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Who has cured their autoimmune disease with hookworms/parasites?

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  • Who has cured their autoimmune disease with hookworms/parasites?

    Last week I listened to a captivating episode of Radiolab (same topic was also on This American Life) about how Jasper Lawrence went to Cameroon (since he couldn't find a single lab that would sell them to him) to infect himself with hookworm - which immediately cured his horrendous allergies. He then formed a company called AutoImmune Therapies that sells sterilized hookworms so that people can infect themselves.

    My husband and I have been obsessively reading scientific papers and articles about the Hygiene Hypothesis and about using helminths to treat autoimmune issues, and I have to say that once we were able to get over the yuck factor of microscopic worms (afterall, probiotics are buggies, too), we are both revving up to give it a try.

    Anyone else have any experience with this?

    Some links if you're interesting in learning more:

    Sculptors of Monumental Narrative - Radiolab

    Worm therapy (more correctly helminthic therapy) is an immunotherapy based on nature's most powerful probiotics: Hookworm and whipworm balances the immune system and quells inflammation naturally. Autoimmune Therapies was founded by Jasper Lawrence a

    Even Mercola chimed in pro-parasite:

    How Parasites Can Trick Your Immune System into Health

  • #2
    A parasitic nematode is not the same as bacteria/probiotics! I understand the idea behind it, but I feel like there must be another way to accomplish this.

    What particular autoimmune issues are you looking to treat? Personally, this is way beyond anything I would be comfortable trying.
    Depression Lies

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    • #3
      Originally posted by namelesswonder View Post
      A parasitic nematode is not the same as bacteria/probiotics! I understand the idea behind it, but I feel like there must be another way to accomplish this.

      What particular autoimmune issues are you looking to treat? Personally, this is way beyond anything I would be comfortable trying.
      I felt the same way - but the more I researched, the more sense it made...seriously! Check out some of the links.

      Comment


      • #4
        I understand the evidence for it is pretty good. But the idea of crapping out worms is too much for me.
        http://lifemutt.blogspot.sg/ - Gaming, Food Reviews and Life in Singapore

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        • #5
          Originally posted by AMonkey View Post
          I understand the evidence for it is pretty good. But the idea of crapping out worms is too much for me.
          Actually, that was one of the first things I visualized (remembering when my cat had tapeworms...shudder) and it made me immediately reject the idea. But unlike tapeworms, which are actually not beneficial, hookworms don't come out as worms - just microscopic eggs which I believe are invisible to the naked eye.

          Plus, they don't reproduce inside humans, so there's no danger of getting overwhelmed by them. If you infect yourself with 10 hookworms, then 10 is all you'll have.

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          • #6
            Gotta laugh here~ when my eczema was at it's worst, I was getting 'cure' advice from just about everyone. One 'experienced' self-taught nutritional consultant (health food store) insisted eczema was caused by parasites (worms) and I needed to take some sort of supplement to 'cleanse' my system. I tried the stuff~ didn't do diddly except make me feel stupid.

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            • #7
              This is wild...but I don't have a way to investigate it further in the US. Curious to see what else comes of this.
              The Sedition of Sisyphus: Go Find Another Rock

              Griff's Cholesterol Primer

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              • #8
                Uh...no, don't think so.

                " The most significant risk of hookworm infection is anemia, secondary to loss of iron (and protein) in the gut. The worms suck blood voraciously and damage the mucosa. However, the blood loss in the stools is not visibly apparent.

                Ancylostomiasis, also known by several other names, is the disease caused when A. duodenale hookworms, present in large numbers, produce an iron deficiency anemia by sucking blood from the host's intestinal walls.

                Hookworm is a leading cause of maternal and child morbidity in the developing countries of the tropics and subtropics. In susceptible children hookworms cause intellectual, cognitive and growth retardation, intrauterine growth retardation, prematurity, and low birth weight among newborns born to infected mothers. In developed countries, hookworm infection is rarely fatal, but anemia can be significant in a heavily infected individual.

                Hookworm infection is generally considered to be asymptomatic, but as Norman Stoll described in 1962, hookworm is an extremely dangerous infection because its damage is “silent and insidious.”[3] There are general symptoms that an individual may experience soon after infection. Ground-itch, which is an allergic reaction at the site of parasitic penetration and entry, is common in patients infected with N. americanus.[2] Additionally, cough and pneumonitis may result as the larvae begin to break into the alveoli and travel up the trachea. Then once the larvae reach the small intestine of the host and begin to mature, the infected individual will suffer from diarrhea and other gastrointestinal discomfort.[2] However, the “silent and insidious” symptoms referred to by Stoll are related to chronic, heavy-intensity hookworm infections. Major morbidity associated with hookworm is caused by intestinal blood loss, iron deficiency anemia, and protein malnutrition.[4] They result mainly from adult hookworms in the small intestine ingesting blood, rupturing erythrocytes, and degrading hemoglobin in the host.[5] This long-term blood loss can manifest itself physically through facial and peripheral edema; eosinophilia and pica caused by iron deficiency anemia are also experienced by some hookworm-infected patients.[2] Recently, more attention has been given to other important outcomes of hookworm infection that play a large role in public health. It is now widely accepted that children who suffer from chronic hookworm infection can suffer from growth retardation as well as intellectual and cognitive impairments.[5] Additionally, recent research has focused on the potential of adverse maternal-fetal outcomes when the mother is infected with hookworm during pregnancy." (Wikipedia)
                Female, age 51, 5' 9"
                SW - 183 (Jan 22, 2012), CW - 159, GW - healthy.

                Met my 2012 goals by losing 24 pounds.
                2013 goals are to get fit and strong!

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                • #9
                  Worm infection was next on my list of things to try right after primal/low lectin eating. Fortunately, primal eating was successful for me.

                  However, this treatment is fascinating to me. I am an immunologist and have read several very good papers on how immune function is modified by parasitic infection. There are clinical trials underway in the US using "egg" milkshakes to treat MS - but the eggs don't hatch. I have heard that preliminary data is encouraging. A great deal of work is being done to identify which components of the worm are responsible for the immune changes.

                  I was desperately sick and if I ever get back to being that bad I would try the worms.
                  Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

                  http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Meh... I don't think it's a terrible idea.

                    In areas where they are a problem the people are exposed frequently and repeatedly from childhood on... and have no means of ridding themselves of high parasite loads.

                    If you've ingested them on purpose, you have a controlled load... and if it doesn't work, or you become anemic... just take some medicine and oust those little devils.

                    I grew up running barefoot in the countryside on a farm... I was wormed every fall as a matter of course I'm pretty sure, and I imagine I alternately picked up and expelled a decent number of them in my lifetime. *shrug*
                    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
                    ~Friedrich Nietzsche
                    And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.

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                    • #11
                      Before I knew anything about hookworms, I also was totally convinced that any type of parasite in any amount was a terrible thing, I was really fearful of the idea.

                      From the article you linked:

                      Originally posted by jojohaligo View Post
                      In developed countries, hookworm infection is rarely fatal, but anemia can be significant in a heavily infected individual.

                      However, the “silent and insidious” symptoms referred to by Stoll are related to chronic, heavy-intensity hookworm infection.
                      From my research, yes, when a person is overwhelmed by hundreds or thousands of hookworms (due to reinfection multiple times on a daily basis), they will likely suffer from anemia. But in small doses (like 10 hookworms) there is little to no risk of anemia. Anemia is something that takes a long time to develop, and it is something that is easily monitored, so if for some reason even a small number of hookworms/pinworms becomes problematic, it's very easy to kill them off.

                      The CDC actually advises doctors NOT to treat mild hookworm/pinworm infection.

                      Here's another good article on the topic from the NYTimes:

                      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/he...pagewanted=all


                      An excerpt:

                      ...the National Health Services ethics committee let him conduct a study in 2006 with 30 participants, 15 of whom received 10 hookworms each. Tests showed that after six weeks, the T-cells of the 15 worm recipients began to produce lower levels of chemicals associated with inflammatory response, indicating that their immune systems were more suppressed than those of the 15 placebo recipients. Despite playing host to small numbers of parasites, worm recipients reported little discomfort.

                      Trial participants raved about their allergy symptoms disappearing. Word about the study soon appeared online among chronic allergy sufferers, and a Yahoo group on "helminthic therapy" sprung up.

                      "Many of the people who were given a placebo have requested worms, and many of the people with worms have elected to keep them," Pritchard said.





                      Here's another article I found interesting from the Wall Street Journal, which also includes info on a man who used parasites to treat his son's autism:

                      In a Squeaky-Clean World, a Worm Might Help Fight Disease - WSJ.com
                      Last edited by BestBetter; 08-28-2012, 12:37 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BestBetter View Post
                        Before I knew anything about hookworms,...
                        I'll be the first to admit that I don't know enough about it, but I'm not sure I would purposefully ingest them. I also totally understand that we are far too "clean" in our "technological modern society" and I also remember taking worm medicine when I was a kid - it tasted like cherries. If I'm exposed to something as a matter of course, that's one thing (since stressing over everything is also bad for your health), but I'm not sure I would use worms as a treatment... I would have to be convinced, and right now I am not.
                        Female, age 51, 5' 9"
                        SW - 183 (Jan 22, 2012), CW - 159, GW - healthy.

                        Met my 2012 goals by losing 24 pounds.
                        2013 goals are to get fit and strong!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jammies View Post
                          Worm infection was next on my list of things to try right after primal/low lectin eating. Fortunately, primal eating was successful for me.

                          However, this treatment is fascinating to me. I am an immunologist and have read several very good papers on how immune function is modified by parasitic infection. There are clinical trials underway in the US using "egg" milkshakes to treat MS - but the eggs don't hatch. I have heard that preliminary data is encouraging. A great deal of work is being done to identify which components of the worm are responsible for the immune changes.

                          I was desperately sick and if I ever get back to being that bad I would try the worms.
                          Being an immunologist, do you by chance know of any studies involving helminths that are looking for participants?

                          My husband right now is the one who needs it more than me....he's tried everything under the sun (except this) to cure his psoriatic arthritis, which at times is quite debilitating and affects his daily life. He can't do many of the things he used to love, and can easily get cut off socially as a result.

                          He's tried experimenting with every possible diet related thing (paleo, nightshades, lectins, dairy, gluten, soy, grains, alcohol, more meat, no meat, more Omega 3/minimal omega 6, etc...) plus supplements and things like LDN and fumaric acid....these things all have ZERO effect, it's really unbearably frustrating, especially when it seems like so many people are cured with this way of eating and he literally has no improvement whatsoever.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BestBetter View Post
                            Being an immunologist, do you by chance know of any studies involving helminths that are looking for participants?

                            My husband right now is the one who needs it more than me....he's tried everything under the sun (except this) to cure his psoriatic arthritis, which at times is quite debilitating and affects his daily life. He can't do many of the things he used to love, and can easily get cut off socially as a result.

                            He's tried experimenting with every possible diet related thing (paleo, nightshades, lectins, dairy, gluten, soy, grains, alcohol, more meat, no meat, more Omega 3/minimal omega 6, etc...) plus supplements and things like LDN and fumaric acid....these things all have ZERO effect, it's really unbearably frustrating, especially when it seems like so many people are cured with this way of eating and he literally has no improvement whatsoever.
                            I am sorry to hear that your husband is doing so poorly. My arthritis was so terribly severe that is really dominated my entire life, so I can sympathize.

                            Does he take any of the newish biologic medicines? I consider primal eating a miracle for me, but I do use it in conjunction with a biologic. Once the immune response is going haywire, it may require more than just removing inflammatory foods to get it under control. I hope someday to be able to go off the meds, but for now my drug is also a lifesaver.

                            The only trials I know of right now relating to helminth infection are for multiple sclerosis. There are plenty of data showing that helminth infection can help with arthritis in mouse models, but recent data has shown that in humans studies there is not an inverse correlation between helminth infection and the development of arthritis. So it is unclear to me if clinical studies will be pursued - my guess would be yes, at some point they will be tried.

                            Primal wise - I would ask about your husbands vitamin D3 status and if he did the low lectin version (no nuts, dairy, nightshades, grains, coffee, beans, or eggs).

                            To keep my arthritis at bay I need the combo of a good biologic, low lectin eating, and a high vitamin D3 status. Good luck and don't give up!!
                            Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

                            http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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                            • #15
                              So the larva enter through the skin? And the larvae are in the large intestine of an infected person? Suddenly I find the thought of anal sex even less appealing than I had found it prior to receiving this information.
                              In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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