Can Parasites Cause Weight Gain – All You Need to Know

Can Parasites Cause Weight Gain – All You Need to Know

Many causes and factors are at play when it comes to weight gain. And if you are experiencing unexplainable weight gain on top of other mysterious symptoms like excessive hunger, insomnia, and chronic fatigue, in that case, there might be parasites at work.

Parasites are organisms that live inside or on another organism (the host) and rely on the host for survival and sustenance. They can range from microscopic organisms to large creatures like insects and worms, which can all cause various infections.

While some parasites are asymptomatic, others reproduce, grow, and invade healthy functioning systems, making the host sick and more prone to diseases.

This guide will discuss the role of parasites in weight gain, their mechanism of action, along with some helpful tips to help you stay safe from these tiny invaders.

Risk Factors

Contrary to popular belief, parasitic infections are not just restricted to underdeveloped countries. They are also prevalent in many developed and developing countries around the world.

Anyone can contract a parasitic infection regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. But yes, some people are at a higher risk of developing them for certain reasons. These risk factors include:

  • Contact with contaminated food, such as undercooked meat or unclean water
  • Unsanitary habits such as not washing your hands after using the bathroom
  • Traveling in subtropical or tropical regions
  • Swimming in ponds, rivers, or lake
  • Having pets
  • Compromised immune systems or microbiome (gut bacteria) imbalances
  • Being in regular contact with soil and other parasite-dwelling bodies

How to Tell if You Have a Parasite

Parasites are notoriously tricky to identify. This is because they’re very intelligent and can produce biofilm, in which they reside and hide. While a conventional stool sample test accurately identifies parasites and parasite eggs, they are only conditionally successful.

Bloodwork is a preferred testing method, as out-of-range WBC, Basophils, Eosinophils, and Ferritin are good indicators of a parasitic infection.

Alongside these tests, you can also look for the following signs and symptoms to ascertain whether you have a parasite – or several! – living inside you.

  • Inability to lose weight and weight gain
  • Sugar or alcohol cravings
  • Bloating, digestive issues, diarrhea
  • Foul-smelling stool
  • Bladder issues or recurrent UTIs
  • Anal itching (especially at night as pinworms often move around in the colon)
  • Anxiety, mood issues, anger
  • Female hormone imbalances (extreme PMS, irregular periods)
  • Food sensitivities, dairy sensitivity
  • Hives, psoriasis, eczema
  • Night sweats
  • Muscle twitching and fasciculation
  • Excessive hunger
  • Hives, eczema, psoriasis
  • Insomnia (waking up multiple times during the night or having trouble falling asleep)
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath (parasites are also found in our lungs)

Can Parasites Cause Weight Gain?

Parasites under microscope

Several studies have linked parasites to weight gain and shown a high prevalence of these microorganisms in obese people. But exactly how do they drive the weight gain? There’s no correct answer to this.

Because there are various parasites (tapeworms, bookworms, whipworms, pinworms, roundworms, liver flukes), the mechanism of action may differ tremendously among the types.

Some species consume your food, leaving you craving more, while others harm the gut lining in a way that prevents the nutrients from getting digested and absorbed, negatively affecting our organs and tissues.

This is why we have broken down the mechanism into four stealthy categories. Let’s take a look at each one of them.

1. Increased Sugar Cravings

Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, regulates immune responses and metabolism. When it is released, it creates carbohydrate and sugar cravings for energy.

On top of it, cortisol is also a fat-storage hormone, which, if over-produced, can cause the body to hold onto excess weight (especially around the midsection).

Parasitic infections cause a surge in cortisol levels, exaggerate these processes and make you eat more, ultimately resulting in weight gain.

2. Decreased Organ Efficiency

Parasites release waste and toxins into the body, so your liver and kidneys must work harder to flush them out of your system.

This increased workload on the organs can cause them to perform their tasks inefficiently and become sluggish, leading to fatigue and weight gain.

3. Excess Acid Production

Parasites also cause the release of acids which break down muscle tissue, damage organs and cause the central nervous system to slow down. The body's natural defense against acids is to transfer them into fat cells and even synthesize more fat cells to act as a buffer.

And when the body slows down the metabolism to produce more fat cells, losing weight is difficult.

4. Disrupts Gut Flora

Intestinal parasites disrupt the composition of your gut flora and compromise your immune system. This increases the risk of gut infections that cause alterations in gastrointestinal peptides (somatostatin, cholecystokinin, gastric, and ghrelin).

Eventually, these changes may result in decreased satiety and increased appetite and food intake, making the infected person hungrier.

Strategies for Stopping Parasite-Induced Weight Gain

Once you’re sure that your weight fluctuation is due to a parasite infection, your priority should be to remove these pesky residents from your body. Your treatment may depend on what type of parasite you have.

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, antiparasitic drugs, ointments, and creams for parasite control and treatment.  

Along with prescribed medications, you can also do a parasite cleanse as a treatment to get rid of parasites faster and detoxify your whole body.

You can opt for natural foods and remedies or supplements like Zoiben that can fight parasites, bacteria, biofilm, and other forms of infections.


Parasites can wreak havoc on normal bodily functions. One of their lesser-known consequence is weight gain without apparent reason.

We hope this guide has enlightened you about how these organisms induce weight changes and given you plenty of ideas to start your journey toward a healthy wellness routine.

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