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Update: Mold, Cutting Salt, and CIRS

By Mikhaila

So in the last few months I’ve had this super strange symptom of unbelievably heavy arms and legs. Going upstairs has been difficult. Obviously that’s not a good sign. I cut out salt 2 weeks ago, I thought I was having an electrolyte imbalance and maybe after being carnivore for so long I didn’t need as much sodium. Cutting out salt was not great. I had serious salt cravings for a week and meat tasted like nothing but now that it’s been two weeks, I’m considering sticking with it. Meat is tasting more flavorful actually which is strange.

But why on earth do I seemingly have a sudden salt intolerance? My husband and I both have not been well for the last few months. I’ve had to cancel a bunch of podcasts, I thought we had Covid, or RSV over Christmas, I was legit on my side horizontal with fatigue for the entire month of December.

Two weeks ago I thought, “oh no. This feels like a repeat of Nashville when I had terrible allergies last year! Not again!”

But the symptoms have just gotten worse. And they’re more severe than usual tree allergies.

  • Heavy limbs
  • Massive amounts of brain fog (no internal dialogue)
  • Weakness
  • This weird feeling like what I see isn’t connected to my brain
  • Sudden salt intolerance
  • Bloating
  • Chronically stuffed nose
  • Dripping nose
  • Skin breaking out
  • Joint pain

Yeah my arthritis started coming back, which is what happened when I had “tree allergies” in Nashville last year.

We were fine in the condo on Miami Beach. It took a while to recover from Nashville (like a month for my bronchitis to go away), but we were feeling pretty good when we first got to Florida. Then we moved into my parents house in a neighborhood full of trees and have just gotten sicker and sicker. And much less productive which is insanely frustrating.

The allergies have gotten so bad that last weekend we left to go stay at a hotel to escape the neighborhood we’re in. My nose cleared the second day we were in the hotel, even though I had gone out drinking the previous night.

Then 24 hours back at the house and I woke up with my face puffy and so full of mucous I looked like a toddler. It’s making podcasting and working and living and being sane impossible. My autoimmune symptoms are coming back which is absolutely horrifying. My worst nightmare.

And then it clicked two days ago.

It’s not tree allergies.

It’s fucking MOLD.

And then it clicked again. It probably wasn’t just the tree allergies in Nashville (although they definitely contributed). It was probably fucking mold. I’m so mad.

I did a podcast with Judy Cho about CIRS – chronic inflammatory response syndrome – that can occur in people who have been exposed to certain toxins (algae blooms, Lyme, mold). I’ve been so brain foggy that when she asked me if I had symptoms during the podcast I said no because my symptoms are nothing compared to full-blown autoimmunity.

But that night I was laying in bed, basically freaking out, and it occurred to me that there had been a musty smell when we came back from the hotel, which I promptly ignored. And then it occurred to me that we had water damage along the door in the master bedroom (that leads outside). Then it occurred to me that there’s water damage by a window in a different room. So at midnight a few nights ago we found a company to come do an inspection and sure enough, full blown mold, and I mean badly, in the master bedroom where we sleep, in the kitchen, and by one of the windows.

Literally got so brain foggy so quickly that it didn’t click that this was OBVIOUSLY a major issue.


And ALL my autoimmune symptoms are back. Which is exactly what happened in Nashville. And you know what proceeded my “tree allergies” in Nashville? Our entire condo flooded. We went away to NYC and the entire unit flooded.

-_-    -_-     -_-

I had massive amounts of black mold exposure as a kid as well. From age 8-19 and then periodically until 23 I lived in the basement and behind the walls was black mold. My parents didn’t find out until I moved out but it dated back to a massive flood when I was 8. Now when I was 8 I was already on immune suppressants for rheumatoid arthritis so it wasn’t causative of that, but… mold is bad news.

And I already knew this. I spoke with Dr. Jill Crista early on in my podcast and we covered mold toxicity in depth. I thought I had ruled it out. I’ve always believed there’s a root cause that’s viral or bacterial and mold was a possibility as well.

But now that I’ve had this acute reaction in the last few months to this house… and my arthritis is slowly coming back and I felt so awful yesterday that I started seeing things a bit on my phone (faces warping), and this heavy fatigue reminds me of my ideopathic hypersonia… who knows. Maybe that’s a massive cause behind my illness.

So, this is actually great news. Two weeks ago I thought the air outside was killing me but it turns out there’s a MASSIVE mold problem in my bedroom and that’s much more fixable.

Burn everything and start again.

I’m only half joking. We moved to a hotel that day and washed and dry cleaned a suitcase of clothes. Mold spores can land on everything you own so getting rid of mold is a huge issue. You can’t just move out.

So I’m going to do the blood test for CIRS (the inflammatory syndrome you can get from mold) and see where that leads me but I was living in a moldy room, twice in the last year quickly dying so…

The last year is the sickest I’ve felt on the diet. A few months in Nashville we’re brutal, then I got better in Florida then this recent house nearly did me in. So I figure I’ll be a new person in a month like last time.

I’ll keep everyone posted! At some point one of these root causes is going to be THE root cause and then ideally that’ll give me more than just relief.

If you’ve had exposure to mold in the past, even years ago, watch the podcast that’s going out Feb 16 with Judy Cho talking about CIRS. Because if that’s your problem, you can actually do something about it (along with the Lion Diet).

UPDATE: I wrote biotoxin.com so you can follow along with treatment there. It’s Oct 2023 and I’m way better. Getting out of exposure and throwing away all the stuff in that house and taking cholestyramine was what did it. Mostly getting out of exposure and making absolutely sure that my new house has no issues. It’s taken 7 months. Treatment is so much more than just the lion diet that I figured a new website was needed.

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  1. Thanks for the update. I hope you and Jordan have a speedy recovery! Dealing with mold is no joke, and it can really take a toll on your health.

    I had to deal with a pretty serious mold issue when I purchased an old farmhouse this past year. I ended up replacing a section of drywall because the mold embeded itself and continued to release toxins after the visible mold was removed. It might be worth considering replacing the contaminated drywall altogether to avoid any additional harmful mold exposure. In the meantime, take care of yourself and get some rest!

    On another note, I began the Lion Diet this past Friday (2/10). I have already noticed I’m sleeping much better, and waking up without grogginess. Excited to see continued body and health changes during this journey!

  2. Mikhaila – you should look into the book Toxic by Neil Nathan. I live in Nashville and have experienced symptoms similar to yours. Just recently was tested for mold toxicity and Dr Nathan’s book was a massive help. Great Plains has a Mycotox test, but their protocol for the at home samples is terrible. Take binders like activated charcoal or bentonite clay BEFORE you test otherwise your test may come back false-negative. The book explains more on why. Best of luck to you!

  3. WOW.. This makes a lot of sense!! I need to get this test done too. My inflammatory response is extremely unpredictable… I’m working on starting carnivore and hopefully moving to lion as we speak… Just trying to get everything in order so I don’t get caught in a situation where I have to eat something else, like at work… I’m really hoping it helps put an end to my progressing health issues.

  4. Thank you so much for this!
    I’ve been on the Lion diet since November for a plethora of chronic health issues. After some time adjusting to the diet, I began to experience drastic improvement in some areas, but not in others. I was discouraged although I’ve continued on the diet. Some of the issues I’ve experienced particularly badly this winter (in Utah, so it’s not grass, trees, pollen, etc) dry inflamed eyes, constantly running nose, sneezing, a flare up of skin issues, excessive fatigue, daily headaches, etc. I was exposed to mold as a child & recently discovered several areas of mold in the house I’m in now. (I had experienced spontaneous remission of many of my chronic health issues in 2017-2018. They reoccurred/flared around the same time I started spending time in the house I’m in currently)
    I am very much looking forward to this podcast & to gaining more knowledge that can hopefully lead to some relief. Thank you!
    Wishing you & your family fast & lasting relief as well!

  5. I run a CIRS Discord community that you might find helpful/interesting. We are working hard to curate the best current knowledge and treatment. It’s currently invite-only but if you would like to join just let me know!

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