The Truth About Hookworms and Allergies
I recently heard that hookworms can cure allergies, asthma, and even other diseases, such as Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, and ulcerative colitis. As a severe allergy sufferer, I thought "great, I just need to get infested with hookworms, and my allergies will go away!" Well, I like to do my research prior to making a decision such as a deliberate infestation with hookworms. There is actually a name for intentionally using parasites, such as hookworms, to treat allergies or other autoimmune disorders: helminthic therapy. Here's the definition of helminthic therapy:
A type of immunotherapy, is the treatment of autoimmune diseases and immune disorders by means of deliberate infestation with a helminth or with the ova of a helminth. Helminths are parasitic worms such as hookworms and whipworms. Source
This article is a summation of the research I've conducted on helminthic therapy and my thoughts on using parasites, such as hookworms, to cure allergies. Since I am a chronic allergy sufferer, this research is critical to my decision on helminthic therapy.
Hygiene Theory and Helminths
Hygiene Hypothesis: Rationale for Helminthic Therapy
"The hygiene hypothesis states that infants and children who lack exposure to infectious agents are more susceptible to allergic diseases via modulation of immune system development." Source
Allergies and autoimmune diseases have significantly increased in industrialized, modern countries. The hygiene hypothesis has been used as the explanation. The hygiene hypothesis, suggests the following:
- We use too many chemicals (such as hand sanitizers, food preservatives, etc.)
- We are overly concerned with cleanliness
- We don't let our children play outside as much any more
- We take too many antibiotics, especially as children
This behavior and the general sanitation obsession of modern societies have resulted in the increase in autoimmune incidents.
CDC's Hookworm Lifecycle
What are Hookworms?
Hookworm is an intestinal parasite of humans that causes mild diarrhea and abdominal pain. Heavy infection with hookworm can create serious health problems for newborns, children, pregnant women, and persons who are malnourished. Hookworm infections occur mostly in tropical and subtropical climates. In 2002, the estimated number of person infected with hookworm was 1.3 billion.
Livestrong Hookworm Video
Can Hookworms Cause Serious Health Problems?
Yes. The most serious results of hookworm infection are the development of anemia and protein deficiency caused by blood loss. When children are continuously infected by many worms, the loss of iron and protein can retard growth and mental development, sometimes irreversibly. Hookworm infection can also cause tiredness, and difficulty breathing with exertion. Severe disease can cause congestive heart failure.
- Which species infect humans? Two species of hookworms infect humans: Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus
- How many people have hookworms? Over 1 billion people have been infected with hookworms
- How big do hookworms get while inside you? Adult male hookworms are typically 5-9 mm long, adult female hookworms can be as long a 1 cm
- How many hookworms do I need for helminthic treatment? I0 to15 are the numbers I've consistently seen described as optimal
- Can the hookworms crawl out of my butt while I'm sleeping? I have yet to find any evidence that supports this for hookworms, although other parasites, such as pinworms are known to crawl out the anus. Source
Jasper Lawrence Testimonial
Jasper Lawrence Interviews Todd Troutman
Using Hookworms to Treat Crohns
Testimonials for Using Hookworms
There are a number of testimonials out there from people that have used hookworms to cure their allergies, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases. I found a few of the more interesting testimonials from the following people:
- Jasper Lawrence - Jasper is probably the most famous proponent of using hookworms and helminthic therapy, in general. He was featured on NPR and in the New York Times. He even has his own website: Jasper Lawrence.
- Todd Troutman - Jasper Lawrence interviews Todd Troutman about his experience with helminthic therapy and using hookworms to treat his allergies.
How To Contact Dr. Llamas
Paseo de Ensenada # 1912
Baja California Norte
+52 (664) 680 1484
Parasites in Your Stomach
How to Get the Hookworm Treatment : Tijuana Bound
What's the Process?
Make an appointment with Dr. Jorge A. Llamas and he will provide instructions to prepare for your trip. It will pick you up at the airport and escort you to our clinic. Upon arrival at the clinic that will read and sign a liability waiver. The doctor will do some tests to determine if you have any conditions that would exclude you as a candidate. This includes blood tests and physical examination. If you qualify for treatment will be given a dose of intestinal helminths and care instructions. Since it is possible that some susceptible individuals may develop an allergic reaction are forced to stay in the clinic for several hours after inoculation of observation. Once they are evaluated by the doctor who will write a prescription for medication to end treatment. The entire process takes less than a day.
Do I have to go to Mexico?
Yes, the laws are very restrictive in this regard. The FDA has ruled that the worms to regulate immune system are a drug. Any medicine that has not passed the review process of the FDA is an experimental drug. For the United States, the FDA allows, through personal importation policy, for patients in whom there is no comparable treatment started to import a medicine under the direction of a doctor in a foreign country for personal use. Note that the FDA reserves the right to change this policy at any time. Personal importation policy is not a right or law, but rather a reallocation of priorities for implementation. If they change their minds can do so without prior notice.
How much does it Cost?
As far as I can tell, about $4000, plus travel expenses.
Will I Use Hookworms to Treat my Allergies?
Although evidence has shown that helminthic therapy has worked for quite a few people, I'm not prepared at this time to travel to Mexico for the treatment. If my allergies were completely debilitating or I had Crohns disease or something much more severe, I would be willing to take the trip and get the worm treatment. Right now, however, the thought of having worms living and moving around in my stomach and coming out in my poo kind of grosses me out and makes me feel I can live with my allergies for now!
It would be nice if scientists could figure out what the hookworms actually do and somehow put it in tablet form - I might be more open to taking a pill a day or something.
If I were really suffering and miserable most of the time, I would do the treatment though. Other than the $5000 or so it costs, you really have nothing to lose. If the hookworms don't work for you, there are medications to get rid of them and return you to your pre-hookworm state.