What is a parasite? A parasite is any organism that feeds off of another organism. Unfortunately for humans there are parasites that choose us as hosts, take up residence and feed off of vital nutrients throughout the body. The idea of being infected by parasites is frightening to many, but infections are more common than people recognize. And although a majority of people are infected by at least one type of parasite, many live for years, completely unaware that they are, and many others have been misdiagnosed by a doctor. Parasite infection is so pervasive that the majority of people who have been diagnosed with cancer or suffer with some form of chronic illness are typically host to one or more types of parasites.
Many people live with the false belief that parasites only affect those in third world countries or those who live in poverty. But different parasites can be found throughout the world and can affect a person, no matter where they live or what their financial state is. And although you can be infected with parasites while traveling abroad, you can also be infected right in your own home as well.
How we can be exposed to parasites
From other humans.
It is very easy to pass parasite eggs from human to human. When someone uses the restroom and doesn’t wash their hands, they can pass parasite eggs onto anything else they touch. So if you touch something that they have touched, the eggs can be passed to you. You can also pass eggs through any physical contact with another human, such as hugging, kissing, shaking hands, or sexual contact.
Animals, including your family pet can transfer parasites to humans. Any time you handle an animal, including petting and grooming them, parasite eggs can be transferred to you. You must also be aware of walking barefoot in areas where animals have defecated, because parasite infections can occur easily from walking on the ground where infected animal feces has been, even if it can’t be seen or is no longer there.
From raw meat
Raw and undercooked meats are a big source of parasite infection. Raw pork products and sushi are both notorious for contributing to infection, but you can be infected from any raw or undercooked meat. You must be careful when handling raw meat and be sure to wash hands thoroughly to lessen the chance of parasite infection.
From fresh fruits and vegetables
With the sheer volume of fresh produce that is imported from outside of the US, it is important to thoroughly wash all fresh fruit and vegetables before consuming. Many countries use cattle manure based fertilizers which can contain parasites. This is why it is always best to wash produce thoroughly before eating.
You may have heard the phrase “Don’t drink the water” when traveling to foreign countries. But most rivers, lakes and streams right here in the US are contaminated by parasites as well. If you swim or are exposed to water that is infected, you can be infected.
So what are the symptoms of a parasite infection?
Symptoms can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent gas
- Chronic fatigue
- Muscle aches and pain
- Muscle cramping
- Immune system problems
- Joint Inflammation
- Disturbed sleep
- Nervousness and irritability
- Lethargy and low energy
- Dry and itchy skin and hair
- Foggy brain
- Weight gain or loss
- Uncontrollable cravings for sugar
- Food intolerances
- Chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies
There are many more signs and symptoms of parasite infection. And each symptom can be frustrating and significantly affect the quality of life for those who are infected.
So what can you do if you think you may be infected?
Your first line of defense is to contact an FDN Practitioner. An FDN Practitioner can help you to stop guessing at what may be causing your health issues and stop chasing symptoms. An FDN Practitioner is a new kind of health coach that can help you to get to the root of what is going on in your body. They can help you to get the proper functional lab testing so that you know if you are really suffering from a parasite infection or if there is something else going on in your body. They can also help you to find the right diet and supplement protocol to help you deal with a parasite infection if that is what you are experiencing.