Blastocystis is a poorly studied gut “parasite” that I frequently see come up on stool panels.
The scientific community is uncertain whether Blastocystis is a harmful parasite, a harmless bystander, or possibly even a beneficial part of the gut microbiome.
It’s likely that it’s probably a bit of all three. Like H Pylori there are probably plenty of people out there carrying it without any health consequences, and for some people it might even be beneficial. But for some people, it is very likely to be a problem.
I can tell you from clinical experience that some people definitely see improvements in their health after clearing Blastocystis. And sometimes it can be very difficult to clear (requiring the use of drugs + herbs + treating the whole family).
Here are a few studies I pulled up while doing more research on Blastocystis.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21790724 – Can Blastocystis cause urticaria (hives, itchy, rashy, sensitive skin)? It seems possible, and makes sense. If you have urticaria AND test positive for Blastocystis, I would undertake treatment for it and see if the urticaria improves.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22002479 – This study found no difference in treating Blastocystis over placebo in kids with abdominal pain. Several quick things. Again Blastocystis is probably not a problem in everyone that has it, and about 30% of kids were able to clear the infection on their own. Could this have skewed the results? Is it still worth treating?
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23961439 – The scientific and medical communities just aren’t sure whether Blastocystis is a problem or not. At least some Blastocystis is resistant to conventional treatment (could this be one reason for failure (no change) after treatment for some people?).
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26230132 – A case report of one man with thyroid antibodies (Hashimotos tendency) and Blastocystis. They eradicated the Blastocystis and the antibodies normalized. Exciting, but needs to be taken with a big dose of caution. Only one person. Could Blastocystis “cause” Hashimotos? Possible, as with all gut dysbiosis. Is it THE cause of Hashimotos? NO! If you have Hashimotos is it worth getting your gut tested? Absolutely. If you have Blastocystis is it worth treating? Probably. Will it normalize your antibodies? Maybe.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26012223 – Garlic and ginger kill Blastocystis.
As always, searching for more and better knowledge to help more people!
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