Tapeworm, beef/pork

Taenia contains over 100 species. This family of tapeworms is found in many animals, but the most notable ones are the beef and pork tapeworm because those are the most commonly eaten animals. Taenia occurs when cattle/pigs are raised by infected humans maintaining poor hygiene, when human feces are improperly disposed of, meat inspection programs are poor, and where meat is eaten without proper cooking. The disease is relatively common in Africa, some parts of Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

Cattle ingest the infective embryo while grazing. The digestive enzymes will break the thick shell of the egg and allow formation of the zygotes called "oncospheres". These zygotes then penetrate the mucous layer of the digestive tract and enter the circulation of the host. This is where the young larval stages form a pea-sized, fluid filled cyst, also known as "Cysticercus". These cysts seem to form in the muscular fibers and are sometimes seen in specific organs like the lungs and liver.

Humans can become infected when eating raw or undercooked meat of the infected animal, notably beef or pork. In the human, the cysticercus ingested with the undercooked meat develop into adults. Using their scolex (see first photo), they attach to the small intestine where they reside. Fertilized eggs are released through the feces along with the gravid proglottid (segments of the worm). The adult tapeworm soon develops and within three months it can reach 40 feet (12 meters) in length!

Tapeworms are usually asymptomatic. However, severe infection often results in weight loss, dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches, nausea, constipation, or chronic indigestion, and loss of appetite. There can be intestinal obstruction in humans and this can be alleviated by surgery (might want to consider colon hydrotherapy first). The tapeworm can also expel antigens that can cause an allergic reaction in the individual.

Prevention is easy. Cook meat until it is no longer pink inside because cysticerci (the infective part) die at 56 degrees Celsius. Also, if beef is frozen at -5 degrees Celsius it is considered to be safe to consume.

If you are infected with tapeworms, you will feel hungry and lose weight. This is because beef tapeworms are parasites which absorb the food you need. They allow you to digest the food you have eaten and then steal your digested food for their own growth, leaving very little for you. This may lead to stomach cramps, headaches, dizziness and fatigue.

If you suspect this worm, peristalsis of the intestine may be of benefit in ridding your body of it. Bowel Stimulant, along with Super Nutrient and Vitamin D3 will supply the peristalsis and the calcium ions to replicate the drug praziquantiel that is used to induce these very actions.