If you’ve tried countless approaches to repair your gut and relieve your negative health symptoms, without much success, a parasite could be the underlying cause for many of your unexplained symptoms.
Parasites can range from tiny organisms, visible only by microscope to long tapeworms (several metres long). Because parasites come in many different shapes and sizes, they can cause a broad and diverse range of health symptoms. For example; some parasites can steal the nutrients in your food, leaving you hungry and tired after every meal, others feed off of your red blood cells, causing anemia. Trouble sleeping, mood changes, skin irritations, headaches or migraines and even muscle pain can all be caused by the toxins that parasites release into the bloodstream. They can also manipulate our thought patterns to allow them to live more easily and thrive in our bodies. They have the power to alter some of our neurotransmitters to make us feel certain emotions, act in certain ways or even crave sugar (as that’s their food source).
Common Signs & Symptoms
Digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation, gas, bloating, abdominal pain or tenderness
Nausea or vomiting
Unexplained weight gain or loss
Teeth clenching or grinding
Restless or disrupted sleep
Itching around the rectum or vulva
Muscle aches and pains
Rashes, lumps, bumps, eczema, hives
Brain fog and difficulty focusing and concentrating
Coughing or wheezing
Bad behaviour in children (especially around the full moon)
You may even pass a worm in your stool
How Do You Get Parasites?
Well, there are a number of ways. When you travel you’re in a new environment so you will be exposed to different bacteria and parasites. Parasites can also be frequently found in undercooked meat or seafood, pork, unclean or contaminated fruits, vegetables or drinking water, as well as ponds, lakes and creeks. You can also get them from your animals, and some parasites can even enter the body by traveling through the bottom of your feet.
Parasites choose their host carefully. They usually go for someone with a weakened immune system or heavy metal toxicity, that is highly stressed, has gut issues and imbalances, or is nutrient deficient. Children are particularly susceptible to parasites because they play in environments with contaminated soil such as sandboxes and school playgrounds.
Once a person has a parasite, they can also infect other people too. For example; if you have a parasite and don’t wash your hands after using the restroom, you can pass microscopic parasite eggs onto anything you touch, your phone, door handles, your water bottle or even other people. Once you’ve consumed something contaminated with a parasite, it travels into your intestine where they reproduce and make their home there. Once they become larger in amount and size, thats when the negative health symptoms start to appear.
Can You Test For Parasites?
The best way to test for a parasite is to get a stool test. Most doctors will run a conventional stool test if they suspect you have a parasite. However, because parasites have a very unique life cycle where they can rotate between dormant and alive, I often see a lot of false negatives with this type of stool test because in order to be able to identify them, the stool sample needs to contain a live parasite. For this reason, I use and recommend Comprehensive Stool Analysis with all of my clients. The comprehensive stool analysis is a lot more accurate than the conventional stool test because it uses Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology to amplify the DNA of the parasite (if there is one). This means that even if the parasite dormant, it will still be detected through this test.
How Do You Get Started On A Parasite Cleanse?
If you suspect you have a parasite infection, there is a natural way to treat it. I’m currently doing a 4 week Parasite Cleanse through Kultured Wellness which you can read more about HERE.
Parasites eat the same foods as you do, and the items you choose to eat will either nourish, or destroy them.
So the most logical place to start battling parasites is to eliminate the food sources it grows and thrives from, these foods include;
Processed foods – don’t support immune or gut health
Alcohol – doesn’t allow for proper immune system functioning
Vegetable Oils – are highly processed and cause inflammation
Pork – can be highly contaminated with parasites (and yep, that includes bacon)
Wheat & grains – especially those containing gluten, can break down into sugar quickly and cause intestinal inflammation
Sugar – is highly inflammatory, feeds parasites and lowers immune function. It's important you remove ALL sources of sugar including; white sugar, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, brown sugar, agave, rice malt syrup, high carbohydrate rich foods etc.
You can probably see the theme of this list is carbohydrates/ sugar. This why I’m following a ketogenic diet, eating anti-parasitic foods (which I’ll get into shortly), taking specific herbs that kill parasites as well as avoiding the substances that strengthen the parasites. All of this combined can limit your symptoms and help to remove the infection from your system as quickly as possible.
What is Ketosis?
When we are not in ketosis, the body is a sugar-burner, using blood sugar (glucose) for fuel. When we are in a ketogenic state, the body gets energy by burning fat rather than sugar. Ketones are a form of fat which the body can use as fuel, so when you follow a ketogenic diet, your body becomes fat-adapted.
In traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles, people regularly cycled in and out of ketosis because most of these cultures didn’t have consistent access to carbohydrates. In seasons where carbs weren’t available, or when food was very scarce, blood sugar levels would plummet and ketosis would kick in.The body would convert stored body fat into ketones, providing energy, even in the total absence of food. Pretty cool right!?
What Are the Health Benefits Of Combining Intermittent Fasting & Ketosis On A Parasite Cleanse?
When you pair intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet together, it can kick start ketosis and you can become fat-adapted much faster. For those of you who don’t know what intermittent fasting is, it’s going for a select period of time without consuming any food. Most of us fast everyday without realising it, it’s called sleep! But intermittent fasting lengthens the duration of the fasted state in a bid to;
Normalise blood sugar levels
Protect your brain and improves cognitive function and clarity
Protect against autoimmune disease
Help fight infection
Speed up recovery
Decrease oxidative stress
Suppress hunger and cravings
Support healthy gut bacteria which will help to get rid of parasites
For more detailed information, please read my blog ‘Intermittent Fasting For Gut Health’.
I personally practice Bulletproof fasting. On the days I feel like fasting. I drink 1x Bulletproof Coffee in the morning as a replacement for my breakfast. The healthy fats from grass-fed butter or ghee and Brain Octane Oil stabilise your blood sugar and energy levels so you’re sustained all morning long. Drinking Bulletproof coffee (and water) in the morning allows me to be able to fast until lunchtime without any food. It also helps to optimise brain function, removes brain fog, increases ketone production and boosts metabolic rate. Using Brain Octane Oil in your Bulletproof coffee increases the speed at which you go into ketosis, so it fuels your brain, and it helps you stay in ketosis even in the presence of some carbs in your diet. For anyone who struggles to reach ketosis while on a keto diet, adding intermittent fasting and Bulletproof coffee into the mix will effectively kickstart it.
Fasting for longer amounts of time helps to starve unwanted microbes in the gut while also reducing the burden of digestion, allowing it to heal more quickly. In addition to fasting and cleansing, you will want to eat foods that will not feed the infection while also actively combating it. A high-fat/low-carb diet (aka ketogenic diet) is a great place to start.
What Do You Eat On A Parasite Cleanse?
My Day On A Plate
Fasting - I drink 1x Bulletproof coffee
Late, light lunch - chicken liver pate with homemade keto crackers or these low carb zucchini & cauliflower veggie fritters with avocado or cultured beetroot cashew cheese or leftovers from the previous nights dinner if I’m hungrier. One day I had the above lunch which was organic chicken thigh with the skin on fried in ghee and spices, served with loads of veggies, cultured veggies and a salad dressing (not pictured).
Dinner - loads of green veggies cooked in bone broth, cauliflower puree blended with grass-fed butter and bone broth concentrate, slow cooked meat with homemade gravy or fresh fish with lemon, garlic and fresh herbs. A good serving of homemade cultured veggies.
Just before I go to bed (2 hours away from food) I’ll take my binding agents (activated coconut charcoal or bentonite clay)
Liquids Throughout The Day
1 cup bone broth (minimum) usually it’s around 2 cups (and more in winter)
At least 2L of filtered water
1x herbal tea (ginger, peppermint, tulsi, burdock or matcha)
½ cup coconut water kefir with dinner (I like to add a good splash of apple cider vinegar and ginger in too)
1 cup of my Kidney Cleansing Green Juice
Anti-Parasitic Foods to Consume
It’s a good idea to invest in foods that will help to eliminate parasites from your body for good. Some of the best foods for combating parasites include;
Garlic & onions – both of these immune-boosting vegetables are highly effective at helping to rid the system of parasites and yeast. I like to ferment them into a paste to increase the health benefits even further, you can find a recipe on pg. 305 of our cookbook GUTALICIOUS. I’ll also use them in slow cooked meals, soups and homemade gravy.
Fresh herbs – certain herbs like oregano, coriander and parsley, can have antibacterial and anti-parasitic effects. I love parsley because it's a pathogen fighter, it keeps bacteria, fungus and parasites at bay so I always add it my Kidney Cleansing Green Juice. Try finely chopping fresh herbs and adding them to fish cakes or veggie fritters, sprinkle on top of soups or add to curry, salads and more.
Coconut oil – has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties and it’s also highly nourishing for the body. If you’re not using it in your cooking by this point, you could consider adding several spoonfuls per day into your diet to help promote good digestive function, plus it will also help you get into ketosis faster.
Apple cider vinegar – can support a natural pH, is effective at killing parasites and improves digestion.
Clove - is tremendously effective in killing parasites, viruses, bacteria and Candida. It also has profound anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.
Cinnamon & ginger – has also been proven, alongside ginger, to be a natural remedy for certain forms of parasite.
Pumpkin seeds – are capable of indirectly killing tapeworms and various other forms of parasites because they contain ‘curcubitine’ – a property which can paralyse tapeworms so that they’re incapable of holding onto intestinal cells.
Probiotics & Parasites
Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that help to boost your immune system and restore the healthy gut bacteria in your system that may have been wiped out by parasites or antibiotic use. Probiotics are essential for restoring intestinal flora and protecting us against parasites as they help reduce or prevent parasites from attaching to your intestinal wall. This is why every single day I incorporate probiotic rich coconut yoghurt, coconut water kefir and cultured veggies. You can find loads more cultured, probiotic rich recipes on my website HERE.
How Do You Deal With Die-Off Symptoms?
Experiencing die-off is a temporary discomfort in order to continue on your path to optimal health. But guess what?! You can manage and reduce those uncomfortable symptoms that may pop up along the way (phewf). It’s absolutely critical that you work with someone who knows what they’re doing to treat the parasites. Parasites create biofilm and you need to break this down so that your immune system, antimicrobial agents (eg herbs) and nutrients can fight off the organism.
As you kill off parasites or worms, they release neurotoxins, viruses, heavy metals and ammonia which can honestly make you experience headaches or migraines, feel flat, fatigued, irritable, bloated and more. Ammonia is extremely toxic to your body in excess, and can often build up in your organs such as your kidneys while cleansing. To control ammonia, binders are necessary to take so they can safely escort the toxins and ammonia out of the body. If you don’t mop, bind and remove these toxins in your body, you will just re-absorb them. My favourite binders are bentonite clay and activated coconut charcoal. Yucca is also excellent at mopping up excess ammonia. During this cleanse, i’ve also been drinking a lot of my Kidney Cleansing Green Juice. The Kultured Wellness Parasite Cleanse I am currently on, also comes with a special blend of (liquid) kidney supporting herbs that you take throughout the cleanse too.
For more information on detox tools, read my blog ‘Warning Symptoms Your Body Needs a Detox & 7 Simple Ways to Naturally Detox Your Body’.
Healing The Gut
The presence of a parasite infection can cause a lot of damage to the mucosal barrier, intestinal lining, and your overall digestive function. This is why when fighting a parasite, you want to make sure you’re following up with a gut healing protocol. The goal is to eliminate pathogens and build your gut health to prevent them from returning, otherwise you can end up with more problems down the road. This is also why it’s incredibly important to incorporate lots of homemade bone broth throughout the cleanse as it’s incredible for helping to soothe inflammation in the gut and begin to heal and seal the gut wall.
How Long Do You Do a Parasite Cleanse For?
Most people respond well to a parasite cleanse and feel better within a few weeks. A full recovery can be expected in most cases. However, it may take longer to recover if you have:
A severe infection
A compromised immune system
A coexisting health condition
Or if your partner or children are re-infecting you
What Can I Do If I’m Not Ready To Do A (Full On) Parasite Cleanse?
I would also recommend you sign up to this FREE Online Gut Analysis Workshop it covers;
PART 1 - What the gut microbiome is & how microbes impacts overall health (both positively and negatively), the most common overgrowths in the gut, the role of metabolites (which are compounds that gut bacteria produce) and their role within the body and mind. Plus everything you need to know about Short Chain Fatty Acids, Butyrate, Histamine, GABA & Serotonin.
PART 2 - How our diet can influence our microbiome. We discuss specific foods that are detrimental to gut health, as well as those which promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, including functional foods like resistant starch & prebiotic fibre.
PART 3 - Gut health testing breakthroughs and how often our gut should be tested.
PART 4 - Bringing it all together through practical steps to take in order to boost your overall gut health.
Here Are Some Other Things You Can Start With;
Consume lots of filtered water
Eliminate inflammatory foods – gluten, processed dairy, vegetable oils, refined sugar and genetically modified corn and soy
Consider organic and spray free produce
Increase quality fats in your diet (coconut oil, grass-fed butter/ ghee, avocado, wild-caught seafood, cod liver oil, cold pressed olive oil ect)
Incorporate traditional, healing foods including liver pate, chicken soups and bone broths
Get into nature daily
Support your bodies detox through exercise, sauna, epsom salt baths etc.
Reduce sugars and carbohydrates
Increase your veggie intake
Eat probiotic rich fermented foods
Always consider herbs, supplements and a biofilm disruptor through a qualified practitioner
Try intermittent fasting a few times per week
Final Thoughts - Is A Parasite Cleanse Really Worth It?
In my humble opinion, that is a big fat YES! Parasitic infection can cause the body to suffer serious health issues, just go back and re-read all the symptoms I listed above for proof. Yes conventional medicine has solutions for this kind of issue, BUT they’re very harsh on the digestive tract and can more often than not lead to other gut problems. Fortunately, utilising specific herbs and supplements, along with the other lifestyle strategies listed in this blog post can help kill parasites while protecting and strengthening the integrity of your gut. You could also look at it in another way.
Instead of saying “That’s too expensive, or that’s too hard”
Try saying “My health isn’t worth the investment, time or effort” and see how that sounds.
If you would like to learn more about the parasite cleanse I am currently doing, click the button below.