How Helminthic Therapy works: A primer for beginners

How Helminthic Therapy works: The simple version 

When therapeutic helminths are introduced to your body, they want to stay in their cozy new home. Helminth therapy works because they send calming signals to your immune system saying that everything is fine and dandy, nothing to see here, move along. A wormy version of "These are not the droids you are looking for." In addition to preventing your immune system from going into overdrive and kicking them out, they also train the immune system to react more calmly to other things that trigger a response, like pollen, allergy-provoking foods and in the case of autoimmune disorders, even the host's own body.

“Evolution turns the inevitable into the necessary.”

-Moises Velasquez-Manoff

As Moises Velasquez-Manoff says in his revolutionary book, An Epidemic of Absence: ​A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases, "Evolution turns the inevitable into the necessary." In other words, you've got them in your body anyway, so you may as well depend on them to do a few odd jobs around the place. Through time, humans have had little choice in the presence of helminths, so our bodies have not only adapted to their presence, we've outsourced the important and useful job of helping to modulate our immune system to them. Essentially, helminthic therapy works because they were an inevitable part of the human existence for millennia and we came to rely on them.

What can happen you don't have helminth helpers?

​Autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma. Without the right training, your immune system may overreact to things in your environment (pollen, dust, gluten, peanuts, etc) or the body can begin attacking itself, as happens with autoimmune diseases. This won't happen to everyone, of course, but it is happening to more and more people in the Western world.

Autoimmune conditions include MS, lupus, IBD, CFS/ME, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, type 1 diabetes, coeliac, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Hashimoto's thyroidosis, eosinophilic esophagitis and PANDAS to name just a few.  Other diseases and conditions that scientists suspect to have an autoimmune ​component include Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, autism, migraine and depression.

In parts of the globe where helminths are common, autoimmune diseases, allergies and asthma are rare.​