The Healthy Way

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Killing Parasites with Optimal Digestion

Q: I am a 35 year old male who eats very well I think and I have been diagnosed with intestinal parasites. This obviously freaked me out. I am now avoiding all raw foods and making sure to cook everything well. I would like to know how I can get rid of these naturally and how to avoid them in the future.

A: There are two main types of intestinal parasites: helminthes and protozoa. Helminthes are worms with many cells. Tapeworms, pinworms, and roundworms are among the most common helminthes in the North America. Usually, helminthes cannot multiply in the human body. Protozoa have only one cell, and can multiply inside the human body. The most common protozoa are giardia and cryptosporidium.

It is good that you eat well, however that doesn't exempt you from getting parasites anyway. They are prevalent not only in "bad" food but also can be picked up in water, or by shaking hands with someone who has not washed them well. Depending on the particular type of parasites that you have been diagnosed with, treatment will vary. Some parasites respond very well to treatment and yet others can go into "hiding" in your body after the initial treatment phase and only become apparent occasionally. That makes treatment both difficult and lengthy. Often, I find patients come to me after they have already been sick for a while and after they have done the traditional anti-parasites treatments that your doctor should have prescribed. Cleaning the intestines is always the first step. You can either do some colonic therapy or use Magnesium Oxide to clean everything out. After that, different herbs can be used but it will depend on the type of the organisms found.

You don't need to be "freaked out" but rather you should just be cautious about what and where you eat. Raw food is very important in the diet of a healthy individual; you should just make sure it is well washed with plenty of clean water. It is not necessary to cook everything to death as long as you don't have problems digesting raw food. Maintaining strong stomach acid is also a good protective factor. Even if you do ingest some parasites or bacteria in your meal, strong stomach acid will kill or neutralize the organisms, and you will not get sick. To help maintain strong digestive juices you can try taking a full spectrum digestive enzyme with each meal if you are worried. Drinking some water with lemon juice before and after eating will also do the trick. Just remember, those with strong digestive system rarely get sick.

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Dr. Elena Krasnov is a registered Naturopathic Doctor and Clinic Director of the Toronto Naturopathic Clinic. Submit your questions online here