking for, do they have fungal overgrowth as part of their microbiome, there are tests that they can do to look for the mycotoxins in their urine. So, there are a couple of labs that'll do that as well. So, ideally, you'd be doing all three. You'd be looking for, do I have fungal overgrowth? Do I have mycotoxins that I've gotten exposed to, and is it anywhere in my environment?
Andrea Wien: Okay. Then, what kinds of symptoms might people be experiencing if they're having these issues?
Dr. Ann Shippy: It can be very diverse depending on what the mold is or what the chemicals are and their exposures and kind of where their weakest links are kind of on the epigenetic standpoint. So, some people, their brain is more affected, like they just feel like they have brain fog. They can't think as well. Their memory's not as good. They can't make decisions as easily, or they're very easily frustrated. Actually, having a short fuse is a very common symptom that I see. The digestive symptoms, just like feeling more nauseated or bloated or really any digestive symptom can be an issue with mold. Skin rashes, so even I've had a patient with really severe psoriasis where the major trigger for that was some mold exposure, but then also any kind of rash. Sometimes, there's bladder symptoms like feeling like there's a sense of urgency and not being able to make it to the bathroom in time.
Some people will get a cough or asthma, and then there's a lot of hormonal disruption, so like people in their 30s or early 40s thinking they're going through menopause or men with hot flashes or night sweats. A lot of times. Sleep can get disrupted, pain in the muscles or joints. So, for me, when I had my mold exposure, my hair was falling out like crazy. It was hard to get up on Monday morning when I should have been rested. I had so much pain in my body that if my kids hugged me, it was really painful. So, it's pretty broad, isn't it?
Andrea Wien: It is, yeah, and that's why I think it's so important then to work with a practitioner who really is well versed in finding out this and acting like a detective and figuring out exactly where these issues are stemming from because it would be nearly impossible to diagnose yourself, so no one go to Google.
Dr. Ann Shippy: It's a little overwhelming to do that. The other thing that's been really fascinating is some people really tend to gain weight. It really throws their metabolism into being very sluggish. It's like the body's trying to slurp up the toxins into the fat to protect the brain and heart and other organs. Then, other people, they get very thin. I think that's because it's affected their gut and their ability to absorb. So, even that kind of rapid, unexpected weight gain or weight loss is another big one.
Then, a lot of times now, if somebody comes in with an autoimmune disorder, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's, I will look to see if there's been a mold trigger for that as well. Now, there's a lot of links with cancer and mold exposure. So, it can cause a lot of different types of cancers. There's some research going on in Australia where they're taking breast cancer biopsies or prostate cancer biopsies, and they're finding mold or mycotoxins present in the cancer. Then, there's a link with Alzheimer's as well. So, they're taking people who died from Alzheimer's and looking at their brains, pretty much finding fungus and all of them, and then taking non-Alzheimer's brains and not finding it in any of them. So, it's got some pretty serious consequences. So, it leads to this prevention conversation, like how much do you do to try to stay well and prevent these issues rather than waiting until there's something serious going on?
Andrea Wien: By your estimations, about how many people, if you had to guess like a percentage, are being exposed to mold?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Oh, my goodness. I think it's an epidemic. I don't want to scare everybody, but it is something to consider. We have all these areas of the country now that have been seriously affected by the weather changes, and buildings are just not built to withstand these heavy rains. The vapor barriers to keep rain out are not ... they're not built for that. So, even people that think that they've gotten through these storms unscathed, a lot of times, I end up seeing them six months, a year or two afterwards because they've had the mold growing and accumulating in their buildings. Then, just the way that buildings have been built since the '70s with the energy changes where they're building such tight envelopes so that the houses don't breathe, the humidity builds up in the houses then are just more likely to have condensation that happens around windows or in the air conditioning systems.
Then, the older homes, a lot of times, end up being a problem if they're built on the pier and beam because mold starts to grow underneath the home and then come up through them. Then, any building that has a basement or a crawlspace can also be highly susceptible. So, there's a lot of people that are starting to work on this problem now and figure out how homes need to be built from a heating and air conditioning standpoint, what the vapor barrier needs to look like and how we can get homes to breathe again without all the energy losses, but it is a very, very challenging issue.
Andrea Wien: Yeah, my husband and I were actually apartment hunting this past weekend, and we went to see a home that had a basement. The landlord said, "The basement's unusable." We asked, "Well, why?" He opened the door, and the whole thing was just covered in water. He said, "The heavy rain we just had." He goes, "It'll dry in a few days." I thought, "No way. This place is covered in mold. It has to be." So, yeah, I think people just aren't aware of how dangerous it can be.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yeah. There's always a canary, right? So, there's people like me that there are certain aspects of my detoxification chains that don't work optimally, and then I'd had all those different environmental exposures as I was growing up. I had a mouthful of amalgam fillings and lived on tuna, so lots of mercury, and then I was working as a chemical engineer and having all those different chemical exposures, so I got sick first. Then, young children often are more likely to get to be the canaries to get sick first and then also, the elderly. It could be they've had all their lifetime exposures accumulate and then their bodies and immune systems aren't as strong, so just something to really consider when you're house-shopping to, if you see anything that's suspicious like a, yeah, a leaky basement, the landlord's being very irresponsible in renting that out without fixing it first, making sure that any mold is removed, and then putting in precautions with the way that the house drains when it rains and that kind of thing.
Andrea Wien: So, if someone is dealing with this type of issue, are foods like blue cheese and soy sauce and these foods that are inoculated with different molds to give them their flavor, are those problematic as well? Or are we talking about a different type of mold?
Dr. Ann Shippy: It really depends on the person. So, some people, I find that they really do have to cut out all those fermented foods especially if people have more of a histamine response. They don't handle high histamine foods very well. Then, other people don't. They just need to get in a clean environment and help their body to detoxify better with things like liposomal glutathione and binders like charcoal and clays that are really high quality, support their liver, but it is something to consider minimizing in that process. I mean, you definitely don't want to be adding alcohol into the mix when you're trying to recover from a fairly significant mold exposure.
Andrea Wien: Then, to bring it back to the microbiome, have you seen that having a really strong and diverse microbiome has been preventative for people and also helping to reduce the toxic load perhaps that maybe someone has picked up along the way? If they fixed their microbiome and can get that functioning well, does that lead to better outcomes with a lot of these mold issues?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yes, almost all of my patients we work with. What are the foods that can help support the diverse microbiome and what probiotics? Because when the microbiome is more diverse and stronger, yes, it can help to reduce that fungal prevalence. Then, also, the microbiome really helps us to detoxify, so we need the right bacteria to help to break down the toxins and to get rid of them. Yeah. I think about the microbiome as being the center of the universe. If that's not in good shape, it's really hard for the body to be healthy and in balance.
Andrea Wien: So, what are some other ways if someone does find out or suspects that maybe they do have a higher toxic load, not just from mold, but maybe they have been eating mostly conventional, they're feeling fatigued, they have some digestive issues going on, how can we really start to help the body to better detox and reduce those accumulated toxins?
Dr. Ann Shippy: One of the things that I love for people to know is how important vegetables are in helping to support the detoxification system. So, one of the simple things that you can do that can dramatically impact how well your body is doing with toxins is to eat cruciferous vegetables, so broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, arugula, bok choy, collard greens, or all vegetables that you want to try to be eating every day if your gut will tolerate it, the onions and garlic and berries. It just depends on if you have an issue with FODMAPs or you have some small bowel overgrowth, you may not be able to eat those right until that's suggested, just minimizing the other chemicals that you're exposed to.
So, what I find a lot of times is that when people are at that tipping point with their body or think about it as being a barrel. When their barrel is filled up, just reducing, having an awareness of what else is coming in, so what they're putting on their skin or hair, what cleaners they're using, the type of mattress that they're sleeping on, even like fabric softeners. Just totally cut this out. I just don't even use fabric softeners anymore, or your laundry detergent, eliminating fragrances from your life as much as possible. So, just not adding more to what your body needs to do to clear.
Then, there's some critical supplements that I find are really, really helpful. So, the liposomal glutathione, the clay, the liver support and then things that really help our mitochondria. So, a lot of these toxins really damage our mitochondria, which are the little organelles inside the cell that help us to make energy and really run our body chemistry and physiology. So, some things like CoQ10, phosphatidylcholine, carnitine, those can really make a dramatic impact and then how the body can do its repair and start opening up the spigots, the pathways to get the toxins out.
Andrea Wien: Thank you so much for coming on. This has been so insightful and so helpful and I think probably has given many people a lot to think about. They're looking around very wearily at their house and their car and the places that they work, but thank you so much. We will definitely link to that handout you mentioned, and then also the websites for the black mold scan. If people want to keep in touch with you or learn more about your practice, are you on social media? Can they find you at your website?
Dr. Ann Shippy: Yes, everything's under Ann Shippy MD. The last thought that I want to leave people with is the body is so incredibly resourceful. So, even when people are really, really sick, when the body has what it needs to repair and it's not being overwhelmed by the environmental toxins, from what I've seen, pretty much anything can be repaired. So, even if you're really sick, there's hope that your body can totally recover.
Andrea Wien: That's such an important point to make because so many people do get very overwhelmed and feel like, "Oh, no, I have these issues, and this is kind of the end of the line." So, I really appreciate you bringing that last point to our listeners. So, thank you so much, Dr. Shippy. We hope to talk to you again soon, and have a great day.
Dr. Ann Shippy: Thanks for having me, and thank you so much for bringing those leading edge important information out into the world.
Andrea Wien: Thank you. Talk soon. Bye. As always, thanks so much for listening. To download Dr. Shippy's free environmental toxins handout, head to the blog biohmhealth.com, and click on the podcast tab. That's B-I-O-H-M-health.com. Until next time, I'm Andrea Wien.
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