The first time a practitioner brought up the idea of parasites I immediately thought, “No, nope, no way.”
First of all, the idea of having a parasite or gut infection was so gross to me, I didn’t even want to consider it.
Secondly, I live in Florida, I drink filtered water, I wash all my produce… I just didn’t think it was possible I’d been exposed to a parasite.
But I was 100% wrong. Parasites and gut infections (also called gram-negative bacteria) are actually common – even in the United States, even if you’re very careful and clean (like me!) – and I’ve since learned that there’s nothing shameful about having one.
One of my personal mentors on parasites is Dr. Anne Hill, ND.
Dr. Hill is an expert on pathogenic bacteria and parasites, and she taught me about all the different ways we can be exposed.
Today, I’m going to share 10 ways you can be exposed to parasites and gut infections.
#1 Eating Food Imported From All Over The World
When we were kids, you couldn’t get all kinds of produce all year long. Now you can get asparagus in October and apples in May. How? Produce is imported from all over the world.
Even if you wash your produce like I do, you’re still more likely to be exposed to more parasites and bacteria from all around the world. If you’re eating blueberries grown in Chile, it’s like travelling to Chile as far as the potential for exposure to pathogens.
#2 Drinking Water & Going Swimming
Waterways are only getting MORE contaminated every year. In 2018, outbreaks of cryptosporidium and giardia in the U.S. were linked back to contaminated waterways.
You should definitely filter your drinking water, but you can be exposed to parasitic and pathogenic bacteria by swimming, too. And no – pools aren’t necessarily safer than natural bodies of water. Rivers, ponds, lakes, pools, and the ocean can all be contaminated.
This one is the most well-known risk factor for parasites and gut pathogens. “Montezuma’s Revenge” and “Bali Belly” are two of the ones we hear about a lot.
But it’s not just international travel – even travelling domestically increases your risk of exposure to new pathogens and parasites.
#4 Eating Raw Food
Although many of us with Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth don’t eat a lot of raw food, very few of us always eat all food cooked!
When food is cooked, the heat kills bacteria and pathogens. Eating raw or undercooked foods leaves you vulnerable to exposure. If you eat a lot of salad or sushi, you should be aware of this.
#5 Gardening & Exposure To Soil
Do you like to garden or even just occasionally pull weeds in your yard? Exposure to soil increases your risk of pathogen and parasites.
Even if you’re not a gardener, you might be exposed to soil hiking or camping.
#6 Exposure To Insects
Living in a humid environment, I’m no stranger to insects! Spider, mosquitos, ticks, horse flies, and spiders (among other insects) can all spread parasites and pathogenic bacteria through bites.
#7 Contact With Animals & Pets
Our pets carry pathogens and parasites in their body – and we let them lick us and sleep in our house! But even if you don’t have pets at home, any exposure to animals increases your risk.
Hunters are especially at risk because they’re exposed to wild animals.
#8 Having A Family Member in Close Contact
You can control your own risk factors to an extent – like never eating raw food or avoiding swimming – but you can’t control what the people around you do!
If your partner or children have any of these risk factors, you have them too! Close exposure and sharing food, drinks, and other items can all spread parasites and pathogens between people.
#9 Having a Weakened Immune System
If you’re dealing with any kind of chronic disease that weakens your immune system, you’re at a higher risk for parasites and gut infections.This is especially true for people taking immunosuppressant drugs!
But even if your immunity is just taking a hit from a cold or virus, you’re at increased risk.
#10 SIBO Patients
I hate to share this one – but just having SIBO puts you at increased risk of parasites and pathogenic bacteria.
SIBO impacts motility and can impact immunity – both of which make it easier for parasites and pathogens to find a home in you.
Don’t Freak Out!
I didn’t write this list to scare you or make you want to live in a bubble – I wrote it to show that EVERY single one of us is at risk for developing parasites and gut infections… and many of us probably have one right now that is holding us back from optimal health.
The good news: you can be tested and treated – and you can learn the warning signs and preventative measures you can take, too.
I invited Dr. Hill to teach a Masterclass covering all these topics and more.
- What parasites are & where you get them
- What they do to your body (it’s more complex than you might imagine!)
- How to get accurate testing (and not waste time or money)
- How to treat them (specific protocols for EACH common infection!)
Tickets for the Masterclass and Q&A are $59 and include the opportunity to:
- Pre-submit your questions before the live event
- Watch live or catch the recording after the event
- Get lifetime access to the recording and professional transcripts
You can also access this complete Masterclass and Q&A for just $19.80 as part of the SIBO SOS™ 2019 Speaker Series. The Speaker Series includes 10 all-new Masterclasses and Q&As for just $19.80 each. Learn more and join the Speaker Series here.
If you’re struggling to get well (and feel like you don’t know what to do next) – this Masterclass and Q&A is a MUST watch.
P.S. How many risk factors do you have? I have 8 out of 10!