Are natural toxins in your food?
You may have heard of aflatoxins, natural chemicals produced by particular molds that are toxic to the body. They have gained attention after "outbreaks" in Africa, Europe and as recently as 2013 in the US. Produced by molds found in the soil, they are found on staple crops like peanuts, corn, wheat, rice and vegetable oils or products produced from these crops. Levels are variable but associated with high humidity of stored grains or after "stressors" on crops like drought.
Another myco-toxin (toxin from mold) is citrinin, also most commonly found on wheat, rice and other grains.
The harmful effects of these agents include damage to the liver, kidneys and immune system. Indirectly this can mean a host of other impacts including increased cancer risk and the consequences of liver and kidney disease. Though there are regulations to lessen the possible exposure in your food it's important to realize that these regulations do nothing to prevent the low level chronic exposure that is surely to occur... if you regularly consume GRAINS.. and perhaps peanuts and cheap vegetable oils. The European Food Safety Authority and WHO have evaluated risk and food levels with the available data, which is limited. Their conclusions have been that there is evidence of substantial exposure and impact on humans and livestock, however they conclude that more data is needed. There is no established maximum level allowed in food for citrinin, though the FDA and European Commission have set max levels for the major aflatoxins in food and feeds.
What is fascinating to me upon revisiting this subject is that "bad mold toxins" seems to occur almost exclusively on grains, peanuts and some seed oil. Being an advocate for a nearly grain-free diet, here is another reason to limit and avoid grain foods. It's also another reason why there are many health issues associated with a grain and vegetable oil diet. Since it's about exposure frequency, those that are consuming a vegan diet or who get most of their calories from grains are more likely to rack up chronic increased exposure... slowly diminishing health.
As I've discussed elsewhere, besides myco-toxins, the detrimental effects of grains and sugar are well established. Namely, a reliance upon glucose metabolism as your primary fuel source is both inflammatory and degenerative on the body. But.. before we meat and fat eaters start the party... don't forget that the toxic effects of mycotoxins occur to animals raised on grains and contaminated feeds. When we consume meat or animal products from these animals... we are exposed to potential harmful effects. So choose your food wisely. Grass fed, local, kindly raised animals and wild game and fish is better.