It may come as a surprise, but parasites are a disturbingly common un-diagnosed problem in the United States.
It seems impossible, right? Something that happens over there in developing countries, but not here.
How could parasites flourish in modern, sanitized culture? Where do they hide? And what can we do to prevent it?
It’s time to get real about the silent outbreak nobody wants to talk about (especially doctors).
On a deeper level, we almost always have parasites and we almost always will. Our microbiome is a diverse ecosystem that includes trillions of bacteria, viruses, bacteriophages, yeast, and – you guessed it – parasites.
But like any ecosystem, the health of our microbiome (and the rest of our body) is dependent on balance. So the real tasks are to recognize the symptoms of imbalance, do what we can to get back into balance, and take active actions against opportunistic, invasive parasites that are overrunning the ecosystem of our gut.
To understand the scope of the problem, let’s look at some numbers.
As implausible as it sounds, the facts don’t lie. According to the CDC at least 60 million Americans are chronically infected with Toxoplasma gondii. And that’s just one of them.
Another 3.1 million are infected with Trichomoniasis. And there are dozens more species, not even counting Candida, the fungus chronically afflicting the intestines of millions.
Gut parasites are an epidemic afflicting at least 25% of the population. Next time you’re in a crowded space, think about every fourth person you see.
The best approach to understand this is to look at this from the parasite’s view. A successful parasite is one that isn’t detected. They want to use your resources, but not so much that they provoke a noticeable reaction.
They have evolved all kinds of special tools that help them avoid detection by the immune system – evolutionary spy-gear so they can sneak around inside your body without alerting the immune guards.
They take advantage of weakened immune systems or poor gut health – conditions often linked to poor diet or chronic stress – and slowly, silently spread throughout our gut, robbing us of our vitality.
In lieu of obvious symptoms, we move on with our lives. We acclimate to how we feel while infected and forget that we used to feel different.
So what does it feel like?
It’s hard to say, but mostly it will manifest in feeling “off” in one way or another. Obviously, this covers an extremely broad range of effects, so here is a partial list:
As mentioned above, parasites are everywhere. We all have them. We always have and always will.
Their microscopic eggs can be found on doorknobs, unwashed fruit, in the dirt, improperly cooked food… just about everywhere. Hygiene is important, to be sure, but it’s equally important not to become paranoid and sanitize everything in your life.
In fact, many studies show that hyper-sanitization actually makes your immune system weaker by depriving you of important microbial exposure. Counter-intuitively, too clean leaves you more prone to disease. 
The real culprit lies in a weakened immune system. This is what allows them to flourish in the first place. So now the question becomes “what weakens our immune system?”
This is a much simpler question, and most of us already know the answers:
The environment itself can determine which organisms thrive and which starve. Some bacteria like certain types of fats or fiber, others like a certain pH, and so on. Therefore, by controlling the environment that parasites live in – your gut – you can influence their ability to survive.
How do you do that?
Virtually all parasites thrive on one simple fuel: sugar.
One of the most helpful things you can do to manage your parasite load is to cut back on sugar and carbohydrates. This not only takes away their favorite food, it also makes your immune system stronger, so you can fight back better.
Like ecosystems in nature, your microbiome is a complex web of predators and prey, competing for resources through chemical warfare. There are many kind of bacteria and healthy yeast that attack parasites and suppress their proliferation.
This means that one of the best resources to help you fend off parasite infections are probiotics and fermented foods. They help you re-establish healthy balance to your gut and keep parasites at bay.
This includes foods like:
Parasites thrive on imbalance and inattention. We can become used to feeling lethargic, to being forgetful, to feeling a certain way, justifying it with “that’s just how I am.”
But that’s not how it should be. Cultivate awareness for you feel on the day to day. If you notice that you become fatigued more easily or that your memory seems strange, or that your breath is inexplicably awful… these are signs that something is amiss.
Humans are designed to be vibrant, alert, healthy, sharp-minded, and happy. A lot of us don’t feel like this because our lives are out of balance, one way or another. But we won’t recognize this unless we cultivate awareness for how we feel – so we can notice a difference when something’s off.
Once we are aware, then we can begin to take steps to return to balance – and sometimes that means dealing with hidden parasitic infections.
These little buggers can be a challenge to get rid of – usually involving a combination of diet and herbs, but a lot depends on your particular situation.
So if you think you might have some unwelcome passengers, the best thing you can do is to speak with a qualified professional. Most mainstream medical doctors aren't properly trained to recognize or deal with parasites, so we recommend you see a naturopathic practitioner who has experience with parasites.
Or even better – if you’re in the area – come down and see Dr. Minkoff here at Lifeworks Wellness Center!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease.
In the nearly 8 years that my wife and I have lived in Colorado Springs, never have we seen the amount of road construction currently taking place. Whether it’s a main road or side street, there’s no part of town missing out on the “fun”. And it’s not just re-paving or patching potholes. Whole lanes are being ripped up with miles of digging in order to replace underground pipes of all varieties.
At first, I thought all the “weed” sales (pot is legal in Colorado) might be producing the influx of tax funds for all this construction. But a running buddy of mine made me aware of a bill that had passed in the last couple years which freed up an enormous amount of funds for these projects.
Turns out the city has a certain amount of time to spend the money. Based on the number of orange cones and “ROAD WORK AHEAD” signs, it looks as though no penny is being spared.
Millions of people are about to be disappointed –– they don’t even realize it.
Maybe you’re one of them.
Right now, around the world, people are setting new ambitious health goals and resolutions.
And yet, according to Inc Magazine, approximately 80% of New Year's resolutions fail. Most of them buried in an unmarked early grave by February.
Why is that?
How is it that despite all our best intentions and genuine desire to live healthier and be fitter, the most we can hope for is a depressing 20% success rate?
So to help you kickstart your New Year with a healthy lifestyle we are going to breakdown why most goals and resolutions fail and what to do instead.