Can nature cure autoimmune diseases?
Updated: Jan 22, 2022
In my book Ageing Young, I talk a lot about how climate change drove human beings to adapt by setting up sedentary communities in estuary regions, which not only provided an abundance of live food, — small animals, fish, mollusks and the like — but also fertile soil for garden farming.
Sedentism led to agriculture and animal husbandry which provided a stable source of calories, independent of the vagaries of hunting and fishing.
Vegetables, fruits, meat and fish are hard to preserve without smoking. But grain can be stored rather easily. So bread and rice became staples in many cultures for this reason — about 7000 years ago, which is when domestic cats decided to join the human family. Granaries attracted mice, which also found their nice in human homes. Mice? Yummy, yummy.
As city states developed, so did hierarchy and dominance systems. People at the top of a social hierarchy had a more varied diet, higher in animal protein, with a greater degree of choice. That is still the case today.
Those at the bottom of the social ladder relied on bread or rice.
Now these are generalizations. Obviously there were many exceptions and much more variability, culture by culture, situation by situation. Even so, they still are useful to consider.
In any case, the average height of Europeans dropped by about 50 to 70 centimeters, and longevity diminished.
If you were an ordinary bread& circuses citizen of Rome in the year 150 AD, you would be lucky to live beyond 30. If you were a patrician, you could live to a ripe old age into your 60s.
Again, in modern life, those at the bottom of the social life eat poorly and live shorter lives. The average lifespan of Americans has been declining slowly — but steadily in recent years apace with inequality and an increase in obesity.
Now, many people worldwide are either lactose or gluten intolerant — or both.
Add to this, a low tolerance for simple sugars in many populations. Europeans are exceptions. Bread (gluten) and cheese. Milk. (lactose) Beer. Whiskey.(simple sugar).
As mentioned in my previous article, when First Nations in the US switched to colonial diets, you suddenly began to suffer from get obesity, diabetes, heart disease, more rapid ageing and a host of conditions. Of course, you have to factor in medical care. In NZ, Maoris have a significantly reduced life expectancy compare to “whites” but still in the same range as Americans, this thanks to New Zealand’s comprehensive medical care system.
Medical care makes a big difference. But so does microevolution.
Europeans and some others evolved to handle gluten and lactose and simple sugar better. Even though these things are still to some degree health hazards and promote obesity, diabetes and other rapid ageing in their populations, although not as obviously with, say, American Indians or Africans or others.
Another related change that can be attributed to evolution is the microbiome. The guts of all mammals contain bacteria and other biologic parasites, which, as foreign symbiotic, generate an immune response. Of course, some bacteria will kill you. Some worms will too. So there are “good bacteria” and “bad ones”. In modern times, we have a lot of fermented foods — yogurt, buttermilk, natto, sauerkraut, etc. In prehistoric times, we got our bugs naturally by eating over-ripe foods, insects, and the like. We also all had worms, which promoted either beneficial or malignant bacterial infestations.
Nowadays, ALL worms or helminths are considered bad. And, yeah, they can be. In fact, mostly are. The worms that we had as hunters and gatherers were similar to the worms that all primates have, and mostly controllable through self-medication with herbs and the like. Your average chimpanzee knows exactly what to eat when his or her gut is bothering him.
But most primates are not sedentary. Only human beings. Most primates do not grow food in their own shit. Only us -- when we shifted from nomadic hunting and gathering. Agriculture led the evolution of new worm species, many of them eventually fatal to their hosts and not controllable by eating herbs.
But some people have atavistic, hunter and gatherer guts. Without helminths, their immune systems don’t work properly--and that leads to autoimmune diseases.
If you have an auto-immune disease such as Crohn’s, psoriasis or MS, there are drugs to suppress the immune system. They work well but they also tend to be carcinogenic and make the body vulnerable to opportunistic infections. Among other things, they reduce the efficacy of all COVID vaccines.
Some helminths, of the kind we had 35,000 years ago work a lot better, without these dangerous side effects.
Autoimmunological diseases are an increasing problem nowadays in societies. Due to complex etiology, effective therapy against immune disorders is still needed. A promising alternative for the current methods of treatment can be helminthic therapy. Series of tests on animal models as well as clinical studies indicates that parasitic infection can inhibit inflammation in inflammatory bowel diseases and multiple sclerosis. Effectiveness of therapy with helminths, mainly gut nematodes depends on the activity of many compounds released during infection. Despite hopeful results, mechanisms activated by nematodes aren’t explained yet, besides, therapeutically use of live parasites is controversial. Most of studies are focused on searching parasitic factors. The use of this compound in autoimmunological diseases could be an alternative for current medicaments. The aim of current study is summarizing and discussing helminth therapy of autoimmunological disorder on multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel diseases examples as well as using parasitic compounds as a potential pharmaceutical component.
You have to choose your worms carefully — just like your bacteria. You can supplement with acidophilus and but you don't want do it with pylori, right?
If you go online, and do a deep search you will find literally hundreds of articles that validate what I am saying. So, whey haven’t you heard of it before?That's because most people don't DO "deep searches". They believe their doctors who mostly accept what drug companies and drug company funded research says.
The medical establishment is mainly interested in creating new drugs from helminths research, but some studies suggest that this is not possible for a long time, since the immunological response to helminths is also due to the specialized bacteria that they foster and individual genetics. In the mean time, immunosuppressant drugs are big business. Natural remedies don’t yield a profit. You can’t patent a helminth. Not yet, anyway. That could be coming.
Has science provided drugs that substitute for yogurt and sauerkraut and a healthy humanmicrobiome? Nope. But they do provide pills and tablets with your daily bugs.
A healthy microbiome means not just acidophilus but a wide range of fauna in the gut. Now, you can get those in a pill but many are generated other ways. For example, cacao helps generate gut bacteria. It’s what has been called a “hyperbiotic”. The more varied your diet, the better your gut health.
Evolution can be a bitch. And eating worms might be icky. But, if you have Crohn’s or MS, what do you have to lose? The drugs will eventually kill you.
Aside from that , to be healthy, avoid lactose and gluten, and refined sugars -- especially in processed foods, which are designed to addict you to everything bad. Eat rice rather than bread or pasta. Eat fermented foods of different kinds. Not just yogurt but sauerkraut and natto and include prebiotics as well. As I said, avoid all simple sugars