If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while, then you already know that I’ve always felt that Americans—and most of the Western world, really—live in environments that are entirely too clean.
I came across this concept when I was writing my first book, The Allergy and Asthma Cure. In the process, I discovered many studies detailing how children raised in the country, where they have regular contact with dirt, animals, etc., suffer far fewer health issues than those who grow up in super clean, sterile homes.
This idea—which is now better known as the “hygiene hypothesis”—has kept gaining traction over the years. And according to one new study, at least, it doesn’t just apply to dirt…
Tracing the roots of “inflammaging”
Fair warning: This might gross you out. But researchers believe that hookworms—yes, the gut parasite—may actually help people ward off inflammation and age-related illnesses.
In fact, the researchers were so impressed with their findings that they went so far as to suggest that, perhaps, we should use hookworms therapeutically to slow down aging and protect against conditions like heart disease.
I realize it sounds a bit crazy, but parasitic helminths—as they’re known scientifically, but let’s just call them worms—used to be common in the human body, living peacefully in small numbers, most of the time.
But of course, modern sanitation and other health measures have all but eradicated worms as a regular feature of the Western world. And maybe, just maybe, it’s done more harm than good.
Hear me out: We all know that chronic inflammation can do a number on your arteries, organs, and joints. We also know that it plays a role in a long list of age-related chronic illnesses—like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few.
Scientists have theorized that a lot of this “inflammaging” might trace back to changes in the gut microbiome. But one thing they haven’t really considered is whether changes in our macrobiome—that is, our gut’s collection of larger residents, like worms—might play a role, too.
A bridge too far?
The London researchers behind this latest review point out that declines in these microbes, particularly in developed nations, have links to an equally concerning list of inflammatory conditions: asthma, eczema, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, for example.
Funny enough, you rarely find these illnesses in undeveloped nations—where people often have guts teeming with parasites. Which might just suggest that when we lose these “old friends,” our bodies pay a price.
Obviously, a heavy burden of worms comes with health problems of its own, including diarrhea, blood loss, and abdominal pain. But just as with bacteria, perhaps we’ve taken our fight too far?
Look, I’m all for the improvements that hygiene has triggered across the world. (Especially now, in the age of coronavirus.) And I’m certainly not suggesting that you rush out to get some parasitic worms in an effort to fight chronic inflammation.
But the bottom line is this: There is such a thing as too clean. So let your kids (or grandkids) play in the dirt—take them to a farm from time to time. And do the same for yourself. Then, stifle the urge to constantly use hand sanitizer or “antibacterial” products.
And in the meantime, if you’re looking for a less stomach-churning way to rein in runaway inflammation, check out my latest protocol, Dr. Pescatore’s Essential Guide to Combating Inflammation.
This comprehensive learning tool will teach you how to fight this stealth culprit behind premature aging, chronic pain, and deadly disease—safely, naturally, and no worms required. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Can Gut Parasites Slow the Aging Process?” WebMD News, 02/09/2021. (webmd.com/diet/news/20210209/can-gut-parasites-slow-the-aging-process)