Parasites are nasty creatures that every one of us will come into contact with at some point in our lives—whether we are aware of it or not. Giardia is one common parasite that is typically picked up in developing countries, but can be contracted anywhere. It can cause fatigue, nausea, headaches, cramps, diarrhea and more. It is a common infection amongst travelers, and it can bring on some pretty uncomfortable symptoms.
What Is Giardia?
Giardia lamblia, commonly just called Giardia, is a microscopic parasite. It is a type of protozoa, a group that comprises single-celled microscopic animals, which include amoebas, flagellates, ciliates, sporozoans, and many other forms.
When this microscopic parasite infects your small intestine, it causes a condition known as Giardiasis, or simply Giardia infection. People get giardiasis through contact with infected people (yes parasites can be spread from person to person), by eating contaminated food, or from drinking contaminated water. Pets, such as dogs and cats, also frequently contract giardia and can spread it to humans.
Giardia is certainly most prevalent in developing countries that do not have the same sanitary conditions or ability to control water quality as more developed countries do, but it is present all over the world.
How Do People Become Infected with Giardia?
Giardia are found in animal and human feces, and they thrive in contaminated food, water, and soil, and unlike some parasites, can survive outside a host for long periods of time. Accidentally consuming these parasites is what leads to a Giardia infection.
The most common way to get giardiasis is to drink or swim in water that contains Giardia lamblia. Some common sources of contamination include animal feces, waste drainage, diapers, and agricultural runoff, and these sources can contaminate the water in lakes, swimming pools, spas, and other bodies of water.
It is less common to become infected with Giardia from food because heat often kills parasites, but if you are traveling and eat a lot of raw or uncooked food it is more likely. Poor hygiene when handling food or eating produce rinsed in contaminated water can also allow Giardia to spread.
People can also spread Giardia, so it is possible to become infected from human contact, especially if you somehow come in contact with another person’s feces—such as changing a diaper or shaking someone’s hand who has poor hygiene.
What Are the Symptoms of Giardia Infection?
Parasites are organisms that feed on the nutrients of their host, and they benefit most when their host is unaware of their presence, so they can be experts at staying hidden. Thus, like with most parasites, not everyone who becomes infected with Giardia will show noticeable symptoms. Regardless, parasites steal our nutrients and release toxic waste inside us, and over time, these are bound to cause ill health effects. Some of the symptoms that Giardia can cause are:
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive gas
- Digestive issues
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
How Is a Giardia Infection Diagnosed?
A Giardia infection is typically diagnosed from a stool sample. Usually when someone experiences the adverse symptoms associated with Giardiasis, especially while traveling in developing countries, a doctor may suggest a stool sample to confirm if Giardia is indeed the cause.
A patient will submit one or more stool samples for testing and a technician will check their stool sample for giardia parasites. However, parasite tests are not always reliable and the patient may have to submit more samples during treatment. It is also possible that all stool samples may come back negative, but Giardia could still be the cause. This is because stool samples require a technician to manually observe and scan stool for parasites, and not every stool sample will contain parasites even if your body does.
An endoscopy may be an alternative procedure used to diagnose Giardia. This procedure involves running a flexible tube down your throat and into your small intestine. This will allow the doctor to examine the patient’s digestive tract and take a tissue sample.
Additionally, one may simply infer that a Giardia infection is the cause of illness if they are experiencing all of the symptoms of giardiasis and have been travelling or exposed to a contaminated source.
How Do You Treat a Giardia Infection?
Giardiasis can clear up on its own over time, but it can be an uncomfortable process. Therefore, it is helpful to use methods to remove the parasites from your body. Often doctors will prescribe a medication if the infection is severe or prolonged, but pharmaceutical antiparasitic drugs can be damaging to other parts of your body. For example, antibiotics, though they may be necessary in the case of an extreme infection, are one of the most common ways to kill off the beneficial bacteria in your gut, and can wreak havoc on your overall gut health. Most antiparasitic drugs are strong antibiotics.
Alternatively, one can follow a parasite cleanse protocol. This protocol works getting rid of hundreds of different types of parasites.
Parasite Cleanse Protocol
The primary treatment for a parasite cleanse protocol is a Parasite Detox (link) tonic. The most effective and widely used anti-parasitic herbs are cloves, wormwood, and green black walnut hulls. These three herbs make up what is known as wormwood complex, and they are also the three herbs used in our Zuma Nutrition Parasite Detox Tonic. We will also be launching a new formula soon that specifically targets Giardia.
The high quality active ingredient extracts in our organic Parasite Detox tonic are completely water soluble, so they’re absorbed immediately in the bloodstream and not in the digestive tract, allowing them to instantly begin killing parasite populations.
All of the herbs in this formula are also exclusively harvested when they are at their peak level of potency. This ensures that the active ingredients are as strong and effective as possible. Plus, they are 100% sustainable and wild crafted. Which means, no pesticides, preservatives, chemical fillers, or genetically modified ingredients.
Taking a Parasite Detox tonic can be enough to clear an infection on its own if the recommended dosage is followed diligently. However, to improve the success of the cleanse, it is also highly recommended to:
Enhance the Body’s Natural Detoxification Pathways
The body has natural organs and systems dedicated to detoxification. Focusing on enhancing these natural detox pathways will greatly support and improve your cleanse. The primary organs and systems related to detoxification are: the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, digestive tract, lymphatic system, and circulatory system. You can enhance these pathways significantly through following an organic whole-foods diet, drinking plenty of high quality water, and exercising regularly.
Additionally, you can enhance the detoxification pathways of your liver with our Liver Detox & Support Tonic. The liver performs over 500 functions daily. It is the first stop for everything that we ingest, it neutralizes toxins in the body, detoxes harmful substances, breaks down and metabolizes fats, converts glycogen into glucose, produces and stores important nutrients, and does so much more for our health on a daily basis. The liver is the body’s primary organ of detoxification, and keeping your liver healthy is essential for getting the most out of any cleanse, especially a parasite detox cleanse.
Cleansing the Colon
The colon, also known as the large bowel or large intestine, is an organ that is an important part of the digestive system. The colon removes water and some nutrients and electrolytes from partially digested food, and sends the remaining waste to the rectum to be eliminated from the body.
The Parasite Detox tonic helps to kill the parasites, but cleansing the colon helps to ensure that these parasites are effectively eliminated from the body. To cleanse the colon, consume a mixture of 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds in water combined with our Fulvic Acid & Trace Ocean Minerals Tonic. Chia seeds are rich in dietary fiber and fulvic acid binds to toxins. Together, they help to pull toxins from the gut and smoothly eliminate them.
Supplement with Probiotics
When cleansing the harmful organisms in your colon, you may incidentally get rid of some of the good bacteria as well. Because of this, it is important to supplement with a Multi-Strain Probiotic Complex to replenish your gut bacteria and keep your microbiome in balance. It is incredibly important for gut health to restore the optimal balance of bacteria in the gut, and a multi-strain probiotic is one of the best ways to do this.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking a lot of water is also essential to get the most out of a cleanse, as water is the universal flushing agent and hydration is essential for the health and function of every system in the body. Aim to drink anywhere from ½-1 gallon each day. Only drink purified water and avoid unfiltered tap water or bottled water. Consider investing in a reverse osmosis filter for easy access to purified water.
Are There Any Complications Associated with Giardia Infection?
Giardiasis can lead to complications such as weight loss and dehydration from diarrhea. If you are suffering from giardiasis it is important to make sure you stay hydrated. Giardiasis can also cause lactose intolerance in some people, and children who get giardiasis may be more at risk for malnutrition, which can interfere with their development.
How Do You Prevent Giardia Infection?
Since Giardia is a microscopic parasite that exists around the world, you cannot really prevent it. You can, however, lower your risk of exposure by taking necessary precautions such as:
- Washing your hands thoroughly, especially if you work in places where germs spread easily.
- Avoid swallowing water when swimming in natural bodies of water like lakes, rivers, streams and ponds.
- Do not drink tap water or brush your teeth with tap water in developing countries unless the water is heavily filtered or treated with iodine.
- Avoid eating uncooked local produce in developing countries.
- Wash your vegetables, especially if coming from a place that may have contaminated soil.
- Practice good hygiene.
How Long Does a Giardia Infection Last?
A Giardia infection will usually last about six to eight weeks, but may be reduced if you focus on detoxing the parasites with a parasite detox supplement and protocol. However, it is possible that problems like lactose intolerance may persist after the Giardia infection clears up.
Giardia is a microscopic parasite that infects your small intestine and causes a condition known as Giardiasis, or simply Giardia infection. People get giardiasis through contact with infected people, by eating contaminated food, or from drinking contaminated water. Pets, such as dogs and cats can also spread Giardia it to humans.
Giardia is most prevalent in developing countries that do not have the same sanitary conditions or ability to control water quality as more developed countries do, but it is present all over the world.
Symptoms of Giardia infection can include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, digestive issues, excessive gas, weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, and headaches.
Giardiasis can clear up on its own over time, but it can be an uncomfortable process. Therefore, it is helpful to use methods to remove the parasites from your body. Often doctors will prescribe a medication if the infection is severe or prolonged, but pharmaceutical antiparasitic drugs can be damaging to other parts of your body. Alternatively, one can follow a parasite cleanse protocol that will help to get rid of other parasites as well, not just Giardia.
Since Giardia is a microscopic parasite that exists around the world, you cannot really prevent it. You can, however, lower your risk of exposure by taking necessary precautions such as washing your hands, avoiding sources of potential contamination, and practicing good hygiene.