Worm Therapy FAQ
What is Worm Therapy?
You can read about the history and science of Worm Therapy (also known as Helminthic Therapy) here.
How does it work?
From a layman's perspective the presence of parasitic eggs in the body triggers a response that in time balances the T1 and T2 helper cells and eventually brings balance to the autoimmune system.
How fast does it work?
It takes around around 12 weeks for the worms to grow to maturity with asthma and seasonal allergies often responding first. Soon the female worms are fertile and producing eggs. Some autoimmune diseases may take several months to see significant improvement. Others may take more than a year. Of course it is possible that some people may not respond at all.
How long does it last?
The therapy is not so much a "cure" as a "remission". The benefits only seem to last while you are hosting the worms. Without the worms you quickly revert back to your original state of health. The thought is that we need a challenge to our immune systems to keep them active and healthy.
How do I find a Worm Therapy Provider?
In 2009 the FDA reclassified hookworms as a pharmaceutical drug which forced the two US providers (AIT and WormTherapy) to the UK and Mexico respectively. The best recommendation is to give each provider a call and ask questions. See a list of all Providers.
Is it Costly?
It's around $2000-3000 for 2-3 years. Talk to the providers. As more people take up the therapy prices should start to drop.
Is it Safe?
The therapy is considered safe from our experience so far. Hook worms stay put in the lower intestine and don't breed inside the host. The likelihood of an adverse reaction to the worms is very low. In the unlikely advent that you do react to the worms, you can kill them off with common worming medicine within 48 hrs.
How do I get infected?
If you visit the providers clinic you will get a bandage placed on your arm. The tiny hookworm larvae are too small to be seen with the naked eye. They burrow into the skin and make their way through the blood stream, through the lungs and finally they setup permanent home in the lower intestine where they grow to full maturity, mate and start laying eggs (ova). You would never know you were infected unless you performed a colonoscopy or examined your poo under a microscope.
How long do the worms live?
Wikipedia says 1-5 year with dying in the first year or two. A few can live live beyond 7 years possibly up to 15 years. Most however live less than 1-2 years.
What type of worms are used in worm therapy?
There are 3 main types of worms used in autoimmune therapies. TSO (pig whipworm), TTO (human whipworm) and Hookworm (the Necator americanus variety).
TSO (Trichuris Suis Ova): Pig whipworm eggs are available from Biomonde (Asia) and OvaMed (Germany). TSO is costly at around $3,000 for 10 doses (a 20 week course). TTO (Trichuris Trichiura Ova or Trichocephalus Trichiuris Ova) : Human whipworm eggs last much longer than TSO (about 18 months, compared to 2 weeks for TSO). Hookworm: The two species that commonly infect humans are Ancylostoma duodenale (Middle East, Nth Africa, India) and Necator americanus (from Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, China, and Indonesia). Necator Americans hookworm is the one used with autoimmune therapies. It has a long life and does not leech as much blood as the Ancylostoma duodenale variety. It also stays put in the intestine and does not go wandering.
Will I infect others?
Neither Hookworm or whipworm produce offspring in the host. The hookworm likes to growup in certain soil types. The L3 larvae then infect people walking barefoot on the soil. In the bush it is recommended you dig 6 foot deep latrines since the hookworm can climb up to 4 feet in the right soil conditions. And no they don't make your bottom itch, that's tape worm which pop out the backside to lay their eggs. Hookworms need soil to breed and complete their life cycle.
Myths, Safety and DIY
In poorer native communities where latrines are shallow (less than 4 feet deep) or untreated dogs defecate in the soil, please wear shoes. The local people who walk barefoot in these areas are often heavily infected with various types of worms. Heavy infections may cause anaemia. Note that not all parasites have a beneficial effect. Some can breed in the body and even overrun the body. Some can wander into vital organs. Canine hookworm, where untreated dog faeces infect the soil in poorer communities, have no health benefits. There is a myth that walking through an open latrine in a poor 3rd community can infect you with hookworm and make you well. This is not true.
There is one very nasty parasite called Strongyloides stercoralis which can destroy the health of the host. This parasite is ripe in northern Australia and other poor communities around the world. Continue reading about Stronyloides and safety...