Worms and Germs Lead to Better Immune Function

DURHAM, N.C. – There is a growing consensus among doctors that a healthy gut, even with some species of worms, may offer protection against some allergies and autoimmune problems.

Research has shown that germs from healthy people can be used to heal sick people who suffer from digestive disorders and other conditions caused by the loss of their own germs. This along with worms that live in the gut, called helminths, have shown success in quelling inflammatory diseases when transferred to sick patients.

To test these claims researchers at Duke University enhanced the biodiversity in laboratory rats’ guts, including treating the rats with worms that would suppress their immune systems. What they discovered is the rats improved their immune function.

Their findings were published in the April 8 online edition of PLOS ONE.

This research adds to the expanding understanding of the complex environment in the digestive tract and its important role in maintaining health.
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0120255

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