Doctors warn against 'disgusting' TikTok trend with gruesome consequences: 'Don't do what I just did'
People are proving they'll stop at nothing to find unexpected hacks that work for them.
TikTok user @ramenasaidwow said she heard that eating papaya seeds can allegedly help your body get rid of intestinal parasites.
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"That tasted like dry erase marker and it was absolutely disgusting," she said while eating the seeds. Ultimately, she said she ate half of a papaya's worth.
In the comments of her video, she warned users not to try this at home.
“Since it’s now been almost 24 hours, check with your doctor first and don’t do what I just did,” she said.
She also claimed to have later passed a parasite, though she did not have it confirmed by her doctor.
According to Healthline, papaya seeds aren’t inherently dangerous. In fact, they’re actually highly nutritious! But that still doesn’t mean you should try this parasite-removal health hack for yourself though — especially without consulting a doctor first.
“This has not been shown to be effective outside of a clinical trial setting,” infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Health.com.
He explained that though data suggests certain foods can kill parasites, there’s actually no definitive data that suggests anyone should alter their diet to make it anti-parasitic.
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It’s also highly uncommon for people in the United States to develop intestinal parasites. Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Health.com.
“Doctors in the US are not taking care of patients who have intestinal parasites unless those are people who recently came from the developing world,” he explained, calling the papaya seed hack “a treatment in search of an illness which doesn’t exist.”
“I would not endorse this,” he concluded.
There’s also no way to know, “as a lay person,” if you have passed a parasite, Dr. Schaffner said. Most are too small to see.
Eating too many papaya seeds could upset your stomach, as it did for @ramenasaidwow. The side effects are likely not worth the risk for a “cure” that is not guaranteed to work.
If you’re concerned about intestinal parasites, you should consult your doctor, because they are best treated with prescription anti-worm medication.
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