It is now widely appreciated that humans did not evolve as a single species, but rather that humans and the microbiomes associated with us have co-evolved as a “super-organism”, and that our evolution as a species and the evolution of our associated microbiomes have always been intertwined.
All mammalian species with the exception of humans in post-industrial societies and their domesticated animals co-exist with a wide range of intestinal worms, called helminths. Unfortunately, we are only now beginning to appreciate the consequences of our deceptively painless separation from these animals.
The co-evolution of helminths and their host’s immune systems has shaped the biology of both parties. Helminths have evolved to secrete dozens of molecules that exquisitely turn down the host immune system. It is reasonable to hope that host immune systems have, in turn, adapted to the presence of helminths.
This therapy has emerged from extensive research indicating a probable connection between a reduction in parasitic worms in industrialized societies to a significant and sustained increase in autoimmune diseases and allergies.
It is an experimental therapy and is not approved neither by FDA nor by any governmental body. However, many countries have approved research that has yielded very promising results in the treatment of autoimmune diseases with helminths. Successful studies have encouraged further research, and the therapy is gaining ground quickly.
Hookworms have a long history of involvement with humans and helminth’s life-cycles and possible detrimental effects in humans are well understood. This history of human testing makes Helminthic therapy easier to understand and faster to develop.
Helminthic therapy with N.A. can not damage to those living in affluent societies. Some of those using hookworm therapeutically suffer transient side effects, such as gas, diarrhoea, cramping, fatigue and less commonly joint pain and fever. These symptoms are associated with the initial immune response on first exposure to hookworm, they are not caused directly by the hookworm themselves. All these side effects, while unpleasant for a small minority of those using Helminthic therapy , cause no harm and typically resolve within a few weeks.