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Red Meat, Toxoplasmosis & Cats

A recent article in the University of Chicago publication UChicago Medicine states that “nearly one-third of the earth’s population – including 60 million Americans – are infected with a parasite called Toxoplasma.”

You can get the parasite from cats – who get it from eating mice – OR from red meat in the supermarket. An estimated 80% of all mammals can be infected with the toxoplasma parasite. This includes cows, goats, pigs and even chickens.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “A very high prevalence of the parasite was found in chickens raised in backyards (up to 100%) and free-range organic (30–50%) establishments.”

If your immune system is working properly, the parasite stays sleeping.  Or so we thought – until NOW! 

“Now there is evidence that some, maybe a lot of people, have subtle symptoms triggered by the infection.” “Patients with schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder are more likely to have an infection.  Infected men have slower reaction times, and twice as many traffic accidents.”  That’s obviously not good news!

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that “11% of the U.S. population 6 years of age and older have been infected with Toxoplasma.  In some countries, more than 60% of the population have been infected.”

The bad news: You can get toxoplasmosis from almost any kind of undercooked, contaminated meat, especially pork, lamb, and venison. And, once you have it, it may or may not affect you.  And if it does it might affect you in strange and subtle was that you are not aware of.  

The good news: If you avoid eating undercooked red meat and chicken and avoid handling cat litter.  There’s a good chance you can avoid Toxoplasmosis.

This is Dr. Mike Martin, Founder and President of Physicians Against Red Meat, I wishing you a long, healthy and happy life. Thanks for listening!

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