While the movie was spectacular, the word “parasite” can be rather terrifying. Parasitic infections are actually something we uncover quite often here at The Morrison Center, so today we’re unpacking some knowledge about this buggy problem.
Close to home
Contrary to popular belief, contracting parasites is actually quite common—yes, right here in the U.S. You can find parasites in contaminated food, drinking water, lakes and ponds, soil, and even your pet.
Types of parasites
There are 3 main types of parasites that affect humans: helminths, protozoa, and ectoparasites.
- Helminths are multicellular organisms that you probably think of when you hear the word, “parasite.” Depending on the type, you can find these worms in the gut, lymphatic system, subcutaneous tissues, and blood. These include tapeworms, roundworms, and flukes.
- Protozoa are single-celled organisms that can multiply in humans. Intestinal protozoa are typically transmitted via contaminated food/water or person-to-person contact. Protozoa found in the blood can be transmitted through a vector, like a mosquito. You may be familiar with ones like Giardia, Cryptosporidium (i.e. Crypto), Plasmodium (i.e. malaria), and Babesia.
- Ectoparasites are arthropods that are more known for transmitting disease, although they have been known to cause health problems of their own. Examples of ectoparasites are: ticks, fleas, lice, mites, and mosquitos. Lone star tick bites can cause severe bouts of allergic reactions to a sugar molecule called alpha-gal, found in red meat and other mammal products.
How do you know if you may have a parasitic infection?
The symptom list can be pretty long because parasites can affect so many organ systems. Some of these symptoms include:
- Achy joints/muscles
- Anal itching
- Anal spasms
- Chronic fatigue
- Food sensitivities
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Shortness of breath
- Skin rashes
- Sleep difficulties
- Stomach cramps/pain
- Thyroid imbalances
- Weakened immune system
- Weight loss
How can you reduce your risk of infection?
The answer isn’t so straightforward. Sure, you can avoid sashimi, never eat salads outside your home, and not swim in lakes. An even better approach is to strengthen your body’s constitution to improve resiliency against infection. Chances are, we’ve all come into contact with a gut parasite. When the immune system is strong and the body is supported, naturally getting rid of the parasite can be seamless. When the body is under a significant amount of stress, a parasite can get its opportunity to wreak havoc. Connect with one of our providers to begin your health-building protocol.
- Benezyme. The first step to preventing parasites is to have good digestion. Pancreatic enzymes like the ones found in Benezyme can help. Take 1 capsule with meals.
- Essential Formula. Just like a healthy lawn doesn’t have weeds, probiotics can keep the intestinal membrane resistant to parasite implantation. Take 2 softgels daily.
Not sure if you have a parasite?
Our team of integrative practitioners is happy to guide you through testing, diagnosis, and treatment options of a possible parasitic infection. Call our office to find out more: 212-989-9828.
- Parasites. cdc.gov. Updated March 21, 2022. Accessed March 28, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/about.html
- Ramirez-Carrillo E et al. Disturbance in human gut microbiota networks by parasites and its implications in the incidence of depression. Sci Rep. 2020;10(3680). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60562-w
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to treat or cure any disease.