What better way to start the year than with a revitalised digestive system. Many people think that deworming is only required for growing children. The truth is that parasites are organisms that can take up residence in another host organism, in this case humans, of any age.
Although parasites are not a disease, the problem is that they cause and spread disease. They can enter the circulatory system, reach different organs of the body and trigger what is known as a parasitic infection.
Parasitic infections often go unnoticed with a few symptoms, but, according to the CDC (US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention), these infections cause serious illnesses such as blindness, stroke, heart failure and more.
Parasitic infections are more common than you might think. According to a 2014 comparative study published in the Parasitic Research Journal Hindawi, about 85% of the population is infected by parasites (Study).
There are Three Main Types of Parasites to Consider:
- Protozoa which are single-celled organisms. Protozoan parasite infections are difficult to eliminate because they revert to the cyst stage when they feel threatened and have adapted survival techniques. Some of the main symptoms associated with these parasitic infections are diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, dehydration, weakness, low energy, and joint pain.
- Helminths are large, multicellular worms. Helminths do not reproduce in the human gut but are long-lived and consume many of the nutrients we need to maintain the health of our bodies. The type of parasitic infections by helminths can severely affect us.
- Ectoparasites do not live inside the body but live on the body and refer to lice and fleas.
Factors that May Predispose a Person to Parasitic Infection:
- Prolonged use of antibiotics
- Chronic stress
- Poor sleep hygiene
- Poor eating habits
- Major injuries or trauma
- Kisses from household pets
- Developing countries where there are deficiencies in the quality of drinking water.
- Consumption of fruits and vegetables without proper washing.
- Raw meat
In some studies, the parasites had the ability to reactivate retroviruses. When Leishmania parasites are infected with LRVs (retroviruses), the parasite replicates more abundantly and causes a more severe disease process. Parasitic worms, called helminths, can reactivate latent herpes-like viral infections. Strongyloides, a parasite that can make women's menstrual cycles hideous, interacts with HTLV, which can make strongyloides infection more difficult to eradicate. (Article)
Most Common Symptoms of Parasitic Infection
- Recurrent digestive problems such as stomach pain, vomiting, constipation or diarrhoea, gas, bloated stomach, nausea.
- Weight loss and changes in appetite (sometimes no appetite at all, sometimes a lot).
- Chronic weakness and/or fatigue
- Joint pains. There is a known link between parasitic infections and arthritis causing joint pain and inflammation.
- Skin rashes, allergies and/or hives.
- Iron deficiency anaemia
- Bruxism which is clenching and grinding of teeth during sleep. This is a little-known symptom of parasites that is more common among children, but adults can also suffer from it.
- Poor memory and mental confusion.
How to Treat Intestinal Parasites
Different parasites require different treatment methods, so it is essential to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Tests involve examining the stool for cysts or larvae. Blood tests can also detect certain parasites and x-rays can be useful for helminths.
Because tests for different types of parasites in stool samples are highly variable and require specialised knowledge, testing can sometimes miss an infection. In addition, medical record, symptoms, and test results should be considered. Your doctor or health care provider will then advise you on the best individualised treatment and medication for the infection.
How to Eat to Treat and Prevent Parasitic Infections
A healthy gut microbiome is crucial for overall good health. Emphasising certain foods and avoiding others can help you prevent or fight parasites, as well as restore and strengthen your gut flora.
Eliminate inflammatory foods such as those containing refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, conventional protein, and dairy, processed foods, carbonated beverages and artificial ingredients from your diet.
Try to eat dark green leafy vegetables, herbs, spices. Low-glycaemic fruits (low in sugar); healthy fats, good quality, complete protein, and fermented foods.
Foods containing probiotics, as well as those high in vitamin C, help strengthen your gut and make you less vulnerable to infection by parasites.
Hydrate with filtered water, as well as beverages that promote hydration such as vegetable extract, Matcha tea and other herb teas.
Other Practices that Help to Strengthen the Body During a Digestive Cleanse Include
- Do light physical activity during the day and the time of the digestive detoxification. I suggest walking, Yoga, gardening, or other outdoor household chores. This allows you to improve circulation and facilitate elimination of toxins, stress, and body tension; it enhances oxygenation and mental clarity.
- Use of sauna or other types of thermotherapies such as temazcal or Inipi. This practice allows you to facilitate the elimination of toxins, reduce inflammation, activate the production of heat shock proteins, as well as human growth hormone, among other important benefits.
- Use of coffee enemas. Enemas refer to the application of fluid through the rectal orifice. According to Dr. Max Gerson's protocol, during the time the coffee is in the intestine (15 minutes), the blood of the whole body passes through the liver 3 times. When the coffee is released, it carries the amount of toxins that the liver has managed to filter out in that time, as well as carcinogens and free radicals.
- Emphasise rest and restorative sleep. Make sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep. Avoid stimulant drinks from 6-8 hours before bedtime and have your last meal about three hours before bedtime. Keep your room cool (17°C) and as dark as possible.
As for resting, I recommend my article and video on The Types of Rest and the Rest You May be Needing.
The Right Time to Undergo a Parasite Detoxification
Although it sounds like a grandmother's remedy, the full moon is associated with increased parasite activity. The circadian rhythms of both, humans, and parasites, are synchronised with lunar cycles. (Study)
During the full moon we produce less melatonin and more serotonin. Melatonin is the neurotransmitter that induces sleep and modulates the immune system. If melatonin levels are lower, our immune system has a harder time fending off parasites.
Serotonin, on the other hand, is a neurotransmitter that induces pleasure and well-being, and it increases with the full moon. Parasites, like humans, have serotonin receptors, which, when boosted, help them to become active and cause issues.
Thus, the full moon phase is the right time to perform a parasitic detoxification.
As you can see, deworming is not just a matter of taking a capsule and letting it take effect on your body. In fact, it requires you to set up and treat your body during the days (3, 5 or 7) of the digestive cleanse as a convalescence, i.e., in an attitude of restoration, regeneration and strengthening.
This will make your body less vulnerable to any pathogens that try to enter your body and/or provide your immune system with enough defences to not let diseases thrive. Your whole body will thank you for it.