The 3-in-1 Cure for Tired, Foggy and Bloated
There are those days when we're a little groggy and those days when not even five presses of the snooze button can get us up and running. But when too-tired-to-move mornings start becoming the norm, science points to a surprising culprit.
Parasites such as cyclospora, trichinosis and various species of worms can be found in the intestines of 32 percent of American women, according to a study published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which looked at a nationally representative sample of 2,896 Americans. Researchers explain that parasites enter the body via contaminated water, raw or undercooked fish and meats, imported fruit and vegetables, and even from interaction with pets.
How GI micro-invaders sabotage health
Once settled in the digestive tract, parasites absorb many of the nutrients and much of the water that the human host consumes, triggering dehydration and nutrient deficiencies. "This is leading to a widely ignored epidemic of chronic fatigue and blue moods," says Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., author of The Gut Flush Plan (Avery, 2008). She adds that these bugs can also cause cloudy thinking, unexplained headaches, body-wide pain, skin conditions like acne and excessive dryness, hair loss and a variety of GI woes such as constipation and bloat. "Even severe PMS or menopausal symptoms can be the product of an infestation," Gittleman maintains.
Parasites also release a number of biochemical signals that trigger chronic cellular inflammation, which hinders blood sugar balance and leads to uncontrollable cravings for sugary foods and carbohydrates. In addition, inflammatory chemicals have been shown to damage DNA in the cells of the brain and stomach lining so they can't properly produce the appetite-satiating neurotransmitter serotonin. This makes parasite sufferers feel like they're always hungry. Says Gittleman, "That's why many researchers believe parasites may be partially responsible for the human epidemics of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and obesity."
Even so, parasites are undiagnosed in millions of women. The reason: "Mainstream doctors have not been educated on the science showing that parasites are frequently the root cause of a bevy of health concerns, so they don't test for parasite problems," Gittleman explains. And even when doctors do test, a study of diagnostic labs in the United States revealed that only 1 out of 10 facilities correctly identified parasite cases in humans. "As a result, women can endure a lifetime of unnecessary tests, frustrating misdiagnosis and inappropriate medication," says Gittleman, who advises visiting UniKeyHealth.com for details on her parasite-testing program.
Three cures that restore optimal health
Raw garlic for mild symptoms: Thanks to the herb's antiparasitic and antiworm compound allicin, eating two or three raw cloves daily has been shown to eliminate microscopic invaders in the body. "This can produce noticeable improvements in symptoms in as little as two weeks," says Gittleman.
A colon-flushing sip for fast results: Drinking a smoothie containing cranberries and pumpkin seeds every other day can deliver relief within just eight days, says Gittleman. The reason: Cranberries and pumpkin are potent parasite-and-worm-killing agents. And the fiber content of the smoothie helps flush the intestines of critters and their eggs to reduce the risk of future infection. To make: Blend 1 scoop of protein powder, 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, 1 oz. of unsweetened cranberry juice and 8 oz. of water.
Herbs for stubborn infestations:
Some women suffer from a particularly tough infection caused by more than one type of parasite or worm. In such cases, garlic and the pumpkin-berry smoothie may not be strong to deliver results. So, if symptoms linger after two weeks, Gittleman advises trying a supplement duo that targets various parasite species. Her Rx: Take Verma-Plus ($39 for 4oz.), which is proven to flush the body of several species of worms, then when the bottle is finished, take the parasite-killing supplement Para-Key ($39 for 180 capsules, both at UniKeyHealth.com). After this six-week regimen, a stubborn infestation will be cleared, assures Gittleman. (First readers who call Uni Key Health at 800-888-4353 by April 15 will receive a 20 percent discount on either or both supplements.)
Alert! This kind of dairy feeds bad bugs
The milk sugars in non-fermented dairy like milk and cheese are a favorite food of parasites and should be avoided by anyone who notices the symptoms of a parasite infection, advises Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D. Luckily, not all dairy feeds parasites. In yogurt and kefir, the milk sugars have been fermented into enzyme-rich lactic acid that's beneficial for humans but is nonnutritive to parasites. Choose unsweetened versions since common sweeteners in these foods like high-fructose corn syrup and sugar also promote parasite growth.
"I have the energy to live my life again!"
Liz Keeler stifled a yawn as she extended her hand to her 10 A.M. client. I don't know if I have the strength to get through this, she worried. And she nearly didn't make it—midway through negotiations she had to pinch her left thigh to keep herself from nodding off.
A successful realtor who enjoyed running 10k races, Liz suddenly found herself plagued by fatigue. "Out of the blue, I started to wake up tired," she says. "Sometimes I felt too exhausted to go to sleep at all."
Fatigue led Liz to give up running, and fog impacted her ability to think straight at work and to care for her 15-year-old son, Troy. "It was most painful when I couldn't fully be there for him," she confesses.
Liz also experienced a "poochy" tummy, embarrassing flatulence and the unsettling sense of Alien-like creatures slithering around in her abdomen. "I actually wondered if I'd had some kind of mental breakdown and was imagining it all," Liz admits.
A parade of doctors and a battery of tests turned up nothing. But then Liz's friend told her about a book on parasites called Guess What Came to Dinner? by Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D. (Avery). Her friend had even earmarked the pages about sluggishness, brain fog and intestinal "stirrings" that were tied in with these critters.
Feeling a little hopeful, a little skeptical and more than a tad icky, Liz contacted Gittleman, and a parasite-confirming stool test was administered. (Visit UniKeyHealth.com for details.) After only two weeks of herbal cleansing and some diet tweaks, including increasing her fiber intake, Liz started feeling like herself again. "My vitality soared and other symptoms vanished," she says, beaming. "I could keep my busy schedule selling houses, running charity 10ks and being the mom I wanted to be. Now life is perfect!"