How Mycotoxins Enter the Human Body
When people are around toxic mold they are usually exposed to airborne mycotoxins by breathing them in. These mycotoxins end up in the lungs and cause breathing problems and other severe symptoms.
Mycotoxins in the air can also enter through a person’s eyes, and can be absorbed through the skin as well.
Another way mycotoxins get into a person’s body is by the person eating food with mycotoxins in it. This can happen if toxic mold has been growing on crops.
Many mycotoxins remain toxic even after being cooked. This is one reason why mycotoxins are a big problem in agriculture. A binding agent is used on crops such as grain after harvesting to remove mycotoxins.
During 2004 in Kenya, 125 people died after eating maize contaminated with aflatoxin mycotoxins. There have been many cases of pets dying from eating pet food with mycotoxins in it as well.
How Long Do Mycotoxins Stay Toxic
According to experts, some mycotoxins can remain toxic for several years. Things like ultraviolet light or freezing temperatures do not have much effect on mycotoxins.
Safe Levels of Mycotoxins
The tolerable daily intakes used by governments and international risk managers, such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission, are to establish maximum levels of mycotoxins in food. The maximum levels for mycotoxins in food are very low due to their severe toxicity. For example, the maximum levels for aflatoxins set by the Codex in various nuts, grains, dried figs and milk are in the range of 0.5 to 15ng/g.
Mycotoxins aren’t actually alive like mold spores. So when we talk about “killing mycotoxins” it really means breaking down mycotoxins and their toxicity so they are no longer dangerous to humans.
It takes fire at 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius) for half an hour or fire at 900 degrees Fahrenheit (482 degrees Celsius) for 10 minutes to destroy trichothecene mycotoxins.
Mycotoxins do eventually break down and lose their toxicity after some time. Some types of mycotoxins can take several years though, for example trichothecene mycotoxins which are among the most resilient.
System of the body affected by Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins absorbed by the skin, airways and intestinal lining affects multiple organs, including the lungs, musculoskeletal system, as well as the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Mycotoxins effect Mitochondria Findings suggest that mycotoxins such as citrinin, aflatoxin, effect mitochondrial dysfunction. Mycotoxins can induce oxidative stress even at low concentration/dose that may be one of the major causes of mitochondrial dysfunction.