Can Worms be the Answer to Celiac Disease?

The diagnosis of Celiac disease is on the rise and as such, there have been many studies lately about the causes  and possible prevention.  While Celiac disease is an immune response to the proteins in wheat, barley and rye (known collectively as gluten), it is a non-IgE response, meaning the reaction is not anaphylaxis but a myriad of symptoms from headaches to gastrointestinal upset and nutritional deficiencies.  Damage of the intestine and other body systems (such as osteoporosis of the bones) can be undiagnosed for years.

Up until this point, once properly diagnosed with Celiac disease, the only way to avoid the symptoms and subsequent damage is complete avoidance of gluten; not always a very easy prospect in our food supply.  So bring on the parasitic hookworms!

What??? Yup, I said it, parasitic hookworms.  A recent study in Australia had 20 diagnosed Celiacs infected with hookworms and then had them eat white bread for 21 weeks.  After that, their intestines were examined for the damage associated with gluten ingestion and it appears that those with the parasite fared dramatically better than those without the hookworms.  In fact, all of those Celiacs infected with the hookworms, elected to KEEP their parasites after the study rather than rid themselves via the appropriate prescription drug.

Given that the prevalent theory in the world of food allergy is hygiene theory (that we’re too clean and aren’t fighting parasites like our ancestors leading to our body fighting food proteins instead), this is very interesting.  But I have to admit, I’m not signing up for hookworm infection anytime soon.

Alana Elliott is the Founder and President of Libre Naturals (formerly Nonuttin’ Foods), a gluten free and allergy friendly food company she founded in response to her family’s many food allergies and immune disorders.  Please check out Libre Naturals at: