Helminthic therapy and nutritional deficiencies

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Home>Effects of helminthic therapy>Helminthic therapy and nutritional deficiencies

The evidence suggests that the hosting of a controlled number of symbioticSymbiosis is a close, long-term relationship between organisms of different species. Helminths are obligatory symbionts because they depend entirely on their host for survival, and they are also ectosymbionts because they live on their host’s body surface, albeit the inner surface of the digestive tract. The species used in helminthic therapy are also mutualists. 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] does not usually cause nutritional deficiencies in well nourished individuals, that it has a lower risk of doing this than blood tests and blood donation, and that it may actually improve nutritional status.

Virtually zero risk in well nourished individuals

Hosts of the 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., Necator americanusThe species of human hookworm used in helminthic therapy. Its microscopic larvae are applied periodically to the skin., may be concerned that the blood drawn by their worms during feeding might cause anaemia or deficiency in other nutrients. However, these worms are too small, grow too slowly, draw too little blood (an estimated 0.03 ml per worm per day) [1] and, when used in therapy, are too few in number to deplete the stores of any essential nutrient in the vast majority of well-nourished hosts.

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Over 700 million people remain infected 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.… Anaemia is the only disease of consequence but is an unusual outcome in properly nourished individuals. [2]
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While medical textbooks tie parasitesAn organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits at the host’s expense. (The organisms used in helminthic therapy are, strictly speaking, not parasites, but mutualists, because they have a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship with their hosts.) to problems such as vitamin deficiency, anemia and diarrhea, a critical review of the evidence suggests that most intestinal parasiteAn organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits at the host’s expense. (The organisms used in helminthic therapy are, strictly speaking, not parasites, but mutualists, because they have a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship with their hosts.) infections have no negative impact in well-nourished people with low overall parasiteAn organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits at the host’s expense. (The organisms used in helminthic therapy are, strictly speaking, not parasites, but mutualists, because they have a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship with their hosts.) loads. [3]

The evidence from research

These personal experiences have been confirmed in clinical trials involving 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..

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Although it is well recognized that heavy 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. infection causes clinically significant blood loss, the legitimate concern that experimental infection would cause anemia in patients already predisposed with Celiac disease did not eventuate. [4]

Where nutritional deficiencies are observed in subjects who are hosting 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., the relationship is rarely causal.

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The parasiticAn organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits at the host’s expense. (The organisms used in helminthic therapy are, strictly speaking, not parasites, but mutualists, because they have a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship with their hosts.) factor etiologically was not related to the deficiencies. [5]

Other studies have also found a lack of association between soil-transmitted 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] and anaemia. [6] [7] [8]

If 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] did cause nutritional deficiencies, mankind would not have survived with worms for millions of years, and it’s also worth remembering that light infections with human 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. and 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. are considered so benign by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they do not recommend helminth removal, and, in most cases, no treatment is offered.

So, while it may be wise for 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. hosts to occasionally check their iron levels, eating a varied, nutrient-dense diet and optimising their vitamin D level [9] should ensure an adequate level of all nutrients.

However, there are individuals who have a pre-existing tendency to iron deficiency due to other causes and, in this case, there is obviously a slightly greater risk of anaemia when 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. are introduced. Also at increased risk are those who do not eat an ideal diet, so can be prone to develop deficiencies whether or not they are 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]. And anyone taking a drug or food supplement that has an anticoagulant effect, for example, aspirin, Alka-seltzer (contains aspirin), warfarin, Coumadin, Ginkgo biloba and vitamin E.

People with Crohn's diseaseAlso known as regional enteritis, this is an inflammatory disease of the intestines that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus, causing a wide variety of symptoms. It primarily causes abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody if inflammation is severe), vomiting or weight loss, but may also cause complications outside the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis, inflammation of the eye, tiredness and lack of concentration. are also more susceptible to developing nutritional deficiencies as a result of reduced absorption [10] and 36% of Crohn’s patients are estimated to experience anaemia as a result of their condition. [11]

TapewormsA helminth with a flat, ribbon-like, segmented body. Only the murine (rat) tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, is used in helminthic therapy and this generally does not reach adulthood in humans so requires regular dosing of HDC. are reputed to rob their hosts of nutrients, yet one researcher who hosts three fish tapewormsA helminth with a flat, ribbon-like, segmented body. Only the murine (rat) tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, is used in helminthic therapy and this generally does not reach adulthood in humans so requires regular dosing of HDC. (the broad fish tapewormA helminth with a flat, ribbon-like, segmented body. Only the murine (rat) tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, is used in helminthic therapy and this generally does not reach adulthood in humans so requires regular dosing of HDC., Diphyllobothrium latum), with a combined length of about 20 metres, reported no problems.

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Medical textbooks suggest he should be suffering a vitamin B12 deficiency by now, but tests show that he is healthy. ‘I feel wonderful,’ he says. [12]

There is also a known potential for human 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. to cause anaemia, although this is rare and only likely to appear over a long period of time. The type of anaemia caused in the case of 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. is not due to low iron, so cannot be treated by iron supplementation. It's speculated that this might be due to active suppression of the formation of blood cellular components in the bone marrow, rather than a result of bleeding. Fortunately, this phenomenon is rare in people using therapeutic doses of 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., and, where it does occur, may possibly be remediated by taking Erythropoietin (EPO).

Less risk from 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] than from blood tests and blood donation

There is arguably greater risk of anaemia attached to blood tests [13] and blood donation than to the use of 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..

The 1.09 liters of blood that has been estimated to be drawn each year by a colony of 100 Necator americanusThe species of human hookworm used in helminthic therapy. Its microscopic larvae are applied periodically to the skin. (a single NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus can take 30 microliters of blood per day [14]) is dwarfed by the 2.88 liters that an adult weighing over 100 lbs is permitted to donate annually. And researchers working in Papua New Guinea concluded:

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… inadequate uptake of iron by the subjects and blood donation by some subjects was apparently more detrimental to iron status than 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. infection... [15]

There are health benefits associated with blood donation, [16] so perhaps a continuing small blood draw by 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. might produce similar positive effects.

Anaemia (anemia) - the experience of helminth self-treaters

In posts to the online 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. groups spanning a decade, numerous people who are self-treating 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. have confirmed that anaemia is rarely an issue and that the therapy can help to improve iron levels.

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I have not had any difficulty in maintaining my (iron) levels since using HThelminthic therapy, and I can easily become anaemic in iron and vitamin Bs, I am watchful and have not had issues. [17]
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i got blood test results back from my dr today... no signs of anemia whatsoever, no mineral deficiencies at all. cal, mag, potassium, all good. [18]

People with Crohn’s disease, who tend to have anaemia due to their poor absorption of nutrients, often find that hosting 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. helps to reduce anaemia as a result of improved absorption due to better gut health.

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My iron was low prior to HThelminthic therapy, so prior to beginning therapy, I raised my levels with supplements and continue to use supplements... I have not had any difficulty in maintaining my levels since using HThelminthic therapy, and I can easily become anaemic... In fact, my general gut health has improved, which improved my gut absorption of nutrients. [19]

Some women of childbearing age who host 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. have experienced a decreased risk of anaemia as a result of the shortening and lightening of their periods.

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NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus made my period shorter by two days (and lighter overall), so my body doesn't have to spend iron on regenerating as much of a lining. [20]

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] can improve nutritional status

In some cases, 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] actually improve nutritional status.

A study in Cameroonian children found infection 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] was associated with protection against anaemia. [21]

In another study, helminthAn 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]-infected children were found to be less anemic, less malnourished, and less likely to be malaria infected than uninfected children. [22]

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I was told that iron deficiency was a possibility, but I have actually found the opposite to be true, I think that the HWhookworm, usually referring to the human hookworm, Necator americanus have improved my small intestine and allowed me to absorb more. I notice that my fingernail beds are no longer white but now a nice pink colour and my periods are regular for the first time in my life! [23]
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I had borderline anemia from time to time and after HWhookworm, usually referring to the human hookworm, Necator americanus, approx 135, my bloods been normal the past couple years. Whether HWhookworm, usually referring to the human hookworm, Necator americanus is the cause, idk. But definitely didn't worsen it! [24]
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I was anemic and now I'm not! (Using NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus and TTOthe ova (eggs) of the human whipworm, Trichuris trichiura.)
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I used to have a carnitine deficiency and now I don't have that! Vitamin D levels are going up, too. (Using NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus and TTOthe ova (eggs) of the human whipworm, Trichuris trichiura.) [25]
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Got my blood test results today, I am no longer malnourished! Before 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., I tried almost every supplement under the sun to fix my nutritional deficiencies. First time in about 6 years, my alkaline phosphatase levels are back to normal! This is a HUGE improvement for me because with time, I would develop a number of conditions due to a long list of deficiencies. I'm treating dysbiosis (chronic infection) with HThelminthic therapy. Asthma is gone. [26]
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I have noticed my finger nails are strong for the first time in my life. Better nutrient absorption, could be? [27]
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I used to sit bottom of the range on tests (for iron status) and now in the middle. No supps... Doing NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus. [28]

An individual with colonic Crohn’s disease who had, for 6 years, required regular infusions to maintain his iron levels, and supplements to correct a consistently low vitamin D level, reported that, three months after starting therapy with 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., a further blood test revealed that his iron level was by then on the high side of normal and that he was no longer vitamin D deficient.

Some people with autoimmune disorders have anemia of chronic disease, in which iron is used up at a higher rate than in people who are well. Even when iron is being absorbed normally, in adequate amounts, bodies that are in constant fight-or-flight mode can become anaemic. But, if 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] mitigate their host’s autoimmune issues, they may facilitate improved retention of iron.

In view of the small possibility of anaemia developing in a few cases, it is important for all 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. hosts to periodically check their iron levels and take supplemental iron if required, in consultation with their healthcare provider.

See also

SimpleHTLogo(18x18).gif Helminthic Therapy Wiki: documenting the science, management, experience and results of helminth replacement therapy.