Fact Check: NOT All Autoimmune Diseases Are Caused By Parasites

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich
Fact Check: NOT All Autoimmune Diseases Are Caused By Parasites Not Associated

Does having an autoimmune disease mean a person also has a parasite? No, that's not true: An infectious disease specialist told Lead Stories that "parasitic infections are not causes or triggers of autoimmune disease." While some evidence suggests that "parasitic infections can serve as a trigger factor of autoimmune reactivity," there is no scientific consensus that parasites cause all autoimmune diseases.

The claim originated in a video (archived here) on TikTok on July 6, 2023, with a text overlay that read, "Symptoms of Parasites." A caption that accompanied the post read:

Signs of having parasites 🪱 #shaysnaturalremedies #parasites #brainfog #fatigue #insomnia #moodswings #sugarcravings #protocol #parasitecleanse

This is how the post appeared at the time of the publication of this fact check:

image (9).png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken Tues July 18 11:02:00 UTC 2023)

A narrator in the one-minute, 55-second video falsely states that the "number one sign of having parasites is" is having an "autoimmune condition."

While there is some scientific evidence to suggest that "parasitic infections can serve as a trigger factor of autoimmune reactivity by several mechanisms," it is false to say that parasites cause all autoimmune diseases.

"Parasitic infections are not causes or triggers of autoimmune diseases," Dr. William Petri, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Virginia, told Lead Stories in an email received July 20, 2023.

"What may have spawned this confusion is that parasitic infections can activate what are called 'type 2' immune responses which protect against parasites, and type 2 immune responses are also seen in some allergic diseases. But parasites are not causes of allergies."

The account that posted the video in question sells a product said to eliminate parasites in the body. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration told Lead Stories in an email received July 19, 2023, that the product had not been evaluated for its efficacy.

The video was posted to TikTok by the account @shaysnaturalremedies, which describes its bio as:

Done with BiG PhaR☠️Ma

I'm healing the Natural way


The bio includes a link to an online store titled "Shay's Naturals" that sells products like a vibration machine, infrared saunas and the "Parafy Parasite Cleanse." The link for "Parafy Parasite Cleanse" leads to the RogersHood website, which describes the product as a so-called "parasite tincture" that is "specially formulated to target and cleanse a wide range of parasites and worms from the human body." The ParaFy kits range in price from $35 to $125.

There are more than 80 known autoimmune diseases known to science, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system malfunctions and instead attacks healthy cells, tissues and organs. This can weaken the body's ability to function and sometimes lead to life-threatening conditions. The NIAID writes that autoimmune diseases are believed to be caused by a person's genes, exposure to infections and other environmental exposures.

Lead Stories has also reported that Pepsi does not produce parasites when poured on raw pork, that ingesting Borax is not a reliable treatment for parasites and that turpentine oil is not a remedy to cleanse parasites.

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  Madison Dapcevich

Raised on an island in southeast Alaska, Madison grew up a perpetually curious tidepooler and has used that love of science and innovation in her now full-time role as a science reporter for the fact-checking publication Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Madison Dapcevich

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