Hookworms Successfully Prevent Type 2 Diabetes In Human Trial

A two-year human trial conducted by James Cook University (JCU) has concluded, demonstrating positive results using low-dose human hookworm therapy to treat chronic conditions, particularly in relation to type 2 diabetes. New Atlas reports: [O]f the 24 participants who received worms, when offered a dewormer at the end of the second year of the trial, with the option to stay in the study for another 12 months, only one person chose to kill off their gut buddies — and it was only because they had an impending planned medical procedure. “All trial participants had risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes,” said Dr Doris Pierce, from JCU’s Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM). “The trial delivered some considerable metabolic benefits to the hookworm-treated recipients, particularly those infected with 20 larvae.”

In this double-blinded trial, 40 participants aged 27 to 50, with early signs of metabolic diseases, took part. They received either 20 or 40 microscopic larvae of the human hookworm species Necator americanus; another group took a placebo. As an intestinal parasite, the best survival skill is to keep the host healthy, which will provide a long-term stable home with nutrients ‘on tap.’ In return, these hookworms pay the rent in the form of creating an environment that suppresses inflammation and other adverse conditions that can upset that stable home. While the small, round worms can live for a decade, they don’t multiply unless outside the body, and good hygiene means transmission risk is very low.

As for the results, those with 20 hookworms saw a Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) level drop from 3.0 units to 1.8 units within the first year, which restored their insulin resistance to a healthy range. The cohort with 40 hookworms still experienced a drop, from 2.4 to 2.0. Those who received the placebo saw their HOMA-IR levels increase from 2.2 to 2.9 during the same time frame. “These lowered HOMA-IR values indicated that people were experiencing considerable improvements in insulin sensitivity — results that were both clinically and statistically significant,” said Dr Pierce. Those with worms also had higher levels of cytokines, which play a vital role in triggering immune responses. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: Hookworms Successfully Prevent Type 2 Diabetes In Human Trial – Slashdot

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