August 10, 2015 13 Months of Cestodes
As I enter my second year of being infected with rat tapeworms, the thing that strikes me the most is that, nothing is really striking me. Said another way, being infected with intestinal worms seems so common and perfectly natural to me now that, it hardly seems remarkable at all. If someone walked up to me on the street and asked, “Sir, are you infected with rat tapeworms ?”. I would reply, “But, of course ! Isn’t everybody ?”
Anyway, I upped my dose this month from the 30 + 30 dose of HDC, which I have taken for over six months, to a 40 + 40 dose of HDC. Increasing my dose did bring on some symptoms. Once again, I had flu like aches and pains, extra fatigue, and also some intermittent nausea throughout the month. Several times, I had to just go lie down for a long nap due to the symptoms. But the symptoms were really fairly mild overall, and not even close to a level that would make me contemplate quitting.
I will likely increase my dose again next month as I try to creep towards the maximum recommended dose of 60 + 60 HDC.
The journey continues.
September 10th, 2015 14 Months of Cestodes
My 14th month of Cestodes was very much like the 13th. Muscle aches, fatigue, and intermittent nausea. I increased my dose from 40 + 40 HDC, to a 50 + 50 dose of HDC. I also had some disturbing episodes of burning skin that came and went. Burning skin is one of my most debilitating symptoms, and I have difficulty controlling it with medication. I suspect it is possible to overshoot your ideal worm dose, and end up causing more symptoms than you are alleviating. So, I worry about overshooting my optimal worm dose. But the only way to explore the issue is, to continue to take more and more worms, to see what happens.
I’ve heard it said that, the higher you go up the flag pole, the stiffer the wind blows. Well, I think whoever said that must have been infecting themselves with rat tapeworms !
This month I achieved the highest recommended dose of worms recommended by my provider, 60 + 60 HDC. And I’ve found the wind, figuratively speaking, to be quite stiff up here. Basically, I’ve had some level of nausea everyday this month. Sometimes, the level of nausea was significant. I’ve also experienced significant fatigue, muscle and joint pains, loose stools, and some burning skin at this dose. None of this has been enough to make me contemplate quitting on the spot, but it has been enough to make me begin calculating how many days I thought I could endure it, before I was compelled to drop back to a lower dose. You’ll recall, nearly every time I have increased my worm dose previously, I experienced a short period of side effects, as my body adapted the new, increased, level of worms. At most, this was usually only 3-4 days out of the month where I had moderate symptoms. But this time has been different. This time, I’ve had moderate to heavy symptoms everyday of the month. The gears are definitely grinding in my body. I’m hoping this is my immune system doing a major overhaul, and I will come out of this in a better place. Thus, I persist in spite of the difficulty.
According to my provider, the 60 + 60 dose was arrived at empirically. It is based on reports from patients, and personal experiences of owners and workers at Biome Restoration. Experimental, one time, doses, as high as 600 HDC have been taken with no lasting harm. I am aware of no one currently taking more than a 60 + 60 dose, and based on my recent experience, I have no desire to progress beyond this dose, with this species.
With that said, I would like to report another interesting improvement in my condition. For several years now, I’ve had problems with my skin. When I would scratch my skin, it would flare up abnormally red, and this redness would persist for an abnormally long time. Sometimes, the palms of my hands would flash up red for no particular reason. My skin would hurt, and feel like it was made of plastic. If I leaned on a counter, or wall, the pressure would make the palms of my hands very red for a long time, and if I leaned on something with a texture, like a metal grating, it would begin hurting immediately, and would leave the negative impression of the grating in my skin for over an hour. I knew these were bad signs for my health, but I didn’t know what to do about them. Well, I’m very happy to report that now, all these symptoms are 60 – 80% improved. I amaze myself by scratching my skin, and either, it won’t get red, or it will get only a little red, but then quickly return to normal. Also, I can lean heavily on metal gratings for protracted periods of time, with no pain, and little redness to the palms of my hands. The grating will leave a patterned impression in my hands, but it soon goes away, in a more normalized time period. I am encouraged by these improvements.
My current plan is to continue a 60 + 60 dose at least until the end of October. Hopefully, my body will achieve homeostasis with this dose, and I will emerge in a better place. I have difficulty imagining that I would last far into December if my symptoms haven’t improved by then.
The journey continues.
November 10th, 2015 16 Months of Cestodes
I took a 60 + 60 dose of rat tapeworms last month. It was a difficult month for me, and I am a little frazzled. The nausea I had virtually every day last month has lessened in intensity by about 50%, and also become intermittent. I still have considerable fatigue, and joint and muscle pain. Disturbingly, my eczema has made a reappearance, following a six month hiatus, to about 50% of what it was before worms, and it has also appeared in several new spots that I had never had it before. Still worse, I had an attack of rheumatic hip pain and global sickness that crippled me for over ten days. These things were almost certainly all worm related, and due to the high dose of worms I am taking.
My plan is to take a 60 + 60 dose at least into the month of December. I sense there is a chance that my body can come into balance with this dose, and I want to explore what might happen if it does. Too, this would give me three full months on a 60 + 60 dose. I believe three months is a fair trial period. Following that, I haven’t decided what I will do.
It is interesting to me that, even though I am taking a pretty heavy dose of worms, I have not seen a real flare in my longstanding, major, symptoms of, burning skin and colon pain. I don’t feel well most of the time, but it is not on account of those two symptoms which have vexed me so for over two decades.
The journey continues.
Dec. 10th, 2015. 17 Months of Cestodes
Jan. 10th, 2016 – 18 Months Of Cestodes
Well, it’s been a year and a half since I first began hosting parasitic worms, and I’ll have to say it’s been an interesting but bumpy road. I continued the 60 + 60 dose of rat tapeworms, but it was not a good month. I had two intense attacks of rheumatic hip pain in the month that were difficult to resolve, and I also had a flare of inflammation in my large intestine that is still on going. I also continued to experience muscle and joint aches, and fatigue, that has become quite limiting. Interestingly, I also seem to have aged quite a bit during the last four months. I find myself in need of a nip and a tuck, and a snip and a suck. I believe the increased, unremitting, inflammation from the higher worm burden has taken a bit of a toll on me. I will almost certainly begin migrating back towards a lower dose next month, where I was doing better. With that said, I get the sense that, if I had access to an anti-inflammatory of virtually any kind then, I might be able to better tolerate this burden of worms and get “over the hump” with it, so to speak. It is recommended that people take some type of anti-inflammatory during the “induction phase” of hosting worms. These typically include things like prednisone, and even Tylenol. But I can do none of these things. Cannabis is probably my best bet for an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and mast cell stabilizer (based on past experience). But my political masters just don’t seem to see things the way I do in this matter. <sigh>
Anyway, I am now going to switch to quarterly reporting, rather than monthly. So, with good fortune, we can all meet here again around March 1st, 2016, and hopefully I will be blossoming with a sunnier report by then.
The Journey Continues.
April 2, 2016 20 Months of Cestodes
It has been two months since my last report, and I have been hosting rat tapeworms for a total of 20 months, now. I hosted the highest recommended dose by my provider, 60 + 60 HDC, for 4 months, and I must admit, I was getting pretty strung out on that dose. I had increased joint pain, fatigue, burning skin, lingering attacks of rheumatic hip pain, and inflammation of the large intestine. Essentially, I had increased problems with all my usual problems, and I was not doing well. I was even looking noticeably haggard. It may simply be that I was taking too many worms.
On the other hand, during all this, I would occasionally have a decent day. This would encourage me to think that I might be able to get on top of this higher dose. I still wonder, if I had access to the anti-inflammatory/analgesic benefits of cannabis, might I have been able to continue the high dose for longer, and thus flip my immune system into a new and better state of function ? I do not know. And it will have to remain an unanswered question for two reasons. 1) Cannabis is not legal in my home state, and I do not have safe access to it. 2) The U.S. government began to seize shipments of rat tapeworms as they entered the U.S., which sent a chill through the worm community. In short, the State has royally rained on my parade.
Some of you may recall that I missed a dose of rat tapeworms in January of 2015, and the considerable suffering that I went through with that. I was only on a 30 + 30 dose at that time, and had not yet been hosting for a full year. When the government began to seize shipments, I was on a 60 + 60 dose, and had been hosting for 18 months. I can only imagine what going cold turkey off 60 + 60 would have been like. Let me tell you, I don’t get afraid much, but I was genuinely afraid then.
Nevertheless, I was able to walk my dose back down in stair step fashion month by month, until I am again currently back down to a 30 + 30 dose. The walking back process was not pleasant, I assure you. Some days, my level of joint pain just went Hollywood. I would lie in my sick bed and curse my state representatives, their forebearers, and their livestock, with every breath I took, for denying sick people safe access to cannabis. By and by, the pain began to subside, but the frequent cursing of my representatives has not.
Going forward, I am contemplating trying other species of worms. Other species may have better effects for me, and they may also allow me better access to other therapies that I am interested in.
With good fortune, I will report again in July, 2016.
The journey continues.
*Footnote: My provider, Biome Restoration, is the only current commercial provider of rat tapeworms to my knowledge. Their headquarters and production facilities are located in the U.K., and are fully in compliance with U.K. regulations. They have been nothing but generous, fair, prompt, and kind, in their business dealings with me. Biome Restoration wanted to be the first and best worm provider of all species to the global market. Prior to the FDA ruling, which allowed seizure of rat tapeworms entering the U.S. by Customs Agents, the company was growing very fast, and could hardly keep up with orders from private citizens and M.D.’s alike. They have tried to fight the U.S. FDA ruling, but the FDA has been largely uncooperative to date. It would cost Biome Restoration a great deal of money, that they don’t have, to fight this ruling. The company will continue to ship to other countries, but people in the U.S. are in a pickle.
My personal thoughts on the matter are that, the citizens of the United States of America have a lousy government – but it is the best government that money can buy !
Here is a link to the latest FDA import alert on this matter: (Note the date, 3/11/16, when the instructions were updated to include rat tapeworms)
July 1, 2016
The period of April 1st-July 1st, 2016 was … interesting. I continued to decrease my dose of rat tapeworms during the period. However, I made up for this decrease by adding another species to the mix. Early in April, I began hosting hookworms, infecting myself with 10 larvae of the human adapted hookworm, Necator Americanus. So, I’m in the big time now.
I must admit it was strange and interesting to feel the stinging/prickling sensations as the hookworm larvae burrowed though my skin, gaining access to my bloodstream. Afterwards, I had many of the typical symptoms of hookworm infection. For the first few days, I did experience the “worm bounce” where I felt quite a bit better than normal. Then I had some shortness of breath as the worms burrowed out into my lungs, but I had no coughing. The rash at the site of their entry was unremarkable and caused me no problems.
As time has gone on, I have begun to experience increasing nausea, and some muscle/joints aches, as well. I was hoping that hosting rat tapeworms for so long would give me a leg up on adapting to a new species without so many symptoms. If this has been so, I can’t tell it. But, I haven’t experienced anything yet that would make me contemplate quitting.
I’m a couple of weeks away from the three month mark of hosting hookworms. This is the time when the worms will definitely be sexually mature, mating, and producing fertile eggs. When this happens, I will be able to cultivate my own worms for reinfection, to build and maintain a healthy colony. Toward this end, I have purchased a good microscope, and the other necessary lab equipment to become a “worm wrangler”. My goal is to maintain a healthy colony of about 30-50 hookworms. This is the level of infection typically seen in healthy people, in endemic areas, who are not receiving deworming medications.
Three months is also the time when it is said the worms can really begin gaining traction and powerfully influencing the immune system. The maximum amount of therapeutic benefit is usually seen in 6-12 months, however, benefits may not begin to be seen for as long as 18 months. Benefit is a function of number of worms hosted, but also importantly, it is a function of the length of time one has been hosting.
For a variety of reasons, I am likely to discontinue hosting rat tapeworms at this time, and go with just hookworms alone for a while to see what happens. I should hasten to add though, that I believe it is important to host more than one species of parasite, as a person would in a state of nature, to achieve the best benefits. I also want to begin exploring other modalities like, intermittent fasting and carbohydrate restriction.
My major symptoms have been stable during this quarter. I have been able to reduce my medication by about 10%. But I would add to that, this may simply be a natural cycling of my disease process, and in no way attributable to the worms. On the other hand, I have been consistently having to increase my medications in recent years to control symptoms. My medications have always gone up, and never gone down. Whatever the cause, it is a welcome thing to be able to reduce my medications back to a level where they are less likely to cause troublesome side-effects. My great wish is to be able to go off all my medications, not only for the wellbeing of my mind and body, but also for the wellbeing of my wallet and bank account !
The journey continues.
(Footnote) I have now been over two years without bathing with soap. My skin is still fine with no problems. I do still use an unscented shampoo for my hair, but if the worms can help me with my chemical sensitivities, I will likely forgo that also, in favor of baking soda and vinegar rinses as described on various “No Poo” websites. I tried the baking soda/vinegar trick one time and found that it worked spectacularly well. But the vinegar smell lingered in my hair for hours and really bothered my chemical sensitivities.
October 1st, 2016:
For the three month period, July 1st 2016, through October 1st 2016, I continued hosting Necator Americanus hookworms. I was able to successfully cultivate hookworm eggs from my stools into new, L3 stage, infective larvae. I used these L3 stage larvae to reinoculate myself with a more hookworms. In other words, I can probably be independent now, and “roll my own smokes”.
During the period, I also began to experiment with intermittent fasting. I have fasted 36 hours, with water only, every Wednesday and Sunday, for most of the last three months. This has been pretty rough on me, and unfortunately, I have not noticed any improvements at all in my health from all of these efforts.
To be more specific about the worms, I raised a batch of new worms in August. I can tell you, it is quite exciting to see your first successful hookworm incubation under the microscope. Using a microscope is a bit of an art. You observe many unusual things that are artifacts of your diet and digestion. You often wonder, “Is that a worm ? Or, is it merely some celery I ate ?” At length, you happen upon an object of interest, and you think, “I’d bet my life that is a worm”. And then a marvelous thing happens – it moves ! You squeal with excitement, mastery, and wonder, perhaps not unlike Dr. Frankenstein did when his monster breathed its first, and he exclaimed “It’s alive ! It’s alive !”
Actually, seeing a moving worm turns out to be fairly rare. They tend to lie still to conserve their energy, saving themselves until they sense an approaching human. Since they like to lie dormant, there can be some question as to whether or not they are viable. But I learned a trick from my wormy peeps that puts them to the test, while keeping you safely out of harms way. You simply scrape a few dead skin cells off your foot (or where ever they seem to collect on your particular body) and you sprinkle them near the worm, baiting him to attack. And attack he will ! If the larvae is viable, it will begin squirming and biting at the skin cells like mad. They are pretty smart though, and quickly realize that they’ve been punked, returning quietly to their resting state.
I did experience some difficulty in getting the larvae from under the microscope, and onto my skin. Once I removed the larvae from the viewing field, I found that I was a bit inept at keeping track of just where the little worm actually went. These worms have been known to crawl up to four feet. You certainly don’t want them roaming all over your house ! However, in spite of all my bumbling, I did manage to inoculate myself with six new larvae. This was confirmed several days later by the appearance of six raised red welts at the sites of entry. And as before, I followed the typical pattern of hookworm inoculation. At around twenty-one days, when they were mature enough to latch on for their first blood meal, I again began to experience significant nausea and malaise. After a few weeks this begins to recede, and hopefully your immune system is left healthier and wiser from the challenge.
On a different subject, I also began a structured program of intermittent fasting (IF) during the period. I have fasted thirty-six hours every Wednesday and Sunday, consuming only pure water, for twenty-two of the last fifty-eight days. This practice seemed to only compound my worm related fatigue. I’ve read that it takes about three months for the body to adapt to IF. After that, symptoms are supposed to lessen, and increasing benefits are supposed to be realized. I hope this will be the case. But I think that goal is still a few weeks more out in front of me. I’m hoping that the promise of IF is true in my case, and that it is a simple and inexpensive practice to help manage an autoimmune like illness.
I should also note that I quickly lost ten pounds in the first few weeks of IF. I am already thin, so I didn’t want to lose any more weight. So, I began cautiously eating just a little bit more at each meal, on the days I was eating. This little bit adds up to about 80% of the calories I would consume if I was eating normally, and I seemed to have stopped losing weight due to this. I have not gained any weight back, however.
Going forward, I plan to continue hosting Necator Americanus hookworms. I also plan to continue slowly adding to my colony size, which currently stands at sixteen worms. I would like to host other species in addition to this, but there are a number of difficult hurdles to that at the moment. I will continue intermittent fasting on Wednesdays and Sundays. And we will hope to see some significant positive turn in my health and symptoms in the future.
The journey continues.
January 1st, 2017
For the period Oct. 1st, 2016 – Jan. 1st, 2017, I continued to host only one species of parasitic worm, the human adapted hookworm, Necator Americanus. I was able to complete another successful incubation in early December, and inoculate myself with 7 more hookworm larvae. This was my third successful incubation thus far, and it brings my total worm burden up to 23 worms. 20 worms is considered by many to be the threshold at which therapeutic benefits begin, so I am 3 worms over that starting point. I have also continued to fast on water only, for 36 hours, on each Wednesday and Sunday. I have done 50 of these short fasts in the last 163 days. I have had only a few flare ups of my symptoms during the period, and have suffered much less from the fasting regimen. Overall, I have done fairly well. And, even though I have seen no significant diminution in my main symptoms, I will continue as is for the foreseeable future.
There is one other thing that I should mention. I have begun experimenting with a new health modality called, cold thermogenesis. I am not pursuing this in a really serious fashion, as I do not think my current state of limited nutrition will support it. However, I do dabble at it, and have found the theory and literature on it quite interesting.
I have not begun to restrict my carbs at this point. There are two reasons for this. One reason is because my carbs are already at only 75-100 grams per day, which is low by conventional standards. The second reason is again, because my diet is so limited. Carbs are still a necessary and important source of nutrition for me. And since I am fasting two days per week, I figure I am already “zero carb” on at least those two days.
And… really that’s about all there is to say at this time. Sometimes things progress rapidly, and sometimes they go slowly.
In closing, I will say that, my current practices can sometimes seem so … paleo, for lack of a better word. I will be sitting outside essentially naked in sub-freezing weather, casually examining your hookworm bites, and thinking how I’m as hungry as a bear and can’t wait to dig into some meat and fat after doing some resistance training. It feels so… Primal ! That’s the word I was searching for. It feels very primal ! And that’s kinda nice.
The journey continues
April 1st, 2017
For the period, Jan 1st, 2017 – April 1st 2017, there was wasn’t really much going on until the end of the period, when I began to experience significant worm related nausea, which was coincident with the maturing of my last cohort of worms, and also significant rheumatic pain. Also, during the period, I cut back on my cold training at the request of a concerned family member, and I experimented with egg yolks (in search of some nutrients), and a ketogenic diet.
I am still only hosting one species of worm, Necator Americanus, human adapted hookworms. My worm count still stands at 23 worms total. I will soon be coming up on my one year anniversary of hosting Necator Americanus (in two weeks), so all my current colony should still be young and active. It is said that Necator Americanus can become geriatric after about two years, thus the need to continue dosing periodically with new worms. I am scheduled for a new dose of worms sometime in April, however, the way I feel right now (horrible and crippled), I may not meet that time schedule.
So far, I have maintained all the minor health improvements described previously, but I still have made no progress with major symptoms, that I can actually claim. I tried adding egg yolks to my daily diet in December, and continued this for nearly three months. I worked up to six raw egg yolks per day, which I continued for two weeks, before I had significant problems with my large intestine, and was forced to quit. The daily egg yolks were also causing me significant knee pain, which has still not resolved even after quitting them some weeks ago, and I was struggling over all, as well. On the upside, I could have never tolerated six egg yolks per day previous to this, and I couldn’t have tolerated even one egg yolk per day for more than a few days running. But I tolerated one egg yolk per day for a month, and then two egg yolks per day for a month, before I went crazy and started eating six per day. I wasn’t doing well, but I was still on foot. So, I say that I have seen no progress with my major symptoms, but perhaps I have seen some progress, and I just don’t know it ? I’m just not willing to make a declarative statement in that regard.
I also tried eating a ketogenic diet for nine days. For me, this just entailed not eating my customary ration of nightly potatoes. My carbs were probably around 30 grams per day without potatoes. Interestingly, I did fine for about 9 days. I had no issues with energy, or anything else for that matter. My transition was smooth and seamless. But on the ninth day, I was again caught and killed by problems with my large intestine. I wondered if the dearth of carbohydrates had reduced my production of muco-polysaccarides needed to maintain the integrity of the intestinal boundary ? My daily carb intake still stands at 70-100 grams per day, on the days that I eat. And I am also still doing Intermittent Fasting, fasting 36 hours on water only every Sunday and Wednesday. I have done 74 of these fasts in the last 264 days. I seem to have adapted very well now to this fasting program. I feel comfortable with it, and no longer experience the fatigue I did at first.
Towards the end of the period, I began to experience some significant worm related nausea. And true to form, I also began to struggle with crippling rheumatic hip pain not long afterwards. I can tolerate the nausea. Strangely, I even find it comforting. However, the rheumatic hip pain is unbearable. It terrorizes me. I do not know the answer to this problem, but it’s extremely troubling.
I had a blood test during the period, which showed elevated eosinophils by about 10%. I had anticipated this finding. The physician remarked, “You have a lot of allergies ?”. “Yes, I believe I do”, I replied, without further elaboration. I do not feel it would be productive to reveal my hosting to most physicians. A family member, who also recently began hosting, had eosinophils 300% elevated beyond the normal range. But they received no comment from the same physician. Go figure.
As I mentioned previously, I have cut back on my cold thermogenesis training at the request of a concerned family member. However, I did still record my coldest exposure yet, at 18 degrees F for twenty minutes. And I also did my longest cold exposure at 36 degrees F for 45 minutes. So, I am still dabbling in that, but mostly just for kicks. Who needs coffee to wake up in the morning ? Just go outside half dressed on a frosty morning. You wake up !
I would like to add in regards to cold thermogenesis, though, the caution about “stacking stressors”. Recently, I stacked my stressors by, fasting 36 hours, exposing myself to cold (and also being wet) at 60 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes, and then doing resistance training after that. What I was thinking that day, I have no idea. But it left me depleted and not feeling so great. So, a word of caution about stacking your stressors, esp. if you are not in good health to start with. Duh !
I should also note the my vitamin D returned significantly higher this time at 48ng/ml. This is the highest I have ever recorded, and it made me wonder if the worms had anything to do with it ? I think there are a lot of moving parts in the level of vitamin D, other than just dietary intake and UV exposure. The other family member who recently began hosting also noted a similar, and peculiar, finding of increased vitamin D levels for no apparent reason.
In two months, it will be 3 full years since I have bathed with soap (other than washing my hands). I do still have to use shampoo on my hair, however. And as noted previously, I would happily give that up also, except that I am constrained by my chemical sensitivities. If I am the lesser for this soap-free practice, I am completely unaware of it.
Finally, I have also begun to work on my circadian rhythm, getting more sleep, etc.. Towards that end, I am purchasing a number of products directed at reducing blue light exposure in the evenings, and also limiting the amount of “light pollution” in my bedroom at night. So far, I have bought a number of orange and amber tinted bulbs and nightlights. In the evenings before bed, I turn the house into a modern version of an “ancestral cave”. I’ve also made my bedroom significantly darker while sleeping. I find all of this to be quite pleasant, and I do seem to be sleeping better. But I have quite a bit more work to do on this front.
The journey continues.
July 1st, 2017
For the period, April 1st, through July 1st, 2017, I continued to host only one species of parasitic worm, Necator Americanus, human adapted hookworms. Early in the period, I added 7 more worms to my colony. I also have nearly completed one year of fasting 36 hours, on water only, every Wednesday and Sunday. Despite this fasting routine, I gained weight during the period. I continued to progress in my work on sleep hygiene and circadian rhythm. I continued to do some cold training. I had one bad rheumatic pain cycle, which is still on going. And a generous fellow worm hostess intimated to me that I might be progressing too fast in building my colony, given the difficulties of my case.
On May 1st, I added 7 more hookworms to my colony. This brings my colony up to 30 worms, all less than 2 years old. This size colony is definitely well within the therapeutic range. So far, I can tell no significant difference, but this cohort of worms will not be mature until August 1st, which is when I typically begin experiencing systemic effects from a new batch.
I also am near to completing one year of fasting two days per week. July 14th, 2016, was my start date for that experiment. So, in the last year, I have fasted 99 days, out of 351 days. I should total out at 104 fast days, out of 365 days total, when the year is up in two weeks. This is roughly equivalent to fasting 28% of the time. My fasting routine consists of a 36 hour water only fast, every Wednesday and Sunday. My experience over the course of the year has been that, once you are adapted to it, which takes about three months, then it is not that difficult. I often forget whether I am supposed to be eating on a particular day, or not. Thus, the structure of being able to remember, “It’s Wednesday. So, I must not be eating today”, is helpful. Initially, I lost about 18 pounds on this fasting regimen. However, by eating just a slight bit more on my eating days, I have been able to gain about 8 of those pounds back. I am probably within 90% of my normal calories that I would eat, if I did not fast at all. I am naturally thin, so I don’t need to lose any additional weight. I cannot say for sure that this program of fasting has helped me, but I do not feel that it has hurt. It is not an onerous thing to do. I do not feel that it is harming me. Theoretically speaking, it should help. So, I will probably continue with it for the foreseeable future.
One of my biggest advances for the period was in sleep hygiene/circadian rhythm. I purchased some blackout blinds for my sleeping chamber. These type of blinds have tracks on the side of the window frame which help exclude light. Used in conjunction with blackout drapery (the blinds mounted inside the window frame, and the drapery outside the window frame), they work very well at excluding light at night. I have essentially achieved the desirable goal of not being able to see your hand before your face when I sleep at night. This is said to help assure the maximum melatonin production, in the brain and also the gut. We have many street lights, and motion activated floodlights (with many wandering deer and pets !) where I live. So, there was quite a bit of light pollution in my room at night. Surprisingly, I did not sleep well the first few nights in this type of darkness. It was very weird to me. However, I quickly adapted and now like it very much. It is strange to be able to lie awake at night, with your eyes wide open, and not be able to see ANYTHING. NOTHING. Just inky blackness. I now find the blackness comforting. Like a warm blanket, it soothes me, and I welcome it. I cannot say that I have seen a significant difference in the way I feel, or in my sleep quality over all (which has never been terrible), but on several nights I have lain down to sleep, and then had zero consciousness of anything until the next morning. It’s like missing time. I can’t recall that happening to me in many a year, perhaps since my youth. My room is now actually about as dark during midday on a sunny day (some light does sneak in during the day) as it was previously in the middle of the night. During the period, I also acquired some googles, which fit over my prescription lens, that are amber tinted and block blue light. I wear them in the evenings before bed to reduce my exposure to blue light, which can disrupt your circadian rhythm and lower your sleep quality. I got them from: https://lowbluelights.com/ (I also like their amber LED night lights, and plan on getting some of their flashlights, as well.) While their googles are a bit expensive, they seem to be well made, and I like them quite a bit. I usually try to “power down” around 6-7 p.m. at night, turning off devices, and turning my home into an “ancestral cave” with the aforementioned low-wattage orange lights. However, not every family member is always on-board with the program, and even I myself sometimes watch TV, or stay on the computer too late. It is at times like these that the googles come in very handy. As with the fasting, I cannot feel any dramatic improvements, but it should not harm me. And theoretically all these things should be very good for my health over time. The only caveat I should mention is the hazard of an accidental fall. When it is VERY dark, there is a greater hazard for stumbling. To help ameliorate this risk, I plan on also purchasing some of Low Blue Light’s 9 volt amber tinted flashlights. The amber tint will not significantly interrupt your sleep rhythm, but it will allow you to more safely navigate nocturnal bathroom trips.
I did a lot of cold training during the this period. There are many good days of training in April and May where I live. Morning temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s F are common, and make for very good training, esp. when you drink chilled water before exposure, and also wet yourself down with a garden hose during exposures. I was able to consistently train like this until about June 10th, when temperatures overnight rose into the 60’s and 70’s. Now, my training has been officially suspended for the summer, although I do still sporadically get some decent training days. For example, I logged a surprisingly good training day on June 26th, with a temperature of 55 degrees F and an exposure of 1 hour, 10 minutes. I could easily see my breath in the cold, and also steam rising off my wet, naked, goose pimpled and shivering skin. As I have said before, I am not entirely sure this is a wise practice for someone in my state of health. But oddly, it is wildly invigorating, and fun for me, and it is also meditative if you try to relax and suppress the shivering response. So, I keep doing it under the condition that I can stop at any time if I feel like it is not in my best interest.
Unfortunately, I have still made no progress with my major symptoms. I still have knee pain lingering from my previously mentioned experiments with egg yolks. And I am currently in a severe rheumatic pain cycle in my hips which has lasted over seven days, and counting. I am grateful this has been the only pain cycle I have had this period.
Looking forward, I will simply continue as is. I am scheduled to receive more worms in September, however, I may delay this inoculation. A generous fellow hoster intimated to me that I may be progressing my dose too quickly, esp. given the delicate nature of my case. Her evidence was compelling, and I may heed it. In regards to fasting and nutrition, I am at a bit of a crossroads. One camp suggests that a hypersensitive person like me should simply try to override their food limitations with brute force, by continuing to eat nutritious foods, even though they cause reactions. “How else can the body learn to be better ? And how can the body heal if it doesn’t have proper nutrition ?”, they ask. The problem is eating foods that cause reactions is difficult and painful, with no guarantee of success. On the other hand, there is the camp that calls for greater fasting. Fasts of 5-7 days in a row have been shown to deplete whacky immune cells, acting like mild, but healthy, DMARDS. I do not know which path I will choose. Both, or neither ? The worms should be increasing my tolerance for a wider range of foods. But so far, I have seen no evidence of that. I do need better nutrition ! There is no doubt of that. But I also need very much not to be in pain. Every time I have done an extended fast, I have come out of it better for at least a month. The two choices are not mutually exclusive, I suppose. I have not decided at this time what I will do. But I am not where I need to be with my health so….
The journey continues
October 1st, 2017
For the period July 1st, 2017 through October 1, 2017, I continued to host only Necator Americanus, human adapted hookworms. I added 3 new worms during the period, so I now have a total of 33 hookworms, all under two years old. I continued to fast 36 hours on Wednesday and Sunday, and am entering my second year of that practice. I also continue to enjoy the darkness of my room and practicing good sleep hygiene with my circadian rhythm. I engaged in out doors sunbathing every day that it was possible, for 40 minutes per day to support my vitamin D levels. In addition, I began experimenting with a new health practice called the Wim Hof Breathing Method. I continue to see some small signs of progress, but unfortunately, I have experienced quite a bit of pain in the period, and also more fatigue than I would like. On the other hand, I am trying to expand my diet, and that may be playing a role in not feeling as well as I want to. I do not believe that I have seen any big changes in my major symptoms.
In regards to hookworms, I added three new worms on September 1st. I actually inoculated with four worms, but one didn’t take despite repeated attempts. I didn’t feel like doing a whole new cultivation cycle for just one worm, so I let it got at that. On balance though, thirty-three hookworms, all under two years old, is not so bad of a thing to have achieved, recalling that I had no idea how all this was going to turn out when I first started hosting rat tapeworms only three and a half years ago. I have always thought that I would shoot for thirty-five hookworms, as researchers estimate that thirty-five worms is the average hookworm burden of healthy humans in the wild. So, I am very close to the that target. I will probably attempt to inoculate with another four hookworms in January. Another family member also boosted their colony at the same time I did. They are now hosting eleven hookworms, also under two years old. They report not having any symptoms at all. “If I didn’t see them under the microscope, feel them biting me, and then have the rash at the sites of entry, I wouldn’t even know I had worms”, they report. I, however, do have occasional light nausea from my worms, but it is rarely bothersome.
There is some debate on how quickly hookworms become geriatric. Some people say they only provide immune benefits for about eighteen months. Others say it’s more like two years. Still others seem to need to add a lot more worms every six months to maintain immune benefits. Unfortunately, there is no firm research on this matter. One simply has to play it by ear. In that regard, I am ready to slow my dosing down and be a little more cautious as my numbers climb. Besides, I look at this as a very long term project. Finding my perfect worm balance could take many years, so I’m pacing myself.
I continue to fast 36 hours, on water only, every Wednesday and Sunday. It is very routine for me now. I don’t even change my daily habits very much anymore when fasting. I can’t say that it is helping me, but it doesn’t seem to hurt. And I have gained back fifteen of the eighteen pounds that I initially lost when I started this regimen of intermittent fasting. I’d like to gain back all of the weight I lost, just to prove that it is possible, and because I am naturally thin. But it’s going to take a bit more time and effort.
I continue to enjoy my very dark room at night, and I also got a 9 volt LED flashlight from lowbluelights.com. The flashlight is amber colored, and not very bright. It is perfect for navigating in the dark, without disrupting your circadian rhythm.
I am still seeing small improvements, esp. in my skin. I am now able to be in the sun much more freely than before. I doubled my sunbathing times this summer from 20 minutes to 40 minutes without turning red or feeling like I was getting sunburned. But, as I said, I’ve had quite a bit of pain and fatigue in this period. I am not entirely certain why. It could be because I add seven hookworms last period, and they all matured late in this period. I often struggle three months after a larger inoculation. Too, I began a new practice during the period, the Wim Hof Breathing Method. People often report fatigue for a few weeks when first beginning this practice, and I seemed to experience that also. For those not familiar with Wim Hof, I will speak more about that now.
Wim Hof is a Dutchman, who’s nickname is “the ice man”. He is famous for his many world records of sitting in ice, swimming under polar ice, and several other seemingly crazy stunts of physical endurance. The complete Wim Hof Method involves, breathing techniques, exercise, meditation, and cold exposure. I have not yet taken the on-line Wim Hof course, so I have just been concentrating on the parts I know namely, breathing and cold exposures (5 minutes cold showers have been my only cold exposures this summer, however, the weather is cooling nicely now, and I will soon be returning to environmental cold exposures out-of-doors). I came to cold exposure from a direction other than Wim Hof. I first heard that exposure to cold might have health benefits via Dr. Jack Kruse, and then later Dr. Rhonda Patrick. It was not hard for me to imagine that exposure to cold might be beneficial because of my previous history in primitive wilderness survival. Over twenty years ago, I independently wondered if cold exposure might not be something healthy that humans were lacking in their modern lives. But the thought went no further, and I soon forgot about it. Dr. Jack Kruse rekindled that wondering, which began my experiments in cold exposures eighteen months ago. And, of course, anyone with a computer, who is interested in the health benefits of cold exposure, will soon bump into the celebrity of Wim Hof. Several people have attributed amazing recoveries from serious diseases to practicing the Wim Hof Method. It was enough to intrigue me, esp. since it is basically free. I mean, you just breath, and then go sit in the cold. I have been doing the Wim Hof breathing technique morning and evening now for six weeks. When I first began, my breathing was not very powerful. I would often fall asleep in the middle of the exercise, and I could not do the full ninety breaths. At first, I could only manage about fifty weak breaths. Now, my breathing is much more powerful, and I can do seventy-five breaths. Breath holds are part of the technique. Even from the start, I could hold my breath for up to three minutes. I have always been able to hold my breath for a very long time for some strange reason. I can now hold my breath for just as long, but with much less effort. I could probably hold my breath for four minutes doing Wim Hof with a maximum effort. But that is not really part of the program. Wim recommends that you train, but not strain. I like that philosophy.
I have committed to doing the Wim Hof Breathing Method, plus environmental cold exposures for the next three months as a proof of concept experiment. If I sense that there is any significant benefit for me in this, then I will likely expand on these methods and start doing some of the really interesting and challenging things that I have seen others doing on the Wim Hof Method Facebook Group. I’ve been favorably impressed with some of the things that I have seen there, not only for how challenging they seem, but also for their measured and rational approach.
Finally, I have been eating 1-2 ounces of beef liver once every week, for the last 5 months. I cannot say that this is a great improvement for me, as it gives me some significant symptoms, and is often hard to bear. But, I am doing it and living to tell the tale. It does give me at least 100% of my preformed retinol vitamin A for that day, which is not insignificant. If I could eat 2 ounces of beef liver, twice per week, and not experience any significant symptoms from it, then I would definitely say that I was better. But that is not the case as of yet.
In closing, I will continue as is for the foreseeable future. I am hosting 33 hookworms, and plan to add a four more in January 2018. I will continue fasting two days per week, and practicing good sleep hygiene/circadian rhythm. Since fall and winter are approaching fast, I will have to discontinue outdoors sunbathing, and instead switch to using a vitamin D producing sun lamp from Sperti (not enough UVB rays reach the earth at my latitude to produce vitamin D in the skin from October until March). I will continue to experiment with the Wim Hof Method, esp. the basic breathing exercise, cold showers, and out-of-doors environmental cold exposures. And I will continue eating a small amount of beef liver at least once per week. As I said, I have not seen any significant improvements in my major symptoms, but perhaps something good will happen for me one day. Thank you for your interest.
The journey continues.