Spring allergy season is right around the corner. In our quest to leave no rock unturned in helping our readers discover the most effective natural remedies for allergies we uncovered a most unusual experimental therapy.
It has made a dramatic difference in treating not only allergies and asthma, but even a number of autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. But first let me say this…
Warning: Not for the Squeamish
As effective as this therapy appears to be… “unusual” barely covers this one.
In a nutshell, the therapy involves voluntary infection with an intestinal parasite known as a helminth, usually hookworm and / or whipworm.
Now if you think volunteering for a hookworm or whipworm infection sounds bad, just listen to what former allergy and asthma sufferer, and now hookworm proponent Jasper Lawrence went through just to try it.
In an interview with Radiolab, Jasper explained how he went from Silicon Valley business owner to deliberately walking barefoot through feces in dozens of open air latrines in poverty-stricken Cameroon, Africa for the sole purpose of getting a hookworm infection.
From a child, Jasper’s eyes would swell painfully shut from allergies. As an adult he was hospitalized at least a couple of times a year from asthma attacks. All of the numerous allergy medicines he tried either failed or left him in a daze.
But during a visit to his aunt in England in 2004, she mentioned a documentary about how those infected with hookworms had half the asthma rate of uninfected individuals. After watching, he immediately began researching parasites online to learn more about them. He was hooked.
Desperate for relief and excited by the prospect of a potential cure for his health ailments, he contacted virtually every laboratory supply company in the world and even parasitology research centers. No one could help him. So he took matters into his own hands… or rather, his feet…
In 2006, Jasper booked a two week “vacation” to Cameroon. While there, Jasper walked barefoot through an estimated 30 different outdoor latrines.
You could say it was a dirty job, but someone had to do it. And yes, he got what he came for. Weeks later Jasper tested positive for hookworm. More importantly, his asthma disappeared even during the height of allergy season a few months after that.
The following year Jasper started a new company, Autoimmune Therapies, to make helminthic therapy safely available to the public. Meaning, if you want to try hookworms to rid yourself of allergies, asthma, or symptoms of an autoimmune disorder you won’t have to follow in his fecal footsteps halfway across the world. Instead, you simply apply a sanitized patch with 10 or so hookworms to your forearm and wait for the worms to do their business.
(See this video for a demonstration)
Unfortunately for those in the United States, the FDA stepped in to “protect your health” by banning the therapeutic use of hookworms and whipworms altogether until millions of dollars have been spent on clinical studies to ensure their safety.
Nevermind that low level infections such as used in helminthic therapy are deemed completely safe by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Or that other organisms like leeches and maggots are still used to this day for medical purposes. Or that other probiotic organisms such as bacteria are added to foods you can buy from your grocery store like yogurt.
Or even that an estimated 1.3 BILLION people have hookworm infections in countries where allergies and asthma are practically unheard of.
Anyways, I’m sure big pharma breathed a sigh of relief at the FDA’s ban since so far the hookworms seem to have a better track record at treating immune disorders than many of their drugs. Those with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and MS have about an 80% remission rate within six months of getting a hookworm infection.
And with hookworms living for 3-7 years at well under $4,000 to get them, that’s a big dent in profit margins for drug therapies like Tysabri (treatment for MS and Crohn’s disease) which run about $140,000 over five years… not to mention the possibility of fatal side effects. But, of course, the FDA approved that.
Fortunately, helminthic therapy is still available in Mexico and the United Kingdom if you’re willing to make the trip. For more information visit the Autoimmune Therapies website at http://autoimmunetherapies.com
Cooper, L. Hookworms: A Cheap Treatment for Autoimmune Diseases? Daily Finance. 2010 May 30.