Erectile dysfunction (ED), mold, and agriculture seem like an odd combination. But in my opinion, there is a very close connection with men involved in agriculture, their work or handling of food or grains that contain mold, and the incidence of having erectile dysfunction (ED) or the symptoms that lead to it. Sometimes the effects of mold appear so slowly that symptoms are overlooked or completely ignored.

On some occasions, however, someone can become physically ill very quickly from contact with mold in a grain bin or silo and must be cared for in an emergency situation. The amount, level of toxicity, and length of time of exposure all factor into how your body can handle your exposure. In any case, the first concern of the medical profession has been to determine whether the lungs and respiratory system are impaired. Of course, this is very important, but I think they sometimes seem to overlook the possible long-term effects of ingesting mold that can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED).

As farmers, we have always been told never to feed mold-contaminated grain to our animals. Even the use of bedding that contains mold is a practice that should be avoided. Veterinarians and farmers alike know that toxic levels of mold in feed or bedding can easily make an animal sick or, in the worst case, cause death.

This ingestion of mold in livestock feed or litter, if concentrated enough, can be quickly noticed by following the health status of the animals involved. Even moldy feed or bedding that does not have excessively high concentrations still affects them, only more in the long run, but no less serious for that. Animals become sluggish, their appetite can be suppressed, and most notably, sexual desire can decrease, creating a problem with reproduction. Females tend not to have very strong heat cycles, have fewer or no heat at all. It can also cause the cow to abort. Males are less sexually aggressive and tend to show less interest in females.

I know this may seem overly simplified, but mold and mycotoxins that enter the lungs or are ingested eventually enter the bloodstream and can have some devastating effects.

If mold and its mycotoxins have such an effect on the reproductive health of your farm animals, then why should we think that mold or mycotoxins in our system will not have the same possible effects? Most farmers work side by side with their animals, breathing the same air and sharing the same environment while caring for them.

As farmers, we don’t always take the precautions we should, like wearing a mask or staying away from poorly ventilated areas. We think our exposure may only be for a short time and after you’ve coughed, gasped, and spit out phlegm, everything will go away.

But what if it doesn’t go away?

So how do you know if you have possibly been affected by mold that has found its way into animal feed or bedding? Sometimes it is not easy to tell, especially if it is a small amount.

Common symptoms are:

1) Shortness of breath: cough, sneeze, phlegm

2) Difficulty swallowing: choking, spitting up mucus

3) Taste of dirt in the mouth – tongue covered

4) Headaches

5) Confusion: like being drunk, slurring words

6) Reproductive complications

There are many more symptoms that can occur. Symptoms depend on the length of exposure, the concentration of mold where you were working, or how often it has been put in a place where mold is present. Sometimes a small exposure over several months or years will eventually lead to the body finally having a major reaction.

There is very little information available on the topic of the connection between agriculture, mold and the incidence of erectile dysfunction (ED), but if you consult a veterinarian’s medical journal, the information is abundant.

The most useful and detailed information I found on the effects of mold on the human body is in a book called “The Fungus Link” by Doug Kaufmann. This book not only explains in easy-to-understand terms how ingesting mold or its mycotoxin can cause erectile dysfunction (ED), but also how to find out if it is a problem you may have. If you think mold may be the cause of the symptoms you are experiencing, the book contains detailed steps on how to remove it from your system.

For men who are in agriculture or who have worked with products that may have contained mold and you have some or all of these symptoms, it is not too late. Erectile dysfunction (ED) does not have to be a life sentence. Not only for you, but also for your loved and loved ones, the book is worth reading.