Parasites are organisms which thrive off their host to survive. They are known to be common amongst travellers, however they are more common in the general population than people may think.
Common parasitic infections found in Western Countries include:
Parasitic infections can be caused by three types of organisms:
Have compromised immunity, such as people with HIV/AIDS infection.
Live or travel in tropical or subtropical regions of the world
Swim in lakes, rivers, or ponds where Giardia or other parasites are common
Work with soil regularly
Own an outdoor cat - outdoor cats can come into contact with infected rodents and birds. This makes their owners more likely to contract toxoplasmosis, a type of protozoa.
Ectoparasites are multi-celled organisms that live on or feed off your skin. They include some insects and arachnids, such as mosquitos, fleas, ticks, and mites.
Gastroenteritis-causing parasites: Gastroenteritis is a condition characterised by irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines; this may cause diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea. Infections of the gastrointestinal tract in the form of gastroenteritis are common for certain intestinal parasites, such as Giardia lamblia (Giardia duodenalis, Giardia intestinalis), Cryptosporidium parvum or Cryptosporidium hominis, and Entamoeba histolytica, among others.
Intestinal parasites remain considerable public health problems in low-income countries where poor food hygiene practice is common. These infections usually manifest with some degree of abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhoea.
Common varieties of intestinal worms include:
Avoid raw fish and meat
Thoroughly cook meat to temperatures of at least 62.8°C for whole cuts of meat and 71°C for ground meat and poultry
Let cooked meat rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming
Freeze fish or meat to –20°C for at least 24 hours
Wash, peel, or cook all raw fruits and vegetables
Wash or reheat any food that falls on the floor
Nutritional depletion is another untoward consequence of gastrointestinal parasitic infections. The depletion of water and electrolytes is a danger in individuals with severe diarrhoea.[i]
Hookworms pose a particular problem, by attaching to the intestinal lining, these parasites ingest human blood, which results in anaemia [ii]
Common symptoms of intestinal worms are:
Parasitic infections can be diagnosed via [iii]:
Wormwood is a nutrient-dense herb that has proven health benefits. It can also remove unwanted parasites
Caprylic acid found in coconut oil and isolated supplements, has shown anti parasitic effects against several parasite varieties.
The Nutritional Team here at Therapy Organics can help if you suspect you many have a parasite. We offer nutritional consultations and testing to identify any parasites and help you clear them using natures remedies. A parasite cleanse should be done under the advice of an expert.
[i] Hirazawa, N. Oshima, S. Hata, K. (2001) ‘In vitro assessment of the antiparasitic effect of caprylic acid against several fish parasites’ Aquaculture. 3-4 (200) pp. 251-258.
[ii] Ma, N. Zhang, Z. Liao, F. et al. (2020) ‘The birth of artemisinin’. Pharmacol Ther. 216:107658.
[iii] Berberine (2000). Altern Med Rev. 5(2):175-7.
[iv] Batiha, G.E. Alkazmi, L.M. Wasef, L.G. et al. (2020) ‘Syzygium aromaticum L. (Myrtaceae): Traditional Uses, Bioactive Chemical Constituents, Pharmacological and Toxicological Activities’. Biomolecules. 30;10(2):202.
[i] Levine GI. (1991) ‘Parasitic diseases. Diseases associated with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome’. Prim Care 18:129–152.
[ii] Brooker S, Bethony J, Hotez PJ. (2004). Human hookworm infection in the 21st century. Adv Parasitol 58:197–288.
[iii] Parasites: Diagnosis of parasitic diseases. (2014). Available at:
cdc.gov/parasites/references_resources/diagnosis.html (Accessed 19th March 2022).
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.