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Parasites: What You Need to Know


Last year my son called me after a fishing trip in Tasmania.  He told me they’d caught plenty of fish but some of them had the strangest tongues - he’d caught a fish with the parasite Cymothoa Exigua.  This parasite enters the fish through the gills and attaches itself to the base of the fish’s tongue preventing any further blood flow.  The tongue atrophies and the parasite becomes the tongue, feasting on the host’s blood and mucus. 

About fifteen years ago at a second-hand bookstore in Ventura, California, I bought a book on Medical Biology.  The book had been written by a Scots doctor and he emphatically made the point that parasites are a substantial threat to the wellbeing of mankind, adding that if nothing significant was done about the problem immediately, it would become epidemic.   His book was published in 1914.  Almost 100 years later we’re well into a health crisis which we fail to comprehend simply because we can’t see it.

Although only scratching the surface of the parasite problem, I want to convey a basic understanding and recognition of parasitic infestation so that you have a clearer picture of what parasites are, how they can affect you and how you can recognise the symptoms. 

Para  sitos (from the Greek) meaning ‘beside food’.  Parasites derive nutrition and shelter by living in another organism, usually with injury. 

The Parasite Menace

People think of parasites as uncommon in sanitized countries such as Britain, even believing them to be a disease of underdeveloped nations.  Although some of the parasites found in Africa and South America are more devastating than those usually found in Europe, parasites are not exclusively a ‘third world’ problem and respect no geographical boundaries.  With more air travel to and from increasingly exotic destinations, people are becoming more exposed to parasite infestation. 


Parasites: the stats

-          There are some 4000 types of parasite of which about 1000 infest humans.  Even parasites have parasites.  The size of each varies: tapeworm can reach over 30 feet in length and you can fit 8000+ giardia onto a pinhead.  Parasites infest humans more than any other animal because we have such a wide range of feeding habits, other social habits and wider geographical range.

-          It is estimated that parasites have been responsible for some 50% of human deaths since the Stone Age.  We don’t record parasites as the cause of death, instead citing stroke, heart attack, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other major diseases as the cause of death.

Do you have parasites?

It’s not so much a case of do you have parasites as how many and what types.  Sorry if that makes you feel uncomfortable but parasites are often the missing diagnosis in so many health problems.  The key to understanding the parasite puzzle is realising that parasites have an ability to mimic the symptoms of other diseases.  For example:

-          Roundworm infest some 1,300 million humans worldwide.  They can mimic tumours (by clumping together), gluten intolerance in children (celiac disease) and peptic ulcers.

-          Hookworm infest about the same number of humans worldwide.  They bite into the intestine wall and draw blood that can appear in the stool.  Anaemia and low iron levels are the common diagnosis.

-          The anisakid worm creates a condition resembling Crohn’s Disease.

-          Amoebic colitis is often mislabelled as ulcerative colitis.

-          Chronic fatigue and yeast infection may really be a case of chronic giardiasis.

-          Diabetes and hypoglycemia can be caused by tapeworm infection.

-          Giardia can bring about chronic fatigue, yeast infection and the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Incorrect Diagnosis

As a result of inaccurate diagnosis, health problems persist or worsen and it is sometimes years before the real culprit is identified.    Sadly British and European doctors receive no training in the recognition of tropical diseases unless they take an elective course in microbiology.  Why aren’t we more aware of this problem?  Because authorities demand scientific proof and this isn’t always easy to come by.  We can’t even see 85% of parasites so if we don’t know they’re there, reaching a positive diagnosis is even harder, especially if the patient is displaying clear symptoms of asthma or arthritis. 

If you are a health practitioner or you just have friends that have long –term illnesses, you must consider parasitic infection as a possible cause, especially in cases of chronic fatigue, underactive  thyroid, low adrenal function, chronic respiratory ailments, depression, PMS, depressed libido and endometriosis.

Signs of parasites in the human body:

                      itchy ears, nose, anus


                      slow reflexes

                      gas or bloating

                      unclear thinking

                      loss of appetite

                      yellowish face

                      fast heartbeat

                      heart pain

                      pain in the navel

                      eating more than normal but still feeling hungry

                      blurry or unclear vision

                      pain in the back, thighs, shoulders


                      numb hands

                      burning sensation in the stomach

                      women: problems with menstrual cycle

                      men: sexual dysfunction

                      drooling while sleeping

                      damp lips at night

                      dry lips during the day

                      grinding teeth while asleep

                      bed wetting

Once inside a new host, parasites have a field day. They quickly overcome the body’s defences, outwit the immune response, reproduce prodigiously and manipulate the behaviour of their hosts.  They migrate freely through the digestive tract into the blood, lymph, lungs and trachea, passing through a variety of organs including the liver and heart, before continuing into the eyes, ears and brain, causing extensive damage. There is a frightful war going on inside us. 

Teeth and Gums

The problem is not just limited to the damage they do but also the toxic excrement they deposit inside you. Although seemingly unrelated on the surface, a German study showed that people with roundworm and tapeworm in their jawbone tend to lose teeth.  The teeth start dying at the roots with accompanying bone decay in the jaw.  After extraction of the tooth the jawbone can become locally infected as a result of the toxic release.  So any gum condition can be a reflection of inflammatory activity in the gut brought on by parasites. 

What you need to know

Parasites are the most overlooked issues in the world today.  They:

Cause physical trauma to the body by perforating major organs and circulatory system (causing a condition known as ‘Leaky Gut’)

Block organ functions by lumping together in a ball (tumour), preventing the distribution of blood, oxygen and nutrition around the body

Rob us of vital nutrients (ever felt hungry after a good meal?)

Poison us by dumping metabolic wastes which our systems have trouble expelling

Destroy cells faster than they can be regenerated, causing ulceration & anaemia.

Suck the nutrition out of your cells. 


Physical and Psychological Aspects

Physical symptoms: Parasitic activity produces inflammations and irritations, tissue invasion, allergic reactions and mechanical problems such as the blocking or obstruction of organs or IBS.

Psychological symptoms: This is where things start to become fascinating.  The presence of parasites can induce irritability and mood swings, spacey feelings, nightmares, depression with suicidal tendencies, personality changes, insomnia and hyperactivity or short attention spans in children.   People generally don’t know what’s happening to them.  Traditional Chinese Medicine termed this as Gu Syndrome or “Demons of the Body, Demons of the Mind”.                              

Common ways or places to ‘catch’ parasites:

dirty toilet doors (at home and in public), supermarket trolleys and computer keyboards

domestic pets, horses, cattle etc

sexual intercourse with (or even sharing the same bed or bathroom as) an infected partner

barefoot walking on grass or sand

mosquito or other insect bites

contaminated water or food or eating raw (sushi, ceviche, raw herring, etc), undercooked meats and unwashed vegetables.  There isn’t a restaurant anywhere in this world today that you can totally trust.  You will ingest parasitic cysts every day.  Just hope your stomach acids can break them down otherwise you’ll build up a little zoo inside you.

What you can do about parasites

The reason for increased longevity today is due more to improvements in hygiene than medical advances.  But there is plenty of evidence to say that what decides whether we live long and healthy lives or die ‘before our time’ is how we deal with parasites.   The body can and will rid itself of parasites if it has the right natural nutrients.

use common sense: drinking water is increasingly becoming an act of faith but look for pure water systems and have water filters checked

wash your vegetables thoroughly.  If you eat meat, make sure it is cooked properly

wipe down toilet seats before use

wash your hands before eating (especially your fingernails)

do what you can to keep your immune system strong.

-    Vitamin A increases resistance to tissue penetration so include lots of carrots, squash, sweet  potatoes, yams and greens in your diet.

-            Enzyme-rich foods to help boost your gastro-intestinal tract include pineapple, papaya;  raw carrot (not juiced) helps eliminate tapeworm. 

-            If you are nursing, breastfeed your babies as long as you can. Human milk has properties that fight protozoa (amoeba and giardia).

-            deworm puppies and kittens regularly  and wash your hands after contact with pets.

-            Cut out sugary drinks.  Colas are pH 2.8 and will stun the leucocytes in the immune system for several hours. 

-            Pumpkin seeds, raw garlic, cloves, apple cider vinegar, fennel seed tea

-            Cook with Coconut Oil to help eliminate certain parasites groups.

All physicians and practitioners regardless of their field of specialty should have a good understanding of parasitic infections and their symptoms so they can at least consider a parasite-based disease when it is present and know how to effectively recognise it, treat it and prevent its recurrence.  

Ancient Herbal Remedies

Natural Balance has been used for over 100 years throughout the Middle East to help eliminate heavy metals and toxins (a ‘food group’ for parasites and candida); Natural Cleanse has been used for over 500 years to expel the parasites naturally and prevent reinfection.  These two herbal formulas should be used together. 

Further Reading

Prof Keith Scott-Mumby’s Parasite Handbook (a must-read!)

Anne-Louise Gittelman’s Guess What Came to Dinner?

Carl Zimmer’s “Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures”

Michael Spielman and Michael D’Antonio’s “Mosquito: The Story of Man’s Deadliest Foe”

Graeme Dinnen



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