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.

Join the Conversation


  1. Hi Mikhaila,
    Wondering what you can tell us about how you recovered from mold exposure. I am currently dealing with this, remediator is coming Monday. I’ve been very ill with anxiety, severe insomnia, weakness, brain fog, oversenitization, concentration… on and on. Did you have to throw things away or just clean them? Thanks.

  2. I am an indoor environmental scientist who specializes in mycology. I investigate homes and buildings for mold and other indoor air quality issues and I can tell you that there are so many clients that I have seen dealing with what appears to be autoimmune issues and are heavily affected by mold. Often times their symptoms are alleviated when leaving the toxic environment, yet they were diagnosed with some disorder through doctors. Being autoimmune myself, I have to take great precautions in the field during my investigations. I know it can be very difficult to track certain problems down in a home and there aren’t many ‘professionals’ out there that are detailed and knowledgeable enough to perform a proper inspection of the home. I’m really hope you’re doing better now. You’ve help so many people and we need you in good health to keep giving!

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