Parasites and Your Health
By Graeme Dinnen
The real question is to ask is ‘Am I healthy inside and out?’ Whatever you answered just read on because it could make a difference to your future or the future of someone you know with long term health issues.
Since the dawn of time, up to 50% of the world’s population
have been killed by parasites, directly or indirectly.
Please don’t click off this page, hoping you’ve got no parasites – it’s likely you’ve got thousands. The idea of parasites can be horrific but has to be acknowledged as very real. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. After all you exchange thousands of parasites when you kiss your partner, your children and your pets. And we’re not talking about bacteria here – we all know there are good and bad bacteria, but there is rarely an occasion when parasites are beneficial. First let’s establish what parasites are and how they behave.
The word ‘parasite’ comes from the Greek para and sitos meaning beside food. They generally derive their nutrition and shelter by living in or on another organism, usually with injury.
Living in Hong Kong, Borneo and Indonesia for 35 years I became very aware of the presence of parasites. People believe parasites to be a disease of third world countries rather than in more sanitary continents such as Europe. To some extent this is true but parasites have no real regard for geographical boundaries and are more common in Europe that you would think. With an increasing number of holidays abroad in exotic destinations people are becoming more exposed to parasitic infestation.
What fascinated me was that this microscopic life form is able to change whole eco-systems, totally undermine the immune system and travel anywhere they like in the body.
There have always been parasites and there will always be parasites. The issue today is that our digestive and immune systems have become so compromised that parasites can quickly colonize a digestive tract or a weakened, stressed body with little opposition.
Signs of parasites in the body
Itchy ears, nose, anus – men: sexual dysfunction – women: problems with the menstrual cycle – forgetfulness – depression – slow reflexes – gas & bloating – unclear thinking – loss of appetite – yellowish face – fast heartbeat – heart pain – pain in the navel – blurry or unclear vision – eating more than normal but still feeling hungry – pain in the back, thighs, shoulders – numb hands – lethargy – burning sensations in the stomach – drooling while sleeping – bed wetting – digestive disturbances – irritable mood swings – insomnia – chronic fatigue – immune dysfunction nervousness – allergies – constipation or diarrhoea – anaemia – cuts/bruises heal slowly – muscle cramps – poor concentration – aching joints – strong desire for sweets – difficulty falling asleep – heartburn/indigestion – weak fingernails – unhealthy hair – water retention – over/underweight – frequently taking pain killers – asthma – arthritis – colitis – fibromyalgia – Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Lyme’s Disease - Epstein Barr – Multiple Sclerosis – Crohn’s Disease and more
What you need to know
Parasites can harm us in many ways, but their presence displays patterns which we can look for. They are responsible for tissue invasion, inflammation and irritation, allergic reactions and:
- cause physical & mental trauma by perforating organs and circulatory systems
- block our organ functions by clustering or grouping together
- suck the nutrition out of our cells. There are fat/sugar loving parasites that create a food craving when they need to feed. These are definitely one of the causes of diabetic tendencies and blood sugar discrepancies.
- stimulate the immune system response and over time exhaust it, leaving the body open to bacterial and viral infections.
- destroy cells faster then they can be generated, causing ulceration and anaemia
Parasites are a virtuoso of disease and definitely in the driver’s seat. They are masters of deception and one of the world’s most successful organisms.
What is less well known is that parasites can bring about psychological symptoms – nightmares, depression with suicidal tendencies, irritability and mood swings, spacey feelings, personality changes, insomnia and hyperactivity and short attention spans in children. It is so important to recognise these possibilities before administering drugs such as Ritalin on children who are diagnosed ‘attention deficit’. Generally most people don’t know what’s happening to them. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine understand parasites through ‘Gu’ syndrome (Gu Zheng).
As Thomas Moffatt once put it, “We are digging our graves with our teeth.” At a nutritional level we eat junk food in embarrassing quantities, artificial additives are prevalent in almost all foods, ice creams and cakes or puddings are eaten daily, there are too many convenient alternatives to breastfeeding and many children are introduced to solids too early. All age groups have an excessive intake of acidic carbonated drinks and ice. This adversely impacts our immune system’s essential function – to protect us from disease.
Let’s take an example of parasites in action.
Travellers returning from Mexico, Israel, Greece, India or any number of destinations can be infected any number of parasites. The increased use of human manure in countries like China and Mexico has increased the incidence of roundworm ten-fold over the past decade. Some years ago I ate at a local roadside noodle stall and 24 hours later contracted a bad case of Shanghai ‘Two-Step’. Two-steps is the distance you get from the toilet before you have to return.
Roundworm eggs may not show up in the stool for anything up to 75 days by which time you may be showing symptoms of an upper respiratory disease. Even if an alert medical practitioner suspects parasites, a single stool sample taken after say 30 days is likely to come back negative. And because the tests are negative, you could instead be treated for say bronchial pneumonia or asthma which may not be what you have. Such examples aren’t limited to roundworm either. Parasites can mimic a wide range of diseases.
The Broad Fish Tapeworm can grow to 35ft and live 10 years inside a person’s intestines. A diet of raw fish merely increases the risk of infection.
While I’m giving examples lets talk about the amoeba which you are probably more familiar with from school biology classes. Amoeba averages a three-month incubation period during which little or no evidence will be found in stool samples. Although there are few clinical symptoms, chronic infection can bring up massive food and environmental allergies. Amoebic hepatitis can be mistaken for viral hepatitis; genital amebiasis for carcinoma; amebic colitis for ulcerative colitis and amebiasis in the brain for a brain tumor. Tumors can be really difficult to confirm. Often they are clusters of roundworm mimicking a tumour.
There are countless other possibilities that cause physical disturbances. Roundworm can mimic a peptic ulcer or tumors, the anisakid worm can appear as Crohn’s Disease, an x-ray of the dog heartworm can be misdiagnosed as cancer, amoeba infestation often looks like as ulcerative colitis or giardia can manifest as chronic fatigue or what can look like Celiac Disease in children. And these are only a few of the many misleading tricks parasites can get up to.
Allergies are also top of their ‘mimic’ list. Just as antibiotics can shred the gut lining, and yeasts can puncture it, parasites have the ability to irritate and perforate the bowel lining, thereby increasing bowel permeability. This creates a condition known as Leaky Gut. The gut is a very delicate mechanism that allows nutrition in and keeps toxins out, that is until it is breached. When food travelling down the intestinal passages comes across a perforation or a tear in the gut wall, some of that food will escape outside the gut causing what appear to be allergic responses. The immune system triggers off all sorts of alarm bells and reacts by increasing the number of eosinophils, (white fighter cells) to go into battle with the allergy. When they get there they find it isn’t an allergy at all but a bit of yesterday’s meal. They can then turn on the immune system and cause harm.
- A study conducted several years ago in New York on over 400 Chronic Fatigue sufferers evidenced that an incredible 93% had one or more forms of parasitic infection.
- It was really parasites not the Hawaiian Islanders that brought about the death of Captain Cook in 1779. James Cook’s attitude to his men was particularly enlightened for his time and he was known for insisting on cordial relations with the natives. During his expedition to find the Northwest Passage he developed chronic gastroenteritis which he could not shake off. His mood worsened and he would find any arbitrary excuse to cut his men’s ears off.
- Almost all cats carry the parasite toxoplasma gondii and infect the people around them. One quarter of the world’s human population host this parasite in their brains and those infected undergo slow changes in their behaviour patterns. Other symptoms include birth defects and vision problems.
As capable as they are at disguise, parasites don’t limit their capabilities to physical disturbances. Who would suspect parasites as the root cause to a whole range of psychological symptoms - moderate to severe depression with suicidal tendencies, irritability, mood swings, nightmares or peculiar dreams, ‘spacey’ feelings, sudden personality changes, memory loss, hyperactivity and attention deficit in children and insomnia. Two reports by Lancet (Jan & Feb 1992) established the parasite Trichuris trichiura as the cause of diminished mental development in children.
A common misconception is that malaria is caused by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are certainly involved but only as the carrier for parasites, as rats once spread Bubonic plague. The plasmodium falciparum parasite develops in the female anopheles mosquito and is transferred to a human host when the mosquito takes a blood drink. Once in the human host, the parasite quickly establishes itself, invading and destroying red blood cells. The spleen which acts as a blood filter eliminating dead or injured red blood cells, starts to receive an increased migration of red blood cells. To accommodate this it swells from a three-to-five pound organ up to an eighteen-to-twenty pound organ, before rupturing and killing millions of people each year. In certain Asian and African countries mosquitoes appear to thrive on the chemical sprays which once were effective against them. In many Asian and African countries the mosquito problem is being treated as an epidemic.
Evidencing the presence of parasites using stool samples is not always reliable. Giardia are microscopic: up to 8,000 giardia trophozoites can fit onto a pinhead, making identification difficult. A study carried out on giardia in 1989 by The Lancet in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh reported that even at the height of acute infection the stool samples remained negative. St. Petersburg was nicknamed ‘Giardia City’ because of the high incidence of visitors contracting diarrhea, intestinal bloating, cramps and fevers from giardia infection passed the city’s drinking water. Regular concentrations of chlorine have little impact on encysted giardia. What is vital to recover giardia is to test the stool within seven hours of it being formed. Even then you have to test for specific antigen and giardia are particularly adept at changing their antigen to avoid detection.
Giardia’s kissing cousin cryptosporidium is more common in the USA than Europe. It was believed in the early 20th century that it only affected livestock. The first case in humans was discovered in 1976. Since then outbreaks such as the one in Milwaukee killed several people and affected 400,000 cryptosporidium have since been found reproducing on bottles of bleach.
Parasites are cyclical in their habits and will release larvae in cycles rather than in the stool every day. Entamoeba Histolytica, Cyclospora and giardia are all real gut wrenchers, and are brilliant at concealing themselves.
Common sense dictates that if your stool sample comes back negative yet your symptoms persist, you’ve got hitchhikers. If you are on antacids or any blockers like it, you’re high on the list of likely parasite carriers. Hydrochloric acid is triggered in large quantities to break down food. Antacids block the production of HCL in the stomach. Why block HCL when it destroys many of the parasites we have inside us? Go natural and chew your food instead. A common cause of stomach problems is not chewing properly. A mouthful of food if properly chewed is anti-inflammatory.
1 cu in of grade A beef can have up to 1,000 unhatched parasite larvae inside it.
If you eliminate regularly, the eggs will not have time to hatch in your gut.
In 1997 I bought a book on medical biology in a second-hand bookstore in Ventura, California. The book was written by a Scots doctor who covered all types of parasitic infection. He wrote that parasites are a plague upon us, and if we don’t start to fight against them now, it will become epidemic. His book was published in 1914.
On occasions I have had conversations with British doctors who would simply not countenance the existence of parasites in Britain. In one case an experienced vet from Kent refused to accept that parasites existed in anything but animals. If it wasn’t in his training it didn’t exist.
They don’t teach basic parasitology in medical schools. For doctors to acknowledge the existence of parasites and offer their patients a chance for real healing, it must be expanded outside of the departments of tropical medicine because parasites are not exclusively tropical. All practitioners regardless of their field should have a good understanding of parasitic infections and their symptoms so they can at least consider a parasite-based disease when it is present and know how to effectively recognise it, treat it and prevent its recurrence.
Few doctors in civilized Western nations are trained to recognise signs of parasitic infestation. According to a number of experts they may be the single most under-diagnosed and under-appreciated health threat in the West
In the battle against parasites (and candida albicans) it is vital to begin with a good detox before going on to the anti-parasite programme but first let me explain why. When eliminating fungus, yeasts and parasites, it is important to know that these opportunistic invaders have a symbiotic relationship with the body whereby they ‘eat’ heavy metals and toxins. So if you go on an anti-candida diet or eliminate some parasites without first detoxing properly the body simply asks the candida or parasites back to perform task which nothing else has replaced.
We are suffering from chronic illness, obesity and preventable diseases more now than in any other time in history. We are already well into a health crisis with an opponent we cannot even see. We aren’t more aware of this because we need scientific proof and this isn’t easy to come by. Some 85% of parasites we can’t even see.
Parasites by virtue of their sheer persistence and numbers are attracting increasing attention amongst healthcare practitioners and are now recognized as a bona fide medical entity. Due to lack of education, few doctors in the West are trained to recognize signs of parasitic infestation which may well be the missing diagnosis in many health problems, especially those of the gastrointestinal tract and endocrine system. The mention of parasites in medical training tends to come from obscure passing references or occasionally during an elective class in microbiology. Medical students in the USA, Canada, UK and Europe sincerely believe they will not be dealing with “tropical medicine” problems in their general practices. Well there is news for anyone in the health field and its called parasites. In the year 2000 the President of the World Health Organization addressed an international conference saying that over the years the WHO had played an important global role in saving lives and helping eradicate many diseases. He then raised the concern that parasites were becoming a major issue and that the even the WHO hadn’t scratched the surface of the problem.
What is less well known is their ability to manifest in systems that have only recently been discovered as target organs for parasite toxins. So if you are a health practitioner or you just have friends that are ill please consider parasitic infection as a possible cause in unusual syndromes – including chronic fatigue, underactive thyroid, low adrenal function, chronic respiratory ailments, depression, PMS, depressed libido and endometriosis.
Please understand I am talking here about the ROOT CAUSE of problems, not just their symptoms. A central problem in solving the parasite puzzle is that parasites have an ingenious ability to mimic other diseases which are more familiar to us.
What you can do about parasites
The body can and will rid itself of parasites if it has the right natural nutrients. Otherwise use your common sense. Drinking water is increasingly becoming an act of faith but look for pure water systems , have any water filters checked, wash your vegetables thoroughly, cook your meats properly, wipe down toilet seats before use, wash your hands before eating (especially your fingernails), do what you can to keep your immune system strong. Vitamin A increases resistance to tissue penetration so include lots of carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, yams and greens in your diet.
With children: breastfeed your babies as long as you can - human milk has properties that fight protozoa (amoeba and giardia), de-worm puppies and kittens regularly, you’re your hands after any contact with pets.
Ancient Herbal Remedies
In the battle against parasites I would only use a range of products that have been formulated by the Aboukhazaal family in the Lebanon. Actually the Lebanon was called Phoenicia when the family first developed a reputation for their healing skills. That was over 2,000 years ago. Their herbal remedies are outstanding because they use the freshest herbs and seeds, and no fillers or additives.
The place I would trust the most with my clients’ stool samples is the Parasitology Center Inc. in Tempe, Arizona. Run by Dr. Omar Amin, it uses a revolutionary technique for recovering and identifying parasites. Their success rate is up to 40% higher than many other centers in the USA.
I first met Dr Omar Amin in February 1997. He has a string of accomplishments - papers, articles and books on human and animal parasitic diseases on all continents. He chuckled at my enthusiasm for Natural Cleanse, explaining that different parasite groups required different treatments, and that nothing on this planet was sufficiently broad-spectrum for a single application. I took up the challenge and arranged for him to receive many bottles of this recipe for his charity work in Mali. Dr Amin returned and called me saying he did not expect these herbs to be so wonderfully broad spectrum
Take a look at Dr Amin’s website - www.parasitetesting.com - and read the article entitled ‘Understanding Parasites’. There’s also a Q & A section. If you feel that you (or your clients) really would benefit from Dr. Amin’s diagnostics the cost is about USD80. Call Dr Amin on tel 1 480 767 2522 in order to establish what you need to do beforehand. Please tell him the referral came from me. Sadly that won’t make me a cent but Dr. Amin does a lot of charity work in Mali and Mexico and I would like him to know we are supporting his efforts.
Two other great website for information on parasites are
1. Dr Keith Scott-Mumby’s website:
2. Center of Disease Control in Atlanta:
Resources For Life,
Tel 01243 55 44 87
Graeme Dinnen has lived and travelled throughout Asia for most of his life. He has studied parasites since 1996 in the UK and California and now lives near Chichester running Resources For Life, a centre for personal and environmental wellbeing.
This article was posted by Graeme Dinnen