"Food parasites present a constant threat, as we are not always in control of the foods we consume. Once in your intestines, these parasites can generate an ongoing process of spawning, where they can produce thousands of eggs per day and have been known to grow up to 20 feet long or more, and can even travel to other parts of your body where they can become more hazardous. Nutrition Response Testing allows me to detect parasites as the source of your health issue, then design a customized nutrition plan, which includes whole food supplements, to help eliminate current parasites and ward off future infections."*
-Juliana Mazzeo, MS, CDN, Director
Nutrition Wellness Center of Nassau County
How Do Parasites Get Into Our Bodies?
Food parasites are organisms that obtain protection and nourishment from other living organisms or hosts. When consumed in food, they can cause illness in humans. Parasites, such as Giardia, Trichinella, and Toxoplasma, can be indirectly or directly transferred to humans and animals via the consumption of contaminated drinking water and food. Parasites can also be transferred to humans and animals through biting insects that transfer parasites or disease from one organism to another.
Common Symptoms of Food Parasites
The health effects of food parasite infections vary significantly depending on the type of parasite. Symptoms range from debilitating illness to mild afflictions, and in some cases, can even cause death. Some of the most common symptoms of food parasites include:
Common Causes of Food Parasites
One common cause of food parasites is consuming raw or under-cooked meat from an infected host, also known as trichinosis infection. Trichinosis is brought on by the trichinella species, which includes intestinal worms, roundworms, and parasitic nematodes. These parasites enter the body when meats containing trichinella cysts are consumed. After being exposed to pepsin and gastric acid, the larvae are released from the cysts and invade the small intestine, where they will develop into full grown worms, which varies anywhere from 1.2 mm - 2.2 mm in length.
After about one week, the female releases larvae that attach to striated muscles, where they form a cyst. These cysts can remain active for many years. Under-cooked or raw pork products, such as sausage, has been the meat most commonly associated with causing the trichinosis parasite infection. This food-borne infection is not contagious from human to human; however, carnivore and omnivore animals can become infected, and if eaten, infect other species.
Another common cause of food parasites is accidentally ingesting pinworm eggs, also known as dientamoeba fragilis infection, or D. fragilis. Pinworm eggs can be accidentally ingested by consuming water or food contaminated with pinworm eggs or by touching someone's stool-contaminated with the infection, such as after using the toilet or changing a baby diaper, and then preparing food or bringing your hands to your mouth. Those at greater risk of developing D. fragilis infection include those with weak immune systems and those who travel to environments with poor sanitary conditions.
Another way food parasites enter your body is by ingesting foods with bug feces. T.cruzi, which causes Chagas Disease, is a protozoan parasite that is transmitted through contact with "kissing bugs" feces. Normally, these beetles feed on blood from human hosts, which defecate on the skin as they feed and is then penetrated through the skin via scratching the bite wound. However, in recent years, the infection has been transmitted through contaminated foods, such as sugar cane juices and fruit. Chagas disease is characterized by the slow onset of parasitic infection of various organs and cells in the body, including the heart, and produces little or no symptoms at all. Over time, the disease becomes more serious and can lead to cardiac and intestinal problems, and in some cases, even death.
The best way to rid parasites is to participate in a parasite cleanse diet. Nutrition Response Testing, an advanced system of muscle testing and nutrition planning, allows me to determine if you have parasites, then incorporate gradual diet planning and potentially whole food supplements, to help your body rid unwanted parasites from your body. In addition, I can also recommend various foods that can help prevent you from becoming infected in the future.
Left untreated, food parasites will continue to thrive in numbers and grow in length. In fact, it is estimated that the average adult tapeworm can grow up to 50 feet long and live for 20 years.
Worm parasites, if left untreated, can also travel to other parts of the body including the brain, eyes, heart, and lungs, where they can lead to more serious issues including enlargement of the intestines and throat, breathing and heart problems, muscle coordination problems, seizures from increased pressure on the brain, and in more severe cases, even death.
Parasites, by their very nature, can be difficult to identify as the reason you may be having discomforting symptoms. It is an uneasy feeling, knowing there are live, moving, growing worm parasites inside your body. These parasites thrive off nourishment and protection, which your body so innocently provides, so it is unlikely that they will go away on their own. If you think you might be infected with a worm parasite, I share your concern.
Please contact us for a free consultation to see how we can get you parasite-free.