Pass Up the Sushi—and Worms

October 16, 2009
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Parasites Cause Liver Cancer.

sushiLiver fluke, a dangerous parasite that infects millions of people, is a major cause of bile duct (or liver) cancer in humans. Symptoms include right-upper-quadrant abdominal pain as the liver becomes enlarged and tender.

New research at George Washington University shows that this parasite produces hormones that lead to uncontrolled cell growth—or cancer—in its human hosts. Common in undercooked fish and seafood, liver fluke eggs are also passed on by cattle and sheep.

Water from contaminated pastures can spread these parasites to aquatic plants like watercress. Other vegetables—fresh bamboo shoots and water chestnuts—harbor encysted liver fluke larvae.

Scary as it is, liver fluke is only one possible parasite in sushi (raw fish). A recent news story reported a 9-foot tapeworm in one sushi fan. This worm can grow to 25 feet!

The largest parasite in humans, fish tapeworm is common in Alaska, Canada, the Great Lakes, parts of Asia and Europe, and Australia. This worm causes digestive problems—include pain and a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen, nausea, and anorexia.

Pacific rockfish (red snapper) and salmon as well as cod and herring carry another worm. Anisakine larvae cause severe inflammation and pain that mimics appendicitis, ulcers, or stomach cancer.

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

Parasites are responsible for an enormous panorama of human health problems. Worms are very well equipped to gain access to the human body, where they can reproduce through unique life cycle processes that evade our own defenses.

Previous research reveals yet another human parasite in fish—the eustronglides worm found in a once-a-month sushi eater who complained of severe abdominal pain. During an operation for appendicitis, the surgeon found the patient had a normal appendix—but a 10-inch pinkish-red worm.

Raw fish dishes—especially sushi and sashimi—have become increasingly popular in this country. To avoid parasites in raw fish, choose safe sushi dishes made with avocado, cucumber, or cooked crab and shrimp.

But you don’t need to eat raw fish to find worms in your food. Because microwaves don’t always cook evenly, seafood cooked by this method is often underdone and can harbor live parasites.

Other research reports a case in which a woman noticed worms squirming around in an uneaten piece of fish she had cooked in her new microwave. Lab examination shows they were anisakid worms.

Always check the internal temperature of fish cooked in a microwave in several different places. Fish must reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees F for at least 5 minutes.

Look for Pacific salmon or rockfish (red snapper) that has been commercially blast-frozen to help eliminate parasites. Unless you are an experienced sushi chef—and know which species are likely to be infected by parasites and can spot larvae—don’t prepare raw fish at home.

More than half of all Americans will—at some point in their lives—harbor parasites in their bodies. My Colon Cleansing Kit is specifically designed to eliminate microscopic and larger parasites. Combining Flora-Key, Verma-Plus, and Para-Key, this kit targets “uninvited guests” while recolonizing the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria (or probiotics) for better immunity and healthy digestion.


Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

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  1. Norma Rosales

    Have you read the book “The Cure and Prevention of all Cancers” by Hulda Regehr Clark, PhD, ND? Her years of research found that all cancers are traced to a parasite. She claims a 100% cure of all, including advanced, cancers. It’s worth reading.

  2. Ann Louise Gittleman

    I am paid the late Dr. Clark a visit many years ago. Based upon my own thirty years of work and research in the area, I would have to agree with her. Dr. Hermann R. Bueno was one of my mentors and he was one of the first to say, “There is always a parastic involvement with every type of cancer.” My first edition of Guess What Came to Dinner? presents his information in the Foreword.

  3. Annie

    What makes the “safe sushi” you speak of in paragraph, 3 safe?

  4. Ann Louise Gittleman

    This refers to sushi that is not made with raw or uncooked ingredients that are more likely to be infested with parasites or worms or larvae.

  5. Annie

    Thanks! I don’t know anything about sushi and assumed it was all raw.

  6. Puppy

    What kind of parasite would be associated with uterine cancer?

  7. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Hard to say – there is most likely, in this case, a hormonal involvement. Two ways to know: take the Stool Panel Test and Salivary Hormone Test. There is not a black and white answer to this one but I can tell you that testing is one of the ways to find out either way 🙂

  8. Gail

    sorry, that should say ‘worm’ not warm.

  9. Stacey

    Hi! I don’t know if this question is appropriate here, but: I have had severe abdomen pain on the right side, right under my ribcage. I’ve had very thorough testing for gallbladder problems, but everything comes up normal. However, my liver enzymes are elevated (as of 2006). My doctor chalked that up to me being overweight (by nearly 90 pounds). Whenever I lean over or otherwise put pressure in what I assume is the gallbladder or liver area, it immediately begins to spasm and causing searing pain, making me writhe and moan. But since none of the doctors I’ve seen can tell what it is, I just deal with it. But I’m scared whatever it is will one day rupture! I’ve never eaten sushi and seldom eat any pork or seafood. Can you make any recommendations or suggestions? I live in Dallas, TX. Thank you!!

  10. linda mitchell

    I have been thinking it is time to do a parasite cleanse again. I remember you saying if you suffer from yeast there is probably some parasites lurking in the midst. I just finished a round of the loading dose of Dr Ohira’s probiotoc, now its time to start Verma-Plus and Para-Key again

  11. Kristi

    Stacey – I had that type of pain, when I twisted or bent my body in a certain way. It was a pinched nerve and eventually went away… it was very painful.

  12. Trish

    Stacey – My liver enzymes were also elevated. After an abdominal ultrasound and then a liver biopsy, I was diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. I would love to know if there is any connection with this disorder and parasites.

  13. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Parasites can be involved with all liver conditions – bar none. I would definitely consider My Colon Cleansing Kit because it was developed with two of the most powerful parasite cleansers that I used for two decades. They target the larger and microscopic organisms. Sometimes you have to use the products for a three month cycle. Parasites of all kinds are ultimately metabolized and broken down through the liver.

  14. Stacey

    Thanks, Kristi, Trish, and Ann Louise!

    Kristi, I think there is inflammation involved in my problem…it is definitely related to the gallbladder because that is where the pressure causes intense pain. No stones, supposedly, but I’m about to start the diagnostic process all over again with a gastroenterologist who focuses on biliary and celiac disease. I will definitely mention the possibility of parasites to him, Ann Louise, as well as biliary cirrhosis, Trish. I appreicate all the input!

  15. TMayton

    HI, Dr. Gittleman – where can I get these tests kits? From Unikey? Stool panel test as well as the salivary hormone test. would the hormone test shows where my levels are? and do you recommend progesterone at all? I’m just starting the hot zones! Taking evening primrose–take care.

  16. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Hi There TMayton:
    By all means call UNI KEY at 1 -800-888-4353 to inquire about the tests. I have spent the past twenty years procuring the best self-health tests for my patients and readers. Stool panel is outstanding because they culture bacteria and can tell what kinds of pathogens are growing in the gut. The salivary hormone test is very helpful – especially the estradion/progesterone ratio- to determine if progesterone is needed. I usually recommend progesterone and formulated my own for my personal needs and that of my followers 🙂 Its a huge piece of the hormone puzzle. Good luck.

  17. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Dear Friends:
    I would love to answer each and every single one of your queries, as I have done to the best of my ability, in the past. The popularity of this Blog has grown to the extent that I can no longer provide that service but I am in the planning stages of an Internet – TV show where you can call in and get those questions answered by me in person! Please stay tuned for this exciting development. I first must complete a new manuscript and then will make some exciting announcements. In the interim, may I suggest that if you have questions about products, call UNI KEY at 1-800-888-4353. The folks there are helpful and will direct you accordingly. If you are concerned about a particular health condition, then by all means check out the Testing Kits on my site which will help you to determine underlying causes. Please don’t let this dissuade you from posting. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and interest!

  18. Laura

    I have had stool samples done that have turned up negative. However, every 4-6 weeks I have what appears to be a worm type substance expelled in my salvia. Is there anyone out there that can test such a sample? Been chasing this for way too long…

  19. Sierra

    Laura- if you can save the specimen(s), UNI KEY will be able to have the lab test the ‘worm’. Please call me at UNI KEY- 800.888.4353

  20. Dear Dr G

    My cousin has what the Drs are calling PSC (Non Alcoholic type). Her’s is a blockage to the Bile Duct and has caused her to be in a stage 4 Liver Failure! Although her MELD Score is still to low to be put on A list for a Transplant & She is not Jaundice and no abdomial Blotting, but the upper top area of the liver causes her sever pain when she eats certin foods.
    Her husband has provided a large abundance of Fish from the Gulf of Mexico and the Tampa bay area over the past 20 yrs. And… She also love Sushi! That being said…
    Is it possible for her Bile Ducts to have become blocked from some type of Fluke worm such as the Fasciola Hepatica type? Or is there anyother type of Parisite that would BLOCK the Bile Ducts to cause this kind of damage?
    She has started Juicing to get nutrition for about the last 6mo but she seems to wasting away. I some how believe that there must be a corralation between the Seafood and the PSC. Thank you in advance for your Knowelege and time in Responding to my Question.

    • liz

      Team ALG here: Yes it is possible. She could benefit from the herbal parasite formulas that Ann Louise formulated over 20 years ago. They are available from UNIKEY Health It’s call Para-Key and Verma-Plus.

      Also if she is wasting away she could use an easily digestable protein source like Fat Flush Whey protein or Body Protein.

  21. Germaon Wola

    Worms such as clonorchis sinensis (liver flukes) are known to cause bile duct strictures.In the east in places sch as Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan etc liver worm infection is common.


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