Wellness

You Probably Have a Parasite—Here’s What to Do About It

We often think of parasites as something to worry about only when we travel, so the Center for Disease Control statistic that more than 60 million Americans are infected with parasites—and most don’t even know it—is jarring, considering both the ick factor and the energy-depleting health consequences. Dr. Linda Lancaster, a Santa Fe-based naturopathic physician and homeopath, says parasites are at the root of many types of illnesses and suspects that infection rates are likely much higher than CDC data suggests. Below, she outlines what you need to know about parasitic infections, and gives us a peek into the unique treatment that she’s famous for: Patient-specific cleanses that use goat milk and herbs to eliminate parasites, which allows patients to skip out on harsh drug regimens.

A Q&A with Linda Lancaster, N.D., Ph.D.

Q

What are the most common types of parasites, and how do most people get them?

A

Parasites are very common—about four in six patients I see in my practice are infected with at least one (and often more). The vast majority of people affected are undiagnosed and don’t even know they’re carrying one. We’re exposed to parasites constantly; they can be contracted in many situations, from eating uncooked meat or fish, to walking barefoot or sleeping in a bed with a pet that’s carrying something.

When most people think of parasites, they think of intestinal worms like tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm, and threadworms—all of which can actually be seen with the naked eye. While I still find patients with those types of worms, the most common parasites are actually microscopic. Amoebas, flukes, and spirochetes are so small they can’t be seen with the naked eye. Amoebas are very common in the summer; I also see them when patients return from traveling to India or Mexico because you can get them from drinking bad water (giardia and entamoeba histolytica are common ones). However you contract them, amoebas cause diarrhea. Flukes, or haematobium, are tiny snails that live at the bottom of lakes and in brackish water, and people often contract them from swimming and swallowing the water. There are different kinds of flukes—one that goes to the liver (hepatica) and one that goes to the bloodstream (haematobium). In fact, many of the patients that come to me with liver complaints are actually dealing with hepatica. Spirochetes, the microscopic parasites that cause Lyme and syphilis, are transferred through tick bites or sexual contact.

And I believe candida can be considered a parasite—anything that infests the body and has a life of its own should be considered part of this category.

Q

What are the most common symptoms experienced by someone with a parasite?

A

Parasites are so common, and manifest in so many different types of symptoms, that I screen every patient who comes to see me. That said, there are some cases that are obvious; for example, when you have a kid that’s grinding their teeth at night, picking their nose, and itching their butt, I can tell you before the screening that they have a parasite.

Digestive disturbances and diarrhea are common symptoms of amoebas, and constipation often indicates a hookworm (as does lung and sinus congestion, which typically goes hand in hand with a clogged digestive system). Even ordinary gas could be caused by an amoeba or by candida.

The skin is the largest detoxification organ there is, so worms often cause rashes and psoriasis as a healthy body tries to throw off the toxicity of the parasite. Achy joints and rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by tissue parasites, and bad breath is another major indicator of a parasitic infection.

Fatigue, exhaustion, and brain fog are also common symptoms of parasites. Many times, I’ve put people on a parasite program, and they’ve come out feeling energized—because they’ve been bogged down by a parasite sapping their energy for years. That fatigue and lack of get-up-and-go can also lead to depression, anger, and neurological issues.

Q

How would you go about getting diagnosed as having a parasite?

A

Parasites can be found in tissue, stool, blood, and saliva, so a parasite test—which can be performed by any practicing physician—is ground zero for diagnosis. I recommend having a test done by a naturopathic physician or natural medicine doctor—doctors trained in integrative medicine will be aware of the problems parasites can cause and can recommend further testing and natural treatment.

Q

How are parasites connected to heavy metals, radiation, and other toxicity?

A

If you have a health system with a low vibrational field or a weakened immune system, you’re more susceptible to parasites. We’re all already tired, and our cells are moving slowly, so a parasite can knock us over—it can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Parasites like the environment of heavy metals, chemicals, and radiation. Heavy metals and chemicals have a low vibrational frequency that causes our cells to slow down and lose their vitality. On the other hand, radiation, including both fallout and EMF, can cause agitation in the cells, creating weakness in our neurological and immune systems. As long as there are heavy metals, chemicals, and/or radiation in your system, you are more susceptible to parasites and their eggs.

Q

How did you develop your treatment?

A

Every medical tradition from Western to Chinese to Ayurveda has a unique method for clearing the body of parasites. My treatment is based on knowledge of the Essenes, a community that lived outside of Jerusalem during biblical times. In those days, when a healer learned of a worm infestation, they would put the patient in a tub of milk until the worms would come out to drink—parasites love milk! In fact, many people who think they’re allergic to milk actually have a parasite in their system.

In my experience, an eight-day, mono-diet goat-milk cleanse—accompanied by a specific vermifuge made of anti-parasitic herbs—is the most successful treatment. Parasites primarily live in the mucus lining of the gut system, where they feed on nutrients before they enter the body. Think of the goat milk as bait—parasites come out of the gut lining to drink the milk, which they love, but they also consume the vermifuge, which will eventually eradicate them. On top of being highly effective, this method is a much more gentle medicine than bombarding them—and your body—with a harsh drug.

Q

Why goat milk?

A

The treatment requires milk of some kind to draw the parasites out, and I prescribe goat milk because it has been found to be the closest to mother’s milk (they have a very similar pH) and less allergenic than cow milk. Goat milk also has healing qualities not found in other types of milk, like high levels of vitamin A and plenty of fatty acids, which help both clear and moisturize the skin. I actually recommend goat milk to my clients as the first protein that their children transition to after breast milk.

Because of the high levels of fatty acids, goat milk breaks down faster in the body; lactose-intolerant people can digest it much more easily than cow’s milk. You can get goat’s milk at most health food stores, but if patients have access to safe, raw goat’s milk, that’s the ideal.

Q

Are parasites preventable?

A

Just because you’ve gotten rid of a parasite doesn’t mean you won’t get one again! There are several preventative measures to take, particularly if you’re traveling where parasites are common; I actually make a travel kit specifically for India, which includes a few homeopathics, and one of my worm formulas to take before meals every day. For prevention, I like olive leaf and have a few herbal tinctures, like an immune booster and a parasite concentrate. There are also common-sense measures like using bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth when you’re traveling. That said, if you stay away from heavy metals and build up the immune system, the body will be prepared to fight parasites or live with them safely until the next treatment.

Dr. Linda Lancaster is a Board Certified Naturopathic Physician and Homeopath. She has been in practice since 1981 and founded Light Harmonics Institute, an Energy Medicine Clinic and Educational Center based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and maintains clinics in Santa Fe and New York City on-goingly. Her training includes Classical Homeopathy, Radionics, Medical Radiesthesia, Subtle Energy Healing, Emotional/Spiritual/Grief Counseling, Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Ayurveda and Detoxification Methods. Her health and cleansing programs have been offered to her patients for more than 30 years.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of goop, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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