Brain Health: How Indoor Air and Mold Affect the Brain – Oubre Medical

Brain Health: How Indoor Air and Mold Affect the Brain

We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.

We're diving into another 4 part series focusing on brain health. We're diving into part 1 here, following with:

1. How Indoor Air and Mold Affect the Brain (this video)
2. How Butyrate Helps Power the Brain
3. How to Test Your Brain Function
4. Keto, Cycling Keto, and Fasting


Dr. Philip Oubre (00:00):
Hey everybody, we are going to be talking about brain health. I am Dr. Phillip Oubre. This is-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:05):

Dr. Philip Oubre (00:06):
She's a nutritionist here at the practice. We're going to be talking about different aspects of brain health, and we're going to keep it pretty broad as far as brain health. That includes anything from brain fog, which includes anybody, ADD, dementia, anything in the brain health world. And we only have four videos, so we are going to be narrowing down the topics this time, although we could talk for hours because you know, I can talk about hours for anything. In this video, it's mostly going to be about mold and indoor air quality, so to speak, and how that affects people and their brain health. We frequently see patients who have whatever it may be. Brain fog, fatigue, depression, anxiety, into... Any kind of mental illness is also wrapped into this brain health brain fog, whatever you want to call it, because if it's a symptom that directly comes from the brain, then it could be affected by any of the things we're going to be talking about today.

Dr. Philip Oubre (00:55):
That's not really fair because the brain technically controls the whole body. So we want to make sure if your toe hurts, it's probably not a brain health thing. The brain is what's telling you it's hurting, but there's a lot more that goes into brain health as far as syndromes than you probably realize. One of the things that is frequently missed and frequently not talked about and frequently missed even by functional medicine doctors... I myself was not familiar with that much mold until about 2018 is when we really started getting into mold. So a couple years went by and, and mold has really been... The knowledge has been on the rise and so we're doing this, of course, to help patients, but also other practitioners to become more aware and things to look for.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:37):
I think people hear the word mold, and they're like, "Ah." It's like, they feel offended, like I don't keep my house clean. Or, "I don't live in somewhere like a nice place," but I did it too. And I'm the mold toxic patient. I had a functional MDB, like, "We should check for mold." I'm like, "That's not the thing."

Dr. Philip Oubre (01:53):

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:54):
You know? And then we actually now treat tons of people for mold, but there's a bit of a stigma around it, I think as well.

Dr. Philip Oubre (01:58):
There really is. We've seen some of the nicest houses, even new construction with mold because all it takes us one water leak to touch some sort of wood, drywall, cabinet, whatever it may be. We forget that there's natural mold spores in all building materials because it's made from the outside, right? And those mold spores are encapsulated and protected and they're hearty and they last for forever basically. And all it needs is just like, you can hold the seed on your desk for years, I guess. I don't know, you can hold the seed for a long time, but until you put it in the ground and soil and give it water, it doesn't even hatch. And that's what these mold spores are, is they live in your furniture and your cabinets and drywall and all that forever.

Dr. Philip Oubre (02:43):
All it takes is one water leak for that water to touch that mold spore for a long enough time and then it hatches. And once it hatches, it can survive off of the humidity in the air. So that's another thing that frequently gets missed is like, "Oh, we had a leak, but we cleaned it up and it's no big deal." Unless you made sure that it was completely dried out and you dried it out in an adequate amount of time, there could still be mold. Then the other problem is slow leaks. Slow leaks are the hardest to find, because obviously if your water heater explodes like mine blew up in the garage one day, it's obvious it's raining in your garage. That's a water leak, right? But the slow leaks, the drip, drip, drip, drip, that's happening under the sink or in the shower or a broken tile in your shower and the water's dripping behind it. That can be a mold source.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:31):
And that's the ones that no one realizes is happening.

Dr. Philip Oubre (03:33):

Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:34):
That was a mouthful. Underneath the drain, sometimes that happens just anywhere behind the sink, and especially if you have one those cabinets where you go underneath and you have that little wooden elevation off of the floor, because then there's that whole area underneath there that you can't see.

Dr. Philip Oubre (03:52):
Sometimes people point out mildew and mold around their wet sink or shower or something like that. That's not what we're talking about. That's very superficial mold. It's usually a non-toxic mold, fairly easy to clean out. Even if it's in your grout and stuff. That's not the mold we're talking about. That kind of goes back to your stigma of if you feel like you have mold, "Oh, that's a dirty house." No, it's really not the mildew around the drain that's making you sick. It's going to be in the wood and the drywall. So if you're someone that's struggling with any kind of brain health, and especially if multiple family members... That's always a trigger for us when we're talking and we have one patient in front of us and they're saying, "Oh yeah, well, my daughter has got eczema. My husband is getting worsening depression," or whatever it may be...

Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:37):
My son has OCD. And you're like, "Okay, there's a lot going on right here."

Dr. Philip Oubre (04:41):
When multiple family members have something in the same household and then you throw in the dog, right? Oh, the dog got a tumor on his back.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:48):
That's how it always happens.

Dr. Philip Oubre (04:50):
Just be paying attention to that. We're talking about mold right now, but it could just be indoor air quality. There are other things that go into it like burning candles and plug-ins and cleaning products and all that, but mainly we're going to be talking about mold. Mold poses kind of a twofold problem. What we tell our patients is that, I always do the wax on wax off, I don't know how that got started, but the idea is that mold, when it's living and growing in your living space, you can breathe it in and you can have allergies to it and you can actually grow it inside of you. So that is that living, growing mold that lives inside of you. It sounds completely crazy and bonkers that you can live and grow mold inside of you. I didn't believe it at first either, but there's lab testing to prove it. So if you don't believe me, we've got plenty-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:38):

Dr. Philip Oubre (05:38):
...of lab tests to prove...

Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:40):
My favorite's when you can swab the sinuses and you see it grow on a plate and you're like, "Hmm. Six molds."

Dr. Philip Oubre (05:44):
Pretty gross.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:45):

Dr. Philip Oubre (05:45):
Personal experience?

Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:46):
No, clients.

Dr. Philip Oubre (05:47):
With patients. So you've got living, growing mold. If you've been in an environment that had mold, the first step is to get out of said environment because just more mold spores and live mold coming in can trigger your allergies, your inflammatory response, and it can grow inside of you. So first step is to get out. Second step is you have to treat the living growing mold that's inside you because you can't detoxify mold if it's still living inside you producing toxins.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:13):
Right. You're just basically breathing them from the inside.

Dr. Philip Oubre (06:16):
Yeah. It's just like sitting next to a campfire and being like, "Oh, someone detoxify the air, this smoke is in my face." How about we put out the fire first and then we can detox by the air, right? So you have to get rid of the fire. You have to get rid of the living growing mold.

Dr. Philip Oubre (06:28):
The two places it loves to live is the sinuses and the gut. And once again, I did not want to believe that it lived in the gut, but we've treated enough patients in the gut and seen markers that got better after treating their gut, that mold can absolutely live in your gut. After the living growing mold is treated, then you must detoxify the mold toxins. Now this part is what makes it tricky because we test patients for mold toxins all the time. Almost everyone has some element of mold toxins inside them. Of course the higher they are, the more likely someone is to be sick from them. And the other scary part Aubree mentioned earlier about being a mold toxic patient, is that your exposure could have been years to decades ago and you could still be carrying around those mold toxins.

Dr. Philip Oubre (07:12):
Once again, we've proven this with science because we've seen people with really high mold levels and we have told them, "Oh my God, you're living in mold." They do the thorough investigation. They spend hundreds of dollars trying to fix their house and find the source of the mold, but then ultimately they find out that their house was actually rather clean. So after they've proven that their house is clean and they do their mold detoxification, then we repeat their levels and their levels are significantly lower. So that tells you that, well, however long they've been living in that house... We've had patients that have been living in their house for 10 or more years and they had ridiculously high mold toxins, and then in six months or so, we're able to remove those mold toxins and detoxify them and prove that we got them out in six months. So if we were able to get them out in six months with the appropriate treatment, why do they carry them around for 10 years? That's scary that we can carry around...

Aubree Steen, FNTP (08:03):
Yeah. but they're fat and water soluble. I mean, we've mentioned that before, but to the kind of like...

Dr. Philip Oubre (08:08):
So what does that mean? Because that's tricky [crosstalk 00:08:09].

Aubree Steen, FNTP (08:09): the normal population is that... So kind of like fat and water-soluble vitamins, right? Like B vitamins are water soluble, vitamin A, D are fat-soluble. Fat-soluble means they'll stay in your system longer. It's harder to get out. Your adipose tissue, your fat tissue actually holds on to toxins as a protective mechanism. Kind of like, "We can keep it in here so we don't overload the bloodstream and don't make you super sick." When you talk about fat soluble mycotoxins, it's literally kind of like extra toxins stored in adipose fat tissue that aren't being released. But what happens is that treating mold is very tricky because once you start pushing those toxins out of stores, there can be so much more than you think that there is. And that can lead to a worse Herxheimer reaction, detox things, reactions, things like that.

Dr. Philip Oubre (08:57):
The other part that's tricky about this fat and water soluble is that the body's used to detoxifying water-soluble stuff. That's pretty easy. You sweat it out, you urinate it out, you drink water. Water-soluble stuff is easy to get rid of. Fat-soluble stuff is, as Aubree already mentioned, very sticky. They've proven that it sticks to your DNA, sticks to your cell wall, and it just becomes part of your body, part of your structure. You think of the longer you've lived in a house. I think in my kitchen tiles, you develop that dirt in the ground, in between the kitchen tiles, the longer you live there, it's not like you're just splattering mud on and it's just from, right? Every now and then you got to clean up that grout.

Dr. Philip Oubre (09:29):
It's the same way with mold toxins, they stick to your grout and it's stuck to you and unless you do an actual detoxification program, that stuff can be in you forever. And it's not being adequately removed. The body isn't really designed... We were never supposed to live in indoor mold in those levels, because if you live in a cave, sure, there's going to be mold and stuff in there. But the difference between indoor mold and outdoor mold is that outdoor mold has to compete with other mold. So they're naturally suppressed by the other molds.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:56):
Like a checks and balances type of system.

Dr. Philip Oubre (09:57):
Yes. Because indoor mold is completely unregulated by other molds and it gets to grow out of control. And it's got plenty food because wood, drywall, anything is food. It's got plenty oxygen because oxygen in the air and it can survive off the humidity and the air. It does not need water.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (10:13):
That being said, a humidity test is not an accurate test for mold in the home.

Dr. Philip Oubre (10:17):
Correct. All I can... I think I've heard mold can survive. That was a lot of stutter. I'm getting there. I'm getting there, the number's in there somewhere. 45% is what I've heard. Even if the humidity is at 45%, mold can survive in the wall. And I think of my own air conditioning unit, which can drop the humidity to 45%, but can't drop it any lower than that. So one of the things we've done for some people who can't necessarily get out of their mold immediately is they can try to drop the humidity to try to paralyze the mold. It doesn't really kill it. They can get a dehumidifier, try to drop that humidity below that, but it still ultimately needs to be treated and the most adequate way to treat mold in the home is to cut it out.

Dr. Philip Oubre (10:58):
Just like a cancer, you got to cut it out. There's a lot of mold talk we could do. We've got a course online that walks through all about mold, how to kill it inside of your body, how to detoxify it because remember you have to kill the living growing mold and you have to detoxify the mold toxins after it's dead, but we want to at least give you a few pointers of something you can do on your own right now. So Aubree, why don't you to start with what's an easy way for someone to test their home that they can do on their own or at least kind of investigate?

Aubree Steen, FNTP (11:31):
There's a couple of tests that we do. There's one, which is the ultimate kind of like get everything test. That's the ERMI test and it's a cloth test and you basically wipe some dust around your home. I'm paraphrasing it very, very small by the way. It tells you all the different types of mold in your home, where you relate to everybody in the United States or kind of your area. It's United States?

Dr. Philip Oubre (11:50):
Yeah. I don't know if they do out of the country.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (11:51):
Okay. So that's one.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (11:53):
ERMI. E-R-M-I. Yeah.

Dr. Philip Oubre (11:55):
Yeah, by Mycometrics.

Dr. Philip Oubre (11:56):
That's the company we use. There are several companies that do ERMI. That's just the one we use. Mycometrics, M-Y-C-O-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (12:02):

Dr. Philip Oubre (12:03):
Metrics, M-E-T-R-I-C-S.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (12:05):
Moldy Index, something like that.

Dr. Philip Oubre (12:07):
Environmental Moldiness Index. Relative index. Yeah.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (12:09):
Okay, cool. Then the next one's kind of like a dextrose little Petri dish that we can use and we leave it open in the home, put on the fan for about an hour or so, see if anything grows after four or five days. That one's a cheap one. It's like $33 with, don't quote me on the price, with lab fees and everything included.

Dr. Philip Oubre (12:29):
That ones from ImmunoLytics, right.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (12:29):
Uh-huh (affirmative) And that one's nice too because you can use that same exact type of structure to swab the sinuses. That's the fun one.

Dr. Philip Oubre (12:35):
Yep. So you can buy the same plate. You can take Q-tip, swab inside of your nose, gently swab the agar, the agar is very soft. Then close it up and see what grows in your sinuses. And then you can send it off and they can tell you whether it's candida or mold or whatnot. I shouldn't say sinuses because you're really just swabbing the nose. You'd really need an ear, nose and throat doctor to get inside the sinus to see what's actually growing in there. The other thing you can do is you can do a quick look around your, I shouldn't even say quick, a detailed, thorough look around your house. The main places we see mold is always the bathroom and shower. It's almost always the shower, so please over-investigate your shower. Another common place is the kitchen under the sink. No one looks there.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (13:16):
Behind the dishwasher. Places you can't get to. Think about that. If you have a water line going into your refrigerator, is it behind the wall of the refrigerator? That's happened so many times in brand new homes as well. Did the dishwasher not be put in properly? Is there a leak in the back of it to where water's going underneath? That's a little bit harder for you to look at, so if you feel like you tested home for mold and you've looked everywhere with your eye line, eye sight... Okay, words are very hard today, but if you've done a thorough look and you still have mold on a mold plate or a mold test, then get someone to come in and check those really hard to look places.

Dr. Philip Oubre (13:50):
Right? That's where you'll hire a mold inspector. It's generally going to cost at least $400, if not more, to hire a mold inspector. I think we'll do more with mold inspectors later. Another thing you can do is you can always shut off all the water in your house and go to your city water line and see if the dial is spinning. If you have all the water off, you should not be pulling any water from the city line and that meter should not be running at all. Now, if it's obviously the dishwasher drain pipe, that's not going to cause the water line to go. But that's another way you can tell if there's any leaks in the house because that meter is pretty sensitive for any leak.

Dr. Philip Oubre (14:21):
But once again, if it's a drippy, drip, drip, that's a really formal term, drippy, drip, drip, it's really not going to show at the city water line. So you've got take a look a little higher. If your water heater is raining in the garage, you don't need a meter to know that. That's some ways to test the house. Number two is, as far as treating mold inside you, that really involves working more with a practitioner, but maybe what are some things that patients can do or eat or something?

Aubree Steen, FNTP (14:49):
One thing that you can do is inhale different herbs as well. I know thats-

Dr. Philip Oubre (14:54):
People are thinking marijuana.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (14:56):
Smoke some weed.

Dr. Philip Oubre (14:57):
Smoke weed. No, that's totally false.

Dr. Philip Oubre (15:00):
That'd be great. How you treat mold. You can actually do a thyme inhalation.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (15:02):
Time, like seconds and minutes?

Dr. Philip Oubre (15:09):
Or week. T-H-Y-M-E. You basically put it over a boiling pot of water, if you believe it's the sinuses as well, because inevitably if you're living in it, it is in the sinuses. You can do that have thyme and boiling water and put your face over it, put a towel on top of it and doing an inhalation for like 15 minutes or so. It burns. You'll feel some die off. You can treat that way. There's a bunch of different herbs and we can always list that in the comments as well. Other than that, you can do, things at home with food or what are you talking about?

Dr. Philip Oubre (15:38):
Yeah. I think we're going to struggle to come up with anything that would kill mold inside of you without working with a practitioner or using medications or something.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (15:46):
Just because mold is one of those things that... It's not like bacteria, or just kind of like, "I'm resetting the microbiome." Mold is very toxic and because of the fat and water soluble toxins, that when you kill them off, they release more. So you're adding an abundance to what you already have. So it depends on what a practitioner wants to do, but usually you de-bulk the circulating toxins. Then you try to figure out, do we kill now or do we go into some of those fat-soluble toxins? Like a phospholipid exchange IV or something like that. You have to determine that. And it's really tricky. When a practitioner goes, "This is the one way you treat mold." Please don't listen to that because there's so many intricacies of how to get it out of your body. You can look at the mold course and we don't say, "This is the one way to do it." We kind of go-

Dr. Philip Oubre (16:32):
This is how we do it.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (16:33):
Yeah, this is how we do it, but we do change it for every patient as well.

Dr. Philip Oubre (16:36):
You can take the mold course and learn more about it. I list which supplements to take, and then you can go on our store and buy those exact supplements. We use a lot of Biocidin to kill the live living, growing mold, but we also use prescriptions. Make sure you work with a mold literate provider if you need prescriptions.

Dr. Philip Oubre (16:54):
Finally, mold detox. That's something you can do more on your own. Of course, we've got a detox course that you can watch and learn how to detoxify the mold then you just supplement some things that we sell on our store. But that's another thing you can actually do with food or at least to kind of supercharge your detox pathways. I think too often, people just ignore the gut and go buy this detox program from this provider or that provider. You have to make sure that your gut is intact in order to be able to detox.

Dr. Philip Oubre (17:20):
As Aubree mentioned, these mold toxins are fat and water soluble and they can actually flip back and forth. The liver loves to detoxify fat-soluble toxins. It can dump that detoxified mold toxin into the bowels, but then basically can flip back to water-soluble. As you know, if you drink water, you will absorb it, right? So a water soluble toxin then gets reabsorbed by your bowels and then you have to fight it all over again. That's one of the reasons why mold toxins are so tricky to detoxify unlike Roundup and other chemicals, because they're generally just considered fat-soluble if you have trouble getting rid of them. What are some top five foods you'd say for someone to help mold detoxify?

Aubree Steen, FNTP (18:00):
I would say first thing is removing some of the inflammatory foods, because again, let's say if you had no mold, but you were eating inflammatory foods, your body would still hold on to toxins. So you're looking at processed food. Anything like Kellogg cereal, anything like those processed cereal bars and granola bars and things like that. Chips, candy, things like that. You have to get that out of the body. I would avoid gluten of course, because that's the biggest inflammatory food and you can't detox properly when you have gluten in your body. That's a big statement, but I truly believe it. One thing that you can do is you can get a ton of co-factors for detox through leafy greens. So collards, swiss chard, kale, brussels sprouts, anything that's really kind of cruciferous as well. The darker the green, the bitter the green, the better. Bitter greens, like dandelion where you actually eat it.

Dr. Philip Oubre (18:52):
It's rough. Dandelion's rough.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (18:52):
Yeah. That actually stimulates bioflow as well, can kind of help herd some of those toxins too.

Dr. Philip Oubre (18:57):
Think about yourself in that regard. So one of the things that I think we always get confused with is, and I'm guilty of it too, is like, "Oh, dandelions, great." But I can't frigging eat it because it's so nasty. Well then eat broccoli. Eating something that may not be the best, but it's still great. If you can only eat one little leaflet of dandelion, but you can eat two heads of broccoli, which one do you think has more benefit? The two heads of broccoli.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (19:23):
Right. Or drink dandelion tea while you're eating the broccoli. It's not as bad.

Dr. Philip Oubre (19:27):
With some stevia.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (19:27):
A little stevia, a little hemp milk in there. It's okay. What else? Beets and okra are two-

Dr. Philip Oubre (19:33):
Good binders.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (19:34):
...really good binders for mycotoxins. I think specifically okra toxin?

Dr. Philip Oubre (19:39):
Okra. I don't know about okra toxin, but okra specifically is good for...

Aubree Steen, FNTP (19:42):
Yeah. So okra and beets. Two of my favorites as well.

Dr. Philip Oubre (19:47):
So we kind of circled around a little bit. We said, we're going to talk mostly about brain health. And then we launched fully into mold. We didn't talk a lot about how mold affects your brain, but I don't think you really want to know the biochemistry behind how it does, but just know that it messes with your energy metabolism, messes with your brain's ability to make energy. Everyone has their weak spots. So if your brain is struggling to make energy, one person might get depressed. One person might get brain fog. One person might get memory loss. One person might get cold.

Dr. Philip Oubre (20:14):
Everybody's a little different, so just know that if you're struggling with your brain, one of the things to definitely consider is mold. Have you been exposed? You need to work with a mold provider. And of course, look up our course, buy any supplements online if you need to, and then we're accepting new patients. So call us up if you need someone to help you with mold. Right now, we're able to do telemedicine and see anyone from around the country and really around the world. If you don't want to work with us, look up mold literate provider.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (20:40):
Yeah. And I think one thing that... Being exposed to mold seems very extreme, but just think about how do you feel when you're in your home? Are you at your house, and you're like, "Man, I can't create sentences. I'm forgetting the words. I don't know where I put my car keys for the fourth time. I'm not sleeping very well." Don't chalk it up to maybe a stressful day at work. I would just consider the home because more often than not most patients who come in here who have those simple day-to-day symptoms end up having mold exposure and have mold in their home.

Dr. Philip Oubre (21:07):
Yeah. Agreed. It's tricky. And it's invisible. I mean, unless you can see mold, please let us know. We will pay you to find mold.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (21:18):
You're a new employee. Thank you so much.

Dr. Philip Oubre (21:21):
So anyway, like our videos, subscribe, hit the bell so you get our notifications and we'll see you next...


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