Welcome back to More Than Healthy as we continue to share our weekly health tips. This week we’re covering a really important topic. In Tip #79, we’re taking a deep dive into parasites. To watch our Weekly Video Tip, click here.
It’s the first week of the month, which means we’re focusing on a topic in your hair analysis results report. We’re working hard to make sure you can understand the wealth of information you get when you do your hair analysis. And this week, we’re focusing on one of the more common results our clients get.
The first section we focus on when interpreting client hair analysis report results is the Personal Immune System Support Indicators page. We start here because these issues have a domino effect on all other areas of our health. Parasites, included in the Environmental Stressors section, are top of our health priority list.
Do I really have a parasite??
I get this question all the time. Most of my clients are pretty shocked to see that their hair analysis shows parasites on their report. But it is actually very common. In fact, we all have parasites as part of our gut microbiome. Parasites become problematic and negatively affect our health when the delicate balance within the gut microbiome gets unbalanced.
Consider this quote about parasites by Dr. Mark Hyman:
“You may be surprised to learn that having a parasite, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, our gut microbiome is made up of more than 500 different species of microbes, including various types of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. Some of them help us, but others are harmful.”
Your hair analysis report will flag parasites when they become harmful to your health. And, if you do have parasites flagged, you’ll want to take care of this before addressing any other problems, as those pesky freeloaders can make any other efforts you make to get healthy ineffective.
I know this is kind of a gross topic, and the idea of parasites might freak you out a little. But as we always say here at More Than Healthy, knowledge is power. Understanding what parasites are, how you can get them, and, most importantly, how to get rid of them, may be the key you need to unlock the right health solutions. So bear with me, and let’s take a deeper dive into the world of parasites.
What is a parasite?
A parasite is an organism that lives on or in a host organism and gets its food from or at the expense of its host. They are particularly good at siphoning vitamins and minerals from their host, another reason it is imperative to get rid of harmful parasites before you can make other progress on your health. I don’t address nutrient deficiencies with clients until we get rid of the parasites, as you might just be fine once that parasite isn’t eating up all your nutrients.
There are three main classes of parasites that can cause disease in humans: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites. Let’s briefly identify each of these so we can understand them better.
Protozoa are a common type of parasite and the ones we think we see the most. They are microscopic, one-celled organisms that can be free-living or parasitic in nature. They are able to multiply in humans, which contributes to their survival and also permits serious infections to develop from just a single organism.
Transmissions of protozoa that live in a human’s intestine typically occur through a fecal-oral route (for example contaminated food or water or person-to-person contact). Protozoa that live in the blood or tissue of humans are transmitted to other humans by a bite of a mosquito or sandfly.
Helminths are parasitic worms that usually live in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Your GI tract is a series of hollow organs that connect to each other from your mouth to your anus, including your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
Helminths are visible to the naked eye in their adult stage. They range from greater than 1 millimeter (less than 1/16th of an inch) to greater than 1 meter (which is 39 inches). They are basically different types of worms that get into your system through contaminated water, or aquatic animals including snails, crabs, and fish.
Tapeworms feed off the nutrients that their host gets from eating food. They spread by laying eggs in their host’s body. That’s why you need to do two treatments of any type of cleanse to get rid of the adults and their eggs.
An ectoparasite is a parasite that lives on the outside of its host. They’re living things that carry diseases between animals and humans. They carry infections through the blood. These seem to be more common and easier to spot because many times they can be seen with the naked eye. But they’re still difficult to treat. They generally include fleas, head lice, crabs, mites, and ticks.
How do I get a parasite?
The most common way we get parasites is by spending time in areas that have parasites. But it’s also surprisingly common to have parasites even if you haven’t traveled to a third-world country. Other sources include contaminated water, foods, soil, blood, or feces. Common food sources of parasites include raw or undercooked meat or fish, raw or unwashed fruits and vegetables, raw aquatic plants such as watercress, and unpasteurized milk or juices.
We can transmit parasites when we don’t wash our hands before eating or drinking or not washing or bathing frequently. Contaminated bug bites or sexual contact can spread parasites. We’re also more susceptible when we have a weakened immune system.
Doctors who specialize in parasitic infection say that when you see parasites, you should be thinking that something is amiss in the immune system. It’s hard to underestimate the value of boosting an immune system when it comes to any and every aspect of our health.
Why do parasites seem so much more common now?
Humans have been exposed to parasites for centuries. But you’re not wrong if you feel like parasite problems are more prevalent today than ever. So why does it seem like they’re becoming a bigger problem for our bodies to handle lately?
There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that we are simply exposed to many more toxins today than at any other time in the history of the world. Parasites are a bigger problem because of environmental toxins like glyphosate.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Round-Up. It is the most widely used herbicide in the world. The food we eat is typically heavily spread with glyphosate. According to studies, fish who are exposed to glyphosate develop digestive issues that mirror Celiac disease.
These higher levels of toxins accelerate leaky gut. And, with symptoms of leaky gut on the rise, the body’s natural ability to rid itself of harmful parasites weakens. According to Dr. Hyman, parasites are a completely “…underdiagnosed and undertreated problem for many people with gut issues, with autoimmune diseases, with all sorts of problems that are overlooked.”
Additionally, Dr. Hyman explains that although they are housed in the gut, parasites can often cause problems that seem to have nothing to do with your gut. All the more reason to be vigilant with hair analysis screening, since that 36-page report means there is no need for guesswork.
Tips to help avoid parasites
Since there is a high demand for fresh fruits and vegetables that can’t be grown in the U.S. in our winter climate, more and more of our produce is coming from South America. We just need to be vigilant about cleaning and preparing those foods so we aren’t constantly exposing ourselves to potential parasites.
Another way to prevent that exposure is a good water filtration system. We talk about that in Tip #47. Also, working on boosting the immune system is a good preventative measure. A healthy immune system can fight off many of these parasites without a more aggressive approach.
Symptoms of parasites
Some of the common symptoms of parasites include:
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Muscle aches
- Skin rashes
Parasitic infections can result in noticeable, next-day digestive issues. But others may not show up for weeks. If left untreated, parasite infections might last for years and cause ongoing symptoms. If you’ve been struggling with ongoing, unidentifiable health symptoms that continue to nag you, it might be time to make sure you don’t have a parasite.
But here is what makes parasites extra tricky. Chances are you have a parasite and no symptoms whatsoever. That’s what I’ve found is happening with most of my clients, and that’s what happened to David. He had no idea he had a parasite. He has been to several doctors and had hundreds of tests over the past 10 years, but none of them told him he had a parasite.
In addition, he was deficient in several vitamins and minerals. That darn parasite was using them so he couldn’t! His second hair analysis report showed that once we got rid of the parasite, all but one of his nutritional deficiencies went away. That’s why this technology is so important. Our doctors aren’t looking for parasites in our blood work, so they’re going undetected and wreaking havoc on our bodies.
How can I do a parasite cleanse?
Most of you are probably thinking, “Ewww! I had no idea parasites were that common! What do I do if I have them? I want them gone, and gone fast!”
The good news is that there is an easy and effective way to get rid of parasites that works for most people. We encourage people to do a gentle cleanse called Super CleanseR. This product has high-quality, all-natural ingredients, including black walnut hull, marshmallow root, clove, wormwood, Amalaki, cascara sagrada bark, and senna leaf. (Check out Tip #55 to read more about each of these ingredients and why we recommend this product.)
This cleanse works to remove fungus, parasites, mold/spores, and anything else that shouldn’t be in your gut. David and I know from personal experience that it works. After hair analysis told us that I had a fungus and he had a parasite, we both did this cleanse. It worked – and with little to no side effects. After 90 days, when we did our follow-up tests, the fungus and parasites were gone. We consistently see these same results in our clients as well.
The parasite life cycle
Parasites have a life cycle of eggs, feces, and larvae. Each phase affects your body. This is why it’s so important to do two 10-day cleanses 20 days apart to get rid of the parasites that come from the eggs. We’ve had great success with this cleanse protocol, with all of our clients testing negative for parasites after the two doses.
If that didn’t get rid of the parasite, I’d recommend you go to a doctor and get a prescription for a stronger medication. Doctors can prescribe antiparasitic drugs, antibiotics, shampoos, and ointments that are much stronger. They do have side effects, so I like to go the natural route first whenever possible.
A parasite cleanse will help reduce inflammation, aid digestion, enhance mental clarity, help stabilize mood, and reduce cravings. Additional health benefits of a cleanse can include an energy boost, healthier skin and nails, and some feel cleansing gives them an anti-aging effect.
The importance of a quarterly cleanse
Since finding out how common parasites are, we have started doing a proactive quarterly cleanse to keep them away. Since all the ingredients are natural, and I like the way it works, that’s the approach I’m taking. Working on our health is never a “one-and-done” thing. This is a lifelong endeavor!
Read more about the great health benefits of doing a quarterly cleanse here.
Hair analysis: Your best defense against pesky parasites
We hope this helps you understand some of the data in your hair analysis. If you haven’t got one yet, what are you waiting for? Just go to our website and schedule your hair analysis today. With just a few strands of your hair, you’ll receive a full report that looks at the information we discussed today and so much more.
As always, we enjoy hearing from you. If you have health questions on anything we’ve discussed or any health issue, you can go to our social media pages on Facebook or Instagram (@morethanhealthyliving) and ask us. We try to respond to all questions.
We’d love to become your health coaches as you work to become “more than healthy” and achieve optimal health. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you next week.
Note: Remember, we’re not doctors. We’re sharing what’s worked for us on our health journey. You will want to consult your doctor before significantly changing your diet and supplementation.