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The Truth About Hookworms and Allergies

Updated on August 26, 2011

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.

Hookworm (nice teeth!)
Hookworm (nice teeth!)

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
  • Etc.

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.

Hookworm FAQs

  • 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
22200 México
+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.


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    • KenDeanAgudo profile image

      Kenneth C Agudo 3 years ago from Tiwi, Philippines

      This is superb! I have written some few hubs about parasitic worms and never thought it would be a way to cure other ailment. Its weird but its like nature versus nature, parasite versus parasite. You have also cited different sources which makes this hub more reliable to read.

      I enjoyed it

    • Barbara Hopkins profile image

      Barbara Hopkins 4 years ago from Salem, Oregon

      Any one doing studies on Rheumatoid arthritis- or has anyone tried hookworms as a treatment for RA?

    • Johnny Fleming profile image

      Johnny Fleming 5 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      please help me.

      I would like to give this a shot. I'm a plumber and I rarely ever get sick. But I just recently developed major asthma And it really sucks. And I get major pain in my side when I eat. Constipation or the runs. My stomach is always messed up too. The only changes I made was I quit smoking And I treated myself for pin worms several times just over a year ago(because im a plumber in dirty places). I'm not sure what I did to cause this. Maybe I killed off something I needed in me. Also, I've tried most everything to get better. Antibiotics, rest, diets, you name it on asthma meds. And I'm not better yet... Sometimes worst. My doctor said move closer to the ocean for the cleaner air I may feel better.

      I need to feel better as my income has gone down because of this. And I fear not being able to pay my bills when i cant work.

      Id rather have worms and breathe so please contact me. I'll trade work, money, or what ever you need. I will pay for a Mexico vacation also. Just make me breathe again.

    • Johnny Fleming profile image

      Johnny Fleming 5 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      please help me.

      I would like to give this a shot. I'm a plumber and I rarely ever get sick. But I just recently developed major asthma And it really sucks. And I get major pain in my side when I eat. Constipation or the runs. My stomach is always messed up too. The only changes I made was I quit smoking And I treated myself for pin worms several times just over a year ago(because im a plumber in dirty places). I'm not sure what I did to cause this. Maybe I killed off something I needed in me. Also, I've tried most everything to get better. Antibiotics, rest, diets, you name it on asthma meds. And I'm not better yet... Sometimes worst. My doctor said move closer to the ocean for the cleaner air I may feel better.

      I need to feel better as my income has gone down because of this. And I fear not being able to pay my bills when i cant work.

      Id rather have worms and breathe so please contact me. I'll trade work, money, or what ever you need. I will pay for a Mexico vacation also. Just make me breathe again.

    • profile image

      George M 5 years ago

      Thanks for the article, a lot of educational info. When i researched about helminthic therapy i came across multiple articles that are mentioned above.

      Also, Todd Troutmans interview inspired me a lot. I can tell whether the interview was staged or not, and this one looks legit.

      I also came across another kind of technique called "Buteyko Breathing Technique"

      It worked for some people.

      As for if the infestation is disgusting, it probably is, but it's nothing compared to when you go to the gym everyday to work on your stamina and still get out of breath after climbing couple stairs. Or when the inhaler doesn't work for you in some days, and you can't work because you spend half of your day calming your breath just to avoid going to the hospital and wait 6 hrs to get checked at.

      With all that and more, ill probably ignore the "disgusting" part

    • profile image

      angie 5 years ago

      Jasper I think u r awesome for guinea pigging this!! I'll be your ginuea pig! Please send me so.e human hookworms I really want to try sone I was born with haydever , asthma, chronic bronchitis. I need some I have nothing to lose. Please ?:)

    • profile image

      angie 5 years ago

      I have been dying from asthma and allergies for the last 3 years! I have had so ma y steroids I gained alot of weight!! I want to know where I can get infected by the right amount of the right strain of hookworn in okc ok! Please I'm desperate. I'm not paying 2900.00 friggin dollars either. Please help! Asum sure insurance won't pay for this! They rather by all the thousands of dollars worth of meds I have to take that barely work. I'm at a loss and afraid I'm gonna die and leave my two little girls .

    • profile image

      Beth 5 years ago

      I don't want a tablet form... I don't want to take pills the rest of my life.. it's what I have to do now and those pills don't get rid of asthma.. I still need an inhaler. If you had the worms.. no more pills no more inhaler.. I would do this but not till it can be done some where other then mexico. like Europe asia or america.

    • profile image

      Jerry 5 years ago

      Ok, so the worms are secreting some factor that modulates the immune system. But but maybe it's not the worms themselves that make the compound. It could easily be a bacterium that lives in the gut of the worm. That should be easy to cultivate in the lab. (Whether or not the human gut could be colonized with such a bacteria is another question.)

    • profile image

      Jerry 5 years ago

      Some questions:

      How many worms does one need to get rid of ragweed and other pollen allergies? Are they also effective for allergies to cats, dogs, dust, etc.?

      To what degree do the allergies go into remission? Just a little, or a lot? For example, can someone who is severely allergic to cats tolerate living with them, if he has the worms? (If having the worms offers only mild to moderate allergy relief, it's not worth the risk to me, but if they offer complete, lasting, durable remission, I'd certainly consider hosting them.)

      Has anyone ever been infected with the worms, experienced a lasting remission of his allergies, then killed off the worms, and had the allergies return?

      If the worms don't reproduce in your gut, how long can they be expected to live there? Do you have to reinfect yourself periodically to keep the population up?

      Is it possible to introduce the worms directly to the intestine, without having a larval form travel through the blood stream, go up through the lungs, etc.?

      Maybe there are stages of the hook worm's life cycle that we don't know about. If they stay in the gut, maybe I could live with that, but I don't want it taking up residence in other organs or muscle. Is there any evidence that these critters can live anywhere else in the body?

      Can you grow these worms in a petri dish? Is there some kind of nutrient broth that they can live on?


    • profile image

      beechV35 6 years ago

      A helmenthic infection is dangerous. The fact that asthma rarely occurs in populations infected with parasitic worms is well known in the medical community. Whoever figures out what the antigen is that results in the beneficial effects so that the worm itself will not be necessary will make a ton of money so I am sure the pharmaceutical industry is very busy with this research. -A real doctor

    • profile image

      Rick T 6 years ago

      I agree with Herbert Smith

      I'm a medical scientist with 30 yrs experience in a hospital setting.

      What I've seen with big pharma is very very enlightening.

      The autoimmune disease treatment market is some scores of tens of BILLIONS

      of $ so what do you think of course they're never bring to market something that would negatively affect it. What's scary is they're do their to discredit and 'worm' treatments.

      It's like adding a gallon of a newly discovered liquid into your gas tank and 'never' needing refill it ever! Oil company's nightmare !! Same analogy

      We need to kept at it, how many years were the smoke companies getting away with it?

    • onceuponatime66 profile image

      Jackie Paulson 6 years ago from USA IL

      I have done a lot of research on this topic and parasites and this will cure you If you get rid of parasites.

    • kea profile image

      kea 6 years ago

      D.Virtual.Doctor - thanks for your very kind comment! Glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • D.Virtual.Doctor profile image

      Funom Theophilus Makama 6 years ago from Europe

      wooow! I cannot believe this.... This is more than just an interesting hub. It is adequately well prepared and the information here is invaluable. Maybe I have not gone far in the medical school that's why I have never heard of this before but helminthic therapy??? Its really rare. Thanks a lot for sharing it. You just made me appreciate the time I have spent here and as well feel very privileged to be in this wonderful community of hubbers. I will do more research on such a rare clinical situation.


    • profile image

      Baileybear 6 years ago

      I agree with Herbert's comments about pharm companies. I've been reading updates about a research study on hookworms helping people with celiac disease - all the participants opted to keep their worms. I think I could get over the yuk factor if it were to help me enjoy a more varied diet.

      The link between allergies, autism, digestive complaints, environmental chemicals (including being "too clean"), autoimmune disease and mental disorders makes a lot of sense to me.

    • profile image

      John Flora 6 years ago

      I think I'd rather sneeze.

    • profile image

      Herbert Smith 6 years ago

      Helminthic worms don't reproduce in the gut, so the number of worms that you have is constant. You can read about the lifesycle of Necator Americanus in wikipedia. Additonally, hosting 35 hookworms has no ill side effects in a human since it's such a low dose. I am currently hosting 35 hookworm and I am now in remission from a very severe Crohn's disease. $2900 was a very small price to pay for a complete cure, I spent a lot more on the medications prior to that. I also got rid of all my food allergies and seasonal allergies as well. This really was the best treatment I received.

      The reason FDA banned it was because it wasn't approved by FDA. Since you can't patent a biological organism, no pharmaceutical company would invest $100 million for this to be approved. Also big pharma companies are not interested in a treatment that would cause a complete remissions since then everyone would stop purchasing their medications.

    • magnoliazz profile image

      magnoliazz 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      A very interesting and informative article.

      However, I would would not travel to Mexico under any circumstances, as Americans are kidnapped and held for ransom, and if the family fails to pay up, you are executed via your head being removed with a rusty knife.

      Beyond the problem of traveling to get the hookworm treatment there is the troubling problem of the worms multiplying in your gut, which of course they will. So far I have been unable to find information on how that problem would be resolved. With 10-15 worms being optimal, I fail to understand how that low number of worms would be maintained, and I assume there must be worms in the gut ongoing or the treatment fails.And if you try to reduce the number of worms by killing a few off every now and then, the surviving worms may become immune to the worm medicine, and then you have a super worm of sorts that may be very difficult to get rid of.

      I also think paying 2900.00 dollars for worms is highway robbery.

      I think the FDA probably banned this worm therapy for a

      very good reason. Sure, it sounds great and like it would be the end of all your problems, but in the end it could be just "opening a can of worms"!

    • profile image

      Herbert Smith 7 years ago

      Go to for a collection of resources on this subject, especially in the "Links" and "Studies" sections. Also join the forum where over 200 people who tried this therapy already are discussing it.

    • profile image

      Jasper Lawrence 7 years ago

      I am the real Jasper, yes, and to those who think this expensive this:

    • profile image

      joel 7 years ago

      Yep, I'd rather do my own research than spend thousands for a few worms, but many will pay, I'm sure, so happy banking y'all.

    • kea profile image

      kea 7 years ago

      @Jasper Lawrence - thx for the updated info. Are you the real Jasper Lawrence? Just're somewhat famous :)

      @Dolores Monet - thanks for the comment and for mentioning you saw me on - I think this may have been one of my first "promoted" scoops on she told me!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Found this hub on shetoldme and had to read it as a neighbor was just telling me about this hookworm cure. How can a person spend (as the helpful commenter pointed out above) $3,000 for a parasite. What's next, tapeworms for obesity? Ugh.

    • profile image

      Jasper Lawrence 7 years ago

      We ship hookworm or whipworm, there is no requirement to travel to Tijuana for treatment. Hookworms or whipworms from costs $2,900, not $4,000.

    • kea profile image

      kea 7 years ago

      @Sam - thanks for sharing your experience. I'm glad the worms helped with your hay fever. You mentioned you remained hay fever for two years...what happened after the two years? Did you need to get more worms? Just curious.

      You bring up some excellent points on where you purchase the worms and if any of the money actually goes back into the research. Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.

    • profile image

      Sam 7 years ago

      One of the original studies into the affect of hookworm was done by Nottingham University Research team in the UK. It was a double blind study and I was accepted onto this medical trial to determine the affects on hayfever. I suffer very badly with hayfever.

      At the end of 12 weeks on the study I was hayfever and other allergy free although it did not work for food allergies.

      I remained free of hayfever for two years with no other affects from the worms.

      However, there are things to think about. Is it safe to buy worms from somewhere if it is not medically endorsed. Can you be sure it is the correct strain of worm. Also, it is a lot of money to spend. Is any of the money going to the original research team who I believe are still looking into the effects of worms on many types of auto immune system problems.



    • kea profile image

      kea 7 years ago

      Hello, hello - thx for the comment and for dropping by - you rock!

      Kay Creates - thx...yeah, if my allergies were worse, I might consider, but it's a bit too much with the worms in my tummy for me to do now :)

    • Kay Creates profile image

      Kay Creates 7 years ago from Ohio

      Very interesting information. I have allergies but think I'll pass on the worm infestation.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for a well prepared, interesting hub.