Experts Alert New TikTok Trend Endangers Health!
Nowadays most people spend some time out of their day on social media. Be it either chatting with their friends, watching some videos, or just aimlessly scrolling through their feed. One app, in particular, has been very popular, mainly among teens and kids, and that is TikTok. The app had become famous for the dances that some of the most popular content creators had uploaded as well as challenges. Though some of these challenges and other messages spread on the app could have very dangerous outcomes. Such as one recent piece of advice came from an app which involved DIY ‘deworming’ and which could have damaging effects. What is this new TikTok fad? And just how damaging could it be?(
DeWorming TikTok Trend Origin - Papya Seeds
It is hard to pinpoint exactly who originated this trend, or any deworming trend, on the app as there is plenty of different health advice, some of which experts have said have no basis and are actually quite harmful. This latest fad seems to be giving people advice on intestinal parasites. It does sound like one of the things that freak people out and some had looked for ways to rid themselves of them. One person, and advice, that caught the attention of many came from a TikTok user Ramena who started eating papaya seeds. In her video, she talked about how she wondered if she has any ‘bugs up her butt’ and proceeded to eat the seeds of the plant, which she called disgusting. In her follow-up posts, Ramena had revealed that she ate half a papaya worth of seeds that she had ‘pooped out one parasite so far’.
Eating Papaya Seeds - Maybe Not A Good Idea
As it later turned out, eating those seeds might not have been a good idea as Ramena later told her followers to definitely check with their doctor before trying anything like this. Why you might ask? Because afterward she had been experiencing really bad heartburn and she was nauseous. And while that was the extent of her troubles, deworming yourself with papaya seeds might not be the best idea. Infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, who spoke on this case said that there has been no shown effects of eating papaya seeds working outside of a clinical trial setting. He added that certain foods have compounds in them that might have the ability to kill certain parasites and expel them from the body, there is no data to suggest that this is something that people should go and do. Other experts have added that it is very unlikely that a person from the United States would have intestinal parasites unless they just came from a third-world country. So while the papaya deworming method might have been discouraged, other users had found different ways. But those could be more harmful so read on to find out more!
Intestinal Parasites And Depression?
Several weeks after Ramena went viral, another TikTok user Tywonna had also does the same thing once again with the topic of intestinal parasites but also linking depression into it. In the clip, she had explained how she tried to deworm herself using a parasite cleansing supplement called ParaGuard, which she found out about from other videos making rounds on the site. Tywonna told her followers that she tried it and that she had in fact pooped out worms but to her, that was not the main problem. Because they weren’t the worm themselves that had caused her to take the pills but the fact that an alleged side effect of having these parasites was...depression. Speaking in the clip she said, "It said bloating, cramping, nausea, vomiting, gas, pains, uh, and then I saw that it said depression. And it just made me think. So I've been depressed for however many years on and off, and that one time when I was gonna [makes a gesturing like she's cutting her own throat]... You mean to tell me it was from a worm?" But could worms actually cause depression? Read on to find out!
Parasites & Depression
Hearing that information a lot of users wanted to find out more and stumbled upon results of a study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry that had found that people who were found to test positive for a parasite known as Toxoplasma Gondii were “seven times more likely to attempt suicide” and all because the inflammation that was caused by the infection caused changes to the brain’s chemistry that led to depression. And as you can imagine that freaked many people out, and the trend continued as people wanted to try it out for themselves for various reasons.
Deworming - Is It A Thing?
While the idea of deworming and ParaGuard continued spreading through the popular video-sharing app, other users did more research into the treatment and whether it is actually a good thing. Another user, Sara, had shared some of her findings on the app and said that she found out deworming is a common thing in other countries that included India and Kenya. She also shared with her followers that the symptoms that people can look for when it comes to having parasites include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, fatigue, rash, and unexplained weight loss. A holistic wellness coach also gave her thoughts on the topic telling the people on the app that they can get worms from a lot of things that they most likely wouldn’t think about such as a simple lick from their pet, walking barefoot on their lawn, not washing their hands before eating or preparing food and eating too much undercooked or raw meat or fish.
ParaGuard To Help With Deworming
With all of this talk of deworming one name that keeps coming up is ParaGuard. But what exactly is it? Well according to the Zahler product website, it is a herbal supplement that contains wormwood, pumpkin seed, and garlic bulb and that is intended to help with digestion. Having seen many videos talking about the product and their alleged desired results, yet another TikTok user pengken007 had decided to give it a try. She told her followers that to her knowledge she never had any intestinal worms but after taking ParaGuard for seven days, she realized that it was not the case. Looking directly into the camera she had said, "So, I have worms. And you know what that means? You have worms; everybody has worms. We need to de-worm ourselves, everybody, get something."
Deworming Could Be Dangerous
And while some claim that they feel much better after taking ParaGuard, experts say that DIY deworming by taking the tablets isn’t just ineffective but it is also harmful and could damage your gut microbiome. Gastroenterologist Dr. Sabine Hazan spoke with BuzzFeed and revealed that some of the things that the supplements flush out from the body are crucial to gut health, "It's a part of our microbiome. Your stools are supposed to be composed of bacteria, fungus, parasites, etc. They may be removing good microbes in their gut, which is detrimental because once they are destroyed you can't get them back."
Could You Have Worms?
People being worried about their health and body is a normal and natural thing and many doctors recommend getting yourself regularly checked out. However, when it comes to worm experts claim that most adults do not need to de-worm themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite what people on social media say it is rare to find tapeworms and roundworms after a cleanse. One doctor revealed that it was actually impossible for someone to actually see the parasites in their stool as they are so small to see without the help of a microscope. And even if someone does suspect that they might have worms for one reason or another it is first better to see a doctor rather than to take supplements or medications online.
Medical Advice Not The Only Dangers Of TikTok
Though it is worth noting that medical advice from people who have no qualifications to give them is not the only danger of TikTok. With each passing day, some challenge appears on the app, some of which had been very dangerous and which resulted in death. Such as was the tragic case of a 10-year-old girl Antonella Sicomoro in Italy who at the start of 2021 died while trying to film a TikTok trend. You can find out more about her case, and other dangerous trends, in the video that is linked below.
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