Can a hookworm make you healthy?
This news story is an absolute mind blower to me! I have always been focused on ridding people's digestive tracts of bad bacteria, fungus, and especially worms and parasites. Many times they indeed cause problems. In fact we know to de-worm our pets. Worms are large and visible. Some may be several meters long. The idea of such a creature living within us is naturally repulsive to most people and so we think in terms of killing it and expelling it somehow.
Now I have learned that some of these worms may actually be helpful to reduce inflammation and protect against various ailments and diseases. Hygienic practices are credited with reduction of diseases but perhaps we have now gone too far in our use of antibiotics, anti-bacterial hand soaps.
There are more microbes in our body than there are cells. In the GI tract they weigh in at about 3- 4 pounds. That's stunning. Many of them are beneficial and I have always tried to get rid of the "bad" guys and encourage growth of the "good" guys! For sure there is a balance.
Most of us are unaware that we are hosts for many colonies of tiny living creatures that are symbiotic with us. There are bacteria on the skin which can never be washed off. It's time to realize that we are part of the environment and that infection with microbes and other creatures can actually be beneficial to our health. In this case "infection" takes on a whole new mindset in that it's not always associated with "bad". It may not be such a bad idea to let your kids play in the sandbox after all!