1

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Are anti-parasitics as bad for your gut as antibiotics?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 15, 2012 at 7:52 PM

So, I'm freaking out a bit because I can't figure out what's wrong with me- I thought it was food poisoning, so I ate just meat after recovering for a few days and then made bone broth and took some probiotics, did a brief 24 hour broth fast...but I'm still kind of sick, and really who has time for this!

I think I ought to go ahead and take an anti-parasitic, because I do live in a developing country and odds are pretty decent I've gotten a parasite sometime over the last year. But my question is, are anti-parasitics as bad for you as antibiotics? If so...maybe not a good idea.

I'm pretty sure my gut flora was pretty shot pre-Paleo, and I've been killing myself reinstating it, so I am very loath to undo all that! Particularly as I have Hashimoto's, and also cannot just run out to the health food store and get myself some kefir/probiotics after taking the medication.''

Thanks so much for any help!

Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on July 16, 2012
at 05:03 AM

Smart man- I did load up on multivitamins/supplements, but I should have brought a probiotic. I actually did, but my ex-boyfriend bought it for me and sadly it contains things I'm allergic to (rice flour). I've been here for 9 months- one would think my body HAS adapted a bit, come on body! I'll take a look at this forum- thanks so much for the link! Lots of parasite tips I don't doubt.

Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on July 16, 2012
at 05:00 AM

Hopefully that's what happens with me! Thanks Chineskimo!

Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on July 16, 2012
at 05:00 AM

Yeah, you're probably right. Stomach sicknesses are so dang nebulous, its hard to know when its doctor-worthy, but thiiiis is getting to that point.

Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on July 16, 2012
at 04:58 AM

Soooo...almost as bad as antibiotics?

Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 16, 2012
at 12:11 AM

Yes Matt, Symbiosis is the word

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 15, 2012
at 11:38 PM

More like symbiosis rather than parasitism.

Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 15, 2012
at 10:37 PM

They feed on what you eat, helping on many steps of the lower digestive system

Medium avatar

(2923)

on July 15, 2012
at 10:17 PM

Comes back to the "Old Friends" hypothesis - most of our current gut microflora started off as parasitic and then adapted to the point we struggle to survive without their symbiosis. As one example, the demise of the pinworm in Europe correlates with a massive rise in allergies. @NCBI: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1299202/ @HFP: http://humanfoodproject.com/guts-germs-and-meals-what-37-microbiologist-say-about-diet/

Medium avatar

(2923)

on July 15, 2012
at 09:09 PM

For long term travel and health issues, Lonely Planet's Thorntree forums are one of the best resources out there: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/ with a whole category dedicated to long-term travelers: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forum.jspa?forumID=30 and another category dedicated to health issues: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forum.jspa?forumID=29

Medium avatar

(2923)

on July 15, 2012
at 09:06 PM

The first subject of conversation for long-term travelers and Westerners working in the third-world is bowel health (or lack thereof). Your body is adapting to a LOT of things, not just local gut flora, but everything from variations in water hardness to differences in protein (ask any traveler about their first experience with yak). And knowing your country is really important. Throughout Southeast Asia, it can be healthier eating street food over a sit-down restaurant. Personally, I travel best with a generic multivitamin, krill oil, and a room temp stable probiotic (Jarro-Dophilus EPS).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 15, 2012
at 08:47 PM

I'm not familiar with beneficial parasites. They feed on you, doesn't sound good to me.

Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on July 15, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Well, phooey, but thanks cerement! See, I know people that habitually work in undeveloped countries that take a round of antiparasitics just to be sure whenever they leave, so my impression was that most antiparasitics somehow kill any parasite one is likely to get in that country. No?

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4 Answers

3
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 15, 2012
at 08:45 PM

There's a difference between taking something as a treatment or for prevention. You're sick. Don't forgo useful medical treatment. Paleo is not anti-medicine.

Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on July 16, 2012
at 05:00 AM

Yeah, you're probably right. Stomach sicknesses are so dang nebulous, its hard to know when its doctor-worthy, but thiiiis is getting to that point.

3
Medium avatar

(2923)

on July 15, 2012
at 08:16 PM

Depends on the parasite, but in general, most anti-parasitics are worse for YOU (not just your gut) than antibiotics -- BUT they're also generally better for you than the parasite itself ...

If you know what the parasite is and you definitely have it, then get a specific treatment for that parasite. Taking any anti-parasitic "just 'cause" is gonna do more harm than good.

Case in point, most malaria treatments tend to be pretty nasty, but better than malaria itself. Even malaria prophylaxis (Doxycycline, Malarone, etc) aren't meant to be taken for more than a couple months. And taking a de-worming treatment for malaria not only won't touch the malaria, but will weaken your system while it's trying to deal with malaria.

And the "Old Friends" hypothesis mentions that some parasites are actually pretty damn beneficial, so it all comes back to the beginning of this answer, depends on the parasite.

Medium avatar

(2923)

on July 15, 2012
at 09:06 PM

The first subject of conversation for long-term travelers and Westerners working in the third-world is bowel health (or lack thereof). Your body is adapting to a LOT of things, not just local gut flora, but everything from variations in water hardness to differences in protein (ask any traveler about their first experience with yak). And knowing your country is really important. Throughout Southeast Asia, it can be healthier eating street food over a sit-down restaurant. Personally, I travel best with a generic multivitamin, krill oil, and a room temp stable probiotic (Jarro-Dophilus EPS).

Medium avatar

(2923)

on July 15, 2012
at 09:09 PM

For long term travel and health issues, Lonely Planet's Thorntree forums are one of the best resources out there: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/ with a whole category dedicated to long-term travelers: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forum.jspa?forumID=30 and another category dedicated to health issues: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forum.jspa?forumID=29

Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on July 16, 2012
at 05:03 AM

Smart man- I did load up on multivitamins/supplements, but I should have brought a probiotic. I actually did, but my ex-boyfriend bought it for me and sadly it contains things I'm allergic to (rice flour). I've been here for 9 months- one would think my body HAS adapted a bit, come on body! I'll take a look at this forum- thanks so much for the link! Lots of parasite tips I don't doubt.

Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on July 15, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Well, phooey, but thanks cerement! See, I know people that habitually work in undeveloped countries that take a round of antiparasitics just to be sure whenever they leave, so my impression was that most antiparasitics somehow kill any parasite one is likely to get in that country. No?

0
Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 15, 2012
at 08:39 PM

They kill all parasites, including the good ones.

Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 16, 2012
at 12:11 AM

Yes Matt, Symbiosis is the word

Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on July 16, 2012
at 04:58 AM

Soooo...almost as bad as antibiotics?

Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 15, 2012
at 10:37 PM

They feed on what you eat, helping on many steps of the lower digestive system

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 15, 2012
at 11:38 PM

More like symbiosis rather than parasitism.

Medium avatar

(2923)

on July 15, 2012
at 10:17 PM

Comes back to the "Old Friends" hypothesis - most of our current gut microflora started off as parasitic and then adapted to the point we struggle to survive without their symbiosis. As one example, the demise of the pinworm in Europe correlates with a massive rise in allergies. @NCBI: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1299202/ @HFP: http://humanfoodproject.com/guts-germs-and-meals-what-37-microbiologist-say-about-diet/

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 15, 2012
at 08:47 PM

I'm not familiar with beneficial parasites. They feed on you, doesn't sound good to me.

0
03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

on July 15, 2012
at 08:38 PM

It really depends on what medicine you take. Some (like panacur) go through the gut without even being ingested by the body, hit the parasite with an anesthetic so it falls off and goes out in the stool.

Most others don't :-/

I once took a dose of ivermectin because I thought I might have a parasite and I felt fine n=1

Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on July 16, 2012
at 05:00 AM

Hopefully that's what happens with me! Thanks Chineskimo!

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