An Introduction to the Lunar Cycle
The lunar cycle has a unique link to nature — to animal mating habits, to the ocean tide, to certain plants’ pollination. For Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the fullest moon every November is crucial, as more than 130 coral species spawn together. (1, 2)
It’s not only nature that answers the call of the lunar cycle. Humans also have special responses. For centuries, scientists and naturalists alike have studied and hypothesized the moon’s effects on humankind. Horror films have leaned on certain moon legends — from werewolves to increased violence amongst psychiatric patients. (3)
There are twelve different major moons a year:
- January — Wolf Moon
- February — Snow Moon
- March — Worm Moon
- April — Pink Moon
- May — Flower Moon
- June — Strawberry Moon
- July — Buck Moon
- August — Sturgeon Moon
- September — Harvest Moon
- October — Blood Moon
- November — Frost Moon
- December — Cold Moon
Along with these twelve moons, you may also hear the terms "supermoon" or "black moon." A supermoon happens a few times each year, where that month's moon is as much as 30 percent brighter or 14 percent bigger than usual. A black moon is a second new moon within one month. (4)
Once you pay attention to the lunar calendar, you may notice certain behavior and mood changes every month around the fullest phase of the moon. You suddenly are crankier than usual, or spend a restless night tossing and turning in bed.
What could be the cause for unexpected changes in your body?
Serotonin, Melatonin, and the Lunar Cycle
The lunar cycle has an interesting impact on your hormones and chemical balance.
Melatonin levels naturally drop every fullest moon phase. Melatonin is a neurotransmitter that sends critical messages within your brain and nervous system. It impacts both your sleep and immunity. During this time, your immune system is more vulnerable. (5, 6)
While melatonin naturally decreases, your serotonin levels increase. Low levels of serotonin are typically associated with anxiety, depression, and insomnia. But a sudden spike in normally healthy levels — like during the fullest phase of the moon— might also offset your behavioral and mental state. (7)
In addition, serotonin impacts parasitic behavior. Parasites have serotonin receptors. An increase of serotonin during this time helps increase parasites’ mobility. Parasites can also use this neurotransmitter to communicate with each other. (8, 9, 10)
When the Critters Inside You Come Out to Play
When you hear “parasites,” you may think of traveling. World travelers are frequently warned to watch what they eat and drink, depending on their location.
But parasites are not only a concern when you’re traveling. Parasites exist all around us. You could pick up an unwelcome critter from cuddling your dog, eating sushi, swimming in a lake, walking barefoot outside, and more. (11, 12)
The truth is we all have parasites. But if our immune systems are working properly, we may remove them naturally and not even notice anything.
Overtime, however, more and more parasites can build up in the body. And the brightest time of the moon cycle is the perfect time for these insidious critters to come out to play.
As already mentioned, melatonin levels decrease and serotonin levels increase in your body during the fullest phase of the lunar cycle. Since parasites thrive off serotonin, they become more active. While you may not have noticed these unwelcome house guests before, you may experience sudden symptoms spikes around this time.
Here’s some of the additional ways the lunar cycle — and parasites — could affect you and your health.
Emotional and mental health
While research has yet to find a direct association between lunar cycles and human behavior or mental health, many have given personal examples over the years. In one study, 81% of mental health workers shared anecdotal evidence of a connection between human illnesses and the fullest phase of the moon. (13)
Researchers have also studied bipolar disorder and its link to the lunar cycle. They found that during the brightest phase of the moon, patients with bipolar disorder switched rapidly from depressive state to mania. The participants in the study synchronized with the lunar patterns, which impacted their sleep and their current symptoms. (14)
Changes in emotional and mental health may be tied to the hormonal changes during the lunar cycle, like melatonin and serotonin. Or, the root cause may not be your body but the critters inside you. Since parasites become more active during this time, your body in turn will feel their effects more.
Parasites are looking out for themselves. To survive, they need to inhibit your body’s essential functions. As part of this, researchers have found parasites can interfere with your neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and serotonin. All of these neurotransmitters impact essential areas, including mental health and mood. (15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)
For example, GABA calms your body and helps prevent anxiety. While it's a calming agent for you, it paralyzes parasites. To protect themselves, parasites release chemicals to hinder your GABA production. Low GABA levels can trigger anger, anxiety, depression, headaches, panic attacks, and more. (19, 22)
So why might you feel suddenly anxious, down, or irritable during the fullest cycle of the moon? The answer could very well be parasitic infections.
Sleep and insomnia
Insomnia is another hot topic when looking at the lunar cycles. Individuals have often reported disturbed sleep, less sleep, or a harder time falling asleep during the fullest phase of the moon. With a natural drop in melatonin — a hormone connected to sleep — it only makes sense that your quality of sleep may drop as well. (5)
In a study of 319 people in a sleeping center, researchers found a connection between the lunar cycles and less deep sleep. Deep sleep is the sleep stage where your body recovers and supports memory. With less deep sleep, you may feel fatigued or sluggish.
Researchers also found an association with increased rapid-eye-movement (REM) latency. This is the time it takes you to hit REM after falling asleep. Those in the study took more time to reach REM during the fullest phase of the moon. REM is important for memory and mood. (23, 24)
Much like your emotional and mental states, parasites can also interfere with sleep. Since they are more active during the brightest time of the lunar cycle, you may experience an uptake in parasite-related symptoms like stomach upset. These symptoms might keep you up at night.
Plus, parasites can alter neurotransmitters critical for sleep. For example, low levels of acetylcholine may lead to less REM sleep. This can contribute to fatigue, as well as learning and memory issues. (25, 26)
What could be keeping you up at night when the moon is big and bright? Again, parasites are a key factor.
The Lunar Cycle Challenge and Detox Tips
Since parasites are active during the brightest phase of the lunar cycle, it’s also an opportune time to detox them. The Lunar Cycle Challenge is a monthly challenge, centered around the third lunar phase, to cleanse parasites from the body.
You may want to do a Lunar Cycle Challenge frequently, or around major moons, like the Worm Moon or other supermoons.
The Lunar Cycle Challenge starts shortly before the third moon phase and completes shortly after, ranging from 3 to 7 days depending on your sensitivity level. During this time, you can take parasite-killing botanicals:
Alongside parasite-killing herbs, you may also consider taking a binder to help effectively remove these critters and their toxins from the body. This acts like a super powerful magnet to grab and hold onto toxins to safely remove them through your stools. (27, 28, 29).
Besides parasite-killing herbs and binders, you may also want to use bowel-moving herbs. These will help increase your drainage and detox, making it easier to clear unwanted critters and toxins from your body. It can also help minimize parasite die-off symptoms and other detox side effects.
Other Natural Tips
Besides taking botanicals or herbs, you can also try to adjust your lifestyle. Diet, physical activity, and sleep can all support your body during a lunar cycle.
Parasites depend on you for nourishment. And their fuel of choice? Sugar. Parasites love sugar more than anything. So during a cleanse, you may want to avoid foods with high sugar content. Depriving them of their fuel source will help you clear them out more easily and lessen die-off symptoms. So check food labels and watch your sugar amount during this time. (30, 31)
Here’s some common high-sugar foods to avoid:
- Bagels and muffins
- BBQ sauce
- Dried fruit
- Flavored coffee
- Flavored oatmeal
- Frozen meals
- Fruit juice
- Granola bars
- Processed meats
- Protein bars
- Sports drinks
Along with diet adjustments, certain physical activities may help manage symptoms during the lunar cycle. As mentioned earlier, you may experience emotional or mental upheaval every month with the third moon phase. Some mindful movement practices — like yoga — can support a balanced mood. In one study, yoga helped participants raise GABA levels, which plays a big role in mood. Yoga may be an option to lessen stress and mental illness symptoms. (32)
Physical movement can also support drainage, including your lymphatic system. When your body is draining well, it helps lessen uncomfortable detox symptoms or reabsorbing toxins in the body. Even something as simple as a walk can boost your detox efforts.
The last essential area during the lunar cycle — and detox — is sleep. Sleep helps your body recover and support vital detox functions. You may consider taking melatonin support to help fall asleep. You can also practice good sleep hygiene habits like avoiding screens before bed or keeping to a consistent sleep schedule. Certain essential oils, like lavender, could also encourage healthy sleep. (33, 34)
The lunar cycle is a mysterious monthly visitor that can influence nature and your own personal health. Its effect on chemicals like melatonin and serotonin may disrupt your emotional and mental health, as well as sleep. The fullest phase of the moon can also help parasites power up and wreak more havoc in your body.
So when the moon is big and bright, you may consider detoxing parasites. You might also want to make certain lifestyle changes — like diet, physical activity, and sleep — to best support your body. Keep a close eye on your calendar, and watch for that brightest moon phase. You may end up surprised how you start feeling, and how making certain adjustments helps your overall health journey.