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Mould Exposure & Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS): Why Mould Triggers MCAS

Mould exposure and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) are two seemingly separate health concerns that, surprisingly, share a significant connection. In this blog, we'll explore how mould exposure can trigger MCAS, the symptoms to watch for, and steps you can take to mitigate the impact.

Understanding Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)

Mast cells are a crucial part of our immune system. They play a role in our body's response to allergens and pathogens. However, in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), these cells become hypersensitive and overactive, releasing an excess of various mediators, including histamine, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms affecting multiple systems in the body. The Mould Connection Moulds are a type of fungi that can grow indoors and outdoors. When mould spores become airborne and are inhaled, they can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. This can lead to symptoms like sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes. However, for those with MCAS, the response can be far more severe. Moulds produce mycotoxins, which are toxic compounds that can be particularly harmful to individuals with MCAS. When exposed to mycotoxins, mast cells can go into overdrive, releasing an excessive amount of mediators. This heightened response can lead to a cascade of symptoms that may include severe fatigue, respiratory issues, skin problems, digestive disturbances, and more.

Here is a more in-depth look into WHY mould triggers MCAS:

1. Moulds and Mycotoxins: Moulds are a type of fungi that can grow on various surfaces, especially in environments with high humidity. When moulds reproduce, they release tiny spores into the air. These spores can be inhaled or come into contact with the skin. Some mould species also produce secondary metabolites known as mycotoxins. 2. Mycotoxins and Mast Cell Activation: Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by certain mould species. They serve as a defense mechanism for the mould against other microorganisms. When individuals are exposed to mycotoxins, especially in environments with significant mould growth, they can have various health effects. For individuals with MCAS, this exposure to mycotoxins can be particularly problematic. Mast cells, which are a type of immune cell, play a critical role in the body's response to allergens and pathogens. However, in MCAS, these cells are hyperactive and overly sensitive. 3. Mast Cell Overactivity: When individuals with MCAS are exposed to mycotoxins, their already hypersensitive mast cells can go into overdrive. This means that these cells release an excessive amount of mediators, which are chemical compounds involved in immune responses. 4. Release of Mediators: The release of excessive mediators by mast cells can lead to a cascade of symptoms. These mediators include histamine, prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and various enzymes. Each of these substances has specific effects on the body, and their overproduction can result in a wide range of symptoms.

6. Chronic Exposure and Cumulative Effects: It's important to note that chronic exposure to mycotoxins, especially in environments with ongoing mould growth, can lead to cumulative effects. This means that symptoms may become more severe and long-lasting over time.

Recognising Symptoms of MCAS Triggered by Mould Exposure

Identifying MCAS triggered by mould exposure can be challenging due to the diverse range of symptoms involved. Common signs may include:

  1. Respiratory Issues: Persistent cough, wheezing, shortness of breath.

  2. Skin Problems: Rashes, hives, itching, flushing.

  3. Digestive Disturbances: Nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, food intolerances.

  4. Fatigue: Overwhelming exhaustion not relieved by rest.

  5. Neurological Symptoms: Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, headaches.

  6. Musculoskeletal Symptoms: Joint pain, muscle aches.

  7. Fluctuating Symptoms: Symptoms that seem to come and go without an apparent cause.

Managing MCAS Triggered by Mould Exposure

  1. Seek Professional Evaluation: If you suspect mould exposure is triggering or exacerbating your MCAS symptoms, consult with a healthcare provider experienced in MCAS and environmental health.

  2. Address the Mould Issue: If mould is present in your environment, take steps to remediate it. This may involve professional mould removal services and ensuring your living space is well-ventilated. Removal of mould (or yourself) from the environment is the first step in detoxing from mould.

  3. Implement MCAS Management Strategies: Work with your healthcare provider to develop a tailored plan for managing MCAS. This may include dietary modifications, targeted supplements, and medications. I have an extensive blog outlining a MCAS protocol which you can access here.

  4. Environmental Controls: Use air purifiers with HEPA filters to reduce airborne mould spores. Keep humidity levels in check, ideally below 50%.

  5. Consider Allergen-Reducing Measures: Implement measures like allergen-proof covers for bedding and avoid damp environments.

Understanding the connection between mould exposure and MCAS is crucial for those dealing with these conditions. By recognizing the link and taking proactive steps, individuals can better manage their health and reduce the impact of both mould exposure and MCAS on their quality of life. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment options tailored to your specific situation.


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