Parasitic infections don’t just happen to people in third-world countries. As world-famous parasitologist and owner of Parasitology Center, Inc., Dr. Omar Amin said to me in an interview the other day, “Parasites don’t need a passport or airline ticket to come to the US.” In other words- lots of us bring parasites back home with us when we travel overseas, but parasites also visit us from foreign nations when they travel on imported produce. And we get infected by them locally, via unclean food handling practices and other means.
If you have a chronic health condition- anything from chronic fatigue syndrome, to fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, Alzheimer’s, depression, and especially, gastrointestinal dysfunction- you may have a parasitic infection. According to Dr. Amin, up to 50% of the US population has some type of parasitic infection (although not everyone has symptoms from these infections). Still, 50% is a high number!
These parasites can cause a diverse array of symptoms. I was amazed when Dr. Amin shared with me about how a certain type of tapeworm depletes vitamin B-12 in the body and causes dementia. He then shared with me how he was able to help reverse one woman’s dementia, in a matter of just weeks, by removing the parasite and giving her B-12 supplementation.
In my recent book, Beyond Lyme Disease, I write that parasites are a major cause of chronic illness in people with Borrelia and co-infections, but are often missed by Lyme-literate doctors who may focus more upon the tick-borne infections than the other causes of symptoms. But parasites (besides Babesia) can make a person with Lyme sicker than Borrelia and the common co-infections! For this reason, it’s worthwhile to do a parasite test with Dr. Amin’s lab, or another reputable company, and follow it up with some type of bioenergetic testing (since labs can’t always detect all parasites 100% of the time).
It’s essential to avoid getting parasites in the first place though, especially if you know that your immune system is compromised; as otherwise, if you treat them but don’t know how to avoid getting re-infected, chances are, they will come back! So below are some simple tips to avoid parasitic infection:
1) Don’t let your pets sleep with you or lick you, especially your face! I love animals too, but dogs and cats carry parasites and parasite eggs in their fur and saliva. If you know that you are susceptible to parasitic infection, you may want to have your pets sleep elsewhere.
2) Thoroughly wash all produce. According to Dr. Amin, fruits and vegetables should be soaked for 15 minutes in vinegar or in 1 tsp of bleach mixed with a gallon of water. If you use bleach, you’ll want to make sure to thoroughly rinse the produce afterward. Much organic produce in the US is imported from Mexico, where human waste is used as fertilizer, so even organic produce needs to be disinfected!
3) Wash your hands after using the bathroom, cleaning the litter box or changing your baby’s diaper. Parasites hang out everywhere on toilets- (so it goes without saying that you should also clean your toilets frequently!)
4) Thoroughly cook all meats, especially pork, so that there is no pink color left in the middle. Yes, I know, it’s no fun to eat steak well-done, but it is safer. Some researchers argue that when you cook meat well, you destroy some of the beneficial amino acids in it, but in the end, I guess you have to decide what’s most important to you. Personally, I think there are other ways to get your amino acids, such as through protein drinks and supplements. Besides, cooking meat well doesn’t entirely destroy the aminos- it just reduces their content, apparently.
5) Don’t drink tap water, which nowadays, is laden with microbes such as giardia and cryptosporidium. Purchase a high-quality water filter with a sub-micron pore structure. Multipure: multi pure.com makes some good filters.
6) Don’t walk barefoot on soil, and use gardening gloves when working in the garden.
Avoid swimming in rivers and lakes, especially those where the water is stagnant and does not flow continually.
Parasitic infections can be difficult to treat, and I’ve found that the best of herbal formulas are sometimes inadequate for addressing stubborn infections. On the other hand, pharmaceutical drugs, while more effective, can be harsh on the body, especially the liver, and can compromise immune function.
Interestingly, Dr. Amin has developed an herbal parasite protocol that he has found to effectively remove a wide variety of parasites- from worms to protozoa, and even fungi and bacteria, and which works better than many pharmaceutical drugs. If this protocol works as well as Dr. Amin contends, it would be great news for those of you who haven’t had luck getting rid of the critters with drugs or other herbal remedies. Dr. Amin always advocates getting tested so that you can receive the most tailored protocol to your needs, but his basic Freedom-Cleanse-Restore protocol may be sufficient for some people. It contains a wide variety of anti-parasitic herbs; the only drawback may be that you might need a higher or loser dose of some of the herbs that are contained within the formula.
MMS, or Miracle Mineral Supplement (sodium chlorite), mixed with citric acid or lemon juice, is another option for removing parasites if you don’t want to take pharmaceutical drugs, and have tried every herbal remedy under the sun. This supplement is best administered under physician supervision, however, as it is very powerful and can be toxic if it is prepared improperly or taken in the wrong doses.