Parasites: make your gut fight back
Healthy living advocate David Benjamin with tips on how to make your gut hostile to parasites
Changes you can make to help your body remove parasites effectively
It is estimated that 85 percent of Americans have a parasitic infection. Let’s get one thing clear, just because you live in a first world country does not mean that you don’t have parasites or aren’t at risk for getting them. It’s a common misconception that first world countries are void of parasites. Parasites don’t take bias to third world country living, they are everywhere (except for extremely cold places on earth where there is practically no life anyway) but if you live in the world you can and are exposed to parasites.
A parasitic infection is defined as an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense. A parasite could be an actual parasitic worm or any variety of infection (such as a candida, yeast infection) that also lives off you, the host. A parasitic infection is harmful to your health and vitality in numerous ways because it uses your nutrition as its fuel to survive and thrive which weakens you further.
Parasites can enter your body in many ways
Walking barefoot (which is beneficial for health) can cause you to get a parasite. Eating food, any food including fruits and vegetables! (not just raw sushi) can cause you to get a parasite. Drinking water, petting your cat or dog. Parasites are micro-organisms that live in our world and cannot be completely avoided. They are a part of life.
Third world countries are often seen as places where parasite breeding grounds lay. The misconception is simply because 3rd world countries are more in contact with the dirt and nature. This ‘dirty’ way of living may expose one to more parasites, but it does not change that we here in America and the northern countries are still exposed to them.
Think of a parasitic infection like a bad co-worker. They don’t do their job effectively and ask you questions, for help, constantly draining your energy and effectiveness in order for them to complete their job. Meanwhile, your job is compromised because you simply cannot devote the same amount of time and energy to your work.
The only thing deterring you from getting a parasitic worm or a parasitic infection of any kind is your immunity and gut. If your immune system is compromised from dietary choices such as eating white sugar, white bread or other junk foods that directly affect immune function for a period of time you are at a higher risk. Immunity is also compromised and halted by stress, lack of sleep for immunity to rebuild, lack of enough movement (exercise) for the body. Many different factors can compromise immune function.
The same goes with your gut. If your gut environment is imbalanced because of dietary habits, stress, inflammation, junk food, lack of healthy gut flora or other factors then it will be difficult for your body to remove parasites effectively. After all, parasites live in your gut for one reason, that’s where the food is!
Healthy gut and immune function are crucial
If your immune system is compromised then you are compromised. If your gut is compromised, then you are once again compromised. We compromise our immune function and gut health each day by the choices we make. We can strengthen and build immunity as well as restore gut resilience or reduce gut effectiveness. The choice is up to you, me, and every individual.
The problem is, it’s becoming more difficult over time to see with clarity what is healthy and what is not. That is why you must become someone who consistently educates oneself on health, well-being, diet and nutrition.
Parasitic infections and worms when living in your gut (you, the host) will consume your nutrients in order to survive causing your body to have less available resources to heal, repair and maintain a state of health.
Enhancing gut and immune function are your two strongest lines of defense to avoid or eliminate a parasitic infection.
Before we delve into what strengthens gut and immune function though I want to first briefly cover what weakens gut and immune function, or suppresses it for a prolonged period of time. Sugar, bread, dairy, non-organic food, processed snacks and food (think crackers, cookies, chips), artificial sweeteners, soda, energy drinks, and many other foods and drinks will compromise immune function. Eat a diet full of organic, preferably mostly raw fruits and vegetables for healthy gut and immune function.
Other factors such as alcohol, amount of exercise, quality and quantity of sleep, levels of stress and environmental factors and pollutants will play a role in immune and gut function as well. Now let’s dive into integrating unique ways to make your gut and immunity strong and resilient towards parasite based infections.
Seven ways to make your gut hostile to parasites
Probiotics: Pro meaning positive, biotic meaning life, are positive life forms of living bacteria that enhance both gut and immune function. Remember, 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut so a lot of these principles go hand-in-hand. Probiotics (good bacteria) work to maintain a healthy and harmonized gut flora that helps in the digestive process along with the assimilation of nutrients. They also keep bad bacteria that can thrive and grow in the gut (in an unhealthy environment) in check. You can take a probiotic supplement or get probiotics in foods such as kombucha, kimchi or other fermented vegetables. Drinks such as kombucha and kefir (I prefer water kefir) also contain beneficial probiotics.
Cloves: Clove essential oil are beneficial at destroying parasitic worms eggs. Believe it or not when parasitic worms live in your gut they lay eggs and begin to reproduce. If you do not keep your gut and immunity in check and healthy these eggs will grow in that unhealthy (to you) environment and grow in numbers. All the while sucking more life force energy from you. I add a small handful of cloves to a glass water bottle and let that sit for 24 hours. The clove soaks into the water and makes a nice minty drink that is rich in antioxidants as well as prevents parasites from multiplying. Clove essential oil can simply be added to your water or drink on the go or added to a smoothie or juice.
Wormwood: Known for its vermicidal (worm killing) properties and it helps even more if you have a weak and under-active digestive system. It also works to increase the acidity of the stomach and the production of bile in the liver which helps the gut digest better. Wormwood can kill the larva (young egg) stages of the parasites, working effectively similar to cloves. Both can and should be used for their unique benefits and effects. A supplement called paratrex (formulated to heal parasitic infections) contains both wormwood and clove.
Black Walnut Hull: This herb is one of the most potent agents to remove harmful organisms in the intestinal tract. This herb has a high tannin content which is responsible for suppressing intestinal parasites as well as improving digestive health and capability. The paratrex supplement also contains black walnut hull.
Digestive Enzymes: According to the University of Maryland Medical Center digestive enzymes help to restore your intestinal tract and make it inhospitable to parasites. Papain (a digestive enzyme in the organic (non-gmo) papaya fruit) is beneficial for killing parasites when taken 30 minutes before or after meals. You can benefit from this enzyme by simply consuming papaya seeds or papaya seed powder. Digestive enzymes are crucial for breaking down and carrying away waste in the body. These enzymes are found in the highest quantities in fruits and vegetables. Paratrex also contains a digestive enzyme blend including papain.
Co-enzymes: Digestive enzymes are needed for proper digestive function, removal of waste and to make the gut an inhospitable environment for parasites. Co-enzymes are also important to support the digestive enzyme function. Co-enzymes are co-factor nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that support and help digestive enzyme function optimally. CQ10 is one coenzyme that is important for cellular health and energy. Other coenzymes benefit as well. An important cofactor that supports digestive enzyme function is adequate magnesium levels.
Fiber: Needed to clean house in the gut. You need good whole food sources of both soluble and insoluble sources of fiber in your diet. Fruits, vegetables and flax seeds and chia seeds are some of the best sources of both insoluble and soluble fiber. If you eat a healthy, organic, whole food rich diet as your base you should get adequate amounts of fiber and not need a fiber supplement.
The role of sugar in your gut
There is one topic that is up for debate in this. Sugar! I recommend avoiding all sugar as sugar is the easiest and most easily accessed source of fuel for any parasitic infection. Some say that fruit sugar also feeds parasitic infections. Some say that it does not. Some say that fruit can be eaten individually and that if not combined with any other fruit you won’t have an issue with those fruit sugars feeding parasites or infections.
It’s still ‘up in the air’ as far as I’m concerned and not a whole lot of resources have been put into researching this, unfortunately. That’s for you to decide. I personally feel based on my research and experience (of having parasites at one time) that fruit, when combined with other food groups, can be harmful. If the fruit is eaten solely by itself it doesn’t seem to cause as much of an issue. Stick to fruits that have beneficial digestive enzymes such as organic pineapple and organic papaya and make sure to eat those papaya seeds! they are anti-parasitic in and of themselves.
As you may have noticed, several of these recommendations have been formulated into the paratrex supplement. This supplement has been formulated to prevent and help reduce parasitic infections. It’s a research-backed blend worth trying out if you’d like to prevent or help remedy parasites that you may have. Try Paratrex here.
This article first appeared on David Benjamin’s website, Healthy, Wild and Free