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Harmful Parasites

Senior medical consultant for Medcan clinic, Dr. Scott Gledhill, discusses how parasites may be harming your health. 
It is estimated that there over 100 trillion microorganisms living in our intestines. It may be appropriate to think of the human body as a self-contained eco-system.
These organisms have evolved to live symbiotically we with us, and most are helpful. For instance, they may take part in the process of breaking down our food into usable parts.There is evolving evidence that these microorganisms in our intestines may be influencing multiple systems within our body.
These organisms within our intestines are engaging in their own internal metabolic processes. This results in their own unique metabolites and by-products.

Inevitably those by-products can enter our blood and affect multiple systems throughout the body. These effects can possibly be contributing to heart problems, obesity, mental health and autoimmune disorders. 
In animal models, alterations in microorganisms of the intestines have been shown to influence brain functions including memory and anxiety.
We may one-day be treating conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel syndrome, autoimmune disorders and even depression by altering the bacteria within the intestine.
Are some of these organisms harming us?
  • most of the organisms are there for a reason 
  • but parasites can and do cause harm – in the gut and in multiple systems in the body 
  • Parasites can cause internal inflammation, upset stomach and extreme fatigue 
  • parasites are common in Canada, not just overseas, they can linger for years and cause major issues – chronic fatigue syndrome has been linked to parasites in many cases 
How do parasites get inside us?
  • In North America there are sources of contaminated drinking water
  • Changing drinking water (traveling from one city to another) although treated and containing minimal organisms, simple changes in the elements in the water (hard vs soft water) can alter the environment in our intestines, and favor one bacteria or another, leading to intestinal disturbances.
  • People not washing their hands carefully enough
  • Parities coming in from imported fruits and veggies
  • Contaminated meats - worms, listeriosis, E Coli
What are the signs to look for?
  • Sustained change in the consistency of our stool - are you going much more or less often, is it now perpetually loose
  • Sustained change in the colour of our stool
  • Blood in stool, mucus in the stool
  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Fatigue 
How do we protect ourselves?
  • wash your hands  
  • wash your food - fruits and veggies
  • ensure your meat is cooked properly to kill parasites that may be lurking inside
  • avoid excess acid blockers - the natural acid in our stomachs may act as a natural barrier to parasites and help kill them before they seed in the intestine

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