Parasites are responsible for a significant percentage of human disease.
Usually unsanitary conditions allow the parasite to develop. We associate this with developing countries, but a lack of water treatment plants, improper sewage disposal and a general lack of hygienic measures predispose to the inadvertent spread of parasites anywhere.
Before jumping to treatment with antibiotics or anti-parasitic drugs only, I like to point out that it is important for the body to also be detoxified so that the nutrients and supplements can access the cells and help the immune system to fight infections. Books like “Breakthrough” (Ref.3) by Suzanne Somers have reviewed newer insights of antiaging medicine. This points out the importance of detoxifying the body from heavy metals like mercury, lead and cadmium. Glutathione, a natural compound active in the liver, supports the immune system in fighting infections and parasites. Some antiaging physicians recommend to treat with intravenous chelation, which can include vitamin C and glutathione. These, however, are only non-specific measures to strengthen the body’s immune system.
Unfortunately many of these parasites live right here in our home environment and in almost any country on earth making it important to perform at least the simple measures that can be done to prevent the spread of these diseases. Always wash your fruit and vegetables with clean water. Many parasites have adapted to the metabolism of the host and depend on a host in their development life cycle. The goal of treatment is to interrupt the cycle of infection and re-infection between host and parasite. When this is done, these dreadful diseases can be prevented. In the following I will review some of the most common parasitic infestations and their specific treatment. Simply click on the link in the table above for more details.
Some Common Parasites Affecting Humans
Amebiasis : Entamoeba species transmitted through food, water or from person to person
Cryptosporidiosis : spread of Cryptosporidium is by water or person to person, rarely animal to man
Cyclosporiasis Isosporiasis : both can cause diarrhea in AIDS patients
Gardiasis : Giardia lamblia transmitted by contaminated tap water or by drinking water from creeks
Hookworm infestation : 25% of the world population suffers from this
Intestinal parasites : usually acquired during holidays in one of the countries where hygiene is poor (also known as “traveler’s diarrhea”)
Leishmaniasis : Leishmania transmitted by tiny sandflies
Malaria : Plasmodium transmitted by female Anopheles mosquito
Microsporidiosis : causes severe diarrhea in AIDS patients
Schistosomiasis : larvae penetrate skin and turn into blood flukes
Tape worms : complex parasitic cycle (see text)
Toxoplasmosis : T. gondii transmitted by cat feces or from eating uncooked meat of pork, beef or lamb
Trypanosomiasis (African and American) : African T. transmitted by tsetse fly, American T. transmitted by “kissing” or “assassin bugs”
1.The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 161.
2. David Heymann, MD, Editor: Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 18th Edition, 2004, American Public Health Association.
3. Suzanne Somers: “Breakthrough” Eight Steps to Wellness– Life-altering Secrets from Today’s Cutting-edge Doctors”, Crown Publishers, 2008