Parasites are microscopic bacteria that can live all around us. The world is full of bacterial cultures; some good for us and some bad. Parasites are definitely in the bad category and are very different from the many good types of bacteria we hear about when discussing gut health and probiotics. Parasites are microscopic creatures that feed off human tissue and the food we eat. It’s basically us versus them.
Parasites can come from the following:
- Animals and contact with animal feces (or if you let your dog lick you in the mouth, etc.)
- Unhealthy water
- Fecal matter
- Fish (although many fish contain parasites cooking is said to kill them)
- Eggs and any other animal products (even great sources of sustainable animal products can harbor parasites at times)
- Traveling to foreign countries or exposure to contaminated water
- Intestinal bacterial infections that weaken immunity
- Previous exposure to food poisoning (often the organism enters the body at that time and uses the human as a host for years afterwards)
Different types of parasites
Various types of parasites exist in the form of what we know as worms:
- Tape worms (enter the body through raw animal products and live in the small intestine)
- Heart worms (usually found only in pets but if you come in contact with fecal matter or animal excretions, it is possible to obtain one)
- Pin worms (the most common and prevalent type of parasite today; they lay eggs at the anus, live in the small intestine, and because they are airborne they can migrate to other hosts)
- Hookworms and threadworms (normally ingested in contaminated water but can exist on the ground or in animal feces and enter through the feet; their eggs can survive up to 10 years!)
- Round worms (normally found in contaminated foods, food that is old or spoiled, raw animal products and animal manure/feces; they are largely found on factory farms)
How do you know if you have one?
The clearest way to be sure is to have a stool test done; these are very effective at locating parasites and confirming if you have one or not. However, there are other signs that you can look for before getting tested:
- Itching and rashes (signs the parasites are alive and feeding, irritating the tissues)
- Anal itching at night (Female parasites lay their eggs at night in the anal region, triggering the itching. It is not known why this happens at night.)
- Frequent candida outbreaks or multiple fungal infections that do not respond to treatments
- Cravings for sugar or frequently feeling hungry and tired after eating (This happens because the organisms eat the food first and leave you hungry, but it also exhausts the body and digestive system.)
- Frequent infections and illnesses with digestive symptoms
- IBS with no successful treatment and sensitivity to sugars of all kinds
- Carbohydrate intolerance
- Headaches, moodiness and fatigue
- Sudden outrage or unexplained panic attacks, especially when you haven’t eaten
- Extreme weight loss or gain that fluctuates no matter what you eat
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Always wheezing and coughing without knowing why
- Itching or tingling on the scalp
- Frequent acne, psoriasis and other yeast overgrowth signs
- Unexplained dizziness
Although some of these sound extreme, those who have had parasites and clear them up report having no more signs of any of these issues.
How do you get rid of them?
The only way to rid the body of a parasite or multiple parasites is through the stool. If you are passing worm-like structures this is typically parasites leaving the body. Anal itching can occur as a result. There are several ways to know if you have passed a parasite: investigating your stool or having a stool test, feeling as though your body has passed a massive blockage and symptoms begin to clear up, or a sudden improvement in symptoms with no known reason.
Unfortunately, to get rid of parasites is much easier said than done. They know how to morph into other forms and hide from many remedies. However, many herbs, roots and other plants have been shown to be very effective in getting rid of parasites when combined:
- Cranberry leaf
- Black pepper
- Apple cider vinegar
- Marshmallow root
- Black walnut hulls
- Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil
The herbs and plants listed above work by killing harmful microorganisms and causing cellular death of the bad bacteria. This can cause a terrible die-off reaction with symptoms including pain, stomach cramping, and digestive upset. Symptoms may get worse as the bugs try to stay alive. However, you should continue to proceed slowly; if you stop taking them it could trigger worse symptoms as the parasites take the opportunity to kill off good bacteria in the body.
Please note these should be combined for best effect and should be eaten in a diet that eliminates all sugars, processed foods, refined or gluten-containing grains, foods that contain yeast or mold (such as baker’s yeast, cheese and peanuts) and anything that turns to sugar quickly in the bloodstream (high-glycemic foods and alcohol). All these foods feed the bad bacteria.
It is highly advisable to take an enzyme supplement that can break down what is known as the “biofilm” that parasites and bad bacteria harbor within in the body. This biofilm that they create in the tissue protects the parasite and can prevent certain foods from being digested. An enzyme supplement is recommended.
There are many products on the market that advertise as being yeast-treatment and parasite-treatment enzyme products. They should include the following types of enzymes:
Some products may have additional enzymes that will help break down biofilm. The enzymes also help the body to digest food. Once the organisms die off, the body can receive nutrition and begin to heal and repair.
When to take herbal supplements for parasites
Timing is everything when it comes to taking antiparasitic remedies. Take them at least an hour before you eat and always on an empty stomach. Do not take them with probiotics as they may kill off the good bacteria. Take a probiotic with your meal to ensure you’re getting the good bacteria into your body. They will help kill the parasites and support your body. By taking the herbal remedies well before your meal, they will have time to begin their work and then you can restore your gut health by supplementing with a probiotic at your next meal.