How do I get one?
There is no easy way as of now. United States federal law
prohibits the sale and/or transport of taenia saginata cysticercus. If
one was inclined they could travel to a part of the world where beef
tapeworms are endemic and infect themselves that way. But this
raises a whole spectra of problems unique to travelling to
third-world countries and performing unsupervised medical
experiments on your body.
I have the cyst, what now?
First thing, are you sure you have beef? If there is any doubt, then
you don't do anything. Period. If your sure it's beef then you should
know the condition of the animal when it was slaughtered. Was it
healthy? If there is any doubt, then you don't do anything. To be
sure of these two conditions beyond doubt you should have
observed the slaughter of the animal and the subsequent
dissection of the cysts out of the carcass. Period.
I have a cyst and I am sure it is from a cow. Do I
just swallow the cysts now?
As strange as it may sound, you probably could and be okay, but I
strongly recommend against this. I am aware of several
researchers who have done it this way and have stayed healthy,
but this seems unnecessarily risky as there are a range of
pathogenic microorganisms common to the domestic cow. I
strongly suggest following a stricter protocol.
Pretreatment of at least four cysts with UV radiation and antibiotic
solution. Dividing the batch into two and activating one of these
half batches with a solution of pig bile. After microscopically
observing the protoscolex, and only then, would I ingest a cyst
from the second batch.
Okay I'm infected, now what?
Now you get home and tell your doctor what you've done. Your
physician in addition to giving you the correct prescription for
killing the tapeworm should be aware of your condition in case
you should have any unusual adverse reactions. In at least one
documented case a woman from the Netherlands had her
intestines perforated by a tapeworm. Of course this is
exceedingly rare, but again why take anymore risks than
necessary. The next couple weeks should be rather uneventful.
Around the third or fourth week you'll notice an increase in your
appetite and in some people bloating and pain around your
upper abdomen. This pain should be mild and comparable to gas pain. If your pain gets more than uncomfortable you take
the Praziquantel prescribed by your doctor and kill the worm.
Period. Otherwise you cruise, that is eat right and exercise until
around week ten. At this point the prepatent period of the worm
will be ending and this means the worm will start shedding off
segments. It's time to kill the worm. Not only are they extremely
unpleasant when they migrate out of your digestive system, but
these segments represent a very real health risk. The motile
segments can wedge themselves into the pancreatic duct or
appendix both of which will result in conditions that can kill you.
So, take your Praziquantel at 1mg/kg of body weight and say
goodbye to your buddy.
How much weight can I expect to lose?
Weight loss varies from individual to individual, but for a single
tapeworm you would expect between one and two pounds a
week as the worm matures. I know of instances where
individuals have super-infected themselves and lost weight at a
faster rate, but have also suffered a much higher incidence of
side-effects. It is important to be realistic about weight loss and
a rate of a pound to a pound and a half a week is ideal.
Will I keep the weight off when I kill my worm?
That all depends on you. I have noticed a significant rebound
effect especially when hosting multiple worms. When you infect
yourself you will get hungrier and eat more. If you reinforce poor
eating habits during your infected period you can expect the
weight to return when your worm is gone.
How does a tapeworm make you lose weight?
The beef tapeworm secretes proteins that hijack the human
intestine by either speeding it up or slow it down depending
upon the location of the secreted protein in the digestive tract.
The net effect is to make us less efficient at digesting our food.
And efficiency is the name of the game in digestion. Consider,
the average person ingests 2,000 Kcal a day, so a decrease in
efficiency of twenty percent would be 400 Kcal a day or 2,800
Kcal a week. That is almost a pound a week. A tapeworm
competes for calories with a host but not just any calories. The
tapeworm manipulates the speed of the digestive process so
that it optimizes it's interface with the nutrients the worm needs
to develop, and that is why a person who loses ten pounds
during an infection won't be hosting a ten pound worm. It is this
process that is also responsible for the side effects of
tapeworm infection that occur before the worm becomes sexually mature. An interesting aside that may demonstrate
how sophisticated this interaction between host and parasite;
newly infected individuals often report cravings for specific
foods. One, cannot help but wonder if the worms are directing
their hosts to ingest foods that contain nutrients optimal for