Let’s talk a little bit about internal parasites, shall we?
Parasites are tiny organisms (usually worms) that live off another organism and feed off it’s nutrition. Most can only be seen with a microscope so they can be hard to discover, although they can be much larger, like tapeworms.
They can also be hard to discover because depending on the type of parasite (of which there are many) the symptoms will vary from one extreme to another. If you have any random symptoms, not just digestive ones, and you haven’t found a cause, check for parasites. Or, if you have been trying to heal your gut and digestive issues for a long time with no results, parasites could be to blame.
Parasites are extremely common these days, especially in those with digestive issues such as leaky gut, celiac disease, those with poor health and chronic diseases. Yep, just what someone with celiac disease or digestive problems need, another way to not be getting nutrients!
You might already know that I’ve had a parasite infection for a few months now, it’s on the mend but it is taking time – clearly it’s much worse that I originally thought. It’s not as simple and quick as it’s made out to be. It’s really been taking a toll on my overall health, with a huge range of symptoms. I discovered it from the white spots all over my arms, chest and legs, followed by other more obvious symptoms like sensitive stomach, aches and pains, fatigue and digestive symptoms.
How do you get a parasite infection?
Everybody has yeast, parasites and bacteria in their body, which help with digestion, nutrient absorption, and other functions. However, when the balance of good and bad bacteria gets out of whack and the bad guys start taking over problems arise.
There are a number of ways you can get a parasite infection, such as traveling internationally, contaminated food and water, contact with an infected source (such as household pets), undercooked meat, etc – and skin contact alone is enough.
How do I find out if I have parasites?
Most naturopaths and doctors can test for parasites, although this does involve a stool sample. Keep in mind that sometimes parasites can be missed by these tests. A small parasite cleanse is easy enough to do to figure out if parasites are your problem – and worse case you end up with more good bacteria from all the probiotics!
Some of the symptoms of parasites are caused by the parasites releasing toxins into your bloodstream after they feed or die, which causes an extra burden on your liver. As I said, the symptoms of parasites are wide-ranging, including (but not limited to):
- Hunger after eating
- Unable to gain weight
- Unable to lose weight
- Chronic fatigue and exhaustion
- Insomnia and sleep problems
- Digestive problems
- Constipation, diarrhoea or gas
- Skin irritations or rashes
- Pains or aches in your muscles or joints
- Muscle Cramps
- Teeth Grinding
- Mood changes
- Mental fog and poor concentration
How do I get rid of them?
There are many natural remedies to help get rid of worms and parasites. I would suggest to start slow and work up to higher amounts of all of these.
There are many different herbs that work as antimicrobial agents to help get rid of parasites and worms, including wormwood, goldenseal, berberine, black walnuts, colloidal silver. A herbal tablet with a mixture of these is your best bet – start with 1/2 or even 1/4 of a table and work up. This is the herbal tablet I have been using.
Diatomaceaous Earth is a miracle worker for killing parasites and their eggs. It shreds the parasites, absorbs their bodily fluids and kills them, without doing any damage to the human. It also has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.
I have had really good success with just the diatomaceaous earth – 3 weeks of taking 1 Tbsp in a glass of water at night has me feeling almost normal again. I found diatomaceaous earth at my local farmers market, but you can check at your local health food store or online. Make sure you buy high-quality, food grade diatomaceaous earth.
Start with 1 tsp of diatomaceaous earth mixed in 1 cup of water, followed by another cup of water, or the smoothie below. Just before bed is great with the smoothie below at breakfast time, but any time also works.
Probiotics + Cultured & Fermented Foods
You need to increase the good bacteria in the gut to help fight off the parasites and bad bacteria, the ideal ratio is 85% good bacteria to 15% bad bacteria. The best way to do this is through fermented and cultured foods, as the probiotics are carried all the way to the small intestine and gut where they are needed. You also get more beneficial bactera AND it works out much cheaper than probiotic tablets, which can get pricey. For instance, sauerkraut is made using 1 cabbage and some salt, and this will make enough sauerkraut to last a good few weeks. Dr. Mercola says:
“Fermented foods not only give you a wider variety of beneficial bacteria, they also give you far more of them, so it’s a much more cost effective alternative. Here’s a case in point: It’s unusual to find a probiotic supplement containing more than 10 billion colony-forming units. But when my team actually tested fermented vegetables produced by probiotic starter cultures, they had 10 trillion colony-forming units of bacteria. Literally, one serving of vegetables was equal to an entire bottle of a high potency probiotic! So clearly, you’re far better off using fermented foods.”
You can check out my recipes for coconut yogurt (my personal fave way of getting probiotics), cultured almond feta cheese, pickles and sauerkraut in Living on the Vedge.
Start slow, with about 1 tsp of sauerkraut added to meals and increase slowly – otherwise you will have a heavy die-off reaction as the parasites and bad bacteria die and are released.
Add some raw garlic to your diet, I love mincing some garlic and putting it on potatoes with a little flax seed oil. You could also use it in salad dressings, like this one or make a yummo pesto to put on veggies.
Increase your intake of coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and pepitas. Parasites love and feed off sugar, so avoid as much as possible.
The Die Off
Likely you will feel a little bit worse before you start to feel better, as the parasites die and release toxins. This is known as Herxheimer’s Reaction and can cause discomfort, flu-like symptoms and mood swings. The more remedies you take, the worse this reaction is likely to be, so start very slow and work up to higher amounts and different remedies.
- 1 cup cultured coconut yogurt (store-bought or homemade - recipe in Living on the Vedge)
- 1 cup coconut water, coconut milk or cream, or water
- ¼ - ½ cup pepitas, rinsed or soaked for a few hours
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 mango or 1 cup papaya / paw-paw + a few scoops of papaya seeds
- ½ cup frozen berries or 1 - 2 passionfruit
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp - 1 Tbsp Diatomaceous Earth (this is best taken just before drinking the smoothie mixed with a cup of water. then drink the smoothie to push it down and sweep out the intestinal tract.)
- Combine everything in a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend until smooth.
Have you ever had parasites? Think you might have them now? Do you have any natural remedies to share?