How to Prevent Toxoplasmosis

How to Prevent Toxoplasmosis
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The risk of contracting the brain parasite toxoplasma from kitty litter vs. meat.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The brain parasite toxoplasma “is responsible for considerable disease and death in the United States.” It is the second leading cause of foodborne-related death in the U.S., after Salmonella. It can invade through the placenta, so can be especially devastating during pregnancy, leading to miscarriages, or blindness, or developmental delay. It can impair cognitive function in adults too, which explains why those who are infected appear to be at increased risk for getting into things like traffic accidents. “Multiple lines of evidence indicate that chronic [toxoplasma] infections “are likely associated with certain psychiatric disorders.” It may even increase the risk of developing leukemia. Okay, okay; how do you prevent it?

Well, the parasite can get into the muscles. So, from food-animals, people can get it “through meat consumption.” But in “a non-food animal like a cat,” you get infected through contact with feces. Thankfully, in cats, the “danger of infection exists only when the animal is actively shedding [the parasite.]” They get it from eating infected rodents. And so, cats that are kept indoors, that don’t hunt, and are not fed raw meat shouldn’t pose a threat—though if feral cats are turning your local playground sandbox into a litter box, that could be a problem. As many as 6 percent of stray cats or those with outdoor access may be actively infected at any one time. They only shed the parasite for a few weeks, though. So, if you adopt a cat at a shelter, it should be safe as long as they didn’t just come in.

Many women have heard about the cat connection, but may be less aware of the risk of foodborne infection. “Only [about one in three] may be aware that [toxoplasma] may be found in raw or undercooked meat. Nevertheless, a high percentage of women indicated that they do…[try to] practice good [hygiene]…such as washing their hands after handling raw meat, gardening [where cats may be pooping,] or changing cat litter.”

What’s the riskiest type of meat? “Cattle are not considered important hosts for [the parasite;]” it’s more pigs and poultry, as well as sheep and goats. The prevalence of infection among factory-farmed pigs varies from 0 to over 90 percent, though, ironically, the likelihood of toxo infection in organic meat may be higher because the animals have outdoor access.

Who undercooks pork and poultry, though? Surprisingly, about one in three Americans may undercook meat across the board, in terms of reaching necessary pathogen-killing temperatures, and a single slice of ham can end up with more than a thousand parasites per slice.

Current meat inspection at the slaughterhouse can’t detect them. There are tests you can do, but there is no widespread testing. The risk from a single serving of meat, though, is really small. The average probability of infection per serving of lamb, for example, was estimated to be 1 in like 67,000. The reason there are 16 times the number of cases attributed to pork is not because pigs are more affected; in the U.S., we just happen to eat a lot more pork chops than lamb chops.

Is there anything we can do if we’re one of the approximately one in four Americans already infected? Well, one of the problems with having these parasites in our brain is accelerated cognitive decline as we age. This study evaluated older adults every year for five years, and the executive function of those testing positive for toxoplasma seemed to drop quicker over time, as did a measure of their overall mental status.

Another thing that’s associated with cognitive decline is reduced folate availability, and the two may actually be related, as recent evidence suggests that toxoplasma may harvest folate directly from our nerve cells, sucking up folate from our brain. So, beyond dopamine production, which is why we think toxo increases the risk of schizophrenia, the parasite may be sucking folate out of our brain. But enough to affect our cognitive functioning? Perhaps so. Here’s a measure of cognitive function across a range of folate concentrations. Among those uninfected, it doesn’t seem to matter whether they have lots of folate or little. They obviously have enough either way. But those who are infected have worse scores at lower levels (higher is worse on this test). The same thing with vitamin B12. So, it’s important to get enough B12 and folate. For B12, the official recommendation is that all people aged 50 or over start taking a vitamin B12 supplement, or eat vitamin B12-fortified foods every day. And, anyone on a plant-based diet should start taking that advice at any age. And folate is found concentrated in beans and greens. So, following my Daily Dozen recommendations will get you more than enough, as, for example, a half-cup of cooked lentils gets you half the way there, as does three-quarters of a cup of cooked spinach.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Herk3 via wikimedia. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The brain parasite toxoplasma “is responsible for considerable disease and death in the United States.” It is the second leading cause of foodborne-related death in the U.S., after Salmonella. It can invade through the placenta, so can be especially devastating during pregnancy, leading to miscarriages, or blindness, or developmental delay. It can impair cognitive function in adults too, which explains why those who are infected appear to be at increased risk for getting into things like traffic accidents. “Multiple lines of evidence indicate that chronic [toxoplasma] infections “are likely associated with certain psychiatric disorders.” It may even increase the risk of developing leukemia. Okay, okay; how do you prevent it?

Well, the parasite can get into the muscles. So, from food-animals, people can get it “through meat consumption.” But in “a non-food animal like a cat,” you get infected through contact with feces. Thankfully, in cats, the “danger of infection exists only when the animal is actively shedding [the parasite.]” They get it from eating infected rodents. And so, cats that are kept indoors, that don’t hunt, and are not fed raw meat shouldn’t pose a threat—though if feral cats are turning your local playground sandbox into a litter box, that could be a problem. As many as 6 percent of stray cats or those with outdoor access may be actively infected at any one time. They only shed the parasite for a few weeks, though. So, if you adopt a cat at a shelter, it should be safe as long as they didn’t just come in.

Many women have heard about the cat connection, but may be less aware of the risk of foodborne infection. “Only [about one in three] may be aware that [toxoplasma] may be found in raw or undercooked meat. Nevertheless, a high percentage of women indicated that they do…[try to] practice good [hygiene]…such as washing their hands after handling raw meat, gardening [where cats may be pooping,] or changing cat litter.”

What’s the riskiest type of meat? “Cattle are not considered important hosts for [the parasite;]” it’s more pigs and poultry, as well as sheep and goats. The prevalence of infection among factory-farmed pigs varies from 0 to over 90 percent, though, ironically, the likelihood of toxo infection in organic meat may be higher because the animals have outdoor access.

Who undercooks pork and poultry, though? Surprisingly, about one in three Americans may undercook meat across the board, in terms of reaching necessary pathogen-killing temperatures, and a single slice of ham can end up with more than a thousand parasites per slice.

Current meat inspection at the slaughterhouse can’t detect them. There are tests you can do, but there is no widespread testing. The risk from a single serving of meat, though, is really small. The average probability of infection per serving of lamb, for example, was estimated to be 1 in like 67,000. The reason there are 16 times the number of cases attributed to pork is not because pigs are more affected; in the U.S., we just happen to eat a lot more pork chops than lamb chops.

Is there anything we can do if we’re one of the approximately one in four Americans already infected? Well, one of the problems with having these parasites in our brain is accelerated cognitive decline as we age. This study evaluated older adults every year for five years, and the executive function of those testing positive for toxoplasma seemed to drop quicker over time, as did a measure of their overall mental status.

Another thing that’s associated with cognitive decline is reduced folate availability, and the two may actually be related, as recent evidence suggests that toxoplasma may harvest folate directly from our nerve cells, sucking up folate from our brain. So, beyond dopamine production, which is why we think toxo increases the risk of schizophrenia, the parasite may be sucking folate out of our brain. But enough to affect our cognitive functioning? Perhaps so. Here’s a measure of cognitive function across a range of folate concentrations. Among those uninfected, it doesn’t seem to matter whether they have lots of folate or little. They obviously have enough either way. But those who are infected have worse scores at lower levels (higher is worse on this test). The same thing with vitamin B12. So, it’s important to get enough B12 and folate. For B12, the official recommendation is that all people aged 50 or over start taking a vitamin B12 supplement, or eat vitamin B12-fortified foods every day. And, anyone on a plant-based diet should start taking that advice at any age. And folate is found concentrated in beans and greens. So, following my Daily Dozen recommendations will get you more than enough, as, for example, a half-cup of cooked lentils gets you half the way there, as does three-quarters of a cup of cooked spinach.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Herk3 via wikimedia. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

Here’s the “daily dozen” thing I mentioned: Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist

Of course, this is not the only reason to make sure you get enough vitamin B12. See, for example, Vitamin B12 Necessary for Arterial Health. I recommend 2,500 micrograms once a week of a cyanocobalamin supplement, though there’s also a toothpaste that appears to work!

This is the last in a four-video series. To catch up, check out Toxoplasmosis: A Manipulative Foodborne Brain Parasite, Long-Term Effects of Toxoplasmosis Brain Infection, and Does Toxoplasmosis Cause Schizophrenia?

For videos on more boring foodborne illnesses, see:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

92 responses to “How to Prevent Toxoplasmosis

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  1. Interesting, but by taking supplements of B9 and B12, don’t you take the risk of feeding and spreading the toxoplasmosis parasite?

    1. I don’t think it will spread, providing it remains in the latent form. But what happens to all the folate and B12 that it sucks up!?

      Please also see my comment below about a potential treatment of the latent form.

    2. Your body needs the supplements.Dr Greger made it clear some of the mechanisms for how active toxoplasmosis proceeds are not yet clear. It was just a supposition that the condition “may suck up the folate and Vit. B12” that remains to be researched and it’s just guess work at this point if these supplements could feed and spread the toxoplasmosis parasite. Meanwhile we KNOW the importance of getting enough B12 and folate.
      Hope that puts your question into perspective.

  2. The most obvious question was never answered in this video series: How can you rid your body of the parasite if already infected?

    1. Do transplant patients, such as those receiving a kidney and taking immunity-suppressant drugs face risk of the toxoplasmosis cysts becoming an active infection?

    2. There are natural treatments for getting rid of parasites, like oil of oregano and fresh ground cloves, but you need to get exact instructions as to how to use them, otherwise they are so strong they could cause burns or other damage.

      1. Currently recommended treatment drugs for toxoplasmosis target the tachyzoite stage of the parasite and do not eradicate encysted parasites in the tissues. Pyrimethamine, considered the most effective drug against toxoplasmosis, is a standard component of therapy. Pyrimethamine is a folic acid antagonist and can cause dose-related suppression of the bone marrow, which is mitigated by concurrent administration of folinic acid (leucovorin). Leucovorin protects the bone marrow from the toxic effects of pyrimethamine.

    3. I am going to help answer your question, even though still pending results. I was tested several months ago by a new MD and he incredibly tested for toxoplasmosis (as well as Bartonella i.e. cat scratch fever). He did ask, and I thought it was strange, if we had cats (and we do have one all indoor cat). However, my husband is the one who changes the litter box daily. My results were positive for toxoplasmosis. Even more incredibly, the MD’s NURSE just said, He said to contact an infectious disease specialist. Well, that was it. I started looking for better answers. The standard drugs to treat this are horrific in potency and side effects. I found a product called ParaComplete, by Progressive Nutracare. You can read about it on their website. The main herbal is Berberine. I vowed to finish the bottle and then see this MD and get retested and then report here the results (should be in about 3 weeks).

      But now after seeing Dr. Greger’s final installment on this series, I am less than satisfied. A lot of the questions have not been addressed. I do appreciate him tying in his prevention tips with folate and B12, as I believe his Daily Dozen routine is the best approach there is for someone doing vegan. That much makes sense. If he has no solution for people already tested positive for toxoplasmosis, then that should be stated. And with the large 1/4 to 1/3 of population with latent toxoplasmosis, how come we’re not all dead or schizophrenic already?

      1. Apues, thank you for your comments. I really hope the berberine works for you! (and for all of us potentially infected). World-wide it’s really a problem. I was reading about municipal water supllies in Canada and USA that were also infected which of course means watering gardens, washing vegies, bathing etc could put us at risk. I agree that continuing to eat wfpb is best, and I also agree that considering the suggested percentages of population afflicted, the number of people suffering schizophrenia appears small. I wish you all the best!

      2. I found a product called ParaComplete, by Progressive Nutracare. You can read about it on their website. The main herbal is Berberine. I vowed to finish the bottle and then see this MD and get retested and then report here the results (should be in about 3 weeks).
        ———————————————————————————————————————-
        Thank you for doing this… you may not realize it but you are doing cutting edge research.

          1. ID50s for Inhibition of Toxoplasma gondii replication
            Chlorpromazine HCl (2.6 ug/ml) ; Valproic acid (4.5ug/ml); Trimethoprim (5.3 ug/ml) ; Haloperidol (5.6 ug/ml) ; [PMID:12837520] .
            Artemisinin (2.3 ug/ml) , (8.0 uM) ; [PMID:17060514]
            Berberine (0.58 uM) ; [PMID:22425568]

            TD50s for Toxoplasma gondii cytotoxicity
            Chlorpromazine HCl (6 ug/ml) ; Valproic acid (62.4ug/ml); Trimethoprim (63.8 ug/ml) ; Haloperidol (103 ug/ml) ; [PMID:12837520] .
            Artemisinin ( > 320 ug/ml) ; [PMID:17060514]
            Berberine (0.85 uM) ; [PMID:22425568]

            So Apues was right. Berberine does have some merit.

  3. If your gut bacteria is healthy through a WPBD and no drugs especially no antibiotics, the bacteria will produce all the b12 and b9 your body needs.

    1. Marcy, Vitamin B12 is absorbed in the small intestine and produced in the large intestine. The small intestine comes first therefore any B12 made by our bodies will NEVER be absorbed by us. We MUST ingest vitamin B12 to prevent a deficiency!

      1. The large intestine absorbs enough unless you have an unhealthy diet. Just as lignans produced from Flax seed in the large intestine can prevent not only colon cancer, but breast cancer and improve prostate health as an antioxidant, B vitamins easily pass out of the colon to the blood stream. Those who were tested to see if their colons could absorb vitamins, were on a SAD diet. B vitamins are water soluble. Since excess water is absorbed on the colon, any water soluble nutrient will be absorbed too.

        1. Marcy,

          Can you provide links to evidence supporting your statements that “B vitamins pass out of the colon to the blood stream,” by which I presume you mean vitamin B12?

          Because everything I’ve read says the opposite, that humans excrete the B12 that their gut bacteria make, and that they used to obtain their B12 from the environment — consuming contaminated food or water. Eg: B12 “is synthesized by some bacteria in the gut flora in humans and other animals, but humans cannot absorb this as it is made in the colon, downstream from the small intestine, where the absorption of most nutrients occurs.[20] Ruminants, such as cows and sheep, absorb B12 produced by bacteria in their guts.[20] ”. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B12, citing https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26024497.

          In fact, Dr. Greger wrote: “Our herbivore primate cousins get all they need ingesting bugs, dirt, and feces, and we may once have gotten all we needed by drinking out of mountain streams or well water. But now we chlorinate our water supply to kill off any bugs. So we don’t get a lot of B12 in our water anymore, but we don’t get a lot of cholera either—that’s a good thing!” He recommends supplementation with B12 for those eating healthy plant based whole food diets: “I’m going to spend the next three days (starting today) rolling out precautionary-tale videos highlighting the importance of B12 supplementation for those eating otherwise optimally healthy diets.” https://nutritionfacts.org/2011/08/25/vegan-b12-deficiency-putting-it-into-perspective/

          So I’d be interested in the evidence that Dr. Greger is wrong.

          Thank you.

          1. More than one of us here became low in B12 while supplementing B12 with Methyl version, plus eating WFPB.

            Symptomatic.

            I am one of them.

            I have tried 3 different combinations of B12 and Cyano by itself and Methyl by itself and fortified plant milk and nutritional yeast.

            Getting too little or a less viable type brings symptoms, which went away when I switched types.

            I just started a Methyl Adenosyl combination.

            Methyl by itself didn’t work and I want to understand if the combination will work better. I am doing plant milk again so I am not sure that I will see a change but there was a Methyl B12 study with autism so I decided to try that combo this time.

            1. ;I think that Dr J was seeking credible scientific evidence not the opinion of some obscure German Herr Doktor with a website.

              No credible scientific authority, to my knowledge, thinks that this belief is correct. In fact the number of cases of B12 deficiency ib people eating otherwise healthful ‘vegan’ diets proves that it isn’t.

              1. The reason I have believed that you don’t need to take a B12 supplement with a WPBD is that I was a vegan for years, and never took a supplement. I never had any symptoms. Then I had my children and breast-fed them. They were raised on the same diet with no deficiency symptoms. When they were tested at around 10-12 years old, they had no deficiency. Where were we getting our B12? I may have just found out. We have used nutritional yeast almost daily all the while we were vegan. It has B12 in it. That may be why we never got a deficiency. Most nutritional yeast says it has B12 added, but the mini flakes from frontier herb does not. I do not know if there is any other nutritional yeast without it. Even vegan super foods have B12 added and vegans are taking a supplement without even knowing it.

        2. For the first 3 years I was on a whole unprocessed plant food diet, I took no vitamin B12 and I tested deficient in it. Guess my intestines didn’t absorb it after all, Marcy. But I’ve had no problem with deficiency with it since taking sublingual B-12 each day.

  4. If the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis is so low why do so many Americans seem to have it? Doesn’t appear to make sense….

  5. I think there is an error around 2:54. I think the text reads 6,300 and the voice over says 6,700.

    Unless it isn’t the right number.

      1. I have noticed that I have been making a lot of certain types of errors.

        A lot of sound alike errors.

        I was reading Flux Health and typed FlexPulse, for instance.

        My brain has gotten worse in that way.

        I don’t know if this will be another type of error.

        I will try to pay attention but I have to catch the errors to know about it.

          1. Lonie,

            I used to sometimes have dyslexia, but that was swap the order of letters or numbers.

            Now, it is distinctly replacing words and phrases with a similar pattern. I keep the “beat” of a sentence but lose the words.

            It is fascinating to me.

            I also don’t know if I can trust my memory in a way that is different than forgetting things.

            I re-watched the video of a researcher who had a stroke and her details were different and, the thing is, I found out that she did more than one TEDTalk in different years, so maybe one of them matches what I remember.

            It is hard to explain.

            I guess I can use the Sweet Earth burrito called, “The Curry Tiger” and I bought some and really liked them very much, but my mind transposed the name to “The Paper Tiger” which is probably a mnemonic device I used to try to remember “The Curry Tiger” but somehow I am no longer remembering that mnemonic devices are mnemonic devices. I end up have very distinct memories of things, which are very, very, very likely not true and I am working at trying to figure out if it is a mnemonic device type of glitch or not.

            1. Lonie,

              I am having “false memories” sometimes rather than forgetting.

              I am also forgetting, but I came off of such a brain breakdown that forgetting was part of it.

              I was also hallucinating and having night terrors for years and other things.

              I solved Vincent van Gogh’s ear without any resources.

              Laughing.

              There is a man over at the PEMF site who had me watching an ophthalmologist who had a brain breakdown and says that something came out of the eye of someone and went up his nose and damaged his brain and then he developed all sorts of theories and Dr. Mercola did something on him and I laugh because I can’t tell whether the man had the same type of brain problems I had and he had the same sort of connect the thoughts whether they make sense or not revelations. I think I have said that nobody really noticed that I had developed brain problems – except that they blackballed me for communicating too much AND didn’t notice means that they DID notice, but didn’t process the information.

              That ophthalmologist would have had nobody notice to the level that when he wrote the books everybody just accepted what he said.

              Bob Dennis doesn’t accept what he said and that made me feel better because when all of these professionals just jump to accepting what he says, it makes it harder to evaluate whether I am the one having even bigger brain problems or whether everybody else might have some processing problems, too.

              1. I am having “false memories” sometimes rather than forgetting.

                I am also forgetting, but I came off of such a brain breakdown that forgetting was part of it.
                ———————————————————————————————————————-
                Deb, I remember reading that ancient Greek students would wear a garland of rosemary when taking a test to help them remember. Maybe some rosemary oil would work for you?

                Anyway, reading your posts you seem to be high functioning so don’t worry about how you are perceived, although I understand your wanting to feel good about yourself.

  6. I am very happy that you covered the folate issue and executive function.

    I was trying to understand the folate thing in PubMed the other day and you made it so easy to understand.

    Thank you.

    For those of us with executive function issues who are wondering about sources of folate, here are some:

    Looking at the list, I was definitely seriously low in folate for decades.

    One cup of cooked kidney beans contains 131 mcg of folate, or about 33% of the RDI compared to one cup of cooked lentils contains 358 mcg of folate, which is 90% of the RDI.

    A cup of raw spinach provides 58.2 mcg, or 15% of the RDI

    A cup of cooked asparagus contains about 268 mcg of folate, or 68% of the RDI

    A cup of beets contains 148 mcg of folate, or about 37% of the RDI

    A large orange contains 55 mcg of folate, or about 14% of the RDI

    A cup of cooked Brussels sprouts can supply 94 mcg of folate, or 24% of the RDI

    With Broccoli, cooked has more folate than raw.

    A cup raw Broccoli contains around 57 mcg of folate, or about 14% of the RDI versus cooked which contains 168 mcg or 42% RDI

    An ounce of almonds provides 7% the RDI and flaxseed provides 6% of the RDI

    1. Deb,

      My husband’s recent blood test indicated that his folate levels were above “normal.” The only supplements he takes are B12 (that’s another story) and D3. We have increased our consumption of beans and greens over the past few years, for sure. As well as other veggies and whole grains. We use Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen as guidance, but also eat the veggies we like. Or grow in the backyard — whatever those pesky critters leave for us!

      1. Thanks, Dr J!

        I am hopeful that I am getting more than enough.

        I know I probably had low to none for decades.

        I listened to Dean and Ayesha from the brain health section of the Loma Linda studies and they lined up with Dr Greger and Dr Fuhrman.

        I listened to them and they are so hands on and so knowledgeable and they sound so reasonable and so experienced and I feel like they diffuse Jeff’s accusations about the Adventist Studies.

        Nuts are good for the brain health part.

  7. So theres no cure for the actual parasites once they are inside already(looking for a responce on that from dr grerger,no offense anyone)?

    1. Oregano oil and fresh ground cloves or oil of cloves will kill parasites inside your body, even in your brain. Just be sure you use according to the exact instructions, as these oils are very strong.

      1. There is no way that oregano oil or cloves crosses the blood brain barrier. I ran a health food store for over a decade. Over 80% of all health food store info is sheer marketing by a supplement company based on ‘eclectic herbalism’…….based on wives tales with no scientific scrutiny.

    2. Hello yisrael,

      I have posted here about the product called ParaComplete by Progressive Nutracare. I am almost finished with my first bottle and will report results here. It has Berberine as the biggest ingredient, and oregano etc. as mentioned by others (in dosages you can handle). Specifically, it has: Berberine Sulfate, Olive Leaf Extract, Wormwood Herb Powder, Thyme Leaf Extract, Mexican Oregano Leaves Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Black Walnut Hulls Extract.

      As I mentioned, when I found out about the horrific potency and side effect problems of the standard drugs used to treat toxoplasmosis, I said, I Don’t Think So. There has to be a better way.

      1. From memory, both wormwood and black walnut hulls are toxic. Possibly the other ingredients are also.

        It’s the toxicity of drugs – both prescription and OTC herbs – that make them effective against parasitic infections.

      2. Literally most of the supplement companies rely on crooked reps walking into health food stores and ‘informing’ employees on the alleged efficacy of their products, and then counting on those employees to sell their products using that so-called ‘research’. Info based on no scientific proof whatsoever but entirely based on unproven theory and whatever sounded the best for marketing purposes. I still remember that woman who peddled ‘Cure for All Diseases’ claiming cancer was based on snail eggs and making a ‘zapper’ out of some radio shack parts and drinking black walnut tincture could CURE CANCER. She died from cancer.

  8. So I notice another source of infection isn’t mentioned. Fruits and vegetables that have not been properly cleaned, sort of like the proper cooking of meats. The parasite can infect the soil being used for those fruits and vegetables and you don’t even need a cat using your garden as a toilet.

  9. Sorry about changing the subject, but I am looking for more info about Varicose veins, specifically, Can your body heal them, if you start eating WFPB? I know they are mentioned in other vids, but I wonder if you can check out this study and tell us what it says: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31096120 Thanks in advance!! I love your work and am very happy to share it with those I love!

    1. Hey there!

      Regarding to your question about this study, researchers concluded:

      “Presented results showed chronic oxidative stress in varicose vein and lower antioxidant defense in comparison to a normal vein. In the varicose vein, the oxidative stress is associated with inflammation. Patients with varicose veins should take an antioxidant medicament fromthe flavonoid groups to reduce the arterial blood pressure value, risk of atherosclerosis development, prevent thrombotic incidents. All these actions can lead to an improvement of blood circulation, inhibition of inflammation, improvement of the venous tone, which can
      help to prevent the formation of dilated veins. As shown, the plants have a large variety of compounds that are used in the chronic vein insufficiency therapy, including the varicose vein. The therapeutic potential in terms of the effectiveness of the described compounds is enormous. However, it is extremely important to use these compounds properly, especially in combination with medicines as the possibility of their interactions can lead to various complications”

      So, despite these compounds might have a positive effect on this condition, it’s important that you also seek advice from your doctor and work together to find out which es the best treatment for you, and how can you use them without affecting any other condition.

      Hope it helps.

    2. I saw tons of people come into the health food store hoping something would make varicose veins disappear. There are plenty of recommendation in the books for various supplements but I have never seen a customer come in claiming any of it worked in the 20+ years I ran that store.

  10. First,thanks for this informational hub!! One question: why here is not mentioned that also vegetables need to be carefully washed as they risk to be contaminated too? In Italy there is high awarness and research especially to avoid pregnant women contagion: “carefully fully cook your meat and carefully wash your ground sprouted vegetables”

  11. Decades ago while being worked up for something else, an MRI (or was it x-ray?) revealed some cysts in the brain and the liver.
    MD at the time said cysts were normal and inert, so not to worry.
    So I didn’t worry. And declined his offer of a biopsy (my option).
    But where did the cysts come from? And why?
    He did not know.
    After watching this series I am reminded how as a little boy in the kitchen watching my mother grind meat to make hamburgers, I used to reach
    and eat some of the raw grind — quite tasty! (“Don’t eat that,” she’d admonish), to no ill effect….
    Could that be where the cysts came from after all? Apparently possibly so!

    1. Hi Dommy,

      I don’t think the brain cyst (fluid-filled sac) you talk about is the same as the egg-cysts found in cat stool, containing toxoplasmosis. You should probably see a new MD for an update on your condition.

      Also, in this article by Dr. Greene, it mentions how the egg-cysts in the cat stool do not become infectious for 2-3 days—therefore, clean litter box thoroughly daily and dispose. https://www.drgreene.com/articles/toxoplasmosis/

      Also, from this Mayo Clinic article, I just discovered something interesting. For causes, it also mentions infected cutting boards, knives, etc. Then, it talks about how taking steroids or other immunosuppressant drugs can make you more likely to develop complications of toxoplasmosis. So now I’m officially freaked out…
      https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/toxoplasmosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20356249

  12. I have an idea:

    Give patients in quarantine an immunosuppressant to activate the latent form of the parasite and then give them an antiparasitic that will kill the active form. What do you say Dr Gregor? Needless to say, don’t try this at home. Perhaps the parasite is smart enough for some of it to remain in the latent form at all times…

    Also, there was news in 2015 of a well-established hypertension drug, guanabenz, being effective at treating the latent cysts in mice (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26303803), but there do not seem to be any human trials as yet. Could one be crowdfunded?* It would need to be possible to check the cysts have diminished in live humans. I do not know if brain scans can see them.

    *With the drug I believe being off-patent, it is very unlikely a pharmaceutical company will fund any such research. However, enough people are affected by this, that if some reasonable proportion of them chipped in, perhaps it could be done. Is there any way to crowdfund such research and feel empowered vs waiting in hope that something comes up? A pharmaceutical company ideally would develop a drug that does not cure the problem, but helps contain it, providing you keep taking the medication.

      1. Immunosuppressants are given to recipients of organ transplants. Is meningitis common in these situations? The immunosuppressants would potentially be administered for only a short period vs chronic use for organ recipients. Perhaps it could be done safely. Although, the intervention would need to be effective enough to activate the parasite – the question is what would be the minimum to achieve this.

        However, agents like guanabenz that could attack the latent form are more interesting and certainly safer, if they indeed could work in humans.

        Perhaps an indication could be gained by researching populations that were prescribed guanabenz for hypertension to see if those with toxoplasmosis antibodies experienced significant changes vs those without the antibodies (the control group). I am assuming the antibodies will remain even if the infection is completely cleared.

  13. I don’t understand this article. I have cats, I have had cats my whole life, strays seem to find me. So. does this mean that I am doomed and in spite of following a WFPB lifestyle that I will end up w/ some kind of brain disease? This article seems more harmful than helpful, which is really disappointing since I do follow Dr. Gregor and value his information. Is there not any evidence for those who do already have toxoplasmosis and how to get rid of it, and that is why there wasn’t any information as to a cure if you already have it? I know they do a lot of research on NutritionFacts, but this article seems rather reckless.

    1. No, it does not mean you are doomed. You might not even have toxo-. You simply have increased risk from one possible cause. There are other causes. Even those actually infected usually have no symptoms. Cf.
      https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/faqs.html

      “A Toxoplasma infection occurs by one of the following:

      Eating undercooked, contaminated meat (especially pork, lamb, and venison) or shellfish (for example, oysters, clams or mussels).
      Accidental ingestion of undercooked, contaminated meat or shellfish after handling them and not washing hands thoroughly (Toxoplasma cannot be absorbed through intact skin).
      Eating food that was contaminated by knives, utensils, cutting boards and other foods that have had contact with raw, contaminated meat or shellfish.
      Drinking water contaminated with Toxoplasma gondii.

      Accidentally swallowing the parasite through contact with cat feces that contain Toxoplasma. This might happen by
      Cleaning a cat’s litter box when the cat has shed Toxoplasma in its feces;
      Touching or ingesting anything that has come into contact with cat feces that contain Toxoplasma
      or

      Accidentally ingesting contaminated soil (e.g., not washing hands after gardening or eating unwashed fruits or vegetables from a garden).
      Mother-to-child (congenital) transmission.
      Receiving an infected organ transplant or infected blood via transfusion, though this is rare.

  14. So many things to fear in this world. *sigh* I’d never even heard of this toxo thing until I read Dr. G.’s transcripts. :-(

    1. Same here YR. However, (and I doubt your two long-lived cats ever had Toxo… so you needn’t worry.)

      However, while it’s not a good idea to get uptight about the data, I think it is a good idea for a lot of people not in the know, to be forewarned.

      I am cognizant of my health to the extreme, and I’m covered up in cats. Still, I went through my day taking two large chicken parts I cooked in my air oven yesterday, tore them apart with my coconut oil covered fingers and fed them to the cats as per normal. I also reached down and pulled the mother cats’ tails as they brushed against my leg and presented them.

      On the other hand, I am more aware of cat feces and the dangers it could possibly have hidden. All in all, I’m just more knowledgeable than before.

      One thing I do remember reading… the piece said that children who grow up with pets are generally more healthy than those who do not.

      1. Lonie, I’m a bit psychic/intuitive (well, we ALL are).

        I can say most emphatically that you and your kitties will never have to worry about getting this toxo business. Just keep doing what you’re doing, stay optimistic, and all well be well in your world. *purrrrr*

        (Nor does S have to worry about her kitties.)

        1. Lonie, I’m a bit psychic/intuitive (well, we ALL are).

          I can say most emphatically that you and your kitties will never have to worry about getting this toxo business.
          —————————————————————————————————————————————————
          Thank you YR for your assurance… I will trust, but verify. ‘-)

    2. All of you people worried about toxo are in for a rude surprise if you look up DEMODEX, a completely different topic most of you also have. The facts are, the living human body is a host to many bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea (organisms originally misclassified as bacteria) and tiny insects. In fact more than half of your body is not human, say scientists.

      Human cells make up only 43% of the body’s total cell count. The rest are microscopic colonists.

  15. My thought is of all those years I spent on a farm and ranch knee deep in poo. I would even wheel barrow chicken poo and put it on the garden a couple of times a year. On a farm poo is king; spread it around and make things grow. Observationally speaking I don’t recall seeing many toxo infected farmers, or for that matter, crazy cat people. I have seen schizophrenia at work.

      1. Here is an observation, how many farmers HAVE BEEN TESTED FOR TOXO? Not likely. Same for most of the human population. To assume all is well, we all know people with Hep C who also felt the same way.

    1. Wondering,

      My dog is now vegan, as are my daughter’s two dogs. I learned recently that dogs can not only survive but also thrive on vegan diets. In fact, many owners put their dogs on vegan food to solve allergy and other issues. And though my dog does eat processed food — vegan kibble (I use V-Dog) — after reading about what meats are used to make commercial dog food (both canned and dry), I’m so glad that he’s not eating that. A lot of his previous kibble was pretty much vegetarian, anyway. Plus, I now make him a vegan gravy for his kibble (in my instant pot!), and puréed sweet potato (he’s toothless, and abut 15-16 years old) which he absolutely adores!! He waits for it every day.

      I would never feed my dog raw meat. I know that feral cats and dogs eat raw food in the wild — but what is their lifespan? And how safe would they be to live with, health-wise? And, as I noted above, what kind of meat is used to make it? Probably the 4D kind: Diseased, Down, Dead (before slaughter), and Disabled. No, thank you.

      1. Dr J, My dog is on a near vegan, prescription diet for allergies Royal Canjn Hydrolized Soy Protein formula), and is doing very well. The non vegan component is chicken fat and fish oil, both of which could easily be replaced with plant alternatives. I have thought about replacing her food with some vegan alternative but she is doing so well I hate to mess with success.

        Also there are some tricky issues, e.g. some dogs apparently require taurine, and that is added to her kibble. Quite a few dogs on legume-based grainless dog food have suffered from cardiomyopathy. It is not clear what the problem is but some think it is lack of taurine. My dog’s kibble has taurine added.

        Some dogs require taurine.
        https://vetmed.tufts.edu/heartsmart/diet/important-nutrients-for-pets-with-heart-disease/

        My dog certainly loves her veggies including sweet potato, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini,…

        I just hope everyone is very careful about meeting their dogs essential requirements.

        1. gengogakusha,

          I just checked the list of ingredients; the V-Dog kibble does contain taurine. In fact, the ingredient list was quite long.

          This is what V-Dog claims: “V-dog kibble is formulated to meet or exceed all guidelines for adult dog nutrition per AAFCO standards, so you can feel confident that it will meet your dog’s needs. Dogs have been thriving on our formula since 2005 and we have never had any issues with deficiencies. Please visit our kibble page, or email us at support@v-dog.com, with any questions about our nutrition.”

          And my daughter’s dog was on a prescription hydrolyzed protein diet — which meant both dogs were on it, since they share kibble from the same dish. She said the the V-Dog kibble is less expensive (though more expensive than a lot of commercial brands).

          1. gengogakusha,

            PS: Those sound like wonderful snacks! I once trained a Border Terrier (notoriously tough to train!) with little pieces of cooked broccoli.

            But my little toothless mutt can’t chew (though he can gum little kibbles and frozen sweet potato purée), so he is limited as to what I can feed him. He only recently became a vegan dog. Quite frankly, we’re surprised he’s still with us; he came to us lame, having suffered some sort of injuries that healed poorly. And he’s been with us 14.5 years. Wow!

            1. Gengogakusha,

              PPS: I just checked with my daughter; her dog was prescribed Royal Canin (she thinks) hydrolyzed protein kibble. She says that both dogs appear to be doing very well on V-dog kibble. (Though it is early days for all of our dogs.). But definitely do your research. Though I admit to being thrilled with the idea of vegan foods for dogs, since I am a plant based whole food eater for sustainability and environmental reasons (as well as avoiding cruelty to animals and the meat industry workers, and developing antibiotic resistance), and this makes me feel better about having a dog.

          2. Okay then. But AAFCO standards are worse than meaningless. Check out Truth About Pet Food website. They do for pet food what Dr. Greger does here.

        1. Gengogakusha,

          Vegetarian versus Meat-Based Diets for Companion Animals https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5035952/ :
          “However, a significant and growing body of population studies and case reports have indicated that cats and dogs maintained on vegetarian diets may be healthy—including those exercising at the highest levels—and, indeed, may experience a range of health benefits. Such diets must be nutritionally complete and reasonably balanced, however, and owners should regularly monitor urinary acidity and should correct urinary alkalinisation through appropriate dietary additives, if necessary.“ (I don’t know about this last caution; I haven’t seen it mentioned elsewhere)

          1. Cats are obligate carnivores. Vege-ing them will kill them, and fairly quickly at that. Don’t even think of it. Dogs are omnivores and may have some leeway. As to the NIH saying this might be okay for cats, this is the same government turning a blind eye and continuing to “allow” the inclusion of diseased, drugged, dead animals into pet food manufacturing. That would include mad cow disease, etc. Go to the website Truth About Pet Food for more gruesome details than you can handle. Don’t kid yourself. Most all of the standard brands you see at Petco are bad. The only really safe diet for your pets is one you make yourself.

  16. he’s toothless, and abut 15-16 years old)
    ——————————————————-
    Wow! then he’s about 105 in human years. Good job Dr J.

    1. Makes me think Valter Longo’s ideas of getting us to 110 in good health is doable. Here’s a link to one of his interviews sent to me by Ralph at Immortalitea. It’s long but there’s no wasted time congratulating one another… strictly business.

      It’s on the Rich Roll podcast… Rich Roll is Vegan and he politely challenges Longo on a couple of issues where they differ, especially about protein after age 65. One of the points made by Longo is that people over ~ 65 no longer need worry about consuming IGF-1 as their bodies are greatly reduced in that trait. There’s a short ad at the beginning but you can click on “skip ad” and go directly into the podcast.

      https://t.dripemail2.com/c/eyJhY2NvdW50X2lkIjoiNzc3NTIzMiIsImRlbGl2ZXJ5X2lkIjoiNjY0OTI4NDE0MyIsInVybCI6Imh0dHBzOi8veW91dHUuYmUvT2RwdDlhZkJsWVk_X19zPXFuZXpic3NxYXJvanBzc3M2dXNpIn0

  17. Great video! Unrelated question – I recently came across an article about women’s health from Harvard Medical School (link below) that suggests women under the age of 30 and women who are taking any type of hormonal contraceptive pill should avoid eating flaxseeds to decrease their risk of developing hormonal cancers such as breast cancer. This is in direct contradiction to my previous knowledge/research on the subject.
    I am a 23-year old female who has been incorporating 2 tbsp. flaxseeds into my diet on an almost daily basis for approximately the past year. Could you provide some guidance? Thank you!

    Article: https://harvard-health.s3.amazonaws.com/media/products/reports/WL2HG.pdf

    1. Yes, but more important than flaxseeds is getting off the oral contraceptives in first place. Look up the research as to how bad they are for women in ALL respects. FDA now classifies them as a top carcinogen, especially for breast cancer as estrogenic hormones hit the reproductive system. Even fish in ocean are getting sex alterations from oral hormones dumped in ocean from water systems. Very scary.

  18. Hi Nicole,
    Thanks for your question. I understand that there are some contradicted information in scientific literature. However, one has to do their own research and look into the matter by checking the references. I understand that what you read was coming from Harvard – health newsletter. I could not see the references that this article is reproducing the information.
    However, In Dr Greger website you can look at the references and you can make your own deduction. In this blog Dr Greger explains that A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of flaxseeds, the world’s most concentrated source of lignin’s, in breast cancer patients found that flax appears to have the potential to reduce human breast tumor growth in just a matter of weeks. So I started recommending ground flax seeds to breast cancer patients, but what about preventing breast cancer in the first place?

    Similarly, high lignan intake was associated with reduced breast cancer risk, but maybe that’s just saying high plant food intake help in general. So they gave women at high risk for breast cancer a teaspoon of ground flaxseeds a day for a year, and they showed, on average, a drop in precancerous changes. But what about flax seeds and breast cancer itself? Outside of an experimental setting there just weren’t a lot of women eating flax seeds regularly to study, until now. Matching 3,000 women with breast cancer to 3,000 women without, they found consumption of flaxseed alone, and of flax bread, was associated with a 20–30% reduction in breast cancer risk.
    I hope these information can help with your response.
    S E McCann, L U Thompson, J Nie, J Dorn, M Trevisan, P G Shields, C B Ambrosone, S B Edge, H F Li, C Kasprzak, J L Freudenheim. Dietary lignan intakes in relation to survival among women with breast cancer: the Western New York Exposures and Breast Cancer (WEB) Study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2010 Jul;122(1):229-35.
    S Abarzua, T Serikawa, M Szewczyk, D U Richter, B Piechulla, V Briese. Antiproliferative activity of lignans against the breast carcinoma cell lines MCF 7 and BT 20. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2012 Apr;285(4):1145-51.
    C J Fabian, B F Kimler, C M Zalles, J R Klemp, B K Petroff, Q J Khan, P Sharma, K D Setchell, X Zhao, T A Phillips, T Metheny, J R Hughes, H W Yeh, K A Johnson. Reduction in Ki-67 in benign breast tissue of high-risk women with the lignan secoisolariciresinol diglycoside. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010 Oct;3(10):1342-50.
    N M Saarinen, A Wärri, M Airio, A Smeds, S Mäkelä. Role of dietary lignans in the reduction of breast cancer risk. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Jul;51(7):857-66. Review.
    K R Obermann, J C Morris, C M Roe. Exploration of 100 commonly used drugs and supplements on cognition in older adults. Alzheimers Dement. 2013 Nov;9(6):724-32.
    E C Lowcock, M Cotterchio, B A Boucher. Consumption of flaxseed, a rich source of lignans, is associated with reduced breast cancer risk. Cancer Causes Control. 2013 Apr;24(4):813-6.
    A Abrahamsson, V Morad, N M Saarinen, C Dabrosin. Estradiol, tamoxifen, and flaxseed alter IL-1β and IL-1Ra levels in normal human breast tissue in vivo. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Nov;97(11):E2044-54.
    A V Mali, U V Wagh, M V Hegde, S S Chandorkar, S V Surve, M V Patole. In vitro anti-metastatic activity of enterolactone, a mammalian lignan derived from flax lignan, and down-regulation of matrix metalloproteinases in MCF-7 and MDA MB 231 cell lines. Indian J Cancer. 2012 Jan-Mar;49(1):181-7.
    G Flower, H Fritz, L G Balneaves, S Verma, B Skidmore, R Fernandes, D Kennedy, K Cooley, R Wong, S Sagar, D Fergusson, D Seely. Flax and Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review. Integr Cancer Ther. 2013 Sep 8;13(3):181-192.
    H Adlercreutz, T Fotsis, J Lampe, K Wähälä, T Mäkelä, G Brunow, T Hase. Quantitative determination of lignans and isoflavonoids in plasma of omnivorous and vegetarian women by isotope dilution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Scand J Clin Lab Invest Suppl. 1993;215:5-18.

    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/can-flax-seeds-help-prevent-breast-cancer/

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