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Issue 202: Monsters Inside Us

Silica Superstar

If you’ve ever seen the television documentary Monsters Inside Me, then you’re familiar with the dangers and gross-out factors that can come with parasitic infection. Each episode highlights illnesses caused by parasites. They’re identified, their life cycles are examined, and biologist Dan Riskin, Ph.D., tells how and why each parasite finds its host.

And while this is a truly engaging foray into how parasites work, it’s something to be taken seriously. Parasites feed off of their host—taking the host’s nutrients and causing damage in the process. Parasites come in different forms, and they can thrive all through the body, although they often live in the human intestines.

You may think this doesn’t apply to you—and only to those living in or visiting third-world countries—but estimates say that nearly 50 percent of Americans have parasites in their gut—and many, no doubt, don’t even realize it. Parasites can stealthily enter your body through the food you eat, the water you drink and the air you breathe. That’s why it’s wise to take precautions and to cleanse your system of parasites if you have them. Certainly, medical intervention is sometimes needed, but there are also more natural ways to cleanse your system.

In third-world countries, for instance, the most common way people get parasites is via contaminated water, poor sanitation or poor hygiene. In the United States, however, parasites can be spread through contaminated food such as pork and shellfish as well as water. Estimates say that more than 60 percent of the people on the planet carry at least one parasite, and intestinal parasites can cause severely unhealthy reactions or even death. 

Here are the most common parasites in North America—listed from most prevalent to least prevalent:

Protozoa (microscopic single-celled organisms)

  • Blastocystis hominis
  • Endolimax nana
  • Cryptosporidiuin parvum
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Entamoeba coli
  • Entamoeba hartmanni
  • Giardia lamblia
  • Chilomastix mesnili
  • Cyclospora cayetanensis

Helminths (macroscopic multicellular worms)

  • Ascaris lumbricoides (human roundworm)
  • Strongyloides stercoralis (threadworm)
  • Ancylostoma duodenale/Necator americanus (hookworms)
  • Enterobius vermicularis (pinworm)
  • Trichuris trichiura (whipworm)

Interestingly, according to the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on the prevalence of intestinal parasites in the United States during 2000, one-third of approximately 6,000 fecal specimens tested positive for 19 species of intestinal parasites.

Some of the most common symptoms of intestinal parasites include diarrhea, gas, bloating, flu-like symptoms, nausea, rashes, joint pain, chronic fatigue and chronic sinusitis. The body’s immune system fights the parasites after they’re known “invaders,” but sometimes parasites multiply and overtake the immune system’s ability to ward them off. Upon doing a parasite cleanse, for example, many people will see the worms and other unwanted invaders eliminated in their stools.

And speaking of cleanse. . . since parasites love sugar—and all foods that turn into sugar—you can starve the parasites through healthy cleansing and fasting methods and through eliminating conventional  sugars and grains from the diet. Likewise, some foods and herbs contain strong anti-parasitic qualities. For instance, extra virgin coconut oil has medium-chain triglycerides and caprylic acid which support the fight against parasites, while raw garlic and onions offer sulfur-containing amino acids that are anti-parasitic.

Dried oregano, essential oil of oregano and clove oil are also anti-parasitic when used properly. Fermented whey, drinks and foods also fight parasites. Fermented whey from grassfed cows, fermented ginger, coconut kefir and apple cider vinegar are powerful parasite destroyers. Probiotic supplements and probiotic-filled beverages and foods help, too.

After the cleansing time, it’s essential to continue with fermented raw dairy and veggies. Rich in L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps support the gut, these fermented foods are also packed with probiotics, organic acids and enzymes that help block parasites from infiltrating the body.

Those are just a few ways to keep those “monsters” at bay.


This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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