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Guess Who's In Your Dinner?

Most of my patients are horrified when I tell them they have parasites. First of all, your body as a host for unwanted guests is a hard concept to grasp, and secondly, some think it's a strange kind of attack on their cleanliness. This leads many to spend an inordinate amount of time assuring me that their personal hygiene is impeccable. As one very clean lady from the South said after being told she had parasites, "But, only dirty people get worms..." The sad truth is that unless you employ the Howard Hughes method of cleanliness, will have parasites.

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty clean and I am just getting over a bout of "worms" after having had a bad piece of sushi at an unnamed sushi bar here in Boulder. It wasn't even raw fish. It was cooked, but it was obviously an ailing piece of unagi.

Parasites are ubiquitous. Clean people get them. Children in particular are a wonderful host. By the way, the definition of a parasite is an organism that lives off the host, the host being you and me. Parasites live a parallel life inside our bodies, feeding off either our own energy, our own cells or the food we eat, or even feeding off the health supplements we use. A parasite eats, lays eggs and secretes toxins. Different parasites eat different things: Do you crave sugar? You may have a sugar loving parasite. Do you feel achy and flu-ey alot? Could be the secreted parasite toxins building up.

I would venture to guess that fully 85% of my new patients show up with parasites. It's almost impossible to avoid them. Parasites can be dangerous and make you feel chronically bad with stomach upsets, flatulence, erratic bowels.

1995 John McPherson
diarrhea and constipation, organ system involvement (they love the liver), depression (they secrete their toxins in the brain), gluten intolerance and chemical and environmental sensitivity.

Some of the widely varied symptoms are: Itchy ears, nose and anus, yellowish face, unclear thinking, fast heartbeat, blurry vision, lethargy, numb hands, damp lips at night, dry lips during the day, bed wetting, eating more than normal but still feeling hungry, pain in the navel, pain in the back, thighs, shoulders, burning sensation in the stomach, grinding teeth while asleep.

How do we get them? They are most often contacted by consuming contaminated foods and water, contact with an infected insect or pet, sexual contact with an infected person, touching the parasite or its eggs, or inhaling dust laden with parasite eggs (as in changing the cat litter). Remember, a parasite can be as big as a 33 foot long fish tape worm with thousands of segments laying more than 1,000,000 eggs per day, or as small as a bacterium. But, regardless of the size, all parasites act the same; they all suck energy and nutrition from their host.

Some of the more common parasites are:

  1. Giardia, cryptosporidium and cyclosporeae: The three most notorious of the class of parasite called protozoa. Most commonly lodge in the upper small intestine and most often spread by food or water, pets and day-care centers. (Giardia has been misdiagnosed as "failure to thrive" syndrome in children.) These protozoa have been found in 39% of our drinking water supplies and are invulnerable to chlorination, the main water-treatment method. You can try to avoid protozoa by filtering your drinking water.
  2. Pinworms: These are most common in children. They live in the intestine and resemble threads about 1/4 of an inch in length. They love to come out and play around the anus at night. The child scratches in her sleep, kisses Mommy good morning, and suddenly everyone in the house has pinworms.
  3. Roundworms: The most common intestinal parasite, these worms resemble earth worms and are most often spread through the soil. Lots of constipation here. One type of roundworm is called a whipworm: "These insidious creatures actually inject a digestive fluid which converts the colon tissue into liquid which the worms then suck up." (Dr. Ross Anderson, Aware Corp.)
  4. Tapeworms: These are the big-daddies mentioned above. Occasionally, segments break off and are visible in the stool, but as long as the worm's head remains attached to the intestine, the parasite continues to thrive. These big buggers are contracted via consumption of lightly cooked, or even medium-rare, beef, fish or pork.
  5. Blastocystis Hominis: Once thought to be a harmless yeast, this microorganism is now believed to be a potentially dangerous intestinal parasite. Spread through contaminated water or food. This is the parasite that is yeast-loving. When viewed through a Darkfield microscope, you see the blastocystis encircled by the fungus Candida. In this case, we need to handle not only the parasite but the Candida as well.

My feeling is that we never, ever get rid of all of our parasites forever. The best we can do is maintain an uneasy truce, aware that at any time our tenuous balance may shift in favor of the parasite, as in my wormy sushi experience, Dr. Herman Bueno, specialist in tropical medicine and parasites, informed the 1995 Fungal/Mycotoxin Conference in Toronto that, "Most people still believe that using the anti-parasitical drugs will 'cure' the problem once and for all. Reality indicates differently. They are with us forever, waiting only for the time when immune resistance in low and they can proliferate with ease."

Now that I have everyone totally disgusted and freaked out: Yes, there is something we can do for all the alien life forms mentioned above. I carry at least 8 products that kill parasites and 5 products that kill yeast, fungus and molds. It's a long, sometimes boring and arduous process to get rid of our little unwanted friends, but it's really best to "put them in their place" in our internal eco-system. Don't wait. Do it now.

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