Ann Louise Gittleman studied with some of the
great nutritionists of the Twentieth century and has a background in
both clinical and alternative health care. In the early 1980s she was
the director of nutrition at the Pritkin Longevity Center.
now consults for various organizations, corporations, and spas all over
the country, including Uni Key Health Systems in Bozeman, Montana. She
has written nine books, including Guess What Came to Dinner: Parasites
and Your Health.
Why do you study parasites?
In 1974 I studied with a naturopathic physician in Albuquerque, New
Mexico. She explained that parasites are probably the most unsuspected
cause of disease among human beings.
Oftentimes problems like
immune dysfunction, juvenile-onset diabetes, hypoglycemia, constipation,
diarrhea, depression, and liver or lung difficulties can be cleared up
if parasites are eliminated from the sy–stem.
Aren't parasites mostly a third-world concern?
Parasites are a concern right here in the United States because so many
factors, including international travel, expose us to these unseen
invaders. Contaminated water is probably one of the biggest carriers of
parasites. Other unsuspected sources are exotic,
undercooked foods like sushi. And according to the New England Journal
of Medicine, humans can become infected with at least thirty parasitic
illnesses from their pets.
Parasites have created a hidden epidemic and people don't even suspect
they exist. One of the top parasitologists in the country told me that
seventy to eighty percent of his patients have one or more parasites.
parasites are so prevalent, why haven't they been recognized as a
leading cause of disease?
For several reasons, all of which relate to the belief that parasites
are not a concern in the United States. The symptoms of parasitic
illnesses are very similar to the symptoms of other diseases. Parasites
are known as the great masquerades.
For example, what appears to
be ulcerative colitis can actually be an amoebae infection in the colon.
The acid-reflux condition so prevalent today may also be dramatically
connected to Giardia. Even gallbladder problems can come from protozoa.
it's my estimation that many of these hyperactive kids on Ritalin
probably need to he deformed.
What are some of the symptoms of parasites?
They can affect us in different ways. It all depends on your particular
Achilles heel. For a water-borne disease, the first symptom would
probably be a problem in the gastrointestinal tract, sometimes watery
diarrhea that can last several weeks.
Often children come down
with this symptom when they're in day-care centers, which is another
place parasites can spread. Other symptoms might include abdominal
cramps, nausea, very foul smelling gas, or a low-grade fever. How long
symptoms persist ail depends on how the body's inner environment is
handling the problem. But as we become overloaded with toxins from many
sources—bacteria, viruses, yeast— we find that our resistance lowers.
do we treat parasites?
I've found that cleansing the gastrointestinal tract is the best
treatment. Parasites embed themselves in the intestinal wall and hide
behind a layer of mucous and encrusted waste matter, so it's important
to use high-fiber substances that help soften and remove the encrusted
matter and sweep out the parasites.
Psyllium, wheat bran, and guar gum are all wonderful colon-cleansing
products. (However, these treatments are no! appropriate for some of the
more exotic parasites.)
Mother Nature also provides some wonderful herbs for cleansing the colon
The Chinese have used black walnut for centuries to get rid of larger
parasites. Other herbs include centaury, artemisia annua, butternut, and
Taking digestive enzymes that help break down parasites is another part
of cleansing. Some people, especially those over forty or with type-A
blood, are more prone to parasites because they do not produce enough
hydrochloric acid, which is necessary for proper pH balance in the
We all need to make sure we're taking enzymes.
Pancreatic enzymes, hydrochloric acid, pepsin, or plant-based enzymes
such as papin or bromclain arc the best.
In addition to treating the problem, cleansing prevents future
infestation, creating an inner environment in which parasites are less
likely to thrive. Once the intestinal tract has been cleansed, we must
make sure it is well fortified with probiotics (good bacteria such as
streptococcus, acidophilus. and bifidum).
These bacteria are
found in fermented products such as yogurt, or in powdered supplements.
The important thing is to keep the digestive system clean and filled
with beneficial bacteria that can go to war against the creatures trying
to take up residence.
Prevention is the real key to fighting parasites. Home water filtration
is extremely important because bacteria, contaminants, and parasites can
slip through municipal water treatment facilities. New EPA guidelines
recommend only filters with a one micron absolute pore size, or smaller.
recommend having a filter that removes ninety-nine percent of all tiny
bacteria and parasites. We also need to be certain when we eat meat that
it comes from as clean a source as possible — organically raised beef
and farm-raised fish, for example.
And it's essential that we wash our hands after playing with pets.
Parasites can contaminate a whole household. Infected children need to
be bathed and have their beds and personal clothing laundered daily.
Toilet seats also need to be scrubbed and sanitized each day.
We should keep all rooms well aired and should clean and vacuum daily in
areas where the whole family gathers, so we remove parasite eggs along
with the dirt. If even one member of a family is infected, everyone must
The prevention and treatment of parasites really depend on the body's
inner environment. Herbal cleansing products are an effective way to
treat problems so they don't recur.
Published at Health News (V.3, N3, 2004. Triple R Publishing, Inc).