Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Parasites offer Protection against Allergies
By Tim Howden ND BHSc MNHAA
An inverse relationship exists between gut parasites and the prevalence of allergy. Many parasitic diseases such as filariasis and schistosomiasis that persist in developing nations have been mostly eradicated in developed ones and yet, allergies exist mostly in developed nations.
The loss of these worms or helminths may actually be contributing to the increase in allergic conditions. It seems that eradication of these "Old Friends" comes at the price of lost protection. Studies in Ghana have shown that these parasites have the ability to modulate the immune response and modulate the expression of particular receptors involved in the allergic response. Similar effects have been found in European children raised on farms.
This supports the idea that the organisms with which we co-evolved are important in helping prop up and regulate our immune systems. It also backs up the vital role our digestive tracts play in our health.
All Disease begins in the GUT - Hippocrates (2500 years ago!)