Treatment For Chronic Lyme Disease
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome
Watch the video : Lyme disease treatment – An integrative medical approach
For patients suffering with Lyme disease for more than a year, the disease typically becomes far more complicated by co-infections of other bacteria, molds, fungi and viruses, as well as the biotoxins and neurotoxins released by them.
What is Chronic Lyme Disease Complex?
It is not uncommon for Lyme patients who undergo a chronic Lyme disease treatment with a 2-4-week course of antibiotics to have ongoing symptoms of fatigue with joint and muscle pain and significant brain fog when they finish treatment, which may last for 6 months. For the lucky ones, the symptoms do go away.
However, for the unlucky, a more complex and devastating array of symptoms may last for years, that include neurological and autoimmune symptoms resembling MS, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiac problems, joint pains, nerve pain, depression, loss of short-term memory, awful brain fog, impaired cognitive ability and much more.
Cause of Chronic Lyme Disease
This is called “chronic Lyme disease,” or “Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome” (PTLDS). The precise cause of Chronic Lyme Disease / PTLDS is not known yet. Many experts believe that ongoing symptoms are the result of long-term damage to healthy tissues that was caused by:
- Toxins released by Borrelia and various co-infecting microbes
- An inflammatory “cytokine storm” released from our immune system that became over-active in response to the infection and the biotoxins.
What Causes the Symptoms?
Most of the terrible symptoms associated with chronic Lyme are caused by the biotoxins, endotoxins and neurotoxins released by Borrelia and its many co-infections, which destroy muscle and nerve fibers. These toxins also induce an over-reaction of our immune system which over-produces a flood of inflammatory cytokines which cause systemic and chronic painful and inflammation. This chronic inflammation also damages our endocrine (hormone) and central nervous systems resulting in imbalances in brain chemistry, mood changes, anxiety, insomnia and depression.
Note: Humans have an “endocannabinoid system” which is designed to combat over inflamed immune system. This endocannabinoid system is activated by CBD.
Long Term Damage
Long term damage by infections is not unique to chronic Lyme disease. Other infections and their subsequent diseases are known to create similar long-term damage caused by an over-active immune system including: Campylobacter and Norovirus which create the neurological disease Guillain-Barre syndrome, Chlamydia which creates Reactive Arthritis syndrome, and Strep throat which creates Rheumatic Heart Disease.
50% of patients with chronic Lyme disease were found to have co-infections. The most common co-infections were Babesia (32%), Bartonella (28%), Ehrlichia (15%), Mycoplasma (15%), Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (6%), Anaplasma (5%), and Tularemia (1%).
Regardless of the cause of Chronic Lyme disease / PTLDS, studies have shown that long term antibiotics does NOT help these patients. On the contrary, long term use of antibiotics typically damages these patients, and complicates their recovery.
Treatment of Chronic Lyme Disease
Not Recommended – Synergistic use of Antibiotics
When a particular antibiotic is not working well, physicians sometimes look to add additional antibiotics that are “synergistic” with each other. Meaning that they work together but in different ways to amplify the bactericidal / killing efficiency of the infection. The problem with this strategy is twofold:
- Though the conventional knowledge promotes the use of multiple antibiotics together as a tactic to reduce the probability of developing antibiotic resistance, new evidence suggests that at times this accelerates the microbe’s ability to develop strains that are resistant to antibiotics. These resistant strains are exceedingly dangerous not only to the patient, but to everyone in their environment.
- Regardless of the issue of antibiotic resistance, we are 100% certain that the detrimental effects that antibiotics have on the health of the patient are also amplified by using multiple antibiotics at the same time. These detrimental effects can be as serious as the infection they are meant to combat and can cause long term physiological damage.
Recommended – An Integrative Medical Approach
The four pillars of the ideal chronic Lyme disease treatment strategy
- Boost the immune system: If your immune system is sufficiently strong, it can handle the infection on its own. You simply won’t get sick even if infected by a tick bite.
- Kill the infection(s): If your immune system needs help, provide it with the most effective and healthiest methods possible to kill the invading microbes.
- Speed diagnosis and treatment: Seek accurate diagnosis and expert chronic Lyme disease treatment as quickly as you can if you know you have been bitten by a tick, or as soon as symptoms appear.
- Heal and Repair: If the disease progressed and caused damage, after you have killed the Borrelia infection, you need to heal and repair the damaged tissues and organs in order to recover your health and well-being. Your body has regenerative capacity that you can access, tap and boost.
Medicinal Herbs – Natures Solution to Chronic Infections
Not just animals, but also plants must contend with all sorts of microbial pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi. However, plants do not have an immune system, so instead they produce a sophisticated and extensive array of chemicals that defend them from microbial attack. A single medicinal herb can contain dozens of chemicals that combat microbes in many different ways. Consequently, unlike synthetic antibiotics that work in only one-way, pathogenic microbes cannot develop resistance to these natural medicinal herbs… even when exposed to long term use. Therefore, medicinal herbs are perfectly suited for combatting stealthy microbes that cause chronic illness like Borrelia.
Herbs also offer “synergistic” anti-microbial effects, by operating in slightly different ways from one another. However, unlike antibiotics, given that bacteria are not able to develop resistance to herbs, using multiple herbs simultaneously amplifies their ability to kill the microbes without any negative consequences. As a matter of fact, this is the preferred way to prescribe the chronic Lyme disease treatment.
Over millions of years of evolving together with plants, humans have explored the medicinal characteristics of thousands of plants and have naturally selected the ones that provide medicinal benefits. Obviously, these medicinal herbs contain chemicals that are complimentary to the biochemistry of humans. Consequently, they are tolerated well by most people for short and long periods of use.
Herbs, while effective in combating pathogenic microbes, are compatible with the non-pathogenic (good “commensal”) bacteria that co-exists in our bodies – especially in our GI tract – these “good / commensal” bacteria are essential collaborators in our health and well-being.
Lastly, herbs are known to be protective of all organ systems in the human body. Cardiovascular, nervous, liver, kidneys, urogenital systems, etc. Remarkably, herbs also help balance hormones, especially adrenal functions that are so critical in our physiology’s ability to heal. Herbs are an essential component of detoxification regimens, as well as combating stress and fatigue.
Here is a list of some of the more commonly utilized medicinal Herbs used in chronic Lyme disease treatment.
As you research Integrative Practices that are available to help you, you will undoubtedly be hearing about some of these.
- Biofilm breakers
- Cat’s Claw
- Rx – Ivermectin – Yes, but some concern for complicating neurological symptoms for patients who are likely already suffering brain fog etc.
- Rx – Daspone – So toxic… and increases detox burden on liver… all the while patient is already so overloaded with biotoxins etc…
Full Body Detoxification
Purging biotoxins out of your body – The Herxheimer / Herx reaction
As covered earlier in this article, biotoxins, mycotoxins, neurotoxins that are released from the Lyme Borrelia, as well as the many co-infections that accompany chronic Lyme disease, are the main cause of the systemic inflammation that result in the worst of chronic Lyme symptoms. Tissue damage, organ damage, nerve damage, sever brain fog and cognitive degeneration are all due to these toxins.
Also, when these invading microbes are killed, either by antibiotics, ozone or the various naturopathic therapies that we have covered in this article, the fragments of the cellular membranes called endotoxins (Lipopolysaccharides) of these microbes cause a huge inflammatory reaction in our bodies. This inflammatory reaction is often called the “die-off” reaction, also known as the Herxheimer (Herx) reaction. Patients experience this as a severe flu-like episode that can be extremely miserable.
Therefore, two key elements of healing from Lyme must include:
- A comprehensive detox protocol that rids the body of these toxins, and
Note: Our physiology is engineered with a very robust detox system referred to as “metabolic detox”. Within the liver, this system filters toxins out of our blood and chemically processes the toxins for removal (excretion) from our body though the intestines as stool (poop) or through the kidneys into our urine.
Therefore, to support our body’s ability to get rid of all these Lyme related toxins, we must support the liver functions that process the toxins, and the intestines that “bind” the toxins for excretion.
- A comprehensive protocol to reduce the overproduction of inflammatory cytokines must be a part of your treatments. Naturally occurring gene modulating compounds derived from various herbs such as CBD and DIM are essential in this aspect of your healing. These natural gene modulators increase our physiology’s anti-inflammatory response, and inhibit (turn-off) its inflammatory response.
Other Key Considerations in Treating Lyme
The Blood brain barrier
The blood brain barrier is a complex of specialized membranes that protect our brain and spine from invasion by microbes and toxins. However, as you know, Borrelia can infect our cells and hide within them as an intercellular parasite. As such, they can find their way across the blood brain barrier, and infect our brains. Therefore, a comprehensive protocol for treating chronic Lyme disease in our central nervous system must take this into consideration.
As covered earlier in this article, Borrelia and other microbes can produce a biofilm gel in which they can hide protected from our immune cells and antibiotics. Therefore, an effective chronic Lyme disease treatment must provide the means by which these biofilms are dissolved away, exposing the infecting microbes to our natural and medicinal defenses.
Avoid narcotic pain medications and psychoactive medications
Its simple. As the toxins are flushed out of your body, and systemic inflammation is reduced, your pain will be reduced, as will the attendant anxiety, insomnia and depression. Therefore, as much as possible, avoid using narcotics, because:
- You won’t be able to detect, asses and appreciate the progress of your healing.
- They slow down healing by engaging neuro receptor sites that need to stay open in order for your brain to heal.
- They have many detrimental side effects… let alone the possibility of addiction.
- If you need a bit of narcotic assistance dealing with your symptoms, we get it. Chronic Lyme disease can be devastatingly painful. Just be careful, and use them sparingly, while constantly reducing the dose as you heal.
The “Herx” Reaction
Why You Might Feel Worse After Treatment
When anti-microbial treatments work well, whether antibiotic or herbal, the microbes die by the billions. Consequently, debris from these dead microbial cells flood our physiology, to which our immune system reacts. This reaction is called a Herxheimer or Herx die-off reaction… and feels like a terrible flu.
In a die-off reaction, toxins comprised of proteins and lipopolysaccharides from cellular debris stimulate our immune system to release a flood of inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6, and interleukin-8. These cytokines are the cause of terrible flu like symptoms. Furthermore, as many of Lyme symptoms are caused by inflammation, some of the Lyme symptoms might actually get worse during a Herx reactions, such as fatigue, brain-fog, muscle and nerve pain, chills and sweats, and difficulty with memory and thinking.
For those who want a deeper dive into the clinical science of Lyme, the following website is up to date and very helpful:
For more information on Co-infections and the release of toxins see:
Chronic Lyme Disease Complex and Its Commonly Undiagnosed Primary and Secondary Co-infections.
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- Sharma B, Brown AV, Matluck NE, Hu LT and Lewis K. Borrelia burgdorferi, the Causative Agent of Lyme Disease, Forms Drug-Tolerant Persister Cells. 2015 Aug;59(8):4616-24.
- Kalghatgi S, Spina C, Costello J, Liesa M, Morones-Ramirez JR, Slomovic S, Molina A, Shirihai OS and Collins J. Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells. 2013 Jul;5(192):192ra85.
- Smith A, Oertle J, Warren D and Prato D. Chronic Lyme Disease Complex and Its Commonly Undiagnosed Primary and Secondary Co-Infections. 2015 Sept; Vol.5 No.3
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme Disease Rashes and Look-alikes. 2018 Dec
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What you Need to Know about Lyme Carditis. 2018 Dec
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data and Surveillance. 2019 Feb
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome. 2018 Dec