Eosinophilic gastric disease and helminths


Following on from the Eosinophilic Study Day run by the Academy for Paediatric Gastroenterology in September (2012) – report here – and the suggestion in Michelle Berriedale-Johnson's blog that helminthic therapy might be a way forward, we asked John Scott, FoodsMatter's resident helminthic therapy expert, whether he knew of any cases in which helminthic therapy had been used on children suffering from eosinophilic diseases.

For those who are not familiar with helminthic therapy, it is based on the theory that for millennia humans, having co-existed with animals in what the 21st century would deem to be less than hygienic conditions, carried a low level of parasitic infection, but that it had been kept under control by the human immune system. However, thanks to the hygiene preoccupations of 20th century medicine, parasites have been more or less totally wiped out from the digestive systems of most Western populations. As a result, the human immune system has become 'deregulated' – with no parasites to control on a daily basis, it is, effectively, under-occupied and is therefore 'attacking' as 'invaders' or toxins, either perfectly harmless foods [peanuts or gluten], inhaled allergens [pollen] or even parts of the body – the pancreas in diabetes, the myelin sheath in MS, the joints in rheumatoid arthritis. Re-infecting the body with a low level of parasites or helminths re-focuses the immune system on a genuine threat and it therefore ceases to attack harmless proteins or organs and the allergy or auto-immune condition resolves.

John is one of a growing population of allergy sufferers who have independently decided to experiment with helminthic therapy as a way to manage their multiple allergies and crippling ill health. (You can purchase a 'dose' of helminths on line, from Autoimmune Therapies among others, if you feel that they might provide you with relief that no other therapy has provided.)

John, who had taken part in the Nottingham safety and efficacy trials, subsequently 'infected' himself with low doses of hookworms and, as a result, has successfully resolved his total food intolerances (he lived on elemental formula for 15 years), chronic rhinitis and migraines and greatly improved his ME. He now provides us with a regularly updated pdf which sits on the FoodsMatter site, of case histories of people who have successfully experimented with helminthic therapy. He sent us the following two quotes:

My daughter who has EE is off of Prilosec for the first time in six years!!! Only one incident of reflux in the last eleven days and none of the other typical symptoms that we've seen without it - sleeplessness, crabbiness and emotional volatility because of increased pain. I'm not giving her anything else - no antacid, betaine HCL, TUMS, or baking soda in water… This is absolutely huge for us… Her eating is much better in general as she is now able to eat a lot more nutritionally dense food… Yesterday she went to sleep before the rest of us. This has practically never happened."
(Reported in a private internet discussion, April 2012)

'… after the initial inoculation with seven hookworms, Cole experienced some side effects—periumbilical pain and mild diarrhea—but his food reactions improved. After five months, however, Carmon says, 'He regressed a little.' She and her husband decided to have Cole inoculated with 20 more worms. That's what did the trick, Carmon says. Cole stopped having reactions to his remaining foods and Carmon is slowly adding foods back into his diet. According to his doctors, Cole is in clinical remission, and they are 'fascinated' that helminth therapy worked. Helminth therapy has had other benefits, in addition to dramatically improving his health. 'He used to have trouble learning but he is now doing wonderfully in school … He used to be fussy and hard to please but now he's just so happy all the time.'
Living Without

For more comments see 'comments' on this post on the Foodsmatter blog.

For more on helminthic therapy see here.

First published in October 2012

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