The Focus of Part 3 of the Lyme Disease series will focus on the Integrative Treatment Strategies for recovering and healing from Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease recovery depends on and is influenced many factors. Factors that determine the Recovery from Lyme Disease are:
- Timeline of Diagnosis with the Stage of Lyme. Knowing the Stage of Lyme is essential to choosing the proper Treatment Strategies.
- The Severity of the Symptoms.
- The Underlying health of the Infected Person, it is important to know the overall health of the patient and to determine other Immune and Health Challenges that they may have.
- The Presence of other Immune Conditions, Infections, Co-Infections, and other chronic diseases.
- Knowledge and Lyme Literacy of the Practitioner in identifying and treating Lyme Disease.
I believe that the most effective strategies for treating Lyme involve the Integrative Approach of combining Western Medicine with Naturopathic Medicine. You team should have a Lyme Literate MD and a Lyme Literate ND working in combination to Kill the Bacteria and Strengthen the Immune system.
Functional medicine practitioners understand that the terrain of our body is very important in determining how disease progresses in our bodies. We are increasingly being exposed to an overwhelming assault of inflammatory stimuli. This is causing increases in autoimmune disease,allergies, and deregulated immune response. Lyme disease is being seen as a complex of the bacterial exposure on an inflamed terrain exposed to toxins, stress, and inflammation.
Wondering how it’s possible that one person can have Lyme and show no symptoms, and yet others canhave chronic symptoms that can be crippling at times? The bottom line is that everyone is hosting a range of different viruses, bad bacteria, fungus and even cancer cells in their body at any given point in time; What’s important is the immune system’s ability to keep the invaders at bay.
An Integrative Approach to Lyme Disease Treatment
Successful integrative protocols for Lyme disease involve Combining the Best of Western and Conventional Medicine with Naturopathic Medicine including:
- Medical and Herbal antimicrobials to Kills the Lyme Bacteria.
- Medical and Herbal antimicrobials to Eradicate the Co-Infections.
- Supporting the Antimicrobial Treatments with Liver and Gut support to make sure the Body can detoxify the Toxins from the antimicrobials and “die off “of the bacteria. (Hint…. Dr. G’s Magic Detox Smoothie)
- Supporting the Immune system and reducing inflammation. (Hint…Dr. G’s Inflammation Support Smoothie)
- Rebuilding the Body by addressing Cellular Function, Adrenal and Hormonal Balance, and Regenerating the Mitochondria of our cells after war with the Microbes if over.
I have seen so many patients that have come to see me after lengthy antibiotic treatments for Lyme and they don’t feel any better. They often assume that the bacteria are not gone. Often, the Lyme Bacteria is gone. However, they are dealing with the toxins of the bacterial die off, toxicity of the meds, and a compromised Immune and Adrenal system. Luckily this can all be repaired.
Western Medicine Treatment Approach
Standard allopathic treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotic therapy immediately after infection occurs or issuspected. The most common antibiotic treatment for Lyme infection is a combination of amoxicillin, cefuroxime doxycycline antibiotics taken for 2–4 weeks. However, not everyone will respond well to these antibiotics, including those with infections that spread through the central nervous system. The sooner treatment begins after infection, the quicker and more complete the recovery will likely be — so people whowait a while before being diagnosed might not react positively to antibiotics. The Western Medicine Approach is very effective for the initial stage of lyme and may be effective during the late stage as well.
Common symptoms of Early Lyme Disease include:
- Rash - most are solid pink to red; uncommon: “bull’s-eye” or other appearance
- Muscle and joint pain
The non-rash symptoms are often described as a “summertime flu.” If the Lyme Bacteria progresses deeper into the body, the symptoms start to carry the characteristic or late lyme disease. Once the infection spreads beyond the skin, it can affect any system of the body.
Common Symptoms of Later Lyme Disease include:
- Debilitating fatigue
- Muscle pain
- Nerve pain and weakness
- Heart problems
- Psychiatric symptoms: anxiety, depression, irritability, psychosis, and more
- Difficulty with thinking, memory, language, and math skills
- Sleep disturbance
- Problems with vision and hearing.
- Cardiovascular problems, including blood pressure imbalances and irregular heartbeat
Common Symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease include:
If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated early, the spirochetes can spread and may go into hiding in different parts of the body. Weeks, months or even years later, patients may develop problems with the brain and nervous system, muscles and joints, heart and circulation, digestion, reproductive system, and skin. Symptoms may disappear even without treatment and different symptoms may appear at different times.
When Lyme disease reaches the chronic stage, antibiotics are often ineffective in eradicating the infection. That’s in part because the bacterium that cause Lyme disease, as well as other co-infections, burrow withintissues once the infection takes hold. One place they often hide is within the nervous system, including thebrain. Therefore, anti-inflammatory therapies that can cross the blood-brain barrier are particularly importantfor reducing neurological symptoms of Lyme and other diseases. Lyme bacterium may also utilize Biofilm, which are protective barriers that are resistant to treatment. Strategies to Break up Biofilm’s, which includes, Enzymes and Antimicrobial herbs may help Chronic Lyme Disease.
Naturopathic Treatments for Lyme
Supporting the body’s detox systems, particularly phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxication pathways, is also essential. For this, botanicals including milk thistle seed, dandelion, gingko, as well as the nutrients N-acetyl cysteine, alpha lipoic acid and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) supplement are important. Alginates, derived from brown seaweed, possess detoxifying, immune-enhancing and anti-inflammatory properties. These and other natural detox agents help support the body’s ability to safely metabolize and remove toxins from tissues and circulation.
Antimicrobial and Immune Support Therapies
Targeted antimicrobial nutrients, botanicals and antioxidants can help treat infection while also modulating immune and inflammation responses. Garlic and its derivative, allicin, is a treatment often used for addressingLyme disease.
Other botanicals, including curcumin from turmeric, cat’s claw, Boswellia from frankincense, astragalus and prickly ash bark, can also be helpful in addressing infection. One formula consisting of a combination of artemisinin, whole herb Artemisia annua and an Artemisia annua extract is recommended because it may be more effective and better tolerated than the single ingredient artemisinin, which is commonly used in Lyme disease treatment.
Imporve Cellular Function
The next step in Lyme disease treatment is improving cellular functioning and protection. Borreliaburgdorferi bacteria, along with viruses and parasites, can attack healthy cells and weaken your defenses.
To restore cellular health, consider adding these essential nutrients to your regime:
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D3 naturally boosts immunity and plays a role in regulating inflammation.
- CoQ10: CoQ10 can help protect your brain and nervous system from degradation and inflammation while also lowering symptoms like joint pain and aches.
- Medicinal mushrooms: Studies show that medicinal mushrooms (this includes cordyceps, reishi and maitake mushrooms) promote an adaptive immune system.
- B-Complex: B vitamins support many metabolic and cellular functions, plus they help infections and improve neurological health.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: These fatty acids are highly anti-inflammatory and support neurological/cognitive functions.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is an electrolyte with hundreds of roles in the body, from supporting nerves signaling to reducing muscle aches.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help s reduce joint pain, headaches, and damage to blood vessels or nerves.
- Probiotics: Probiotic rich foods and supplements help to strengthen immunity and reduce toxins.
Rest and Stress Support
- Chronic stress, whether physical or emotional, has been proven time and time again to weaken the immune system and increase someone’s risk for getting sick. Stress can trigger inflammation and cause hormonal imbalance
- Schedule times of rest into your week, along with “fun times” meant to spend with family, friends and alone.
- Focus on getting plenty of rest. Lyme can contribute to fatigue and require that you get extra sleep, so balance activity with rest and relaxation
- Supplement with adaptogen herbs such as ashwagandha can naturally reduce the effects of stress and help balance cortisol levels.
- Other methods for helping to control your stress response include meditation, joining a support group, reading, journaling, exercising, using essential oils, and spending time in nature.
I encourage patients to explore healing modalities as part of their healing adventure. However, just because something is “natural”, it doesn’t mean it is right for you nor that it could have negative side effects. So, when you want to explore new healing modalities, I encourage you to do so under the recommendations of your doctor.
Lyme, like all chronic illnesses, can best be remedied with the Integrative medicine approach to healing. Chronic Disease gives us the time and opportunity to reflect on our lifestyle and priorities. If things are not in line with our purpose and growth, we can change the course of our adventure and get in line with our destiny to our best self.
xox, Dr. G