We’re going to wrap up this season’s cleansing/detoxing series with an incredibly interesting and informative article by guest blogger and New York Times Best Seller, Brenda Watson. Parasite prevalence, common symptoms, natural solutions… it’s definitely worth the read!
It’s not just third world countries that have parasite problems or Americans who travel extensively, as many people believe. No one is immune from parasite infestation. It is a growing problem in industrialized nations, as recent studies show.
Dr. Omar M. Amin of the Parasitology Center in Tempe, Arizona, completed a large parasite study in 2000. His study involved analysis of two fecal specimens from each of 2,896 patients throughout the United States. The type of analysis performed by Dr. Amin employed a new testing protocol, one which resulted in a significantly greater number of positive findings than had previously been obtained.
Dr. Amin found that 1/3 (32%) of the patients tested positive for parasites, showing one or more of 18 unidentified species.
Medical texts don’t have much to say about parasites other than stating that they can cause diarrhea and malabsorption. It is important to bear in mind, however, that parasites can mimic other disorders and/or produce no noticeable symptoms.
When they DO cause symptoms, a wide range can be displayed. These can include:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Digestive complaints (gas, bloating, cramps)
- Persistent skin problems
- Granulomas (tumor-like masses that encase destroyed larva or parasites)
- Overall fatigue
- Disturbed sleep
- Muscle cramps
- Joint pain
- Post nasal drip
- Swollen glands
- Teeth grinding
- Sugar cravings
- Ravenous appetite (or loss of appetite)
- Weight loss (or gain)
- Headaches/neck aches/back aches
- Itchy anus or ears
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Elevated eosinophils (white blood cells)
- Low-grade fever
- Nose picking
- Nail biting
- Brain fog
- Pain in the umbilicus
- Mucus in stools
- Foul-smelling stools
- Food/Environmental sensitivities
- Depressed secretory IgA (an antibody)
Parasites can affect tissue anywhere in the body. Some of the disorders that have been associated with them include arthritis, appendicitis, recurrent yeast infections, allergies, asthma, bronchitis, anemia, irritable bowel syndrome, frequent colds and infections, lactose deficiency, fibromyalgia, gall-bladder problems, malnutrition, urinary tract infections, prostatitis, and colitis.
Over time, a parasite infection can depress immunity and cause leaky gut syndrome, which leads to nutritional absorption problems and has been associated with allergies and other autoimmune diseases.
A stool analysis is usually used to detect parasites. However, they can be difficult to detect since they tend to hide in the lining of the intestine and can live in other organs. If your parasites are in your heart of lungs, they will not show up in your stool regardless of how well it’s analyzed. In fact, a single random solid stool sample analyzed in the traditional manner is unlikely to even reveal the presence of intestinal parasites.
Parasites are both under-diagnosed and under-treated in standard medical circles simply because the average medical doctor is not aware of their prevalence. When parasites are detected, they are most often treated with drugs, usually Flagyl (metronidazole), despite its many adverse side effects and the fact that many parasites have become Flagyl-resistant.
Because it will not always be possible to identify the type of parasite you have or even to know with certainty that you do have parasites (given the limitations of the testing procedures), it is highly advisable to make a parasite Candida cleanse a regular part of your natural digestive detoxification program.
Brenda Watson, C.N.C., is a New York Times bestselling author, PBS health educator and digestive care expert, and is considered one of the foremost authorities today on natural digestive health and the gut connection to total-body health.
Wow, a big thanks to Brenda for her contribution to Live Lighter. Catch more of her on PBS’s The Heart of Perfect Health this November.