By John M. Burgstiner Founder/President of Logos Nutritionals, LLC
The Centers for
Disease Control estimates that every year 76 million Americans become unwitting
hosts to parasites from their food.This
is a topic most people want to avoid... but ignorance is not bliss. Parasites
currently infect more than two billion people worldwide.Scientists estimate that half the people in
the world will be infected with some type of parasite by the year 2025.
What are they? - Parasites are organisms that live inside other animals, receiving
nourishment and protection from their host.They may be transmitted from animals to humans, humans to humans, or
humans to animals.There are over a
thousand species that can inhabit humans, ranging in size from microscopic
single-celled organisms to large worms.
How are they
contaminated food or water, or by putting something in your mouth that has
touched the stool of an infected person/animal.
What symptoms do
they cause? - Fever, abdominal pain/cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle
aches, fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea, and even intestinal obstruction.Once hatched in the gut, they can migrate
anywhere in the body and compromise organ or even central nervous system
function.Difficult to diagnose because
symptoms mimic bacterial or viral infections, and many people experience little
or no symptoms for years.Symptoms range
from mild discomfort to debilitating illness and even death.
Why are parasitic
infections becoming more prevalent? Military and other global travel,
number of children in daycare, pollution, infected community
swimming pools or pets, and overuse of antibiotics and other drugs.
Who is most at
risk? - Persons with weakened immune systems, AIDS/HIV patients, organ
transplant patients, chemotherapy patients, infants, travelers and
hikers/campers who drink water from untreated sources.
Most Common Parasites
Giardia duodenalis - Microscopic
parasite that can live in the intestines of animals and people. Found in every region throughout the world and
has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne (and occasionally
parvum - Microscopic parasite and a significant cause of waterborne illness
worldwide. It is found in the intestines of many herd animals including cows,
sheep, goats, deer, and elk.
Toxoplasma gondii - Microscopic
parasite found throughout the world that carries out its reproductive cycle
only within members of the cat family (cats are definitive host).Most dangerous to fetus and infants.
- Intestinal roundworm whose larvae may migrate from the digestive tract
and form cysts in various muscles of the body. Infections most prevalent where
pork or wild game is consumed raw or undercooked.Not spread directly from person to person.
(beef/pork Tapeworm) - Humans are definitive
host.Can live up to 30 years.Not common in U.S. unless one eats raw or
undercooked meat.Eggs may remain viable
in the environment for many months.
hands, cutting boards, and other utensils thoroughly with hot, soapy water
after handling raw meats, handling animals, changing diapers, using the
toilet, after cleaning a litter box, and before eating.
all meats thoroughly to 160 degrees, especially pork or wild game.
bottled water.Do not swallow water
peel, or cook raw fruits and vegetables before eating.
use untreated manure to fertilize fruits and vegetables.
colon (daily fiber) and efficient digestion (enzymes and probiotics)