Have you ever wondered what worm and parasite infections are and where they come from? Lee Holmes founder of Supercharged Food shares her expertise with us on the blog.
If you're interested to know more about intestinal worms and parasitic infestations, they are a lot more common than you may think*. Parasites are animals that live on another plant or animal, and they often impact the health of the place or person they inhabit. All around the world there are thousands of varieties of worms and parasites, including protozoa, parasitic worms, mites and lice that can cause symptoms or remain asymptomatic for years**. I know, doesn't sound like much fun does it?
If you're wondering whether these little critters have taken up residence in your temple, and want to do something about it, there are measures that you can take to really help.
While some worms or parasites are found more commonly in certain parts of the world; parasitic infection is a global health problem (I know – yikes!)*. To give you an example, H. Pylori, the infamous parasitic infection that infects the epithelial lining of the stomach, impacts approximately half of the world's population***. That is so much more prevalent than people think.
So, what causes parasites or worms?
Usually, they can take up house after consumption of contaminated water, food or contaminated soil. Also, if you come into contact with contaminated faeces. Poor sanitation and hygiene practices can also lead to an infestation.
So, you might be wondering what the symptoms are of having a parasite?
Parasite infestation can be diagnosed by several measures, including a fecal test, blood test, endoscopy or X-ray. While some infections may be asymptomatic and remain undetected, the below symptoms may indicate an infestation.
· Abdominal pain
· Decreased nutrient absorption
· Disturbed sleep
· High temperatures
· Poor digestion
· Rashes and itching
· Stool with blood or mucus
· Unexplained weight loss
· Weight gain or loss
The best thing to do if you are concerned is to have a test to ascertain if you do or not and then look at safe and effective solutions for the treatment of parasites and the prevention in the long run.
If you are looking for ways to treat them, parasites and bugs are widespread but can be hard to treat. While antibiotics can treat some parasites, they, unfortunately, create an unhealthy gut microbiome. Plus, we're here for prevention rather than cure!
Diatomaceous earth can be a ninja in the parasite-fighting department. It's the fossilised remnants of diatoms, which were once microscopic algae. Diatomaceous earth is a safe and effective insecticide; it works by absorbing the outer layer of insects and desiccating (drying) them, killing off any lurking parasites and their eggs****. Diatomaceous earth will improve the health of the microbiome while removing parasites, metals, toxins and worms.
Several studies confirm the impact of diatomaceous earth on the prevention and treatment of parasitic worms and disease**. A study done on organic and free-range hens found that hens who were fed diatomaceous earth had a lower level of Capillaria FEC, Eimeria FEC and Heterakis worms than the control group of hens. On top of the parasite-fighting effects, hens that consumed diatomaceous earth laid larger eggs with more yolk****.
The good news is that it's a very safe and natural solution and it not only prevents and eradicates parasites, but it also provides minerals and trace minerals such as selenium and zinc, that help the host to cope with the burden of parasites*****.
What else does Diatomaceous Earth do for you?
Besides eradicating parasites, diatomaceous earth is a food grade source of antioxidants and beneficial for removing toxins, improving the health of our hair, skin and nails, enhancing mineral absorption, reducing bloating and boosting the immune system.
Directions for use: Take one tablespoon of diatomaceous earth daily for seven days if you have a parasitic infection. When using diatomaceous earth, be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
*Kumar, H., Jain, K., & Jain, R. (2014). A study of prevalence of intestinal worm infestation and efficacy of anthelminthic drugs. Medical journal, Armed Forces India, 70(2), 144–148. doi.org/10.1016/j.mjafi.2013.12.009
**Wiewióra, B., Żurek, G., & Pańka, D. (2015). Is the vertical transmission of Neotyphodium lolii in perennial ryegrass the only possible way to the spread of endophytes?. PloS one, 10(2), e0117231. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0117231
***Hooi JKY, Lai WY, Ng WK, Suen MMY, Underwood FE, Tanyingoh D, Malfertheiner P, Graham DY, Wong VWS, Wu JCY, Chan FKL, Sung JJY, Kaplan GG, Ng SC. Global Prevalence of Helicobacter pylori Infection: Systematic Review and Meta Analysis. Gastroenterology. 2017;153:420–429.
****D.C. Bennett, A. Yee, Y.-J. Rhee, K.M. Cheng, Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens, Poultry Science, Volume 90, Issue 7, 2011, Pages 1416-1426, ISSN 0032-5791, doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01256. (www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032579119420300)
*****Ikusika, O. O., Mpendulo, C. T., Zindove, T. J., & Okoh, A. I. (2019). Fossil Shell Flour in Livestock Production: A Review. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(3), 70. doi.org/10.3390/ani9030070