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- Parasitic infections can go undetected, but can also lead to severe illness and even death, and are epidemic in modern society.
- One of the leading reasons that there is a parasite epidemic is because there is a toxicity epidemic.
- Parasites absorb toxic heavy metals in the body at 6-8x their weight, so the body may give parasites a “free pass” when they are full of heavy metals.
- However, parasites create their own toxicity and stress on the body.
- Ridding yourself of chronic illness will require you to rid yourself of parasites and anything they’re harboring.
- Strongyloidiasis is an infection by the internal parasitic worm Strongyloides stercoralis, commonly known as ‘threadworm.’
- Strongyloides infection is common in warm and tropical climates but is also found in the United States.
- The Strongyloides parasite has a full life cycle within its human host—from egg to larvae to adult—and the larvae can migrate to different areas of the body, causing a systemic infection.
- The parasite can enter the body through the skin, then makes its way into the bloodstream and goes to the lungs.
- The worm is coughed up from the lungs and then swallowed, and ends up in the intestines, where it can go undetected for many years.
- Strongyloidiasis may be severe and life-threatening, particularly in people with compromised immune systems.
- Strongyloides worms produce ammonia and other toxic chemicals which can cause oxidative damage to human cells.
- The Strongyloides parasite has an affinity for the liver and bile duct area, where it can interfere with the production of vitamin B6 and zinc, leading to deficiency in these essential nutrients.
- Infection with Strongyloides can lead to increased eosinophil numbers in the blood and can cause eosinophilic pneumonia and eosinophilic esophagitis.
- The Strongyloides life cycle is complex as it alternates between free-living and parasitic cycles, and has the potential for causing autoinfection and multiplication within the host.
- Pharmaceuticals can help eliminate Strongyloides, but a variety of botanicals and supplements are helpful, too.
Many people don’t know it, but there is a modern day epidemic of parasitic infection. It is commonly thought that parasitic infections are only prevalent in poor and developing countries, or as something that might be picked up on a trip to a foreign country. However, parasitic infections affect millions of people in the United States and other developed countries.
Many times parasitic infections cause severe illnesses, as they can affect many different organs and systems of the body. Seizures, impaired fetal development, pregnancy complications, heart failure, and many more issues—even death—can occur in infected individuals. Parasites know no boundaries and infect people regardless of race and economic status.
A Toxicity Epidemic Leads to a Parasite Epidemic
One of the leading reasons that there is a parasite epidemic is because there is a toxicity epidemic. Heavy metals are plentiful in our environment. When the body has a heavy metal burden, it has to cope somehow. Parasites are sponges for heavy metals and absorb them at 6-8x their weight. The body is more likely to allow parasites to peacefully exist when they have sucked up the toxic heavy metal burden. However, now the parasites create their own toxicity and stress on the body.
Whenever you aim to eliminate parasites, you’re going to do two things: kill the parasites and release heavy metals. Mold spores can live inside parasites as well. Plus, Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, can hide in parasites, too. The immune system can’t clear pathogenic mold spores or bacteria while they’re protected inside the parasite. Furthermore, parasitic worms can reactivate dormant viruses. Ridding yourself of chronic illness will require you to rid yourself of parasites and anything they’re harboring.
What Is Strongyloides?
Strongyloidiasis is infection by a parasitic worm (nematode) named Strongyloides stercoralis. Its common name is ‘threadworm.’ The S. stercoralis roundworm is both a human and an animal parasite. This parasitic worm infects more people worldwide than malaria, yet not many people have ever heard of it. It lives in the body of its human host, where it obtains nutrients and can interfere with many aspects of health and well-being, particularly in people who have compromised immune systems.
Strongyloides infection is common in warm and tropical climates but is also found in the United States. People infected with the Strongyloides parasite may have few or minor symptoms, and it may go unnoticed. But the parasite has a full life cycle within its human host—from egg to larvae to adult—and the larvae can migrate to different areas of the body, causing a potentially fatal systemic infection. Their life cycle typically directs them to move to the lungs, but in some people, they travel through the entire body. Organs to which larvae can disseminate include:1
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Lymph nodes
- Liver and bile duct
- Skeletal muscle
Once there is an established pathway to these organs, it can continue to be used by other pathogens as well. Soon a variety of parasites, their bacteria and viruses, and pollutants are all headed toward these organs. Furthermore, when Strongyloides larvae are present, chronic inflammation and necrosis (premature cell death) are common.
How Does A Person Become Infected?
People become infected with Strongyloides by coming into contact with contaminated soil or feces. The parasite enters the body through the skin, often times through the feet. It then makes its way into the bloodstream and goes to the lungs. The worm is coughed up from the lungs and then swallowed, which is how it ends up in the intestines. It can go undetected for many years and live in the GI tract for decades.
Infected individuals can show no symptoms, or they can suffer problems, including:
- Weight loss
- Heartburn and abdominal cramps
- Hive-like rash on the buttocks or waist
- Headaches and migraines
- Foul smelling gas
- Itching around the anus, especially at night
- Multiple food allergies
- Unexplained dizziness and weakness
Rashes may occur immediately following contact with the Strongyloides parasite. Gastrointestinal symptoms generally manifest about two weeks after the initial contact. In rare cases, people may develop arthritis, kidney problems, and heart conditions.
Strongyloidiasis may be severe and life-threatening, particularly in people who:
- Take oral or intravenous corticosteroids
- Are transplant recipients
- Have blood-based malignancies such as leukemia or lymphoma
- Are infected with the virus HTLV-1
HTLV-1 (human T-lymphotropic virus type 1) is a retrovirus that has been associated with an increased risk of strongyloidiasis, and HTLV-1 infection is directly associated with triggering Strongyloides hyperinfection.2 The Strongyloides parasite appears to affect the natural course of HTLV-1 viral infection.
How Does Strongyloides Affect the Body?
Roundworms like Strongyloides produce ammonia. The parasite’s digestive system and metabolism generate ammonia and other chemicals, which they excrete inside their human hosts.3. Ammonia is very alkaline toxin which gets into the bloodstream, causing oxidative damage to human cells. Ammonia toxicity causes a lot of oxidative stress and damage within our bodies in addition to the destruction that the parasite itself causes.
The Strongyloides parasite loves to hang out in the liver and bile duct area, where the enzymes for vitamin B6 and zinc are produced and needed as nutrients. So, this parasitic worm can cause a deficiency of zinc and B6, which may lead to a diagnosis of pyrrole disorder (also known as pyroluria, KPU, or the “Mauve Factor”). Supplemental vitamin B6 and zinc can help with pyrrole disorder, but it likely can’t be eliminated until Strongyloides is cleared out. Low vitamin B6 and zinc can be used as a detection method for Strongyloides infection:
- Low GGTP (a liver marker) indicates a vitamin B6 deficiency (and the possibility of Strongyloides infection)
- Low Alk Phos (alkaline phosphatase) indicates a zinc deficiency (and the possibility of Strongyloides infection)
- Elevated lymphocytes are indicative of parasite infection (among other things)
- Eosinophils elevated above >4 is indicative of parasites
Eosinophilia is a growth of eosinophil numbers in the blood, due to a reactive process, such as a parasitic infection.4 Eosinophils are a specific type of white blood cell that the body produces when the Strongyloides worms enter the lungs or other areas of the body. Eosinophilic pneumonia occurs when the lungs swell due to an increase in eosinophils. Additionally, when the parasite’s life cycle goes from the intestines to the lungs and up the trachea, it can cause eosinophilic esophagitis.
An undiagnosed Strongyloides infection can linger until an individual’s immune system becomes compromised. It can also enter new phases of infection if an infected individual receives steroids, which suppress the immune response. These new phases of Strongyloides infection are called hyper-infection or dissemination.
In hyper-infection, the Strongyloides worms reproduce rapidly. Although this condition is relatively rare, it results in a massive number of parasitic worms and is often fatal. Dissemination occurs when the parasites spread throughout the body. It happens when Strongyloides changes its life cycle, enters the intestines, and re-enters the bloodstream.5 This systemic infection is almost always fatal as the parasites carry bacteria from the gut into other organs, causing massive infection with multiple microbial pathogens.
The Strongyloides Life Cycle
The Strongyloides life cycle is more complicated than that of most nematodes as it alternates between free-living and parasitic cycles, and has the potential for causing autoinfection and multiplication within the host.6 Strongyloides have the unique ability to exist in a free-living and autoinfective cycle.7 The parasitic phase allows noninfective newly hatched larvae to molt in the human host, becoming infective filariform larvae. These infective larvae then penetrate the gut and set up a new cycle, leading to hyper-infection and an increase in the worm numbers. This is autoinfection cycle, and it is responsible for the decades of infection in untreated people.
Standard detection methods include an examination of stool samples or blood testing for antibodies. However, these detection methods are not exact. Stool sample analysis can be faulty as the parasites can move into the feces at different times or may simply not be sighted in a sample examination. And blood tests can be flawed due to reactions occurring with other proteins which are mistaken for Strongyloides antibodies. It is better to assess Strongyloides infection by using the criteria mentioned above.
How Is Strongyloides Treated?
If diagnosed properly, the infection can be treated by the pharmaceuticals Ivermectin and Albendazole, but also responds to specific botanicals and supplements. However, if even one Strongyloides worm remains, it can reproduce asexually, resulting in reinfection.
Botanicals and supplements that are effective at eliminating Strongyloides include:
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme is a popular culinary herb in southern Europe and Mediterranean regions. Thymol, a natural compound isolated from thyme, has antiseptic, antifungal, and strong antibacterial activities.8 It is also a powerful antioxidant. Thyme contains natural volatile oils which can help to strengthen the immune system. Furthermore, thyme has a significant antiparasitic effect. The volatile oils help to relieve the intestinal cramping often associated with parasite infection. These natural oils also help to eradicate, eliminate, and hinder the growth of many parasites.
Sage leaf contains high levels of thujone, which is the same chemical ingredient in wormwood that kills parasites.9 Some sage species have been used in traditional medicine to treat diseases caused by parasites, and scientific studies have shown the activity of various constituents isolated from the plant to be highly effective against these pathogens.10 Sage is also used to increase circulation and is touted as an excellent remedy for stomach issues and poor digestion. Additionally, it has a potent relaxant effect on the muscle lining of the digestive tract.
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Tansy is an herbal remedy used for treating worms.11 It contains a volatile oil that is toxic to internal parasites, with active ingredients:
It has long been known as a natural insect repellent and is used as a companion plant in vegetable gardens.
Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)
Tulsi, or holy basil, is highly revered for its medicinal uses within the Ayurvedic medical system.12 It has multiple therapeutic actions, including adaptogenic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, and immunomodulatory effects. In the Ayurvedic medical system, holy basil is often considered an “Elixir of Life” for its healing powers and has been known to treat many different common health conditions, including parasitic infections,
Fedegoso leaves (Cassia occidentalis)
The leaves of this small tree native to Brazil have been used for centuries by various South American tribes for a broad spectrum of ailments.13 The leaves, taken internally, can expel intestinal worms like Strongyloides and other parasites.
Black walnut hulls (Juglans nigra)
Black walnut is a specific type of walnut which contains large amounts of an active cytotoxic compound called juglone.14 Juglone inhibits specific enzymes needed for metabolic function and is highly toxic to many insects. The hull or outer shell is used to treat parasitic intestinal worms and expel them from the body. It also acts as a mild laxative, helping to eliminate dead microbes and waste products that would accumulate in the digestive tract otherwise.
Black walnut makes an excellent addition to any parasite cleanse. It is also a powerful astringent and contains chemical compounds called tannins that are antiseptic and antiparasitic. It is effective against ringworm, tapeworm, pinworm or threadworm (Strongyloides), and other parasites of the intestine. It is often used by organic gardeners as a natural pesticide.
Clove extract (Syzygium aromaticum)
Clove is one of the primary herbs traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of gastrointestinal infections and intestinal worms. Clove contains a powerful natural oil, eugenol, which has been well researched and found to help in the elimination of numerous pathogens in the gut.15 Clove oil can dissolve the eggs left behind by worms. In fact, it is believed to be the only oil that destroys almost all parasite eggs. Clove is well-known as a gastrointestinal remedy for diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence.
Extracts of humic acid
Humic acid is a primary component of humic substances, which are the major organic components of soil. They are formed by the microbial degradation of dead plant matter.16 Humic acid can support binding biological toxins like mycotoxins (toxins from molds) and ammonia from Strongyloides and other microbes. Additionally, humic acid supports the immune system by aiding good microbes and inhibiting bad microbes.17
Stabilized molecular oxygen
BioMolecular Oxygen promotes cellular energy, giving an individual added strength to push through more rough patches in any parasite elimination protocol. The stabilization process means that more oxygen can get to the cells before it disperses. Oxygen promotes the cells’ healing abilities. Additionally, stabilized molecular oxygen combats the effects of parasites by creating an aerobic environment where parasites have difficulty surviving.
These particular supplements are just a few of the many antiparasitic supplements and botanicals which exist, although these target Strongyloides more specifically.
Where Can I Get Help?
Parasitic infections such as Strongyloides are problematic enough, however, when parasites partner with viruses, absorb heavy metals, and harbor bacteria and mold spores, killing off parasites has to be done carefully, and in a specific protocol. My At-Home Program gives specific recommendations for eliminating Strongyloides and other parasites. Recovering from any parasitic infection or chronic illness can be a challenging journey, but it’s one you don’t have to make alone. We’re here to help!
- Keiser, PB and Nutman, TB. “Strongyloides stercoralis in the Immunocompromised Population.” Clinical microbiology reviews, vol. 17, no. 1, Jan 2004. Web
- Keiser, PB and Nutman, TB. “Strongyloides stercoralis in the Immunocompromised Population.” Clinical microbiology reviews, vol. 17, no. 1, Jan 2004. Web
- “Strongyloides Stercoralis.” Parasites in Humans, n.d. Web
- ”Eosinophil-Related Disorders – Eosinophilia.” ARUP Consult©, n.d. Web
- Cafasso, J. “Strongyloidiasis.” healthline.com, 4 Jun 2018. Web
- “Strongyloidiasis.” DPDx – Laboratory Identification of Parasites of Public Health Concern, CDC, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, n.d. Web
- Puthiyakunnon, Santhosh et al. “Strongyloidiasis–an Insight Into its Global Prevalence and Management.” PLoS neglected tropical diseases, vol. 8, no. 8, 14 Aug 2014. Web
- Attia, Rasha AH et al. “Effect of Myrrh and Thyme on Trichinella spiralis Enteral and Parenteral Phases with Inducible Nitric Oxide Expression in Mice.” Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, vol. 110, no. 8, Dec 2015. Web
- Amirmohammadi, M et al. “ In Vivo Evaluation of Antiparasitic Effects of Artemisia abrotanum and Salvia officinalis Extracts on Syphacia obvelata, Aspiculoris tetrapetra, and Hymenolepis nana Parasites.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, vol. 4, no. 1, 2014. Web
- Llurba-Montesino, Núria and Schmidt, Thomas J. “Salvia Species as Sources of Natural Products with Antiprotozoal Activity.” International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 19, no. 1, 16 Jan 2018. Web
- Waller, P J et al. “Plants as De-worming Agents of Livestock in the Nordic countries: Historical Perspective, Popular Beliefs, and Prospects for the Future.” Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, vol. 42, no. 1, 31 Mar 2001. Web
- Jamshidi, N and Cohen, MM. “The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2017. Web
- Zagar, TP, “Fedegoso.” The Times, Lee Enterprises, 3 Dec 2007. Web
- Inbaraj, JJ and Chignell, CF. “Cytotoxic Action of Juglone and Plumbagin: a Mechanistic Study Using HaCaT Keratinocytes.” Chem Res Toxicol, vol 17, no. 1, Jan 2004. Web
- Sutili, FJ et al. “Anthelmintic Activity of the Phytochemical Eugenol Against the Fish Parasite Gyrodactylus SP. and Acute Toxicity in Daphnia pulex.” PANAMJAS, vol. 9, no. 3, 2014. Web
- “Humic Acid.” Worm Gardener, n.d. Web
- Hamilton, D. “Humic Acid: The Power of Detox and Immune Support All in One.” Research Review from Researched Nutritionals, vol 12, 2018. Web