Many fungi naturally produce a substance known as a mycotoxin during their digestive process. These mycotoxins are toxic to humans, and some are extremely toxic if ingested even in small quantities.
There are some foods that naturally contain high levels of these mycotoxins, and most of us aren’t even aware that mycotoxins exist, much less that we eat them in our food supply. The foods that most often contain high concentrations of mycotoxins are grain crops, nuts, sugars and cheese. We’re going to take a look at the most contaminated of these foods in this article.
Let’s begin with the grain foods, since they normally exhibit the higher levels. Corn, wheat, barley, and rye contain what is known as “universal contamination”. What this really means, is that they contain so many different fungi, that it is a universal contamination. The levels of contamination are often extremely high, and are carried over into the foods made from these grains.
The next category of foods with high levels of contamination is sugars. Sugars include sugar cane, sugar beets, and sorghum. Not only do the sugars contain the contamination, they fuel the growth of many of these fungi, because sugar is the food of choice for fungi.
Nuts and the oils produced from these nuts are heavily laden with contamination. In fact, one study found as many as 24 different forms of fungi in peanuts alone. The one thing worth mentioning here, peanuts, and other nuts we consume, often are in the shell, and there is no good way to even begin to eliminate these fungi and mycotoxins from the shell nuts. So, when you eat nuts still in the shell, there is a direct intake of fungi and mycotoxins produced by these fungi.
The last food category on the list is cheese. Now, everyone knows that cheese will grow mold. If you can see the mold growing, you know the fungi is present throughout the cheese, thanks to the fact that fungi are able to penetrate their host, no matter the material: cheese, tile, grout, it doesn’t matter. The fungi can grow through the material. Here again, there is direct consumption of the fungi that lives in the cheese.
It’s truly amazing that we aren’t in a state of continual imbalance, given the variety of foods we eat that contain the mycotoxin producing fungi.