John Scott brings us up to date on his romance with his worms

For his full ‘wormy’ thoughts see his article Helminthic Therapy

After having been unable to eat any normal foods for more years that I can remember (read the tale here), I am now once again able to enjoy the delights of a number of different foods, and it's entirely thanks to a few tiny hookworms residing in my gut.

Most people with allergies who host hookworms find that their symptoms begin to abate between 11 and 13 weeks after their inoculation with hookworm larvae, so I waited until 12 weeks before trying a few normal foods again, and found, to my delight, that I could tolerate several of them without any difficulty. After about six weeks of experimentation, I have found 20 foods, including proteins (white fish, goat's milk products and eggs), starches (rice, potatoes, buckwheat and polenta), root vegetables (carrot, parsnip and sweet potato) and several fruits (apple, pear, peach and raspberries) that I can safely eat. After so many years on powdered semi-elemental formula, the humble spud tastes absolutely divine! And chocolate! Mmmmmmm! I think I'm going to become addicted to this!

At 18 weeks post inoculation, I'm now combining small amounts of normal foods with my formula feed and trying not to rush progress too quickly. There are still days when my returning tolerance seems to waiver and my gut begins to get sore again, but it's still early days, as hookworms take approximately six months to get into their stride.

There are also still days when I get diarrhoea, which is an inevitable consequence of acquiring 35 worms at the same time, and evidence of my body's attempt to retake control of my immune system, which is now increasingly coming under the influence of my new little friends.

As the hookworms re-establish their ancient, symbiotic relationship with my body, these fluctuations will settle down. This process is not like taking a drug, which unilaterally imposes control on the body's chemistry, but more a case of establishing a flexible, two-way relationship which eventually achieves an equilibrium that is mutually beneficial to both worms and host. And this process takes time – usually about 11 months – so there is plenty of time yet for things to settle down and, hopefully, for further improvements to appear.

The important thing for me at the moment is that my hope for at least some reduction in my adverse reactions to food is being realised and the trend is a positive one. I'm just so pleased to be able to eat something with a real taste to it!

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First Published in 2009

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