04 Mar Parasites 101
Don’t freak out, but you should know it’s very possible that you have a parasite. You may only think of parasites as something that gives you diarrhea on holiday in a tropical third-world country, but actually, parasites are just as rampant in the Western world, and are related to illness and disease of ALL kinds. Yes, even we, your gurus for all things Primal, have both had parasites that have significantly affected our health.
Parasites have been a subject of interest for many years now, especially since Brad started studying the work of Paul Chek and obtaining many certifications as a CHEK Practitioner. To learn more about parasites, we met with a legend in the world of Parasitology, Dr. Omar Amin. He’s the Professor of Parasitology and founder of the Parasitology Center, Inc. (PCI) in Scottsdale, Arizona. Arizona just happened to be our last stop on a 7 month world trip, and we knew that we had certainly picked up some new bugs whilst traveling in Japan, Europe, Mexico and the USA. We left Dr. Amin’s office with a wealth of new information AND a specially formulated botanical remedy to give us relief from our own parasites. Brad has had issues with pinworms/threadworms on and off for many years and Bex more recently with Dientamoeba Fragilis.
Symptoms of Parasite Infection
The most common indicators that you may have a parasite are: diarrhea, constipation, bloating, cramps, indigestion, mucus, fatigue, nausea, skin rash, dry cough, headaches, allergies, joint pain, memory loss, and brain fog.
But it hardly stops there. Other symptoms can include:
Abdominal pain, lethargy, excessively dry or itchy skin, itchy nose or anus, depression, chronic mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, waking a lot during the night, grinding teeth during sleep, inability to lose or gain weight, uncontrollable hunger OR loss of appetite, muscle pain or cramping, numbness of hands and/or feet, arthritis, fast heartbeat, bad breath, excessive body odor, anemia, hypoglycemia, sexual impotence, yeast and urinary tract infections, cysts and fibroids.
How do parasites cause illness and disease?
They take nutrients away from their host (you, in this case), and produce toxic waste called mycotoxins. Parasites can occur anywhere in your body – every organ, tissue and even in your blood – and they can cause symptoms that mimic other disorders. So you may have been treated by your doctor for many different problems over your lifetime, but because they were never diagnosed as being parasite related, the parasitic infection may continue to affect your health in various ways.
How do we get parasites?
Parasites are all around and can enter your body through food, water (drinking/touching), insects, air, pets, people and soil. There’s no use worrying excessively about trying to avoid them, but there are lots of simple sanitary precautions and lifestyle habits that will minimise your risk of contracting a parasite, such as washing your hands and vegetables, drinking filtered water, chewing your food well, avoiding antibiotics, taking care of your digestive system, and not biting your nails or kissing your pets. In general, the stronger your immune system is to prevent parasites creating a home within your system, the better the chance you have of preventing them from getting too comfortable within your internal environment.
How do you know if you have a parasite?
If you are suffering from some of the symptoms above, take this Parasite Questionnaire. If your score is 15 or higher, parasites may be affecting your health.
It would be wise to then contact PCI directly or an integrative doctor or naturopath for further consultation and possible lab testing. The ‘Full GI Panel’ is the number one test Dr. Omar Amin offers.
One thing to be aware of with parasite testing is that results can often be inaccurate. You may get an incorrect negative result, as many types of parasites are not detected by common stool tests, and parasites are cyclical so may not show up every time. Or you may get an incorrect positive result as undigested food particles can look like certain parasites, as you can see in these parasite test photos at the bottom of the page. For this reason, it’s best to test with experts in parasitology, such as PCI. Or if your symptoms have been chronic for a long time, then consider starting parasite treatment even if your test results are negative. As Brad has learned from Paul Chek, there are over 1000 parasites that can affect the human body. Common stool tests may only test for 9-12 of the most common ones.
How do you treat a parasite infection?
The million dollar question. Even when people finally discover that a parasite is the cause of their problems, figuring out how to safely and effectively treat the infection can be an even bigger challenge.
Parasites are often treated with antibiotics, but these drugs are harsh on your system, weaken your body, and kill off the beneficial bacteria in your system which helps keep the parasites at bay in the first place. So the parasite may go away for awhile after antibiotics, but re-infection is common. A vicious cycle, really.
Bex experienced this personally when she took antibiotics to treat her Dientamoeba Fragilis. Her parasite seemed to go away, and symptoms were temporarily relieved, but have now returned. We also learned from Dr. Amin that D. Fragilis is a type of parasite that ‘sits on the line’, so often only an immune compromised person will show a positive result. So maybe her parasite never actually left.
Following a primal diet of real whole foods is definitely key in preventing and treating parasite infections. However, once the infection is deep and long-lasting (usually when the symptoms get worse/obvious), most people find dietary changes alone can’t treat the parasite problem. You can be assured, however, that if you take a medical or botanical remedy but don’t also change your diet and lifestyle, parasite reinfection is very common.
For years, we have tried using many natural anti-parasitic substances as part of level 3 and 4 of our Primal Cleanse. These include oregano oil, wormwood, detox teas, Naturopathic Tinctures, Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide and Diatomaceous Earth. Other known remedies are black walnut hulls, cloves, pumpkin seed oil, garlic, neem, thyme, and marshmallow root. However, knowing how to use these properly, in what combination and proper dosages is really just a guessing game for people like us. And we’ve heard that many of the expensive commercial formulas in the shops don’t work very well. Dr. Amin also warns, “The body understands and wants consistency. When you try too many things all the time, it confuses your body.”
This is what we are currently taking for our parasite infections
Needless to say, we were really excited to meet a holistic-minded parasitologist who has worked hard to create completely natural and plant-based formulas which are helping thousands of people all over the world get relief from their parasite infections. We decided to take Dr. Amin’s formulas, called Freedom, Cleanse, Restore, for 3 months. At the time of writing, we’ve been taking it for 2 months.
As mentioned, we’d just returned from traveling the world for 7 months. We could certainly recognise the return of our previous parasitic symptoms, so we are looking forward to seeing how this remedy works for us. If Dr. Amin’s credentials and the testimonials are anything to go by, we think we’ve found a winner.
Note: We do not receive any commissions for mentioning this remedy, and are not qualified to prescribe anything to you. We simply believe in natural health solutions and are happy to recommend good ones when we find them!
Dr. Amin told us that this treatment is designed to work for all known species of parasites, including single-celled organisms, worm parasites, fungus and pathogenic bacteria. However, he greatly advises parasite testing to be sure that your symptoms are parasite related and also to see what type and how chronic the infection is, to regulate dosage and length of treatment.
He recommended no less than 3 months of taking the remedy, which may seem long to you and so many of us who are used to quick fixes. But the body is complex, and slow and steady often wins the race, especially when it comes to healing.
When you might have to keep your parasites
Dr. Amin corrects us when we say ‘eradication’, as there is no such thing. Only homeostasis, or balance. If we can keep parasites at low levels (and our system strong), they don’t cause problems.
You see, our bodies are designed to live in balance with low levels of foreign bacteria, which we accumulate from our environment after birth. It is only when this relationship becomes ‘imbalanced’ – that is beneficial for one but detrimental to the other – that it becomes parasitic.
In some instances, however, Dr. Amin warns that fungus and parasites can actually be beneficial to your body and should not be treated yet. The example he gives us is of Candida, which can be very harmful to the body. However, candida protects against heavy metal poisoning by metabolising the heavy metal and carrying it out of the body. So people with heavy metal poisoning would actually benefit from having candida!
It gets worse before it gets better
As often occurs in healing, once you start a remedy, you may feel worse at first. As your parasites die off and your body slowly flushes them out, you may experience more severe symptoms such as sharp intestinal pains or cramps, fatigue and grogginess, nausea, swelling, and foul smelling gas. Be assured that this is only temporary and is actually a good sign – it means that the remedy is working! Relief is on the way :). Brad has had this happen several times during our Primal Seasonal Cleanses, resulting in large amounts amounts of inflammation and swelling around the lymph node areas, and even the face.
Whatever you do, don’t discontinue the remedy as soon as you start feeling better. The danger is that there is still a residual population of parasites which can mutate into drug-resistant strains which are extremely hard to treat.
Paul Chek’s ‘Healing Fungal and Parasite Infections’
If you want to know more, save yourself thousands of dollars in course fees that Brad has spent learning about this stuff from CHEK Institute courses, and go straight to Paul Chek’s DVD series to give you all you need to know about Parasites. Well worth the investment.
Have you had a parasite and have some pertinent information to share with the Primal Health community?
Parasites 101 – 2015