Do worms help with chronic bowel diseases?

Do worms help with chronic bowel diseases? In one experiment, one patient swallowed intestinal worms. In fact, ulcerative colitis symptoms eased after a few months.

Can worm eggs help alleviate bowel problems? A 34-year-old man suffers from inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis) and has undertaken an unusual self-experiment: he swallowed worm eggs and apparently the therapy worked and the patient's state of health improved significantly. But doctors urgently advise against imitating this self-therapy, as the worms could cause considerable damage to the intestines.

Worm eggs for chronic bowel disease Scientists from the University School of Medicine in New York are currently reporting on an unusual experiment in the science magazine "Science Translational Medicine". A patient swallowed whipworm worm eggs to treat his chronic bowel disease. This was preceded by observations by the scientific team around P’nG Loke that colitis ulcerosa is much less common in countries where worm infections are widespread. Other studies also indicated that worms can stop and reduce inflammation.

For the medical experiment, the patient voluntarily swallowed whipworm eggs (Trichuris trichiura). During the course of the study, the scientists examined the blood values ​​and tissue of the 34-year-old. The examinations took place before and after the consumption of the worms. In fact, the patient's health improved after a few months. The researchers found that the worm infection increased immune defense cells in the patient's body. In particular, protein "Interleukin 22" had formed in large numbers. The protein is among others responsible for the stabilization and healing of the mucous membranes. The researchers suspect that the immune defense has created more immune cells as a result of the worm infection in order to strengthen the mucous membranes and absorb the worm. Other experts suspect that the worms may secrete active substances themselves. Animal experiments have already shown that the method alleviates symptoms of autoimmune diseases (e.g. asthma).

Researchers advise against mimicking the treatment Despite the current success of the alternative form of treatment, researchers advise against mimicking the experiment. Because the worms themselves pose health risks. "The problem is that these worms can cause slight or severe damage to the intestine themselves," the study authors write. At the moment it is still completely unclear which patient the therapy will help with and what the further course of the disease will be. To reduce the risk for patients in the future, the researchers now want to start experimenting with worms that are usually less dangerous to humans. These include worms that tend to infect pigs and are almost harmless to humans. Pig worms die in the human body within 14 days and cannot be transmitted to other people.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic bowel disease that leads to multiple inflammations. Most often the rectum and colon are affected. Unlike chronic Chronic disease, inflammation from the rectum spreads continuously. This often causes smaller and larger ulcers in the intestine, which have to be removed with the help of medication and surgical interventions. Those affected often suffer from diarrhea, flatulence and severe to acute abdominal pain. In addition to the symptoms, comorbidities such as spondylitis, sacroiliitis or osteoporosis. According to the German Crohn's Disease / Ulcerative Colitis Society, around 168,000 people are affected in Germany. The exact causes of the disease are still unknown.

Forms of therapy in naturopathy In addition to conventional treatments, there are also a number of forms of therapy in the field of naturopathy. So taking myrrh can inhibit inflammation. In addition to pure myrrh, preparations are also available that have a neutral taste, as myrrh tastes very bitter. Another option is to take lecithin. Some studies have already shown that the intestinal mucosa of sick people contains less of the body's own lecithin than in healthy people. So that the lecithin also reaches the affected colon, gastric juice-resistant drugs are administered. However, this form of therapy has not yet been recognized because it needs to be researched further.

A change in diet can also make a significant contribution. Foods that can inhibit inflammation have proven particularly helpful. This includes foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids. In some studies it was also observed that blueberries containing anthocyanins can alleviate symptoms somewhat. Omitting or restricting some, especially aggressive, inflammatory foods has also helped alleviate many patients. Those affected should therefore seek nutritional advice in order to exclude appropriate foods without suffering from a lack of nutrients. (sb)

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