Some of the most common bugs:
- Blastocystis hominis
- Clostridium difficile
- Cryptosporidium parvum
- Dientamoeba fragilis
- Entamoeba histolytica
- Giardia lamblia
- Helicobacter pylori
Listing Blastocystis hominis as a harmful organism may raise a point of disagreement with some in the medical field, but it is Biohealth’s conviction that it is a harmful and increasingly common health offender. A lack of clinical research emphatically establishing “Blasto” as a pathogen—though mounting evidence supports its connection to Irritable Bowel Syndrome—is responsible for the lack of motivation by pharmaceutical interests to develop a drug to target the bug. Mainstream doctors commonly tell their patients that it is “normal” to have this bug in the gastrointestinal tract. It shouldn’t be in your body. We commonly see that when patients are treated for Blasto, their health improves! Its presence in the body is another source of chronic stress that must be removed.
Blasto is a unique, recently discovered microorganism. It was first classified as a harmless yeast in 1912 and later as a protozoan (single-celled organism with a nucleus). As recently as 1998, it was reclassified into its own class, Blastocystea. With this confusion arises the controversy of whether or not Blasto is harmful enough to warrant treatment. Even recent studies validating its damaging effects on the intestinal lining and ability to cause cell death are viewed as inconclusive by many in the medical establishment because of a lack of “corroborating evidence.”
We have seen the percentage of patients testing positive for Blastocystis hominis skyrocket over the past 15 years. We believe we are in the very early phases of awareness about this organism, not to mention the early phases of its epidemic development. Watch for research developments at the Blastocystis Research Foundation based in Oregon (www.bhomcenter.org). We anticipate exciting information from this group that will motivate the healthcare community to take the bug more seriously.
Cryptosporidium parvum is an insidiously invasive organism. Capable of living inside cells, it is so invasive that it can exist in the delicate mucous membranes lining the eyes and the lungs. C. parvum destroys the cells that it inhabits within the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in severe mucosal barrier damage, including inflammation and malabsorption.
Numerous outbreaks of Cryptosporidium throughout the United States have been documented, including one in Milwaukee in 1993 in which more than 400,000 people got acute, watery diarrhea from contaminated municipal water supplies. One hundred and four people died in this incident. One of the challenges presented by Cryptosporidium is that chlorine doesn’t destroy it, which makes finding a municipal water supply that is 100 percent free of contamination at all times difficult.
After the acute phase, Cryptosporidium causes intermittent diarrhea or loose stools as it migrates in and out of cells approximately every seven days. Therefore, a classic sign of Cryptosporidium infection is diarrhea or loose stools once every seven to ten days.
Conventional medical doctors steer their treatment decisions with information released in peer-reviewed journals and studies. Sadly, these resources often fail to consider the subtleties of the subjects they engage. C. parvum is a classic example. Most medical doctors will tell you that it does not require treatment. They say it is self-limiting; the body’s immune system will kill it. They recommend treatments if the patient’s immune system is compromised—often citing cases of elderly patients and patients infected with HIV.
You don’t need to be elderly or stricken with a severe disease to have an immune system incapable of dealing with parasites! A number of patients have refused the suggestions for taking drug therapies for C. parvum, as we consistently find the bug in stool analysis. Eventually, they accept the fact that they need to get rid of the bug and they are always glad they did.
Because Cryptosporidium is an intracellular parasite, it is difficult to treat. In fact, it was once thought that the only way to kill this parasite was to destroy the healthy cells that it lives in—in other words, kill the host! However, antibiotics proven successful in killing Crypto are now available. We would like to tell you that natural remedies exist for Crypto and other aggressive parasites, but we have yet to see their effectiveness on a consistent basis. However, don’t rule out that there are skilled healthcare providers out there who use effective natural protocols.
Entamoeba histolytica is one of the most aggressive and invasive parasites on our planet. Five to seven weeks after exposure, it invades nerve and muscle tissue in the large intestine, damaging both and potentially causing inflammatory bowel disease. It can ingest red blood cells, penetrate tissues by boring through their walls, and if it invades the liver, go systemic and travel throughout the body, typically causing dysentery.
As mentioned in Tom’s case, E. histo can form amebic abscesses in the liver if not treated in a timely manner. If surgery is performed to remove the abscesses, toxins are released into the bloodstream, overwhelming the body’s immune and detoxification capabilities.
E. histo can travel virtually anywhere in the body. It can migrate to the liver, lungs, and even the brain. As a matter of fact, one theory postulates that many appendicitis attacks are caused by E. histo infections.
Blood and stool testing can reliably detect E. histo infections. Treatment necessitates the use of antibiotics and other drugs, as aggressive therapy is required to eradicate this resistant pathogen. A qualified doctor can prepare the body not only for the toxic effects of the medications, but also the toxic load created as the parasites die off.
The liver will be under increased demands from processing the circulating toxins, and healthy bacteria naturally existing in the GI tract will need to be replaced as they are killed off by the antibiotics. The gut will also require nutritional support to help repair and rebuild the blistering and scarring that can occur when a parasite burrows into its lining. And, because the intestinal wall is likely to be damaged from the infection, nutritional supplementation should be employed to aid in mucosal barrier restoration.
Perhaps best known as the organism responsible for “Beaver Fever” or “Backpacker’s Diarrhea” because of its proliferation in streams and rivers, Giardia lamblia can completely destroy the surface of the mucosal barrier. As with gluten intolerance, the destruction of the small intestine’s barrier causes inflammation, reduction of surface area for nutrient absorption, lactose and sucrose intolerance, and inability to digest fats and oils. It can also result in the formation of deep pockets, in which mucus plugs form, creating an environment that harbors and protects infectious organisms.
Another effect of Giardia infection is hypermotility, in which food moves through the small intestine too quickly and therefore isn’t completely digested. The undigested food dumps directly into the large bowel, which creates protein putrefaction and a fertile environment in which yeast, fungus, and other unwanted microorganisms proliferate.
If you ingest Giardia in cyst form, you may have no symptoms. For those with healthy mucosal barrier defenses—recall the prisoner study—the cyst is more likely to be encapsulated and flushed out through the GI tract before it can hatch and replicate. But, if you have compromised mucosal immunity, your body will unlikely be able to eradicate the cyst before it hatches. Within weeks, this cyst can produce millions of Giardia organisms!
Giardia cysts can also infiltrate the gall bladder and enter the ducts through which the liver, pancreas, and gall bladder release digestive chemicals and enzymes into the small intestine. One such duct is the common bile duct, which carries bile from the liver and gall bladder into the small intestine. Infiltration of Giardia cysts into the common bile duct changes the composition and flow of bile and impairs the digestion of fats and oils.
Given the destructive nature of Giardia, you might think that you would have obvious symptoms once infected. This isn’t always the case. During the acute phase of an infection, symptoms are apparent, but you might not associate them with a parasitic infection. You might believe that the short-lived diarrhea and fever were caused by flu or bacteria from contaminated food. This point emphasizes the need for routine lab testing to rule out the presence of parasites.
Giardia also produces neurotoxins—toxins that harm the nervous system. These toxins cause depression, sleep disorders, and an inability to concentrate, among other symptoms. Giardia is linked to autoimmune disease, particularly with neurological autoimmune processes such as multiple sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Timmins often tells a story about a friend of his who died as the result of an undiagnosed infection. A chronic infection of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori likely caused the stomach cancer that killed him. He was unable to produce adequate hydrochloric acid and couldn’t digest his food, particularly proteins. Instead of looking for the underlying cause, he believed he had a hereditary deficiency and that supplementation would replace what was missing.
He was wrong. In fact, the supplements he took only masked the problem. Since he didn’t have any of the classic symptoms of an H. pylori infection, such as acid reflux or heartburn, he declined any diagnostic testing. One year after an endoscopy showed a raging infection of H. pylori, he died from stomach cancer.
There was a time when we acquired Helicobacter pylori from travels in third-world countries. Now we can get it in the developed world. The statistics on Helicobacter pylori are alarming. An estimated 90 percent of all ulcers are caused by H. pylori infections and almost 50 percent of the world’s population may be infected with it. It took years for mainstream doctors to accept that H. pylori is a harmful organism responsible for serious health issues.
Major Health Problems Associated with Helicobacter pylori:
- Coronary Heart Disease
- Duodenal, esophageal, and gastric ulcers
- Gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma
- Stomach cancer
The big event that woke up much of the medical community was the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Medicine to Robin Warren and Barry Marshall of Australia in 2005. These researchers were diligent in proving that H. pylori caused ulcers even to the extent of infecting themselves. Their dedicated research earned them the esteemed prize and obliterated the prevailing dogma regarding ulcers.
How does H. pylori cause an ulcer? Because of its shape and the way it moves, the bacteria can penetrate the stomach’s protective mucous lining where it produces urease, an enzyme that neutralizes good stomach acids. This weakens the stomach’s protective mucus, making stomach cells more susceptible to the damaging influences of certain acids and enzymes, thereby leading to ulcers in the stomach or small intestine.
We recommend stool antigen testing to determine whether you have an H. pylori infection. If you are positive for H. pylori, antibiotic regimens can effectively eradicate the bacteria. Some natural remedies are showing promise as well.