Could parasites be causing your digestive issues?


How to avoid unwelcome gut intruders

Many people associate parasites with exotic countries, but here in the UK, we can get parasites. It’s possible to get parasites through contaminated water and food, as well as through contact with infected animals or people. Some common parasites found in the UK include giardia, cryptosporidium, and threadworms.

In recent news, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reported in South Devon more than 100 confirmed cases of cryptosporidiosis, an illness that causes prolonged diarrhoea. The South West Water chief executive Susan Davy said she was ‘truly sorry’ and admitted the company had ‘fallen significantly short’. The company previously said a faulty valve might have allowed a parasite to make its way into the water network. About 16,000 homes and businesses were advised to boil their water before drinking it until further notice.

It doesn’t end there. There have been further media reports that some 113 people have become ill with E. coli in recent weeks and experts believe it is most likely linked to a nationally distributed food item. Those affected have reported symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea, painful cramps and fever.

The UKHSA says testing of samples suggests all the cases are ‘part of a single outbreak’. Several foods have carried E. coli before, including beansprouts, pre-packed salads and undercooked meat.

We really do need to be vigilant and more aware of what’s happening to our water and food supplies as there does seem to be an unusually high spate of such outbreaks recently.

You can carry parasites without being aware of having them, and sometimes they only cause mild symptoms. Parasites can be dormant for a long time, even years, without causing symptoms and are activated only when our immune system for some reason is weakened.

Some other unexpected ways to get parasites

  • Drinking untested well water
  • Eating pork
  • Eating sushi and fish, especially cod and farmed salmon
  • Forgetting to wash fruits and vegetables
  • Kissing your pet
  • Sharing a bed with your pet
  • Touching shopping trolley handles

Besides secreting toxins, parasites inflame the intestinal walls. Inflammation opens the gut lining, and microbes, toxins, and undigested food particles that should have passed out of your body enter the bloodstream. This leaky gut is often the root cause of chronic and autoimmune disease.

Giardia, cryptosporidium and threadworms are all parasites, but E. coli is a type of bacteria. Parasites and pathogenic bacteria can all increase the risk of inflammation and infection in the gut, hence symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea as the digestive system tries valiantly to rid the body of the pathogen before it causes serious health issues. Babies, the elderly and immune-compromised are at particular risk. However, even after the parasite or bug has left the body, it can leave behind a legacy of inflammation and infection, with an increased risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and/or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). I cannot tell you how many people have contacted me over the past 25 years or so who have developed IBS or IBD and have never considered that the cause was a parasitic infection or bug they picked up many years earlier. I put them on our specific anti-parasitic protocol – our 5-day Charcoal cleanse and the supplements in our Perfect Balance Kit. I also recommend colon hydrotherapy, which you can read more about below.

The symptoms of a parasitic infection can vary depending on the type of parasite and the part of the body that is infected.

Common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Anaemia
  • Itchy skin
  • Muscle aches

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult a medical professional.

Strong, anti-parasitic drugs may be successful in removing parasites from the digestive tract; however, these drugs have side effects. Plus, parasites are difficult to destroy because they cleverly form a sticky wall around themselves for protection called a biofilm.

Even if you’re not sure if you have parasites, periodically cleansing your internal environment interrupts their movement and keeps your body functioning at optimal levels.

If you have a parasitic infection, your doctor may recommend a parasite cleanse. A parasite cleanse is a natural way to help your body eliminate parasites. There are many different types of parasite cleanses, including herbal remedies, dietary changes, and enemas. Before starting a parasite cleanse, it’s important to talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you.

Reduce your risk of parasitic infection

  • Practise good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking food thoroughly.
  • Carry out a seasonal 5-day Charcoal cleanse to give the stomach and gut a good ‘deep-clean’ and get rid of any ‘bad bugs’ that may be lurking. Read more about the detoxing benefits of charcoal and how to carry out the cleanse in our Activated Charcoal Fact Sheet.
  • Have regular colon hydrotherapy treatments – this a gentle internal bath of the large intestines, helping to flush out any parasites that may be lurking in your bowels. It may be counter-productive to think of having a colon hydrotherapy treatment after diarrhoea, but very often parasitic infections and bad bugs can cause painful, gassy bloating that a gentle colonic treatment can help reduce. Many colon hydrotherapists also use herbal tinctures implanted during the treatment to help calm down an irritated bowel.
  • Supplement with Live Bacteria capsules and Garlic tablets – anyone who has had diarrhoea, regardless of the cause, should be supplementing with a probiotic like our Live Bacteria capsules to help replenish the levels in the bowels after billions of friendly bacteria have been washed out by the diarrhoea. The Live Bacteria cultures will also help to calm down an irritated and inflamed bowel. Take one twice daily before breakfast and before bed. Garlic has a long tradition of being a natural antiparasitic and natural antibiotic – I recommend one tablet twice daily with lunch and dinner for a couple of months after any parasitic infection or nasty bug. Don’t take your Garlic supplement at the same time as taking a probiotic. Remember garlic is a natural antibiotic.
  • Review your PPI medications regularly – your risk of getting parasites is greater when your stomach acid levels are suppressed, as it’s this acid that helps to destroy parasites.

If you have any questions about digestive and gut health issue or would like to know more about our supplements, please get in touch.