Are Parasites Primal?

HookwormThe environment of ages past has shaped who we are today, even (or especially) the difficult, unpleasant stuff – this is the foundation of ancestral health. Take exercise. Early man’s daily life was one of frequent, constant activity interspersed with infrequent bouts of intense activity. Hard exercise is, well, hard and physically unpleasant in the moment, and constant low level activity is often untenable given modern schedules, but both make us stronger, healthier, and ultimately happier. Intermittent fasting, while difficult, can be beneficial when artificially imposed today because our genome evolved under periods of nutritional stress where food was scarce. Going without food from time to time was expected; it was our genome’s evolutionary backdrop. Our bodies evolved with these hardships as assumed and inevitable aspects of the environment. Our modern bodies function best when exposed to these hardships.

What about another almost unavoidable aspect of the ancestral environment – parasites? Do our bodies expect and function best with a few (dozen) worms along for the ride? You know about gut flora’s effect on our immune response and overall health, but does the fact that our immune systems evolved with the presence of various helminthic worms also have implications for our health?

A growing number of researchers think it’s likely. They posit the “Old Friends Hypothesis,” which suggests that helminthic worms and other parasites commonly assumed to be wholly pathogenic are actually “old friends” that can provide a steady, low-level anti-inflammatory buffer that reduces the incidence of autoimmune diseases like celiac, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and Crohn’s disease. Populations with high parasite loads tend to display a remarkable absence of autoimmune disease as well as distinctive genetic markers that bias them toward higher baseline inflammation levels that are only held back by the presence of worms. Many of the alleles associated with having parasites are also associated with celiac, multiple sclerosis, colitis, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, which suggests parasite/host co-evolution. In the presence of worms, maybe those alleles become harmless.

If you’re wondering why worms would ever be a “good thing,” you have to realize that helminthic worms are stubborn. They get lodged in there. They can’t really be removed by our immune system because the inflammatory response required to do so would damage the host (that’s us) more than keeping the thing around would damage the host. In turn, the worm doesn’t want to overstay its welcome by taking too much from the host and killing it. So, the host adapts to its inextricable bedfellow, while the bedfellow adapts to its host by modulating the host’s inflammatory response. And in time, it becomes reliant on the parasite, and the parasite becomes an external fixture of our immune system. It’s not really part of us, but we treat it like it is because it’s been there for so long over so many generations that we can’t function without it. We’re used to the inflammatory buffer. Humans have encountered many different species of helminth, and most, if not all of them modulate immune function in unique ways.

And when it’s no longer there, when we move to cities and stop having parasite-enriched dirt under our fingernails, when we enact widespread sanitation measures and clean up our water and throw our trash away in nice neat bins that get cleaned every week, there are unforeseen consequences. Even though infectious disease rates and deaths from infectious disease drop, and more infants make it through to adulthood, there’s no free lunch. As long as the old friends are there to buffer against the elevated inflammation, autoimmune disease is relatively absent. When the old friends are withdrawn (like through anti-helminthic therapy), autoimmune disease and allergies increase.

So, what should we do? Go spelunking in a rural Indonesian porta-potty? Take shots of Ganges River water? French kiss a pig? You’d actually be surprised. One guy cured his asthma by walking barefoot through the latrines of Cameroon. While that may be the “most Primal” way to do things, it’s not advised. As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of parasites out there whose effects we don’t quite understand and there are plenty whose effects we know to be pathogenic. Inoculating yourself with random wild helminths could cure your allergies or it could give you tapeworm (or both, I suppose).

Trials have been completed and more trials are underway, and the results are extremely promising thus far. Just so you know I’m not pulling your legs, let’s go through a few of them:

Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s, colitis): Epidemiology suggests a protective effect of childhood helminth exposure on IBD risk, but what about controlled trials in adults? In one case, patients with Crohn’s disease who were exposed to hookworms had less reactivity to the parasites than controls without Crohn’s; the hookworms were less of an “immune insult,” and presumably more of an aid.

Allergies: A number of helminth species down-regulate allergic responses to otherwise harmless antigens by modulating the immune system, but some species appear to have the opposite effect (common roundworm infection for example has been associated with asthma and shrimp allergy). The children of mothers given antihelminthic drugs during pregnancy tend to have more infant eczema, which may presage future allergies.

Asthma: One study found that hookworm infection mildly improved airway responsiveness in asthmatic patients, with no effect on other parameters of asthma, but the dose was small – just 10 hookworm larvae. The most common dosage for hookworm therapy is around 35 larvae, so it’s possible the dosage was just too low.

Multiple sclerosis: Via a retinoic acid-dependent pathway (eat your vitamin A!), helminths have been shown to modulate the immune response in multiple sclerosis patients. Those who were infected had better outcomes than those who were not.

Celiac disease: Human hookworm infection suppresses the inflammatory immune response to gluten normally seen in patients with celiac. It even improves mucosal immunity and may help heal celiac patients, not just suppress their response. However, another study using an oral wheat challenge (equivalent to 16 grams of gluten a day, which is a fairly high dose) in celiacs found no benefit to hookworm infection.

Helminths may also be a potential therapy for atherosclerosisjoint inflammationautism, and type 1 diabetes (PDF, if you catch it before it develops). They seem to have a favorable impact on gut microbes, restoring the mucosal lining and rebalancing the floral communities to be less inflammatory in macaques with diarrhea, so there’s probably a role for general immune and digestive health as well.

Okay, that’s cool and all, but we’re still dealing with worms wriggling around in your gut. There’s little else more unnerving and repulsive than the thought of hookworms setting up shop in and gnawing on your small intestinal lining. And there are dangers to helminths, particularly in developing countries where people tend to be malnourished, absent access to medical care, and carry large parasite loads. Most intestinal worms consume blood. Get enough of them lodged in there and you can end up with anemia, malnutrition, growth deficiencies – especially if you’re a young child.

But anemia only occurs when people are getting reinfected due to frequent contact with parasite-laden fecal matter in the environment and the parasite loads get out of hand. In a controlled, clinical setting where infection is carefully curated (to prevent reinfection) and the patients have access to plenty of nutritious food and medical care, it’s far safer. As it stands now, helminths must satisify certain safety and efficacy parameters before being considered for therapy. Qualifying worms:

  • should not have the potential to cause disease in man at therapeutic doses
  • should not be able to reproduce in a host, thus allowing control of dose
  • should not be a potential vector for other parasites, viruses, or bacteria
  • should not be easily transmissible from the host to other people
  • should be compatible with a patient’s existing medication
  • should have a significant period of residence in the host
  • must be easily eradicated from the host, if required

The majority of clinical trials of helminthic therapy have a relative paucity of adverse reactions. Diarrhea, stomach upset, and skin irritation are the most common side effects, but usually only for the first few days and not in everyone. If it were to get out of hand, anti-parasite drugs are effective, fast-acting, and safe.

Grok definitely had parasites, but he probably wasn’t loaded to the gills, instead carrying just a few select species. The most prevalent helminth among a group like the San Bushmen, for example, is necator americanus, the human hookworm (PDF) species thought to have the most therapeutic potential. The largest parasite loads are seen in agricultural communities whose inhabitants have close, constant contact with animals (and their waste) and each other (and their waste). Hunter-gatherers had (and have) higher parasite loads than modern industrialized populations, but not as high as agriculturalists because they were steadily on the move and switched locations when parasites and parasite-laden feces became a problem. When hunter-gatherers hunker down and become sedentary, parasite infections skyrocket.

Pig whipworm is a current favorite among helminth enthusiasts, since it’s non-native to humans, it doesn’t survive for long and it doesn’t reproduce in the human host. This prevents overpopulation, but it also necessitates frequent re-dosing of eggs to maintain treatment, which gets very expensive. Treatment with pig whipworm can easily hit thousands of dollars per month.

Necator americanus, the human hookworm, appears to have the most potential against autoimmune diseases. It’s native to humans, cost-effective (lives for 3-5 years inside the host after a one-time infection), and sheds its eggs in the feces. As long as your feces are going into a toilet and not your backyard, there’s no chance of increasing your parasite load from reinfection.

This information isn’t easily actionable, not like information about exercise or diet or sleep is actionable. First of all, worms are scary. Way scarier than trying squats or eating liver or setting a strict bedtime. Parasites can be problematic, and many of us really have no way of safely inoculating ourselves. Which ones? Where do we find them? What if we mess up and get something really pathogenic? After all, the people who do carry parasite burdens generally don’t go about looking for them; they just pick them up through incidental, everyday contact. Clinical trials are underway, and I’d imagine the FDA will be getting involved soon enough.

If you are interested in helminthic therapy, you’ll probably have to handle things yourself. Here are a few ways to learn more, but please be advised that I don’t recommend, exactly, you do any of the following, and suggest you consult with a doctor before proceeding:

You could join the helminthic therapy group on Facebook and/or the Yahoo mailing list, where you’ll gain access to plenty of likeminded souls with extensive personal experience with worm therapy, as well as helpful resources, links, and advice. Brave souls are even doing some clandestine unregulated worm trading.

Nearly everyone but US residents can have worms shipped to them by Autoimmune Therapies.

US residents will have to truck it down to Worm Therapy, which operates out of Tijuana, Mexico, just across the border from San Diego. They offer hookworm and whipworm. Another option is to contact Coronado Biosciences, a company that’s currently running US trials for pig whipworm in Crohn’s disease in a number of cities across the country.

Also, mention it to your physician! He or she may balk or cringe or shower you with condescension, but it’s a good idea to be under medical supervision when infecting oneself with helminthic worms. And hey, if it works – and there’s a good chance it might – you very well could change an influential mind.

Is there a role for helminths in general health and immunity? Probably. But I’d wait for more research to take place before having nematode eggs and bacon for breakfast. If you’re suffering from any of the diseases shown to be modulated or improved by helminthic therapy, however, it might be worth researching.

What about you guys? Grossed out? Intrigued? About to book a trip to Cameroon? Let’s hear your reactions in the comment section!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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94 thoughts on “Are Parasites Primal?”

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  1. Good luck to all you brave souls willing to jump in the latrine…

    For now I am going to stick with the bacteria and fungi from my cultured food.

    1. I have personally used hookworm to combat severe allergies and asthma. Usually you are dosed with 25 invisible hookworm larvae, placed on the skin under a bandaid. Yes they do go in through skin causing itching, but the rash is like having poison oak or ivy. Often you take another dose or two of 25 after a few months. It is really not gross – only in your mind, but the benefits can be great for some people who have not been able to relieve severe allergies by other treatment.

      1. Where did you get this done? I have alopecia universalis (another autoimmune and inflammatory disease that has been stubborn with treatment).

        Please email me or comment back- I am dying to know!

  2. This article helps explain why it’s important for kids to play outside. I played outside all the time as a kid (except in the hottest part of the day in the summer), and I really don’t get sick very much.

    Being outside in the woods- getting fresh air, lots of sleep and exposing yourself to (gasp) nature- is always a good thing.

    …well, unless that “nature” is a hungry mama bear.

    1. Yes, probably, I wish there was a .gif instead of just a picture for this post. Something showing a parasitic worm or piece of creature latch on over and over or already comfy and plunging its blood extractor. Or rearing back dripping blood from its maws after gorging on someone’s inner skin.

      1. There is something hilariously awesome in the idea of people black-market trading parasitic worms, akin to charging people for you to sneeze on them when you have a cold… 🙂

        1. New website harryancestralworms: 10% discount code for Mark Sisson readers: WORMINAPPLE10

    2. This doesn’t require much desperation as there are clinical means of taking the worms and it has less negative side effects than aspirin.

  3. I just did a Google image search for ‘hookworm’ and was presented with loads of very painful looking pics of worms just under the skin. Not something I shall be volunteering for any time soon.

  4. I think I just discovered the Primal line I won’t be crossing.

    Interesting read though!

  5. It’s creepy enough that cell for cell, we are more bacteria than human. Thanks, but no thanks.

  6. This is funny in a way. You know, I can totally imagine that 30 years from now, people will be taking probiotic capsules with worm eggs in them. Taking bacteria as a supplement was surely just as gross a thought in 1950. 🙂

    1. Anyway, I’d totally take worm probiotics. XD I mean, clinically proven ones with a select choice of “good” worms in them.

  7. Mark, if this is your way to worm yourself into our hearts…it may be a tough sell.

  8. Parasites are not only primal, but they were pretty common in modern man up till about 150 years ago. That’s really when trash and sewage started being hauled away in cites, also coinciding with anti-helminthic drugs, and worm infestations started dropping dramatically. It was most likely unprecedented in human history.

    I think worm therapy and fecal transplants are two of the most promising medical interventions currently being studied. They are probably the two grossest as well, although most medicine is pretty icky when you think about it.

    The book “An Epidemic of Absence” is a great read for anyone interested in this subject.

    Lastly, there may be things you can do to mimic some of the possible benefits of having a hookworm without actually hosting a hookworm. For example, if you are interested in benefits of iron reduction that worms provide, you could simply donate blood as opposed to cultivating a colony of hookworms. In “The Iron Factor of Aging,” Francesco S. Facchini suggested that low iron stores where a feature of all primal indivuals, due to blood lost in battle or other trauma, and also from worms.

    1. I don’t think it’s advisable to bleed out your iron stores.

      1. It certainly varies. If your iron stores are low or you are anemic, it absolutely is not a good idea. However, Iron can become elevated, and be seriously problematic. Hemochromatosis is a serious disease, and is associated with all sorts of problems, from liver damage to diabetes to heart disease and cancer. It’s the most potent oxidant we encounter, which is great for hemoglobin, but also great at generating free radicals. Lower iron levels are the current thinking as to why women tend to suffer fewer heart attacks than men. Add to that that frequent blood donors tend to live longer and have less disease. And also, clinical trials that lowered even modestly high iron levels saw an improvements in things like glucose tolerance, insulin sensitity, and blood pressure, and I would say it’s foolish NOT to monitor your iron levels, and get them toward the lower end of the spectrum. “Exposing the Hidden Dangers of Iron” is a health book that everyone should read.

    2. When my iron was at the low end of normal and my ferritin was very low due to the consumption of gluten I had hair loss and was getting sick with colds that lasted for much longer than usual. Avoiding gluten completely and iron supplements for 6 months, my hair is much better and no colds for a year now! Just because our ancestors might have suffered from anemia I don’t think that this is the optimal way to live and thrive.

      1. Anemia is NOT a good. Period. But excess iron isn’t good, either. Think of insulin for a second. Injecting it can be benficial and even life saving to a diabetic. But injecting it into someone with normal levels can be deadly. Again, I believe it’s something everyone should monitor.

  9. Hmm, I could go to Tijuana, and get back before bedtime. I probably always knew I could get worms, there.

  10. I’m thinking there might be a line of Primal Blueprint Hookworm capsules coming to the PB store soon.

    1. Re: Candida…it’s my understanding that probiotics are the answer to the overgrowth.

  11. Having suffered from large roundworm infections at least twice, I find this hard to believe. I have come to believe that my recurrent infections were due to my leaky gut, celiac disease and dysbiosis brought on by the SAD. I am hopeful that by following a primal diet, I can heal my gut, boost my immune system and avoid recurring parasitic infections.

  12. Coronado Biosciences bet the company on helminth therapy for Crohn’s. Clinical trials failed, however (they said that placebos had a better than expected result!) and their stock tanked. (Analysts are touting the stock after a recent rally for no apparent reason, but the “rally” is from $1.50 to about $3, after being as high as $12.50).

    They’re still looking at TSO (Trichuris suis ova) therapy for autism but unfortunately the best clinical trials for TSO and Crohn’s have turned up nada.

  13. I remember reading a Chris Kesser interview with Moises Velasquez-Manoff, who actually wrote a book on this stuff. Really interesting – I’m glad Mark is posting about this!

    I’ve heard that much of helminth’s ability to modulate the immune system is also a function of timing (how old you are when you first become infected). Mark – do you know anything about timing and the efficacy of helminths?

  14. We host more than we know already. I still shudder at close ups of eyelash mites we all have.

    Intentionally ingesting parasites does sound grotesque, but so does fecal transplants, and that has proven to be a literal life saver for many conditions. So, while I am not going to jump right into this, I will definitely be following the studies in the future.

    1. i have been using fecal transplants from my life partner every other day for 2 years, I have no colitis symptoms any longer. Yes, when we began, it seemed to so gross. It has however, redeemed my life! Well worth the ick factor.

  15. I have close, constant contact with animals and their waste every day. I work in the pet industry and have for 30 years now. I’m sure I have some parasites.

    I feel healthy but wonder what would be the signs and symptoms of an overload?

  16. I’ve never been more happy that my diet has, so far at least, cured all of my problems. I would hate to have to resort to something like this.

    On the flipside, I smell a new sci-fi storyline! The future is worms? Couldn’t be worse than Starship Troopers.

  17. When I was a kid mom would take us into town to get wormed when our butts started itching.

    1. can you explain further, please? I may uhm.. ehem.. have the same problem. Thanks 😛

      1. Assuming you’re serious, pinworms are a common problem. I think Pruritus ani is a more general term. So, google those.

        I have had an anal itch for decades, but, just some rare flares after going paleo.

        1. Pinworms. Easy to diagnose- stick a piece of scotch tape to the affected area in the morning right after waking up. Take to clinic and the lab will look at it under a microscope to see the little buggers. Easy treatment too.

      2. You might try a good cream, such as Aquaphor, before assuming you need to be dosed for worms. Might just be dry skin. Hemorrhoids can itch, even if you think you don’t have them. Also, food allergies can cause anal itching.

  18. Well, people living in the country usually find out they have parasites at some point in their childhood lives, take some blue pills and Viola they are gone. I wonder if that’s why I am so healthy now? Well, now that I no longer eat junk food that is. Just the thought of worms gets the “ew, gross” reaction from this sissy-la-la for sure. However, don’t know if I’d consider it as one of the last resorts if I had some problem that won’t go away any other way….. 🙂

  19. Not enough worms? First World problem!

    It reminds me of an old campfire song, “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms….”

    1. Not enough worms is a First World Problem. Then again, so is Type 1 Diabetes, Crohns, Multiple Sclerosis and Asthama.

  20. Could this again just be linked to a reduction in blood sugar levels?

  21. Sorry Mark- this is the only thing you’ve posted that I don’t agree with. Parasites are problematic! Hookworms cause all sorts of problems, but the biggest is that it affects people’s sleep (a good nights sleep is so important), they’re also linked with depression, anxiety, lockjaw and more. Hulda Clark claims that parasites are the cause of cancer. They also produce waste that is very acidic!!!

    1. There’s no doubt that parasites, and worms in particular, can be problematic. However, the Hygeine and Old Friends Hypothesis is the idea that some of these parasites could impart benefits to the host as well. It’s not like all parasites and bacteria are either just “good” or “bad,” there is likely a continuum.

      And worms “acidic waste” could actually be beneficial- it’s an alkaline colon the tends to promote pathogenic bacteria and colon cancer.

    2. Anything that Hulda Clark claims I would pay no attention to. I can handle a step or two outside of conventional wisdom, but she is a quackity quack quack quack.

    1. I think it might be worth highlighting, if you read the post carefully you’ll find that I don’t outright “recommend” helminthic therapy. I’ve simply explained the hypothesis and the evolutionary argument for it, made an attempt at summarizing some of the interesting research going on, and discussed what diseases they’re trying to treat with it. I find it pretty fascinating, but YMMV!

      1. Thank goodness Mark because I thought you might start selling hookworm supplements! 😉

  22. Think I’ll skip Cameroon for now, but no doubt a fascinating topic! I hope you’ll keep your eyes and ears open for more!

  23. Okay… sitting here reading on my lunch break, had to forgo the article until I finished my organic veggie and turkey stir-fry. But have always heard that a little dirt under the fingernails would never hurt me and may even keep my immune system healthier, ie: making mudpies, building sandcastles etc. Interesting article.

  24. Love it! I followed the Yahoo helminthic group for a while… but I will only take the plunge if I come down with an auto-immune condition, since there are risks to inoculating with worms.

    Some of the participants on that group have pretty awesome success stories too.

    Coronado’s Crohns trial failed. It has a few other trials running, but from my reading of hte yahoo group it sounded like hookworms had a better chance of success than pig whipworms. But there isn’t much money to be made off inoculation once every 3 to 5 years, so who wants to try to push that through the FDA’s trials. Pig whipworms require dosing every two weeks, so there is a lot of money on the table, hence the interest from Coronado…

  25. Well that’s the most I’ve read about the potential beneficial effects of worms in our guts. Interesting stuff. I don’t think I’m going to rush out and try and get more worms inside me, but I will keep a closer eye on this subject and who knows?

    Thanks for the interesting and different article.

    Does colon cleansing potentially flush out these good worms?

  26. Hmm…
    Worm Therapy in Tijuana…
    Isn’t that when you finally get to the bottom of a bottle of Mezcal tequila?

  27. “Once when I was very young, I put a worm upon my thumb” Haiku by David Cofer

  28. I passed an ascaris worm when I was about 12 yo or so, I thought my guts were coming out….. Pretty panicked, for a few minutes. Ha…

  29. This makes me feel much better about the mouthful of snow I just ate off of my car.

  30. Darn, I looked at this again and realized that I had misquoted the venerable David Cofer. His timeless and apropos haiku actually is this:

    “Once when I was very young, I put a worm upon my tongue”

  31. There’s a new Mira Grant novel called Parasite where everyone takes worm pills just like probiotics. But I think they turn into zombies.

    1. +1 – Worms are okay on fishhooks, but no way do I want them in my bod.

  32. I’ll wait until they isolate all the pertinent antigens and put it into a neat little shot of tequila.

    Then I will have it after dinner every night as a booster.

  33. What I love about MDA is that I’m always learning something new… even if it makes me queasy to think about!

  34. I hope non of the people to whom I have been recommending PB find this article first! Cos I’ve probably lost them!

    1. was just thinking that same thing! just passed this website on to a patient at my dental surgery today… he will DEF think I’m nuts, now!

  35. Cool article. I have no problem with the idea, and am not grossed out by it whatsoever. Whatever works.

    But I have no known allergy or any obvious auto-immune issue, so I can speak, eh 😉

  36. I wonder if I’ll be changing any doctors’/nurses’ minds soon. My dog attack hand gash is much better than it was and I’ve been dealing with it naturally. A few doctors and nurses told me I needed or should take antibiotics and many people looked at me with doom in their eyes saying “THAT’S TOO INFECTED” because it looked a bit scary but I refused them all. I used raw honey as a salve and that worked excellently (one doctor said he worked in Africa and used to use honey on patients’ cuts there all the time and used it to heal a similar wound to mine from a knife on himself) and a bit of some natural cream from a supplement store where the lady who works there is a saint and keeps giving me free samples and even brought some meal replacement stuff for me from home.

    1. I went back to the hospital and proved I didn’t need antibiotics and they still said I ought to take at least one. Then they wouldn’t give me my stuff back after I took a handfull of rhodiola pills and some organic molasses. They thought I was trying to get further shpongled.
      The reason I was there is that I got punched out when I was too drunk. I don’t remember it happening. Apparently I tried to “break in” to an apartment building, a few doors down or so from one I’ve been known to visit regularly, and “security” or “the bouncer” or “a few of them” attacked me. I wonder why and if it was someone from around that doesn’t like me taking advantage of my inebriation.
      I woke up in the hospital. Catscans show I have some minor jaw fracturing that does not require surgical intervention. I have black eyes. My cheeks are swollen.

      1. Its nice to hear that the hand is healing up nicely with the honey. Sounds like you know what to do to heal your body, but what’s with the “me taking advantage of my inebriation” business? I get the feeling that you may be close to a break through there too, perhaps? None of my business tho.
        Nice to hear from you. I will put a jar of raw honey in my “emergency kit” thanks to you. 🙂

        1. I feel like I should answer your question rather than just respond.
          I was ‘double speaking’ George Orwell style as a joke

        2. Or you could go another way and incoorporate Tolkien dwarven doors – I was also thinking of that friend

      2. As it turns out, I was told by a reliable friend that I was lying down on the floor drunk and the super intendent started to beat me. I thought me might have worn a ring due to two dents in my facial epidermis but I think they were caused by boots.

        1. I went back to talk to the guy once I found out who it was and he started swinging at me again. He wanted to get in close so I took him down on his back by wrapping my left arm around his neck and taking him to his back and then I gouged his closed eye a bit with my thumb. When the other two guys watching said it was enough I got up and he got up and cried out, “My eye!” so I can be sure it hurt him. Eye for and Eye.

        2. Sorry for the cornucopia of successive comments. Just adding what I think is the final installment. Some time after the second altercation I had a brief argument with the guy again and then (I think within about a month) he had three heart attacks and had to be brought back in the hospital. I hear he has a bad heart and wonder if those arrests/arrhythmias/whatever were at all influenced by the stress of the violence or arguing. I was trying to cause an overload of stress for him at least, thinking of how it could be harmful.
          The breaks in my face healed fine enough. I look the same on the surface at least.The jaw fracture was apparently broken inwards. When blowing my nose a few days after I felt some pressure in the area building with the force of my blowing and then felt something go pop so I think that was the broken part[s?] popping back mostly to place. I guess it was a freak event of bone setting.There’s just a little bump under my skin there now and no debilitating effects or lasting pain.

  37. There’s certainly a precedent for beneficial symbiotic relationships in the human body. I wonder if anyone has done research into whether or not there is a synergistic effect between the host’s and the parasite’s responses to a common pathogen. There’s also a question about how much of the benefit from a parasitic habitation requires an adaptive response, and how much is inborn response.

  38. This is really intriguing. I’ve recently been diagnosed with an IBD but luckily it’s mild. If it were worse I would be all for trying this therapy. Its cost prohibitive otherwise for such mild symptoms at this time.

  39. I’m weighing in. I had Fibromyalgia/Celiac issues and I was in so much pain for so long, I would have tried anything that sounded like a possible fix, even a worm.

  40. Everyone I know thinks that my eating bacon and eggs is gonna kill me… Don’t think I will mention the ‘worms are good for you’ message!

  41. I have no personal experience with this subject, but I have to recommend the book “Parasite Rex” by Carl Zimmer to anyone who’s interested in the role parasites play in life, evolution, and ecosystems throughout the world. Zimmer is a biologist & the book is packed with fascinating scientific info (though it’s also pretty much guaranteed to gross you out).

  42. Mark is nuts. Just because it’s paleo/primal doesn’t mean it’s advised and healthy. Better ditch the toilet paper and start wiping with pinecones and twigs. People, toilet paper is not primal, and I just can’t imagine what Mark wipes with. I work at an animal shelter. The whole building is covered with poop. You better believe everything has poop on it… EVERYTHING. Co-workers don’t wear gloves, and they frequently get sick. I see worms and parasites from animals daily. They vomit, have diarrhea, skin infections, have all kinds of sicknesses. These animals are not healthy and dewormers and antiparasitic stuff are used frequently.

    1. Please at least take the time to read the article before trashing it in the comments. You will notice that he mentions specific species MAY help with certain disorders. I don’t think I saw anywhere in the article where he makes the case that all parasites are symbiotic and helpful. This is interesting and thought provoking and doesn’t warrant needless trashing from those without reading comprehension.

  43. The studies that Mark cited do show some suggestion of worms being an effective therapy for autoimmune conditions, but they obviously still have a long way to go before being suggested as treatment.

    I think that the whole way this issue is being studied is wrong though. Worms (and other natural parasites) aren’t meant to be introduced after the manifestation of an autoimmune condition, but rather early in childhood and continuously throughout adolescence. Studies like that would take at least 20-30 years to be conducted though.

  44. Highly recommend ‘An Epidemic of Absence’ for anyone who wants to know more about the relationship between parasites and autoimmune disease. Very interesting read.

  45. I was just in a hospital for three days under a form one because someone called the cops on me when they saw me take an extra dose of pharmaceuticals. When the cops showed up and found out I wasn’t trying to hurt myself they called an ambulance. It didn’t do much to help me. They pumped me with 0.9saline constantly and I got to shower twice and eat a crappy diet, and some of the food I had with me = sardines, bananas, oranges (from lobbies). My creatinine level registered 30000. They say it’s normally supposed to be 500. It was time for an ab workout though so I hooked my feet under the bars of the bed and did 100 situps, then a set of 30, then I was put in restraints for a while.

  46. I think it’s very interesting and intriguing; however, the gross-out factor is extremely high!

  47. I started having symptoms of MS when I was 16, which I then got diagnosed with after an MRI following my 2nd relapse 2 years later. I put my name down for receiving information on any clinical trials, and the only one was a helminthric therapy trial on hookworm infection. While I didn’t participate in the end, I have since wondered how much impact my repeated roundworm infections had (mud pies, climbing trees, making dens etc all whilst I still bit my nails may have accounted for this!) While Mark mentions roundworms as a negative in this article, it was what else the pills wiped out of my system in addition to the roundworms that always concerned me.

  48. But, please, how does one get rid of parasites which one may have had for year and years? Thanks