How does parasites survive in the stomach?


So I think most people have heard the stories about people eating something and getting infected with a parasite that was in the food.

But the stomach contains a quite strong acid, so I don’t understand how the parasties can survive in it.

In: 1

Stomach acid is simply not that potent. It’s not like you burn your mouth when you vomit. The mechanical activity of the stomach is a much bigger component of what it does than the stomach acid.

The bacteria H. pylori prefers an acidic environment but cannot survive the highly acidic stomach acid environment alone. It produces urease, an enzyme that converts urea in the stomach to ammonia. The ammonia helps neutralize the stomach acid around it so the bacteria can survive in the stomach.

Other parasites like tapeworms can only survive stomach acid in the egg form. The eggs are encased in fatty cysts in infected meat. The stomach acid dissolves the cysts and allows the tapeworms to hatch and infect the intestines when leaving the stomach.