Toxoplasmosis: A Manipulative Foodborne Brain Parasite

Toxoplasmosis: A Manipulative Foodborne Brain Parasite
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Nearly one quarter of Americans have already been infected with the brain parasite toxoplasma.

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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.

Toxoplasma is a brain parasite that may infect a million Americans every year, making it “a leading cause of severe foodborne illness in the United States.” “Nearly one quarter of adults and adolescents in the United States have [already] been infected.” Newly acquired infections in a pregnant woman can be devastating. But in most people with intact immune systems, these parasites just sit there in your brain in “a fine-tuned balance between the parasite…and your immune system,” just laying in wait, hoping you’ll get AIDS or something, and your immune system will slip, and it can come raging back and spread throughout the brain.

But in healthy non-pregnant individuals, the parasite just sits there long-term, as a “potentially lifelong residen[t]” of your brain, kept at bay by your immune system “without any significant clinical consequence.” And so, “chronic toxoplasma infection has been viewed as a benign condition”….until now. “This absence of overt symptom[s] has contributed to the view that [the] cysts [in your brain formed by the parasites] are dormant entities,” but “recent developments… directly challenge the notion that chronic toxoplasma infections are without consequence.” “An emerging body of evidence suggests that the presence of an established chronic infection may contribute to the [development of a variety of] neurological conditions including schizophrenia, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative conditions.” Hmm; that’s not good.

Now these effects may not be “a direct consequence of the parasite,” but rather driven by a persistent “low level [of] inflammation in the infected brain.” But, either way…not good. So, let’s explore this new data that’s gotten neurologists so worried, and review strategies on how not to get infected in the first place, and what one might be able to do to mediate the effects if you are one of the one in four Americans that’s already infected.

Suspicions that infections might play a role in mental health date back more than a century—for example, this editorial from 1896 asking whether insanity might be due to a microbe. Well, “[f]or millions of years, parasites have altered the behavior of their hosts.”

Take, for example, the “diabolical effects of [the] rabies” virus, which is “usually transmitted [through] saliva.” So, it makes sense that the virus taps specifically into the limbic system of the brain, turning its victims from Fido into Cujo to facilitate “transmission of the virus.” But brain parasites can do more than just switch behaviors on and off. “Some parasites can adaptively take over and completely control the behavior of their hosts,” like the famous “zombie ants dying” from an infection with an “enslaver” fungus that steers “their insect hosts to die perched in [just the] position that favors the dispersal of [fungal] spores by the wind.” Here’s the head of a manipulated ant, colonized by tendrils of the fungus. “Ants infected by [this] fungus…die in a dramatic way.” Once the ant is positioned just right, “dying is preceded by biting behaviour where ants clamp [down] onto plant surfaces” to keep it stable while the fungus bursts out of the back of the ant’s head and grows this long stalk. Here’s a picture—how crazy is that?

There are also aquatic parasites that can cause their insect hosts “to drown themselves,” or others that can “cause bees to bury themselves alive,” or cause spiders to build special webs. That’s these parasitic wasps that lay their eggs into the spider’s abdomen, and then right on the night the larva eats its way out, it marionettes the spider to build it a little home. How creepy is that?

Okay, but come on, these are insects with simple brains. Surely, brain parasites couldn’t affect complex behaviors in higher animals…which brings us to toxoplasma.

Toxoplasma is known to manipulate the behavior of their hosts to increase the probability that the host is captured by a predator.” For example, toxoplasma can reproduce in cats, but how is it going to get itself from the brain of an infected mouse into the cat? It can hijack the mouse’s brain and hijack their “native, inborn fear of the odor of cats into an attraction to that odor.” The parasite causes the mouse to develop a fatal attraction to cats, which is good for the parasite, not so good for the mouse. What does this all have to do with human mental illness? That’s what we’ll explore next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credits: Penn State via flickr and Ke Hu and John Murray via Wikipedia. Images have 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.

Toxoplasma is a brain parasite that may infect a million Americans every year, making it “a leading cause of severe foodborne illness in the United States.” “Nearly one quarter of adults and adolescents in the United States have [already] been infected.” Newly acquired infections in a pregnant woman can be devastating. But in most people with intact immune systems, these parasites just sit there in your brain in “a fine-tuned balance between the parasite…and your immune system,” just laying in wait, hoping you’ll get AIDS or something, and your immune system will slip, and it can come raging back and spread throughout the brain.

But in healthy non-pregnant individuals, the parasite just sits there long-term, as a “potentially lifelong residen[t]” of your brain, kept at bay by your immune system “without any significant clinical consequence.” And so, “chronic toxoplasma infection has been viewed as a benign condition”….until now. “This absence of overt symptom[s] has contributed to the view that [the] cysts [in your brain formed by the parasites] are dormant entities,” but “recent developments… directly challenge the notion that chronic toxoplasma infections are without consequence.” “An emerging body of evidence suggests that the presence of an established chronic infection may contribute to the [development of a variety of] neurological conditions including schizophrenia, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative conditions.” Hmm; that’s not good.

Now these effects may not be “a direct consequence of the parasite,” but rather driven by a persistent “low level [of] inflammation in the infected brain.” But, either way…not good. So, let’s explore this new data that’s gotten neurologists so worried, and review strategies on how not to get infected in the first place, and what one might be able to do to mediate the effects if you are one of the one in four Americans that’s already infected.

Suspicions that infections might play a role in mental health date back more than a century—for example, this editorial from 1896 asking whether insanity might be due to a microbe. Well, “[f]or millions of years, parasites have altered the behavior of their hosts.”

Take, for example, the “diabolical effects of [the] rabies” virus, which is “usually transmitted [through] saliva.” So, it makes sense that the virus taps specifically into the limbic system of the brain, turning its victims from Fido into Cujo to facilitate “transmission of the virus.” But brain parasites can do more than just switch behaviors on and off. “Some parasites can adaptively take over and completely control the behavior of their hosts,” like the famous “zombie ants dying” from an infection with an “enslaver” fungus that steers “their insect hosts to die perched in [just the] position that favors the dispersal of [fungal] spores by the wind.” Here’s the head of a manipulated ant, colonized by tendrils of the fungus. “Ants infected by [this] fungus…die in a dramatic way.” Once the ant is positioned just right, “dying is preceded by biting behaviour where ants clamp [down] onto plant surfaces” to keep it stable while the fungus bursts out of the back of the ant’s head and grows this long stalk. Here’s a picture—how crazy is that?

There are also aquatic parasites that can cause their insect hosts “to drown themselves,” or others that can “cause bees to bury themselves alive,” or cause spiders to build special webs. That’s these parasitic wasps that lay their eggs into the spider’s abdomen, and then right on the night the larva eats its way out, it marionettes the spider to build it a little home. How creepy is that?

Okay, but come on, these are insects with simple brains. Surely, brain parasites couldn’t affect complex behaviors in higher animals…which brings us to toxoplasma.

Toxoplasma is known to manipulate the behavior of their hosts to increase the probability that the host is captured by a predator.” For example, toxoplasma can reproduce in cats, but how is it going to get itself from the brain of an infected mouse into the cat? It can hijack the mouse’s brain and hijack their “native, inborn fear of the odor of cats into an attraction to that odor.” The parasite causes the mouse to develop a fatal attraction to cats, which is good for the parasite, not so good for the mouse. What does this all have to do with human mental illness? That’s what we’ll explore next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credits: Penn State via flickr and Ke Hu and John Murray via Wikipedia. Images have been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

I know what you’re thinking: how do I avoid becoming infected in the first place? Stay tuned! This is the just first in a four-video series on this parasite. Stay tuned for Long-Term Effects of Toxoplasmosis Brain Infection, Does Toxoplasmosis Cause Schizophrenia? and How to Prevent Toxoplasmosis.

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

114 responses to “Toxoplasmosis: A Manipulative Foodborne Brain Parasite

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    1. Have you ever test people who eat kosher ( scarified proper way ( halal) versus western style of eating meat which was not kosher.
      It is absolutely biased to observe meat eaters who eat improper meat . Thanks

      1. There is no such thing as “proper meat” unless you’re a lion or a wolf or a shark… you get the point. No matter how you murder the animal, if your physiology is not designed to ingest their flesh, it’s going to harm you. I don’t know why anyone would think there’s some sort of magical process that would undermine that basic science.

        1. Dommy, there is nothing “humane” about Kosher! There is no humane way to hang an animal by his or her hind legs and slit their throat. They aren’t struggling less for their lives and feeling less pain because a rabbi decides it’s religiously proper. Being Kosher is NOT ABOUT BEING HUMANE, it is just a religious belief! And religious beliefs do not hold a candle to respecting the lives of others! That is where the line is drawn. Here is a video on kosher and halal slaughter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgcA8fz10Uo

          She also mentions stunning in this video, and if you’ve seen videos of animal slaughter you would know that stunning in itself is a very horrible act and does not protect the animal from pain and normally doesn’t even take. They’re usually stunned multiple times during the horrific process of their slaughter.

          1. Mind all the explantation points, it’s difficult not to get upset when you understand the suffering animals go through and hear words like “humane” being used to describe this suffering.

  1. Fun fact- those ants infected by the Cordyceps enslaving fungus actually practice modern medicine. They quarantine infected ants to prevent the spread of infected as well as using the fungus’ parasite (a hyper-parasite) as a prophylactic and treatment for the enslaving fungus. Aka they use medicine.

    Ants are soooo interesting. There are ant colonies with populations that rival that of any human cities, so large in fact that their underground territories must have built in air conditioning or the ants would overheat to death. There are ants that herd other insects, mostly aphids just like we raise livestock. There are ants that farm a type of fungus like human agriculture until the industrial revolution.

    There are ants that enslave other any. Sometimes the enslaved ants throw revolts! Ants communicate with each other using movements and pheromones but they also TALK to each other using clicks of their mandibles. There are even ants that teach other ants- experienced foragers taking new foragers out to learn the ropes!

    So many of the sophisticated behaviors that we think are exclusive to humans ants have been doing for hundreds of thousands or millions of years before humans were. Very cool! And a little terrifying!

    1. I’ll pass on humans dropping ‘phermones’ as they walk. The ones with cologne, that I can smell 3 aisles over at the grocery store, are bad enough.

  2. What does ants being infected and other insects have to do with humans? Where does this come from and how can we mitigate the effect

    1. He was just setting the stage for the next video by demonstrating that microorganisms can control the behavior of insects, and even mice. We’ll soon see, presumably, that Toxoplasma gondii can affect human behavior.

      1. toxoplasmosis or similar infection:

        This explains why humans are currently all in a tither to try and over-populate the earth…roll back anti-pollution efforts…and have more wars…as global warming heats up…resource depletion and species extinction increases?

        Or maybe they are just CRAZY? LOL

        But who’d have thunk that?

    1. Tune in again this Wednesday, same bat time, same bat channel. (I am dating myself)

      I do not mind the stretching things out. It keep the videos from being much longer than many people would watch. It also focuses on information that is very fundamental to understanding the ‘why’ of any recommendations. This only happens with new topics as the search lets anyone look up past topics and watch the multiple videos on those topics at will.

      It keep people coming back, and websites love visitor counts.

    2. I agree, a lot of waffle. Just give us the facts in 1 video please, we are all busy, but giving our time on this website to help the health of others (and our own). Who has time to keep coming back for the “actual” info we need? This is supposed to be a medical/scientific website, so why make it a 2 part series to actually give us the information? Unprofessional. It’s not an entertainment site, it’s about important, life-changing facts -which was why you called your website ‘NUTRITION FACTS’. So please stick relevant facts and share them in 1 video/transcript. I don’t even watch your videos, I just read the transcript so I can skim over the usual waffle.

        1. Apues,

          I don’t feel manipulated by the process at all.

          I understand how long the videos are and that doesn’t change that much.

          It is because his videos are short and packed with information like charts and pictures that I started coming here day after day.

          I do know that having Flashback Friday made things take a lot longer, but the information is still given freely and it is given with high production values and I know that it has to cost a pretty penny to make those videos.

          The thing is, I could go to PubMed and look it up myself, but PubMed doesn’t do all the helpful images and they don’t do any jokes at all.

          1. Dr. Greger isn’t selling products or charging anything. He works like crazy at this process and keeps putting out high-quality materials and yet his book and speaking engagement proceeds go to charity.

            I feel grateful, not manipulated.

      1. Omg you did not just saying “giving our time” …you could not be that shortsighted and grossly self-involved… Dr. Greger and his team dedicate their lives to this research, putting it together, and delivering it to YOU and all of us for FREE, so that we can take 5 minutes and get an awesome education in those 5 minutes. They are a public service you ungrateful, ridiculous person.

        The reason it takes multiple videos is because we aren’t just given the HEADLINES, we’re given the background and the scientific explanations. That is why we can come here and actually learn about the scientific process. He’s a teacher, for free! Wow… I’m sorry, but your comment disgusts me. And some of us really like and appreciate learning and not just being told a bottom line. It helps us understand and navigate better in our own thinking.

        And to the person who said “manipulative,” my mind is blown at the stupidity of that statement. Yes, teaching us for free is manipulative… he’s trying to manipulate us into watching a short series of videos at no personal gain to himself… Brilliant thought process my friend.

      2. Agree. You should be getting quite a bit more drilled down data, especially considering the prices we’re paying.
        Sarcasm aside, if you’ve ever been responsible for teaching the public at large you’ll recognize that Dr Greger is presenting what may well be brand new information to populations with widely divergent science / healthcare backgrounds.
        If you must have nitty gritty suggest nih site for pubmed abstracts.
        Best.

      1. If it were that easy then all vegans would not have toxoplasmosis. But we won’t know Dr. Greger’s research finally for a month or more now. Not fair.

        1. I can agree I get anxious to get results, especially in a video like this where the “fear” is first planted, but the manipulation suggestion was just way too far and I know that so much work goes into these videos out of the goodness of Dr. Greger and team’s heart. Anyways, there’s already a video out so it turned out he wasn’t planning on making us wait at all! :)

  3. I watched a video recently where Dr. Greger asked if we want the science or just the take away facts. I would like to vote for the science. I have two chemists in my house who dismiss what I say so it’s very helpful to back it up with facts, studies, diagrams. All good stuff.

    1. Yes, I vote for science and I need the back story science because I need to understand what is being said when we get to the part which applies to us.

      This subject is so creepy and so far outside of anything I have ever heard before that if he hadn’t shared this and we jumped straight to people, I might not be able to understand it.

    2. Oh, definitely the science!! That’s the only way to know we’re getting legitimate facts and that is where nutritionfacts and Dr. Greger is unique!! And VITAL to this world.

    1. Most likely it will be the one’s that eat animal flesh. First they will become infected, and then just like the ants their heads will explode. Nature has a way of self correcting when balance gets too far out of alignment.

  4. There may not be a cure in the next video, but I suspect we’re going to find out what we can’t eat if we want to avoid it!

    1. According to CDC currently recommended treatment drugs for toxoplasmosis: Adults: pyrimethamine 100 mg for 1 day as a loading dose, then 25 to 50 mg per day, plus sulfadiazine 2 to 4 grams daily for 2 days, followed by 500mg to 1 gram dose four times per day, plus folinic acid (leucovorin) 5-25 mg with each dose of pyrimethamine;

      Common side effects pyrimethamine may include: vomiting; or loss of appetite.

      Common side effects of Silver Sulfadiazine include: pain burning itching rash cell death of the skin localized eruption of the skin transient skin discoloration destruction of red blood cells (in patients with G6PD deficiency) deficiency of granulocytes in the blood discontinued production of blood cells low blood platelet count low white blood cell count dermatologic and hypersensitivity reactions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome, TEN)
      adverse gastrointestinal effects inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) toxic injury to the liver adverse nervous system effects acute kidney failure
      swelling in the kidney burning sensation presence of harmful bacteria via infection of a wound (sepsis)

      Common side effects of Leucovorin include: hives, infection, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, oral inflammation or cold sores, fatigue,
      hair loss, or loss of appetite

  5. Looking forward to the next video; the one that tells us how to AVOID getting infected and how otherwise to make Toxoplasmosis soooooo uncomfortable it gives up and dies a horrible death without leaving any residual harmful effects in our brains or other parts of our bodies. Thanks so much for this video and the one coming.

  6. If you’re interested in this topic, I highly recommend the book ” This is Your Brain on Parasites” by Kathleen McAuliffe

    1. Most toxoplasmosis infections come,not from ingesting cat feces( which we hope you like to do ) but from eating undercooked meat.

      1. Pearlymae,
        Thank you! All this fear-mongering is going to end up doing is creating more abuse, cruelty, torture and murder of cats for no reason! I thought he cared about animals.

    2. Michelle, studies show that people with those cats walking on their counters (people with companion animals such as cats and dogs) are healthier than those without companion animals. Considering most cats walk on countertops whether allowed to or not, from time to time, if there was a significant health impact from this then I doubt it would have shown people with cats are healthier than those with not “pets.” I imagine most people who do allow their fur babies to walk atop counters and tables wipe them off before placing food on them. But what is lurking in most homes with or without companion animals, is much more dangerous and is from the handling, preparing, and even in some cases washing, raw meat.

      The point of this video wasn’t to single out cats as having a parasite, it was just used as an example of how parasites can travel from animal to animal via the consumption of the infected animal. It’s sad that people don’t pay attention to these major details and just reduce it to ridiculous paranoia which may end up harming animals.

  7. No way! I eagerly watched this, as my new MD did blood tests recently and found toxoplasmosis. Now I will have to WAIT until WHEN to find the answer?? Please do not spread this out in four segments. Need the help now. Let us know when the next will appear. Also, there is a product called ParaComplete by Progressive Nutracare which is a very well thought out herbal. Can you comment on that? I am using it now and will test myself after the first bottle to see if it shows up again.

    1. Adrienne,

      Let us know what happens.

      It seems like a good idea to do things which improve your immune system.

      Eat your broccoli sprouts and blueberries and cardamom and turmeric and ginger, etc.

      Watch the immune system videos.

      1. I am also going to suggest learning about Mimicking Fasting or water fasting.

        Watch a video on Autophagy.

        No matter what, start with the feeding on the things which build your immune system, but if you watch Dr. Goldhamer or Dr. Longo videos, you will find out that you get an entirely new immune system after a week of Mimicking fasting or water fasting and things like viruses and bacteria and fungi and bad gut bacteria get dealt with by the Autophagy process.

        ProLon is the Mimicking fasting plan. It is expensive soup, but if you are worried about this it might be something to try.

        1. Here is a Valter Longo interview on how Mimicking Fasting and Water Fasting affect the immune system.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdjGgrh5zSk

          Intermittent fasting may help, but I have internal caution about it and I have internal caution about longterm water fasting unless you have cancer or can’t get rid of this thing.

          My caution about longterm water fasting is that a lot, lot, lot of the “Ex-vegan” movement started raw, then did 25-ish day water fasts, then needed a few months to fix their gut microbiomes, but didn’t do that process and left veganism. That is according to Gojiman website of what they all had in common and raw and long periods of water fasting were 2 things.

          I used 2 weeks of water fasting to help my dog with his aggressive cancer and it was a miracle process for that, so I don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, but if you have digestion problems after, then, start watching Gojiman and find someone to help you fix your gut rather than blowing your entire diet.

            1. Yes, and I had a dog who was dying of cancer and I called the vet and said that I need to have him put down, but I had read about a man who had healed his dog of the same cancer with water fasting. He did 21 days and I couldn’t do that.

              My dog went from not eating anything anyway to eating everything under the sun. He went from not being able to get up and from flopping back down with cuts and bruises all over his body from falling and me having to clean up his poop because he struggled so much to go out then, 2 weeks later, he was walking around the yard and I was having to yell at him to not go in the neighbor’s yard. He got so used to getting away with any old behavior that he forgot his training. He is still alive and it is very close to a year since he was diagnosed with having Hemangiosarcoma with a melon-sized tumor in his spleen and other tumors. He still looks so good now. If the water fasting hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t have him right now.

    2. Adrienne, under the” Doctor’s Notes” posted under the video Dr Greger describes the videos to come. The next will be on Wed morning. There are antimicrobial drugs for parasitic infections including toxiplasmosis. ‘ Reality bites’ posted a couple of paragraphs from one paper. I wouldn’t bother with herbal remedies actually. Your doctor can prescribe appropriate medication.

      If you own cats, be sure to clean the litter pan daily. Do not let cats walk on kitchen counters or tables. Even veggie gardens/soil can carry the parasite so wash fruit and veggies well.

    3. Meat is pretty much a poison that negatively effects every aspect of health, so it would be a no-brainier to steer clear of that. And as Deb already noted, eat immune boosting foods. I’ve heard that even AIDs has been cured via a plant based diet, although I have no idea if it’s documented as a cure.

    4. Hi, Adrienne! Videos are usually posted weekly, so the next one may be released next week. Dr. Greger does not generally comment on or endorse specific products. Since you are already using it, I hope you find it helpful. Maybe you would like to report your results here, when you are retested. I am sorry I don’t have a better answer for you. Meanwhile, you may be interested in this video featuring berberine, a component of the product you are using:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/?s=berberine
      I hope that helps!

  8. So, are you sure that these videos were planned ahead of time and that the “manipulative parasites” haven’t taken over the videos in the Whole Food Plant Based community?

    Can I invent a conspiracy theory, please?

  9. Some people are very prescient!

    “People usually contract the parasite by eating poorly cooked meat: according to the CDC, toxoplasmosis is the leading cause of death from foodborne illness in the US. Another way people become infected is by touching cat feces, hence the expression “cat litter parasite” because one way of touching cat feces is handling the cat litter tray.”. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/253802.php

  10. Dr Gregor mentions rabies which I was infected with in the late seventies. At that time I was 32, underweight, smoked and had no clue about WFPB. However, I had 21 shots of medicine which thankfully worked and I am still here today. Miracles do happen.

    1. Sande,

      Those shots are so scary, but not nearly as scary as rabies.

      A person who I know erred on over-vaccinating one dog and it died from that process. Later, she had another dog and under-vaccinated him and he was exposed to rabies and had to be quarantined for 6 months.

      Human beings already don’t know how to process information all of the time, even without a manipulative foodborne brain parasite.

  11. I have been thinking about PEMF and this toxoplasmosis tonight.

    No, I don’t have any studies and I should look it up.

    I hadn’t been using the ICES PEMF on my brain for ages because of alef speaking about magnetism opening the Blood-Brain Barrier and that could be useful in cases where you want antioxidants or medicine to get into the brain, but it would not be good for things like toxoplasmosis to get into the brain.

    I am going to confess that it has been so powerful using it on my brain that I feel like I am genuinely going to get healed and like it could be a matter of weeks.

    It is so powerful, but the Blood-Brain Barrier is the thing I have buried my head in the sand about.

    I feel so good and so much healthier already.

    A few people have said that they notice that there is a big change over the past 2 weeks. A really big change and I have just started.

    Yes, I have to research the Blood-Brain Barrier and I just internally want to wait 2 more weeks and then look it up.

    A functional medicine doctor uses the devices that I am using with all of his patients now and he had a cool testimonial of a woman who used the device once for 15 minutes and she could speak normally for 3 hours after the 15-minute session. A week later, she was able to smile and started being able to write and other things.

    I am so hopeful about it. Especially because I am pairing it with broccoli sprouts and beets and kale and things like that. Plus, the Vitamin D3.

    I feel like the pairing of the foods for Autism and things like the foods with lutein with the PEMF has been so successful already. No promises, but I just genuinely feel so much better.

    I haven’t started the PS-100 or the NT Factor again. I want to know if the vegetables and PEMF and having my Vitamin D and B-12 and iodine levels sufficient do it without extra supplements.

    I don’t know what is going to happen next, but I do know that I am probably opening up my Blood-Brain Barrier, but maybe the PEMF is killing brain parasites or something.

    1. His patient had Multiple System Atrophy, which is something like an accelerated form of Parkinson’s.

      Anyway, I am so happy.

      I love Broccoli Sprouts and Kale and Beets and Carrot juice.

      Yes, I saw that on the Lutein chart.

      Plus, I watched a Plant-Based Documentary UnSupersize Me and the woman had her eyesight get better and so do Gerson’s people.

      Well, I know that I am not doing any of it perfectly. I just am so excited.

      1. Gerson does not do any follow-up with their attendees to their clinics. So they have no usable and reliable data on whether or not their “system” is effective. But I can offer this: My SO of 30 years developed pancreatic cancer. He did go to Gerson for treatment where he lived for a time with others who had breast cancer, brain cancer and other serious diseases. We stayed in touch with the others at the clinic. To date, they are all dead. Including my SO. There was no cure and no remission.
        Gerson should be doing some followup and making this information available on its website. But it might ruin their business.

        1. Ruth,

          I understand. Tom often posts the statistics on treatments and I will say that when my brother got kidney cancer, the answer still, after all of these years was if it is Stage 4 there would be a 90% chance of death within 5 years. Something like a 75% chance within a year.

          I do know people who have been healed with Gerson, but I do know that I also know people who have been healed with the medical model and the ones who did Gerson were not Stage 4.

          I also know people who went to Mexico and died and who died using the Medical model.

          I did Gerson to get rid of a lump, rather than going to the doctor and I do not recommend that to people, but it was what I chose and if I had to do it again, it would be water fasting for 3 weeks, followed by calling Gojiman to figure out how to heal my gut.

          But, mostly, my brother had over a month between initial doctor’s appointment and surgery and it might have been closer to 2 months, because he also got a second opinion and needed a stress test and other tests, so I see the concept of trying things like water fasting and PEMF as the best first concepts because you don’t have to waste time. Gerson takes 18 months to find out if it is working. Water fasting can work within a month.

          The group I am doing PEMF with has had a few cases where cancer seemed to go away with it, so I like that as an adjunct no matter what. Plus, it is amazingly helpful for pain relief.

          Though it is an unregulated industry, and I only trust one man, but I did find one person I trust and that is pretty good.

          I am not against the Medical Model. I do though believe that people can heal it with alternative methods, like the man with the Prostate cancer using tomato paste or Dr. Ornish’s work or the testimonials from all of the documentaries I have watched, plus I do know people who have been healed with diet alone.

          It depends on what type of cancer and how strong their immune systems are and things like that.

          1. Ruth,

            I am really sorry to hear about your SO.

            When my mother got cancer, she went medical model and it was horrible the whole time.

            She ended up getting an infection from the plastic catheter, I think is what they said back then and then, the nurses put her in a coma with Morphine after my mother cried out “Please, no Morphine!” She hated Morphine and she was interacting normally until then, but then she went into a coma for a week and we took her off Morphine and every medical person who interacted with us accused us of being abusers and they interviewed people like my grandmother to see if my father was an abuser. She kept saying that she wasn’t in pain and that she genuinely hated Morphine and couldn’t get them to stop giving it. She couldn’t speak when she was on it and when we were there standing guard, she would be totally normal, except trying to get over the infection and whenever we had to leave the room at all, they would knock her out and we would come in and she couldn’t talk. After she came out of the coma, the first sentence she said was, “The nurses aren’t very nice people in here, are they.” and the doctor came and asked, “Are you in pain?” and she said, “No, I am not in pain.” and it didn’t end there. It just was how every single thing we went through medically happened. I went through that exact same ridiculous process with doctors and nurses and aides with my uncle and with my grandmother. Each time, my relative was communicating that they weren’t in pain and that they were trying to stay alive and the medical community was trying to facilitate their dying against my families wishes and I developed an allergy to doctors.

            I am not against other people going to the doctors and doing that process. But with Cancer, if I had Stage 4 Cancer, I would do a natural process to avoid having to go through things like that. If they aren’t going to give me more than a 5% to 25% shot, then, I would enjoy researching every natural thing possible and at least feel like I had some control over the process.

            My dog is still alive. It has been a year and he is still alive. He was supposed to die that weekend and I tried every natural thing possible and, like Tom, my dog’s vet just sees it as an outlier and I guess I see it as if I had spent $10,000 on surgery and he survived, that would be an outlier, too.

            I still spent $10,000. but I feel like I learned more about Cancer than I would have if I hadn’t tried everything and in the end, I am happy with things like water fasting and turkey tail mushrooms and my dog’s vet says that there is still 100% chance that he will die and I can say that I find it hard to disagree with that.

          2. ‘I did Gerson to get rid of a lump, rather than going to the doctor ‘

            Most breast lumps are not cancerous eg this African study

            ‘ One hundred and thirty-seven patients (83%) had benign disease, i.e., fibroadenoma, mammary dysplasia, cysts, adenomas, tuberculosis, phyllodes tumor, mastitis, and lipoma. Only 16.9% i.e., 28 patients had breast cancer, out of which two females were in their 20s, and three were males.’
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3953633/

            And a majority of (nonpalpable) lumps detected by mammography seem simply go away of their own accord

            ‘However, after the controls were screened (between years 4 and 6), the difference at 6 years—174 per 100,000 per year—persisted. Those cancers are attributable to overdiagnosis. Therefore, for every 100 nonpalpable cancers found through mammography alone, 54 would presumably have gone away (174 / 324 × 100 = 54%)’
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3320224/

            I suspect that Gerson had nothing whatsoever to do with your lump going away. However, it does illustrate how some people are able to claim that alternative health treatments ‘cured’ their cancers.

            1. I suspect that Gerson had nothing whatsoever to do with your lump going away. However, it does illustrate how some people are able to claim that alternative health treatments ‘cured’ their cancers.
              ———————————————————————————–
              Heh, I guess the only way to prove that is to do no treatment and see how many live or die. (I assume the 54% were under a Dr.s care?)

  12. What is the percentage estimates of infected people?
    Is there a non-surgical way to remove a toxoplasma tumor?
    Is there a way to test for hibernating toxoplasmosis?

    1. “Nearly one quarter of adults and adolescents in the United States have [already] been infected.”

      People have jumped ahead in the topic and…

      Yes, there is a test for it.

      And, yes, there are nonsurgical ways to deal with it.

      Dr. Greger will be giving his next installment on Wednesday.

      Mondays and Wednesdays are new videos days.

  13. LOVE these videos! THANK YOU, Dr. Greger, for producing them! No one else provides the science. I’m so happy that you do; it’s critical. My family is a happy subscriber and supporter. All the best to you and your team.

  14. That is creepy but on top of that a Cliff Hanger. Dr. Greger is being very serious. I have seen some of this elsewhere.

  15. Dear god, I feel like I just watched a horror flick except it’s true… Can I please go back to a world where parasites do not get into the brains of their hosts and manipulate their behavior?

  16. All this fear-mongering is going to end up doing is creating more abuse, cruelty, torture and murder of cats for no reason!

    I thought Dr. Greger cared about animals. I thought wrong.

    1. Sorry that you feel that way.

      Actually, when I looked at the comments on YouTube, everybody seemed to have a sense of humor about this video. I didn’t see one angry person or one over-reacting person when I looked. On this site, people seem angrier. It is usually the other way around. Usually, over there people have no manners and say all kinds of things, but here is usually mellow. I am not sure why everybody is angry, except that it is creepy for a science topic.

      I see it as he is teaching us science and it takes a few steps. I don’t feel like anyone has responded the way you are believing that they are on any of the comments I have seen.

      Genuinely, YouTube was light-hearted and playful and people here are not wanting to wait for the videos. Dr. Greger isn’t an intense, fear-mongering personality and his voice and demeanor were still light in this video even though the topic was dark and I suspect that once the follow-up videos come, that people will think about things.

      I do know that he does love both cats and dogs and that already makes him one of the rare peacemakers above that cultural debate.

      The topic affects so many people that people need to hear it. There are already people on this page, which have said that they tested positive.

      I know that people want the “what to do” answer, but my guess is that we are not an audience who is capable of sitting through all 4 sections of this topic at one setting.

    2. Jo,
      I was just at the wonderful vet for my cat yesterday, who hears from many people upset at being told by MDs they have to “get rid of their cats.” They understand this poorly. She was not giving human advice but pointed out that you can get toxoplasmosis just from being in dirt with bare feet. And yes, undercooked meat. It is so true that nearly a quarter of population test positive but usually no symptoms, which they then advise no treatment for. Usually treatment for pregnant women and young. And this correlated with other medical research I had found online. So if a quarter of population are walking around with this and no symptoms, it hardly qualifies as something we need to panic about. The drug recommendations are so horrific I cannot imagine taking them. I will advise here about results from using ParaComplete supplement from Progressive Nutracare after I get re-tested by my MD. He is really going to hear from me about having his assistant just say on the phone to go to an infectious disease specialist. Ha! Not good enough.

      So advice about keeping your cats off the counter is laughable. As if we don’t clean them constantly. What about their being on top of the bed with people at night? Do they all get toxoplasmosis then? I just heard about some other disease that people get from dogs. So are all those who let their dogs slobber their saliva all over a worse threat, do they get those diseases as well? This is clearly getting into mass hysteria territory. And I am surely not going to wait for Dr. Greger before taking action.

      1. Adrienne, you made a lot of good points. I’d also like to point out the fact that studies have shown that people with companion animals (cats and dogs) are healthier than people with no companion animals. This was actually addressed in Dr. Greger’s book, “How Not To Die.”

        I will walk barefoot outside like I have all my life, care for animals, etc. These are things worth living for, fear isn’t, but I also would bet money–if given the opportunity–that worrying about it beyond what is rational (such as reasonable dietary alterations) is worse for overall health.

          1. I would like to know more about “earthing/grounding” and am hoping Dr. Greger does a video on it in the future. I think I did read on pubmed that it helped with muscle soreness. But there is definitely something (or multiple things) beneficial about it as far as I’m concerned based on my experience. And it only makes sense, to me, that there would be considering it’s natural and we evolved barefoot.

    3. Jo, I didn’t get that from this video, but I hope you’re wrong! That really is concerning because people are already so cruel to animals and have always been particularly cruel to cats throughout the ages and even today. Cats have always had it hard, let’s hope this doesn’t turn an unwarranted focus on cats being parasite spreaders due to a few stupid people’s takeaway. My takeaway was simply that any animal is prone to parasites that can get into the brain, including humans, and this was just used as one of the few examples given. But there are a lot of ignorant (to put it nicely) people out there, so unfortunately maybe he needed to go out of his way to explain that you’re not going to get the parasite from other animals unless you eat them–that’s how cats get it after all. I think that is the case and I think he will go into detail about that if he hasn’t already (haven’t watched the next video yet).

      Also, I highly doubt this parasite is extremely common among mice. I take care of an entire colony for spayed/neutered feral cats and I never see any mice hanging out near the area or going into their shed or other areas. Also, when there were some mice coming into the garage, placing cat feces deterred them, none were attracted to it. It’s anecdotal, but it leads me to using my common sense that this isn’t extremely common among them.

      1. I take care of an entire colony for spayed/neutered feral cats…
        ——————————————————————-
        Heh, I take care of a colony of 3 mother cats and their little wild things because I DIDN’T spay and neuter. ‘-)

        Hoping for the ones I can’t give away (there are 13 originals… one died of SIDS as the mother apparently laid on it in cramped quarters… then a week or so later a slightly older one appeared just like black magic! that is, it is a Sylvester cat… you know, black with white stockings and a white bellie.)… hopefully I’ll be able to get a family discount on the spay/neuter procedure. ‘-)

        Almost forgot to mention, Momma Cat didn’t like being around the other cats and their broods so she took her four and left for a few days. We had a hailstorm the other night and the next day she returned, but with only three.

        Anyway, I agree cats, feral cats especially, get a bad rap.

        Bird hunters, mostly the younger ones, are the worst at blaming them for catching and eating quail or other birds of sport shooting. In fact I seldom see feathers of these birds and have mostly had multiple cats around.

        When Momma Cat first came up, she almost always caught mice, rats, gophers and ground squirrels. And if a rattlesnake came around the house, she would get the snake stirred up and its rattlers singing until I came and took care of the lethal one. But during hunting season, cats are good about finding and eating wounded birds a hunter failed to kill cleanly.

        Referencing the next video in this series, I don’t think a feral cat that becomes sluggish from Toxo… would last very long in the wild.

        1. Lonie, so sad to hear about the little kittens who didn’t make it </3 Cats do get such a bad rap and what's funny about "hunters" is they like to exclaim their "expertise" on animals but their beliefs are on the level of folklore and superstition… I find it comparable to a kid who tortures ants with a magnifying glass citing himself an expert in entomology. In any case, I do not let my cats outside unsupervised as I think it's irresponsible to wildlife as well the cats, but with ferals, you can't help it. But any issues with wildlife can be resolved with humane spay/neuter and release (ideally also feeding and providing shelter for the cats) and educating as well as holding accountable, humans, who are the real and actual cause for cats hunting surrounding wildlife. And certainly no one thins out wildlife like "hunters" and other human behaviors.

      2. S,

        Thank you for taking care of the cats! That is a service I think is worthy of gratitude so also, thank you for your service!

        Even the idiotic CDC said do not adopt a stray cat. It’s so shortsighted. Not all cats have this, not all people with companion animals have this. I’ve been rescuing animals for two decades. Those of us who take care of animals, including strays, don’t need any more difficulties or crappy information spread around.

        In the very least I wish he had approached toxoplasmosis later and/or explained to not take this out on the cats. I know he’s not responsible for other people’s behavior but he is grounded, passionate and usually quite caring. I just wish that he approached this differently.

        1. Jo, thanks so much for your kind words and refreshing common sense on this subject. Also, likewise!

          I wholeheartedly agree with you and I’m so upset to see that under his 3rd video on this website, already there is paranoid talk about cats and toxo including someone talking about harming cats to protect his pregnant wife…

          I’m going to be very upset with Dr. Greger and his lack of responsibility and thoughtlessness to these animals if he doesn’t present some realistic, fair perspective in his last video in this series. It’s true he’s not responsible for people’s behavior, but at the same time, he does have responsibility because he is reporting this information and we all have responsibility to the animals, especially to those we as a species decided to domesticate in the first place. And I think also to his audience because he has observed enough by now to have realized that a large portion of people tend to become paranoid quite easily. And I’m confident Dr. Greger is smart enough to have considered the repercussions toward cats. Also, it’s not helping anyone by not focusing on the actual cause of toxoplasmosis which is through diet and much less likely through the consumption of cat feces. In fact, people are focusing more on cats, insanely enough, and for that matter, not even the fact that you have to get their feces in your body to get it (assuming the cat is both infected AND shedding through feces which only occurs a short period of time I’ve been reading). I can’t imagine this won’t be in his 4th video and I hope I’m not wrong.

      1. I don’t see how anybody with a brain could expect anything different. People need to open their eyes and ears and look around and stop assuming everything is going to be fine. Ignorance and arrogance are far more dangerous than people realize.

        tutor4mathandmore@gmail.comRe?

  17. (Please forgive any grammatical errors as I am not a native speaker)
    Dear Team of nutritionfacts.org,
    In the Q&A section, it says that medical questions should be posted in the comments areas of the videos. So I hope, I am not doing it the wrong way by posting here.
    I do have a question also concerning a foodborne infection, but not too closely related to toxoplasmosis.
    I would be very interested in the state of the science of bmmf (Bovine Milk and Meat Factors). in March 2019, the German Cancer Reseearch Center issued a warning concerning beef products. Dr. Harald zur Hausen (Nobel prize laureate) and his reserach team identified several new infectious agents in dairy and beef meat and think that an infection early in life may contribute to the high rates of breast cancer and colon cancer in western societies where people consume beef products.
    Is there a chance, that there will be a video on this topic? I tried to do some research of the literature myself but I haven’t
    found a lot of papers. And then there is the problem with the critics who say that the theory of the research team was flawed so it is hard to know who is right. But on the other hand, when there is a lot of money involved, there will always bei critics who try to raise doubts.
    I would be really happy if there was a video on this topic. I think it is such an important topic because(at least here in Germany), when a baby is weaned, people use cow’s mild to prepare meals and if zur Hausen’s theory is correct, then all these babies are at risk of being infected with a cancer promoting infectious agent.
    I also want to say thank you for the incredible work you are doing by running this website. Thank you!
    Yours, A. H.

    1. ‘Glad to read you are benefitting from this website. I did some research on Dr. Harald zur Hausen’s research on new infectious agents in diary and beef meat. While I can appreciate your concern and wish for a video on this topic, that would be Dr. Greger’s call. Generally he looks at a whole series of research studies to design his videos (rather than focusing on just one study. As he has done several videos on the hazards of meat and milk, this new research may be incorporated into a future video of blog. I suspect he is already well aware of it, but l will pass information on this research to him for consideration and thank you for referencing it. It certainly is a concern.

      1. Thank you very much for your answer! I understand the problem concerning the fact, Zur Hausen’s research group seems to be the only research group currently working on this subject. That is why I am not sure what to make of it, too. On the other hand, he was right about the relationship between the human papilloma virus and cervical cancer after years of being doubted by other researchers. I hope that other research groups will follow soon.

        Yours, A. H.

  18. All of our dairy herds are infected with BLV, bovine leukemia virus. This is transmitted to humans through dairy products and eating beef. About 60% of human breast cancer tests positive for BLV. The general consensus is that BLV causes approximately 1/3 of breast cancer cases…and males get breast cancer too.

  19. I read a book about this subject (although toxoplasmosis was not mentioned) called “Plight of the Living Dead” by Matt Simon. Any other biology nerds will enjoy this book. The rest of you might want to stay away.

  20. I hope you will do a video describing symptoms in detail and the name of the test that will tell you if you have it.

    This info may be available elsewhere, but may be spread over the web. It would help if you would finish your articles on this and other diseases with similar lists of symptoms and names of tests, if there is a test available.

    Thanks.

  21. 1 in 4 Americans? This cant be right, obviously every single American has not been tested for Toxoplasmosis. So I’d almost be willing to bet that the study that came to this conclusion has a particular reason or Research Parameters that led to their findings having so many people that tested positive.
    To conclude that 1 in 4 Americans are infected, that study would have had to of been conducted on an incredibly diverse amount of people to rule out, for example that maybe people in certain occupations are more exposed, or people in certain regions of the country, or people in regions that have similar climate throughout the year.
    What were the age, race, ethnicity and sex of all the people they studied? Just conducting a study like this near to a specific ethnic enclave that happens to have a lot of migrants from a specific country or region could completely throw numbers like “1in 4 Americans” way off.

    If that is true though, “1 in 4” if those numbers are even close to accurate, that is scary as crap. there’s a YouTuber that was infected by Toxoplasmosis, he was competitive jiu-jitsu fighter before this happened and after he was infected he didn’t want to train anymore, slowly he withdrew from family and friends, and then his relationship. Pretty soon he got to where he didnt even want to go outside and for like 2 years it just destroyed his life. He went from one Doctor to the next and most of them just sent him to psychiatrists. He was put on lithium and all kinds of other SSRI’s his prescription count grew bigger and bigger. He explains all of this as he tells his story in this video. He said that after dealing with all of the torment all of this put him through for 2 years he was ready to end his life and as he built up the courage to do it, a friend got through to him on the phone and begged him to come to a local health food & supplement store. So he figured “what have I got to loose” ya know, And I dont remember exactly what the person at the store or his friend recommended that he tried but it gave him like a day or two of clarity whenever he would take this stuff that the person at the store gave him, and it was through that supplement and the reaction it had on him that a specialist that I think he reached out to online suggested that he be tested for toxoplasmosis and sure enough he was infected, and got it taken care of.

    Now his YouTube channel is all dedicated to natural supplements & herbal remedies, whole foods and healthy living. He also promotes a lot of different methods of detoxing which is something I’ve never really agreed with because I’ve always been told that nothing can do it better than the organs that do it for you like the liver and kidneys and that its not a good idea to try to purge your colon or intestines of all the bacteria because there’s lots of beneficial bacteria that you need there. But, I can definitely see why someone that’s been through what he’s gone through would eagerly pursue body detoxification, I probably would too lol.

    1. Taylor, the 1 in 4 estimation is just that: scientific estimate. But it is widely accepted. And it only validates the need to NOT get panicked over toxoplasmosis. Most studies that say 1 in 4 also say those same do not have any symptoms either. It can simply be dormant in people without any problems. Certain autoimmune diseases can flare on their own, and that’s when people may find out they are toxoplasmosis positive. But the autoimmune is not causing toxoplasmosis. And toxoplasmosis per se is not the root problem.

    2. Hi Taylor,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for your question.

      The study that cites that nearly 1 in 4 Americans have the Toxoplasma gondii infection is about as representative of a sample as you will get. These nearly 18,000 samples are from NHANES, whose sample is “representative of the civilian, noninstitutionalized US population aged 2 months or older…Persons aged ≥60 years, children aged 2 months through 5 years, Mexican Americans, and Blacks were sampled at higher rates than other persons to assure an adequate sample size for these age, racial, and ethnic groups”.

      So the only thing that is not completely representative is that certain subsets of the population were over-sampled for statistical purposes. That really doesn’t make too much of a difference, though, as whites were found to have higher levels than other ethnic groups in their 20’s and lower levels in their 50’s, with all other age ranges being similar to other ethnic groups. Additionally, the nearly 1 in 4 rate found here is lower than other countries that have been tested such as France, Latin American countries, or Sub-Saharan African countries.

      Overall, I don’t think you would find a more representative or as large of a sample than this study used.

      I hope this helps answer your question!

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