Although it seems impossible that it’s springtime (especially if you live in the frozen tundra known as Northeast like I do), warm weather will eventually find us, and with it the re-emergence of grass, flowers, birds and especially BUGS!
But the mosquitos, ants, bees and flies we’ll be battling soon are just a drop in the bucket compared to the bugs that you’re dealing with right now…inside
While the thought of them makes a lot of people squeamish or uncomfortable, the fact is, your body is home to trillions
of microscopic little “bugs.”
I'm referring to parasites
Let's take a closer look at these creepy crawlers which pack quite a punch for their small size and see what they may be stirring up inside of you.
The good, the bad and the creepy
Parasites are organisms that invade and live at the expense of another organism called the "host," using their host as both a home and a source of nourishment.
Scientific sources have identified over 3,200 varieties of parasites, broken down into 3 major types. But contrary to what you might think, they're not
all bad guys.
The first type is symbiotic
. These are the friendly bacteria that populate your intestinal tract. They are supposed to be there and they actually enhance your health.
Then there are commensal
organisms. Commensals have a "roommate" relationship with you--they reside in your intestines and while they don't HELP you in any way, they also don't HURT you.
And alas, the third kind is the "true" parasite
—the variety that people typically think of when they hear the word “parasite
.” Their presence ALWAYS has a harmful effect on your health.
Problem is, they don't nudge you and say, "Hey--we're here!
" So people (maybe even you) may be suffering ill health effects from them and don't even know it.
Here are some examples of what be going on in your innards.
Nature calls for them too
As a human, you live, you eat and you have "by-products
"--namely, your tears, sweat, saliva, exhaled carbon dioxide, urine and feces.
Well, the same applies to anything that's alive
in you. It too lives, eats and has by-products (wastes).
And when you're talking about bad parasites, their waste products can be downright toxic
For example, the waste products (also known as endotoxins
) created by harmful parasites can sap energy in your intestinal cells and activate inflammation. They can also contribute to autoimmunity or hyperimmunity.
Plus their waste load puts an additional burden on YOUR organs of detox--including your liver, kidneys, skin, lungs and lymph system--to filter it out and eliminate it.
Let’s explore this vast territory
Now, some people have the mistaken impression that parasites only live in your intestinal tract.
There are a number of parasites that live in your blood or lymphatic system.
They can nestle into any of your vital organs or burrow themselves into your body's tissues.
Many parasites start in your intestines, but if you have a leaky gut wall, they easily can get into your bloodstream and sail smoothly throughout your body to wreak their havoc.
Others attack your organs first. For example, hook worms enter your body through the skin, travel through your blood and then latch on to your lungs.
One of the most common ways for parasites to make you their home is when you ingest them with contaminated food or water.
That's the humor behind the saying, "Don't drink the water!
" when someone is traveling to a remote country.
But there are other ways to contract parasites you might not even think of, and they include:
· Contaminated water from lakes, rivers, streams and wells
· Ice made from contaminated water (many people are careful about the water they drink, but then forget about the ice!)
· Swimming pool water, especially public pools that may be contaminated with feces
· Pets, especially those that live outdoors
· Raw and undercooked foods, especially shellfish
· Lack of proper hand washing
· World-wide travel. Note that YOU don't have to be the worldly traveler here. Even if you board an airplane that's been overseas, it could be contaminated with parasites that find you an attractive abode.
One small creepy-crawly, one GIANT bunch of symptoms
Since parasites can get into your bloodstream and go virtually anywhere
inside of you, there is a HUGE variety of symptoms that they can stir up that you might not ever suspect is being caused by an itty-bitty microscopic being.
· Bloating no matter what you eat
· Allergy symptoms, sinus congestion
· Diarrhea and constipation
· Food cravings, especially for sugar
· Skin itching, especially around the anal area
· Acne, hives, skin rashes
· Dark circles under your eyes, bluish tint around your lips
· Depression, anxiety, nervousness, moodiness
· Loss of appetite or insatiable appetite
· Joint or muscle aches or pains
· Vertigo, disorientation, ringing of the ears
· Hyperactivity, restlessness
Note that the type and degree of symptoms you could experience, as well as whether or not a parasite will invade you to begin with, is largely dependent on the strength of your immune system
When it's healthy and working as it should, your immune system engulfs and eliminates many parasites. And even if one does happen to sneak by, it will likely lie dormant in the face of a strong immune system.
In addition, the hydrochloric acid
in your stomach and the pH in your intestines
also help to protect you. Your stomach acid kills many of the unwelcome guests you take in with your food or drink, and having the proper acidic pH in your colon is an unfit environment for many invaders.
Now that I've probably got you sufficiently creeped out, I'll tell you what you can actually DO if you suspect that you have some dangerous parasites taking up residence inside of you.
First of all, there are tests that a doctor can run to detect many parasites, but this can be tricky.
If a test is done when a parasite is just in its "egg cycle" and hasn't hatched yet, it might not be detected.
And if only stool tests are done yet a parasite is living somewhere else
in you besides the intestinal tract, it could be missed.
Now, parasitic infections are commonly treated with antibiotics
, but this can make the situation worse--not better.
You see, although antibiotics can kill the invader, they also destroy your friendly flora, which houses 70 percent of your immune system. So after a course of antibiotics, chances are excellent that your immune system is compromised and therefore you are even MORE susceptible to parasitic infection.
Plus many parasites have gotten smart
. When they sense the presence of antibiotics, they can burrow themselves deeper into your tissues and "hide," then re-emerge once you stop taking the medication.
The best protection against parasites is using a smart three-step approach:
1- Change the external environment
First and foremost, it's important to avoid the sources of parasites that I mentioned above.
For example, when you travel only drink bottled water
and wash your hands often
Have your pets tested for parasites by a veterinarian regularly and properly treat them.
Have your tap water
tested too, and consider filtration of some kind. It may be costly, but the health benefits it will provide will far outweigh the cost for you and your loved ones.
And if you're a sushi lover, be sure to eat it only in a high-quality restaurant and/or stick to cooked or vegetarian varieties.
2- Change the internal environment
This involves supporting your two primary "lines of defense" against parasites--your digestive and immune systems.
Part one is nourishing your body with a healthy diet and encouraging good digestion.
Here's why that has such a profound
effect on fighting parasites:
Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals found in healthy real foods can help fight the damage to your body caused by parasitic infections.
Plus vitamins A, D and folate all encourage healthy, proper cell growth.
And many of the phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables have been shown to have immune-enhancing properties and are potent antioxidants as well.
In addition, when you structure your meals to make them easier for your system to carry out the digestive process, this can help your body eliminate built-up toxic wastes more efficiently and maintain the proper pH environment in your intestines.
So you're a much less attractive home to parasites and can make it difficult for them to thrive!
The great news is, having this ever-important healthy diet is not only easy, but it tastes good too.
Great Taste No Pain will show you how to create healthful, nutritious meals that are not only positively delicious, but can be much easier for your system to break down.
When your digestion is accomplished easily and thoroughly, not only will you be helping to eliminate toxic waste build-up (from you and
your parasites), but you'll also help maximize your body's absorption of immune-enhancing nutrients from your foods.
Part two is further strengthening your immune system with "good symbiotic parasites"--otherwise known as probiotics
Since the vast majority of your immune system lies in the beneficial bacteria in your gut, it's essential to make sure yours are healthy and in the proper balance.
In addition to a healthy diet like I mentioned above which feeds your friendly flora, probiotic supplementation can help you achieve this important, health-saving goal.
13 strains of friendly bacteria are up to the task, ready to line your intestinal walls and help make them less porous (so parasites are less likely to "leak out"), help keep your digestion smooth and be on the lookout for "suspicious invaders."
Although antibiotics are commonly recommended for eliminating parasites, as I mentioned above they can do more harm
Here are other natural, safer measures you can consider taking:
- Foods such as garlic, leeks, onions, radishes and cabbage have been known to have anti-parasitic properties.
- Helpful spices include thyme, fennel, clove, cayenne pepper and ginger.
- Herbs like chaparral, black walnut, rhubarb root and wormwood have been shown to be helpful. These are available at many health food stores.
- In addition, there are a number of companies that have created formulas for the elimination of parasites. One that has been shown to be very effective for many people is "Para-Gard with Goldenseal" by Integrative Therapeutics.
Remember, parasites are sneaky
and can challenge your health in so many ways.
But by being diligent about prevention, strengthening your body from within and safely eliminating them, you can help make sure parasites and their health-wrecking abilities stay far away from YOU!
PS: Always be sure to let your doctor or healthcare provider know what supplements you are taking.