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I Finally Found Out What Was Causing My Digestive Issues, Blue Moods, and Fatigue

For months, Patrice Lynn battled exhaustion, brain fog, and bloat — until she uncovered the surprising culprit and the natural remedies that made all the difference.

“What am I even trying to say?” Patrice Lynn mumbled to herself, watching the cursor on her computer screen blink in the same spot, unable to move forward. “I was so exhausted that I worried I would never be able to think clearly enough to finish writing this book — something I’d wanted to do for years. “Is this how normal aging feels?” I wondered. “When accomplishing goals starts to feel draining, rather than exhilarating?”

“I’m a training specialist, and ironically, the book I was writing was about living your best life, but I was far from doing so myself at that moment. I’d recently moved back to California, and there were so many things to figure out and decisions to make as I navigated a new city alone, but my brain seemed as sluggish as my body. Completing a mental task felt like pushing a boulder uphill. Each morning, after a restless night of sleep, I’d linger under the covers, feeling too unmotivated and depressed to climb out.

“I knew something was off, but I didn’t want to visit a traditional doctor because the medical system had failed me as a child. For years, my family doctor had prescribed drugs for bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and allergies, while failing to see that my symptoms were caused by a bigger hidden issue. As a result, I was hospitalized and almost died of congenital kidney disease at 17.

“From that point on, I took my health into my own hands and tried to address any concerns at their root. As an adult, I relied on natural health habits — like supplements, Epsom salt detox baths and colonics — to keep me strong. But lately, even those routines didn’t seem to be enough. In addition to the fog and fatigue, I struggled with gas and belly bloat even though I ate a healthy diet full of salads and fish. And my skin broke out in psoriasis-like rashes along my neck and head. What is going on? I asked myself, hoping things didn’t grow worse.

“My energy had hit rock-bottom, when I came across an online article written by nutrition expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, whom I’d followed for years. This article explained that parasites like toxoplasmosis, amoebas, and giardia were common in the body and could trigger the fatigue and other symptoms I’d been struggling with. I fit the profile perfectly.

Are invisible invaders making you tired?

If you’re frequently exhausted and experience two or more of the following symptoms, intestinal parasites may be to blame:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Brain fog
  • Skin rashes
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Bloat
  • Joint/muscle pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

“I kept reading and was reminded that even fresh produce, including lettuce labeled ‘pre-washed,’ and unfiltered water could harbor parasites, as well as raw or undercooked fish or meats. I began to connect the dots. I thought back to a night out where I ate sushi, something I rarely consumed, and how my belly felt oddly bloated the next morning. It was around the time this extreme bout of fatigue began.

“I suspected many doctors wouldn’t give credence to my concerns, and I read that many don’t screen for parasites. So although I didn’t have a formal diagnosis, I decided to treat my body for parasites naturally and see if I felt better.

“To cleanse my system, I followed Gittleman’s advice to eat raw or roasted pumpkin seeds. I found roasted tasted better and were easier to digest. I also took two supplements that are part of a colon-cleansing kit. One contains grapefruit seed extract and wormwood to rid unwanted microorganisms from the GI tract, and the other uses a blend of herbs to flush parasites from the system.

“In one week, I had more energy and less gas. And within a month, I felt 100 percent better and was back to my old self. I was sleeping through the night. And I had the stamina and focus to finish my book. That alone reminded me of all the things I could accomplish now that I had my energy back.

“Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I was in my 60s. I felt 10 years younger! I even had the pep to ride my bike and explore my beautiful city. I started receiving compliments from people saying, ‘Wow, you’re an inspiration. You have so much energy and you get so much done!’

“Now I recognize how profoundly parasites affected my body. Looking back, I suspect there were other times in my life they were fueling my fatigue. To stay in balance moving forward, I avoid high-risk foods like sushi and undercooked beef, and I take parasite-eliminating supplements whenever needed. I’m truly living the ideals that I try to teach my clients: to feel optimistic about the future and to capitalize on opportunities. It’s thrilling to be living life again!”

Is there a natural cure for intestinal parasites?

As counterintuitive as it may seem, for 80 percent of women over 40, a stomach acid shortfall causes heartburn, says women’s health expert Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman. “But supplementing with hydrochloric acid (HCl) can restore stomach acid, helping to eliminate 90 percent of heartburn and fatigue and boost the body’s ability to fight parasites.”

Try taking 650 milligrams of betaine HCl (Buy on Amazon, $10.55) with your biggest meal of the day; if you don’t feel a warming sensation in your belly within five hours, your acid levels are low. Double your dose the next day and continue to increase it by 650 milligrams a day (to a max of 6,500 milligrams) until you feel the warming, which indicates adequate levels of stomach acid. Then reverse the process: Reduce your next day’s dose by 650 milligrams and stay there until the warming returns, then drop down another 650 milligrams, repeating until you no longer need it. Note that HCl isn’t advised if you have ulcers or take certain medications. Check with your doctor.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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