Helminthic therapy and neuropsychiatric function

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Helminths are capable of improving neuropsychiatric function, and all four species of therapeutic helminth appear to make a positive contribution to psychological wellbeing.

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Socio-medical studies of humans "self-treating" with helminths as well as limited studies in animal models strongly suggest that helminth therapy may be a productive approach toward treating a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, including chronic fatigue, migraine headaches, depression and anxiety disorders. [1]

Additional supporting research includes the following paper.

Depression[edit]

Reduced depression / improved mood[edit]

HDC is mentioned a lot in this context, and, since HDC is taken regularly, usually every 2 weeks, its users can benefit from a repeated post-inoculation 'bounce’. This is a brief period of temporary symptom relief accompanied by a sudden feeling of unusual wellness, perhaps with a strong sense of calm, focus, happiness and lightheartedness.

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I like how it puts me in a good mood for a day or two when I first take it.
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I also experienced a significantly elevated mood that night after taking just 10 HDC, the elevated mood lasted until the end of the next day. [2]

For some people, this effect may be repeated after every dose.

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... every dose of HDC's is followed by a delightful stream of energy that lasts almost a week. [3]
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Within 24 hours of taking HDC I feel much calmer. That feeling lasts a few days, before it lets up a bit, but I still continue feeling calmer than usual up to 30 days after dosing, when their effects completely wear off… If I could regularly dose, say, weekly, I probably would see my anxiety completely resolved. [4]

In other cases, this effect may reduce over time.

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The first day I take HDC it usually puts me in a really nice mood, especially the first time I did it. It's not exactly euphoric but I noticed it and counted on it… First time, (it lasted) 48 hours. Second time, 24 hours. Third time, 12 hours. Fourth time, 12 hours.

However, this effect on neuropsychiatric function is not unique to HDC. It is also seen with TSO, NA and TTO.

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My mood was the first indicator that TSO was working. I became calmer and happier despite my physical symptoms. [5] I find TSO is the best for mood and general feeling of well being as well as increased energy. Hookworm and (human) whipworm both work as well, it just takes longer. [6]
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My daughter started TSO last week and we are already seeing an improvement in her mood and energy on a low dose of 500 ova. [7]
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TSO cured a mood disorder I didn't realize I had until it was gone. [8]
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I would like to confirm positive effect of TSO on mood stabilization as well. Even with low dose in my case (300 ova bi-weekly). [9]

The following comment was made 6 weeks after inoculation with 25 hookworm larvae.

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What is already interesting is my steady and calm mind.

For further accounts of how helminthic therapy has reduced depression, see the following.

Temporarily increased depression[edit]

Occasionally, depression may increase temporarily following initial inoculation with helminths. This is usually, but not necessarily, the result of using doses that are too high.

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After first small group of NA, I became much more depressed for about 10-12 weeks, then got back to previous mood level. [10]
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I have hit a patch of depression here at week 9 of my first inoculation with 3NA and I am feeling very bleak. [11]
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I also feel quite depressed, will be 9 weeks for me on Tuesday. [12]
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After first small group of NA, I became much more depressed for about 10-12 weeks, then got back to previous mood level. [13]

A few individuals experience increased depression after every dose of hookworms, especially if the doses contain too many larvae.

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3.5 years in, I now have times where I even feel positive and optimistic, which is a huge improvement over a lifetime of clinical depression. But it’s also the first symptom to return, especially if I take a dose of NA that’s a little too much. Last dose was 7, and 3 days later I started 9 days of deep despair. I know it’s temporary, so I just hang on and get through it, but now I know 7 is too many. [14]
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I experience plummeting mood following an NA inoculation. Dosing amounts are important with NA. [15]

Anxiety[edit]

Reduced anxiety[edit]

The potential for helminths to reduce anxiety can be seen in the reports in the following page section.

And in this paper. (See Table 1 in particular.)

Temporarily increased anxiety[edit]

There have been a few reports of anxiety increasing following initial inoculation with NA, TTO or HDC, but this increase is usually temporary and often dose-related.

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I think it aggravated the anxiety component for me. Not sure why. (After dosing with HDC)
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Around day 15 (after an initial dose of 10 NA), I had severe anxiety for 2 days straight but nothing since. [16]
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I had mild/moderate diffuse anxiety for about a week at ~19-20 weeks. (After a supplementary dose of 65 NA.)
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My anxiety and more-so paranoia seems to have increased significantly after hosting. Its a strange feeling but I "feel" like its the worms interacting with me somehow.
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I had a major increase in anxiety when I started whipworm (TT). But with hookworm my anxiety has improved greatly. I terminated the whipworm after 6 or 8 weeks when my reaction to them still hadn't eased, so I can't say if that feeling would have persisted or eventually passed.

If anxiety does arise, or worsen, after introducing helminths, this should eventually resolve along with any other symptoms that appear during the initial side effect period. Resolution is usually complete by the end of the 14th week and, if it recurs at all following supplementary inoculations, it typically becomes gradually less troublesome over time.

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I have severe anxiety, including PTSD & panic attacks etc. When I initially began treating (with NA) I would notice an increase in anxiety for several days. It would be a bit uncomfortable & high doses of D3, Benadryl, & magnesium would help. I’m honestly not sure when it stopped. Likely when the bounce stopped, so a year in? Now, the opposite occurs and I get very calm & fall asleep after treating. This usually lasts for several days. [17]

In a few rare cases, anxiety can persist for a longer period of time, leading one individual to terminate their colony.

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Increase in energy and exuberance the first month, restlessness the second month, worsening anxiety/OCD third and 4th month, increased to day-long panic attacks fifth month. Directly due to hookworms as symptoms are 90% improved after 3 days of albendazole.

Bipolar disorder[edit]

HDC has been found to help in several cases of bipolar disorder.

And there are further reports of success with this disorder in the following paper.

See also[edit]

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