We recently had an interesting poster on The Peak Testosterone Forum who described losing his testosterone inexplicably along with fatigue, sleep and appetite issues. Basically, he "just didn't feel right" and suffered for years before finding out that his issue was a nasty parasite called Taenia saginata that can grow up to 30 feet in the intestine. Once he got rid of the parasite, his testosterone climbed right back up. I asked him if he would be open to a short written interview and he graciously accepted.
STEP 14: GET TESTED FOR PERTINENT PARASITES AND BACTERIAS. This man's story brings up the question as to how many men out there are suffering from low testosterone and other health issues without realizing that the root cause is some kind of bacterial or parasitic invader. Unfortunately, there is very little research on parasite-endocrine and bacterial-endocrine interactions. And, as you'll see below, trying to get doctors to test for it was like trying to change the direction that the earth is spinning.
But I would argue that the battle may be worth it and that's why I have included it as step (to consider) in the Peak Testosterone Program. Isn't it common sense that almost any nasty underlying pathogen is going to negatively impact your HPA axis in one way or the other? So why do not some basic testing? For example, there is some evidence that recurring mycoplasma (walking pneumonia) can lower testosterone and cause many of the symptoms that we see in men. See my page on The Dangers of Mycoplasma for some information.
So, if the other doors are just not opening, it would seem some testing for parasites and various bacterias would be in order. As this story illustrates, it does happen and probably happens more than we realize. What makes things even worse here in the U.S. is that we don't have a big parasite problem and so the great majority of people would never even think of getting examined for parasites even if they've travelled or eaten a lot of sushi, etc.
Below is the interview:
GUEST INTERVIEW: Prof
NOTE: Read this thread to check out his original post on the forum
Q. You said you were losing testosterone at the rate of about 5-10% per year, right? Just how low did your testosterone get?
A. My lowest was 2.60 with fsh at 26 and lh at 19
Q. What other symptoms were you having? And did you have any symptoms that were not a classic low testosterone symptom?
A.I was sensing some neurological problems, i even had some episodes of panic attacks, not in the final stage but some years ago. Even when my testosterone was at 500 with fsh at 24 and lh at 17, which is also odd, i was having insomnia, restlessness, fatigue, strange pains, difficulty in waking up in the morning, along others. Appetite was normal.
Q. I re-read your story and I admired the fact that you wanted to find the root cause. How long were you experiencing pretty bad symptoms? Did you ever get tempted to go on HRT or HCG?
A. I started to notice some changes for about 8 years from now and I kept saying to doctors that I might had an infectious disease of some kind. I proposed to be checked up for some bacteria but they all refused. Even so I did them on my own, but I knew nothing about diseases. My hemograms and general markers were all great. I know now that parasites have great abilities to disguise themselfs. They are very smart to the point of changing immune responses, and others. In my case, endocrinal ones.
One time I proposed to a doctor to take HCG but he refused, later, about one year ago, a Ph.D. proposed to me to get HCG shots, but this time I had some more knowledge and knew that HCG would increase LH even more, so I didnt take the NCG, but I did bought them. They are still in the fridge :) He told me to inject 1500ui 2x per week, for 6 months at least.
Q. How did you get the idea that this was pathogen/parasite-related? Why not a toxin or genetic issue for example? What clued you in?
A. I put every hypothesis in the table. In the beggining I was searching for toxins, I was also looking for Listeria, since I was eating a lot of sushi and fusion cuisine. I learn that food importation may bring bacteria, parasites and stuff. Even mosquitoes in fruit containers. That is why you may live in US and oddly get a disease from a country without having been there.
I can tell you that over the years I looked for everything. Testing for parasites was an idea of my doctor.
Q. You said your LH and FSH went very high. Do you have any numbers for us? Of course, this is a sign of primary hypogonadism. Does this mean the parasite was somehow actually attacking the testes? Or just what was it that caused the risk in LH/FSH?
A. My LH was near 20 and Fsh at 22-27. The strangest thing was, that I still had testosterone. This was the big big mystery for all doctors. Most of them said that was impossible. With fsh and lh like that my testosterone should be at 100 or less. My prolactin was normal, estrogen was 20, shbg was 22 on average. Zinc was good at 90, vitamin b12 was excellent. Everything was fine, surprisingly.
Q. So how did you end up getting tested for this parasite? I believe you did some testing on your own and then went to a Tropical Disease Specialist. Can you give us a few details in case someone else is interested in finding out about that. Also, was this all covered by insurance?
A. I did some tests on parasites but only on fecal samples. I never took blood tests to analyze antigens or antibodies for parasites. I didnt know that they existed on blood. In despair, I had a long talk to a Ph.D., and he suggested to test some parasites like flukes, taenia solium and saginata, toxocara among other, based on the vectors I been exposed.
No, most of blood work was off the insurance. I paid from my pocket.
As a suggestion, I would recommend people to get info on parasites affecting the nervous system as well as endocrine. A search by nervous system parasites/ bacteria will show a lot of them. Prasites, listeria, bartonellas, lymes, etc. for some time I thought to have Lyme, I did the test on the IGM and IGG and came negative. Not happy I went for the western blot and pcr dna. I was sure i hadnt lyme at that point. I also tested for other tick borne diseases.
Q. Can you tell us exactly what parasite was found and the diagnosis?
A. Taenia saginata, a parasite that can reach 10 meters in the host intestine.
Q. How were you treated and how long did it take to recover? What are your current testosterone levels and did your LH/FSH go down within range?
A. I took a single dose of prazinquantel at 30mg/kg. i had some symptoms on the treatment, like malaise, pain in abdomen, vomit. The testosterone went up to 350-500-670 in 6 months.
Fsh and lh came down but slight above the normal range the last time i tested, about 2 months ago.
Based on what you have heard and read, should every hypgonadal man get tested for parasites and tropical bacterias regularly or only those who travel and/or have lost their testosterone unusually rapidly?
I believe so, parasites and also enterovirus, enterobacteria, etc. e-coli may produce the same symptoms or can wreck the sex steroids, this because, by a work of god, e-coli also has sex steroids receptors. This is crazy but true.
Q. What kind of doctor(s) can do this kind of testing? Is there any way for a man to do some of this testing on his own if insurance will not cover it?
A. Sincerely, i just went to a tropical disease specialist because I tried everything else before.
If the tropical specialist didnt help me, I probably had gone to an oncologist. I was willing to talk to everyone. I got tested on a tropical institute, but I believe that any lab with molecular biology can do these lab works.
Q. Can a bacterial or viral invader create the same kind of symptoms as a parasite?
A. I dont know, maybe. I just know the means where I've been, but literature exists. (I dont have them organized but one of these days i can send to you some references.)
Q. Did any of the doctors provide any insight as to how a parasite could cause a loss in testosterone? What have you found from your own research?
A. No, every doc told me I was crazy. They told me doctor google is mined with bad info.
Luckly i found that paper reffered on the forum. In the case of taenias and other pathogens, they have the hability to modulate sex steroids, change estrogens and specially fsh and lh.
Q. I know that you have done some personal research on how parasites, bacteria, etc. can negatively impact the VDR (Vitamin D Receptor). Can you tell us a bit more about this? What happens with the receptor and what does it impact? And does this have anything to do with your ensuing hypogonadism?
A. I found some stuff on this reading the Marshall Protocol. I found it by luck. But didnt take close attention to them. They seem a bit fundamentalist and they use a exotic vdr agonist, benicar.
I went for other sites and research on vdr and found some interesting stuff but didnt explore very deep.
Q. I have a relative from a foreign country and everyone in the family gets de-parasited once per year. From what you have read, is this a good idea in the U.S. or do we not have enough of a problem?
A. They do the right thing. I believe everyone should do a annual treatment or one cycle per year.
I believe Americans should get de-parasited too: the U.S. imports a lot of food from everywhere.
Pathogens are everywhere. And they are the source of disease, changes in immunity, autoimmune diseases and chronic diseases too. Several parasites and bacteria cause cancer too. Thats also proven.