Are parasitic worms actually helpful for MS? Researchers have explored infecting MS patients with hookworms as a way of possibly regulating the immune system. Could worm therapy be a promising new treatment, or just another attempt to create new patentable immunosuppressive drugs for MS? This post will discuss worm therapy research and reveal how hookworms actually affect the immune system.
Several studies have investigated infecting patients with MS or inflammatory bowel disease with hookworms as potential treatments. Researchers believe that the immunosuppressive substances secreted by the worms may help suppress inflammation in MS patients and potentially reduce the risk of future MS attacks.
In the past, researchers have infected MS patients with worms that normally infect certain animals and not humans. Because these worms normally don’t live in humans, they did not remain in the MS subjects and therefore didn’t produce the immunosuppressive response that the researchers wanted to study.
Rodents infected with hookworms showed a decrease in the severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS. Another study revealed that molecules released by liver flukes in rodents stopped EAE.
Several parasitic infections that have been shown to reduce the severity of EAE:
- Trypanosoma cruzi – a protist that causes Chagas disease
- Plasmodium chabaudi – a protist that causes malaria
- Trichinella spiralis – a roundworm that causes trichinosis
- Nippostrongylus brasiliensis – a hookworm that infects rats
- Fasciola hepatica – liver flukes that cause fascioliasis.
Parasites Suppress Immune Function
There are at least 17 different ways in which parasites cause inflammation and immune dysfunction in the body. Many parasitic worms release a mixture of molecules in their hosts to support the parasite’s growth, reproduction and survival in the host. Parasites break down hemoglobin into essential nutrients, destroy collagen so they can move more freely through tissues and suppress immune function to avoid being killed by the immune system.
Parasitic worms are also capable of deactivating certain types of immune cells.
Making sense of worm therapy for MS
1. Most MS patients are not ok with being infected with live parasitic worms.
2. In some cases, inoculating an MS patient with worms can cause a worm infection. The worms’ feeding, mating and moving in the body can cause inflammation.
3. The immature larval forms of the worms are used in trials and would have to be produced on a large scale in mammals. It is not realistic that a global production of these worms would be able to meet the regulations of good manufacturing practices.
4. Deliberately infecting people with worms has both ethical and health issues. Hookworm therapy significantly increases the risk of infection with other human parasites. For example, hookworms are harvested from the feces of infected individuals which may also be infected with other parasites.
5. Worms suppress and compromise the immune system of the person they infect, which prevents the immune system from having a strong and healthy response to other parasites. Patients infected with worms are immune compromised, in a similar way to those who take immunosuppressive drugs. Worm therapy may be a greater risk than benefit for children whose immune system is developing, and for the elderly who have compromised immune function.
6. There is a significant difference between true immune modulation and immune suppression. Immune modulation occurs when we support the immune system through diet, lifestyle and treating parasites, all of which strengthen the immune system. In contrast, parasitic worms suppress normal immune function in their host for the sole benefit of the parasite, compromising the natural defenses of the host, making them more vulnerable to other parasitic infections.
There are major ethical issues in using parasites that are disease-causing microbes in humans because they cause sickness, disability and early death. Researchers hope to identify the specific immunosuppressive molecules produced by the worms, make the molecules synthetically and create new immunosuppressive disease modifying therapies that must be taken for life, if the patient tolerates them.
It seems we’ve been stuck in this paradigm for over 40 years. We still don’t know what causes MS and there is no cure. Most of the MS research is focussed on new immunosuppressive patentable drug treatments. The MS drugs are very profitable for the pharmaceutical companies, but they don’t work! MS patients suffer terribly and die prematurely. This is not acceptable and it is time for change.
There are real solutions to recover from parasites today!
To restore health, we must focus on treating the cause of inflammation, which are parasites. First, identify the enemy (parasites), then support the body and treat the parasites while following a holistic approach. When parasitic infections are treated effectively, we can overcome inflammation or disease.
If you’re frustrated with the fact that our standard of care STILL doesn’t offer a real solution for treating MS and other diseases, then click on the link below to watch Pam Bartha’s free masterclass training and discover REAL solutions that have allowed Pam and many others to live free from MS and other diseases.
Clinically diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 28, Pam chose an alternative approach to recovery. Now decades later and still symptom free, she coaches others on how to treat the root cause of chronic disease, using a holistic approach. She can teach you how, too.
Pam is the author of Become a Wellness Champion and founder of Live Disease Free. She is a wellness expert, coach and speaker.
The Live Disease Free Academy has helped hundreds of Wellness Champions in over 15 countries take charge of their health and experience profound improvements in their life.