Tapeworm Diet: History, Methods, and Dangers

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

weight-loss-tapewormsIt is undeniable that people will resort to extreme measures in a desperate attempt to shed those extra pounds, but ingesting tapeworms in order to lose weight is not only a radical fad diet method but also an extremely dangerous one.

Thankfully the use of tapeworms as a diet aid is illegal in the US and for good reason.

Tapeworm infestation can result in:

  • The formation of cysts in the liver, eyes, brain, and spinal cord with potentially lethal consequences.
  • Intestinal Blockages
  • Malnutrition

Tapeworm Diet Basics

Although it is not possible to attempt the tapeworm diet in most countries, it is being offered at some places in Mexico. When you arrive at the treatment location you are given beef tapeworm cysts that have been identified microscopically. This is vitally important because some cows may host pig tapeworms, which are very dangerous.

The tapeworm interferes with your digestion and absorption of nutrients, which means that you can consume more calories and still lose weight. However, the parasite also competes for vitamins and other important nutrients, which may result in a nutritional deficiency.

According to some scientists, tapeworm infestation can result in a loss of one to two pounds per week. Once the target weight loss is reached, a deworming agent is given, which kills the tapeworm so it can be expelled.

Costs and Expenses

It appears that the treatment is only available in Mexico at the time of this review and the approximate cost is $1500.

Pros of the Tapeworm Diet

  • Weight loss is very likely.
  • Some scientists believe that tapeworms can also help to alleviate allergies such as hay fever.


  • Extremely dangerous, can cause unpleasant side effects and in some cases can be lethal.
  • Does not appear to be adequate protection for consumers in regard to regulation and safety analysis.
  • Rebound weight gain is most likely once the tapeworm is expelled.
  • Tapeworms can cause a swollen stomach which is not physically attractive and goes against the desired result.
  • Not available in most countries.
  • Treatment is expensive and will also need to include travel expenses.

sanitized Tapeworms

History of Tapeworms for Weight Loss

In the early 1900s, a “nutrient absorption” product appeared. Call it an early version of Xenical…

“No diet, no baths, no exercise. FAT – the enemy that is shortening your life – BANISHED. How? With sanitized tapeworms – jar-packed”

No baths? What?

The product appears to be legitimate and was referenced in a 1999 diabetes journal (PDF)

Approaches to decreasing nutrient absorption date from the early 1900s, when diet treatment with “sanitized tapeworms” was widely advertised.

Weight Loss Tapeworms Today?

Unfortunately, this fad is still around and people are desperate to get their hands on these cute little parasites.

Here are a few comments made from people who are desperate to try this method. This shows just how obsessed people are to lose weight and will try anything… even to the extent of putting a deadly parasite inside their bodies.

Here’s a Few

From Nikita:

First I want to say I tried everything under the sun to lose weight, from the gym to eating less, to not eating after 8, to cutting cals, to having a trainer who yelled at me in the gym, I really want to try this. SOMEONE, please help me!
Thank you!

How about Josh:

I hate all those sanctimonious scumbags, who think that all you need is a ‘little exercise’ and we will lose weight. I’ve tried for years to lose 3 stone and it just won’t come off. Do you people think we WANT to put parasites in our bodies for pleasure??? It’s a last resort to lose weight and to become healthy. To be able to lose enough weight so we can go out and maybe feel good about ourselves, so keep your disgusted opinions to yourself and put yourself in a fat person’s shoes. I WANT TO KNOW WHERE TO BUY TAPEWORM EGGS SO I CAN LOSE WEIGHT.

And then there’s Amber who will order them from Mexico if she has to:

ANYONE have any idea on where to get these tapeworm pills. I’ve found a couple different sites that offered them but they have not replied to my emails.. “extractotape” and “weight-b-gone” and “w8bgone” are what I have come up with so far and I am still searching. “Megaslim” seems like a scam. Also, you could try googling “tapeworm pills order online weight loss” or something like that in Spanish because it is legal and offered in Mexico. I’d love to get some of these and I’m willing to pay good money. It’s just a super challenge trying to find them.

Dangers With This Approach

It goes without saying that the Tapeworm Diet is extremely risky and can cause a wide range of undesirable side effects including death. In addition to this, dieters will probably regain all the weight that is lost if they continue with the same eating habits after the tapeworm is expelled.

Dieters are advised to stick with proven weight loss methods such as consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity, rather than risking their lives with a technique that is harmful and unlikely to yield positive long-term results by trying the tapeworm diet.

Tapeworms are flatworm parasites that have adapted to surviving in animals by feeding on the digested food of their hosts.

This means they can grow and grow until dangerous blockages occur.

They also produce larvae that burrow through the intestines and travel the blood stream until they eventually embed themselves into muscles where they form cysts. These cysts cause pain and even death if the larvae embed in the heart muscle.

This is absolutely one of the worst ways to try to lose weight and it shouldn’t be attempted.



    looking down the comments below makes me think how desperate these people are. they’re basically asking for a death wish.

  2. Jillian

    I’m embarrassed to admit I bought one from my friend’s cousin who has cows. He charged me $75, because he had to collect it from a cow, clean either the “cyst” (larva) or egg-im not sure which-, and pack it in a fenugreek (an herb) capsule so it would have food on the journey I guess. I sent him a padded envelope with postage and he used that to mail it to me.
    Honestly, I was skeptical, because I couldn’t see a worm in the capsule. But my friend is the most honest person I know and vouched for him, so I tried it anyway. AND IT WORKED. I started losing weight about 3 to 3 1/2 months after I took it.
    Before taking it, I had lost 40 lbs through diet and exercise. But with 30 more pounds to go, my weight loss stalled and no diet or exercise worked anymore. I tried for a year, and my stress and cholesterol levels were climbing! Once the weight loss started with the worm though, it took about 15 weeks for the weight to just fall off, and I didn’t change my eating habits. When I was 30 pounds lighter, I went to my doctor and told him my “symptoms” and that I had traveled to a farm and, for good measure, that my dogs were recently treated for tapeworm. He took a stool sample, gave me a prescription, and the worm came out with my next stool! Amazingly easy and painless, though kind of gross!

    The weight loss stopped immediately, but Ive kept the weight off for 8 months!
    Its not for the faint of heart, but I was desperate!
    Because David, the guy I bought then from, is just an acquaintance, I haven’t asked if he’d sell them to anyone else, but you can try I guess. He stressed to me he thought it was a bad idea and wasn’t going to make any promises. Im not sure he’d sell them to someone he doesn’t know, but ask if you want to.
    You can tell him we’re friends or something, just don’t tell him I posted that in a public forum!

    • Santana Gonzalez

      hello there. i am in desperate need of a tapeworm pill. please help me? I dont care for the price just please, mind asking your acquaintance david ?. You can reach me at my email.

    • Martha

      Hello, please do not necessarily lose weight and never get a tapeworm. Could you please ask your friend David if he could join with me thank you very much and please feel free to reply to my E-mail.

    • Maloni

      I would love to have your friends send me on how can we make this possible

    • Amanda Ortiz

      Hi you didnt get sick

  3. Nicole

    I have tapeworms. Didn’t infect myself deliberately and I’ve lived with them for years now, to the point where I’ve grown used to them and their reactions / behaviours to my body and it’s different behaviours. Sounds like I should start trying to harvest the eggs lol! I
    For ages I had no idea what it could be and used to stress out but I can tell when a segment is about to come out now and have managed to get a few photos and videos where u can actually see its features and stuff it’s quite interesting. I’ve been to that many doctors trying to get them to surgically remove it but no one will even confirm it is tapeworm, let alone tell me how to make money from it!
    Seriously though it’s not the most pleasant thing to live with they get all through your body and my family, boyfriend and friends have all been telling me I’m crazy for the past two years whenever I bring it up – but they must have known the whole time and have been using my body as a bank without telling me. Cheers mum and Luke… WTF.
    So now it’s at the point where people hang around outside the toilet while I’m trying to go and are constantly trying to feed me and make me poop. I’ve just been trying to ignore all this behaviour for so long thinking it’ll stop eventually but know I see why it’s happening…. But ladies I wouldn’t recommend it hey the tapeworm has spread into my ovaries and vagina, I’ve had to have surgery to have cysts removed, I feel like my labia swells up from the tapeworm which makes me really self conscious of how my vagina looks and I don’t trust anyone I meet because I always get the feeling they wan something from me.
    So my life is ruined. I’ve already tried to kill myself twice this year and when living with the thought that everyone who is supposed to love you actually only loves you for the few days that you’re shitting tapeworm eggs in their toilet… Well I guess it’s not a nice feeling. And I’m in about 100 grand worth of debt – yet everyone is benefitting from my body and keeping it from me?
    Oh and by the way… I didn’t infect myself with tapeworm either. I’m fairly certain I’ve had it since I was about 5 and that it was probably caught by a family member who spent heaps of time in Asia back then for work, and then it’s been passed onto me I suppose. My tapeworm starts in my brain, there’s an lump in my skull which has been there as long as I remember and I figured out thats what it must be cos sometimes touching it will cause the tapeworm to react elsewhere. So looks like the tapeworm and being taken advantage of by the people who “love”me for financial gain is just what I have to accept as my life.
    I’ll just stop shitting see how they like that!

  4. Beca

    I need to lose a couple of pounds my self but personally I would never even consider this diet. It makes me sick just thinking about it.please there are other ways to get through this like eating healthy or just being more active. Please don’t try this diet it is bad news!

  5. Unicorns

    This is a terrible diet who wants tapeworms in theme did u not read MAY CAUSE DEATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do not try this

  6. mr hanky

    stupid. you don’t want tape worms!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know you are desparate. please don’t. its

  7. Tami wilson

    I am a single parent with two children and I want everyone to know that once you have a tapeworm you never get rid of it . I have spent the last 4 1/2 years trying to prove to many doctors but I’m affected as well as my family that I have many tapeworms . They get into your body all over including your environment in your house backyard in your bed you can see them . It all started out with one little white speck then it was 10 of them suddenly they’re all over my house . I have a video that shows that the spec I need that little speck is a pile of worms each one of those worms has its own set of eggs . My body is dying if I don’t get help soon I’m a goner. Please believe me when I tell you don’t do this it is so gross they’re not cute they look like little aliens is so scary .They are so bad in my eyes I can barely see . I did go to the eye doctor and she couldn’t tell what it was. You would think she would look into it. My point is is that once your infected there is no going back. Sure if I do get diagnosed and get the medicine the likelihood of getting reinfected is like 99.9% . I have to research my way around on how to get the things out of my environment . this is not an easy task so please think about what you’re doing before you do it I’m so desperate to get these things out of my body and most time you don’t lose weight gain weight .when I first got infected I became overweight.now after four years I’m beginning to become skinnier .it’s not a healthy skinny . I feel tired I feel weak I can barely stand up. I can’t stand up straight people make fun of me because I lean to the right being that I’m in so much pain . Now I have shrunk 3 inches. Please live a heathy life without parasites. I wish I could.

  8. Erika

    Btw, you should have a disclaimer. Or your going to need a lawyer.

  9. Erika

    So what’s the best way? Because I am one of those desperate nimrods that’s willing to try this on.

  10. Anna

    Please let me know if anyone finds a reputable source for the sterilized digestive only (which I believe are the beef) tape worms!
    Thank you!

  11. Brittni

    The problem with eating raw meat to ingest a tapeworm is that there is only one that stays in your digestive tract. Raw fish and pork can carry tapeworms that start in your intestines but then spread through your blood stream and get into organs, muscles even your brain and eyes. Beef tapeworms stay in the digestive system but there is a chance that the cow was infected with a pork tapeworm. Which is why they’re checked under a microscope in Mexico before being given to people. So DIY is a gamble.

  12. Laura

    if ANYONE has any idea on where to get these tapeworm pills. I’ve found a couple different sites that offered them but have not replied to my emails.. “extractotape” and “weight-b-gone” and “w8bgone” are what I have come up with so far and I am still searching “Megaslim” seems like a scam. Also you could try googling “tapeworm pills order online weight loss” or something like that in Spanish because it is legal and offered in Mexico. I’d love to get some of these and willing to pay good money it’s just a super challenge trying to find them

    • Carmel

      I’ve been searching and searching. I can’t seem to find anywhereee selling! If you find anything please pleasee email me!

    • tels

      Did u find them

  13. sarah

    Im sure the F.D.A. frowns on tape worms…..but only because their little pills are more easily marketed. The F.D.A’s standard about selling things that are safe, are much, much lower than you might think. Taking a tapeworm, then taking a pill to kill it before it grows to much, is much safer than most of the pills that the F.D.A allows through their doors on a yearly basis. True,….its unsightly, however there is no need to have a tapeworm get so big that it crawls out your anus. With a little planning you could take them, use them for a short time, and dispose of them before you have any unsightly effects. If used carefully it wouldnt be to ugly…..and my medical advice is that it would definately be safer than many of the F.D.A’s previous recomendations. I don’t have a weight problem, but if I did, I would consider this method over a very invasive surgery.

    • Sara

      You’re a moron. A tapeworm infestation is no joke. I’m an infectious disease doctor who specializes in parasites and have traveled all over the world trying to help people who are infested. Taking a tapeworm on purpose in order to lose weight is beyond stupid. Just get a lab-band or gastric bypass if you’re that desperate. Trust me, tapeworms aren’t the answer.

  14. Rickey Lefort

    mail me P.O. Box 1085, Galliano,Louisiana 70354

    • Kate

      Do you have those pills?

  15. Rickey Lefort

    Your teacher was messing with the class. That description sounds like something from a horror show. It is verry simple you take a pill to get the worm and you take a pill to remove it.

    • Mali

      Hi Richard, do you sell these tapeworm pills or know where I could buy them? I’d be very pleased about a positive answer! greetings

    • Sara

      Seriously, STAY AWAY FROM TAPEWORMS!! Most insurance covers lap-band and gastric surgery if you are that desperate to lose weight. Many surgeons have good payment plans if you don’t And, really, are you ready to trust some rando from Louisana selling them? He can’t spell “verry” and it takes more than a simple pill to remove them. Tapeworms can invade your brain and kill you (yes, beef tapeworms are constrained to the digestive system, but how can you tell what they’re giving you? The answer is that you can’t). People just want your money and don’t care about your health. Please, please don’t do this.

  16. cody

    well anyone that comes up with a weight loss method like this thats safe and WITHOUT the damn worms will be a very rich person indeed. although even with the worms i bet the number of people that would buy this would be crazy

  17. genny holland

    Hello hun, where did you get the worms from? Was it by accident or were you trying to get them? If you were trying and did aquire them just by eating or drinking, would youu mine telling me. I do not want to eat raw meat, sorry. If you answer me I would love to thank you at this time. Genny

  18. katlyn

    did you ever find a site that sells tapeworms?? i want to try it.

  19. uratan

    Hello, from Japan.
    I have one more question.

    near lower-right corner, written

    How they earn with this commerce ?

  20. Martin

    Not enough real scientific work or results are known about this rather seemingly strange method of dieting. Im sure there must be some form of careful monitering programme if not now at some point in the future. I like the idea of using tapeworm but have just recently watch a program where one has killed its host.



  • Hoberg, E. P., Alkire, N. L., Queiroz, A. D., & Jones, A. (2001). Out of Africa: origins of the Taenia tapeworms in humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 268(1469), 781-787. link
  • Schultz, M. G., Hermos, J. A., & Steele, J. H. (1970). Epidemiology of beef tapeworm infection in the United States. Public health reports, 85(2), 169. link
  • Schantz, P. M., & McAuley, J. (1991). Current status of food-borne parasitic zoonoses in the United States. The Southeast Asian journal of tropical medicine and public health, 22, 65-71. link
  • Flickr | See also on Museum of Quackery