If you eat enough papaya seeds, can you poop out parasites?

TikTok users have been experimenting with this questionable and dubious new treatment.

Illustration for article titled If you eat enough papaya seeds, can you poop out parasites?
Photo: Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua (Getty Images)

TikTok is full of recipes and suggestions for things to put in your system. Now it’s going in the opposite direction, because what goes in, must come out, right? The Miami Herald reports that TikTok users are eating papaya seeds, hoping that the seeds will flush (see what I did there?) out parasites when they take a dump later. I wasn’t sure what I’d be writing about this morning when I got up, but here we are.

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People who have been doing this claim that they can see worms in their poop hours after housing a bunch of seeds. I didn’t realize so many people were afraid they’ve been infested with parasites. Papaya seeds won’t hurt you; they’re high in fiber and full of useful nutrients, but eating too many of them might cause stomach issues, and there’s very little scientific research about whether this actually works. Where do people come up with these ideas?

Most parasites aren’t even visible to the human eye, gastrointestinal experts say. Parasites are also far less common in the U.S. than in tropical third-world countries.

Health also looked into the TikTok trend and sent a reporter to talk to Dr. William Schaffner, a professor and infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Schaffner said that papaya seed-eating is “a treatment in search of an illness which doesn’t exist,” also adding, “I would not endorse this.”

Gina Keatley, a certified dietician nutritionist, told Health that there’s also no real benefits to gulping down the seeds intact: “Swallowing the seeds whole will not allow your body to access any nutrients other than non-soluble fiber.”

Guys... I have to say, if you’re that concerned you might have parasites, wouldn’t it just be a better idea to go to your doctor than look for advice on TikTok? Most of the videos I’ve seen on there are of people dancing to bad music or jumping off tall objects, and there’s plenty of weird content put up by users that may or may not be bots. Just log off for a bit and breathe. It’s okay. You probably don’t have parasites, so put down that spoon and step away from the papaya.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

DISCUSSION

jcexc
JicagoChusticeExcession

I once drank a huge amount of hydrogen peroxide and then vomited blood for days. Just goes to show that my stomach was full of infected blood and the peroxide flushed it out.