Hypothyroidism is a growing concern as more and more people are being diagnosed with an autoimmunity to their thyroid called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. There are many approaches to treating and managing this condition. Most of these are unaware of the root cause this can come from a lack of clinical experience or the inability of the labs to confirm infection. These are known as stealth infections —an invisible elephant in the room as it were.
So, let’s discuss the ways a parasite can manipulate your body and its systems to serve its purposes, and then we’ll discuss the known culprits and how they affect us specifically. We’ll finish with what signs and symptoms that you should be aware of that can be linked to parasites affecting your thyroid and many other systems in your body.
What Parasites Do To Your Body
Parasites have two goals in your body, feed and breed. The first is done by living in your digestive tract and feeding on your food; many foods can excite or aggravate parasites, and we see many reactions from food sensitivities to food allergies caused by parasites in our gut. The alternative to stealing our nutrients and leaving toxic waste behind is that they choose to feed on us, from tissue to fluids. These terrorists to our bodies want to weaken us and keep us serving their purposes, manipulating mood and behavior by affecting hormone and neurotransmitter function in our bodies.
The thyroid is important for our overall health and vitality and modulating our immune system—making it an issue for any infection to survive in the body. If parasites can manipulate and modulate our bodies to weaken them, they can not only survive but thrive.
The first attack on our body is chemical warfare. When feeding on our nutrients or our tissues, these invaders release waste products that are toxic to our body which can eventually overwhelm our detox pathways and organs. Over time, the time variable really depends on the type of parasite and its location. These toxins can irritate the lining of our gut. Creating more mucus as a defense allows these parasites to affect to start creating more biofilms to hide beneath and remain undetected. Many individuals will see their bowels slow down and be more constipated. This is due to changing the microbiome in their favor, making themselves right at home.
Serotonin—the happy feel-good NT—is also responsible for proper peristalsis moving the bowels accordingly. Serotonin is largely produced in the gut by certain probiotics also known as psychobiotics. When they are killed or restricted from flourishing, we get slower bowels, and we see these individuals present with depression, low self-esteem, and low self-worth. This offers the parasites the opportunity to take their time feeding on our nutrients, slowing the detoxification of the GI tract, and giving them the ability to reproduce at a higher level. GABA is also produced in the gut by certain psychobiotics, and this also helps the body to relax and calm down. By limiting this GABA production, it keeps the body wired and ramped up making it hard to sleep and turn off your brain at night. Thus, affecting your sleep and ability to repair overnight weakening your body and limiting your ability to properly get a good night’s restoration. The longer we are ramped up due to these attacks which usually occur overnight, we are forced to look for ways to wake up and keep alert. Is it any wonder there is a coffee shop on every corner, and half the convenience store are full of energy drinks?
So, we have seen how the parasites have affected our NTs leading into a zombie like state with depression it is almost as if they are culling us away from the herd. When we participate in things we love to do or with friends and family, it boosts oxytocin that hormone that allows us to feel good. This is contrary to the parasite’s survival and through these mechanisms we see how the affect us. Narrowing down here to the thyroid, let's discuss how parasites affect our hormonal control.
How Parasites Affect Hormonal Control
We have two phases in which we operate—sympathetic or parasympathetic—the yin and yang of our being. Parasympathetic is where we are in a relaxed state also known as rest and digest; this is where the thyroid is doing its best work helping the body to adapt and flourish during all the stresses. We experience it slows down the aging process and allows us to feel peaceful. For many of us, that has been a while. These individuals are stuck in a sympathetic dominant mode known as fight or flight. When we are under attack at DEFCON 3 or in a situation where our survival instincts kick in like seeing a bear running at you, or the coworker you don’t like is heading your way. Receiving bad news, bills in the mail. All of these things can call for a sudden shift from the rest and digest to the flight or flight. It is like air raid sirens going off, pushing the big red button, all hands at battle stations, call the president on the red phone, we are under attack. Hollywood has done such a great job illustrating these scenarios, but can you imagine having this happen 2, 3, 4, 10 times a day or more. We cannot rest and digest or be in a parasympathetic state while we are under attack, so our pituitary gland shifts suddenly from one state to another to save ourselves. And the body can do this with little to no adverse effects if the threat is to dissipate. The problem is when we live in a chronic state of stress, and everyone is always at their battle stations, nothing else is getting done. We need to repair, or we will start to wear out faster and increase deterioration.
The term DEFCON is a military term that I believe is applicable here because we are at war. DEFCON 5 the lowest level is when everything is fine. It is at our lowest state of readiness we are relaxed and enjoying life. When we have parasites, they move us up to DEFCON 4. We are on the lookout and ramping up our troops or immune system in this case. DEFCON 3 is where we are inevitably always on guard, we are always looking for the next attack or insult, we are hyper-aware, and it is exhausting to the body. When we get to this state, we are under chronic stress, and the body starts to suffer all kinds of symptomology. There is a concept of the Cortisol/DHEA ratio which looks at something called pregnenolone steal or shunting. This is where cholesterol is turned into pregnenolone, which has two pathways—a fork in the road as to say. It can go down the pathway to become a form of progesterone turned into cortisol to meet the demand of the stress load we carry, or it can take the other road to DHEA which is the precursor to testosterone or estrogen. When our stress levels are getting out of hand, this causes an imbalance of need to divert more pregnenolone down the pathway to cortisol. This is OK for temporary use, but when this stays out of balance, we see many systems of the body suffer. Have you noticed that testosterone and male health has become a huge market? That it is in high demand? This is because we are under so much stress. And Stress Kills.
What's the Big Deal About Stress?
When our cortisol to DHEA ratio is off, we see problems arise in our neural tissue health, affecting memory and learning, neuronal connectivity, quality of sleep, and mood. It affects our musculoskeletal system, muscle strength, bone turnover, connective tissue (saggy and baggy), CHO metabolism ability to maintain a regulated sugar/glucose control, and improper energy usage in the cell. Immune system regulation, from pro to anti-inflammatory states. Your ability to detoxify heavy metals and reactive oxygen species. Metabolism of fat and protein, protein turnover and repair, weight and fat distribution. Do you have it and is it where you want it? Mucosal integrity is the lining of our sinuses and gut to protect from foreign entities. And finally, we see the endocrine system get insulted with dysregulation of the pancreas of insulin production along with thyroid function being limited and gonadal hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.
I know this was a long-winded explanation, but I hope it gave good insight into how parasites make themselves at home.
The Different Types of Parasites
Giardia lamblia infections, known as giardiasis, is usually transmitted from the fecal-oral route from soil, food, or water that has been tainted with feces from infected humans or creatures. It is usually transferred by drinking contaminated food or water. The usual symptoms include diarrhea, gas, stomach cramps, and nausea/vomiting. Some people will never experience these symptoms.
Cryptosporidium infections, known as “cryptosporidiosis,” are usually characterized by watery diarrhea. Drinking tainted water is the most common method of transmission. Some other frequent symptoms include stomach cramps or pain, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration. This condition often self-resolves in one to two weeks in individuals who have a healthy robust immune system.
Blastocystis hominis will increase inflammation and permeability of the small intestines lining. Studies have shown patients with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis show a decrease in thyroid antibodies when eradicating Blastocystis hominis.
Entamoeba histolytica is a pathogenic parasite that is associated with intestinal infections but can travel to the liver, brain, and even lungs. This disease is called Amebiasis, which is prevalent in those who live in unsanitary conditions. The symptom of this parasite can vary from mildly loose stools abdominal pain and cramping and bloating.
Hookworm Is the most common parasite infection I see in my clinic. This was the first parasite discovered that would penetrate your skin rather than be swallowed or inhaled. While these worms can travel through your body, their end goal is to get to your small intestines where they can feed on the lining of your small intestines called the microvilli. They will chew it off and feed on the blood, leading to anemia by robbing the body of the iron in the hemoglobin which can weaken the host. Imagine a multitude of these worms, hundreds to thousands, constantly feeding on your gut lining. This perforation of the gut lining can become a parasitical dysbiosis or leaky gut. When our patients have leaky gut, we allow many things to infiltrate our body which should be contained in the intestines, which is where we see a lot of toxins from the gut start to affect the neurology of the body. What’s even more concerning is when our immune system gets ramped up to deal with these foreign objects, we see something called molecular mimicry which is where the immune system mistakes our own tissues for the foreign object, and we start to develop autoimmune issues, especially toward the thyroid and tissues, creating pain and inflammation as well as poor functionality.
If these issues sound familiar and you are struggling with poor thyroid functionality and gut issues, call us at (316) 837-1273 for a free consult to see how the doctors at Docere Life Center can help you.