Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a nephrotoxic, immunotoxic, and carcinogenic mycotoxin. This chemical is produced by molds in the Aspergillus and Penicillium families.
Exposure is done primarily through water damaged buildings. Minimal exposure can occur through contaminated foods such as cereals, grape juices, dairy, spices, wine, dried vine fruit, and coffee. Exposure to OTA can also come from inhalation exposure in water-damaged buildings.
OTA can lead to kidney disease and adverse neurological effects. Studies have shown that OTA can lead to significant oxidative damage to multiple brain regions and is highly nephrotoxic. Dopamine levels in the brain of mice have been shown to be decreased after exposure to OTA. Some studies have hypothesized that OTA may contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Treatment should be aimed at removing the source of exposure. Agents such as oral cholestyramine, charcoal, and phenylalanine can help prevent the absorption of these toxins from food. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, C, NAC, rosmarinic acid, and liposomal glutathione alone or in combination have been shown to mitigate the oxidative effects of the toxin. Bentonite or zeolite clay is reported to reduce the absorption of multiple mycotoxins found in food, including OTA. Studies have also shown that OTA is present in sweat, which supports the use of sauna as a treatment to increase the excretion of OTA. To treat possible fungal infections caused by mold exposure patients can take pharmaceutical medications such as itraconazole or nystatin. Retesting is recommended after 3-6 months of treatment.
How to avoid exposure to Ochratoxin A:
Treatment of ochratoxin A requires a reduction in exposure to the toxin.
- Carefully inspect whole grains and nuts for evidence of mould, and discard any that look mouldy, discoloured, or shriveled.
- Buy grains and nuts as fresh as possible; that have been grown as close to home as possible, and which have not been transported over a long time
- Buy only reputable brands of nuts and nut butters – moulds are not entirely killed by processing or roasting, so can show up in products e.g. peanut butter
- Make sure that foods are stored properly and are not kept for extended periods of time before being used
- Try to ensure your diet is diverse; this not only helps to mitigate aflatoxin exposure, but also improves health and nutrition. Consumers who lack dietary diversity need to pay extra attention to minimize the risk of high exposure to aflatoxins. For example, extensive aflatoxin exposure has been reported from areas where people get a major part of their daily calorie intake from maize; this foodstuff is commonly contaminated with aflatoxins and needs to be handled properly both before and after harvest.
However, this is not considering the mycotoxins that might be produced from water-damaged buildings – really the most common cause of mould illness.
Get a deeper understanding of your blood, urine, and stool test results.
$99 $79 per year
$6.60 per month billed annually