Gut Health, Parasites & Nutrition
We all have them, and for the most part we don’t talk about them. However there are an important aspect of our microbiome and we should be aware of what they are doing in our digestive tract and gut tissues.
For the most part, a parasite often found in small numbers, is kept in check by our immune system and the surrounding gut flora. They get enough to eat and they usually don’t seem to bother us too much.
Perhaps, it can be considered to be quite normal.
Then we have circumstances where our immune systems get run down or we get sick or travel somewhere and are exposed to species and critters we would not ordinarily find in our environment.
Parasites are opportunistic organisms. They survive by waiting until a door opens or favourable conditions are present and then they grow, multiply or otherwise take over a section of our gut in some way.
They can make you sick. Or what is worse…..you are not fully unwell, just slightly under par and not your usual 100% self but can’t seem to put your finger on exactly what it is that’s bothering you.
In my clinic I have seen people with acute parasite infections – like the boy who came home from an extended exotic trip and had been diagnosed with a specific type of parasite from that region. He was not helped with the medication and ended up seeing me where we got him sorted with a high dose of appropriate herbs and food.
Then, there are loads of people who simply feel better in themselves once they have cleansed and cleared for a few days and parasite like symptoms settle down. Perhaps anything that was out of balance can be restored and your body regains its’ natural condition.
Right now I am doing another little parasite cleanse, usually I do them twice a year and I have been working with and looking at these little nasties for quite some time. As a result, I’ve done everything right and everything wrong over the years, so I thought I would share a few things I have learned along the way:
✔️ Parasites don’t go away. In fact, they can seem to sleep and some of us have the same parasites for an entire lifetime.
✔️ Changing your diet helps. Not really, in fact they are extremely adaptable! If you become vegan, so will they, the more you cut out of your diet the more they will find other means to stay alive.
✔️ Only immune compromised people get parasites. I have come to believe we ALL have parasites in some form or another and perhaps it is somewhat normal to have a few worms.
✔️ Parasites are worms. Yes and much more. I am even starting to think that viruses and fungi often act like parasites under some circumstances.
Thankfully many people have no symptoms at all and are not bothered by a few parasites. Then there are the rest of us! In general if you have parasites you may have some of the following symptoms;
- poor or increased appetite
- changes in bowel
- gut bloating & wind
- weight gain or loss
- skin rashes, sores or itch
- hair loss
- negative mindset and low moods
- hormonal imbalance
- gut issues!
For the most part I aim to do a general parasite cleanse in the spring and in the fall. However in the past I’ve actually fasted for 30 days on water (herbal tea) in an effort to clear my system completely.
It was life changing. Ask me about it sometime?
The best way to combat any parasite, from my own personal research and clinical experience (read trying every thing under the sun) is to eat normally, exercise daily, get plenty of sunshine and outside time and to take additional steps to improve your immune function above and beyond where it is now.
That probably means reducing stress, getting enough sleep and working on your mindset. It also means seeking out herbs that can assist in this process. There are many herbs gentle on your body systems yet tough on these parasites.
Some of my favourite ways to combat parasites are the following;
- Raw garlic in guacamole
- Raw pumpkin seeds
- Strong apple cider vinegar
- Bitter leaves & foods
- Fermented foods for gut biome composition
- Herbs such as wormwood, thyme, clove & black walnut
One of the best things I like about doing a little clearing and re-examination of my diet, habits and life, is that no matter what, I will feel better because of it.