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5 Ways You Can Get a Parasitic Infection: A Functional Medicine Toronto Fact Sheet


Functional medicine from the Toronto area can offer new insight to a patient’s current health issues. In particular, functional lab tests can reveal surprising details, with some tests being able to detect parasites in the body. 

According to a PLOS ONE report, 3.5 billion people across the globe are impacted by parasitic infections. Parasites need a host to thrive in – and unfortunately, the human body may be an ideal choice for these organisms. Inside the body, parasites can reproduce and cause uncomfortable individual symptoms, such as digestive issues, chronic pain, poor energy levels, and more. 

While parasitic infections are often associated with third-world countries, they’re also prevalent globally, including First World nations. The Toronto Functional Medicine Centre (TFMC) provides insight into the various ways parasitic infections can occur worldwide.

How parasites can enter your body

    • Exposures to contaminated water: These organisms can be situated in public beaches and contaminated swimming pools; they infect you by entering open wounds, as well as your ears, nose, and eyes. 
    • Through contaminated food: Parasites can leave feces on food, such as fruits and vegetables. If proper sanitation isn’t practiced, you can get parasites by eating these contaminated foods. “Nowadays, there is a worldwide increase in the consumption of raw or slightly cooked vegetables, which also increases the risk of foodborne infections,” confirms a Helminthologia article. 
    • From your pets: Bringing your pet to the vet regularly can help prevent parasitic infections. Dogs and cats can bring parasites into the home by ingesting contaminated water or food, licking things infected with parasites, or contact with tainted feces. 
    • Skin-to-skin contact with people infected by parasites: Parasites are capable of transitioning from one person to the next. This may be through sexual intercourse, or sharing personal items such as towels, hats, clothes, and bed sheets. (Refer to the tip above if you sleep with your pet at night!)
    • From insect bites: Infected bugs can pass on parasites by biting both humans and animals through contaminated saliva or feces. A natural bug repellent and protective clothing are advised for outdoor spring and summer activities. 

Treating Parasites with Functional Medicine Therapies

At the TFMC, we can help treat these infections with a personalized approach to wellness. To see if these organisms are causing your health issues, we may run functional diagnostic testing. One example is the GI360 and parasite detection test, which is a stool test designed to identify parasites, bacteria, and pathogens that may be detrimental to your digestion. If test results show you’re positive for parasites, we would tailor a comprehensive treatment plan to address this. 

But treating patients for parasites is not a one-size-fits-all method. According to the principles of integrative functional medicine, each patient is unique with a different set of health needs. So, in order to pinpoint your biological needs/shortcomings, your initial consult would involve a hearty chat about your current lifestyle factors, environmental surroundings, genetics, medical history, and health goals. By combining these core components with the results of lab tests, we can personalize your therapies. Some examples of our recommendations may include: 

    • Herbal medicine: Herbal supplements may be consumed to encourage a parasitic cleanse. For example, a combination of clove, wormwood and black walnut may be advised. Unlike conventional medicine treatments that target one type of parasite, this herbal combination may tackle various species, while helping to improve immune function. When necessary, a referral for anti-parasitic medication will be made. Our previous article which talks about the functional medicine approach to andiroba, a medicinal plant with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, might be a useful read.
    • Dietary/Lifestyle modifications: It’s possible to alter your diet to make it unattractive to parasites! You can stop eating sugary foods, as they actually feed parasites. Meanwhile, consuming ginger, oregano, apple cider vinegar and foods rich in probiotics can help control some parasites in the body. 

If left untreated, parasitic infections can instigate nutrient deficiencies and chronic conditions, and may negatively affect your long-term health. Reach out today to get tested for parasites or if you have questions about revamping your health status. 

Next Steps: Contact the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre (TFMC)

Everyone has a unique expression of health; a symptom that may manifest in one person may be different for another person. This is why we modify treatment plans for your biological needs, and nobody else’s!

With 50 years of clinical experience combined, our functional medicine practitioners can adapt treatment plans for various health conditions, including inflammatory conditions, autoimmune disease, digestive disorders (acid reflux), nutritional deficiencies, gluten sensitivity, hormonal disorders, heart disease, skin disorders, insulin resistance, sexual health issues, poor cognitive function, chronic fatigue, and more. 

At the TFMC, integrative medicine is combined with the functional medicine approach. Your tailored treatment plan may include adapted versions of Western medicine, naturopathic medicine, herbal medicines, holistic nutrition, hormone optimization programs, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and acupuncture. IV therapy and booster shots are administered in our IV Lounge, where we compound fresh drip treatments using functional medicine principles. When intravenous drips are combined with a healthy lifestyle, functional medicine therapies/medical intervention strategies, and oral supplements, they can contribute to optimal wellness. 

Please contact us if you have health concerns regarding parasitic infections. We offer functional lab tests that may provide us with additional information on your quality of life.  

What’s stopping you from elevating your wellness? Core tests can help us tackle the root cause of your current health issues. Don’t delay – simply contact us by clicking here to request functional medicine from the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. You should always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of information you have read from the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre website or other affiliate media. 



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Feleke, B. E., Beyene, M. B., Feleke, T. E., Jember, T. H., & Abera, B. (2019). Intestinal parasitic infection among household contacts of primary cases, a comparative cross-sectional study. PLOS ONE, 14(10), e0221190.

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Recreational water quality and health: Hazards”, from the Government of Canada, updated July 31, 2023, viewed on March 7, 2024. 

Titcomb, G., Mantas, J. N., Hulke, J., Rodriguez, I., Branch, D., & Young, H. (2021). Water sources aggregate parasites with increasing effects in more arid conditions. Nature Communications, 12(1), 1-12.

Torgerson PR, Devleesschauwer B, Praet N, Speybroeck N, Willingham AL, Kasuga F, Rokni MB, Zhou XN, Fèvre EM, Sripa B, Gargouri N, Fürst T, Budke CM, Carabin H, Kirk MD, Angulo FJ, Havelaar A, de Silva N. World Health Organization Estimates of the Global and Regional Disease Burden of 11 Foodborne Parasitic Diseases, 2010: A Data Synthesis. PLoS Med. 2015 Dec 3;12(12):e1001920. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001920. PMID: 26633705; PMCID: PMC4668834.

Young, I., Sanchez, J. J., & Tustin, J. (2022). Recreational water illness in Canada: A changing risk landscape in the context of climate change. Canadian Journal of Public Health = Revue Canadienne de Santé Publique, 113(6), 940-943.


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