Our bodies have their own ecosystem made up of trillions of living organisms called the human microbiome. Every person has a unique microbiome. Variation of the microbiome is based on many factors including the food and beverages we consume, the types of body products we use, where we live, the amount of time we spend outdoors, and the medications we take, among other things.
As the modern world evolved from hunter and gatherer societies to more industrialized ways of living, our microbiome has shifted as well. Autoimmune, allergic, and other inflammatory diseases have become an epidemic in Western cultures. These diseases were not prevalent in any country before the industrial revolution and are due to environmental factors such as vitamin D deficiencies due to indoor work environments, increased stress, replacement of breast milk with infant formulas, and alteration of the human microbiome from pesticide use, pasteurization, increased sanitation practices and the overuse of antimicrobial drugs.
Restoration of the microbiome has become an important therapeutic intervention in modern medicine. Many of us are probably taking a probiotic or have been told to drink kombucha or eat fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, or sauerkraut. While these therapies are great for replenishing the microbiome flora, for some people, it is not quite enough to restore health.
Helminth therapy has emerged as a cutting edge treatment for autoimmune, allergic, and inflammatory diseases. Helminths are worms, they are the fauna of our microbiome. Over the last century, helminths have disappeared from our western diets due to pesticide use in farming and increased sanitation practices in our food system. Eliminating helminths in the diet has been successful in eliminating undesirable gastrointestinal infections; however, we are now finding that, just as there are good and “bad” bacteria, there are also good and “bad” helminths. The eradication of beneficial helminths has lead to a widespread decrease in immune tolerance in our society, meaning that many people now react to benign substances in our environment such as pollen, peanuts, eggs, dairy, etc.
HDC (Hymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids) is the larval stage of a small roundworm. It grows in grain beetles which were commonly in our food supply up until about 100 years ago. HDCs offer the following advantages over other organisms that are currently being used to treat disease in humans.
For more information listen to Dr. Sid Baker, the father of HDC therapy talk about his work.