Thanks to one of my many Twitter food allergy friends, @Onespot_Allergy, this incredible yet possibly repulsing story recently came to my attention: Food Allergies And The Dirty Side Of The Hygiene Hypothesis
Basically… researchers are trying to see if parasites dropped into your guts will boost your immune system and possibly cure peanut allergies… and in turn, all food allergies.
…Participants would swallow a small vial full of liquid with parasitic eggs once every two weeks for an undetermined period of time.
They said side effects are minimal.
“This is not a parasite that will stay and colonize,” said Castells. “They just stay there for a little bit, they have enough food for a few days, a few weeks, and they go out.”
Jouvin and Castells are particularly interested in finding study subjects with moderately serious peanut allergies. Often deadly, peanut allergies afflict millions and kill as many as 100 Americans each year.
First reaction? Ew! Next reaction? Neat! …and what the hell is a Whipworm? Well, Wikipedia is helpful in such situations…
- Light infestations (<100 worms) are frequently asymptomatic.
- Heavy infestations may have bloody diarrhea.
- Long-standing blood loss may lead to iron-deficiency anemia.
- Rectal prolapse is possible in severe cases.
- Vitamin A deficiency may also result due to infection.
Mechanical damage to the mucosa may occur as well as toxic or inflammatory damage to the intestines of the host.
At least the first line is reassuring. This seems a lot like how the plot to Alien started. If it’s proven, I’ll go for it. I’d like to make sure that I’m not allergic to Whipworms before I eat any or their eggs, though.
Also… if “cured”, I wouldn’t be going to Red Lobster any time soon, but it sure would make cross-contamination fears a thing of the past.
What do you think about this possible cure for food allergies? Excited? Scared? Grossed out? Curious? No emotions until there are solid results?
- People with African ancestry more prone to peanut allergy (news.bioscholar.com)
- When the Fairytale Princess has a Peanut Allergy, New Picture Book Comes to the Rescue (prnewswire.com)
- This won’t REALLY kill you, will it? Let’s see… (aixelsyd13.wordpress.com)
- Possible Cure For Peanut Allergy Found (fitsugar.com)
- Pittsburgh’s Food Allergy Walk 2011 Recap (aixelsyd13.wordpress.com)
- Do You Know Someone With a Food Allergy? (fitsugar.com)
- Do You Know Nuts About Food Allergies? (fitsugar.com)
- Thanks to everyone who donated for the Food Allergy Walk! (aixelsyd13.wordpress.com)