Intestinal Parasites in Humans
Almost everyone has parasites. It’s simply a fact of life. It is estimated that ninety percent of humans will have a problem with parasites in their lifetime.
Parasites are not just something that other people get – a malady reserved for citizens of developing countries. Everywhere we go, during just about everything we do, North Americans are vulnerable to parasitic infestation.
Parasites as among the six most dangerous diseases that infect humans; Parasites outrank cancer as the number one global killer, and account for many of the digestive woes from which people suffer.
It is estimated that approximately fifty million American children are infected with worm parasites.
Why Are Parasites So Prevalent?
Your intestines provide the perfect breeding ground for parasites who enjoy making their homes nestled within impacted waste as well as in the linings of colon walls.
Living inside our intestines, these microorganisms gain the upper hand by virtue of their sheer numbers – both in kind and in population. They thrive because of the unique ways in which they have adapted their life cycles in order to ensure the continuation of their species within their unsuspecting hosts: us.
Symptoms of a Parasitic Infestation
Sometimes you can be infected without having symptoms; however, there are often signs, including:
- Allergies to many different types of foods
- Anemia (low red blood count)
- Bloating/abdominal swelling
- Bloody stools
- Bouts of diarrhea and inconsistent bowel habits
- Flu-like symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and fever
- Foul-smelling stools that get worse in the afternoon and evening
- Gas and cramping
- Itching around the anus, especially at night.
- Unhealthy Weight loss with a ravenous appetite
Parasites Often Elude Diagnostic Testing
Parasites range from the stuff of late night horror shows – measuring in at several feet in length – to those that are invisible to the naked eye. And while they are fond of the colon, this is not the only place parasites can be found.
Just about any part of your body is vulnerable to infestation: the lungs, liver, esophagus, brain, blood, muscles, joints, skin…and even your eyes!
There are more than a hundred different types of parasites who enjoy living out their lives inside of human beings. In the United States alone, one-third of nearly six thousand fecal specimens tested came back positive for nineteen species of intestinal parasites.
The topic of parasites is an emotional one. No one likes to think that their body is being inhabited by disease carrying ‘guests’ which literally eat you from the inside out.
According to Eric Ottesen, head of the Clinical Parasitology Section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “At least 40 percent of the world’s population is infected by worms. ” This would mean that over 2.5 billion people have parasites.
Geoffery Lapage takes an even more adamant stance in the book ‘Animals Parasitic in Man’, and states:
“There is no part of the human body, nor indeed, any part of the bodies of the hosts of parasitic animals in general, which is not visited by some kind of parasitic animal at some time or another, during their life histories.“
One thing should be painfully obvious: Parasites aren’t something that plagues only third-world countries.
The decision to protect yourself often occurs after you know what is endangering you and how it does so. The same is true with parasites. The idea that people in North America could be infested with parasites is a concept foreign to most of us. Therefore, an education as to what parasites are and what they do is in order.
The term ‘parasite’ is used to describe organisms that get their food by living on or inside of other living things. The terms ‘worm’ and ‘parasite’ are often interchangeable.
The three major groups of parasites are: Protozoans (organisms which have only one cell), Cestodes (tapeworms), and Nematodes (roundworms). While cestodes and nematodes can sometimes be seen with the naked eye, protozoans must be viewed with the aid of a microscope.
Some of the more common (and descriptive) names of parasites are:
Flatworms, Tapeworms, Stickpin worms, Whiteworms, Redworms, Blackworms, Spiders (not arachnid), Inchworms, Fuzzballs, Hookworms, Little Fish, Threadworms, and Pinworms. To complicate matters even more, there are over 1000 species of parasites. There are also often several different varieties of parasitical worms for each category. For instance, the beef tapeworm (Taenia saginata), the pork tapeworm (T. solium), the dog tapeworm (E. granulosus), the dwarf tapeworm (H. nana), and the fish tapeworm (D. latum) are the five basic types of tapeworms found in humans. The list for other distinctive parasites could go on and on.
You – The Parasite’s Feast
Parasites are leeches. Its job, its entire mission in life, is to eat, reproduce (lay eggs), and secrete toxins.
They live off of what you eat and take the nutrients that you need to live a healthy life. Once parasites have infested your body, especially those that line your intestinal tract, they get all of the best nutrients and leave you the leftovers.
When we eat, our body digests the food and extracts those nutrients that nourish us. Parasites are able to feast on the cells of our body and suck the nutrition from them.
For all intent and purposes, parasites have ‘first choice’ when it comes to nutrients. Due to the way our body processes and stores nutrients, the parasites can get the best nutrients and leave us with substandard nutrition.
This means that you can eat the best foods, take the best supplements, and in time, with enough parasites, your body can actually begin to starve to death from a lack of nutrition.
Tapeworms are prime examples of parasites that feed directly off of your food. They attach themselves to the intestinal wall and eat part of the nutrients that you ingest.
Whipworm is another example:
The whipworm is an insidious little creature that actually uses your own body for food! These worms use a digestive fluid to convert colon tissue into a liquid that can be sucked up.
As you might guess, those that feed off the food that you ingest live mainly in your digestive tract. Other parasites, which are microscopic in size, can use your bloodstream to travel and can be found throughout the body. They can reside in your joints, where they eat the calcium linings of your bones or around nerves, where they actually ingest the myelin sheath (a protein coating that protects your nerves). This could cause some forms of painful arthritis and can potentially disrupt nerve transmissions from the brain. Erosion of the myelin sheath is one of the main causes of Multiple Sclerosis.
How Do Parasites Harm Us?
Regardless of how they survive, parasites are dangerous. Not only do they use you as a nutritional delicacy, your body is forced to absorb and try to dispose of the parasite’s waste excretions.
It is a fact of life that each and every organism secretes or excretes some type of waste material. Parasites are no exception. However, the secretions of parasites are poison to our bodies.
Whenever there is a chronic parasite infection, resulting in massive toxin excretion, our body is forced into a state called toxic overload . This can weaken our immune system and leave us susceptible to illness.
As stated earlier, toxic overload is a constant danger. Whenever the lungs, kidneys, skin, and bowels (the four cleansing systems) are stressed beyond their limits, toxic overload occurs. This can easily happen if you are infected with parasites and are exposed to toxic substances, excessive alcohol, smoking, nutritionally deficient (over processed) foods, xenoestrogens, or petrochemicals.
Disorders such as toxic bowel syndrome cause a domino effect in your body. Poisons that can’t be absorbed by the bowel are passed into the liver. Once the liver’s capacity is exceeded, it excretes them into the bloodstream where the lungs, kidneys, and skin can quickly become overburdened and unhealthy.
According to Dr. Hulda Clark, “Seizures are caused by a single roundworm, Ascaris, getting into the brain. Schizophrenia and depression are caused by parasites in the brain. Asthma is caused by Ascaris in the lungs. Diabetes is caused by the pancreatic fluke of cattle, Eurytrema. Migraines are caused by the threadworm, Strongyloides. Acne rosacea is caused by a Leishmania. Much human heart disease is caused by dog heartworm, Dirofilaria.
And the list goes on. ” – The Cure For All Cancers.
Larger parasites reproduce by laying eggs. These eggs attach to the intestinal walls and once hatched, feed on the food that we ingest. Smaller parasites reproduce in a manner similar to a virus or bacteria.
This process is repeated over and over and over. Unfortunately, unless there are large, visibly apparent parasites, most of us don’t recognize that we have a problem and we continue to become unhealthier.
To make matters worse, some parasites have been known to live in a human host for 20 or 30 years.
For these reasons you should want them out of your body and out of your life. Before this can happen, you’ve got to determine if you are infected.
The Human Host
According to Dr. Hulda Clark, ” The human species is now heavily infested with the fluke family of parasites, particularly the intestinal fluke Fasciolopsis buskii, but also the sheep liver fluke Fasciola hepatica, the pancreatic fluke of cattle Eurytrema pancreatica, and the human liver fluke Clonorchis sinensis. This increase is due to the establishment of a new “biological reservoir” in cattle, fowl, and household pets. In the presence of solvents, these flukes can complete their entire life cycle in the human body, not requiring a snail as an intermediate host, as they usually do. These solvents are isopropyl alcohol, benzene, methanol, xylene, toluene and others, which occur as residues in our foods and pollute our body – products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, lotions, and cosmetics. These solvents are also contaminants of animal feed, and thus are responsible for establishing this new reservoir or source of infection. “
Even if you’re a vegetarian, you aren’t safe. Dr. Thomas Brooks estimates that the overall incidence of E. Histolytica (a plant-based parasite) in the U.S. is approximately 3.9% – 10%. You would think that if you had worms in your body that you would be aware of it. This isn’t always the case according to Thomas J. Brooks. In the book ‘The Essentials of Medical Parasitology’ Brook says, “The tapeworms are among the oldest parasites of the human race. Indeed, some species have become so well adapted to live in the human intestine that the host (man) may be entirely (without symptoms )asymptotic.“
This is even more incredible when you consider the sizes that parasites can grow to be. Dr. Brooks tells us that the fish tapeworm is the largest of the human tapeworms. Some of them have been known to grow to be 33 feet long. These worms can lay more than 1,000,000 eggs a day.
Giardia is the major cause of day-care diarrhea. Twenty to thirty per cent of workers in day care centers harbor Giardia. Most have no symptoms; they are merely carriers.
A study at Johns Hopkins medical school a few years ago demonstrated antibodies against Giardia in twenty per cent of randomly chosen blood samples from patients in the hospital.
Giardia contaminates streams and lakes throughout North America and has caused epidemics of diarrheal disease and chronic constipation in several small cities by contaminating their drinking water. One epidemic, in Placerville, California, was followed by an epidemic of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which swept through the town’s residents at the time of the Giardia epidemic.
If some parasites can’t be easily detected does this mean that it’s hopeless? Not at all. Often parasites leave distinctive, tale-tale signs.
The pinworm is a good example of this. The most common symptom of pinworms is itchiness in the anal area. Pinworm infestations affecting women often occurs in the vulva, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Dr. T. Brooks has written that these “worms deposit their eggs mostly at night, contaminating pajamas and bed linen.
The eggs are readily transported through the air, and it is not uncommon to find them in every room of the house …complications are much more common in women than in men. “
Since not all parasites are so readily identified, is there a way to know if you’re infected?
Yes. The best way is to have yourself tested.
The following are just a few of the symptoms that may be associated with parasites:
Symptoms & Disorders Related To Parasitic Infestation
- Feel tired most of the time (Chronic Fatigue)?
- Have digestive problems? (gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea that come and go but never really clear up)
- Have gastrointestinal symptoms and bulky stools with excess fat in feces?
- Suffer with food sensitivities and environmental intolerance?
- Developed allergic-like reactions and can’t understand why?
- Have joint and muscle pains and inflammation often assumed to be arthritis?
- Suffer with anemia or iron deficiency (pernicious anemia)?
- Have hives, rashes, weeping eczema, cutaneous ulcers, swelling, sores, papular lesions, itchy dermatitis?
- Suffer with restlessness and anxiety?
- Experience multiple awakenings during the night particularly between 2 and 3 am?
- Grind your teeth?
- Have an excessive amount of bacterial or viral infections?
- Difficulty gaining or losing weight no matter what you do?
- Did a Candida program which either didn’t help at all or helped somewhat but you still can’t stay away from bread, alcohol, fruit, or fruit juices?
- Just can’t figure out why you don’t feel really great and neither can your doctor?
- itchy ears, nose, anus
- forgetfulness, slow reflexes, gas and bloating, unclear thinking;
- loss of appetite, yellowish face
- fast heartbeat, heart pain, pain in the navel;
- eating more than normal but still feeling hungry;
- pain in the back, thighs, shoulders;
- numb hands;
- burning sensation in the stomach;
- drooling while sleeping;
- damp lips at night, dry lips during the day, grinding teeth while asleep;
- bed wetting;
- women: problems with the menstrual cycle;
- men: sexual dysfunction;
These are only possible symptoms, and please keep in mind that not everyone that has a few of these symptoms should automatically make the assumption that they are infected; however, if you suspect infection or have been unsuccessfully treated for a problem, it is worth doing some specific parasite cleansing.
“The distressing thing about parasites is that if you get rid of them, you can easily be re-infected. Married couples tend to have them together, and if one person is treated for the parasitic infection, they are often re-infected by their spouse. It is extremely important that both be treated at the same time, and in many cases, the children should be treated along with their parents.”
Since parasites are often hard to detect and infection can easily reoccur, it is suggested that you treat yourself at least once every few months or so.
How Do We Get Parasites?
Before you discount the idea that you could be infected by parasites consider the following. According to experts we can become infected with parasites through very common activities such as:
- Shaking hands
- Sharing someone else’s soda can
- Kissing (even on the cheek),
- Intimate sexual contact
- Inhaling dust containing the dried form of these organisms
- Drinking water from lakes, rivers, streams, and creeks
- Eating meat
- Eating Salads
- Working in the dirt ie: gardening, farming.
Protecting Yourself and Your Family
The following are simple, common sense ways to protect yourself from parasites or, at the very least, reduce your exposure.
• If you wish to reduce your risk of contracting parasites don’t consume unsterilized water, unwashed vegetables, or undercooked meats or fish.
• It is also imperative that you wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating.
• Food preparation, you should always wash your hands after handling raw meats and any utensils used in their preparation (this would include countertops and/or cutting boards). Doing so will not only reduce your exposure to possible parasitic infestation, it will also reduce the chances of you or your family members from being made ill by the bacteria that is often present in raw meats (especially pork and poultry).
• A very common source of parasite is pets.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that you can contract parasites from your pets. Anyone who has ever had a puppy or kitten knows that ‘worming medicine’ is staple that can’t be dismissed if they are going to reach adulthood. If we de-worm our pets for their health, shouldn’t we also take the same care of ourselves?
Whether you want to admit it or not, dogs, cats, gerbils, ferrets, and almost every other household pet has one filthy habit – they clean their anus using their tongues. The same tongue that they use to give you or your children ‘kisses.’ Birds and reptiles also expose you to the risk of parasites.
If you don’t happen to own a pet you are still a candidate for parasites.
Mosquitos transfer some parasites, such as the thread- like parasitic roundworm, called the filarial worm, from person to person.
The Silver Lining
When one enters into a discussion about parasites the tone can quickly turn grim. It doesn’t need to. We should approach the possibility of parasitic infestation the same way we should approach any possible disorder. First, it’s only a possibility, not a fact.
Secondly, if we are concerned about ridding ourselves of parasites we simply need to take the appropriate steps needed to do so. I believe that at least one last comment about parasitic infestation is warranted. Just because a person is afflicted with parasites does not mean that the person is dirty. This is a very common misconception.
Certainly unsanitary living or eating conditions predisposes us to a greater risk of contracting parasites, but parasites are a fact of life.
As you’ve already read, they can reside in our food, water, and soil (missionaries – who often return from foreign countries infested with parasites – know this fact well). They can be transferred from person to person, animals to people, and people to animals. So, if you or someone you know becomes infected with parasites, simply decide to take care of the problem.
Finally, removing parasites can be as simple as taking a course of dietary supplements that have been specifically designed to rid the body of these unwelcome guests. Compared to the damage that parasites can cause, the supplements are very inexpensive.
For thousands of years, humans used herbs for worming purposes. THINK about this – if these herbs didn’t work or were harmful – those folks would have died. Since man has entered into modern times, these age -old remedies have been replaced with modern medicines and chemicals. However, most parasites have adapted themselves to this and are harder than ever to destroy. Parasites, like roaches, have been around since the dawn of man and will continue to plague us due to their tremendous adaptability.
Many older people remember the home remedies for parasites such as the very commonplace castor oil treatment. Before the 1930’s it was common and routine for families to worm themselves every six months. In the 1800’s, medical doctors would supervise the biannual de-worming process for their patients. The European medical community of today still recommends biannual deworming.
Many asthmatics actually have lung worms – heart worms are causing heart problems and the list goes on and on. Most cases of problems caused by parasites are not known unless it is verified by autopsy. Just one example on this subject: the television show “60 Minutes” documented the story of many children who died of unknown causes. Bloated stomachs was one of their symptoms. Their autopsies revealed that they had all died from dog heart tapeworm infestations. These children had been innocently infected from dogs and only after their death was it known that they could have EASILY been spared!
Let’s review how a modern American doctor tests for parasites. There are over 1,000 species of parasites that can live in the human body. Modern medicine has tests for about 45 of these. Therefore, tests are available for only about 5% of parasites. The accuracy rate of these tests are 20%. After the math, we come up with a 1% accuracy rate. It all boils down to this – if you have any type of parasite in your body, you only have a 1% chance of finding out for sure with a medical test. The testing consists of a lab technician working with a stool sample. This misses blood parasites and flukes and most all other species. Most people think -”If I had worms, I would know it.” Probably not! If an occasional worm is passed in the stool – how many of us would even see it?
REMEMBER – it’s the parasite’s mission to remain undetected. They do not want to leave the host because they need their host to survive.
Natural Remedies for Intestinal Parasites
Garlic (Allium sativa) has been found to have activity against Ascaris (roundworm), Giardia lamblia, Trypanosoma, Plasmodium, and Leishmania.
Garlic is available in capsule and tablet form and as whole garlic cloves.
The herb goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) has been used historically for infections involving the mucous membranes in the body, such as respiratory tract infections.
3) Black walnut
Black walnut is a folk herbal remedy used for deworming, especially ringworm and athlete’s foot. It’s the juice of unripe hulls of black walnut that are used for parasites and fungal infections.
4) Wormwood The herb wormwood (Artemesia annua) has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy for intestinal parasites. Preliminary research suggests wormwood may have activity against Ascaris lumbricoides, Plasmodium, Schistosoma mansoni, and Giardia.
Wormwood contains sesquiterpene lactones, which are thought to weaken parasite membranes.
Wormwood can be found in tea, liquid extract, or capsule form. However, the pure oil is considered toxic and should not be ingested. The safety and effectiveness of this herb has not been established in clinical trials.
Wormseed (Chenopodium ambrosioides) is a traditional herbal remedy in the tropics for expelling roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms.
Concentrated wormseed oil is too potent to use, so many herbalists consider wormseed tea to be preferable. More scientific studies are needed to confirm the historical usage of this herb and its safety.
6) Pumpkin Seeds
Traditionally, pumpkin seeds (Curcubita pepo) have been used as a remedy for tapeworms and roundworms.
Herbalists often recommend large amounts, up to 25 ounces for adults. The seeds are often mashed and mixed with juice. Two or three hours after consuming the pumpkin seeds, a laxative is often recommended to help cleanse the intestines.
The clinical safety and effectiveness of pumpkin seeds has not been scientifically studied.
7) Grapefruit seed extract
Grapefruit seed extract is usually found in liquid form in health food stores. Although preliminary research suggests it may have antimicrobial and antiyeast properties, there is little research to date on its effectiveness for parasites.
Diet These are some dietary recommendations often suggested to support the intestinal parasite cleansing process:
- Temporarily avoid coffee, refined sugar, alcohol, and refined foods. Intestinal parasites LOVE sugar!Eat anti-parasitic foods. Try eating more raw garlic. Pineapple contains the digestive enzyme bromelain. A diet rich in pineapple can help to clear certain parasites such as tapeworms. Papaya seeds contain enzymes that help to digest protein. They can be chewed, but watch out, they are as hot as mustard seeds.
- Carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash are some foods that are rich in beta carotene, a precursor for vitamin A. Vitamin A is thought to increase resistance to penetration by larvae. Vitamin C and zinc also support the immune system
- Probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacteria, and L. bulgaricus can help to rebuild beneficial intestinal bacteria. 1 – 2 tablespoons of REAL sauerkraut (not the vinegar based) a few times a day provides a bounty of natural probiotics.
- Tumeric and cloves are other spices that can help fight parasites. Cloves kill the eggs of intestinal parasites, which helps to eliminate reinfestation.
9) Intestinal cleansing
Intestinal cleansing involves the use of a higher-fiber diet plus supplements such as psyllium husks, citrus pectin, papaya extract, bentonite clay, activated charcoal, pumpkin seeds, beet root, and/or flaxseeds and even Food grade Diatomaceous Earth. Ingest 1 tbsp of DE every day for 2 weeks and then increase dosage to 2 TB daily to clean the colon, the blood system, GI tract, kill yeast infections (which can occur because of intestinal parasites), and kill intestinal parasites.
Other Natural Remedies
- Olive leaf
- Oregon grape