The Surprising Health Benefits of Hook Worms

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  

Remember that scene from “Indiana Jones: The Temple of Doom” when Willie Scott has to wade through creepy crawly bugs to save Indiana? Most of us can empathize with Willie’s feelings of disgust, but you may be surprised to learn about a worm that could improve your health. Sounds as far-fetched as an Indiana Jones movie, right? Maybe not…

Scientists in Australia conducted a clinical trial where they used hookworms to improve symptoms of celiac disease. Researchers infected 12 study participants with hookworm larvae and gave the participants increasing doses of gluten over the course of a year. As the study progressed, study participants were able to eat up to a medium-sized bowl of spaghetti without experiencing negative health effects. Normally, a patient with celiac’s could experience symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting from eating that much gluten.

The worms had a positive effect on study participants because hook worms can reduce the immune response to inflammatory illnesses. These findings are also promising for sufferers of other inflammatory illnesses like asthma and Crohn’s disease.

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