A parasite is defined as “any organism that lives on, or in, the body of another organism.” Parasites living inside the human body feed off our cells, the food we eat, and even the supplements we take. They all fall into two major groups: worms and protozoa. Protozoa are tiny, single-celled organisms; worms are multi-celled and come in all sizes, from the 3/8-inch threadworm to the 36-ft. tapeworm. Regardless of type, all parasites can cause major damage to your body.
You don’t have to live in the tropics or be a world traveler to get a parasite infestation. Studies indicate that as many as 85% of North Americans have at least one form of parasite; the true figure may be as high as 95%.
Parasites are rarely a subject in medical schools and journals and, apart from records kept by the Center for Disease Control, there is little tracking information about parasites. Complicating this lack of awareness is the fact that parasites often mimic other disorders or produce no noticeable symptoms at all. And because parasites are able to travel to any organ in the body via the bloodstream, the problems they cause are often incorrectly diagnosed. For example, a roundworm infestation in the stomach can give the appearance of a peptic ulcer. The most common indications of a parasite infestation come from the gut: gas, bloating, cramps, diarrhea, or constipation. Other disorders have been associated with parasites, such as arthritis, appendicitis, weight problems, cancer, and epilepsy.
The damage parasites cause occurs not only when they feed off of our cells, but from the waste they excrete. This waste poisons the body, overworking the organs of elimination. As the detoxification mechanisms become overwhelmed, nutritional reserves are depleted, and the immune system weakens. The result is declining health and chronic disease.
CAUSES OF PARASITE INFESTATION
In a recent study, animals kept on diets deficient in protein or vitamins became infested with many types of parasites. These same parasites, when implanted in animals with a balanced diet, did not survive in the body. Nutrition affects the internal environment of the body. Parasites are more likely to survive in those who are nutrient deficient.
An unhealthy diet/lifestyle can cause a bacterial imbalance in the colon. For our intestinal tract and colon to function well, it needs a balance between good and bad bacteria, ideally (80% good – 20% bad). Once that ratio is disrupted and the colon becomes “dirty,” the resulting imbalance creates an environment conducive to parasite infestation.
Other Contributing Factors
- other prescriptions (immune suppressing)
- refined carbohydrates
- steroid-based drugs (asthma medications)
- birth control pills
- X-rays (radiation therapy)
- chlorinated water [?]
Parasites can be inhaled, ingested in the foods we eat, or absorbed through our skin (e.g., by walking barefoot). They can also be transmitted via insect carriers. Watch for these common sources of parasites:
- contaminated soil
- contaminated fruits and vegetables
- raw or rare meat
- contact with feces
- polluted water
- contact with someone who has parasites
Some of the above can also contribute to candida (an overgrowth of yeast. See reference). For this reason, candida and parasites tend to appear together.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE PARASITES?
A stool analysis, where available, is normally used to detect parasites. Doctors are often unlikely to suggest such a test – you may have to insist. Even with a stool analysis, parasites can be difficult to detect since they tend to hide in the intestinal lining and in other organs. For example, if parasites are in your heart or lungs, they will not show up in your stool. Further tests are available only for 40 to 50 types of the 1000+species of parasites that exist. In view of this situation, a negative lab test is no assurance that a person does not have parasites. You can start your search by comparing your symptoms to those listed in the third paragraph above. The more you have, the more likely you have an infestation.
HOW TO ELIMINATE PARASITES
Since candida and parasites tend to co-exist, it is wise to treat both simultaneously. This will require strict adherence to a targeted diet that emphasizes organic vegetables and protein while excluding refined carbohydrates, sugar in all forms (including fruit and starchy carbohydrates), and fermented foods. You will need to adhere to this diet for the duration of your parasite cleanse (generally one to three months, depending on the seriousness of your condition).
Regardless of the severity of your parasite problem, a thorough parasite cleanse is vital to eliminate them from the body. Talk to your colonic Hydrotherapist. He or she will be able to recommend the best products and programs.