Exclusive Interview with Ann Louise Gittleman: Diagnosing & Treating Parasites to Achieve Gut Health
At the Kellman Center our goal is to discover and treat the root causes of illness. When working with patients who’ve been experiencing chronic GI distress we routinely search for the presence of parasites as well as bacterial overgrowth, an imbalanced microbiome and the deep causes of intestinal permeability. The TKC Blog caught up with award winning author Ann Louise Gittleman PhD, CNS to get her take on the role parasites play in GI problems.
RKMD: What is your understanding of the role of parasites in gastrointestinal health?
ALG: Parasites are the most immunosuppressant agent in the human body and can wreak untold havoc in the GI tract – especially because they are unsuspected and therefore remain undiagnosed. As the great masquerader, I have found that at least 50% of the population is hosting one or more ‘uninvited guests” with a myriad of symptoms including insomnia, depression, night sweats, bruxism, anemia, hyperactivity, asthma and allergies to chronic or intermittent diarrhea, constipation and bloating. They are transmitted primarily through infected food and water but with sufficient hydrochloric acid (HCL) in the stomach, they can be prevented from gaining access to the rest of the body. Unfortunately, I find over 80% of the public is mildly or severely lacking in HCL due to age or a lack of sufficient iodine, salt, or zinc in the diet.
RKMD: What have you found to be the best ways to diagnose parasites? Do you treat empirically, just based on symptoms, or do you use other modalities?
ALG: A complete stool analysis which utilizes microscopy and antigens in both saliva and stool are two of the most effective ways of diagnosing parasites. Toxomplasma, amoeba, and giardia as well as roundworm are the most common parasites I find. However, I also treat empirically if the patient has tried all other appropriate modalities without success and is running a lowered white blood count and/or elevated eosinophil count. It can take several repeated stool tests to find the underlying parasitic problem in some cases.
RKMD: What are distinctions for abnormal gut microbes?
ALG: In a parasitic infestation, I typically find a lowered population of gut flora. In addition, I find an increase in inflammatory markers, a lowered pancreatic enzyme output and lowered intestinal immunity. Yersinia is the most common abnormal gut microbe or pathogen. I also find imbalances which typically manifest in an overgrowth of “normal” microbes such as Klebsiella and Streptococcus.
RKMD: What are the main symptoms you see in an imbalanced microbiome?
ALG: A happy microbiome makes for a happy individual. I find vitamin and mineral deficits (all the B vitamins and calcium) as well as a general lowered immunity, greater mental health challenges and a wide variety of digestive problems.
RKMD: What do you see the overall role of the microbiome in health to be?
ALG: The microbiome is a key pillar of overall health and weight maintenance. It needs to be nourished with fermented foods, probiotics and prebiotics on a daily basis as well as exercise which plays a key newly discovered role in a balanced microbiome. Fiber is also a missing key to keeping the microbome functioning properly. Avoid antibiotics as much as possible both in foods and firsthand, limit the use of steroids, sugar, and chlorine – all of which can reduce the microbiome or contribute to yeast overgrowth which can crowd out the beneficial flora. Lots of vegetables, purified water, fiber-rich seeds and nuts and quality protein with essential and saturated fats is the ticket to health and a grief-free gut!
Thanks to Ann Louise Gittleman for joining us on our blog! You can learn more about her and the great work she does here. Read up on The Kellman Center approach to gut health here. Concerned you may have a parasite or other gut health issue? Contact our office to learn more about our services and treatments or to schedule an appointment click here.