Helminths and the Microbiome: How They Affect Each Other

Can probiotics or prebiotics be used to modulate the impact of helminths on the microbiome?

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The human body is home to an diverse array of microbes and helminths. Together, these organisms form a complex relationship known as the microbiome and helminthome, which can have an immense impact on our health. In this article, we will explore the relationship between helminths and the microbiome, how they interact and how they influence our health.

What are Helminths?

Helminths are a group of parasitic organisms, including roundworms, tapeworms, and flukes, which can colonize the human body and cause a variety of diseases. They are typically transmitted through contact with contaminated food, water, or soil, and can survive in the gastrointestinal tract for months or even years, causing a variety of health problems.

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What is the Microbiome?

The microbiome is all the microorganisms present in the human body, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and archaea. These microorganisms have a profound impact on our health and well-being, playing a vital role in immune function, metabolism and digestion, and overall health. There is also evidence to suggest that the microbiome-helminth interaction plays an important role in health.

How Do Helminths Affect the Microbiome?

Helminths are known to influence the composition of the microbiome. Studies have shown that helminth colonization is associated with changes in the composition of bacterial communities, leading to an increase in beneficial bacteria and a decrease in potential pathogens.

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This has been attributed to the fact that helminths secrete a number of compounds, such as antigens, lipids, and antimicrobials, which can alter the microbiome. In addition, helminth colonization can alter the intestinal barrier function, allowing greater exchange of beneficial bacteria between the environment and the host.

How Do Helminths and The Microbiome Affect Health?

The relationship between helminths and the microbiome is complex and dynamic, and has been linked to a variety of diseases and conditions. For example, helminth infection can lead to changes in the microbiome, which can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, malabsorption, and irritable bowel syndrome.

In addition, helminth infection can also alter the immune system, resulting in an increase in inflammation. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune disorders, as well as allergies and asthma.

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Finally, helminth colonization can lead to the overgrowth of certain bacteria, which can lead to a variety of infections and can even contribute to cancer.


The relationship between helminths and the microbiome is complex and has a significant impact on human health. Helminth infection can lead to changes in the composition of the microbiome, which can in turn lead to a variety of conditions, including gastrointestinal symptoms, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the potential effects of helminth colonization and to consider preventative measures to reduce the risk.

In order to get the most out of your health, it is important to understand how helminths and the microbiome work together and how they influence our health.