Helminthic therapy FAQ

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If you are new to helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy., it's best to start by reading the Introduction to helminthic therapy. While this is not set out in the FAQ format, it is the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to everything you need to know in order to understand and get started with this therapy. Its contents form a foundation to the rest of the material on this site and include details about the special types of helminth which are used in therapy and the companies that supply them. Reading this document carefully, and in full, will help to prevent you wasting time and money and possibly not getting the best from the therapy, if you decide to try it.

FAQs

What is helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy.?

Helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. is the reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualisticMutualism is a type of symbiotic relationship between individuals of different species where each organism benefits from the other. helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvaeThe active immature form of an insect, or an animal such as a helminth, which develops from an egg and eventually transforms again into its adult state. to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy.

How does helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. work?

The organisms used in helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. work as a result of the chemicals that they secrete to protect themselves from being ejected by their host and to keep their host alive for as long as possible.

Over millions of years of coevolution with humans and our primate ancestors, helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] have learned to evade most of what the human immune system can throw at them, and they do this by controlling inflammation. For more detail about how they achieve this effect, see the following page.

Is helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. safe?

Yes, it is very safe, as can be seen from the details on the following page.

Why is helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. necessary?

Helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. has only become necessary because we humans have adopted many practices (e.g., wearing shoes and using toilets) that interrupt the life cycles of helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] which our forebears had previously hosted for millions of years.

HelminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] are now considered to be heirloom species that have coexisted and co-evolved with humans to the extent that we are now incomplete without them and depend on their presence for the optimal functioning of our immune systems. These mutualisticMutualism is a type of symbiotic relationship between individuals of different species where each organism benefits from the other. organisms train the developing immune system in infancy and continue to regulate immune function throughout life for as long as they remain with us. Helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. is therefore not like a drug treatment, but more a form of replacement therapy - putting back something we have lost but which we actually need.

Although some people with particular genetic profiles don’t develop autoimmune diseases or allergies as a result of being helminth deficient, there is evidence that even they can be susceptible to developing degenerative diseases because they lack the very efficient inflammation control that helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] provide.

What are the benefits of hosting helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths]?

Helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. modulates (normalises) the function of the immune system. This action controls inflammation and reduces autoimmunity and allergies. To see how these effects are achieved, go to the following page.

Since inflammation is involved in many diseases, its control has many benefits for helminth hosts. Diseases that have been successfully treated by helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. are listed on the following page.

In addition to treating existing disease, helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. can also prevent disease, as can be seen from the details on this page:

What conditions have been helped by helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy.?

Conditions with the largest number of reported successes are Crohn’s disease, allergy, food intolerance and ulcerative colitisUlcerative colitis (Colitis ulcerosa, UC) is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which specifically affects the large intestine, or colon, causing characteristic ulcers, or open sores. The main symptom of active disease is constant diarrhea mixed with blood, of gradual onset..
Other conditions with a high number of reports of success include multiple sclerosis (MSMultiple sclerosis (also known as disseminated sclerosis) is a chronic, typically progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, whose symptoms may include numbness, impairment of speech and of muscular coordination, blurred vision and severe fatigue.), eczema, irritable bowel syndrome (IBSIrritable bowel syndrome is a widespread condition involving recurrent abdominal pain and diarrhoea or constipation. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irritable_Bowel_Syndrome Wikipedia:Irritable Bowel Syndrome]), asthma, multiple chemical sensitivity (MCSMultiple Chemical Sensitivity is a chronic physical illness affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. It involves allergic-type reactions to very low levels of chemicals in everyday products and often also sensitivity to food, medicines, moulds and electromagnetic fields. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241652/ A review of a two-phase population study of multiple chemical sensitivities]), food allergy, anxiety, depression, autism, migraine and Sjogren’s syndrome.
In all, more than 100 conditions have been reported to have been successfully remediated by helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy.. These are all listed on the following page along with thumbnail comments by the patients or their parents, and with links to their full reports.

How long does it take to see benefits?

Helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. is typically very slow to deliver benefits when compared with drugs. For the majority who respond to treatment with hookwormsA helminth that lives in the small intestine. Necator americanus (NA) is the only hookworm species used in helminthic therapy. Its microscopic larvae are applied periodically to the skin., consistent improvements do not usually materialise until at least 3 months after their first inoculationThe introduction of an infectious agent into an organism. [http://helminthictherapywiki.org/wiki/index.php/Helminth_inoculation Helminth inoculation], with most people only seeing improvement in their condition between 3 and 5 months. Some may only start to improve between 6 and 12 months and a few may even have to wait for as long as 18-24 months. Response to the non-human helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths], TSOthe ova (eggs) of the porcine (pig) whipworm, Trichuris suis and HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, is usually more rapid.

Once improvements do begin, some people can experience a sudden and dramatic reduction in symptoms while others may respond more gradually over a period of time, possibly three years or more. Improvements during the first 2 years are not always continuous because there can be periods of exacerbation during which symptoms may worsen again, albeit temporarily.

Helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. is not a one-size-fits-all solution, nor a one dose fix. Dosing needs to be tailored to the unique needs of each individual, and continued indefinitely in the vast majority of cases.

Which worm species are used in helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy.?

Four species of benign helminth have been domesticated for therapeutic use.

How are helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] administered?

Three species (TSOthe ova (eggs) of the porcine (pig) whipworm, Trichuris suis, TTOthe ova (eggs) of the human whipworm, Trichuris trichiura and HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta) are taken orally in a drink. NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus is introduced percutaneously (via the skin). More details on the following page.

Where, and how long, do helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] live?

NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus and HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta live in the small intestine. The whipwormsA helminth with a tapering whiplike body that lives in the colon. In helminthic therapy, the microscopic eggs of either the human Trichuris trichiura (TTO) or pig Trichuris suis (TSO) are taken in a drink. (TSOthe ova (eggs) of the porcine (pig) whipworm, Trichuris suis and TTOthe ova (eggs) of the human whipworm, Trichuris trichiura) live in the large intestine.

NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus are reported to survive in humans for 3-10 years [1] but to be capable of living for up to 15 years, [2] and possibly even 18 years.[3] However, the experience of hookwormA helminth that lives in the small intestine. Necator americanus (NA) is the only hookworm species used in helminthic therapy. Its microscopic larvae are applied periodically to the skin. self-treaters suggests that they typically only survive for approximately 1-3 years, and sometimes for only a few months, depending on the strength of the individual host’s immune response. For more, see: Hookworm survival.

TTthe human whipworm, Trichuris trichiura can survive in humans for more than 2 years, and there has been one report of them showing up during colonoscopy 7 years after inoculationThe introduction of an infectious agent into an organism. [http://helminthictherapywiki.org/wiki/index.php/Helminth_inoculation Helminth inoculation]. However, they may die in under a year.

TSOthe ova (eggs) of the porcine (pig) whipworm, Trichuris suis and HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta only survive in humans for 2-3 weeks, and a few people may need to re-dose every week with HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, suggesting an even shorter lifespan for this species in some hosts. HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta may mature to adulthood in immunosuppressed adults, and colonise a very small percentage of young children, but TSOthe ova (eggs) of the porcine (pig) whipworm, Trichuris suis does not colonise.

More details on the following pages.

What symptoms are experienced by people who inoculate with helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths]?

See the following pages.

What products and medications can harm a worm population?

See the following page.

How long does helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. take to effect a cure?

Helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. is a form of replacement therapy in which something that is missing is added back. In this case, helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] are replaced in the intestine to supplement a diminished biome. [4] This is necessary because, due to our long coevolution with helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths], we have come to rely on worms for optimal immune function and, without them, our immune systems may malfunction. [5]

Helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. is therefore not a “cure” for anything, in much the same way that other replacement therapies - such as thyroid replacement - do not cure a condition, and need to be continued indefinitely in order to maintain relief from symptoms. In the same way, helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] need to be taken continuously in the majority of cases.

There are people who have been able to enjoy several years of relief from their disease after taking only one or two courses of TSOthe ova (eggs) of the porcine (pig) whipworm, Trichuris suis, and this period of remission has been extended in some self-treaters by taking periodic maintenance doses. (For more detail, see this page section.) But only one case has been reported of someone remaining disease-free for a period of time after completing an initial course of therapy with NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus [6] [7], and there have not yet been any reports of HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta users having remained disease-free after stopping the treatment. While there may be cases that have not yet been reported, they are likely to be limited in number.

FAQs produced by the helminth providers

The following "Frequently Asked Questions" pages on the websites of the commercial helminth providers are an additional source of answers to questions about the therapy.

  • Wormswell FAQ (NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus)
  • Symmbio FAQ (NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus and TTOthe ova (eggs) of the human whipworm, Trichuris trichiura)
  • Autoimmune Therapies FAQ (PDF) (NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus and TTOthe ova (eggs) of the human whipworm, Trichuris trichiura)
  • Biome Restoration FAQ (HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta)
  • Worm Therapy FAQ (NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus and HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta)
SimpleHTLogo(18x18).gif Helminthic Therapy Wiki: documenting the science, management, experience and results of helminth replacement therapy.