Is Lyme Disease An Environmental Illness? (And What’s Mold Got To Do With It?)



February 17, 2020

By Bryan Rosner

Editor’s Note: Bryan Rosner publishes books on Lyme disease and related topics by doctors and other experts through his company BioMed Publishing, and also has written five books of his own on Lyme disease. The following article is an adaption of a recent podcast of his on the topic of healing from the disease. The original podcast may be listened to here:


It seems sort of funny to call an infection an environmental illness.

If you’re sick from lead-based paint, then that would be an environmental illness because the paint is in your environment.

But we don’t think of strep throat, or a broken leg, or other infections as environmental illnesses.

And so if you get bitten by a tick and it transmits an infection to you, how is that an environmental illness?

Now, when I say “environmental illness,” I do not mean that it is acquired by ticks that live in the environment.

And I don’t mean that it’s because of global warming that there are more ticks that are breeding and that the tick population is exploding, or that a higher percentage of ticks have Lyme disease.

Let me tell you what I mean.

I got bitten by a tick about three months ago.

I’m pretty sure that gave me Lyme disease for about a week.

I didn’t treat it and it didn’t really hurt me.

Why is that?

Well, it’s actually believed that a large percentage of the population has Lyme disease – that they have Borrelia and that they have co-infections.

But they don’t get sick.

Why don’t they get sick?

I think the key factor is environmental.


Are Genetics the Problem? 

If you think of all of the new toxicity that we are adding to the world compared to 500 years ago, when we didn’t use chemicals…well, our world is extremely toxic now.

You know how doctors talk about, “Oh, you have a genetic flaw, you can’t detox those toxins”?

Erik Johnson said something about this that I really like.

He said, “Wait a minute, maybe I don’t have a flaw – because those chemicals are not supposed to be here in the first place!”

The issue here is that humans have not adapted to be able to live with this stuff.

The human body is just not prepared to deal with some of the stuff that is now in our environment.

That’s like telling a dog, “You died from those euthanasia drugs because you have a genetic abnormality.

“Hey, hey, little dog, when you got euthanized – those euthanasia chemicals, you’re supposed to be able to tolerate those, but you didn’t because you have a genetic malfunction.”

No. The dog’s fine.

The euthanasia drugs are what kill the dog.

Or if somebody gets shot with a bullet, you would not say, “Hey, it’s actually your fault that you died from that bullet, because your body has a genetic predisposition not to be able to deal with shotgun shells.”

That makes no sense, right?

So the issue is that really, at some point, this is not our problem.

It’s not our genetics, it’s the environment.

The environment is too toxic.

Now, sure, certain people may fall to those toxins first because of genetics.

Here’s another thing that Erik has said that I really like, though.

Some people call us canaries, like a canary in a coal mine.

A canary is somebody who is more sensitive to the toxins and succumbs.

Erik, though, has said that we’re not canaries, we’re sentinels.

As sentinels, we are the first ones to go explore this brave new world and report back to the rest of the earth:

“Hey! You guys are next! Yeah, your genetics might be okay this year, but wait until next year when they release 5G and new agricultural chemicals and all kinds of other stuff.”

Because the world is going in the wrong direction and eventually everyone’s going to fall, no matter what genetics they have.


The Biotoxic Load

So, what does that have to do with Lyme disease and mold illness?

Well, you hit a point where your body can no longer detox these toxins.

That’s especially true for biotoxins, which are toxins made by living things.

Mold releases biotoxins. Borrelia releases biotoxins. Co-infections release biotoxins. Parasites release biotoxins.

And so when you have all of these going on, you eventually hit a threshold where there are too many toxins for you to handle.

One thing that a lot of people don’t consider is that these toxins can be inside of you and outside of you, and then keep building up.

Borrelia and co-infections actually release very potent biotoxins, and these add to the overall biotoxic load.

So if you have Lyme disease and co-infections, you already have a heavier load and you may be able to tolerate fewer external toxins.

That’s one reason that mold avoidance is so helpful.

By avoiding mold and avoiding mold biotoxins, you can lower the amount of biotoxins that the body is being exposed to.

And therefore allow the body to have a chance to catch up and process and detox those toxins.

This is why I believe that tick bites don’t affect me as much now.

I’m not saying I couldn’t get sick from a tick bite again.

Of course, I could!  I could get a different co-infection or even die from a tick bite.

But I don’t have that same fear of tick bites that I used to have.

Because I feel like my detox now in my body is really cranking and happening the way it should be happening.

And so I think that if you can reduce internal and external biotoxins, you can give the body a chance to catch up on detox.

The experience of the body catching up is very profound, by the way.

You don’t wonder, “Oh, I wonder if my body is caught up now.”

You start to get your life back.

You start to get your health back.

You start to be a normal person again.

It’s very clear that it’s happening.

There is no question about whether it’s working or not.


Researchers found a Lyme infection in a 5300-year-old ice mummy. (Image credit: Samadelli Marco/EURAC)

Is Borrelia Actually On The Rise?

I think that if our external environment – chemicals, glyphosate, mold toxins – were not getting worse, then we would have more capacity to deal with Borrelia and co-infections.

That’s why I think that if you look at the rise of Borrelia – well, Lyme disease is supposed to be the fastest-growing infectious disease in the country.

What if that’s actually not true?

What if most people have been infected with Borrelia for thousands of years?

You know, researchers found a cave man – a dead guy that they dated back like 5,000 years – and he had Borrelia.

He had Lyme disease!

So, what if Lyme disease actually is not on the rise?

What if people have always had Lyme disease, but now have more symptoms and debilitation from it because their cup is overflowing from modern environmental toxicity?

Isn’t that a profound thought, that maybe Borrelia is not actually on the rise?

That it’s always been there, but that when our systems were less burdened with biotoxins, they could just flush out the biotoxins more easily.

That’s a real paradigm change.

And from that regard, mold avoidance is extremely profound because it might give our bodies the tools and the breathing space to just deal with the infections and not be debilitated by them.

This is like a whole different way of thinking.

It puts the burden much more on the environmental toxicity than it does on the infection, which I think is the accurate way to look at it.


Mold + Chemicals = Supertoxins

When I say “environmental toxicity,” this does not necessarily mean mold alone.

If you go into a pristine forest in the Amazon jungle and there’s mold growing on the trees, chances are it’s not going to hurt you.

And if you go to a chemical factory where they’re making chemicals, then – yes, it might give you cancer.

And yes, it’s not good for you.

But that’s not the stuff I’m talking about.

For biotoxin-sensitive individuals, generally the environmental toxicity that were talking about is when you mix mold with chemicals.

This creates little packets of mold plus chemicals that are extremely toxic.

We call those supertoxins, and those are what I’m referring to.

Mold is doing the job in the environment of cleaning up glyphosate and other chemicals.

It is basically pooping out chemical-laced mycotoxins that act like a nuclear bomb inside your body and that your body cannot get rid of.

So the chemicals are the problem, and then the mold is just saying, “Hey, we’ll be the cleanup crew!”

Except that during the cleanup process, the toxicity temporarily becomes worse than ever.

(I discuss this in more detail in another podcast, called Mold + Chemicals = Supertoxins, by the way.)

So humans have sort of brought this on themselves.

And mold is nature’s way of cleaning house.

We’re making a big mess with chemicals; mold is cleaning up the mess; and humans are getting sicker and likely going to be made extinct because of the war that’s happening between the mold and the chemicals and the microbiome.


What Is An Effective Lyme Treatment?

What I now think is that mold avoidance is an indirect way to directly deal with Lyme disease.

And, in my experience, the best way to deal with it.

Since I’ve been doing extreme mold avoidance, I haven’t needed co-infection or Lyme disease treatment any more.

Here’s a quick anecdote that I find very interesting.

When I was first getting started with mold avoidance, I was doing ozone treatments.

I also was doing bee venom treatment using live bees.

I would sting myself with 10 bees, three times a week.

I would take them out of the cage, with the bees wiggling on the tweezers, and then sting myself with a live stinger.

By now, I’ve had somewhere between 1000-1500 live bee stings.

Bee venom is one of the most profound and effective antimicrobials, and the live stings were really helpful to me early on when I was still really toxic.

But as I started to recover, my body only wanted the ozone.

And I never have really felt like ozone killed the infections.

I felt more like it was cleaning house and helping my body detox the mold toxins.

I think it’s fascinating that eventually my body realized, “We don’t need to kill infections anymore.”

If you can just stay ahead of the toxicity, keep the stuff moving out of your body, and detox to a level where you’re not so toxic anymore, then the infections just take care of themselves.

We’ve been doing extreme mold avoidance for about 30 months now, and I only now am starting to feel like a more experienced mold avoider.

And lately what has seemed profound is how much my body wants detox, exercise, sweating, hiking, mold avoidance and ozone – but has no interest in antimicrobials.

I have thousands of different antimicrobial samples. This is what I do for a living.

And my body is not interested in antimicrobials at all.

Only in detox.


The Magic Detox Switch

So I think that if we really pull back the curtain on what’s happening here, Lyme disease is an environmental toxicity-overload illness.

It is not primarily caused by an infection.

An infection is one of the things that adds to the toxicity.

This is profound!

Because thousands of Lyme disease sufferers right now are sitting in doctors’ offices getting IV antibiotics for a months and years, and not getting better.

And then they end up on the Internet saying, “Help, I’ve been treated and I’m not getting better.”

And the antibiotics are destroying their microbiomes.

This is a whole paradigm change in how we see this.

Now I don’t take credit for this. This isn’t new.

There have been a lot of doctors that I respect, even 15 or 20 years ago when I first got involved in alternative medicine, who said that this a bioterrain problem – that the infections will not take up residence if the bioterrain is not hospitable.

So we’ve always kind of known that you need to detox.

The problem is that all the recommendations on how to detox were not working.

People – the sickest people – were just not getting better.

Even with saunas, and juicing, and fiber, and infrared mats, and binders, and all the other detox stuff – nobody was getting better.

And that’s why mold avoidance is such a breakthrough.

Because Erik Johnson and other mold avoiders have discovered that when the body is in mold, it will refuse to detox.

It will say, “Sorry, we’re turning off detox” if it is being exposed to too much mold.

That’s because the body is smart.

The body in its own wisdom knows that it cannot turn on the two-way gate of detox when in mold.

Because when you detox, the body is letting things out but also letting them in.

And so in a bad environment, the body decides not to detox unless it can get more clear of mold.

The body says, “We’re not going to do it unless you’re more clear of mold. We’re not going to do it!”

And so the thing about extreme mold avoidance is that if you can get clear enough of mold, you can turn the magic detox switch on.


Like A Waterfall

That really turns the whole idea of detox on its head.

I mean, this is really important, and so try to stick with me here.

For many years, I couldn’t detox no matter what I did.

I took the fanciest binders, I bought the sauna, I did the exercise, I sweated, everything.

And I still couldn’t detox. Nothing came out and I didn’t get better.

When you do enough mold avoidance, it’s the opposite of this.

You detox without any fancy treatments – without any binders, without any saunas, without doing anything.

Once you turn the detox switch on by getting clear enough, the floodgates open and it’s like you can’t even control it.

The detox comes out like a waterfall.

It’s crazy.

It’s such a profound experience I can’t even describe it.

And you don’t even have to do anything!


Is Just Moving Enough?

Now, how clear of mold do you need to be?

This is a bit of a tricky topic because I think that the ambient levels of mold in much of our world are too much for severely ill people.

A lot of doctors just say, “Oh, you’ve got to move out of your moldy house.”

So a doctor might think that you’re being exposed to 5 or 10 or 15 times too much mold as is okay.

And therefore, if you just move out of your house into a new apartment, and vacuum your car, you’ll be okay.

But I think that for some people, for the sickest people, they’re being exposed to 10,000 times more mold than they can handle.

And so if you’re one of those people, then in order to be able to detox, it’s not enough to just move out of your moldy house.

You might have to get rid of your car and start over with a new wardrobe.

If your ambient outside air is too full of supertoxins, you might have to take some time away in a more pristine location.

What I see is that a lot of people try to do mold avoidance but don’t get clear enough to experience their detox turning back on.

And then they say, “I moved out of my moldy house and I didn’t get better, so mold must not be my issue.”

But the problem is not that mold avoidance cannot work for them.

The problem is that they didn’t get clear enough for it to work.

Because some of these people have way more mold toxin in their systems than the body can handle.

Like 10,000 times as much.

Some of these people have been getting overloaded with these kinds of toxins since they were babies, and it’s just overwhelming for them.

This is a much bigger problem than most people think.


The Need for “Extreme” Avoidance

As an analogy, think about mercury.

People used to use mercury to treat syphilis.

And the doctors would say, “Yeah, mercury’s a little toxic, but it will be okay. It’s worth it to treat the syphilis.”

But they were wrong.  Because mercury is 10,000 times more toxic than they realized.

And so now if you break a mercury thermometer in a school, they close the whole school and require a cleanup crew with space suits on to go through special procedures with a reverse vacuum to deal with it.

Another example is lead-based paint.

We used to think that lead-based paint was just a little toxic but that it was still okay to paint with it.

Now we know that lead-based paint is much more of a problem!

Or we used to say, “Okay, asbestos is a little bit bad.”

But now we know it’s really, really, really bad.

And I think we’re at the beginning of that journey with mold, where even fancy Lyme and mold doctors still are at the beginning of this.

They still think that mold is a little bit bad.

They don’t know yet how bad it is!

And they don’t realize that the amounts that we’re being exposed to are 10,000 times too high to get the body to reverse this vicious cycle of disease.

And so that’s why this whole paradigm is so profound.

That’s why extreme mold avoidance puzzles people.

What if someone told you that you’re doing extreme lead-based paint avoidance?

Well, nobody would say that because we actually now all agree that it is a good idea to do extreme lead-based paint avoidance.

We all agree that no one should live in a house that has lead-based paint dust all over the place.

No one’s going to say, “Renee, you’re a fool! You’re doing extreme lead avoidance?! That’s so paranoid!”

Because we’ve advanced in our knowledge enough to know that there’s no such thing as “extreme” lead-based paint avoidance.

And I think we’re at the precipice of realizing over the next 50 years that extreme mold avoidance is just going to be a given if you want to reverse some of these chronic, degenerative, fatal illnesses.


Take It Away

One of the things that I noticed with mold avoidance that was fascinating to me was that my body was asking for the following:

“Take it away, take it away, take it away! Don’t give me supplements. Don’t give me pills. Take it away!

“Take the mold away! Take the toxins away! Take things away! Take all this shit off me and I will heal!”

That is not what Lyme doctors are doing.

They are sending supplements and herbs and therapies and antibiotics into the system.

That, in my opinion, is precisely the wrong approach to take.

The body is already overburdened.

Lyme disease is not, in my opinion, a deficiency of supplements or treatments.

It is not a deficiency of external treatments.

It is an overburdening of toxicity.

And so if you start taking the toxicity away, the body can make a miraculous recovery.

But it is very hard to get clear enough of mold to do that.

That’s the whole premise of mold avoidance.

That it’s hard.


The Weird World of Mold Healing

Let me give you a little insight into the weird world of mold healing.

When I got clear enough of mold, my body no longer wanted all those supplements.

Instead, I started craving the strangest healing foods that you could imagine.

It was like my body was rebuilding itself and it said, “We need this.”

For example, for about a month, all I wanted was organic cream-top whole milk, like they sell in the Straus brand with the red cap.

It’s just this creamy, fatty, organic milk that costs $10 a bottle.

I would drink it and feel like a million bucks.

Now, of course, when I was really sick with Lyme disease, I couldn’t tolerate milk at all, because fat feeds protozoa and I had all these dietary restrictions.

But now, my body said, “Give me that!”

I didn’t even eat food for a month.

I just drank organic cream-top whole milk.


Tunnel Vision

About a month after that, I was at the health food store and I laid eyes on organic Lakewood brand carrot juice.

It was like I had tunnel vision.

It was like seeing your wife across the room for the first time.

It was like a bells and music we’re going off.

I wanted to, like, cry because I was so happy that I found this carrot juice.

Now before I saw the carrot juice, I never even knew that I even wanted carrot juice.

And when I was sick, I couldn’t even tell a difference if I drink carrot juice or not.

Sometimes I would force-feed myself carrot juice because I thought it was healthy, but it never helped me.

But once I unburdened my body, and I got rid of the toxicity, all of a sudden, I was in love with organic carrot juice.

And to this day my body is still craving that carrot juice.

I spend more money on organic carrot juice some months than I do on gas or food or clothing or my mortgage.

I’m exaggerating a little bit, but not really.

There have been days where I had one or two of those $8 bottles of carrot juice.

I’ve spent $500 a month on carrot juice at times!


Starting Up the Engine

You know when your car won’t turn over, and its going “Rrrrr, rrrrr, rrrr,” and the battery’s dead?

And you’re thinking, “Oh, man, I need a jump start”?

That’s the way my body was for 20 years.

Nothing worked. Nothing was doing anything. Nothing was happening.

And you know when your car turns over?

You hear that “Rrrr, rrrr, rrrr,” and then it goes “VROOM!”

And you know your car turned on.

You don’t have to wonder, “I wonder if my car turned on.”

You know it turned on!

That’s how I felt when I started doing extreme mold avoidance, along with the ozone.

The ten-pass ozone, I think, just greased the wheels of progress, making mold avoidance work better.

I would drink this carrot juice in crazy quantities, like unbelievable quantities, and then later – guess what!

I found out from a lot of other experienced mold avoiders that it happened to them too.

That they went through a crazy period of craving organic whole milk and they went through a crazy period of craving organic carrot juice.

Do you see what I’m saying here?

This is a specific illness!

It’s not, “Oh, you’re different, everybody is different, some people need saunas and some people need herbs and some people…..”

That’s bullshit.

The reason we think everybody’s different is because nobody’s getting well, and we’re making up a bunch of crap to try to explain why nobody’s getting well.

Just like they did before they realized that H. pylori causes stomach ulcers.

Everyone had a little theory: “Oh, it’s because you’re stressed. Oh, it’s because you were abused as a child.”

No, it’s because of H. pylori.


Come As A Student

I suggest that when  you start learning about mold avoidance, you come as a student.

And you listen and you learn.

The problem is that people are just used to making up a lot of garbage about this illness – because they’ve had to!

I don’t blame them.

When nothing is working then we all make up our own little pet theories and say that, “Oh, everybody’s different.”

No, no, no, I don’t think that everybody is different.

Of course, sure, there are people who don’t have mold illness, and so maybe none of this applies to them.

But for the biotoxin illness community, I think, we’re not all different.

We’re more or less all the same.

It’s just that a lot of people sadly have not figured this out yet.

I don’t say this to be arrogant.

I didn’t discover any of this stuff.

I’m just repeating what I’ve learned.

I’ve been in the alternative medicine publishing community for almost 20 years.

I’m just connecting some dots now, myself.

So this is really profound stuff and very fascinating.


Diving In

I don’t want to discourage people from taking the first step toward mold avoidance.

I don’t want people to not do anything because they’re paralyzed.

Even when I just moved out of my moldy house, and I wasn’t doing extreme mold avoidance, it was very clear to me that that was helpful to me and that it was worth it.

And then the motivation to do extreme mold avoidance was a natural progression of doing a little bit of mold avoidance.

You do a little bit and go, “Oh, all that feels really good! I’m going to do a little more!”

And then you do a little more and go, “Oh, that feels really good!”

And then do a little more.

The baby steps create a deeper motivation.

The people who are doing extreme mold avoidance wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t making us feel good.

No one would do all this stuff if it wasn’t working!

It’s just about the most inconvenient thing possible – so there’d better be a huge payoff.

So it was a process of testing conclusion, testing conclusion, testing conclusion to get to the point where I realized how profound the effect actually is.

So I’m not suggesting that people go crazy on doing extreme mold avoidance from Day One.

That would be too much to ask.

That would be irrational.

What I’m saying is that for me and for others, dipping one toe into the water pretty soon led us into diving in headfirst.

Because when you have your health back, everything in life is better and all of the inconveniences of mold avoidance are a tiny price to pay.


Spreading the Word

I’ve been a little bit more passionate here than I normally am, but I think all of this is so important.

I think it will really help people make the transition to a different paradigm of understanding.

If you don’t get clear enough of mold, no amount of detox –  supplements, treatments, saunas – is going to work, because you’re fighting the body.

None of the detox happens until you get the body really, really clear of mold.

Possibly, ten thousand times more clear than your doctor might believe!

That doesn’t apply to everybody, of course.

For the less sick people who aren’t as toxic, and haven’t been in mold as long, maybe moving out of their moldy house will be enough.

But for the people who are more sick, likely they are going to have to go a lot further in order to get the rewards.

And then will be glad that they did.

So please share this discussion with other people to help them make the transition from an infection paradigm to a toxicity paradigm.

I hope you share this with your friends and I hope you share this with the Lyme disease community.

And I hope you’ll share this with the people who are in doctors’ offices getting IV antibiotics.

I’m not a doctor, that’s my disclaimer.

I am a healthcare journalist.

If you need medical advice, don’t listen to me. Call a doctor.

Do not discontinue any antibiotics or any prescribed treatments because of anything that I have said.

Go ask your doctor.

I’m not telling you to stop the treatments your doctor has recommended for you.

But I do hope that people will start to think about this differently.


About Bryan Rosner

Bryan Rosner has written five books about Lyme disease and also publishes books by physicians and other experts through his company BioMed Publishing Group.

His most recent book focuses on his mold avoidance adventures and is called Lyme Disease Supercharge: The Revolutionary Approach to Getting Better When All Else Fails.

The book is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

A Paradigm Change blog article by Lisa Petrison is titled “19 Key Takeaway Points from Bryan Rosner’s ‘Lyme Disease Supercharge.'”

Bryan offers additional information on healing from Lyme disease through mold avoidance and other healing therapies in You Tube videos; in podcasts; and in articles.

He also recently started a new blog called Mold Avoidance Diary With Bryan Rosner.


Pursuing Mold Avoidance

The approach to mold avoidance followed by Bryan Rosner was pioneered by Erik Johnson and is discussed in the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance. 

The book was written by Lisa Petrison and Erik Johnson.

It is available for free in PDF format to those signing up for occasional email newsletters from Mold Avoiders.

The book is also available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.

The Mold Avoiders discussion forum is run by Lisa Petrison and designed to help those pursuing the approach to mold avoidance described in the book to get their questions answered.

While anyone can sign up to read most of the material on the forum, only those who have been approved as Mold Avoiders Participants can post or comment there.

The Mold Avoiders Facebook group is designed for more casual conversations among those who are pursuing this approach to mold avoidance. These may include discussions of new articles or videos on related topics; member polls; and participant photos/stories.

The page Mold Avoidance Resources on the Paradigm Change website provides many additional links to materials useful for those interested in pursuing mold avoidance.


Links on this page are in orange (no underlining).


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