Have you ever experienced a parasitic infection? Dr. Michael Karlfeldt, ND, PhD talks with Katie Packwood, NTP about how parasites are actually more common than most realize, and can be a culprit of various chronic health issues including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and symptoms experienced by a lot of people in our population: body inflammation, digestive issues such as leaky gut, bloating, gas, brain fog, grinding the teeth and others.
Dr. Michael Karlfeldt, ND, PhD: With me I have Katie Packwood, NTP. She's one of the practitioners in our office. One of the things you work quite heavily with is helping people to get rid of parasites. Why parasites?
Katie Packwood, NTP: Why parasites? Well, parasites are actually quite prevalent. I know we think in our first-world country that people wouldn't have parasites because it's something we think about in Africa or Central America. Actually, parasites are actually quite a big issue. And a lot of people really aren't aware that it could be an underlying cause of some of their problems.
Dr. K: Because we think, we're in America, and somehow parasites don't cross borders.
KP: Right. You went on vacation in Mexico, but they didn't come home with you. But maybe they did?!
And actually with people traveling a lot, internationally, parasites are more of an issue today than they maybe were, historically. We also have other places we pick up parasites: from our pets, from sushi, from gardening. The dogs are out there relieving themselves in the yard. And, those eggs can stick around for actually quite a long time, in the soil.
Dr. K: So parasites, how do I know if I have parasites?
KP: Good question. Here in America it's actually pretty difficult to get a diagnosis for parasites, unless you see something crawling out of you. We don't have really good labs for diagnosing parasites in stool samples. If something has been out of your body more than 20 minutes, you're not going to find a parasite in there, it's going to be dead by the time it gets under a microscope.
So, muscle-testing that we do in our office is a really great way to identify parasites. Because they are alive at the time we are testing for them, so we can identify those through muscle-testing. Also, there are also certain symptoms that someone might have.
Dr. K: What are some of those?
KP: A lot of digestive symptoms: bloating, leaky gut, gas, inflammation all over the body, brain fog, joint pain, bruxism (grinding the teeth), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue. It can go on and on.
Dr. K: They exist in the body, they take our nutrients, and then they "poop".
KP: Exactly. And they don't go away by themselves. It's not something our immune system is really good at clearing. They are living at our expense, which is the definition of a parasite.
They do, they eat your food. And they primarily eat up your minerals. So mineral deficiency is actually a pretty strong symptom of a parasitic infection. Someone who's chronically low in magnesium, zinc and other minerals. And then the inflammation comes, yes, like you said: they poop inside of you.
Dr. K: Yeah, exactly.
KP: And they cause a lot of stress to the immune system that way.
Dr. K: Because that poop is toxic substances. And they use that also to invade the immune system.
KP: Right. And parasites like to travel kind of in "gangs". And you always find parasites when you find other bad - I call them the "yeasties" and "beasties".
Dr. K: So you've got the Crips and the Bloods?
KP: Yes, and they kind of all congregate together: parasites, candida, heavy metals and viruses, and they like to kind of all hang out together. And they can cloak themselves from the immune system in something called "biofilm".
Dr. K: Oh, really?
KP: Actually this would be a good time to show some of our pictures.
Dr. K: Yeah, absolutely. Let's pull one up here. An example.
KP: So this is something called a "ropeworm". It's not like a tapeworm, it doesn't have a mouth or anything like that, that hooks on. It's basically a colony full of bad microscopic parasites, yeast, bacteria, heavy metals.
Dr. K: So this is something that actually came out of a person.
KP: Right. And often people don't know if they have parasites. But if they were to do something to provoke the parasites out, they might see this. This is actually very common for people who start to do detox programs, especially if it involves enemas, they might most definitely start to see something like this come out.
Dr. K: So let's see another one.
KP: This is just another example of a ropeworm. So similar kind of parasitic, mucousy-colony.
Dr. K: Looks pretty disgusting.
KP: Yes. This is kind of like a more immature ropeworm, yeast ... bad thing.
Dr. K: It's bad. You don't want it.
KP: (laughing) If that's coming out, you definitely have some digestive issues going on.
Dr. K: So I'm glad this is being played Sunday morning, before Sunday brunch.
KP: Exactly! These are liver flukes.
Dr. K: What do you have there, is that like a dime in the middle?
KP: It's a dime in the center. These are fairly large flukes.
And parasites really love the liver and the gallbladder, because there's a lot of food there.
Dr. K: Yeah.
KP: They can be anywhere. They're not just in the intestinal tract, they can be in the thyroid, they can be in the gallbladder, the pancreas, the liver ... the brain. They can actually move all over.
This is a tapeworm. Often you won't get the entire tapeworm out. There are ways to coax entire tapeworms out.
Dr. K: You have to lure them out?
KP: Lure them out, yes. But sometimes people will see the little rice-like segments come out. Or people might notice them in their dogs' feces.
Dr. K: So it just looks like little rice. Those little rice.
KP: Yeah, little grain of rice. That's a pretty strong indicator that a person might have a tapeworm.
Dr. K: So what do you do? A person that suspects, they have these symptoms. You have a parasite program where you help people get rid of parasites.
Dr. K: What does that look like?
KP: There's several ways you can address parasites. You can do it with herbal. There are some strong herbs parasites hate: garlic, cloves, artemisia. We can use those.
Sometimes we need to use drugs, anti-parasitic drugs.Parasites can be pretty hard to kill off, and they do have a life cycle. So you may need to do it more than once, to hit that life cycle of all those parasites.
Dr. K: So if I do like a week parasite cleanse, would that be enough? What are we talking about with parasites?
KP: When you consider that parasites lay eggs, and that the eggs have an incubation period, and then they hatch, it's actually probably something you may need to do for several months, in a row.
Parasites like to travel during the full-moon, they like to travel back to the intestinal tract to lay eggs. So doing a parasite cleanse during a full moon period is a chance where maybe you can kill more of them.
Dr. K: So it's a little bit more of a process.
KP: It's not a one-time thing. Especially if you have a chronic digestive condition, you've probably had a parasitic infection for awhile. And it may take some concerted effort and time to really get rid of them. And then ongoing. Just like we de-worm our dogs every three to four months, we might need to de-worm ourselves.
Dr. K: There are actually some studies showing that people who do a parasite cleanse on a regular basis. They just live longer.
KP: Yeah. Parasites are, like the name implies, they're there at your expense. So they do just, slowly drain the life out of you, by eating your food, and by excreting toxins inside of you.
So really, taking it seriously, and doing something to cleanse them out. Eating a lot of garlic ... there's things you can do regularly to kind of ...
Dr. K: ...to minimize the chance that you have ...
Dr. K: The reality is, most of us have it, but it's just to the extent, it's important to clear it out on a frequent basis.
KP: Exactly. And if you have a chronic condition where that is an underlying factor, once you get rid of them, it can help the immune system tip back in your favor, where you have a better defense against accidental exposure to parasites. Because you can't stop it, we'll always be exposed to parasites.
Dr. K: Thank you very much!
KP: You're welcome!
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Photo by Sergei Akulich on Unsplash.