I have been putting this post off for months until I could truly learn more and understand this topic. I am finally at the point where I *get* it!
Before we really get into this, let me say: in a perfect world where our minerals were balanced, we would NOT be able to harbor these gross pests like parasites, yeast, bacteria, and viruses. Bioavailable copper is the MOST critical nutrient for keeping these nasty things at bay. Nearly everyone has copper dysregulation and other mineral deficiencies at this point- and these are just 2 of the major issues out there that are plaguing people.
That being said- nearly everyone has parasites. They have different side effects for people because they can either live in your body without bothering you or they could completely ruin your health. Some people can be harboring parasites for years, even decades, without ever noticing. We pick up parasites from under-cooked foods (pork is a huge offender), unwashed produce, international travel, pets, and inadequate hygiene. They thrive in people that live on the Standard American Diet because of all of the sugar and processed carbs.
Before the Western world gave up on natural health, people used to actually de-worm themselves on a regular basis, usually with a spoonful of castor oil every so often. Nowadays, we de-worm our pets but we never even think that we are susceptible to the same issues! Times have changed so much that we ignore common sense.
Types of Parasites:
(Sourced from Body Ecology)
- Tapeworms, which can grow as long as 60 feet while living in the human intestines. There are currently more than 5,000 different species of tapeworm.
- Hookworms. If given the chance, they will suck blood from our intestinal walls.
- Giardia, a single-celled parasite that is usually the result of drinking infected waters. It typically survives in chlorinated water and commonly lives in mountain streams, earning it the name, “backpacker’s diarrhea.” About 2.5 million cases are reported annually. (1)
- Blood flukes. They mature first in snails and then complete their life cycle by burrowing through human skin and swimming through veins. Blood flukes infect more than 200 million people. There are also other species of flukes found living in the liver, lungs, and pancreas.
- In the case of malaria, a new generation of parasitic microbugs will burst from a single red blood cell.
- Pinworms, the most common roundworm in the United States. Worldwide, roughly 209 million people are infected. (2) The most common sign of pinworm infestation is anal itching at night, which is when the female pinworm migrates to the perineum to lay her eggs. Children are the most common carriers.
- One of the most common parasites to infect human beings is the yeast-like Blastocystis hominis, a single-celled parasitic organism that causes abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, and sometimes anal itching.
Symptoms of a Parasitic Infection:
- Gut issues: This will be the most common and obvious problem if you have a parasite. Gut healing does take time but if you are on a gut healing protocol and not seeing any benefits, then it may be time to address a possible underlying parasitic infection. Heartburn, bloating, constipation, gas, diarrhea, stomach pain- any type of gut related symptom can be a clue.
- FATIGUE: This seems like another obvious clue. If our bodies are being invaded by a foreign intruder, then we are not able to properly digest nutrients or eliminate toxins effectively.
- Auto-Immune Disease: The strength of the immune system is key for regulating illness so when parasites are present, your immunity is very weak. Over time, parasite infections, mineral imbalances, and gut issues lead to illnesses like lupus, MS, and RA.
- SUGAR CRAVINGS: We tend to get sugar cravings when our bodies are craving energy. Parasites can steal our food so we tend to lack nutrients that help us function. Sugar gives us such a quick burst of energy so this is why it is such a common craving when health suffers.
- Mental Distress: Anxiety, depression, bipolar, eye aches, visual hallucinations, behavioral changes, schizophrenia, a strange sensation that something is stuck in the head, and especially brain fog. We all know about the connection between the gut and the brain. When we have critters in our gut, they severely interfere with nutrient absorption as well as neurotransmitter health.
- Insomnia: This is especially true around the full moon when parasites tend to be more active.
- Other symptoms: joint and muscle pain, acne, skin disorders, dark circles under the eyes, frequent infections, chronic swollen lymph nodes, inability to lose or gain weight, teeth grinding, and ESPECIALLY anal itching!
Diagnosing Parasites and Treatment:
Obviously the most common way of “diagnosing” parasites is to notice them in your stool. That doesn’t exactly tell you what kind they are but there are many general courses of treatment you can choose once you see them. There are some stool tests that help figure out which kinds of parasites you have which is ideal so you know exactly what you are dealing with. A doctor can help figure out testing for you if you have a nice, cooperative, and knowledgeable doctor. They can also help figure out whether natural remedies or clinical anti-parasitic drugs would be best for your personal condition. There are several websites around that you can also order kits from like these from Walk In Lab.
There are DOZENS of natural treatments for eliminating parasites. It’s best to employ several techniques to help eliminate parasites in all 3 stages: eggs, larval and adult. Most experts say it is even more effective to use these foods/herbs/etc starting a few days before the full moon and continue them for at least a week afterwards. The full moon is when the little monsters are most active so starting a full days before the moon can catch them off guard.
My Top Tips for Eradicating Parasites:
- Garlic- eat raw or you can even look into garlic enemas!
- Eliminate processed sugars
- Colonics/enemas/salt flushes
- Increase fiber intake
- Pumpkin seeds/oil/butter- these help to paralyze and eliminate parasites
- Cloves– Cloves are the highest food source of manganese, an essential mineral that is critical for proper detoxification. Cloves help to kill parasite eggs especially. Make a tea with cloves and sip through the day to get the benefit of this awesome herb.
- Gut healing supplements like HCl, probiotics, fermented foods, and digestive enzymes
- Limit raw foods and eat plenty of high- quality protein to help strengthen your body with the essential amino acids for rebuilding tissue (think beef, gelatin, and eggs)
- Wormwood/black walnut/cloves- This is part of the famous Hulda Clark parasite cleanse which is apparently effective for about 100 types of parasites. There is also a tincture with these ingredients from NOW. While this method seems extremely effective, I would suggest healing your adrenals and liver as much as possible first before embarking on this cleanse. If your body is not ready to handle the die off, then things can get VERY uncomfortable very quickly. I would suggest using any of the other methods until you can feel strong enough to handle this combination of herbs. Dr Clark also has this interesting device called a Zapper that is supposed to kill parasites. Update: I recently found this tincture from Gaia Herbs that has the same basics of the NOW complex, but it also has some strong bitter herbs that help bile flow- very important while clearing out the parasites and yeast!
- Papaya seeds- you can read ALL about how to use papaya seeds here (study)
- Bentonite Clay (extremely helpful for flushing out toxins as long as you stay hydrated!)
- Castor oil Packs, especially over the liver and colon
- Nutrients like zinc, vitamin C, copper and retinol- think pumpkin seeds, beef liver, beef, cod liver oil, whole food vitamin C supplement and citrus fruits
- Programs like ParaGone– this product is extremely popular and people have great things to say about it. I would probably not use it as a first resort though, especially if you are in adrenal fatigue.
- Boron water- Check out my Mineral Mavens group for information on this. Some Mavens are getting great results from it!
- Or check out this amazing herbal dewormer recipe that you can make yourself and control the dosage on.
- BioRay products! I’m in love with BioRay Liver Life, and they have a few choices for getting rid of parasites too: Artesemia and Clove, Belly Mend, and Microbe Slayer. read more here.
Symptoms of Parasite Die Off:
The only thing worse than knowing that you have a parasite inside of you is dealing with the effects of it dying off. I am SORRY! It just has to happen though. When parasites finally start dying, they get ANGRY. They create all sorts of symptoms. The most common ones are: brain fog, anxiety, constipation (or the opposite), a feeling of being disconnected from oneself, insomnia, any gut flare-ups, anger, depression, hopelessness, headaches, skin crawling, fatigue, weakness, easy bruising, mood swings, and bad breath.
As any nasty thing starts to die inside of us, we can get ammonia build up. The dead and dying yeast/parasites let off this horrible gas and it can overload your liver and brain. Ammonia can interfere with glucose metabolism as well, which can cause a whole other slew of symptoms, especially if you have adrenal fatigue. Using the tips above can help keep things moving to prevent the ammonia build up, but a few things that can help are l-orthinine, activated charcoal (although this can effect even good nutrients so don’t take with food, but it can have an instantaneous effect on die-off symptoms!), lots of fiber like beans, oatmeal, nuts, or even pysllium husk. Helping glutathione production is essential as well to help keep the liver functioning.
Most importantly: STAY HYDRATED. I’m not one for recommending high amounts of plain water, but we definitely need more when we are trying to flush out parasites. Half your body weight in ounces sounds about right and stick with water (and add sole or unrefined salt to it), herbal infusions, and coconut water.
Remember that these symptoms are TEMPORARY and are a sign that the buggers are finally going to leave you alone. Try to use several of the tips above to help eliminate them so your symptoms are more manageable. Enemas are probably the most effective way to get quick relief from any terrible symptoms. But keeping the colon moving is the MOST essential things to remember. It may be hard but try to stay positive through the process and remind yourself that you are HEALING finally. 🙂
Sources and More Resources: