Are Parasites Driving Your Autoimmune Or Gut Issues?

Episode 63 40m


You may be surprised to learn that having a parasite, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, our gut microbiome is made up of more than 500 different species of microbes, including various types of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. Some of them help us, but others are harmful. Parasitic infection can result in an individual experiencing a range of symptoms from digestive issues to muscle ache, joint pain, skin rashes, and more; it can also signal issues with a weakened immune system. In this episode, Dr. Hyman sits down with Dr. George Papanicolaou to discuss how parasites can influence our overall health, and why they sometimes trigger autoimmune disease, gut imbalance, and much more.

George Papanicolaou is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and is Board Certified in Family Medicine from Abington Memorial Hospital. He is also an Institute for Functional Medicine Practitioner. Upon graduation from his residency he joined the Indian Health Service. He worked on the Navajo reservation for 4 years at the Chinle Comprehensive Medical Facility where he served as the Outpatient Department Coordinator. In 2000, he founded Cornerstone Family Practice in Rowley, MA. He practiced with a philosophy centered on personal relationships and treating the whole person, not just not the disease. He called that philosophy “Whole Life Wellness”. Over time as the healthcare system made it harder for patients to receive this kind of personal care Dr. Papanicolaou decided a change was needed. He began training in Functional Medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine. In 2015, he established Cornerstone Personal Health – a practice dedicated entirely to Functional Medicine. Dr. Papanicolaou joined The UltraWellness Center in 2017.

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In this conversation, Dr. Hyman and Dr. Papanicolaou discuss:

  • The connection between the immune system and parasitic infection
  • The most common parasites and how you get them
  • Patient cases they have treated
  • When parasites can be helpful
  • Common symptoms of having a parasite
  • Testing and diagnosing for parasites
  • Treating parasites with herbs and pharmaceuticals
  • The possible role of over-sanitization and parasitic infection, autoimmune issues, and other chronic health issues
  • Using parasitic worm therapy (i.e. helminth therapy) to treat autoimmune issues, asthma, allergies, and more

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    Ep. 63 - Are Parasites Driving Your Autoimmune Or Gut Issues?