Cigarettes, Hook Worms, And Are We Too Clean?

July 22nd, 200910:44 am @ A.D. Odom


smokingI am going to start with the cigarettes first because when I told a number of people about my experience with cigarettes I would always get this face that said “sure, you’re kidding right?”  No, I was not kidding.

As a child I had all manner of allergies.  There were times I could not breath without holding my mouth open for long periods of time looking absolutely stupid.   Then there were the lung ailments I could not escape for whatever reason.  It was not until I started smoking in college — a suggestion from another smoker to cut down on my snacking craze — that I discovered something strange.  I didn’t notice this initially, but later I realized I no longer had a problem with allergies, lung ailments and other upper respiratory horrors that constantly plagued me.  Lung cancer, however, is a bigger ailment than not being able to breath through my fat nostrils and is equally, if not moreso, unattractive.

I will also add, besides lung cancer, smoking can cause pulmonary disease and can even affect how the body fights infections.  According to a study recommended by the Faculty of 1000: Biology and Medicine. Dutch researchers found that cigarette smoke reduces allergic response by blocking mast cell activity, the key factor in the body’s immune system’s response to allergens.

The research was performed on mouse cells but researchers believe this is likely to transfer to human cells as well.  The researchers treated mast cells—the tissue cells of the immune system—with a smoke-infused solution and found that it prevented the release of inflammation-inducing proteins as a response to allergens, all while leaving other mast cell immune functions unaffected.  Imagine that.

So no, I’m not kidding it really happened but, it also opened me up to lung cancer and other ugly mess.  Six in one hand, half dozen in the other.  You can read more at

How About Some Hook Worms & Supersize Me


I'll have two hookworms please.

Discover has an interesting article entitled Are Hookworms the Next Claritin? Oh Lord, please say it isn’t so.

Oh, but it is.  Jasper Lawrence sells parasites for $2,999 (actually the price is $2,900) and you can purchase the little critters from his company Autoimmune Therapies.  That’s right folks, autoimmune therapies.

Like me, Lawrence suffered from asthma and allergies and after years of taking prednisone he decided to try hookworms instead. Why you ask?  He saw a documentary about a researcher who became infected with hookworm  during a study of why people with the parasite never seemed to suffer from asthma and allergies. That was all Lawrence needed to see and he traveled to Africa, walked around barefoot until his feet were infected and voila, no more allergies.  ABC reports:

Within a few months, Lawrence said his asthma and allergy symptoms dissipated. He stopped prednisone. He started to exercise without worrying about an attack and, as a result, he said he lost 40 pounds.

Yes boys and girls, moms and dads, that’s just how Lawrence ended up in business for himself selling parasites for $2,999.  That’s right, you too could be cured from allergies and asthma if you would just allow a hookworm or two into your body. You can read more about Lawrence’s findings at

Don’t laugh, there’s more.

Have We Become Too Clean?


That's right sweetheart, don't you worry about no swine flu

You’ve heard the statements don’t walk barefoot outside, stay out of the dirt, don’t put that in your mouth, wash your hands, etc.  But wait, could that be doing more harm than good?  Well, according to one study, you’re being too clean.

In an article at the, it seems there is a growing body of evidence that says our cleanliness may be causing us to develop an immature immune system.

Since 1989, when David Strachan proposed his Hygiene Hypothesis in British Medical Journal, evidence is growing that our modern home environment is too sterile. Researchers believe there is a strong link with the meteoric rise in allergies and autoimmune diseases, and insufficient exposure of babies to dirt. According to a book, “The Autoimmune Epidemic: Bodies gone haywire in a World out of balance, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa”, one in nine women of childbearing years has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease ie. a condition where the immune system attacks its own body, such as Crohns, Lupus, MS, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, celiac disease eg. 2009 research from the Mayo Clinic,, shows that young people are 4.5 times more likely to have celiac disease, than people 50 years ago.

Research from Ball, et al 2000, New England Journal of Medicine, 343, (8) 538 -43,  showed that children from big families, those who attended daycare, or who lived on farms (Swiss researchers, 2002), had fewer allergies such as asthma and hayfever.  Dennis Ownby and researchers, JAMA, vol. 288, no. 8, August 28, 2002 963-972, showed that children who live around two or more dogs or cats before their first birthday, are less likely to have allergies of any sort.

Hmm, about those worms again.  Bacterial endotoxins (from faecal bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli), may be more important for the healthy development of your child’s immune system than you think.  So go ahead, let that dog lick that child.  Ick!!

You should also read the article:  “Can you be too clean?“  to read more about the lack of vitamin D in our diets or changes in the friendly bacteria that colonise our guts.  The more you know, the more you don’t want to know.