Oh yes. Absolutely. In fact, if you’re even asking this question the odds are high that you already sense that you may be infected with parasites. The Centers for Disease Control suspect millions of people are infected with parasites… and probably most have no idea.
It’s really easy to pick up parasites just while going about our daily lives, and you might not realize what happened,
3 Signs You Might Have Parasites
1. Diarrhea or loose stools for longer than 24 hours.
2. If you’re not having diarrhea, you’re constipated.
3. You are a restless sleeper.
Curious to know more? Come to the “Everything you’ve wondered about parasites but didn’t know who to ask” webinar! If you have any burning questions about parasites that you would like me to address simply submit a question on the registration page.
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 whyallparasite 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.
Dr. Fry is not the first to suggest MS and other chronic conditions might be caused by a parasitic infection. In his research, Dr. Fry has found 75 medical papers dating back to the 1880s that discuss finding a malaria-like organism in blood from MS patients. Dr. Fry’s newly identified protozoa is malaria-like and may also be transmitted by a vector such as mosquitos or ticks. In fact, during a malaria outbreak in the 1920s, MS patients who were treated with anti-malarial drugs saw improvement in their MS symptoms. At the time, it was assumed this was because they also had an underlying malarial infection, and anti-malarial drugs did not continue as standard treatment for MS beyond the early 1930s.
Interestingly, this microscopic parasite creates a “biofilm”, or web-like fiber structures that build up into a sludge inside your veins, obstructing blood flow. Dr. Fry believes this is why CCSVI can be effective in slowing the progression of MS.
Not only has Dr. Fry mapped the genome of this newly-named protomyxoa parasite, but he’s also made an interesting observation from growing the parasites in petri dishes: they love fat. Fat makes them grow big and strong; withhold fat and they shrink. Finally a laboratory validation as to why Dr. Swank‘s classic low-fat/no-saturated-fat diet helped his MS patients and thousands since fare better with the diagnosis.
Dr. Fry does not know how to eradicate the parasite neither in a test tube nor in the human body, however, we start every client who joins the Fight MS with Food project on a gentle, herbal parasite cleanse. This herbal paraciticide regimen may or may not affect Dr. Fry’s protomyxoa, but within just a few months of completion most people feel increased vitality and wellbeing even before implementing any dietary changes.
My thoughts are that if you have a parasitic infection and you don’t address the parasites, there is only so much better you can ever feel. It can be frustrating to implement dietary changes without seeing results because parasites are getting in the way. My goal in the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions is to eradicate the parasites and then begin healing the immune system by improving digestion, reducing inflammatory triggers through customized dietary modifications, and healing the gut. More than 80% of our immune system is based in the digestive system, and when you improve digestion, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients, the body can move toward a state of health.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) often stumps medical doctors. I see many IBS sufferers who carry thick files of medical records testifying to all the specialists they’ve seen, to all the medications they’ve tried, and to all the dietary and other advice they’ve received. IBS is a serious condition that can cause great physical distress to a sufferer.
In my experience as a naturopath, IBS can usually be traced to one or a combination of the following problems:
Let’s look at each of these a bit more closely and see where the solutions to IBS may lie.
If you have a bacterial infection, the culprit could be salmonella, e.coli, c.dif, or another pesky and sadly-too-common bacteria. Usually these will appear when a medical professional takes a culture and looks for them. Typically, these tests have already been done by the time a client comes to see me, and if they show positive results a course of antibiotics can make a big difference.
Of course, a round of antibiotics will kill off not only the bad guys, but also a lot of the good bacteria you need to assist in digesting your foods. Probiotics can help balance this, though sometimes you need to try several types to find the one you need.
International travel, camping, gardening… there are lots of ways you can get infected by parasites. Once, the entire city of Milwaukee was infected with cryptosporidium through the water supply, so don’t look at this as a stigma or judgement on your personal hygiene.
The host cycle of a parasitic infection can include acute phases and chronic phases. The life cycle of a parasite includes eggs, larvae, and adult stages, and it is important to target all three when eradicating the infection. Western anti-parasitic medication — Flagyl — will only get the adults, and it is not effective against all species, either. I advocate a gentle, herbal program for longer than 15 days to see the best effects. Then, you may still need to repeat the herbs 6 months to one year later, if the symptoms reappear.
By the way, testing for parasites is notorious for false negatives. If you suspect parasites, I always advocate doing a parasite cleanse without bothering with expensive, unreliable testing.
The villi are the little hairs that line the insides of your stomach. Their job is to sense the food that you eat and call for the correct enzymatic formula to digest the food into small enough particles so that the villi in your intestines can absorb the nutrition and assimilate it into your body. When you are chronically inflamed, the villi get smashed and flattened and are unable to do their job well. The food does not get broken down enough, absorption and assimilation doesn’t happen, and deficiencies develop. Enzymatic deficiencies cover intolerance, too, such as lactose or gluten intolerance.
I listed this last because I believe food sensitivities can be incited by any of the above-mentioned conditions, or perhaps you are simply a sensitive person who has unwittingly crossed their tolerance threshold through other circumstances.
Food sensitivities can manifest in a whole host of issues caused from inflammation in the body where it shouldn’t be: migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS, arthritis, MS, etc., etc., etc…. Food sensitivities likely play a role in every chronic condition that has inflammation at the root level.
The hopeful thing is that, if you can figure out the cause and address it appropriately, you can eliminate the irritable in IBS and lead a pain-free, “normal” life.
Cyndi is a 42-year old married mother diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. When she joined the Fight MS with Food project, her main symptom was extreme pain and itchiness on her upper right arm and shoulder. The skin there was constantly red and angry, inflamed and bumpy, giving her a lot of discomfort. She also complained of acid reflux/heartburn along with bloating, though she was more concerned about the pain in the arm that the doctors had definitively linked to her MS.
7/7/2011 We started Cyndi off with a gentle herbal parasite cleanse because a hidden parasitic infection may be at the root of many chronic inflammatory disorders. Short and simple: if you have parasites, you’ll never be fully well until you kill off the parasites.
8/19/2011 With the parasites gone, Cyndi took the state-of-the-art Mediator Release Test (MRT) that looked at how her blood responds to 150 common foods and chemicals. Although Cyndi had been a “healthy” eater before, she was still experiencing irrational inflammation manifesting in symptoms of MS, indicating some hidden sensitivities. After extensive interpretation and analysis of the blood test results together with professional dietary counseling, Cyndi altered her diet to include only the foods shown to cause the least amount of inflammatory response in her blood. She was off and ready to take charge of her health!
9/1/2011 The first weeks were the hardest. Limited to about 25 foods, it was a struggle to be creative and maintain interest in her allowed foods, even though she had come up with some delicious creations like a hard corn tostada shell topped with avocado together with scallops sauteed in sesame oil. After two weeks, the pain was receding and the itching was starting to feel better. She was identifying her personal care products that contained ingredients she now knew were irritating her body and was replacing them with safe alternatives. We added more foods to her allowed list, asking her to try them one at a time so that she could see if they made her react.
10/12/11 Today Cyndi said, “I found it so hard to believe that healthy things could do this to you, but everything has changed now.” The pain and itching in her arm are gone so long as she sticks to her safe foods. She is actively adding new foods and now knows that if she is going to react to a new food, her arm will start hurting within 1-2 days. What is really amazing is that the pain will clear up within just a few hours if she has been back on safe foods since the the new food trial.
She has noticed a marked change in her energy level. Where she used to poop out in the afternoons at work, to the point of having her head down on her desk many days, now she doesn’t even feel tired later in the day. She no longer has heartburn or bloating. She has noticed that 15 extra pounds disappeared from her body as she released inflammation. Her hands look visibly less puffy than they used to.
Conclusions: After only three months, indications of a reduction of chronic MS symptoms are visible. Since the client began the treatment protocols outlined in the Fight MS with Food project, she no longer lives with pain, has more energy, and a renewed vitality for life. There is every indication that the disease is moving into remission.
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment is in bringing Cyndi to a safe, stable state where she is able to track symptoms to their triggers, and giving her a road map to return to that safe place whenever she needs to stabilize her body. Even though she has flare-ups when she discovers a new food sensitivity, the duration and intensity have reduced to where they are gone by the following day. As time goes on, and she identifies more and more foods she can tolerate, she will be able to avoid the triggers and avoid the flare-ups completely. Since the damage done by MS is marked by inflammatory activity, her progress could indicate a pause in the progress of the disease. Regardless, she can now enjoy a happier, pain-free life.
*Additional note: As an unexpected bonus, her teenage daughter is feeling healthier, too, now that she is eating the foods that her mom does!