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So this is a new one for me... I came across a jaw dropping niche of health-woo today. Apparently tens of thousands of people (if not more) believe that almost all humans are infected with parasites that cause us all to crave sugary foods, and a "water fasting" diet will make us expel those parasites. They aren't just claiming microscopic parasitic infection, which could be mistaken for the regular flora that lives inside us, but they are claiming mass infection with naked-eye-visible parasites. Inches or feet long.

10 Ways to Eliminate Parasites You Almost Certainly Have

If you consume a Standard American Diet, the truth is, is that you likely have some parasite cleansing to do.

1. Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse
As with my own experience in cleansing, I can tell you that this is one of the best ways to help eliminate parasites. Water fasting is by far, one of the most effective ways to get rid of parasites

5 Foot long parasite worms that came out of my body!
Graphic youtube video claiming to be the worms expelled after a 28 day water fast

Video subject:

I just finished up a 28 day long water fast.

Transcription:

...This is my 27th day of fasting... And right now I just pulled out... if you fully unwrap this...probably could have been anywhere from probably 3 feet to 5 feet long.. worm

Dry Water Fasting to Disconnect Parasites
A slicker Youtube video produced by "Dr. Robert Cassar" about the parasites we're all infected with and how to disconnect them with water fasting

From the video:

Most humans are "hosts" to these parasitic worms called Ascaris lumbricoides (Roundworms)

Claiming that most humans are infected with macroscopic worms.

Paraphrased transcription:

...The best way to deal with this... is a block fast. ...Three days at least... of fasting.

Got Parasites In Your Body? I Bet You Do!

Parasites take up residence in a human host and eat many of our essential nutrients, dumping their waste products, and leaving us in a state of deficiency, leading to infections and serious diseases.

Most people, including me, don’t even know they have these little creatures inhabiting their system.

A few years ago, a friend suggested I try a parasite cleanse. I’m always up for experimenting on my body, so I did.

I fasted from ALL food for 72 hours, and drank only water, herbal tea, plus swallowed daily doses of turmeric and Black Walnut Hull tincture.

The results were interesting to say the least!

I noticed some odd spaghetti-like things in the toilet. I fished a couple of them out (see picture) and discovered these creatures were called round worms or Ascaris. They had been living in my digestive system, unbeknownst to me.

So is this true? Are hundreds of millions of first-world inhabitants riddled with macroscopic parasites that can be starved into leaving the body?

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    Please actually quote the claims in context. The link #1 recommended juice fasting, and didn't talk about visible parasites. Link #2 seems to be the result of an enema, not just fasting. There are woo claims about the waste that comes out of the body after an enema, but that should be a separate question with more notable sources. #3 is a boring video too long to ask people to watch - please quote and timestamp a claim. I've put this on hold while we clean up your reporting of the claims – Oddthinking Jul 25 '18 at 4:12
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    Read the links more thoroughly. Every single one specifically claims water fasting kills or eliminates the parasites. The addition of an enema, or not, to clean out the colon, is irrelevant for my purposes. – WakeDemons3 Jul 25 '18 at 4:31
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    @WakeDemon3: You are right. I misread the first one (twice!). I apologise for that. Explicitly quoting has helped. – Oddthinking Jul 25 '18 at 9:04
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    My focus on the enema part is because I can already see that is where the answers will end up revolving but perhaps that is unreasonable. Basically, I am seeing three different claims here: Many people are infested with parasites (without mention of size). Waster fasting removes parasites. Enemas (plus fasting) reveal large parasites. I think they have 3 different answers. – Oddthinking Jul 25 '18 at 9:07
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    The last quote cracks me up when it says "I’m always up for experimenting on my body" If you're harbouring a bunch of worms, you may want to consider scaling back on the experiments. There's probably a decent chance some previous experiments with unsafe food could lead to this. – JMac Jul 26 '18 at 17:52
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It is NOT TRUE that "most humans are hosts to these parasitic worms called Ascaris lumbricoides (Roundworms)."

Ascariasis (CDC.gov, 2018):

An estimated 807 million–1.2 billion people in the world are infected with Ascaris lumbricoides...Ascariasis is now uncommon in the United States.

There is NO EVIDENCE that "water fasting is by far, one of the most effective ways to get rid of parasites." The Google search site:gov "water fasting" "parasites" gives zero relevant results.

When you have intestinal worms, some can come out if you treat them or not, fasting or not. Cleveland Clinic mentions "live worm in your stool" as one of the symptoms. LabTestsOnline says that "the parasites and their eggs (ova) are shed from the lower digestive tract into the stool," which enables the Ova and Parasites (O&P) stool test.

I'm not claiming water fasting couldn't help get rid of intestinal worms in some cases, because, theoretically it could be possible: you starve the worms, they will die and come out. But I haven't found any credible source that would confirm this.

  • Could you add a reference for "When you have intestinal worms, some will come out if you treat them or not, fasting or not."? Thanks! – Barry Harrison Apr 30 at 15:05
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    Done. It's a known symptom, and a stool test is based on that. – Jan Apr 30 at 15:20
  • I like how they estimate 807-1200 million, as if they're pretty sure that the lower range is not 806 or 808 million, but 807. – pipe May 8 at 9:26
  • They probably just made a sum of potentially infected people from populations at the high risk. – Jan May 8 at 9:28
  • Note that the current world population is estimated at 7.7 billion. So the claim that "most humans" are infected is blatantly false. – Daniel R Hicks May 8 at 11:44
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Fasting, and or eating of weird stuff can make roundworms move, but they get no benefit from leaving the body, so they migrate internally. They procreate by "eggs", thus the notion of them leaving because of a deteriorating food supply is spurious.

TL;DR of the below: Hunger, dietary changes and failed deworming medication regimes can make the roundworm move, yet this includes movement into connected or adjacent orifices (appendix, bladder, various glands, esophagus) and can lead to bad complications.

Esophageal space-occupying lesion caused by Ascaris lumbricoides from the World Journal of Gastroenterology quote:

When the living environment becomes unfavorable such as gastrointestinal disease, hunger, fever, failed deworming therapy or impaction of a mass of worms in the intestinal lumen, adult Ascaris will try to enter into any orifice and advance into any channel leading off from it. Then various complications are encountered. The worms commonly enter the biliary or pancreatic ducts, causing cholecystitis, cholangitis, liver abscess, and pancreatitis. Ascaris may migrate into appendix as well, resulting in appendiceal colic and appendicitis. Ascaris has also been found in the lacrimal passage by being regurgitated into the nasolacrimal duct when they accidentally enter nasopharynx; in the air way causing mechanical asphyxia; and in the urethra and urinary bladder through vesico-intestinal fistulae or transanal migration causing urinary retention. Moreover, the emergence of an Ascaris from mouth, nostrils and external auditory meatus has been documented

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    "They procreate by "eggs", thus the notion of them leaving because of a deteriorating food supply is spurious." The connection is not entirely clear to me. – Acccumulation May 8 at 16:52
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    @Acccumulation The claim states fasting starves the worm, which in turn makes it leave the human. My point is that the adult forms ('worms') are commited: They will die if they leave the human, so they will hold on, migrate internally, but not leave (their migration might take them out, though, they are not the brightest navigators) - they will not actively search for the outside, it has nothing to offer them. It is not like rats in a barn, where you could expect them to move out if the food source is taken away; it's more like us humans on earth - there is simply nowhere to go but around. – bukwyrm May 9 at 5:50

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