A lot of foods like coffee have mold or mycotoxin contamination. The nature of the trap is that you drink a cup of coffee you, get a high, then you crash and have to repeat the cycle. It’s the toxins. That’s why you get tired two hours after you drink your coffee. Maybe you get a little cranky or jittery or you get a little buzz and then you need to have another cup - That's because the cycle when you drink toxic coffee is: You drink it, you buzz, you crash, then repeat until you go to sleep. When you drink coffee without the toxins, you buzz, you feel really good and then you land (don't crash!) You come back to feeling normal hours later. Your quantified measures of executive function go up. - Dave Asprey (@BulletproofExec)
Mycotoxins are made by fungi and are toxic to vertebrates and other animal groups in low concentrations. Some 300 to 400 compounds are now recognized as mycotoxins, of which approximately a dozen groups regularly receive attention as threats to human and animal health (49). http://safefoodelicious.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/toxin_13.html
Some mycotoxins have found use as antibiotics while others have potential for use chemical weapons. The term mycotoxin was coined in 1962 in the aftermath of an unusual veterinary crisis near London, England, during which approximately 100,000 turkey poults died (22, 82). When this mysterious turkey X disease was linked to a peanut (groundnut) meal contaminated with secondary metabolites fromAspergillus flavus (aflatoxins), it sensitized scientists to the possibility that other occult mold metabolites might be deadly. Soon, the mycotoxin rubric was extended to include a number of previously known fungal toxins (e.g., the ergot alkaloids), some compounds that had originally been isolated as antibiotics (e.g., patulin), and a number of new secondary metabolites revealed in screens targeted at mycotoxin discovery (e.g., ochratoxin A).
Surveys of the green coffee production chain indicate that Aspergillus ochraceus and A. carbonarius are the most potent OTA producers on coffee. Both have been successfully grown in vitro on green coffee and coffee cherries, respectively, producing high amounts of OTA (5-13 mg kg(-1)).
Mycotoxin contamination of coffee beans varies due to different environmental conditions and cultural differences in harvesting (unsound beans account for 95% of mycotoxin contamination - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20175009)
The major risk factors and processing steps that can lead to contamination of green coffee with ochratoxin A (OTA) have been identified.
The major contributors to contamination are:
Ochratoxin is the Most Prevalent Mycotoxin in Coffee Beans Ochratoxin is a potent nephrotoxin (attacks the kidneys) that has been found in barley, oats, rye, wheat, coffee beans and other plant products. Humans have the longest half-life for its elimination of any of the species examined (54). In addition to being a nephrotoxin, animal studies indicate that ochratoxin A is a liver toxin, an immune suppressant, a potent teratogen (can cause fetal malformation) , and a carcinogen.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC164220/
Yes that’s true and coffee-producing countries assess OTA contents in lots of green coffee before it is allowed to enter the market. However, there are two problems here:
Second, there is still opportunity for mycotoxin contamination to occur during storage in-country. Underestimation of OTA can be highly dangerous for health. Contamination Can Happen Anytime From Farm to Bag Mycotoxins can form on coffee beans at any stage of the supply chain (from farm to bag.) Mycotoxin exposure is almost always accidental.
In general, mycotoxin exposure is more likely to occur in parts of the world where poor methods of food handling and storage are common, where malnutrition is a problem, and where few regulations exist to protect exposed populations. However, even in developed countries, specific subgroups may be vulnerable to mycotoxin exposure. In storage, usually the most important variables are the moisture content of the substrate and the relative humidity of the surroundings. As with other mycotoxins, the substrate on which the molds grow as well as the moisture level, temperature, and presence of competitive microflora interact to influence the level of toxin produced.
In a study analysing 36 green coffee samples of different origin (Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Vietnam, India and Uganda) Robusta beans presented with the most defective beans and dry processed beans appear to have the highest levels of mycotoxin contamination. Coffee Brewing Method Counts In testing preparation methods, An espresso coffee maker resulted in the highest reduction in mycotoxins vs auto-drip and moka brewing methods. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16019819
Mold in food is dangerous enough, that from time to time, foods do get recalled because of mycotoxin contamination. It’s a significant enough issue for one government to lobby the UN to declare a World Mycotoxins Day.