GI Problems: Parasites, Bacteria & Fungi … What Can We Do?

Jan. 19, 2020


A good friend just forwarded the following issue(s)  … and question(s) on Facebook:

Do you have experience with parasites?
I lived in Mexico for over a year recently with no health issues. Unfortunately I had to return to the US. I have been sick ever since I came back to the USA.

Has anyone had experience with parasites in your body? What were your symptoms?

I have bad gut issues, prostate problems and a bad UTI that will not go away. Doctors have no idea what’s wrong. … Thanks for any input.”

The FB friend commented~requested:
Steve … I have seen some of your excellent comments you have made on similar (GI) problems. Trouble is the cooments and advice are difficult to locate now. How about sharing your wisdom with a column on gut health for expats? What meds should we be taking every six months? Appreciate your willingness to be so helpful to all of us expats!
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Whew … What a challenging set of issues.

~ Notice that “Dan Fitz” (the Original FB poster~patient suffering in the USA) …  is likely in the dog-house with his GI problems, because he returned to Canada-USA without getting treated here. … US & Canadian physicians have almost NO TRAINING in how to recognize or handle these things … and they almost always don’t know the meds…  
This means:
GO TO A PHYSICIAN HERESeek COMPETENT experienced Medical advice from a Physician who knows Tropical Diseases & Tropical Parasites BEFORE you return back North.    …  Almost always … waiting to go to US physician or Canadian Doctor is NOT a good approach – because they don’t ever study it, nor do they take the time to read about this stuff.

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GI Parasites … could be GI worms, amoebas, paramecia or even nasty-cryptosporids.


Sidelight: Since it could involve a wide range of problems, (too much to describe here) …

SEE the Parasite treatment issues described at the end of this article.**

Continuing … In addition to parasites … also more broadly consider all the GI Microbes …

most often E, coli … Salmonella (even becoming endemic), Shigella, Campylobacter

(popular-common in the USA), rotovirus, the varieties of Clostridium (including “C. diff” ) …

General Advice on Prevention & Avoidance:
Eat only well cooked meats …
e.g. Avoid ceviche … (the lime juice is NOT magic .. encysted worms & their encysted eggs are NOT affected by lime juice – it takes either cooking, or  a sharp knife & good eye  to eliminate them) … unless the people preparing the ceviche put thin sliced fish fillets on a light box & cut out the parasites – like what good sushi chefs do to protect their customers.

Eat foods with a peel:  Bananas … apples … pears … Oranges & pretty much all citrus fruits.

Mexican Street-Foods:  Eat what comes out of hot oil, and goes straight into a sterile piece of paper, cup, napkin etc, without being touched …

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Microbiological Health Sidelights:
Notice that 45% of Yucatecans have NO indoor bathrooms … and personal hygiene like showering is great here, but anti-microbial knowledge & practices are pretty much unheard of here, even among Medical Doctors & Nurses …
Notice how pretty much ALL nurses & Medical doctors touch contaminated hospital patients & then the bed railings & then grab their pens or PDA’s – transferring each hospital patient’s potentially nasty microbes to their next patients, and to the nurses stations to write in the charts, as they get out those dirty pens every time they leave a patient room…  
Next, notice how the very sweet Hospital ladies who deliver the water bottles every day , serially touch every patient’s door knobs … where all the Doctors & Nurses also touch those door knobs … after grabbing their dirty pens…. with no regular disinfections …
Since even supposedly-trained people like Doctors & Nurses do not understand good hygiene & do not practice it, what should we expect from street vendors, and the staff in restaurant kitchens who cut up salads & other things that are not cooked.

Hint: If you want to avoid parasites & nasty bacteria … AVOID SALADS and avoid ceviche

… and avoid hospitals & doctor’s offices – because they are full of people (before you) who hacked, coughed, sneezed & spewed some of our MOST INFECTIOUS microbes, then  touching

… the counters … the check-in spot… the keyboards at the nurses stations … the hand-railings … the door knobs and door handles – basically every place we inadvertently touch, lean on, and handle – without thinking. 😉

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Other precautions?:
Consider taking some really good GI beneficial microbial sources at least twice a week. … The goal is to use a variety of beneficial microbial critters … beneficial bacteria, fungi, aerobes, anaerobes, facultative anaerobes, some that live in acidic environments & some that do NOT tolerate (stomach & upper GI) acid  …

Basically, we want to fill every single one of all the different kinds of warm moist niches in our guts … The upper GI niches are very acidic** (aka stomach & upper small intestine) – versus the lower parts of the small intestine & colon … Some parts of the gut are aerobic, other parts are anaerobic, and there are areas that are in between.  “In between” is a great place for facultative anaerobes, like the critters in good UN-PASTEURIZED sauerkraut & kimchee.

Overall Context: Most GI niches are best filled with beneficial bacteria, while there are some niches that best filled with beneficial fungi …

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** Acidic parts of the gut need special bacteria:
This means that the common lactobacillus bacteria we take in “supplements” … should NOT generally be deposited there … which means good “lactobacillus” supplements MUST have a good enteric-coating to protect them, until they are released from the capsule … in ONLY the lower small intestine & the colon.

Then note that Kefir is superb (including a broad mix of beneficial bacteria AND beneficial fungi) …

Yogurt is popular … but it’s effects are pretty piddly – not very effective, because it only has one or 2 kinds of Lactobacillus & they are deposited in the WRONG part of the gut.

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Beneficial GI fungi & beneficial molds & yeasts?
Think funky things like Kefir … Blue cheese, beet top fungi, some yeasts => some Candida yeasts & Dipodascaceae yeasts (Galactomyces, Geotrichum, Saprochaete). plus Malassezia family fungi …

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Next Principle of GI Health:
An OVERGROWTH of any single microbe … or the growth of a microbe that’s in a niche where it does NOT belong => yields upset stomachs, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. … e.g. E coli bacteria (aka fecal coliforms) are ESSENTIAL down in the colon (large bowl) … but those same E. coli (ingested by dirty food handling practices – poor hand washing after bathroom use) … those same E. coli, when in the upper GI tract => horrible nausea, vomiting & diarrhea… 😦

Notice how messy (rich) & complex it is. 😉

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Treatments & Preventative Practices:
This means that anyone who tells you … ” Blah blah is the BEST … ”

… is grasping one part of the elephant … (the trunk, an ear, a leg, the tail) and declaring … The elephant is a snake (trunk) …or a rope (tail) … or a leathery leaf (ear)…

There are just 2 “treatments” or things that seem to touch many many of the niches … Kefir (a very complex mix of bacteria & fungi) … and the other broad spectrum treatment is fecal transplants. …. We’ll leave fecal transplants for a later discussion – but NOTE…  they can be the BEST treatments for  nasty persistent  C. diff infections,   MRSA infections, … “curing” allergies …  “curing” skin problems related to hidden food allergies in the gut …    “curing” Colitis …  “curing” IBD ..    “curing” ideopathic diarrhea * constipation…. and even affecting (“curing” – relieving) diabetes & obesity.

Anyway …

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Treatments & Preventative Practices: (cont.)
If you have cows milk product issues, consider taking a good supplement with at least 6 – 8 different kinds of Lactobacillus … Also, switch to sheep & goat’s milk products, like hard cheeses … and maybe try well-clarified cow’s milk butter (no lactose & no active proteins) … PLUS … Lactase enzyme supplements can also be your friend … taking them when you consume anything with lactose (cows or goats or sheep soft cheeses, ice cream, etc)

Notice (again) how yogurt does not really help much compared to the overall scope of good GI health?

Even raw yogurt (not pasteurized) has just 1 or 2 kinds of Lactobacillus, and those Lactobacillus are introduced into the WRONG part of the gut … hitting only the upper parts of our GI tract … not making it to the lower gut, where they are most needed … => a good pro-biotic supplement with 6 – 8 – 10 different Lactobacillus species in a capsule with a good enteric coating.

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Supplements & Good Dietary sources of Beneficial GI Microbes.
In addition to a good varied probiotic supplement (like Jarrodopholis, or “Ultimate 10” from the Vitamin Shoppe) … consider products with beneficial fungi … like Kefir … blue cheeses … and consider products with proven beneficial GI bacteria like unpasteurized sauerkraut.

So… when we fill every single type of condominium in the human gut, packing them full of beneficial tenants .. then when the unwelcome invaders arrive … “There’s no room at the Inn …” … and your gut put’s out the “No Vacancy” signs … +plus, the current beneficial inhabitants defend their varied niches.

Does that cover the questions about effective supplements & foods ??

If not… send  a comment.

Next… Parasite treatments

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**Parasite treatments:
Note that we can buy (over the counter) assorted anti-parasitic treatments here ranging from the mild (Treda) … up through Vermox & Vermox Plus … up to Daxxon.  … and Yes, many old-time Yucatecan physicians recommend that patients prophylactically treat themselves with anti-parasitic treatments twice a year.

As a result … It’s very popular to believe that a single magic pill can magically cure ALL parasites … but that just does not fit reality.

If you think you have worms or amoebas or paramecia, then Vermox Plus works ok, when taken following the package instructions & cautions  … as Vermox Plus works OK for treating
amebiasis intestinal aguda o crónica, causada por Enterobius vermicularis (oxiuros); Ascaris lumbricoides (lombrices); Trichuris trichiura (tricocéfalos); Necator americanus, Ancylostoma duodenale (uncinarias); Strongyloides stercolaris; Taenia solium, Taenia saginata (tenias) e Himenolepis nana.

but NOTE that Vermox does NOT treat either Clostridium nor Cryptosporids, like Giardia …

Cryptosporids have been shown to require at least a 3 day treatment with Nitazoxanida … aka “Daxon” … so … some people choose to skip the “1 day magic treatments” that only touch a few things, and instead … go straight to Daxon – Nitozoxanida … All are sold Over the Counter across Mexico.

Notice that Nitazoxanida also treats viruses (like influenza) and nasty bacteria (like Clostridium) … 😉

and as always … “Consult your physician, before taking medications.

Practical Medical Doctor’s consultations?
Here, they cost just $3 bucks in Mexico, at the little doctor’s offices next to pharmacies. 😉

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Interested in Staying Healthy in Mexico vs Parasites &  Salmonella
… and how to beat them?
Check this out:

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Interested in Proven Disinfection Protocols?

**Bleach Dilution Disinfection Protocols:

  • Stored Water Treatment (tinacos etc): 10 mL (1 tsp) bleach per 100 L of non-turbid clear water or 1/4 cup of bleach per 275 gal tinaco makes water microbially safe in 15 minutes.
  • Toilets and Sinks: Apply bleach without dilution via spray or brush for 10 minutes and rinse.
  • Drinking water: 2 drops of bleach per liter of clear water (20 drops per mL) and wait 15 min.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Wash & scrub thoroughly first to remove dirt, then 10 drops bleach per liter of water and soak for 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Floors and bathroom surfaces (tub & shower): 1/4 cup (60 mL) bleach per gal of wash water and leave it on the surface for 5 minutes before rinsing.
  • Children’s Plastic Toys: Remove dirt first with soap and water, then use 1/4 cup (60 mL) bleach per liter of water and soak for 5 minutes and rinse.
  • Baby Bottles & Nipples:  1 drop of bleach per liter,  soak for 2 minutes and rinse.
  • Other Plastic Objects: Apply straight bleach for 5 minutes and rinse – note that this might cause a permanent bleaching of some plastics.
  • Glasses and Plates: 1/4 cup (60 mL) per gallon of dish washing soapy water, scrub off food residues, and allow to soak for 5 minutes.

– Only use unscented normal bleach for these purposes: do not use scented or non-splash bleach. (Blanqueador de Ropa)
***because Base + Bleach = Toxic Chlorine Gas***

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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

Read on, MacDuff…