I am a firm believer that hidden parasitic infection is at the root of many if not most chronic ailments, and now a study has just been released showing a link between parasites and obesity.
Researchers at several universities around the world teamed up to examine the incidence of obesity with the presence of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii (T.gondii). T.gondii is thought to affect at least 30% of the population in both the developed and undeveloped world.
That means that in any group of three people, at least one is likely infected with this particular parasite. If you suffer from a chronic condition that has inflammation at its base, this could be you.
Parasites and Obesity
The CDC calls T.gondii one of the top “Five Neglected Parasitic Infections” based on its high prevalence in the US, severity of illness, and potential for prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/npi.html; accessed 9-25-2013).
Latent T. gondii infection has been previously associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and personality disorder, and it causes significant activity of T-cells, the ones that are responsible for inflammation. Since obesity is a chronic stage of inflammation and irrational thought can be due to inflamed brain tissue (read Brain Rules to see how this works), all of this makes sense to me.
Even more, this new research has now proved a relationship between parasitic infection and obesity. What other conditions might a hidden parasitic infection affect? Plenty.
T-Cells and Parasites
Here’s what happens in your body when you have a parasitic infection regardless of if the parasite is active or already encapsulated into a cyst.
The T-cells, a subset of white blood cells that are responsible for determining the threat rating of foreign substances in the body, determine the parasite presence is a threat and prime the immune system to fight it off. The immune system releases mediators, or inflammatory activators, to start off the battle strategy. This works pretty well when fighting viral and bacterial invaders but not at all with parasites.
The T-cells notice that the threat is still there and continue their inflammatory assault, sometimes for decades. The body remains in a chronically inflamed state with no resolution until other interventions are taken to kill off the parasites. An inflamed state could manifest as anything from migraines to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, sinusitis, or even autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis.
Chronic inflammation, as we are finally starting to realize, is bad, bad, bad.
Chronic inflammation damages tissues and disrupts systems, like the integrity of the myelin sheaths of the nervous system (resulting in MS), the elasticity of the veins and arteries (heart disease), and of course, our front line of defense, the digestive system.
When the digestive system is subjected to chronic inflammation, it no longer does its job well and new food sensitivities emerge, triggering more T-cell activity and bringing inflammation in the body on a constant basis.
The parasitic infection that is at the root must be addressed for complete healing to occur.
Should You Test for Parasites?
The problem with using Western medicine to test for parasites is that it doesn’t necessarily look for the critters in the right places. The standard is to look for parasites in a stool sample or two. Unfortunately, parasites like T.gondii, for example, take up residence in the brain and will not show up in a stool sample.
Even blood testing won’t tell us everything. Advanced blood testing for the parasite Chagas, which we know lives in the blood, involves surveying a blood sample using a high tech medium designed to illuminate this microscopic parasite, but the sophisticated test won’t show the presence of a liver fluke in the liver.
This is why all parasite testing is notorious for false negatives. The danger is that the patient believes they don’t actually have a parasite based on the lab report so does not take steps to eradicate the parasite and continues to see his or her health deteriorate.
When I suspect parasites in a client (more than 75% of the time), I never recommend wasting money on testing but instead suggest starting an herbal parasite cleanse immediately.
How Do You Get Rid of Parasites?
The pharmaceutical drugs of choice for parasite eradication, Flagyl and Ivermectin among others, can be effective though they only kill off adults and do not affect the eggs or protected cysts. They are also brutal on the body. Using Flagyl to kill a parasite, as one G.I. doc told me, is like using a shotgun to kill a mosquito; there’s a lot of collateral damage in the process.
In my personal experience, Flagyl leaves your body feeling fragile, like an empty eggshell, because it is so toxic that it has killed off everything, both the good and the bad, in your body. As a result, the course of drugs leaves your digestive system in bad shape. Worse, because it leaves the eggs and cysts behind to repopulate, symptoms often return within months or years.
Better to use a gentle combination of anti-parasitic herbs for several weeks to address all of the stages of a parasite life cycle without destroying your body in the process. Most people don’t feel anything different while going through the herbal regimen I advocate, but eliminating the source of constant inflammation brings immeasurable relief from symptoms of all kinds.
Will Eradicating Parasites Cure My Ailments?
It depends on how much damage has already been done in your body as to how much healing needs to happen once the parasites are out of the way. It’s likely that digestive system damage has lowered your tolerance thresholds and you are now a hypersensitive person who needs to learn how to avoid personal inflammatory triggers during the post-parasite healing phase.
Healing can only happen in the absence of inflammation.
I work with my clients to design customized anti-inflammatory diets to quickly reduce inflammation and supplement with supportive digestive enzymes to speed healing.
The one thing I know for sure is that if you have a parasitic infection and you don’t address it, there is only so much better you will ever get. You can medically suppress T-cell activity and become immuno-compromised, but you can’t convince the T-cells to ignore the presence of a parasite for long.
Where Can I Find A Parasite Cleanse?
Contact me and I’d be happy to tell you all about the regimens to get rid of parasites and end your chronic inflammatory issues once and for all.