Parasites are organisms that live on or inside a host, where they feed and reproduce. They may cause disease or, in some cases, death. Globally, parasitic infections caused by worms and protozoans are among the most common diseases affecting humans, particularly in developing countries.
Human parasites are widespread and can be found in your skin, hair, blood, gastrointestinal tract and in multiple organs, even in your brain. Many of these parasites affect our gastrointestinal health, but others can infect multiple parts of our bodies, impairing organ function, and even causing death.
Right now, more than 11 million Australians are living with chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, arthritis, cancer, and other diseases1. This staggering figure is a problem that the Australian mainstream healthcare system has not been able to solve.
Parasites that affect humans can be found in various places, like in the soil where you walk barefoot and where children play. They are also found in many of your favourite foods, in the water you drink or in your pet.
When they manage to infect you, some parasites cause little or no symptoms, but others can cause serious conditions. Some of these parasites can be very common and easy to catch, such as the threadworm (also known as pinworm), which affects most children in Australia, causing itchy bottoms and other mild symptoms1.
Parasites come in many shapes and forms and can be acquired in more than one way. Two broad and important groups of parasites that affect humans are worms and protozoa.
These are parasites that you can catch from the food you eat. Some of the most common include roundworms (e.g. Ascaris lumbricoides), whipworms (e.g. Trichuris trichiura), or tapeworms (e.g. Taenia sp.), which can be picked up when you eat undercooked or raw meat infected with eggs or larvae. Protozoans are a varied group of parasites, some of which do not cause any symptoms on their human host. Others, however, can cause anything from fever and headache to gastrointestinal (GI) pain, bloating, diarrhea, or dysbiosis, among many other conditions
These parasites are usually found in soil or drinking water that has been contaminated by faeces of infected animals (e.g. dogs). Typical examples include hookworms (e.g. Ancylostoma duodenale and Necatur americanus) or roundworms (e.g. Strongyloides stercoralis). They can enter your body through your mouth or skin whenever you come into contact with a contaminated source. These parasites are more common in areas with poor sanitation, where faeces can reach the water or soil where people live.
People who have pets, like dogs and cats, are more likely to get parasitic infections. The same applies for people who live in farms, close to livestock. Hookworms, roundworms such as Toxocara, ringworms and hydatid tapeworm (Echinococcus granulosus) are all parasites that humans can acquire from dogs or cats18-19. The roundworm Toxocara, for example, causes Toxocariasis, a condition affecting millions of children worldwide20. Toxocariasis can cause enlargement of the liver, spleen and lymph nodes, loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain, gut pain, skin rashes and eye problems. This worm commonly affects dogs of all breeds and is very common in Australia. One study that tested over 1100 dogs from Queensland and Central Australia found that about 75% of all dogs tested positive for this parasite21. These parasites can infect humans when eggs or larvae are picked up from feces-infected soil, water, or other sources. Also, they more commonly infect children, who are in closer contact with pets.
For many parasites, treatment is straightforward and requires specific drugs that can effectively kill the parasite. Anti-parasitic botanicals and herbal supplements, and probiotic treatments that target gut dysbiosis can also be effective against some parasites.
Beyond treatments, for many of these parasitic infections the key is to make significant changes in your lifestyle and surroundings. Eliminating the original sources of infection, for example, is an important step to avoid recurrence. Likewise, re-visiting the quality of your food and water is an important way to protect yourself and your family from any future parasitic infections.
We have experience helping many people get rid of parasites naturally, through powerful natural anti parasite medication. We have treated a range of parasites, from simple pinworm to more complex parasitic worms.
One of the tenants of Functional Medicine is investigating multiple facets of your health. Just as this holistic approach can be used to treat gut conditions, digestive disorders, and help you lose weight, it is also an effective way to treat parasites. In order to give you a parasite diagnosis, we perform a range of highly accurate, science-based tests. These tests help give us a clearer picture of your condition and, together with the information you provide about your symptoms and lifestyle, will help create a treatment plan to get rid of your parasite.
Once we’ve performed the necessary testing, our experienced practitioners review your results and put together a comprehensive and personalised treatment plan to get you back on track through nutraceutical/botanical supplementation, nutrition, diet, lifestyle changes, and supplementation.