Parasites

Best Protocols for Gut Infections with Ann Melin

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Ann Melin is our lead health coach at Women's Wellness Radio and a certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Nutritionist, a Clinical Master Herbalist, and a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner. In this episode we talk about gut health, gut infections, and the best treatment protocols.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 01:35 The connection between gut health & hormone health
Min 05:20 Symptoms of gut infections
Min 11:00 Why you need to address gut parasites
Min 14:35 Gut healing protocols & lab testing
Min 22:50 SIBO & GI map tests
Min 27:10 Links between gut parasites & other diseases
Min 30:10 Getting treatment for chronic conditions
Min 38:00 Treating gut parasites (candida, SIBO)
Min 41:35 Herbs & supplements for gut health
Min 45:20 Steps to WWC coaching

Resources:

Check out our coaching program to see if it is a fit for you.

Visit our shop here.

Beautycounter products - non-toxic line of beauty products

Learn about our protocols for toxins testing here.

Here are more resources, outlining our testing protocols for other nasty gut issues, including SIBO, parasitic infections and Candida.

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If these talks resonated with you and your case, we’d love to get to know you better!

If you have not joined our free newsletter, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board! We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

If you use Facebook, please join our group! Hormone Detox Tribe is a community of amazing women who love learning, want happy hormones and want to avoid toxins to protect their health and to love up on the environment.


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Bridgit is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.

Be Aware of Waterborne Pathogens with Dr. Darin Ingels

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Welcome to Day 2 of Mold Week. Dr. Darin Ingels is a naturopathic physician but was a clinical microbiologist and immunologist before going back to medical school. So he has a pretty broad background in infectious diseases and microbiology. He understands both the causation side and the healing side of mold illness.

In this interview, we focus on:

  • Which bacteria and parasites may be present in flood waters

  • How to dress to protect yourself while remediating a water-damaged home

  • What you’ll need to throw away when and if it’s been touched by water

  • Simple supplements that protect your immune system

  • Why you need to be careful with drinking & bathing water after a flood

  • How insects descend on an area, after a flood, and what to do

You can listen to this and all other episodes on the podcast or watch directly on our YouTube channel here.

You can also subscribe and listen on our podcast.

Download notes from this interview HERE.

To learn more about Dr. Ingels, visit his website here and follow him on social media:

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Audio-Only Version

If you are on the go or have a poor internet connection, it will be more reliable to play the following audio-only version.

Free Guide: Healing from Toxic Mold

You want help for your mold symptoms ASAP! Cut to the chase with this straight-forward guide, outlining my favorite supplements for detoxing mold. As a person who has been healing from mold toxicity, I can personally say these supplements support my daily self-care effectively.

Let me help you start healing!

Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP
Founder of Hormone Detox Shop

The Parasite Hormone Connection

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Do you think parasites have nothing to do with hormones? Or that parasites are very rare and only found in places like rural Africa?

You would be wrong on both counts. In this article, I'll explain:

  • What is the connection between hormones and parasites

  • What are the symptoms of a parasitic infection

  • Why are parasites so common

  • What you can do about it

 

The Link Between Parasites and Hormones

A parasite is dictionary defined as “an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.” 

You might be thinking, “well shouldn't my body prevent parasites?” You are right; it should but it doesn't always succeed. Parasites can enter through the skin or the vagina but the most common area of entry is the mouth.

When you eat something or put your hands in your mouth you expose yourself to potential parasites and their larvae.  Parasites are found in soil and feces and do a great job of spreading themselves around.

When you swallow a parasite, your stomach acid should burn off the pathogen. However many of us have low stomach acid production from a thyroid condition, because of aging, or because we were eating on in a rush and we didn't get our bodies into “rest and digest” mode.

If a parasite survives the stomach it can live in the intestines or move to other areas of the body. Parasites can remain for decades. You may also be wondering, “isn't it somewhat normal to have parasites?”

According to Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman in her book Guess What Came to Dinner?, some amount of parasites could make for no noticeable symptoms. It really depends on the type and quantity of parasites and the strength or weakness of the host.

You are the host and the environment you create in your body helps determine if a parasite finds a good home or not. If your intestines are out of balance because of eating inflammatory foods, leaky gut, antibiotic use, other infections, or eating a high-sugar, high-refined flour diet you are providing a welcoming home for a parasite.

So now you understand how having a parasite is indeed possible. But why would this affect your hormones?

Having a parasite will cause inflammation in the gut and a potential loss of nutrients going to you, the host.

Hormones stay in balance through:

  • Production

  • Clearance

  • Communication

Parasites will contribute to the overall poor environment in the gut. And your gut is an important location for hormone production and clearance.

The nutrients you absorb in the gut are the ingredients to make hormones: B vitamins, amino acids, fats, etc. That's why I consider it not only very important to eat nourishing foods, but also to take high-quality supplements to 'mind your gut'.

Parasites can contribute to an imbalanced bacterial environment in your gut. (Other contributors are sugar, alcohol, white flour, genetically-modified foods, and antibiotics.) That imbalance can lead to a re-activation of used estrogens getting back into circulation in your body, possibly increasing your risk of breast cancer. (source)

In a healthy gut, used hormones that have been rendered inactive in the liver will be expelled in the intestines through the bile. In an unhealthy gut, an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase will be produced, making estrogen active again. This happens within a set of gut bacteria called the estrobolome.  

Dr. Izabella Wentz, in her book Hashimoto's Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back, connects many parasites to the "triggering and exacerbating" of the autoimmune thyroid condition Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. These include: Giardia lamblia, Dientamoeba fragilis, Toxoplasma gondii, Entamoeba histolytica, Blastocystis hominis, Bartonella henselae and Cyrptosporidium.

Hormones are made in response to the needs of your body. If your body is chronically fighting an infection in your gut and dealing with the inflammation there, hormones will be made to combat that stress, namely stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

As a woman, you want a balance of stress hormones and more restorative hormones in the Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) family like estrogen and testosterone. If your body is making a lot of cortisol in comparison to DHEA, you could have symptoms like overwhelm, low sex drive, infertility and loss of muscle massMenopause and peri-menopause can be more difficult.

The above are just a few ways that parasites and an unhealthy gut can lead to hormonal problems.

Symptoms

The symptoms of a parasitic infection are numerous. This list is by no means a way of diagnosis but rather examples of the diverse ways that a parasite could manifest:

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Gas and bloating

  • Muscle pain

  • Anemia

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Skin rashes

  • Insomnia / Waking up too early

  • Anxiety

  • Fatigue

  • Teeth grinding

  • Frequent colds and flu

In this article, I am focusing on parasites but we often see parasites in our clients like Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and candida. Parasites can also help house and protect things like Epstein-Barr virus, mold mycotoxins, and Lyme infection. So in complex cases is often important to clear the gut of these pathogens.

But sometimes our clients are fairly healthy have lots of good habits, they are just stuck in one area of their health. They can't get pregnant or they're chronically bloated. These are cases where we've been able to address the gut and get good results overall.

According to the Center for Disease Control, millions of people in the United States are affected by parasites every year. How much of a problem parasites depend on who you ask. The colleagues of mine who treat complex cases are quite convinced of the efficacy of parasite treatment. You can hear my interview with parasite expert, Dr. Todd Watts here, and you can register for the Parasite Summit here (and more information is below).

Parasitic infections do seem to be on the rise because of these factors:

  • International travel

  • Contaminated public water supply

  • Household pets

  • Daycare centers

  • Eating at restaurants

  • Food imported from other countries

  • The use of antibiotics

  • Factory farming (including farmed fish)

 

A Personal Story

When I was in my early twenties I lived in a village in South America. All the pathogens there were new to my body and even though I tried to drink clean water I got very sick a few times. After that, I lived in Mexico and while there I was chronically constipated. I didn't know much about parasites back then but I suspected them I looked into getting a test run but opted for a kit I could buy at the store to clean parasites in my colon. Later my boyfriend at the time, who also lived in South America, passed a long worm out of his stool.

I forgot about parasites for a while but during a stressful time in Chinese medicine school, I developed IBS that would not go away. I attributed it to stress. If my diet is “really perfect” with all fresh, clean foods my digestion can be pretty stable. But cheating at all on corn chips or a beer would make me have loose stool again. This pattern went on for many years and I even had to stool test and treated H pylori infection with still no improvement.

One of my parasites that came out in my stool.Trust me, I was really grossed out when I first saw this too. Toothbrush somehow makes this picture grosser. I did not touch it to my toothbrush, just put it on top of bag for size comparison.

One of my parasites that came out in my stool.Trust me, I was really grossed out when I first saw this too. Toothbrush somehow makes this picture grosser. I did not touch it to my toothbrush, just put it on top of bag for size comparison.

This past summer I interviewed Dr. Todd Watts office about parasites. Perhaps with that awareness in the back of my mind, I noticed a parasite in my stool the next day. I quickly ordered a stool test from a leading company we use and the test came back positive for a type of parasite.

I have been treating my parasite and, though I'm just beginning, I have passed another worm and some larvae which, while gross, is also pretty exciting to know that I am getting something out of my body that was likely stressing it for a long time. I know that my white blood cell count has been low for years and no one was able to explain it but I think this helps explain it.  

Besides coming back from South America with a probable parasite I also came back with a lackadaisical attitude about sanitation. I thought that here in the US we were too paranoid about cleanliness. We have also learned in the last decade a lot about the microbiome and we are often encouraged to 'eat dirt and go barefoot.’

After reading Guess What Came to Dinner? by Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, I have quite a different perspective. We DO want to be clean and careful to prevent parasites. It is much easier to prevent parasites then test and treat for them later.

Prevention Tips

Luckily there is a lot we can do to prevent parasites:

  • Always wash hands prior to eating

  • Keep your fingernails short and scrub under them with a brush

  • When you use a public toilet seat squat over it rather than sitting on it

  • At home, keep your bathrooms clean and sanitize toilet seats and bowls*

  • Keep the interior or your car clean*

  • Avoid kissing your pets or letting your children do so

  • All family members should wash their hands after petting the family pet

  • Pick up pet waste and don't let your kids play in areas where they can be exposing themselves to residual pet waste

  • Get a report on your local water quality and drink only filtered water (Filters need to be very fine a size of 3 microns or under to filter microorganism cysts.)

  • While hiking, never drink out of streams and carry a fine pore filter of 3 microns or under while camping

  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating

  • Be very careful with cooking meats and fish to ensure that any larvae in them are killed

  • Cook beef to an internal temperature of 160° f

  • Cook chicken, lamb and pork to 170° f

  • Cook fish until flaky and do not cook in a microwave

  • Avoid eating raw Pacific salmon and rockfish (Flash frozen fish are safer.)

  • Eat fiber such as raw nuts, beans, greens berries; these sweep your colon

  • Avoiding sugars and simple starches that parasites thrive on

  • Avoid swimming in freshwater lakes

  • Always sit on a towel in a sauna

  • Be aware that public mud baths and spas can carry the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis (This happened to me the only time I used a mud bath!)

  • If you are pregnant or immunocompromised, avoid changing your cat's litter box and have someone else and household do it

* Please note that you don't need to use potent chemicals for cleaning.  You can use potent essential oils instead!  Dr. Mariza Snyder is my to-go resource on essential oils, and her book, Smart Mom's Guide to Essential Oils: Natural Solutions for a Healthy Family, Toxin-Free Home and Happier You has many great cleaning recipes.

If you would like to learn more about parasites, I encourage you to attend the Parasite Summit hosted by Dr. Jay Davidson. This event is an eye-opening journey into parasites and their effects on health, hormones, detox and more!

Learn more here.

 

Accurate testing for parasites cannot be conducted at your local doctor's office. The technology is just available in this setting and paradigm. We do conduct these tests with our private clients and develop protocols to help them eradicate gut pathogens. If you are interested in talking to us more about it you can check out our coaching options here.

 

To Your Health! 

Bridgit


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Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.

The Benefits of Lab Testing for Women's Health

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You are trying to fix your hormones, tame your hormones, survive your hormones…is it working? If not, here’s help and an explanation of why it’s so complicated.

Your body is complex- 11 systems comprised of 37.2 trillion cells working together with 100 trillion bacteria to keep you energetic, sleeping well and thinking clearly.  Source

Our modern environment is also complex. Wi-fi, international news reports, food additives, long work days…we all have a lot challenging us right now.

You are probably already trying to be healthy. Did you cut down on sugar, caffeine, gluten?  That’s great! Are you noticing some steadier moods or a slimmer waistline? I hope so. 

You may also be trying to get regular exercise, and maybe even meditating.  That’s great too!  How about reading blogs like this one and attending online health summits? Yup. These foundations of diet, exercise, stress reduction, and education are all very important.

But what if you are still tired? What if you still have no sex drive?  Raging acne? Creeping weight gain?

You may think, “well I must have adrenal fatigue.”  

That’s the mindset I had several years ago. I was eating really well but still had spotting before my periods and really low energy in the afternoons.  I thought, “Well, it’s the stress. I need to do a better job of handling stress.” But I never seemed to accomplish that.

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Later I had a DUTCH (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones) test, and it revealed something new to me.  It suggested I may have low thyroid function, which I had never suspected. I didn’t have the hair loss, weight gain, etc. that I had learned about with low thyroid.

Important Point #1: Your hormone problems are not always what you think. 

It’s easy to come to a conclusion that you have estrogen dominance, low hormone levels, low adrenal function, etc, but you don’t really know until you test. You can, like me, beat yourself about a diagnosis you’ve decided on and keep self-treating for it, but it’s better to test and really know.

After my DUTCH results suggested I had low thyroid function, I ran a full thyroid panel on myself for the first time. Although I had run blood tests in the past, I had never tested my thyroid antibodies as I hadn’t suspected an issue there.

My results showed a very low level of thyroid antibodies, and I’m so glad I caught it early.  Around the same time I was chronically sick, and, at first, I figured it must be this thyroid issue. 

But soon after we learned that we had toxic mold within the walls of our house, which took me down a deeper rabbit hole of testing.

Important Point # 2: Your hormone problems came from somewhere.

It’s important to realize that your body will not randomly give you a thyroid condition, or any other hormonal imbalance.  It wants to have a working thyroid gland and balanced hormones.

As I learned about mold, I learned that it, among other triggers, can contribute to thyroid issues. This is why I still do not identify with a Hashimoto’s diagnosis, but rather I consider myself a person in the process of healing and clearing deeper causes of illness.

Recently I had a new type of stool test. My past stool tests had revealed some bacterial imbalance and H. Pylori infection, an infection I cleared without any improvement in my gastrointestinal symptoms.  

I was ‘inspired’ to run a GI Map test by Diagnostic Solutions laboratory after interviewing Dr. Todd Watts about parasites on my podcast, and then promptly passing a worm in my stool the next day! What timing. Side note: if you see something that looks like a pad thai noodle or a bean sprout in your stool, but you’ve didn’t eat either the day before, you should be highly suspicious!

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The GI Map is different because it looks for DNA fragments of parasite and other infections in your stool.  So it doesn’t miss much.  However, according to Dr. Watts, it is still inadequate because it does not test for every type of parasite.

But for me, a parasite was found, and it did appear to roughly match the specimen I had found in my stool.  I lived a year in rural South America about 20 years ago, and I had suspected a parasite back then.  But you don’t need to leave the country to get a parasite!  Again according to Dr. Watts, “everyone who has a pulse has a parasite.”  According to the Center for Disease Control's website, " Parasitic infections affect millions of people in the United States every year."

I mention stool testing because 100% of the clients in our coaching program have GI issues contributing to hormonal issues.

When you are housing candida infections, aberrant bacterial growth, parasites, H. Pylori infection or Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), it’s a chronic stress or your body, leading to inflammation, malnutrition or even autoimmune disease. It’s incredibly common, and digestion and hormones are not often enough linked in the medical conversation.  

Important Point # 3: Your primary care doctor probably doesn’t take a functional approach to health care.  

Many people comment to me that they want to feel better and they are very interested in the functional approach, and then their next question is, “Can my doctor run these tests for me?”

Yes and no. Sometimes your doctor to run a full CBC blood panel for you, and have them add vitamin D and thyroid antibodies. However:

  1. Within a conventional medical system, she can’t run labs for diagnoses they don’t suspect based on their training

  2. If she is not a functional practitioner, she will not interpret your results in a functional way, and may tell you you are fine (when you don’t feel fine)

  3. She definitely cannot run the advanced urinary, saliva and stool tests we use because these tests are not available to them through the conventional medical system

You can’t ask your doctor to practice functional medicine if that’s not what she practices.

It’s like asking your massage therapist to give you acupuncture.  It's not within their training.

Our clients can sometimes get helpful blood tests through their doctors that we can review, and I also encourage them to use a Health Savings Account (it’s pre-tax money you put towards health expenses) when possible.

I understand that spending money out-of-pocket on medical expenses is not fun. I understand that many people are living on modest means and supporting kids, parents, and other family members financially.

Our family has spent, get this, at least $100,000 in remediating mold in our house, replacing all our stuff, missing work, moving to a safer space, and treating our health.  And the spending hasn’t stopped because I’m not all healed up yet, and we still have some mold-infected belongings to replace.

Still dealing with mold, over a year after it was found.

Still dealing with mold, over a year after it was found.

So I am sympathetic, but at the same time, I have made incredible sacrifices to heal myself and my family.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.  

The experience I went through with mold was a huge growth opportunity.  It made me realize how short and fragile life is, and gave me a deep hunger to get well and live my life to the fullest.

I recently read this quote in the book, Gratitude, by author and physician Oliver Sacks, after he learned he had advanced liver cancer, "It is now up to me to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can."

I had a firsthand experience with the web of diseases and how they interconnect. It was not easy to identify my root causes nor navigate the options for care. 

As a health coach, my experience made me a strong advocate for my clients to persist and get well, even if the path seems impossible to find, or the mountain too big to climb.  

We have women in our program who are too sick to work, homemakers or who are working low-wage jobs. I am fiercely proud of them for choosing to invest in their health. Others have parents that choose to support them in their healthcare, often in cases of infertility where the odds of becoming a grandparent are increased!

It comes down to choosing more for yourself- to believing your health could be improved, which allows you to be happier and more productive.  You also have to be willing to work and to pick yourself up when you have a hard day of symptoms.

If you'd like to have a conversation with me about your health journey and what we do in our functional health coaching program, please check out our current coaching options  Our private coaching program does include choosing the best lab test for your case, placing the orders for you, interpreting your results, setting a protocol based on those results, and adjusting and monitoring your protocol for best results.

Free Educational Videos on our Favorite Lab Testing

In this video, Ann Melin is describing about the DUTCH i.e Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones by Precision Analytical. She will also explain about different types of hormones and organic acids.
In this video, Ann Melin is describing about the GI-Map from Diagnostic Solutions Lab. She will also explain about Stool testing techniques, different types of pathogens, worms and intestinal health.

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Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.

Parasites: A Hidden Root Cause with Dr. Todd Watts

Dr. Todd Watts is a functional medicine chiropractor from Idaho and in this guest we’re talking about parasitic infections. 

Click here to download an mp3 of "Parasites: A Hidden Root Cause with Dr. Todd Watts."

Here's what you'll hear: 

Min 01:20 Introduction to Dr. Todd Watts

Min 03:40 Dr. Watts working on his own case

Min 05:10 Why most of Dr. Todd's patients are women

Min 06:45 How often female patients have parasitic infection

Min 10:50 Testing for parasites

Min 15:25 The connection between Epstein barr and Lyme

Min 19:25 Responses to parasite treatments

Min 22:40 Stress, exposure to chemicals & electromagnetic frequency

Min 25:30 Dr. Todd Watt's healing process & the 5R's of cellular healing

Min 33:00 Parasitic infection and systemic inflammation

To learn more about Dr. Todd Watts and his practice, visit his website here and follow him on social media:

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5 Easy Detox Swaps for Women’s Health

Are you doing all the ‘right things’ but still feeling blah?

Get my list of 5 Easy Detox Swaps for Women’s Health to start clearing out the toxins and reset your system to feel better today!

Click here for more information on private coaching.

How Your Gut Health is Effecting Your Brain

In this interview with functional medicine expert Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, we talk about the rarely acknowledged gut-brain connection.  With modern research, we are gaining a deeper understanding of how digestion and the gut micro-biome effects the brain, and common symptoms of mood disorder, and poor concentration.

Identifying Gut Bugs and Systemic Candida with Andrea Maxim, ND

Dr. Andrea Maxim is our guest on the podcast today, and she is sharing some great insights on commonly overlooked symptoms of intestinal parasites, bacterial imbalance, and systemic candida.

Dr. Maxim is the author of the book, Maximized Health:  The New, Intelligent System for Optimal Digestions and Hormones.  Her clinics, in the Hamilton, Ontario region of Canada, were voted 'best naturopathic clinic' by the Hamilton Reader's Choice for the past three years.