Parasites are more common

Would you believe you have a one in five chance of having parasites? Parasites are more common than you, and the majority of physicians out there, realize. Studies show it is quite possible that the majority of gastrointestinal complaints are a result of undiagnosed, unrecognized parasitic infections.

In a report of the American college of gastroenterology, Doctors said that among 197 consecutive patients with a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, over half were found to have Giardia Lambia, a microscopic organism introduced to water supplies by animals via mountain streams and by human sewage entering public water supplies. Symptoms included diarrhea, stomach bloating, chronic fatigue, food intolerance, stomach pain and constipation.

Martin Lee, Ph.D., biochemist, microbiologist and director of the Great Smokies Laboratory in North Carolina, conducted a study on the presence of parasites in very sick people. In one group of lower income immigrants, 70 percent were found to be infected. More surprising, when he examined a group of more well to do Americans, he found 20 percent had parasites. The centers for Disease Control in Atlanta got the same results in their tests. What does this mean? In the past we took certain comfort in the belief that parasites occurred mostly in Third World countries and that in our sterile, government-inspected industrialized society, we were immune.

The fact is, we can have parasites and not have symptoms, and we can get them a lot easier than we ever realized.

Do you swim in the summer? Certain parasites are not killed by chlorine and all it takes is an undetected or neglected pool filter to infect many people. In 1990 a La Times article reported on the case of a child infected with cryptosporidium who infected others through the local swimming pool. The pool managers treated the water with chemicals, not realizing that because one of the three pool filters was not working their efforts were in vain. The parasite infected swimmers for about a month before the broken filter was discovered (los Angeles Times, September 23, 1990.

California recommends that public pools be inspected three times a year. In one-report health officials estimated that 44 percent of the pools in Los Angeles County had not been inspected for three of more years.

The tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum can cause pernicious anemia because it blocks vitamin B12 from being absorbed in the intestine. Blood loss from hookworm, trichuris and chistosoma infections may cause in iron-deficiency anemia. Ascaris lumbricoides infection may reduce fat absorption and interfere with the absorption of vitamin A, compromising eyesight.

Because parasites cause the cilia in the intestine to become flattened and basically ineffective, any nutrients, including the B vitamins and many minerals, cannot be absorbed into the body.  This catch-22 causes deficiencies, which impair the immune system resulting in secondary health problems that cannot be traced to the parasite.

The first step is to cleanse the intestinal tract. Scour the health food stores for supplements that contain good sources of fiber, like psylium and hyssop, combined with laxative herbs such as cascara sagrada and aloe, and good-for-you intestine bacteria like acidophilus. in addition, you should consider following a simple, cooked-vegetable-based detoxifying diet for at least several days and up to two or three weeks. Such a diet will include mostly vegetables with small portions of grain and beans, little or no fruit or other sweet foods, and no refined or processed foods, caffeine, or alcohol. Eliminate all milk and dairy products as well, with the possible exception of raw goat’s milk, which contains immune-boosting antibodies, and has been found helpful in the treatment of parasites.