I used to think there was NO way I could have a gut parasite. I thought living in the U.S. and drinking filtered water meant I was protected.
Little did I know…
Gut infections and parasites are actually common – even in Western countries. Gardening, eating out at restaurants, swimming, and being in contact with pets or kids all increase your chance of exposure.
And of course, travel exposes you to even more potential issues (I think about my childhood trips to India in a totally new way now).
I also know – thanks to the IBS Smart test – that my IBS was actually triggered by a gut infection: food poisoning.
I don’t want to scare anyone but it is an eye-opening reality check. Parasites and gut infections are a topic ANYONE with the goal of healing SIBO or IBS should be thinking about.
I recently spoke with Dr. Anne Hill, ND about what gut infections and parasites actually do to your body. It was illuminating to say the least – a little disturbing, but very hopeful! I’m sharing some of what she taught me with you today…
#1 Parasites & Gut Infections Cause Nutrient Deficiency
When you have a parasite or infection in your gut, there is a lot of competition for nutrients.
Think about those tapeworm-for-weight-loss horror stories you’ve heard.
But it’s not just worms – all kind of parasites and gut infections can absorb more than their fair share of vitamins and nutrients, ultimately leaving you malnourished.
This can cause crazy cravings, weight loss or weight gain, and nutrient deficiency symptoms (think brittle nails, dry & dull hair, muscle cramps, and more).
#2 Parasites & Gut Infections Degrade Your Gut Lining
Parasites and gut infections degrade the protective lining of the gut called the mucin lining. They do this to break down secretory IGA (which is like the immune system of the gut).
They do this to stay alive: they need to degrade the immune system in the gut to prevent being destroyed.
#3 Parasites & Gut Infections Lead To Food Intolerances
Dr. Hill told me that lots of her patients with parasites and gut infections report that they have LOTS of food intolerances – and that those intolerances are changing all the time.
She explained that this is because gut parasites are able to “switch” the immune system from what she called the innate immune response (the TH1 immune system) to the “food allergy” response (TH2 immune system).
Once the immune system has been switched, patients report new food intolerances every week and can often wind up on a very restricted diet.
#4 Parasites & Gut Infections Release Toxic LPS
According to Dr. Hill, the bacteria that create gut infections have something called a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) layer. Our immune system sees the LPS as a threat and mounts an immune response – leading to more inflammation.
But that’s not all the LPS do – they also decrease the production of butyrate in the gut. Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that’s a very important anti-inflammatory. Butyrate keep the gut lining strong and the junctions between the cells that make up the gut wall tight. It prevents “Leaky Gut.”
That means LPS cause harm in 2 ways: inciting an immune response and decreasing butyrate production.
The End Result Is Leaky Gut
When all these factors combine – damaged mucin, decreased butyrate, increased immune response – the strength of the junctions between the cell walls that make up the gut lining decreases.
When you have Leaky Gut, things that should stay in the gut – like food and toxins – are able to flow out into the bloodstream. That can cause systemic inflammation and symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and may even be a trigger for autoimmunity.
The Leaky Gut – IBS – SIBO Trinity
Over the years, I’ve learned that whenever you discuss IBS and SIBO, you also need to consider Leaky Gut.
They are kind of like a trinity of gut issues:
SIBO can be the root cause of both Leaky Gut and IBS – but it’s not the only cause.
Sometimes Leaky Gut and IBS are caused by other things- but then SIBO can also develop…
It’s a little confusing, but one thing is for certain: if you want to heal IBS and SIBO, you can’t neglect Leaky Gut.
This was something I was guilty of: I got so focused on healing SIBO that I didn’t pay attention to Leaky Gut or other coexisting conditions. I couldn’t get 100% better and I didn’t understand why.
SIBO was a big problem for me – but it wasn’t the ONLY problem! In fact, I’m still working through my coexisting conditions.
(That’s why I’m focusing on SIBO, IBS, AND Leaky Gut in our new docuseries, Digestion SOS™ (look for it in August 2019).
Learn More About Parasites & Gut Infections
Dr. Anne Hill is next up in the 2019 Speaker Series! Last year, Dr. Allison Siebecker told me I HAD to have Dr. Hill as a Masterclass speaker after hearing her speak at a conference. As soon as I met Dr. Hill myself, I agreed. Dr. Hill is incredibly knowledgable but also practical.
Some people are totally open to the idea that they might have a parasite – some people (like myself in the past) are totally repelled by the idea. And that keeps them stuck. If you do have a parasite or a gut infection, it’s not a reflection of your hygiene or anything to be ashamed of. As Dr. Hill taught me: if you eat food, you’re at risk for infection.
Parasites and gut infections can (and do) happen to anyone – especially if you have reduced immune function.
If you want to learn more about gut infections and parasites, her Masterclass and Q&A Session are the perfect next step.
Dr. Hill will be covering these common gut infections – including signs, risk factors, testing and treatment:
- Blastocystis hominus
- Dientaomeba fragilis
- Entaomeba histoytica
- H. Pylori
Plus much more!
Tickets for the Masterclass and Q&A are $59 and include the opportunity to:
- Answers and questions recorded for you to reference.
- Watch Masterclass recording, including the Q&A.
- Instant access to the recording and professional transcripts
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.