Some remarkable news has come out of Vietnam, from research carried out by Nottingham University. It seems that one of the reasons why asthma and other allergies such as hay fever and dust mite allergy has risen in the West is not as a result of hygienic living conditions, but a reduction of worms living in our guts.
It is thought that the worms have been present in our guts throughout the development of humans, and actually helped to reduce allergic reactions, which is an immune response, to prevent the body trying to expel the parasites. In turn, this led to humans being able to tolerate other immune response triggers such as pollen, hair, dust mites etc. As we evolved, we came to rely on the gut worms to protect us, as our immune system essentially forgot how to do it themselves (or there was no need).
Now that many people are no longer becoming infected with parasites, and in many countries medication is taken to ensure that any parasites are killed off, more people are developing asthma, hay fever and other allergies.
More research is required. However, in current studies there is a clear link between removing gut parasites and the onset of dust mite allergies.
“The next step is to understand exactly how and when gut parasites programme the human immune system in a way that protects against allergies, and for such studies, follow-up from birth will be essential.” Dr Carsten Flohr, of the University of Nottingham.
The research has been ongoing for several years now. Read the full details on the University of Nottingham Website: