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Giardia. Yuck.

Giardia. Yuck.

Parasites! Gasp! Thought these pesky little bugs only invaded unlucky international travelers in exotic lands? Think again. Parasites are shockingly common. In the course of my work with internationally renowned natural medicine doctor Dr Dan Kalish, I learned how to interpret parasite and pathogen tests for clients, and let me tell you: I don’t think I saw even one test come in clear. Everyone had some kind of parasite or bacterial overgrowth or candida. Even ME! I tested myself and turns out I had one of the nastiest ones: amoeba hystolitica. I had apparently contracted it from a severe bout of food poisoning. Now that I am parasite-free, I realize this bug was responsible for the digestive issues I had become accustomed to, the worsening PMS I was experiencing, and the sugar cravings and insatiable appetite I thought were just my unlucky lot in life.

If you’ve ever had pets (or kissed them on the mouth), traveled internationally, had food poisoning, or even had sex….. you are at risk for parasitic infection.

If you experience gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, joint pain, worsening allergies, anemia, chronic fatigue, immune dysfunction, or the infamous “unexplained digestive issues” that your doctor cannot diagnose, you could be harboring a parasite. Other symptoms are teeth grinding and skin rashes, or the dreaded no symptoms at all.

The most common are amoebas (like the one i had) like hystolitica, blastocystis, cryptosporidium, and giardia; roundworm and hookworm; and various bacteria like h. pylori (responsible for reflux and ulcers) and yeast overgrowth.

These insidious little bugs are spread through unsanitary conditions, contaminated water, dirt under your fingernails, contaminated food (especially produce), and most are highly contagious. If you get food poisoning from contaminated food, you eventually recover, but the bugs can continue to proliferate in your digestive tract. They reproduce and spread and cause all sorts of digestive problems, inflammation, and eventually hormonal problems and detoxification problems, since your liver has to deal with the extra toxic load. They also stress your immune system, which is constantly fighting the bugs, so you may find you get sick more often because you are more susceptible to other illness, as your immune system is not functioning at 100%.

The good news is that you can do a parasite cleanse to rid yourself of the bugs. It’s best to test yourself to see exactly what you’re treating, but a general parasite cleanse can help almost anyone with digestive troubles.

Prepare by cutting out all junk and refined food (gluten -wheat products & white flour along with white sugar), caffeine, and alcohol for 2-3 weeks before the cleanse. This will reduce intestinal inflammation and yield better results. Continue this diet for the duration of the cleanse.

The bugs can be treated with antibiotics or herbs or both. You can do a 3-4 week herbal cleanse with excellent results. I’ve done both. There are many herbal parasite killing products on the market. You’ll need oregano oil in capsule or tincture form (with at least 70% carvacrol, a powerful antimicrobial and the active ingredient of oregano oil.) Choose another formula with some combination of green walnut hulls, artemesia, quassia, and cloves. Or, try separate formulas of oregano oil and artemesia and another herbal forumla with the green walnut hulls and any combination of the other mentioned herbs. You’ll take each three times daily (follow directions on bottles) for 3-4 weeks. Follow a whole foods diet and try to stay off sugar, alcohol, refined foods, and caffeine. Parasites and candida feed on sugar, so you may not get rid of them if your diet isn’t clean. Coconut oil and garlic offer excellent anti-parasitic properties. Add fermented foods to provide beneficial bacteria.

You’ll want to follow up the cleanse with a good quality probiotic for at least a month to recolonize your gut with healthy bacteria. You can repeat this cleanse a couple times a year to insure that you remain parasite-free.

And remember: prevention is key! Wash hands! Drink clean, filtered water. Use precaution when traveling and when handling food. And, stay healthy. If your immune system is in good working order, the bugs won’t be able to get past your first line of defense. Check out Ann Louise Gittleman’s book Guess What Came to Dinner.

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