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Thread: Who has cured their autoimmune disease with hookworms/parasites?

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  1. #1
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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. #2
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    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.
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  3. #3
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    Quote 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.

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    I understand the evidence for it is pretty good. But the idea of crapping out worms is too much for me.

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    Quote 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.

  6. #6
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    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.

  7. #7
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    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.

  8. #8
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    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)
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  9. #9
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    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:

    Quote 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 at 12:37 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote 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!

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