5 STEPS TO HEAL LYME DISEASE
Do you have debilitating flu like symptoms including extreme fatigue, headaches, jaw, neck, joint, bone or back pain that never seem to go away? Perhaps you also have brain fog, aching all over, burning in your feet, tingling in your hands, mood changes and or poor sleep?
You may be suffering from Lyme disease. Lyme disease may start with a “bullseye” rash at the site of the tick bite. However 50% of people with Lyme disease, also don’t get this classic easily to recognize clue. If present this rash can appear anywhere in the body and may or may not be itchy.
WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?
Lyme disease is an infection that is caused by a tick bite from ticks infected with borrelia burgdorferi species that transmits the bacterial infection into the blood stream. The ticks (blacklegged ticks/deer ticks) are very small and hard to spot as compared to the common dog tick. Lyme disease affects many different systems in the body and thus creates symptoms throughout the body. It may start out acutely and unfortunately can become chronic affecting those who suffer from it for years.
Why do some people get Lyme disease when bitten by these ticks and others don’t? As with any health concern there may be a known microbe that is thought to be the cause however the microbe needs to have a weakened host’s body in order for it to become active and or chronic. Considering that 70% of one’s immunity is found in the digestive system and that the microbiome (eco-system of microbes that actually make up 90% of human cells and carry genetic information) of a healthy individual is very different than one who is susceptible to becoming ill. The power in your immunity comes from a healthy lifestyle including a variety of local whole foods, exercise, rest and a balanced life.
When the body breaks down weakened immunity, poor detoxification and low cellular function are prime environments for Lyme disease to become chronic.
WHAT ARE COMMON SYMPTOMS?
The symptoms can include one or a combination of the following with varying degrees of severity:
- “Bull’s Eye” Rash
- Brain Fog
- Mood Changes
- Fever or chills.
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscular spasms, or weakness
- Numbness or tingling
IS LYME DISEASE CONTAGIOUS FROM PERSON TO PERSON?
Lyme disease is spread through blood and thus unless there is blood contact Lyme disease is not contagious from person to person. Precautions thus should take place to donation of blood for those who have active Lyme disease to avoid the spread of the illness through means such as blood transfusions.
HOW CAN YOU REPEL TICKS?
The CDC recommends dousing yourself with the toxin DEET to prevent tick bites, but certain plants have been found to work just as well.1-3 You can mix equal parts of lavender, geranium, juniper and tea tree essential oils and apply to your clothing. Although you can apply to your skin as well, use caution with children as some essential oils are very strong.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU DO GET A TICK BITE?
If you do get a tick bite, be sure and take care of the wound properly. The CDC gives guidelines on how to properly remove a tick here. To be on the safe side, I recommend placing in in a plastic bag and send it off for testing, you can google in your local area labs that do this type of testing or call your local doctors office. Once your remove the tick you can apply lavender essential oil to the bite every 5 minutes for half an hour. If you notice any flu-like symptoms or a “bull’s eye” rash follow up quickly with your integrative health care team.
HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE LYME DISEASE?
It’s also important to know that Lyme disease can only be diagnosed by a physician. To get a firm diagnosis for Lyme disease, there are tests available, but some are more accurate than others. For more on Lyme disease test options.
IS THERE A TREATMENT FOR LYME DISEASE?
Traditional approaches to Lyme disease include to “treat the infection with borrelia” with the use of antibiotics. Most experts agree that 2-4 weeks of antibiotic therapy is indicated for acute Lyme disease, or immediately after infection. Many advocate up to 9 months of antibiotic therapy, even though there are no studies supporting long-term antibiotic use.4 This method is based on the germ theory i.e. that if the germ is killed then the host will recover. However antibiotics will wipe out the bad bacteria as well as the good bacteria leaving your microbiome (collection of microbes that are key to a person’s wellbeing) severely unbalanced and most importantly your immune system weak. In addition the initial symptoms of Lyme disease are flu-like so often go undetected until they become chronic. The CDC and IDSA5 (the groups providing official recommendations), do not recommend antibiotic treatment unless you have an official diagnosis of Lyme disease.
|Antibiotics may be required in certain types of acute infections with aggressive, rapid-growth bacteria such as bacterial pneumonia, Borrelia may have a way of out smarting antibiotics. Antibiotics may not work for everyone with Lyme disease because:
1. They Hide!: Borrelia is corkscrew in shape and can bore deep into tissues. It clears the blood quickly and finds a home inside cells in joint cartilage, brain and nerve tissue where it is shielded from antibiotics and the immune system. If it is exposed to antibiotics it simply puts on its second armour by forming a dormant cyst riding out the war until the antibiotics are gone.
2. It Grows Low & Slow: Borrelia grows low-key and slowly. Borrelia grows in very low concentrations in tissues. Antibiotics have their best action on microbes that grow very quickly and are concentrated in a specific area i.e. pneumonia.
3. Borrelia Becomes A Part Of You: By blending in with your microbiome (the total of all the microbes in the body which provide you immunity and wellness when balanced). It simply wants to party with you and your friends which makes it difficult to get rid of, just like the person at a party that no one is sure how they got invited.
4. It Makes Friends Easily: Once it gets into your party Borrelia is like that guy who then decides to invite all of his/her friends too. Borrelia often is with or co-infects an individual with other microbes. These other microbes have similar qualities and properties to Borrelia.
5. Antibiotic Resistant: Yes these guys can become resistant to antibiotics and even when they do respond can be very slow to respond. The longer they are there the higher the chance of antibiotic resistance.
6. Second Hiding Spot: Borrelia can also hide in biofilms, which is a protective colony of microbes that form on a surface such as plaque on your teeth. There is more research to be done to fully understand this impact.
7. Immune System Weakness: Antibiotics are important for acute life-threatening conditions, however in Lyme disease the benefit is questionable relative to the risk. The very nature of antibiotics wipes out the bad guys and the good guys leaving immunity overall weakened. When the friendly flora is wiped out other pathogens can then flourish as well. Your body has designed your immune system to work with you to be well.
An integrative approach focuses on strengthening the body to allow the body’s innate healing capacities to thrive. My 5 Step Plan not only is focused on healing Lyme disease but also creating long term wellness and not another disease to deal with down the road potentially from the treatment methods.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW ABOUT BORRELIA?
- Borrelia rarely is life-threatening
- It can make you feel very unwell however.
- Concentrations of the microbe in the body are very low (even when a person is very symptomatic) contributing to making diagnosis difficult.
- It grows slowly and blends easily with other microbes in the body.
- It is multi-systematic because it penetrates deeply into tissues and spreads throughout the body giving one generalize symptoms all over the body (i.e. fatigue, brain fog, mood changes, feeling flu-like, muscle/joint aches, nerve problems, general achiness and insomnia).
- Because of its corkscrew shape it can bore deeply into tissues making hard to treat and carry without active symptoms.
- Symptoms are primarily due to the push-pull between the immune system and the microbe vs direct damage by the microbe.
- Due to all of the above it can be difficult to eradicate from the body.
HOW CAN YOU HEAL LYME DISEASE IN 5 STEPS?
STEP 1: DETOXIFY THE BODY: CLEAN HEALTH
Remove all processed foods, simple sugars and foods that break down into sugar very quickly. Microbes thrive on sugar and sugar also suppresses immunity. Focus on low glycemic foods such as vegetables and lean protein sources. Be tested for food intolerances or allergens so that you know what your unique triggers are for foods that are presently irritating your digestive system and slowing down the cleansing of the liver. Often gluten and dairy are food intolerances. Commercial cow’s milk dairy contains a protein called A1 casein which can trigger an intolerance or allergy reaction. In addition avoid GMO- Genetically modified organisms which may increase the risk of autoimmune reactions.
STEP 2: NOURISH THE BODY: LOW & SLOW
Keep your menu simple. In Chinese medicine when a person’s energy is low healing foods that are recommended are warm and easy to digest. Focus on foods that are prepared LOW & SLOW. By making crock-pot or one pot meals that are pre-digested while still maintaining nutrients you can increase your overall vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that will ultimately heal.
Although raw foods, juice cleanses are wonderful for general health, in Lyme disease one’s energy is extremely low so it is best to begin with warming foods first.
STEP 3: HEAL & SEAL
Use foods that heal & seal the digestive lining to reduce the “Leaking” of undigested food and microbes directly into the blood stream.
Collagen Rich Foods: Collagen is a type of protein that is used as connective and support tissue in the body. Collagen fibres are made from proteins with a high proportion of two amino acids hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline. These amino acids provide the tensile strength and flexibility to our bodies. Thus foods rich in lysine and proline along with vitamin C help to build and restore damaged tissues.
- Animal Based Options: (Lysine, Proline & Hyluronic Acid): Bone Broth, Chicken, or Fish (also rich in CoQ10 which promotes collagen regeneration inside the body (non-plant based); Egg whites
- Plant Based Options (Lysine & Proline): Legumes, especially peanuts and vitamin C rich foods including broccoli, red & yellow bell peppers and Brussels sprouts.
- Plant Based Options (Hyluronic Acid): Seaweed, sweet potato and avocado is particularly rich in hyaluronic acid.
Prebiotics: These help to increase your good bacteria and microbiome.
- Acacia gum/gum Arabic: mix 1 Tbsp of acacia powder with water (6 grams of insoluble prebiotic fibre-the kind of fibre that your healthy gut bugs love to keep strong)
- Chicory root: add to your kimchi!
- Jerusalem artichoke/sunroot: actually part of the sunflower family
- Dandelion greens, onions, leeks, asparagus
Probiotics: These help to increase your good bacteria and immune building microbiome. Use probiotic rich fermented foods such as kombucha, non-dairy kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented veggies (i.e. you can use any kimchi recipe and ferment other veggies or even ginger!)
STEP 4: NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS & HERBS
There are a number of options that can work very well. I recommend consulting with your integrative health care team to find the best combination for you. If oral versions alone seem for you to be slow to respond to I recommend IV Nutrient Therapy as a way to infuse the body with a high concentration of healing vitamins and minerals.
Here are my top 5 recommendations:
- Probiotics (both lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains): 50-100 billion cfu/day: Supports healthy microbiome increasing immunity and allowing the body to fight off infections.
- Vitamin D3: 5000-10,000 IU/day or 30 minutes/day in natural sunlight: Supports healthy immunity
- CoQ10: 100-200mg/day: Supports energy producing systems and is a natural antioxidant.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 2000-4000IU/day: To reduce inflammation.
- Chinese Skullcap: 500-1000mg/day: Immune support and potent synergist that amplifies effects of other herbs. Specifically down regulates unfriendly microbes and increases friendly microbes in the microbiome imbalance.
Others Vitamin B complex (especially B6 & B12 to aid energy); Mushroom Extracts (Cordyceps or Maitake), Magnesium, Vitamin C
Essential Oils: Frankincense: Helps to modulate immune reactions and reduce inflammation. 2 drops twice a day internally. 2 drops oregano oil in 1 tsp. of extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO) rubbed in the bottoms of your feet 2x/day.
STEP 5: ACUPUNCTURE
Acupuncture strengthens the imbalances in the body including your immune system. Initially it is recommended to go several times a week and when you are feeling better your practitioner and you can reduce the frequency. To learn more
By: Dr. Joël, Inspiring Health Naturally
If you have any questions please feel free to send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carroll, J. (2011). Essential oils of Cupressus funebris, Juniperus communis, and J. chinensis (Cupressaceae) as repellents against ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) and mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) and as toxicants against mosquitoes. Retrieved July 19, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129397
- Lori, A. (2005, April 20). Acaricidal properties of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia Cheel (tea tree oil) against nymphs of Ixodes ricinus. Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304401704006132
- Thomas, G. (2006, July 1). Repellency of Oils of Lemon Eucalyptus, Geranium, and Lavender and the Mosquito Repellent MyggA Natural to Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the Laboratory and Field. Retrieved July 17, 2015, from http://jme.oxfordjournals.org/content/43/4/731.abstract
- Wormser et al, The Clinical Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention of Lyme Disease, Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis, and Babesiosis: Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Clinical Infectious Diseases 2006, 43 (9), p. 1089-1134.
- The Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC) and the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) are the current recognized authorities on Lyme disease treatment.
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