This page contains details about all the main commercial suppliers of therapeutic helminths, with relevant notes. All details have been gathered and carefully checked by independent volunteer editors, none of whom have any affiliation with the companies listed.
For more information about the helminths that are available from these providers, see Selecting a therapeutic helminth.
The providers each offer different organisms, services and pricing options, all of which need to be considered very carefully by the prospective buyer.
Symmbio, Au NAturel, Helminth Therapy Aust & NZ, Biome Restoration, Tanawisa and YourSymbionts all sell their products as individual doses, while Worm Therapy offers a 2-year contract.
To assist readers in comparing the cost of obtaining helminths from each of the companies, the approximate annual costs are shown in bold.
The following providers are listed according to the overall customer rating that each has achieved based on customer reviews. The companies with the highest scores and the most reviews are presented first.
Contacting providers by email
If you email a provider, be sure to whitelist their email address to prevent their reply from being rejected or sent to a spam/junk mail folder. This happens regularly, resulting in people posting to the Helminthic Therapy Support group asking if anyone knows what's happened to one or other of the providers.
It's also worth remembering that most helminth providers don't work weekends.
Regarding advice from the providers
When seeking information from a provider, it should be borne in mind that no one provider sells, or has experience with, all four helminth species. Since some people may have more success with one particular species, with a combination of two or more species, or by starting with one species and later switching to another, it is arguably better to rely more on the information in this wiki when selecting a therapeutic helminth than on advice from a single helminth provider. No single provider can match the objectivity or breadth of information found in this wiki, which offers a balanced assessment of all four available helminths based on the findings of science and the first-hand experience of self-treaters. See Selecting a therapeutic helminth.
It is also important to remember that the companies listed on this page are all commercial entities and, as such, their owners are keen to promote their own products. This can result in some of them occasionally exaggerating the benefits of their own worms and/or misrepresenting the attributes of the worms sold by their competitors, sometimes even claiming that their own worms are cleaner, safer or more powerful than the alternatives, or that their competitors’ products will cause worse side effects, and possibly even multiply within a host or mis-migrate to the wrong parts of a host’s body. However, none of these claims of adverse effects are true for NA, TTO, TSO or HDC. See the Helminthic therapy safety page and this study.
Alternatives to the advice available from the providers include talking to a helminthic therapy practitioner and asking questions of the members in the Helminthic Therapy Support Group, some of whom have many years of experience with several different helminth species.
Doctors as providers
Naturopathic physicians who recommend therapy with NA, TTO or HDC sometimes supply these organisms themselves, often claiming that the worms they supply are superior to those available elsewhere and typically charging far higher prices than online providers. Some doctors who supply their patients with hookworms have claimed that their worms are "stronger", while others have claimed that theirs are "more gentle" than those from their competitors, but none of these claims is true, so patients should always compare the prices quoted by doctors with those of the providers listed above.
The only difference between what is available from physicians and from an online provider is seen in HDC. This organism loses viability very quickly from the moment it is removed from its beetle host and, without nutritional support, it will be dead within 48 hours. Biome Restoration have developed a unique nutrient solution that keeps their HDC alive for 2-3 weeks, so their product is the only one that will survive long-distance shipping. (For more detail, see Storage and survival of HDC.)
The locally-grown HDC available from physicians’ offices must be taken within 24 hours of being harvested to be fully effective - not 24 hours after receipt. Provided that these fresh HDC are used within 24 hours of extraction, they do have slightly greater efficacy than a similar number of the commercially prepared HDC sold by Biome Restoration, a difference that is reflected in the dosing guidelines for HDC which show that the use of slightly larger numbers of Biome Restoration’s HDC fully compensates for their slightly reduced efficacy when compared with fresh HDC that are used within 24 hours of extraction. There is therefore no justification for the very high prices being charged for fresh HDC by some physicians.
Comparing the available helminth species
Details about the different species, and how they compare, can be found on the following page.
Comparing NA larvae from different sources
NA larvae all produce the same therapeutic effects whichever company they are bought from.
Some self-treaters have occasionally reported that the hookworms from one provider produced a stronger or weaker skin response than those from another provider, a fact which is seen by users as either positive or negative depending on their point of view. (Some may perceive a stronger skin response as indicating better worms, while others might prefer larvae that produce less itching.) But any variation between the larvae from different providers is not due to those from one company being any better or worse than those from another
All the providers currently supplying NA larvae are using stock from the same original source, but there can be considerable natural variation between batches of hookworm larvae, even between batches from the same provider. This is due to the fact that hookworms are living creatures and not pills punched out identically by a machine. Some incubations can even occasionally fail to yield any larvae at all, and this happens to growers who have been incubating for many years as well as novices, and to commercial providers as well as private growers.
Concern is sometimes expressed about the possibility that the hookworm larvae available from all the suppliers may have become weakened as a result of a genetic bottleneck in the domesticated hookworm stock. However, there is no evidence that this might be the case. See: Is there genetic degradation in laboratory-reared hookworms?.
Predicting the long-term cost
In the case of helminths that are sold by the dose, the actual cost is dependent on the number and size of doses that may be required to achieve and maintain disease remission. TSO need to be taken even 2 or 3 weeks, at least for a few months (see Self-treating with TSO and this page section) and HDC also need to be taken every 2 or 3 weeks (occasionally weekly or monthly), usually indefinitely (see Self-treating with HDC). Small doses of TTO may be taken regularly, but larger doses can be taken less frequently (see Self-treating with TTO). Some users of NA might only require a single dose every few years, while others may need supplementary doses every few months, indefinitely, due to a higher rate of attrition, which varies greatly between individuals (see Self-treating with NA). Replacement hookworm doses would also be needed following any accidental losses due to the use of certain substances, all of which are detailed in the Human helminth care manual.
Minimising the cost
The cost of helminthic therapy varies considerably between the providers and the different worm species, all of which is explained in the Provider details section above.
A number of factors need to be taken into account when looking at the cost of helminthic therapy.
Possible options for minimising the costs are as follows.
Discounts and payment plans
In cases of genuine financial hardship, some providers may be willing to help customers by offering a discount or arranging a payment plan.
Don't let cost influence dosing decisions
Some providers of NA charge by the dose, whatever number of larvae a dose contains. Some hookworm self-treaters can't resist trying to maximise the value of their purchases from these companies by ordering more larvae than they need, but inoculating with a larger number can result in excessive side effects.
Purchasing helminths from doctors
Physicians invariably charge far more for helminths than the online providers listed above, and the organisms supplied by doctors are in no way superior, whatever they may claim. See Doctors as providers above.
In the case of NA, it may be possible to obtain a donation of hookworm larvae from a fellow self-treater who grows their own supply, although very few people are actually willing to provide this service, and there are risks attached to accepting larvae from a private grower. For more about these risks, see the following page sub-sections.
DIY helminth incubation
NA and HDC are relatively easy to culture at home after purchasing a microscope and a few other sundries. The incubation of TTO is also possible but more challenging. For more about helminth incubation, see the following page.
Commercial helminth providers don't have a clear green light to ship their products to all destinations, so some of them need to remain anonymous in order to protect both themselves and the supply. Since the maintenance of anonymity must also extend to methods of payment, some providers only accept payment in Bitcoin.
The use of this cryptocurrency can appear daunting to those who are new to it, but most people find that Bitcoin is easy to use, once they get into it.
Although GDAX is an advanced trading platform aimed at serious traders, the fact that it is owned by the same company as Coinbase means that, once you have a Coinbase account, you can use the same details to log in to GDAX. You may then need to provide some further details, and you’ll have to move funds from one wallet to the other, but this should be easy.
Some people prefer to use Local Bitcoins, who have a How to Buy Bitcoins Tutorial. (Video)
Help with using Bitcoin
Those helminth providers who request payment in bitcoins include detailed Bitcoin guides on their websites to help their customers, and they will assist personally with the process, if asked.
For those who prefer not to get involved with Bitcoin themselves, there are trustworthy members of the Helminthic Therapy Support group who will exchange PayPal payments or bank wires for bitcoins, which they will then send directly to the appropriate provider on behalf of the customer. For further details, see the posts at the following links.
Routing shipments via a different country
If you are unable to have your selected helminths delivered direct to your home, you could have them shipped to another country and either travel there to collect these yourself, or arrange for someone who lives there to receive and re-ship them to you. However, a potential problem with traveling to collect hookworm larvae is that these can succumb to freezing during transit, including while in the cargo hold of a plane, so doses may be dead on arrival at their destination. This can result in a wasted journey for the person collecting them.
Losses during shipping
The vast majority of helminth deliveries arrive safely at their destination containing viable organisms. However, since helminths are living creatures, they are susceptible to extremes of heat and cold, both of which may be encountered during shipping. NA larvae are the most at risk because they have a very limited temperature range and will die if exposed to very low or very high temperatures.
There is no universally applied temperature for the cargo hold on commercial passenger planes, but they are typically heated by the warm air exiting the main cabin, so should, in theory, remain above freezing for the duration of each flight. However, planes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, different companies apply different practices, and different types of flights have their own protocols, so temperatures do vary, and, in practice, can range from 7°C (45°F) to 13°C (55°F), with bulk areas (where animals are carried) sometimes reaching more than 18°C (64°F).
There can be further variation in temperature throughout a cargo hold depending on placement, location, time at altitude, and the duration of the flight. Data loggers used to record temperatures have found that they can reach as low as minus 7°C (19°F) during international flights above the ocean, where the outside temperature at 30,000 feet can average minus 44.6°C (minus 48°F).
The greatest vulnerability to temperature extremes occurs on the airport tarmac, where goods may be left for extended periods during loading and unloading. This can result in hookworm larvae dying from the cold during the winter months, or from excessive heat in the summer, when the walls of aircraft containers can increase by more than 20°C (68°F) above the ambient air temperature due to exposure to solar radiation during ramp transfers.
Outside post boxes are another potential death trap for NA larvae, so, if you have one of these, arrange for winter shipments to be delivered to an alternative, heated location, or temporarily rent a PO Box.
Providers will usually make good any losses incurred during shipping.
- Hookworm larvae storage and survival (For details about the temperature tolerance of hookworms).