It Sounds Disgusting, But...
Maybe it's time to question what we think we know about parasites.
Hookworm examination. Picture attributed to Marion Post Wolcott.
You know that I have been studying "gut health" a lot recently. So I want to share a new article that is absolutely fascinating, and somewhat horrifying at the same time.
First though, I want to tell you about a discussion I had with one of my friends a few years ago...
This friend is a professor of parasitology. He travels the world studying mummies from ancient civilizations to see what parasites lived in their gut. From this he can uncover all kinds of things about how the people lived, what they ate, climate and who knows what else.
Once, at a Christmas party, I had an in-depth conversation with him about doing a "parasite detox" regarding worms, etc. (yes, we discussed this at a Christmas party, surrounded by other people who were listening and giving us, "What the hell is wrong with you guys-looks").
He had his doubts about the benefits of such a treatment, and in fact, he stated that it may cause more harm than good. He said that humans and these worms had co-evolved over the course of hundreds of millions of years, and in fact, there were many benefits that we receive from these worms.
At this point, I thought he was crazy. There is no way that they could be beneficial, because they're nasty, disgusting, good-for-nothing parasites. Right?!
But then there is this study that apparently shows that the only known "cure" for celiacs disease is to be infected with hookwork. There are studies going on right now in which people are getting great results from injecting themselves with hookworm.
But here's the article I want you to read. It's written by William Parker, associate professor of surgery at Duke University in North Carolina. He makes the case that our modern, worm-free existence may be linked to allergies, asthma, depression, MS, and many other first-world problems.
I don't think he's suggesting that all parasites are good for you, but maybe our definition of good and bad needs a rework.
Please read the article and tell me what you think in the comment section below.
I think I need to be clear here that, no, I'm not ready to start injecting myself with hookworms, nor am I recommending that you do it. But the article is truly interesting and I do believe that this is going to be a major study in the decades to come. I also think that this will be an area of that drug companies are going to study to come up with new medications.
Please comment below.
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