What You Need to Know About Parasites

Parasites are nasty little creatures that can cause big problems. Understandably, the thought of getting a parasite is usually met with disgust. But what many people don’t realize is that parasites are extremely common, and they affect millions of people every day. You don’t have to be in a remote area of the world to get parasites. People regularly get parasites from swimming in contaminated water, closely interacting with pets, eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated water. This is why it’s important for me to share what you need to know about parasites.

What are parasites and what do they do? 

The definition of a parasite is an organism that lives in or on an organism of another species (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense. 

In other words, they rob you and thrive while they deplete your energy, vitamins and minerals. 

Besides depleting nutrients, parasitic infections often impair micronutrient absorption. As mentioned in this study published by the National Library of Medicine, vitamin A, selenium, and zinc are especially important for immune function and resistance to parasitic infections, and those (including iron) are often depleted from the very infections themselves. This creates a toxic cycle for your immune system. 

How the standard American diet helps parasites thrive

There is an abundance of food available in the United States, but the standard American diet has only worsened immune function, making our resistance to parasites even less effective.

While Americans consume excessive calories, these calories are usually from highly processed, highly refined foods and oils. The most affordable, convenient foods are often nutrient-less and full of sugar and simple carbohydrates (that quickly turn into sugar in the body), which only harms the immune system, organs and cellular health. 

The majority of packaged foods in grocery store aisles are nearly devoid of bioavailable forms of nutrients like vitamin A, selenium and zinc, yet these are vital vitamins and minerals for your immune system to function well. In order to fight parasites and other infections, your immune system must be strong enough to fight them off. 

Interested in learning how you can improve your gut health? Click here. 

The consumption of pesticide-free vegetables and fruits is far from optimal in America, and less intake of fruits and vegetables only adds to the problem. Although most people eat too much, they don’t consume enough healthy nutrient-dense foods. 

Are all parasites harmful?

Brace yourself for what I’m about to tell you. Most people have some kind of parasite. Yes, that’s right. You likely do, too. 

However, not all parasites are considered extremely harmful to your health. Typically, they only affect your health when you have an overgrowth of parasites. 

Different kinds of parasites: 

  • Certain types of parasites can make you excessively sick quickly, such as cryptosporidium or giardia.
  • Other parasites may contribute to more chronic health issues by slowly depleting certain nutrients from the body. 
  • Some parasites are thought actually to be beneficial, especially in patients with autoimmune conditions.

What are the symptoms of parasite overgrowth?

Parasites are so common that many people don’t even notice when they have an infection because their symptoms are so minor. However, others are well aware they have an infection of some kind because of how serious their symptoms become. 

Since they are such a common occurrence, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of a parasitic infection. This will help you identify when you or your loved ones should be tested for parasites. 

When people have an acute infection (its initial stage), their symptoms can often be severe. 

Acute symptoms often involve:

Uncontrolled diarrhea
Abdominal pain
Vomiting

When the parasitic infection has gone without help, the infection can enter into a chronic state. 

Chronic symptoms can include: 

Gas/bloating
Diarrhea/loose stools
Constipation
Nausea
Anal itching
Hives, rashes, itching
Constant hunger/never feeling full
Fatigue due to nutritional deficiencies from the parasite (iron is classic, which can cause iron deficiency anemia)
And more

How do you get parasites?

By now you know the commonness of parasites is undeniable. You can come into contact with them doing normal, everyday activities, like drinking and eating contaminated foods and beverages, being in close contact with animals, or swimming in contaminated water. 

The most common ways of contracting a parasite include:

  • Eating contaminated food from undercooked meat
  • Drinking water or eating food that has fecal contamination 
  • Water from lakes, rivers, streams, etc.
  • Skin contact with soil contaminated with larvae or ingestion of the larvae

How do you know if you have a parasite?

While there are a few different ways to test for parasites, stool tests are widely considered to be the best test by most practitioners. 

Other ways to test for parasites are:

  • Endoscopy/colonoscopy by looking through a camera lens for evidence of parasites
  • Blood test to look for antibodies to certain parasites
  • Blood smear to look for parasites in the blood under the microscope
  • Absolute eosinophils and IgE are other blood markers that CAN be elevated with active parasites, but you can’t diagnose a parasite with just these markers.

Special note: 

Many practitioners believe that parasites are extremely tough to catch through testing. Even if the stool test is negative, they may continue with a parasite protocol if they think it may be the cause of your symptoms. 

Make sure to speak with your healthcare practitioner to see what course of action is suitable for your individual case. You may also want to find a local functional medicine practitioner in your area who can do the appropriate testing to see if you have parasites present upon testing.

If you have a parasite, what can be done?

If you have been told by a practitioner through testing or conjecture that you have a parasite, they may put you on a particular protocol. 

While they will undoubtedly assign a particular diet and set of supplements for you, you can also keep the following suggestions in mind. 

  1. Eat a clean, non-processed, organic diet with low amounts of sugar. Parasites love to feed off of sugar, so avoiding sugar and ingredients that quickly convert to sugar will help starve the parasites.  
  2. Find the best supplements and/or herbs to help target your parasite(s). There are several herbs that have been shown to be beneficial against parasites.

Common herbs used for parasites are:

  • Wormwood
  • Olive leaf extract
  • Black walnut
  • Berberine
  • Artemisia
  • Neem
  • Oregano oil
  • Grapefruit seed extract
  • Clove

What supplement works best for parasites?

What we suggest in our clinic

After running a three-day stool test to confirm the presence of parasites, we then determine which herbs will work the best for each person based on their health history and the type of parasite(s) they are experiencing. 

Each practitioner prefers certain products over others because they have worked more effectively for them with their patients/clients. In our clinic, we have had the most success using Paracid Pro

Paracid Pro has, by far, been the most effective supplement we have used against parasites.

Formulated with the goal of supporting the gastrointestinal flora by promoting balanced immunity, the plant compounds in this product also provide potent antioxidant support, to help fend off microbial challenges. The ingredients in this product support healthy microbial balance in the GI tract by supplying botanicals shown to create a hostile environment for microbes. Each capsule of this product includes sweet wormwood (150 mg), olive leaf extract (100 mg), black walnut hulls (85 mg) and artemisinin (25 mg).

Paracid Pro benefits include: 

  • Support for a healthy microbial balance in the GI tract
  • Support for healthy immune function

Please note: This product is not to be taken if you have an allergy to walnuts.

Summary

If you are concerned about parasites, make sure you have a reliable practitioner who can guide you through the diagnosing and treatment processes. 

Here are the highlights of this article’s information: 

  • Parasites are extremely common and affect millions of people every day. You don’t have to be in a remote area of the world to get parasites.
  • A parasite is an organism that lives in or on an organism of another species (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense.
  • Not all parasites are considered bad and most people are thought to have some type of parasite. However, many can be harmful to your health.
  • Acute parasitic infection symptoms often involve uncontrolled diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting.
  • Chronic symptoms of parasitic infections can include gas/bloating, diarrhea/loose stools, constipation, nausea, anal itching, hives, rashes, itching, constant hunger/never feeling full, fatigue due to nutritional deficiencies from the parasite (like iron), and many more.
  • Ways to test for parasites include stool testing, endoscopies/colonoscopies, blood tests, blood smears, and checking elevated absolute eosinophils, IgE and other blood markers (but you can’t diagnose a parasite with just these markers.)
  • Eat a clean, non-processed, organic diet with low amounts of sugar. Parasites love to feed off of sugar, so avoiding sugar and ingredients that quickly convert to sugar will help starve the parasites. 
  • Find the best supplements and/or herbs to help target your parasite(s). There are several herbs that have been shown to be beneficial against parasites.
  • Common herbs used for parasites include wormwood, olive leaf extract, black walnut, berberine, Artemisia, neem, oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract and clove.
  • In our experience, Paracid Pro has been the most effective supplement in aiding patients who have parasites. It supports healthy microbial balance in the GI tract and healthy immune function.

Share with your loved ones

I hope this information will help you in your health journey! 

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