Did you know that parasitic infections are more common than you would think? It doesn’t just take drinking contaminated water in a foreign country to pick one up! You might think that having a parasitic infection would cause very obvious signs and symptoms, as some parasitic infections do; however, other types of parasites cause very subtle signs and symptoms that you wouldn’t necessarily attribute to this concern.

What’s important to note is that maintaining a strong immune system and gut microbiome are keys to preventing this type of an infection. Most individuals who are susceptible to parasitic infections are those who have compromised immune systems and unhealthy digestion due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as inadequate sleep, high sugar diets, and chronic stress.

Risk Factors:

  • Pets, live/work around farm animals
  • Transmitted between family members
  • Daycare centers
  • Mosquitos
  • Sexual transmission
  • Foreign travel
  • Drinking untreated water
  • Consumption of raw meat or fish
  • Not washing produce carefully
  • Frequent antibiotic use

Symptoms:

  • Digestive disorders:
    • Chronic gas or bloating
    • Abdominal pain or tenderness
    • Changes in appetite
    • Heartburn
    • Leaky gut
    • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
    • Burning/itching of anus
  • Immune imbalances:
    • Chronic allergy/sensitivity
    • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Dermatological disorders
    • Dry, scaly itchy skin
    • Premature aging
    • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Metabolic disorders
    • Chronic fatigue
    • Waking up tired
    • Difficulty losing or gaining weight
    • Normal weight with a large abdomen
    • Liver problems
  • Musculoskeletal
    • Chronic pain
    • Joint pain
    • Weakness
  • Hormonal imbalances
    • Adrenal fatigue
  • Nutrient deficiencies
    • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Neurological
    • ADHD
    • Depression
    • Brain fog
    • Headaches
  • Other: deep nocturnal unproductive cough, teeth grinding, chills, excess dehydration

Assessment:

  • Some markers from routine blood work may indicate a parasitic infection, such as a CBC showing elevated eosinophils (>3) and increased monocyte (>7).
  • To confirm the infection, a comprehensive stool analysis is recommended as the next step. I personally like GI Effects by Genova Diagnostics, as it doesn’t just assess for parasites, but also for inflammation in the gut and imbalance in the gut microbiome.

 

Natural Treatments:

Parasite Cleanse Diet: 

  • Eat a diet void of added sugar, grains, and alcohol, as parasites feed off of sugar. Even fruits should be avoided during the cleanse. Avoid dairy products and pork as well.
  • Foods that are beneficial during the cleanse:
    • Garlic (make sure to chop it and let it sit 10 minutes before ingesting to promote its antimicrobial properties)
    • Onions
    • Coconut oil
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil
    • Spices: thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric
  • Increase your fiber intake to promote healthy bowel movements and promoting the release of the parasites from the colon.
    • Achieve about 50 grams of fiber per day from fresh vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. These are listed according to the highest fiber source per cup (except for nuts and seeds, which are per ounce).
      • Vegetables: acorn squash, collard greens, artichokes, butternut squash, parsnips, kale, broccoli, carrots, spinach, beet greens, brussel sprouts, snap beans, okra, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, asparagus, white button mushrooms, turnips, rutabagas, fennel
      • Legumes: navy beans, small white beans, adzuki beans, split peas, lentils, pinto beans, mung beans, black beans, chickpeas, great northern beans, kidney beans, large white beans, black eyed peas
      • Nuts and Seeds: chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, dried coconut, sesame seeds, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans
  • Receive half of your body weight in fluid ounces of filtered water each day to flush out toxins and maintain regular bowel movements.

Support your body’s detoxification systems: 

  • Engage in regular exercise to promote circulation and assist in healthy bowel movements.
  • Consider a coffee enema conducted at home or receive a colonic treatment to flush out toxins from the gut.
  • Infrared saunas are another great way to detox your system and ease burden on the liver.

Helpful Anti-Parasitic Herbs and Supplements: 

  • Anti-Parasitic Herbs:
    • Artemisinin
    • Oregano oil
    • Clove oil
    • Wormwood
    • Black Walnut
    • Goldenseal
    • Oregon Grape
    • Olive Leaf Extract
    • Berberine HCL
    • Barberry
  • Probiotics
    • A multi-strain high dose probiotic (20-100 billion live cells) can be beneficial to assist in rebuilding a healthy gut microbiome, and preventing harmful pathogens from overgrowing. Some individuals may have symptoms with a higher dosage, so discontinue use if any worsening of abdominal concerns occur.
  • Activated Charcoal
    • As parasites start to die off, they can release toxins and create further symptoms. Activated charcoal can help to bind those toxins and limit any potential side effects from the cleanse.

 

If you have any questions or need specific guidance on evaluating your health concerns, schedule your complimentary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Yas by booking online or calling 480-779-8854.