How do I get one?
There are some circumstances where you can get them. 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. We have a reservoir set up in Africa. Traveling to either Africa or our clinic would assure that
you were getting the correct species. United States federal law prohibits the sale and/or transport of taenia saginata cysticercus.
What are the risks?
Anything that can help can harm. Of all the tapeworm species that infect humans the beef tapeworm has the lowest risk of adverse events. As
with all health decisions the burden falls on you to do your own risk/reward analysis. We have carefully complied a list of all know side effects
for beef tapeworm infection. Please click here.
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. Cattle can be infected with pork tapeworm and
the cysts are impossible to differentiate visually. You must activate the cysts to identify the species.
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.
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?
You take your Praziquantel at 10mg/kg of body weight and say goodbye to your buddy unless you plan on living in the foreign country you have
infected yourself in.
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
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 its 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
worm overlords are directing their hosts to ingest foods that contain nutrients optimal for their growth.
Is this real?
Don’t take my word for it.