David Jernigan, DC is a renowned Lyme-literate health care practitioner who has been helping people to recover their health for more than 20 years. Today, Dr. Jernigan, my publisher and I are excited to share with you his chapter from my new book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, for FREE. To read the chapter, just click here: http://bit.ly/2pmyKjH
Note; This article was originally published on April 26, 2016 on ProHealth.com: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=28828.
If you haven’t battled Lyme disease, you might think that Lyme is simply a disease caused by a bacterial infection called Borrelia burgdorferi. If you are a bit more Lyme-savvy, you know that Lyme involves not just infection with Borrelia, but commonly, at least a half-dozen other parasitic, viral and bacterial infections. And yet, this is still an inadequate definition to describe what Lyme is, and what causes symptoms in people with Lyme. As I often tell people, “Lyme disease isn’t just ‘all about the bugs.’”
If I were to paraphrase the words of the many doctors that I’ve interviewed over the years, I would say that Lyme disease is a multi-systemic disease that causes disorder and dysfunction in the entire body. It affects literally every organ and tissue, and as such, healing the body from Lyme involves not only killing and/or managing infections, but also supporting and rebuilding the body from the ground up. It also requires identifying and treating other co-conditions that are common in Lyme, such as mold illness. Following are ten important causes of symptoms in Lyme, (in addition to Lyme-related microbial infections), which you may want to discuss with your doctor if he or she has treated you solely with antimicrobial remedies and you aren’t getting better.
1). Mold toxicity. This is one of the most insidious and important causes of symptoms in people with Lyme. Increasingly, Lyme-literate doctors tell me that many of their patients with Lyme are also infected with mold and mycotoxins (mold toxins) so it’s important to identify whether mold is playing a role in your symptoms and get treated right away. Real Time labs is among the most accurate of labs for mold testing. Effective mold toxin binders include the medication cholestyramine and activated charcoal.
2). Parasitic Infections. Many people with Lyme have protozoal and other parasitic infections that are unrelated to Lyme and which are compromising their recovery. Parasitic infections are often not detectable on conventional lab tests, and may not even show up in sophisticated stool tests; therefore, using multiple forms of testing to detect parasites, such as electrodermal screening tools such as the Zyto or muscle testing, is important, along with lab testing with reputable labs such as Doctors’ Data.
3). Hormone and Neurotransmitter Imbalances. Lyme disease profoundly affects the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis, and can even damage neuroendocrine (or brain, nervous system and hormonal gland) tissue, such as the pituitary. As a result, the body does not produce proper amounts of hormones and neurotransmitters. Replenishing the body’s stores of these chemicals can therefore profoundly support the healing process and Lyme doctors will commonly prescribe bio-identical hormones such as pregnenolone, DHEA and thyroid hormone to their patients, along with amino acids such as L-tyrosine, GABA and 5-HTP, which the body uses to make neurotransmitters. To make these amino acids work in the body, supplemental co-factors such as P5P, SAMe and/or methyl B-12 are also sometimes important.
4). Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies. It’s not uncommon for people with Lyme to have vitamin and mineral deficiencies caused by Lyme and/or which exacerbate Lyme symptoms. Common deficiencies include magnesium, Vitamins D, C and B-vitamins; zinc and iron—among others. Supplementation with these nutrients can help to support the body during healing. (For more information on common nutritional deficiencies in Lyme disease and supplements that support the body, I encourage you to check out my 2012 book,Beyond Lyme Disease).
5). Inflammation. Many symptoms are caused by inflammation, which in turn, is caused by many factors, including environmental toxicity, infections, stress and a poor diet. Reducing inflammation involves mitigating all of its causes, such as removing pathogens and toxins from the body, and downregulating the immune response with nutrients and tools such as low-dose immunotherapy. High-quality natural anti-inflammatory substances such as curcumin may also be helpful for supporting the body’s inflammatory response.
6). Mitochondrial Dysfunction. The mitochondria are the cell’s energy furnaces from which ATP, or energy, is created. In Lyme disease, the mitochondria don’t function properly, which in turn causes anaerobic metabolism and hypoxia, a condition in which the cells don’t receive enough oxygen and which results in fatigue. Supporting the mitochondria with supplements such as L-carnitine and CO Q-10 can help to mitigate fatigue and other symptoms related to mitochondrial dysfunction.
7). Emotional Trauma. Many studies have proven that trauma suppresses immune function and when prolonged, can open the door to chronic health challenges. Many practitioners also now believe that trauma is stored in the organs and tissues of the body, and that this trauma can be removed with hands-on techniques such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) www.emofree.com and limbic system retraining, among others. Dynamic Neural Retraining is one limbic system retraining program that some people with chronic Lyme have found to be helpful: http://dnrsystem.com.
8). A Poor Diet. Our food supply has been greatly adulterated and contaminated with genetically modified, antibiotic, hormone and pesticide-laden foods, all of which interfere with the proper functioning of the body. People with Lyme disease may be even less tolerant of foods that have been contaminated and adulterated by the food industry, and bad foods, along with food allergies, are a significant contributing factor to symptoms. Therefore, removing allergenic foods and consuming fresh, organic “real” food, such as non-GMO, antibiotic, pesticide and hormone-free meats, poultry, eggs and other proteins; non-starchy veggies and low-glycemic fruits, along with healthy fats such as olive and coconut oil, can help to alleviate symptoms caused by food.
9). Poor Gastrointestinal Function. Poor gastrointestinal function can be a precursor to disease, as well as the result of it. Lyme disease commonly causes deficiencies of hydrochloric acid, enzymes and beneficial gut bacteria, and an overgrowth of Candida and other infections. These things in turn cause nutrient malabsorption, gut dysbiosis and Leaky Gut Syndrome, all of which cause symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, brain fog, inflammation, depression and pain, among others. Supplementing with GI nutrients such as hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes and probiotics may help to support gastrointestinal function in those with Lyme.
10). Environmental Toxicity. We all live in a sea of chemical and electromagnetic toxins. Studies show that babies are born with more than 200 chemical toxins in their bodies, (such as aluminum, cadmium, mercury, plastics and other harmful compounds) and these toxins have been proven in many studies to damage the organs and systems of the body, especially the neurological system. Many people with Lyme even have environmental toxicity as the primary cause of their symptoms, which means that removing these toxins with well-thought-out detoxification strategies is essential for healing. Sauna therapy, rebounding, coffee enemas, liver cleanses, and taking toxin binders such as zeolite, chlorella, EDTA, activated charcoal—among others, are just a few ways to remove toxins from the body. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a practitioner who can test your body for toxins and prescribe a regimen based on your needs. The same holds for the other causes of symptoms described here.
Note: This article was originally published on ProHealth.com on October 1, 2016: on http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29469
Hyperthermia has been widely used in Europe and some other parts of the world as a viable alternative cancer treatment. Whole body hyperthermia involves incubating the entire body inside of a thermal chamber and heating it to 107-108 degrees Fahrenheit, and then cooling it over a period of six hours, during which time the heat kills of any cancer cells and microbes deep within the organs and tissues. Local and regional hyperthermia heat specific areas of the body where tumors are located.
When combined with other treatments, local, regional and whole body hyperthermia have a high rate of success in treating various cancers—even late stage cancers that have failed to respond to more conventional treatments.
Of late, a few practitioners have also discovered hyperthermia to be an extraordinary tool for treating Lyme infections, especially Bartonella, Borrelia, Mycoplasma, and viruses. One of these practitioners, Friedrich Douwes, MD, a renowned integrative cancer doctor in Bad Aibling, Germany accidentally discovered that hyperthermia could kill Lyme infections over 13 years ago, when two of his cancer patients who also had Lyme disease saw their Lyme infections go into remission after he treated them for cancer using hyperthermia!
Shortly thereafter, Dr. Douwes stumbled upon research that showed that syphilis spirochetes--which are similar to Borrelia spirochetes- were susceptible to heat and would die when the body’s temperature was elevated to 106 degrees Fahrenheit, as in hyperthermia. He then surmised that Lyme spirochetes might also be susceptible to heat, and so continued to treat Lyme patients using hyperthermia, with great success.
What's more, Dr. Douwes discovered that the effects of hyperthermia were potentiated whenever he would administer IV antibiotics to his patients during the treatment, and that the treatments penetrated deep into the tissues, where they normally would not reach without hyperthermia. This was a revolutionary discovery for him, and has turned out to be a great benefit to his patients, many of whom who have been healed of Lyme after failing years of antibiotic tretament and/or other therapies.
In my upocming book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work, (which will be released later this month!), Dr. Douwes describes his protocol for Lyme, which includes hyperthermia, in conjunction with other tools that he uses for Lyme treatment such as IV ozone, peptides and nutritional therapy. He has a high success rate in treating patients for Borrelia and Bartonella using these tools, although admits that hyperthermia is not as effective for Babesia.
Still, Dr. Douwes’ website has some incredible testimonials of people who have been healed after just one or two hyperthermia treatments, along with a couple of weeks of adjunct therapies, and his reputation as a renowned cancer expert has also opened the door for him to becomes widely successful at treating Lyme and related conditions.
Hyperthermia may not be a suitable treatment for everyone; indeed, there is a risk of side effects for a small percentage of people, although Dr. Douwes believes that these effects can be greatly minimized with conscientious preparation and planning. He contends that he has never had a patient experience serious side effects though, because he and his staff take great care to ensure that all necessary preparatory precautions are taken, before, during and after the treatment.
Dr. Douwes charges approximately 15,000 euros for two weeks of treatment, which includes the adjunct tools that he uses to heal his patients. While this is a lot of money for some people, considering that many people with Lyme disease spend well over that much money on treatment, year after year, 15,000 euros may be a bargain for others. What's more, hyperthermia may be an important treatment for those who have failed more conventional regimens involving herbal remedies and antibiotics. Indeed, I believe that it may become a more popular treatment in the days to come as more and more people learn about it.
In any case, I encourage you to check out Dr. Douwes’ chapter in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, where you can learn more about this new, cutting edge Lyme treatment that is setting thousands of people free from this insidious disease.
Note: This article was originally published on February 21, 2017 at ProHealth.com: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29987
Siberian ginseng, or Eleuthero is one of the most important and widely used herbal remedies in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It has long been used as an adaptogen and tonic to strengthen “qi” or “chi,” –or the body’s energy. It invigorates the body and mind, and has been shown in studies and among users to reduce mental and physical stress. Among its other benefits, it has been found to help maintain healthy blood circulation, support healthy immune function and a healthy inflammatory response; help the liver to detoxify, enhance memory, mood and cognition, relieve symptoms of menopause and menstrual disorders, and, perhaps most significantly, relieve chronic fatigue.
Master herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of multiple books on herbal remedies and Lyme disease, advocates Siberian ginseng for managing a variety of Lyme-related symptoms, including chronic fatigue and depression. In his book, Healing Lyme, he writes that Siberian ginseng is useful for alleviating chronic fatigue, mental fog and confusion, low immune function and difficulty in overcoming the disease.
On page 135, he writes, “A number of clinical trials have shown significant immune-enhancing activity, including significant increases in immunocompetent cells, specifically T-lymphocytes (helper/inducers, cytotoxic and natural killer cells. Tests of the herb have repeatedly shown that it increases the ability of human beings to withstand adverse conditions, increases mental alertness and improves performance.”[i]
Siberian ginseng has long been one of my favorite herbal remedies, and I used it often during the first years that I battled Lyme disease, especially when I was deeply fatigued and needed an energy boost. I also found that it significantly improved my mood and cognition, and helped me to work longer throughout the day.
Recently, I began taking it again after my sweetheart Bill was hospitalized for congestive heart failure and I became exhausted and overwhelmed by the stress of traveling to and from the hospital daily for a month. I hadn’t taken Siberian Ginseng for at least five years and so had kind of forgotten about it. But one day as I was driving to the hospital, I became shaky and weak, and thought, “My adrenal glands need help. I badly need energy. What can I do?” And then it popped into my mind—Siberian Ginseng! So I ordered some and since re-starting this marvelous herb, I have begun to recover some of my energy and stamina, and as a side benefit, have found that my focus and concentration are better.
Siberian ginseng can be used long term, although Buhner, in his book, Healing Lyme, recommends a weaker tincture for long-term use (say, 12 months), and stronger formulations (eg. 2 parts herb to one part liquid, or one part herb to one part liquid) for severe or acute cases of Lyme disease.
Most researchers agree that Siberian Ginseng is most likely safe when it’s used for just a short period of time. In a few people, it may cause insomnia, headache, nervousness, drowsiness, and hypoglycemia, so it’s a good idea to consult your doctor or other qualified holistic health care practitioner before taking this herb. Siberian ginseng may also be contraindicated in people with heart conditions, diabetes, or hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast cancer, so if you have one of these conditions, again, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before taking it.
A handful of studies have proven some of the benefits of Siberian ginseng. For instance, one study, the results of which were published in Phytotherapy Research in 2005, showed Siberian ginseng to inhibit brain inflammation and microglial activation in conditions of brain ischemia, a condition in which there is insufficient blood flow to the brain. Because the brain is often highly inflamed in Lyme disease, it may be useful for helping to relieve neurological symptoms caused by Lyme.
In another study on rats, the results of which were published in Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicology, Siberian Ginseng was shown to inhibit histamine release from peritoneal mast cells. Some integrative doctors have found that people with Lyme disease, mold illness and other severe health conditions have mast cell activation disorder (MCAD) or other histamine disorders, which are either a contributing cause or effect of their conditions. MCAD and excessive histamine release cause widespread inflammation and symptoms. This study suggests that Siberian ginseng may therefore be a useful therapy for controlling histamine release.
In a third study on the elderly, the results of which were published in 2004 in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Siberian ginseng was shown to improve energy, mental health and social functioning after just four weeks of treatment. These findings confirm its usefulness as an energy and mood enhancer. Depression is a common symptom of Lyme disease, and occurs both as a result of the disease process itself and the difficult circumstances that it creates in a person’s life, so Siberian Ginseng may be an ideal remedy for helping to mitigate this symptom.
Indeed, I am re-integrating this marvelous herb into my list of go-to remedies, whenever I need a little energy boost, encouragement or push to get through stressful times. Perhaps you will find it to be a useful go-to remedy, as well.
Further Reading and References.
Buhner, S. 2005. Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections. Raven Press, Pp. 135-137.
Yungmin Bu, Zhen Hua Jin, Sun Young Park, Sunkyung Baek, Sungju Rho, Nina Ha, Seong Kyu Park, Hocheol Kim. Siberian ginseng reduces infarct volume in transient focal cerebral ischaemia in Sprague-Dawley rats. Phytother Res. 2005 Feb;19(2):167-9. PMID: 15852490
H J Jeong, H N Koo, N I Myung, M K Shin, J W Kim, D K Kim, K S Kim, H M Kim, Y M Lee. Inhibitory effects of mast cell-mediated allergic reactions by cell cultured Siberian Ginseng. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2001 Feb;23(1):107-17. PMID: 11322643
A F G Cicero, G Derosa, R Brillante, R Bernardi, S Nascetti, A Gaddi
Effects of Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus maxim.) on elderly quality of life: a randomized clinical trial.Arch Gerontol Geriatr Suppl. 2004;(9):69-73. PMID: 15207399
Hartz AJ, Bentler S, Noyes R, Hoehns J, Logemann C, Sinift S, Butani Y, Wang W, Brake K, Ernst M, Kautzman H. "Randomized controlled trial of Siberian ginseng for chronic fatigue." Psychol Med. 2004 Jan;34(1):51-61.
Lee YJ, Chung HY, Kwak HK, Yoon S. "The effects of A. senticosus supplementation on serum lipid profiles, biomarkers of oxidative stress, and lymphocyte DNA damage in postmenopausal women." Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Oct 10;375(1):44-8.
[i] Buhner, S. 2005. Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections. Raven Press, Pp. 135-137
Note: This article was originally published on December 2, 2016: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29722
We are all awash in a sea of electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which come from a variety of sources, including power lines, cell phones, smart meters, Wi-Fi, microwave towers, appliances and other places. Hundreds, if not thousands of studies have proven the detrimental effects of manmade electromagnetic fields upon the body, yet the amount of electromagnetic fields in the environment increases exponentially every year.
What’s more, studies have shown that pathogenic microbes multiply more quickly and act more virulently in the presence of EMFs and that healthy, beneficial bacteria that the body needs to fight disease multiply more slowly. If you have Lyme disease this is important to understand as it means that your recovery can become compromised if you are living in a high-EMF environment.
Thomas Rau, MD of the renowned Swiss Paracelsus Clinic stated in an interview on ElectromagneticHealth.org: “Cultures of normal human endogenous bacterial cultures grow much less when exposed to EMR. They grow less when they are around a mobile phone, a tower or cordless phone. Growing less good bacteria in your body means you will have an overgrowth of bad bacteria that can result in things like Lyme disease. Especially from the east coast of the USA, we have many patients with Lyme.”
And in my just-released book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, renowned Lyme-literate doctor Dietrich Klinghardt, MD contends that the same happens with mold. He says, “A Swiss mold researcher once conducted some simple experiments to measure the virulence and presence of mold and mold toxins in high EMF environments. He exposed molds to a Wi-Fi router and found that the production of mycotoxins was dramatically increased by the energetic frequencies. The virulence of the mold toxins also increased 600-fold.”
EMFs are also immunosuppressive. In New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, Dr. Klinghardt states, “The negative effects that EMFs have upon the body are cumulative and twofold. First, EMFs—particularly the microwave radiation from cell phones and cell phone towers—are highly immunosuppressive. Secondly, (and as I just mentioned) electromagnetic pollution drives the growth of microbes within the body…”
Many studies that show the detrimental effects of EMFs upon the body can be found here. Electromagnetic pollution has been found to cause or exacerbate a multitude of disorders, including cancer, autism, chronic fatigue, and insomnia—among others. Dr. Klinghardt shared with me in his interview for my book that he has even seen people relapse from conditions such as Lyme and Parkinson’s just as a result of having smart meters installed onto their homes!
I don’t mean to sound alarmist, but I find that EMF remediation is one of those things that people don’t tend to take as seriously in their recovery process; perhaps because EMFs are invisible and their effects upon the body are not always obvious. Yet I believe that EMFs are one of the foremost causes of disease today (especially cancer), and one of the factors that can hinder recovery from Lyme and other chronic illnesses.
The good news is, there are things that you can do to lower the amount of EMFs that you are exposed to in your home environment. It is especially important to create a sleep sanctuary and ensure that the EMFs in your bedroom are low, as nighttime (or whenever you sleep) is when the body regenerates itself.
Many of you who are reading this will already know about the obvious things to do to lower EMFs in your bedroom. These include:
· Unplugging your Wi-Fi and all appliances
· Turning off your circuit breakers (if possible)
· Turning off your cell phone and unplugging or getting rid of any cordless phones. (Many cordless phones emit more EMFs than cell phones).
· Using an EMF-blocking sleep canopy over your bed to create a Faraday cage, which will block out EMFs from radio frequencies that come from sources such as cell phone towers and Wi-Fi.
As a side note, the shielding material that is used to create EMF canopies varies in its effectiveness, depending on the type of material used. Given that we are continually being exposed to higher frequencies and concentrations of EMFs, I would recommend purchasing a shielding material with a high level of protection; up to 60 db or 10 Ghz. (LessEMF.com sells one with this level of shielding). They are pricey, but a one-time investment and well worth it.
· Sleeping with a grounding sheet, which connects your body to the earth and helps to normalize its energy field. For more information, see: www.Earthing.net.
Electromagnetic remediation can be a bit complex, because there are different types of electromagnetic pollution, each affecting the body in a different way, and each requiring its own solution. And the shielding needs to be used in the proper way or it can make things worse.
For instance, bed canopies will filter out RF frequencies from microwave towers and cell phones, but not magnetic fields from wall wiring, power lines and other sources. So you’ll want to find a solution for both the RF frequencies and magnetic fields, if you find that you are being exposed to both. Online stores such as LessEMF.com sell shielding material and other solutions for every type of EMF exposure, and can often provide good guidance about what you’ll need (Note: I am not affiliated with LessEMF.com nor do I receive any kind of compensation from them for mentioning their products).
But the first thing you’ll want to do is purchase a high quality EMF meter that measures magnetic fields, as well as high and low RF and electrical fields. The least expensive, best all-inclusive option that I have found is the Tri-Mode High + Low Frequency Meter. This one may not be as sensitive as some of the more expensive models but according to the folks at LessEMF.com, it will give you a pretty good idea about the fields that you are being exposed to, and it is very reasonably priced at just under $200.
Guidance and being able to measure the fields is important as electromagnetic pollution can come from a variety of sources from inside and outside the home (many of which I mentioned earlier in this article, although this list isn’t all inclusive). When determining what type of meter and shielding you need, I encourage you to ask lots of questions. Many companies that sell EMF shielding products can usually provide helpful information about what you’ll need as can Building Biologists.
I have wasted a lot of time, money and energy on poor shielding products and often ended up living in the wrong places because I did not understand EMF pollution well, so I encourage you to take the time to really learn about it. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but the rewards that you’ll reap as a result of understanding and doing EMF remediation; better sleep, less fatigue, and a faster recovery—among others, are well worth it.
Note: This article was originally published on ProHealth.com on December 17, 2016: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29765
When you battle Lyme disease, the adrenal glands can really take a beating. These two little triangular-shaped glands that sit atop the kidneys are responsible for a multitude of functions, including helping to manage the body’s immune function, blood pressure, blood sugar, mineral balance and more. They secrete hormones such as cortisol that support the immune system, but under conditions of extreme stress, such as illness, the adrenals may under-function and not produce the proper amount of hormones required for recovery.
Fortunately, you can give your immune system a boost by supporting your adrenals with nutrients such as ashwaghanda, licorice, Siberian ginseng, Vitamin C and pantethine, as well as adrenal glandular formulas and even bioidentical hormones. All of these can be incredibly beneficial in the recovery process. I discuss some of these nutrients in my 2012 book, Beyond Lyme Disease. I also recommend Dr. Lam’s book, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome - Reclaim Your Energy and Vitality with Clinically Proven Natural Programs and his website: www.DrLam.com, for more information on adrenal-strengthening supplements.
Equally important for supporting the adrenals is a healthy diet. In general, my research and personal experience indicate that a high-fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet tend to be best for most with exhausted adrenal glands. This is because healthy fats support the production of hormones, provide healthy nutrients to the body, and balance the blood sugar, as does protein. Carbohydrates, especially higher-glycemic fruits, grains and simple sugars, when consumed in excess, tend to spike the blood sugar and stress the adrenal glands over the long run.
One particularly nourishing adrenal food that I have personally found to be very beneficial in my recovery process is fresh bone broth. Bones contain lots of adrenal-building nutrients, and when broth is freshly prepared (not store bought in a box or can), nutrients that help to rebuild the adrenals and connective tissue get extracted out of the bone marrow into the broth. One hallmark of adrenal fatigue is connective tissue breakdown, and the gelatinous substance that comes from cartilage and tendons and which is found in fresh broth helps to rebuild that tissue.
Preparing fresh bone broth is easy. Simply take some bones (those form beef and/or chicken work best) and place them in a large pot of boiling water for five minutes. Then, turn the heat down, add some carrots, onion, celery, salt and/or other seasoning, and simmer for anywhere from 4-12 hours. The longer you simmer the bones, the more nutrients that will be extracted from them. Add a bit of vinegar to enhance this effect.
In addition, soups and stews tend to be hearty adrenal-building foods. When prepared in a Crock Pot or other slow cooker using a variety of fresh vegetables and meats, they can provide some similar benefits to bone broth in that they extract some nutrients from the bones (if bone-in meat is used) and are a rich source of minerals.
While some people may be able to tolerate potatoes in their stews and soups, I don’t recommend using potatoes if you have adrenal fatigue, because potatoes can spike the blood sugar, and many people are allergic to them because most are genetically modified (at least in the United States).
Instead, include some celery, onions, parsley, sweet potato (which is higher in fiber and nutrients than white potatoes, and has a less dramatic effect on blood sugar), and carrots in your soups and stews. Carrots are higher on the glycemic index but are rich in nutrients and when consumed with animal protein, have less of a detrimental effect upon the blood sugar.
Personally, I find bone broths, soups and stews to be more satisfying, energizing and strengthening to my body and adrenals than when I simply consume some animal protein and a salad or a vegetable. Perhaps this is due to their rich mineral content, and the fact that more nutrients get extracted from meat that is slow cooked.
Debate exists within the Lyme disease medical community about whether healthy grains and legumes (rice, millet, beans, etc.) are healthy for the body. While I believe that some of us need some “heavier” carbohydrates in the form of grains and legumes from time to time, the healing of the gut can be compromised by eating too many grains and legumes. High carb foods are also thought to feed pathogenic organisms and cancer cells. What’s more, many people with Lyme suffer from Leaky Gut Syndrome, a condition whereby small particles of food pass through damaged junctions in the small intestines into the bloodstream, and cause inflammation, instead of being fully processed by the digestive system. Consuming too many grains can inhibit the healing of the gut (even if they are non-gluten), while also stressing the adrenal glands, as they cause more of a blood sugar spike than vegetables.
Other foods that people with Lyme disease are commonly allergic to, such as dairy products, soy, nuts, sugar, nightshade vegetables and of course, processed and artificial foods—also stress the adrenals. This is because allergenic foods cause inflammation, and the adrenals release a hormone called cortisol in response to that inflammation, which puts a drain on the endocrine system. Inflammation causes a host of other problems in the body that can further tax the adrenals. So simply avoiding allergenic foods can go a long way toward strengthening these glands.
Finally, it goes without saying that stimulants such as coffee and sugar heavily tax the adrenals, by causing the adrenals to release fight-or-flight hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Therefore, many medical experts believe that the best diet for people with adrenal fatigue includes ample amounts of healthy fats from foods such as avocado, coconut, and olive oil; moderate amounts of healthy protein from sources such as organic, free-range beef, chicken, bison, turkey, low-mercury fish (such as salmon and tilapia); and generous amounts of low-glycemic fruits and vegetables. In general, I have found that apples, pears, berries, lemons and limes are OK for most people with Lyme, although those who are diabetic or have highly unstable blood sugar may prefer to stay away from fruit entirely.
I believe that it’s also essential to eat clean food that doesn’t contain pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics or growth hormones. All of these things damage the body and cause inflammation which again, can stress the adrenal glands. I don’t believe that eating organic should be optional for those who are battling a major health issue. The body was not designed to ingest chemicals and artificial hormones and antibiotics on a regular basis. Doing so causes a chronic inflammatory response that can impede healing.
It can difficult and expensive to maintain a diet that includes only animal protein, healthy fats, low glycemic fruits and veggies, but even if you are only able to do this some of the time, you are likely to reap great rewards in your healing journey and help to restore your adrenal function, which in turn will help you to overcome Lyme.
Note: This article was originally published on ProHealth.com on October 16, 2016: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29503
Mold illness, or biotoxin illness, as it is sometimes called—is a common Lyme co-condition that can debilitate and weaken the body as much as Lyme, but up until recently, it hasn’t been widely recognized by the medical community. When Ritchie Shoemaker, MDs renowned book on mold toxicity, Mold Warriors was first released in 2005, I believe that it got some people with Lyme disease thinking that mold might be a component of their overall symptom picture, but it seems as though it has only been in the past few years that doctors and patients have started to take the issue of mold seriously.
I don’t know why so many people with Lyme also suffer from mold illness; it may be that having Lyme compromises the body in such a way that makes the body more susceptible to Lyme. At the same time, becoming sick from mold may create a scenario whereby people are more susceptible to becoming sick from Lyme infections. In the end, both conditions weaken the immune system, which then predisposes the body to other problems.
If you look on the Internet, you’ll find a thousand and one solutions for remediating mold. Not all of these work—I surmise, in fact, that many of them don’t. Healing from mold toxicity is a complex, multifaceted process that requires more than just taking a binder or two for mold toxins, ozonating your environment, or diffusing some essential oils into the air.
First, if you suspect that you have mold toxicity, I recommend doing a urine mycotoxin test from RealTime Labs. Neil Nathan, MD, one of the doctors featured in my just-released book New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment recommends taking 500 mg glutathione daily for a week before doing the test, and then doing a sauna 30 minute before the test, for best results. It’s also a good idea to see a doctor who specializes in both Lyme disease and mold.
Next, if you find out that you are mold toxic, it’s important to discover whether you are being currently exposed to mold, or whether you are sick from a prior exposure. You can test your home for mycotoxins (mold toxins) through Real Time Labs, or do an ERMI test. Alternatively, Raj Patel, MD, who is also featured in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, shares a strategy for testing for mold in your home via C4a testing. Mold is produced mostly via water leaks, which are not always obvious, which is why testing is so important. The absence of a musty smell or an obvious water leak does not preclude the possibility of mold being an issue in your home.
If you find that your home has mold via testing, in most cases, you will need to move. If you are certain that the mold is confined to a specific area, you may be able to have the area remediated. If you remediate, make sure to find a reputable company recommended by a mold-literate doctor or practitioner as improper remediation can make matters worse. Sadly, up to half of all homes in the United States have mold. Not everyone will be affected by it, but if you know that you are susceptible to mold, you may want to play it safe and live in newer construction in a drier state such as Arizona, Colorado or Nevada.
Several of the doctors that are featured in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment describe their comprehensive approach to mold treatment. For instance, Dr. Nathan contends that it’s necessary to not only bind mold toxins according to the type of toxin that’s in the body (whether ochratoxin, aflatoxin, tricothene, gliotoxin, and so on), but to also take medications and/or remedies to kill the mold in the body, particularly the sinuses and gut.
This is because when you get sick from mold, you need to kill off the “live” mold, as well as bind the toxins that they produce. According to Dr. Nathan, mold colonizes in the gut and sinuses because these areas provide a favorable, moist environment in which it can grow. Removing it from these places requires taking medications or strong herbal remedies to remove it from the gut, as well as sinus sprays to remove it from the sinuses.
Effective mold binders range from activated charcoal, to chlorella, bentonite clay and the medication cholestyramine. You can find more information about Dr. Nathan’s and Dr. Raj Patel’s mold treatment protocols in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment.
Treating mold toxicity is important, and most of the doctors that I’ve interviewed tell me that you can’t get better from Lyme disease until you treat mold. Mold, in fact, must be treated first in many cases—and Lyme disease, only after that. Symptoms of mold illness mimic those of Bartonella, a common Lyme co-infection, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor that understands both conditions. Fatigue, depression, anxiety, brain fog, respiratory problems, rashes and neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling, neuropathy, dizziness and gait problems—are just a few symptoms of mold. For more information on mold and mold symptoms, I highly recommend reading Ritchie Shoemaker, MDs page, SurvivingMold.com, and his books that are featured there.
Fortunately, I’m finding that more and more Lyme-literate doctors are becoming educated about mold, which is good news if you’re having trouble finding a doctor who understands both conditions. When seeking out a Lyme-literate doctor, it’s a good idea to ask about their experience in this area, as mold toxicity is complicated and must be treated by those who truly understand it. If your doctor wants to throw some cholestyramine at you, while neglecting to address the other aspects of treatment—run! A comprehensive approach is important, and must include treatment for mold and mycotoxins, as well as perhaps for inflammation and mast cell activation (more on mast cell activation in my next article), a condition whereby the body continually releases histamine, which causes inflammation, as a result of mold toxicity and other factors.
If you have treated yourself for Lyme for years and haven’t gotten better, consider that mold may be one reason why. The good news is, if you discover that you have it, you can get treatment for it, and as you do, you may just find yourself removing a major roadblock to healing and feeling better than you ever have before.
Note: This article was originally published on ProHealth.com on November 10, 2016. While this radio interview was recorded in November, 2016, you can still listen to it by clicking on the links below.
Neil Nathan, MD, who has been in practice for 44 years and treating complex, chronic degenerative diseases (including Lyme disease) for over 25 - is the host of The Cutting Edge of Health and Wellness Today, a radio show that features some of the leading voices in integrative medicine and which provides valuable insights and information on complex conditions like Lyme, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. After two and a half years of interviewing doctors, researchers and others involved in integrative medicine, Dr. Nathan will be hosting his last live program tomorrow, Friday, November 11, 2016 at 2 PM Pacific Time.
I will be featured as the last guest on Dr. Nathan’s program, and will be sharing about better solutions for Lyme disease, which are based on my just-released book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work. Among the topics that we’ll discuss are: how the book evolved, what's in it, how it will help others with Lyme, and why it's different from other resources on Lyme disease.
Dr. Nathan has a way of bringing out the most accurate cutting-edge information on a variety of health topics. His program has been a premier go-to site for consumers and medical practitioners wanting to obtain in-depth information on the most challenging chronic health conditions. Thus, I am honored to be able to share what I’ve learned about better answers for Lyme disease on his program.
While Dr. Nathan’s last interview will be tomorrow, you can still listen to the long list of interviews featured on the The Cutting Edge of Health and Wellness Today website. In addition to practicing medicine and hosting this show, Dr. Nathan has authored multiple books (including a chapter in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment) and plans to continue writing about how to treat complex chronic illnesses like Lyme and mold illness.
During past 2.5 years that Dr. Nathan has hosted this program, over 400,000 people worldwide have listened to his interviews with a variety of experts. I am thankful for his tremendous contributions to the field of medicine, and believe that his research and expertise have helped many to live better, healthier lives.
Note: This article was originally published on February 15, 2017: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29944
One of the greatest battles that I’ve faced throughout my journey with Lyme disease has been insomnia. It stole years from my life as I spent over half a decade in the throes of severe sleep deprivation, and another half decade with just enough rest to get by, but not really function.
If you’ve ever battled insomnia, you know how torturous it can be to endure sleep deprivation for months or years on end. Most people can handle a night or two—or even several weeks of sleeplessness without feeling crazy—but let’s face it, when you are really sick, it’s not uncommon to suffer from a lack of quality rest, sometimes for years.
In my quest to find healing from insomnia, I read all kinds of books on sleep, but was often frustrated by the answers that I found in these books, because they seemed mostly targeted to an audience that was otherwise healthy. Some of the advice was helpful, but was nowhere near enough for a mind that was battling neurological disease.
Let’s face it—when you have Lyme disease, a little valerian root, melatonin and/or a hot bath before bed often aren’t enough. And if you’re like me, you may have discovered that the effects of most sleep medications are temporary and often cause you to feel worse in the long run, even if at first they may be helpful.
As I’ve probably mentioned before in other articles, I took sleep medications for years while undergoing treatment for Lyme disease; everything from SSRI anti-depressants to benzodiazepenes; otherwise known as sedative drugs. These medications helped me to stay sane while I took potent anti-microbial drugs and herbal remedies, but the weaning off process was probably even more difficult than the symptoms that I faced from Lyme disease and caused me just as many biochemical problems as the original mess of Lyme disease.
I don’t want to discourage you if you truly need sleep medication, but I want you to know that taking any kind of sleep medication long term can create dependency and the possibility of difficult, protracted withdrawal symptoms once you decide to wean off of it.
I understand though that at times, you just do what you gotta do, but I also want you to know that often, there is a better way! And as part of my recovery, I discovered many better solutions for sleep besides medication, and which went beyond the typically prescribed natural remedies like melatonin and a hot bath.
Don’t get me wrong; melatonin, valerian root and a hot bath are all great for improving sleep, and at times, I have found them to be helpful adjuncts to my sleep regimen, but in my worst moments with Lyme disease, they were not enough. Chances are, if you have struggled with sleep for months or years, as I did, you know about all of the common sleep remedies that are out there, yet not found them to be sufficient for restoring your sleep.
With that said, I’d like to suggest some tools that helped me to restore my sleep-wake cycle to near normal and which you may or may not have tried. I describe these (and other solutions) in greater detail in an upcoming book on insomnia that I will be releasing in March, called Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath: Advanced Sleep Solutions for People with Neurological Disease and Chronic Insomnia and which is targeted to those with neurological illnesses. If you would like to be notified of when the E-book is out, click here. (Scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email in the box right below "Get News and Updates."
First, proper sleep hygiene is essential. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, make sure to get off of your computer, ipad, iphone and other glowing gadgets at least two hours before bedtime. The electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and light from these devices stimulate the pineal gland and nervous system.
Similarly, unplug all of the appliances in your bedroom, and/or better yet, turn off the circuit breakers at night. Electromagnetic pollution is a major cause of insomnia nowadays, unbeknownst to most people, and is one of those stealth toxins that nobody thinks is a problem for them until they get out of their high-EMF environment!
For years, I lived in a sea of electromagnetic pollution, and ultimately, I ended up having to move because it affected my sleep so much. When I finally found a home with lower electromagnetic fields, I began to sleep better. I also purchased some Graham-Stetzer filters, which mitigate electromagnetic pollution that gets transmitted through the wall wiring. I also purchased a sleep canopy, which is a metallic-lined mesh net that drapes over the bed and filters out high frequency EMFs that come from sources such as microwave towers, cell phones and Wi-Fi routers. To learn more about EMF-shielding products, see: www.LessEMF.com.
In addition, some outside-the-box tools that I have found to be incredibly helpful for restoring my sleep-wake cycle over the years include:
· Neurofeedback and Light-Sound Devices. These are devices that modulate and ramp down your brain waves at bedtime. They range from the moderately effective and inexpensive to the highly effective but more expensive.
Lee Cowden, MD, recommends light-sound devices from ToolsforWellness.com. The device slowly ramps down your brain waves until you get into a delta wave pattern, which is conducive to sleep. Light-sound devices are less expensive than neurofeedback devices, which modulate your brain waves based on input from your brain.
Neurofeedback devices also modulate brain wave patterns, but rather than simply lowering your brain waves, they input frequencies to your brain that are based on feedback from your brain.
I have used both types of devices, and found neurofeedback to be more effective for severe insomnia, but light-sound machines adequate for moderate insomnia. In fact, the neurointegrator device from Clear Mind helped me to wean off of years of sleep medication use. For more information, see: www.ClearMindCenter.com.
(note: I receive no compensation from any company for sharing the tools mentioned here). Neurofeedback devices can be quite pricey though, so you may want to try a sound-light machine first if finances are a factor for you.
· Cannabis. I have also found low-THC cannabis to be incredibly beneficial for sleep. Not all states have legalized marijuana for medical use, but increasingly, more states are allowing it. The Indica strains of cannabis in particular, are very calming to the nervous system, and studies show that cannabis provides a multitude of benefits to the body, including nervous system regeneration.
You don’t have to get “high” to enjoy the benefits of cannabis for sleep. Many products on the market contain very little THC (this is the compound in cannabis that has psychotropic effects upon the mind) and are very relaxing and healing to the nervous system.
THC has its own health benefits, but it’s not for everyone and you don’t really need it for sleep, since it’s the compounds called cannabinoids in the plant that induce relaxation and rest. What’s more, long-term studies on cannabis show that it is safe for most people.
There has been a negative stigma surrounding cannabis for years, and while it can be abused like all medicines, the controversy is somewhat unwarranted as it is safer and has fewer side effects than most over-the -counter drugs like Advil PM and Benadryl (both of which have been shown in studies to cause Alzheimer’s dementia with prolonged use!).
On that note, Mary’s Medicinals makes some wonderful products for sleep; I have found both CBD and CBN capsules to work for this purpose. Both contain 5 mg of cannabinoids per capsule and just a tiny amount of THC. For more information, see: www.MarysMedicinals.com.
Cannabis is also available in many other forms, but I find that the capsules are the easiest way to take it for a peaceful night’s rest. You can experiment with different forms to find one that works for you.
· Histamine-Modulating Substances. Excessive levels of histamine and inflammation can be major causes of insomnia, especially in people with neurological diseases like Lyme, as well as in other health conditions. Histamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in your body’s immune response and is produced when you have an allergic response to something. People with mold illness and Lyme disease often get overloaded with histamine as their bodies get stuck in a perpetual inflammatory, or allergy response. High histamine levels and inflammation in turn, cause sleep disturbances.
If you don’t believe me, consider the medication Benadryl, which is often recommended by doctors as an over the counter sleep aid to block and/or shut down the effects of histamine!
Histamine release is also implicated in mast cell activation disorder (often abbreviated MCAD), a condition in which the body overproduces mast cells, and which is common in those with Lyme disease and mold illness. Mast cells release histamine and cytokines, or chemicals that cause widespread inflammation throughout the body.
Proper treatment for MCAD can shut down a variety of symptoms caused by inflammation, including, you guessed it—insomnia. Even if the only symptom that you have is insomnia, consider that excessive levels of histamine might be keeping you awake at night!
The anti-histamine medication ketotifen, in addition to quercetin and diamine oxidase, were helpful for treating my MCAD and enabling me to get deeper, more restorative sleep. You may find that these or other natural supplements or medications will help to lower your histamine levels and better enable you to sleep.
What’s great about the medication ketotifen is that it is profoundly effective and, unlike other commonly known antihistamines like Benadryl, it isn’t anticholinergic; that is, it doesn’t block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and peripheral nervous system. Some antihistamines do this, and it is why drugs like Benadryl have been associated with Alzheimer’s and memory loss, since acetylcholine plays a vital role in memory and cognition.
Quercetin, which may be one of the better-known natural remedies for treating MCAD, is described in Lawrence Afrin, MDs book, Never Bet Against Occam. In it, Dr. Afrin says, “It (quercetin) seems to result in reduced production of inflammatory mediators (e.g., leukotrienes and histamine). It may also serve as an inhibitor of tyrosine kinases and other regulatory proteins of interest in activated mast cells.”
Other nutrients that have anti-histaminic properties include: vitamin C, magnesium glycinate, curcumin, Siberian ginseng and holy basil, all of which are believed to help the body to metabolize histamine.
Curcumin, which has been well studied for its anti-inflammatory effects, may be one of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory substances there is, and studies show that it decreases histamine, in addition to a variety of other inflammatory mediators such as cytokines.
I describe some additional solutions for restoring sleep in an article that I published in October 2015 entitled: “Five Super Strategies for Restoring Sleep in Lyme Disease.” You can read more about those here:
· Balancing the hormones
· Replenishing and restoring healthy neurotransmitter levels with amino acids like GABA, 5-HTP, L-theanine and L-taurine
· Lowering inflammation and high glutamate levels with natural remedies like curcumin, alpha-ketoglutaric acid (which lowers glutamate) and an anti-inflammatory diet
· Having a protein snack before bedtime (especially if you are prone to hypoglycemia).
The above-referenced article is only a starting point for learning about how each of these factors affects sleep, but I encourage you to share about them with your doctor and/or other holistic health care practitioner if you struggle with insomnia. I also describe each one of these in much greater depth in my upcoming book.
These are just a few of the most important tools that I used on my journey back to restful sleep. You may find that using just one of these tools is sufficient for you, or, if you are like me, and your insomnia has been caused by multiple factors, including damage from long-term sleep medication use and neurological illness, you may need to do more than just one thing to heal and re-set your sleep patterns.
For instance, I found that I needed to “stack” remedies, one on top of the other, over a long period of time. I didn’t do 10 things at once, and my body didn’t snap back into getting a solid 7 or 8 hours of rest overnight. My brain had been badly damaged by Lyme and other factors, and it was a long trial-and-error process for me to find things that worked. But, each tool that I used brought me one step closer to the finish line, and I believe that if I can do it, you can, too.
My sleep is not perfect to this day, but if I do everything right (and except for when I travel), I can get a solid 7-8 hours of rest most nights, whereas I used to sleep 3-6 hours for years on end. (And I’m not one of those people who functions well on six hours of rest, never mind three!).
Finally, our sleep is profoundly affected by our emotions and any past history of trauma, so if you suspect that worry, fear, anger and/or trauma are keeping you up at night, I encourage you to find ways to heal or manage those emotions so that they don’t disrupt your sleep. I share some tools for dealing with worry and fear in my upcoming book Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath, and will also share them in an upcoming article on ProHealth in the weeks to come.
In the meantime, be encouraged—there are tools out there that can help you to recover from insomnia! There were many times throughout my healing journey when I thought that I would never get my sleep back, and although the process was long and arduous, I finally did. And if I did, then I believe that chances are, you can, too.
If you're like me, you know how chronic insomnia resulting from a neurological illness can wreck your life. For many years, I was exhausted, irritable, brain fogged and miserable due to a lack of sleep from Lyme disease, sleep medication withdrawal, pain and other factors. Insomnia affected my relationships, seriously compromised my ability to function, and led me into a pit of hopelessness - and at times, I believed there was no way out. Fortunately, after many years of trial and error and trying out many treatments, I discovered a handful of new tools that eventually restored my sleep, and I'm excited to now be able to share those with you in my latest book, Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath: Advanced Sleep Solutions for People with Chronic Insomnia.
If you have tried every sleep remedy or medication out there, only to feel frustrated because nothing works - be encouraged—there ARE better answers. The tools that I share in my new book go beyond what you might find in other sleep books, because they are tailored to those of you who, like me, have battled severe health challenges like neurological Lyme disease, or sleep medication addiction. If you haven’t found help through the treatments that have been made available to you, chances are, you will find new hope and help in Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath: Advanced Sleep Solutions for People with Chronic Insomnia. Short but succinct and power-packed with solutions, you will find tools here that will help you to heal from chronic insomnia, no matter the cause. These range from free, do-it-yourself at-home treatments, to more sophisticated brain modulation devices and novel sleep remedies. To learn more, click on the "Recent Books" section of this site.
Note: This article was originally published on ProHealth.com on January 19, 2017: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29865
People often ask me what's the most effective antimicrobial treatment for chronic Lyme disease and co-infections. While antibiotics and anti-parasitic medications have typically been considered the treatments of choice by most Lyme-literate doctors - especially those on the East coast - I've observed that in recent years, more doctors and patients have been turning to alternatives to manage Lyme disease, as antibiotics don’t always help everyone to recover.
Granted, antibiotics are important and necessary for some people, perhaps especially those with very aggressive and/or severe cases of neurological Lyme disease. Indeed, Lyme-literate naturopath Wayne Anderson, ND, has found that only 20% of his patients- those with severe neurological Lyme disease (such as those featured in the documentary Under Our Skin) absolutely require antibiotics. Other doctors may prescribe them as part of a protocol that includes other antimicrobials, or only during certain intervals throughout the treatment process.
Some Lyme-literate doctors have also shared with me that they don’t believe that it matters as much what treatments you use to attack the infections as much as what else you are doing to support and heal the body. The theory behind this is that if you support the body and immune system enough, then the body can overcome the infections, no matter what antimicrobials you use to remove the infections.
My experience with Lyme disease and that of others that I know with Lyme, is that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment for everyone, and that it is vitally important to support the healing of the entire body—not just focus on infectious treatment.
Some of the more effective, and popular treatments for Lyme include, in addition to antibiotics:
· Intravenous ozone therapy
· Colloidal silver
· Botanical remedies, such as andrographis and cat’s claw, and the Beyond Balance, NutraMedix, David Jernigan, Byron White and Buhner remedies.
· Essential oils
· Hyperbaric oxygen
Other therapies that have some anecdotal evidence for effectiveness (but which are not often used among Lyme-literate doctors) include:
· Miracle Mineral Supplement (chlorine dioxide)
· Rife machine therapy
· High dose sea salt/Vitamin C
I’ve observed though, that the most savvy and experienced Lyme-literate practitioners won’t just focus on using just one type of treatment on their patients. Rather, most will stack or layer multiple modalities of treatment- one on top of the other, and over time, as their patients tolerate increasingly greater amounts or dosages of treatment.
One mistake that some medical practitioners and patients have made when treating Lyme disease is to give their patients too much treatment, too soon, or just one type of treatment, during their patient’s recovery process. But, as several Lyme-literate practitioners such as David Jernigan, DC, Neil Nathan, MD and Wayne Anderson, ND shared with me in their interviews for my 2016 book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work, too much treatment will cause patients to have strong Herxheimer, or microbial die-off reactions—which is not a good thing. Similarly, just doing one type of treatment is ineffective.
A Herxheimer reaction basically means that the body is toxic, and that the toxins generated by the microbes during the detox or die-off reaction are being circulated back into the body, rather than shuttled out. Basically, the organs of elimination are being overloaded.
Those practitioners who understand this treat their patients based on whether their patients improve over time with a treatment, rather than whether they have a severe reaction to the treatment. At the same time, they understand the importance of giving multiple treatments to their patients; say, antibiotics in combination with some herbal remedies and/or ozone, but not all at once, but rather, in a layered fashion over time.
Those who believe in a stronger approach to treatment will argue that microbes quickly develop resistance to antimicrobial remedies and therefore, high dosages of multiple medications at the outset are important. In other words, you really have to “whack the bugs” and catch them off guard. Yet those who advocate lower, slower dosages of treatment and the “stacking” of remedies, have found that an effective treatment approach is based more upon giving the patient a wide variety of remedies and rotating those over time. This is so that the patient can remain strong and functional, and so that the microbes don’t have an opportunity to become resistant to just one type of treatment.
Herxheimer reactions can yet occur with this kind of approach, but if the treatments are done properly, detoxification reactions can be minimized and managed, so that the patient’s energy can instead be focused on removing microbes rather than trying to remove a backup of biotoxins. For instance, for my current mold treatment regimen (mold is a common Lyme co-condition), my doctor started off by prescribing me just one capsule daily of a probiotic called saccromyces boulardii. And I’ll admit, I was tempted to want to take more than he prescribed, just because I wanted my treatment to be “over and done with” and because I thought I was strong enough to handle it. But then I recalled that in the past, the heavy-hitting, get-it-over-with fast treatment approaches that my doctors would often give me had never really worked, and in fact, made me feel worse—for months at a time!
So I decided to stick with my doctor’s suggestion to take just one teeny-weeny capsule of the probiotic, and in so doing, I avoided feeling horrible during the first weeks of my treatment. To the probiotic treatment, my doctor then added in one capsule of bentonite clay daily, to bind the mold toxins in my body. Over a period of weeks, he then gradually increased the dosage to three capsules daily. About two months into my regimen, he started me on three nasal sprays to clear up the mold in my sinuses, and break up any biofilms and staph infections there. I was instructed to take these sprays for 4-6 weeks before starting on mold treatment for my gut, which consisted of, at first, nothing more than a teaspoon of colloidal silver, but to which my doctor added over time, Sporonox and then Nystatin. The entire build-up process took four months.
While I have experienced some detoxification symptoms as a result of my treatments, they have not been severe and they have not incapacitated me as my former Lyme disease treatment regimens, which at times nearly sent me to the ER. I think this is how Lyme disease (and mold) treatment should be.
Besides that, imagine the immense amount of suffering that people with Lyme disease go through when they have to endure Herx reactions for weeks, or months, on end! It can destroy people's morale and desire to get well, and cause them to lose hope as they wonder if they will ever feel better. Doctors and patients need to seriously consider this when taking into account the type of regimen that their patients need to be on.
In the end, through my many years of research and experience with this disease, I have come to believe that a combined regimen that includes multiple types of treatment is best—and the greater the variety, the better, but not all at once, and not in dosages that make patients bedridden or send them to the hospital. Indeed, many Lyme-literate doctors have found a gentler approach to be a more effective approach for their patients, too.
Note: This article was originally published on ProHealth.com on January 16, 2017: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29861
Reprinted from New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment with the kind permission of Connie Strasheim and Wayne Anderson ND. To learn more about the book and read more of Dr. Anderson's chapter, see: www.NewLymeTreatments.com.
I’ve learned through experience that each Lyme disease pathogen causes a specific set of symptoms in the body, and that I can readily identify infections in my patients by analyzing their symptoms. In the following sections, I describe typical symptom patterns of six of the most common Lyme-related infections. I encourage doctors to refer to this section when trying to identify which infections are dominant in their patients.
These symptom patterns should only be used as a guideline for diagnosis since no two people are exactly the same, and symptoms will vary from person to person. Neurotoxins from these infections all cause inflammation in the brain and nervous system and cause similar symptoms and compromise the body’s function in a similar way. Yet, each microbe often will manifest its own unique traits or personality.
Understanding the different symptom patterns that the microbes cause is especially important since lab tests for Lyme disease aren’t adequate (although they have improved greatly in recent years). Diagnosis also can be complicated by the fact that people’s immune systems respond differently to infection, according to their life stressors and metabolic strengths and weaknesses. Doctors should look for patterns in their patients and always appreciate that treating people with Lyme disease is about shades of gray, because the infections create symptom pictures that are never black and white.
Babesia or Babesia-like Organism (BABLO) Symptom Patterns
Babesia, or Babesia-like organisms (BABLO) primarily affect the brain and autonomic nervous system. The first words that a patient with active Babesia-like organisms in his body might say are that he can’t focus or think. His cognitive function is significantly compromised, and his mood is almost always affected. Both depression and anxiety are very common. A person with Babesia has a lot of emotional upheaval; fear is a dominant symptom.
Babesia also can affect the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for much of the “automatic” functions of the body, such as heartbeat, breathing, etc. This means that the communication between the brain and body is affected, so any physical symptoms that patients have from Babesia can be related more to autonomic nervous system dysfunction rather than the organisms themselves. For instance, Babesia can cause postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS); a racing heart at rest and/or an irregular heartbeat and heavy pounding heart at night, but the problem isn’t in the heart. The problem is that the autonomic nervous system isn’t functioning properly.
Shortness of breath is also common, because people with Babesia don’t regulate their oxygen-saturation flow properly due to problems in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Such people feel a sense of “air hunger” because the ANS isn’t dilating their bronchial tubes or opening their diaphragm properly, because these parts of their body are not getting the signal to do so from the command center in brain.
Additional symptoms of Babesia include lots of drenching sweats and chills. Babesia is a relative of the malarial organism and is part protozoan and part bacteria. So as with malaria, people can get terrible chills and lots of sweats and basically feel like they are going crazy. People with Babesia are often quite chilled and can’t get warm and will have to take a hot shower or jump in a bathtub to warm up. The temperature de-regulation is again related to a dysfunctional autonomic nervous system. So, people either can’t get warm, or they get too hot. They turn down the thermostat at night because they are too hot, but then they get too cold while in bed and so turn it back up by a degree. They freeze when going to bed and throw the covers on; then, in the middle of the night, they get boiling hot and throw the covers off and drench their bedclothes in sweat.
Insomnia is common as Babesia affects the sleep center in the brain. Other symptoms include blurred vision, bowel-motility issues and bladder difficulties. People with Babesia will either have trouble starting their urinary stream or will go through episodes of incontinence. They may also have problems with bowel motility; usually constipation, but can also sometimes have diarrhea due to autonomic nervous system de-regulation. A dominant Babesia infection also can affect certain areas of the wrists, hands, ankles and feet. These areas can be painful, numb or experience temperature extremes.
Babesia does not generally cause pain in the body, so if a person has pain, then it’s usually due to another problem. The picture is always complicated though because people with Babesia who have a compromised detoxification system will have pain in their body as a result of poor waste removal. But, the pain is not from the infection itself.
These are what I call clearly identifiable Babesia symptoms in those patients who have an immune system that is not terribly depleted or who don’t have a compromised detoxification system or other conditions or infections that are currently active and which could complicate the symptom picture. The same holds true for the symptom patterns of all of the other infections described here.
Bartonella or Bartonella-like Organism (BLO) Symptom Patterns
Many people have Bartonella or Bartonella-like (BLO) infections in their bodies. They are perhaps the most abundant infections in people because many veterinarians say that 80 percent of all house cats and nearly 100 percent of all hunting cats carry Bartonella microbes. Fleas bite cats and infect them with the Bartonella-like organisms, which are then transmitted to humans when they get bitten by the flea. Bartonella and BLO infections are therefore probably the most common of the vector-borne Lyme disease co-infections.
People who have active Bartonella symptoms have much more pain than people who are manifesting predominantly Babesia-related symptoms. The first thing out of their mouths is usually, “You have to help me with my pain.” They have pain in their joints and the connective tissue around their joints. This joint pain will migrate to other areas of the body. So for instance, patients with active Bartonella might have knee pain, but just when they are about to go to the doctor for the pain, the pain will migrate to the left elbow. The hallmark symptom of Bartonella is sensitivity and tenderness on the bottom of the feet, especially the soles.
Generalized pain in the body, or pain that is sharp and severe, is often related to Bartonella. Bartonella can also cause headaches and ice pick-like pain.
Both Babesia and Bartonella cause headaches, but Bartonella headaches are worse. A Babesia headache produces more weird sensations in the head and pressure in the head. People with active Babesia infections will say, “I don’t know if I’d really call what I have a headache. It’s more like a pressure in the head.” Babesia can cause migraines as can Bartonella, but Babesia migraines are generally less severe. Bartonella prefers the occipital areas of the head; the back of the head and neck are generally painful. So pain is a dominant characteristic of Bartonella.
All of these slow-growing intracellular infections affect the brain but create different symptom patterns, according to which infection is dominant or most active. I see more depression in people with active Babesia but less variability of mood, whereas people with active Bartonella may be irritable and anxious but then “flip over” into depression. Many people with Bartonella infections are misdiagnosed as having bi-polar disorder due to their fluctuating moods; they can easily go from being angry and irritable to being depressed.
Bartonella-like organisms can also stay on the surface of the organs and tissues and cause a wide array of symptoms. One such symptom is gastritis. In fact, most cases of gastritis that aren’t caused by Helicobacter pylori infections are often caused by Bartonella, which is the second-most common cause of this condition. It can irritate the stomach so that people lose their appetite and/or get heartburn.
Bartonella can cause a low-level, relapsing sore throat. People with active infections will periodically awaken with sore throats and wonder if they are coming down with a cold, but then the sore throat will go away.
Bartonella irritates the bladder and can cause frequent urination, interstitial cystitis, or other chronic inflammatory conditions of the urinary system.
Bartonella can also cause fevers, but for patients to be able to run a fever, they need to have a relatively functional immune system, so not everyone who has a Bartonella infection will get a fever. Yet people will often feel hot, as if they have a fever, but their body temperature may be low normal.
Bartonella can affect the eyes and cause conjunctivitis, or inflammation of the outermost layer of the eye, which results in irritated, dry red eyes, as well as other eye problems.
Bartonella cause more skin-related problems than the other infections. Red bands or stretch marks on the skin called striae are common, as are acne and other skin problems.
Bartonella lives in the liver and spleen where it inflames these organs and compromises their functioning. When the liver and spleen are inflamed, the filtering capacity of the blood is affected, resulting in thick blood. People with Bartonella may have slightly elevated liver enzymes on lab tests. For instance, the alanine aminotransferase (ALT) test score may be just outside of the normal range and high only intermittently. The inflammation that Bartonella causes in the liver and spleen can compromise the body’s detoxification system in a major way, though. When the spleen is compromised, the lymph glands may also become swollen, which then causes the lymph flow to become thick, sludgy and slow.
Borrelia Symptom Patterns
Borrelia symptom patterns are a bit harder to define because this organism isn’t as aggressive as the others. The distinguishing symptom that it causes is fatigue; people who have active Borrelia symptoms tend to have more fatigue than those whose predominant symptoms are due to Bartonella or Babesia. People with active Babesia and Bartonella are much more restless than those with active Borrelia infections. All of the infections cause exhaustion; that is ubiquitous within the entire family of neurotoxin infections, but Babesia and Bartonella cause more restlessness, whereas people who are primarily manifesting Borrelia symptoms are often more tired. Feeling “wired and tired” is common with all the neurotoxin diseases, so I am really just focusing on the shades of gray here.
Borrelia causes pain, but the pain is much more diffuse and spread throughout the body. It also can be muscle-related and fibromyalgia-like, rather than primarily in the joints, as with Bartonella. However, doctors and patients need to keep an open mind when it comes to diagnosis and not over- generalize about symptom patterns. For instance, there is a subset of Borrelia patients who have arthritic-like symptoms and lots of inflammation in their joints, although I see this maybe less than 10 percent of the time.
The symptoms of Borrelia can be a mixture of a little of what’s found in all of the other Lyme-related infections. Borrelia affects the nervous system, but it’s a bit more “ghost-like” in the symptoms that it causes, so it’s not as defined or specific. If patients have been adequately treated for Babesia and Bartonella infections and have only 20 percent of their symptoms remaining, such as a bit of fatigue, achiness and brain fog, I might suspect that they still have some Borrelia microbes that need to be addressed.
Lyme microbes are smart and are looking for hiding places in the body; they want to be invisible and disguise themselves from the immune system. This means that they don’t stay in the blood for long and quickly go to areas of poor circulation, to avoid being attacked by the immune system. Their goal is to lull the intracellular environment into complacency. For instance, Borrelia is able to change its form and alternate between the spirochete, cell-wall deficient and cyst forms as a way of confusing and hiding from the immune system.
Mycoplasma Symptom Patterns
Mycoplasma is an interesting organism that is also found in nearly everyone with Lyme disease. It’s very small, like a virus, and some researchers believe that it is really a cross between a virus and bacteria. It can accumulate on the endothelial lining (which is comprised of cells that line the blood and lymphatic vessels) and cause inflammation and pain.
This means that people with dominant Mycoplasma infections can get migraine headaches because the infections irritate the vascular system in the brain. Or, people might have inflammatory gut or lung issues because the microbes are active on the endothelial lining of the gut and lungs. They can also be prominent in the bladder. Interstitial cystitis, or bladder inflammation, is caused more often by Mycoplasma, but can also be caused by Bartonella.
Mycoplasma can cause a minor cough when it is in the lungs; not the more extreme cough that’s caused by a cold or flu, but the kind of cough that occurs whenever a person takes a deep breath or laughs. People with Mycoplasma feel a little winded and may have mild inflammation in their chest. Mycoplasma can irritate the throat and cause a low-level sore throat. It also goes deep into the body and can affect the joints, connective tissue and cartilage. A rare and aggressive form of Mycoplasma can cause symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and result in severe joint swelling and deformity.
Some German researchers believe that Mycoplasma exists in everyone in a benign form, and that it’s one of trillions of bacteria that colonize the body. However, when the immune system becomes compromised, and the body’s “compost heap” gets too full, then the Mycoplasma mutates into a pathogenic form and harms the body. So instead of living in harmony with us, it begins to inflame us and feed on us. I mentioned that Borrelia causes fatigue, but Mycoplasma is the most fatigue-causing Lyme disease-related pathogen there is.
I have found that if I have already treated my patients for all of the dominant Lyme disease co-infections, and they are even more tired than before, and their joints are all of a sudden stiff and achy, then this means that they may have a dominant Mycoplasma infection that is currently causing their symptoms.
As I mentioned earlier, the immune system prioritizes and focuses on the microbe that it currently perceives to be most dangerous to the body. This means that it will often bring out Mycoplasma-like symptoms after some of the other infections, since Mycoplasma does not inflame the brain and nervous system as much as the other infections. The immune system will always protect the brain at all costs, and simplistically speaking, it does not perceive Mycoplasma to be as dangerous as some of the other co-infections; therefore, it is usually a deeper layer of infection that the immune system focuses on later in the treatment process.
Since it inflames the brain less than the other infections, people with active Mycoplasma also don’t have as many cognitive problems as people with active Babesia or Bartonella or as much mood instability. Mycoplasma likes to live in the fascia layer of the skin, which is directly beneath the top layer of the skin. So people with Mycoplasma might have a crawling feeling under their skin or their skin might feel sensitive to the touch. In addition, they might have a variety of unusual rashes. Because patients with active Mycoplasma have sensitive skin, they may not like to be massaged.
Mold Symptom Patterns
Mold illness is a common co-condition in people with Lyme disease, but the medical community has generally underappreciated its effects upon the brain and immune system. Mold affects the body in the same way as the bacterial infections that I have so far described, in that its toxins stick to the surface of the cells and are absorbed into the cells, where they cause inflammation and cellular dysfunction.
The organs and systems that are most affected by mold are the self-regulating systems of the brain and nervous system, as well as the endocrine, gastrointestinal and immune systems. Lyme and mold affect the immune system in the same way, and when one of these conditions is present in the body, the body becomes more susceptible to the other. In addition, 23 percent of all people have a genetic susceptibility to mold illness that can be determined by doing certain lab tests (more on this later).
People who have been exposed to mold will be affected by the mold in a couple of different ways. Some lucky people, whenever they are exposed to a moldy environment, will have an immediate immune reaction; they will feel dizzy and spacey and quickly learn that they need to get out of the moldy environment. A second group of people will be less aware that they have been exposed to mold, and the spores that they inhale will stick to the mucus membranes in their sinuses, lungs and gut and colonize there. If this latter group has a genetic susceptibility to mold, they will have a greater chance of getting symptoms from mold exposure.
Mold and biotoxin expert Ritchie Shoemaker, MD, has established a set of criteria that doctors can use to determine their patients’ susceptibility to mold illness. One of these involves evaluating a certain HLA DRB gene pattern, the testing for which is done by Lab Corp.
(Editor’s Note: For more information on this and the other criteria used to establish a mold diagnosis, see: Survivingmold.com as well as some of the other chapters in this book, which describe mold and mold treatment in greater depth). Mold toxicity is important for people with Lyme and their doctors to understand because it can cause serious illness and compromise recovery from Lyme.
A healthy immune system and body that are not genetically susceptible to mold are designed to “zap” the mold upon its entry into the body so that it cannot colonize there, but in certain immune-compromised people, it is able to colonize. Once this happens, it’s very hard to dislodge. Once it’s in the body, it produces toxins, called mycotoxins, which inflame the body.
Over time, the mold takes over increasingly greater areas of mucous membrane in the body and always ends up finding its way to the bowel. The bowel is dark, moist and nutrient-rich, making it a hospitable place for mold to grow. And the more compromised and damaged the good bacterial community (microbiome) on the endothelial lining of the bowel is from Lyme and other factors, the easier it will be for the mold to expand its territory there.
Anytime the mucus membranes of the body are inflamed – whether in the nose and sinuses, gut, lung, bladder lining, skin, or the vagina – mold colonization should be suspected. The person who is unlucky enough to have high mold toxin levels will have symptoms that can be difficult to differentiate from those of Lyme disease. Like Lyme toxins, mold toxins stick to the cell membranes and then ooze into the cells, where they accumulate and add to the body’s cellular compost heap.
Mold organisms cannot live just anywhere in the body though; they are confined to the mucous membrane surfaces, and it is their waste products, or the mycotoxins, that enter the bloodstream and cause systemic symptoms. Consequently, the symptoms of mold toxicity are not as dynamic and variable as the symptoms caused by the adaptive Lyme microbes. Instead, they are more dull and flat. So if patients have seesaw symptoms; meaning, they get better for a while, then get worse, or have two or three good days, followed by three weeks of feeling terrible, then their symptoms are less likely to be mold-related.
In people who are predominantly battling mold toxicity, every day is the same; they struggle to get through the day and have low energy and a mild amount of brain fog. This pattern is fairly consistent. Mold also affects the brain and nervous system, so people with mold illness will have specific neurological symptoms. Neuropathies (damage or problems with the nerves) are common. Symptoms may include numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. Mold toxicity also causes a lot of depression, so when people have a Herxheimer reaction from mold detox (removing cellular mold with toxin binders and other therapies), depression may intensify along with other mold symptoms.
Mold symptom patterns can vary and are always worse during wet or humid seasons when mold thrives. Remember, the effects of neurotoxins are additive and cumulative. So, when brain fog or another mold symptom is added to the brain fog caused by Babesia, Bartonella, heavy metals, petrochemicals or Borrelia, the effects of each organism or toxin may compound those of the others. So, people with significant brain fog probably have more than one factor or infection causing that symptom.
Rickettsia Symptom Patterns
Rickettsia is another class of common Lyme disease co-infection that has been largely underestimated or unappreciated by the medical community and which I still have not understood fully myself. Ehrlichia is a type of Rickettsia infection that most Lyme doctors are familiar with, but most of us are not familiar with the hundreds of other types of Rickettsia that can cause disease. We got lucky with Ehrlichia since there are just two species of this organism that we know of, and there is a lab test that can identify both of them.
Yet, there are many other families or species of Rickettsia that are quite harmful and for which tests do not exist. The one that we know about is Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). The infectious disease community believes that RMSF is limited to specific regions of the United States. Lyme-literate doctors didn’t worry much about it initially. However, more recent evidence has shown that there are probably over 1,000 Rickettsia species, and that Rickettsia infections are more common and less regional than we had previously believed.
Rickettsial organisms are simpler than the dynamically changing Borrelia. They don’t seem to have multiple growth stages or as many forms as Borrelia; there are no cell-wall deficient forms, for instance. Therefore, they may be easier to treat, but we Lyme disease practitioners need to have a higher index of suspicion about their presence before we can learn how to adequately treat them all.
I’m still honing in on the specific symptoms that Rickettsia causes and distinguishing those from the symptoms of the other infections. I have some preliminary impressions about them, though. For instance, I’ve observed that people with Rickettsia can have a variety of skin and scalp rashes, the hallmark symptom being a rash on the palms and soles.
Rickettsia also causes stagnant, thick blood and congested circulation, which causes the blood vessels to become inflamed and results in blotchy and mottled skin. There can be an overall congested feeling in the body. Edema is common: people who have puffiness in their ankles or puffy faces and/or eyes when they awaken may have congested circulation due to Rickettsia.
Rickettsia commonly causes headaches. Cognitive problems, such as trouble focusing and concentrating, are generally not as common in people with active Rickettsia as in patients who are manifesting other Lyme co-infections such as Babesia and Bartonella. All of these infections can cause a bit of forgetfulness, but a person with Rickettsia will not think they have Alzheimer’s like a person with Babesia and won’t tend to get lost while driving home.
Rickettsia causes injected (red) blood vessels on the surface of the eye, unlike Bartonella, which causes a uniform redness. Some people have difficulty focusing their eyes and a blurriness described as “feeling like they are under water.”
However, the most prominent symptom of Rickettsia is musculoskeletal problems. People with these infections have lots of numbness, tingling and joint pain in addition to achy muscles. Therefore, when patients’ symptoms are vascular, musculoskeletal and less brain-related, then their doctors should suspect that they have a Rickettsia-like symptom presentation.
In Rickettsia, the lymphatic system is also more congested, as evidenced by areas of puffiness in the skin. This is because when the blood is “mucked up,” the lymphatic system will try to clean it. So, picture for a moment, that the lymph is like a drainage ditch on the side of the road and that the blood is the road. If you get a hard rain, the road will drain water into the drainage ditch. Similarly, the body will dump any “gunk” from the bloodstream that is not being adequately filtered by the liver into the lymph system to try to keep the blood as clean as possible.
Note: This article originally appeared on ProHealth.com: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29567
Magnesium is the second-most abundant element in human cells. It helps to regulate the activity of over 300 enzymes in the body, and is involved in a wide variety of bodily functions, including food metabolism, fatty acid and protein synthesis; muscle control, electrical impulses, energy production and toxin elimination.
Many people with Lyme disease are deficient in magnesium, due to the metabolic effects of the microbes upon the body. Some researchers also believe that microbes use magnesium for their survival. Stress also depletes magnesium, and in chronic Lyme disease the body is obviously under a lot of stress.
In my just-released book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, David Jernigan, DC, describes the benefits of magnesium for those with Lyme disease. Among these, he contends that it may support heart and circulatory health, which in turn reduces irregular heartbeats, blood clots and hardening of the arteries. It also regulates blood pressure and may improve nerve function by regulating electrolytes and maintaining proper calcium levels in the blood.
In addition, magnesium is a powerful stress reliever. The body uses magnesium to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, which is a mood-enhancing chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of wellbeing.
For these reasons and others, many Lyme-literate doctors recommend that their patients take a magnesium supplement. Not all supplements are bioavailable and readily uptaken and assimilated by the body though. Most Lyme doctors that I know recommend magnesium malate or magnesium citrate, which are among the forms that are the most well-absorbed and utilized by the body. Recommended dosages vary, but many practitioners recommend taking magnesium to bowel tolerance, which could be up as high as 800-1,200 mg daily- or even higher- in two divided doses daily.
Common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include: muscle cramps, twitches, muscle pain, irregular heartbeat and anxiety. In cases of severe magnesium deficiency, intravenous magnesium or magnesium shots may be necessary. Sometimes, people with Lyme disease have difficulty raising their magnesium levels to normal just by taking oral supplements, in which case transdermal magnesium sprays may be more beneficial.
Magnesium may be one of the most important nutritional supplements needed by those with chronic Lyme disease. Of course, it all depends upon the person but in general, most people that I know and most doctors that I’ve interviewed believe that it is one of the most crucial minerals that is lacking in people with chronic Lyme. To find a dosage and product that is right for you, I recommend consulting with a Lyme literate doctor.
Note: This post originally appeared on ProHealth.com: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29931
Reprinted from New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work, with the kind permission of Friedrich R. Douwes, MD and Connie Strasheim. To learn more about the book and to read more about Dr. Douwes’ treatment approach, see: www.NewLymeTreatments.com.
It was entirely by coincidence that I began treating Lyme disease patients and ended up discovering a groundbreaking new treatment for Lyme. It started in 2000, when two cancer patients who also had Lyme disease came to my clinic. One was from Boston, and the other was from Canada. The Canadian woman had advanced breast cancer with metastases to her lungs, liver and bones. When I took a history on these women, both told me that they actually suffered more from symptoms of Lyme than from symptoms of cancer! Their symptoms were typical of cancer, but because I had not worked with Lyme disease patients before, I did not know that some of their symptoms could also be due to Lyme disease.
I gave them whole-body hyperthermia treatments for their cancers. Hyperthermia in its various forms is a very effective and well-researched cancer treatment. Cancer cells die in the presence of high heat, so many doctors worldwide use hyperthermia on their cancer patients.
There are different types of hyperthermia, including whole-body hyperthermia, which is what we give both our Lyme and cancer patients. For this, the patient lies down inside of a special thermal chamber similar to a large incubator. It heats the body’s tissues to 41.6° Celsius (or 107° Fahrenheit). It takes two hours to raise the body to this temperature. Once there, the body is maintained at this temperature for two hours. After the treatment, it takes two more hours for the body to cool down, which means that the patient’s temperature is elevated for a total of six hours.
Once the body has reached the maximum temperature, we administer chemotherapy (for our cancer patients). Chemotherapy is activated and potentiated by heat, so hyperthermia makes it more effective. We have had such great success with this kind of treatment approach that our clinic has become well known internationally as a cancer treatment center, and we now see patients from all over the world.
Anyway, after these two women received hyperthermia treatment for their cancers, they told us that their Lyme symptoms had also disappeared! The brain fog, tingling in their fingers, fatigue and other symptoms—were all gone. We had associated the tingling with polyneuropathy, which is a side effect of chemotherapy, but in these women, it was a symptom caused by Lyme.
I pondered this and said to my work colleagues, “Do you remember that before there were antibiotics, doctors treated syphilis (which is similar to Borrelia in its composition, structure and behavior) by intentionally infecting patients with malaria to induce a fever, which then killed the syphilis?” The treatment was called “malariotherapy.” Doctors would then give the syphilis patients the age-old drug quinine to control the fever and kill the malaria. Professor Julius Wagner-Jauregg at Vienna University was one of the first authorities in syphilis treatment, and he won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1927 for his discoveries.
When I recalled that doctors used to treat syphilis with heat, it made me wonder whether hyperthermia also might be effective against Borrelia, since the Borrelia organism is similar in its characteristics to syphilis. I said to my colleagues, “Could it be that our whole-body hyperthermia treatments could also be effective for Lyme disease?”
I researched the medical literature to discover whether any studies supported my hypothesis, and I found one that was conducted by a group of Swedish researchers in 1996. In the study, the researchers proved that Borrelia was “thermolabile,” or susceptible to destruction by heat, and could not tolerate high temperatures. At 39° C (or 102.2° F), they found that the spirochetes became immobile, and at 40° C (or 104° F) they shed their outer membrane, but when they were exposed to a temperature of 41.6° C (or 106.9° F) for two hours, 100 percent of the bacteria died.
I was excited to discover this, and I told my colleagues that this was exactly what we were doing by treating patients using hyperthermia; we were raising their body temperature to 41.6° C for two hours. So I suggested that we do this treatment on some Lyme disease patients just to see what would happen. I wanted to find out whether my theory had any substance, because up until this point, we had only been treating cancer patients.
Shortly thereafter, we found four or five patients with advanced Lyme disease, and gave them two whole-body hyperthermia treatments. We also gave them intravenous antibiotic therapy during the treatments and found that not only did the heat kill the microbes, but that the antibiotics were also more effective when their bodies’ temperature was elevated. This phenomenon was described in the Swedish study. According to the researchers of the study, if you administer Ceftriaxone or another antibiotic after elevating the patient’s body temperature to 41.6°, the medication’s activity becomes amplified 60-fold.
From our research and clinical observations, we discovered three things:
1) Hyperthermia kills Lyme microbes
2) Hyperthermia increases the effectiveness of antibiotics
3) Hyperthermia decreases microbes’ resistance to antibiotics and enables antibiotics to get inside the cells much more easily.
After I had treated somewhere between five and seven patients with Lyme disease, I decided to attend a medical conference in the United States to learn more about the disease. While there, I sat next to a cardiologist who told me that he had been attending the conference because his entire family had been infected with Lyme while on vacation in Austria. His wife was bedridden; his daughter had been a medical student, but could no longer attend medical school, and his younger son, who was a 10-year-old prodigy who had played the violin in public, could no longer even hold a violin and was unable to attend school.
I told the doctor that I had just discovered a new treatment for Lyme disease that was possibly superior to any other treatment modality out there, although it had only been tested on a few patients so far. The man, figuring that he had nothing to lose and everything to gain, traveled to Klinik St. Georg with his wife, son and daughter, and I treated them all with hyperthermia.
The results were amazing. The whole family got well, and the wife ended up going back to work in her husband’s clinic. The daughter finished medical school, and the son was able to play the violin again, and today – as far as I know – is the symphony conductor at his college. Successfully treating this family was the turning point for us in our approach to Lyme disease.
Our Success Rate with Hyperthermia
Not long after treating this family, we began to treat many more people with Lyme disease – maybe 50 per year initially. Now, we treat 150-200 people per year, and statistically, the patients that we see are those who have a long history of disease and who have seen somewhere between 10 and 20 doctors. They are people who have received all kinds of conventional and natural treatments, from nutrition to antibiotics—to you name it. So, when they get here, they are so-called “lost causes,” because no treatment or doctor has been able to help them thus far.
Fortunately, we have found that we are able to get over 60 percent of these patients “back to life” by using hyperthermia, along with a variety of adjunct treatments. By the time they leave our clinic, they are functioning well and are able to return to work and live a normal life. And, I have many testimonials to prove this. You can find some of these on the Klink St. Georg website: CancerClinicStGeorg.com/en/patients-testimonials.
Another 30 percent of our patients improve with the treatment, but still require additional treatments to get better. These are generally people whose bodies need repair from the damage caused by Lyme disease.
The remaining 10 percent of our patients do not experience any improvement. Now, keep in mind that we treat the most advanced cases of Lyme disease; people for whom every other treatment approach out there has failed. These people are the “worst of the worst.”
Yet, the results that we have had for others have been miraculous. We have seen people who were once bedridden or who used to have seizures every 50 minutes, or who were unable to even communicate, get well. We have seen people who were once given a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and who couldn’t walk, return to having a normal life.
Since 2000, I have treated over 850 Lyme disease patients with mostly good results. Since we use antibiotics in conjunction with hyperthermia, I like to call our treatment approach “Antibiotic-Augmented Thermal Eradication (AAT) of Lyme disease.”
Hyperthermia is probably the only treatment out there that can eradicate Borrelia infections nearly 100 percent, because the heat goes deep into the connective tissue and joints, where most conventional treatments can’t penetrate. And, unlike other modalities, the microbes can’t develop resistance to this type of treatment. Of course, it’s unlikely that any modality can eradicate the microbes completely, because a 100 percent eradication rate doesn’t exist in medicine, but I feel that we have one of the highest rates of success in eliminating Borrelia.
Once we eliminate the Borrelia organisms with hyperthermia and antibiotics, the amount of Lyme neurotoxins in the body is also immediately and automatically reduced. This is because Borrelia throws out neurotoxins in the body literally every minute or every second, so once it is gone, this can no longer happen. Neurotoxins are one of the principal causes of symptoms in people with Lyme disease, especially neurological and rheumatic symptoms, and joint inflammation. They cause chronic, silent inflammation that is sometimes difficult to diagnose, but which causes other symptoms.
So we find that as soon as we eliminate the Borrelia, then the neurotoxins in the body also diminish to almost nothing, as does the inflammation. We’ve had patients here that used to have seizures (a sign of encephalitis and brain inflammation), but as soon as their Borrelia was eliminated, their inflammation and seizures disappeared, too. It really has been remarkable.
About Friedrich R. Douwes, MD
Friedrich R. Douwes, MD, is a medical doctor and Director of Klinik St. Georg, a world-renowned clinic in Bad Aibling, Germany, which specializes in the treatment of cancer, Lyme disease and other chronic health conditions, using conventional and complementary therapies. Dr. Douwes has treated cancer patients for over 40 years, and Lyme disease patients for over 16 years, since approximately the year 2000.
Dr. Douwes studied medicine in Germany and Switzerland and received his board certification in Internal Medicine in 1975 at the University Hospital Göttingen. He completed his fellowship in hematology and oncology at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. Subsequently, he became the medical director of Sonnenberg Hospital, an oncology, hematology, immunology and oncological rehabilitation center, in Bad Sooden-Allendorf, Germany.
While at Sonnenberg Hospital, Dr. Douwes was dissatisfied with the outcomes that he saw with conventional cancer treatment, so he developed his own philosophy of integrative holistic medicine. Some hospitals, including the Veramed Hospitals in Brannenburg and Biomed Klinik in Bergzabern, Germany, now follow this model of medicine.
Dr. Douwes has continued to work actively and research new cancer therapies in addition to better treatments for Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses. He has become the go-to specialist for all kinds of hyperthermia treatment, including whole body, loco-regional and urethral prostate treatment protocols, and has successfully treated thousands of patients from all over the world, including many from Canada and the United States.
For many years, Dr. Douwes served as First Chairman of the charitable organization, Friends of Integrated Cancer Therapy. He is also President of the German Society for Oncology (DGO) and Founder of the German Society for Biological Cancer Control (GfBK) and Hyperthermia (DGHT).
Dr. Douwes organizes seminars and conferences for physicians and therapists, which focus on biological cancer treatments. In 2011, he organized the first International Congress for Complementary Oncology, an event that features a variety of international guest speakers who focus on integrative cancer treatment approaches.
Dr. Douwes is also a sought-after international lecturer at seminars and conferences. Numerous films about his work have been made, including Life with Cancer, which was an award-winning film project. Norwegian television has also broadcast a 45-minute film about his work with cancer patients and his work has also been featured on both German and international television.
In 2015, Dr. Douwes received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Comprehensive Integrative Medicine (ACIM) “for his contributions to the advancement of the art and science of medicine, specifically as it relates to integrative oncology.”
Dr. Douwes has authored countless scientific papers, which have been published in German and international journals. His work has been featured in Biological Medicine, Internal Journal of Clinical Oncology, Alternative Medicine, Journal for Alternative Complementary Therapy, New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet and Excerpta Medica. His work is also featured in several books.
What sets Dr. Douwes apart more than anything else is his warm and compassionate manner toward his patients. This, combined with his abundant knowledge about Lyme disease, cancer and other health conditions, makes him a unique person whom you will want on your side to overcome illness. To learn more about Dr. Douwes’ work and Klink St. Georg see: CancerClinicStGeorg.com.
Note: This article was originally published on ProHealth.com on November 15, 2016: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29640
This past summer I experienced a very difficult setback in my healing journey. In fact, July through October were perhaps the most difficult four months of my life. The reason? I was exposed to black mold in my home after a poor remediation job, and around the same time, had received some platelet-rich plasma therapy injections in my lower back which caused an adverse reaction in my nervous system. These two things simultaneously set off a cascade of inflammation and horrific MS-like symptoms.
The inflammation incapacitated me and hindered my ability to drive, work and function on a basic level. Dizziness, brain fog, severe depression, fatigue, numbness, a lack of coordination and tremors in my extremities, sleep apnea, chest pain, POTS, tachycardia and disorientation were just some of the symptoms that I endured. Most days, I couldn’t get out of bed before 5 PM, and was only able to get up and about for a few hours in the evening.
Prior to this, I had been doing pretty well, so the experience was disconcerting.
Many people who are suffering from Lyme, or who have battled it in the past—as I have, are also susceptible to sickness from mold toxins. Increasingly, Lyme-literate doctors are discovering mold to be a factor that causes illness in their patients. Lyme tends to make people more susceptible to environmental illnesses and allergies of all kinds, but environmental factors can also cause latent Lyme infections to become active.
Regardless, both must be treated if they are causing symptoms— although the symptom picture can be hard to unravel, since mold and Bartonella infections can cause near identical symptom pictures. In my case, circumstances, doing a test through RealTime Labs, and visiting a Lyme and mold-literate doctor helped me to understand what I was dealing with.
The good news is—after consulting with a variety of practitioners, I finally found one who knew what was going on in my body. The injections and mold had somehow simultaneously inflamed my spinal cord and brain, and caused my immune system to overreact.
Because mold is such an important issue in many with Lyme, many of the doctors featured in my just released book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work share their strategies for healing the body from mold toxicity as well as Lyme. If you have a history of exposure to mold or water damage in your home or workplace, or simply suspect that you are mold-toxic, I highly recommend reading what these doctors have to say about mold diagnosis and treatment.
In addition to prescribing me some remedies for mold and mycotoxins, my doctor gave me a couple of natural supplements and a medication for Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD), or systemic mastocytosis, which he suspected was caused by the mold. MCAD is a condition whereby the body releases an excessive amount of mast cells, which are immune cells that release histamine and cause inflammation in the body.
Like all immune cells, mast cells play an important role in immune function, by releasing wound-healing substances such as histamine and leukotrienes, but can get out of control when the body is faced with chronic health challenges. MCAD can be caused by a variety of environmental insults (and may even be genetic, according to some sources), including mold toxicity, and in my case, it turned out to be an important cause of my symptoms.
I knew because the day after I took an anti-inflammatory medication called Ketotifen that my doctor prescribed to me for mast cell activation—I was a new person in less than 48 hours. I’m still not healed, but I am able to function and work most days, and I no longer cry for hours daily. This little drug worked when dozens of other remedies and detox supplements did not, and literally reduced my symptoms by at least 50-60%, after months of intense suffering—in just under two days. A few of the symptoms, such as the chest pain and apnea—were completely eliminated.
Now, if I forget to take the medication, the severe symptoms come back full-fledged, because the root cause of the mast cell activation—which is the mold toxicity and whatever damage was done by the injections—hasn’t yet been fully dealt with, but the medication is helping me to function as I heal.
Unlike other commonly known antihistamines like Benadryl, however, Ketotifen isn’t just a Band-Aid for symptoms, and it isn’t anticholinergic; that is, it doesn’t block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and peripheral nervous system. Some antihistamines do this, and it is why drugs like Benadryl have been associated with Alzheimer’s and memory loss, since acetylcholine plays a vital role in memory and cognition.
Ketotifen seems to have a much safer side effect profile and in fact, may be healing to the body as a couple of doctors and pharmacists that I have spoken with believe that it actually re-sets mast cells in the immune system. However, this process can take many months, even a year or longer.
In any case, Ketotifen has so far been for me one of those little miracles of medicine that has made a huge difference in my wellbeing. In addition to this, I have also been taking a couple of natural supplements that have been known to control mast cell activation; namely, quercetin and Diamine Oxidase (from porcine kidney) in a product called DAO Histaminase by Allergy Research Group.
I take my medication, quercetin and DAO Histaminase 30 minutes before meals, since certain foods trigger histamine release and taking these supplements before food helps to control histamine and thereby heal the gut.
A number of other natural substances and medications have anti-histamine or histamine receptor blocking effects, as well, but not all of these drugs or remedies will work well for everyone. Like most things in medicine, treatment must be tailored to the individual.
According to Lawrence B. Afrin, MD, author of Never Bet Against Occam: Mast Cell Activation Disease and the Modern Epidemics of Chronic Illness and Medical Complexity, some medications that can be used to treat MCAD include the anti-depressant doxepin, tricyclic antidepressants and benzodiazepenes. I am not a fan of drugs that cause other problems in the body so I would recommend asking your doctor about others, if you suspect MCAD to be a problem for you.
Dr. Afrin also notes the beneficial properties of quercetin and states that, “It seems to result in reduced production of inflammatory mediators (e.g., leukotrienes and histamine). It may also serve as an inhibitor of tyrosine kinases and other regulatory proteins of interest in activated mast cells.” He notes that quercetin chalcone may be better absorbed than other forms. By itself, quercetin wasn’t enough for me, but it may be a good start for some of you who are reading this (if you have MCAD). Other supplements with anti-histaminic properties, such as Vitamin C, may also be helpful.
Mast cell activation disorder (MCAD) is not rare. In fact, it is now thought by some savvy doctors to be a major player in many chronic, degenerative diseases. For instance, in his book, Dr. Afrin lists at least a couple of hundred conditions that he suspects are at least indirectly due to MCAD. These include chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Lyme disease and mold are not listed, but a couple Lyme-literate doctors that I know believe that mold and Lyme can cause MCAD and I can tell you from experience that it has been a major cause of the mess in my body that I had to deal with this past summer.
In any case, I have learned enough to believe that MCAD may be a major player in Lyme and mold illness, and that if you suffer from these conditions, you may want to seek out a physician who understands MCAD and who can prescribe a trial treatment to determine whether, in fact, it is a part of your symptom picture. Trust me, if MCAD is a problem for you, you will want to know.
In the meantime, and as I continue my recovery, I am thankful for this relatively recent discovery in medicine, which has provided some doctors with a fantastic new tool for helping their patients- and for people like me- new answers and hope.
Afrin, L. 2016. Never Bet Against Occam. Bethesda, MD: Sisters Media, LLC.
Frieri, M. Patel R, Celestin J. Mast cell activation syndrome: a review.
Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. (2013 Feb);13(1):27-32. doi: 10.1007/s11882-012-0322-z.
Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD), Chronic Illness, and its Role in Methylation. Genetic Genie. Accessed on Nov. 5, 2016 from: http://geneticgenie.org/blog/2013/01/31/mast-cell-activation-disorder-mcad-chronic-illness-and-its-role-in-methylation/.
Valent, P. Mast cell activation syndromes: definition and classification.
Allergy. (2013 Apr);68(4):417-24. doi: 10.1111/all.12126. Epub 2013 Feb 15.
Note: This article originally appeared on ProHealth.com on January 6, 2017: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29565
Phospholipids are a crucial component of all cell membranes.
Healing the body at the cellular level is an important component of recovery from chronic Lyme disease. Microbes, toxins and inflammation all damage the cells, and while the body does regenerate itself, sometimes, it needs a little help.
One powerful tool for healing and restoring the body involves using phospholipids, which are a type of fat that comprises all cell membranes, in addition to cholesterol. The cell membrane is where all cellular communications take place, and is responsible for uptaking nutrients into the cell while removing waste from it. The cell membrane gets damaged by toxins, inflammation, and other factors involved in Lyme, but by restoring it with phospholipid therapy, the body can more quickly heal.
Phosphatidylcholine is a type of phospholipid that is commonly used by Lyme-literate doctors to heal the cells. It is most effective when taken intravenously, but I have also personally found transdermal phosphatidylcholine to be incredibly effective and beneficial. Oral forms of this super nutrient may also be useful, and are an especially good choice when your funds are limited.
In addition to rebuilding cell membranes, phosphatidylcholine helps the body to detoxify Lyme and other toxins, but in a way that is gentler than many detox treatments. It supports liver function (and is in fact a treatment for fatty liver disease), and assists with dumping waste out of the cells. By supporting cellular function and the liver, the body can more easily eliminate toxins.
David Minkoff, MD, a leading Lyme disease doctor featured in my just-released book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, has this to say about phosphatidylcholine: “There are petrochemicals, plastics, heavy metals, pesticides and other environmental toxins stored in the cell membrane, and phospholipids help to remove these toxins. Phospholipid therapy is essential therefore for detoxification as well as for healing cell membranes and keeping cells intact.”
What’s more, phosphatidylcholine can improve Lyme symptoms of brain fog, memory loss, depression and anxiety, and even increase energy. It is a component of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that aids in memory and cognition. I have personally found it to be as important for supporting the function of my brain as other brain support tools such as amino acid and hormone replacement therapy. Whenever I have a lot of mental work that I need to get done, I load up on this super nutrient and find that it helps me to process information more quickly, improves my ability to think abstractly—and even improves my mood!
Another great thing about phosphatidylcholine therapy is that it is completely safe and not harmful to the body in any way, although because detox reactions can occur with it, people with Lyme may want to start out on low dosages of it. I recommend working with a Lyme-literate health care practitioner to best determine what you need, and in what form. To learn more about phosphatidylcholine, see: http://www.phosphatidylcholine.org/
Note: This article originally appeared on ProHealth.com on January 6, 2017.
Reprinted from Raj Patel MD's chapter in my 2016 book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work
In this section of New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, Raj Patel, MD, shares about Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) treatment, which he considers to be a key step in recovery from mold illness. This excerpt represents only an overview of VIP. For more information, we highly recommend consulting the works of Ritchie Shoemaker, MD: www.SurvivingMold.com. To read Dr. Patel’s entire chapter on mold and Lyme disease treatment, see: www.NewLymeTreatments.com.
Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) Treatment: The Key to 100% Recovery
A major part of my treatment program is designed to repair the damage in the body that has been caused by Lyme infections and mold. Typically, I find that patients’ immune systems have become severely compromised by infections and other factors, and that they also have a lot of endocrine damage that needs be repaired, even after the Lyme infections are gone.
I have found that Lyme disease patients who have been chronically ill for more than a few years never tend to recover completely by just treating the infections. Even after all of the microbes have been eradicated, they typically only return to 70% functionality, at best.
The last 30% of healing doesn’t happen until the damage that has been left behind by the chronic infections and accompanying inflammation has been addressed. Such people will typically still have Leaky Gut Syndrome and food intolerances, as well as persistent signs of endocrine, or hormonal dysfunction, as evidenced by chronically low levels of MSH, melatonin, testosterone, and adrenal hormones. These deficiencies can leave patients feeling like they still don't have the energy reserves that they used to, to handle normal, everyday stressors.
To bring patients to 100% wellness, I will have them do Dr. Shoemaker's protocol for repairing hypothalamic damage with Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP). This, when combined with other modalities like addressing food intolerances (using low dose allergen desensitization or another similar other treatment modality to remove allergies) can help significantly to heal the remaining 30% of the body so that patients can return to 100% functionality.
Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has outlined an 11-step program to help patients that are sick from mold exposure to recover so that they are not as reactive to moldy environments. This program can be found on his website: Survivingmold.com and in his books Surviving Mold: Life in An Era of Dangerous Buildings and Mold Warriors.
Certain aspects of this program can help people with Lyme disease, as well, whether or not they also have mold toxicity. This is because both mold and Lyme disease are what are called “biotoxin illnesses”. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of chronic Lyme disease patients have a genetic predisposition that keeps their immune system from recognizing Lyme biotoxins, and creating antibodies that will bind and eliminate them from the body. These proteins cause inflammation and damage, and particularly affect the hypothalamus in the brain. When the function of the hypothalamus becomes compromised, then it leaves behind a damaged endocrine system. Dr. Shoemaker’s 11-step treatment protocol is designed to not only eliminate mycotoxins, but also restore the body’s hypothalamic function, and thereby improve endocrine and immune function.
For the final step in the biotoxin illness treatment program, Dr. Shoemaker recommends vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), a neuro-regulatory hormone that is produced primarily by the hypothalamus. VIP helps to repair the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. When this happens, the body starts to produce adrenal hormones normally. People can also see their testosterone levels rise to normal; their vitamin D metabolism improves, and the lining of their gut starts healing. VIP also helps in raising melatonin levels. It has far-reaching effects and turns on hundreds of gene systems involved in repair and restoration.
For Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol, VIP is compounded as a nasal spray. When patients are done with the Lyme disease and the bugs are gone, I will then take them through Dr. Shoemaker’s 11-step program. With VIP therapy, they then start to see improvements in all of their symptoms; their energy improves, they sleep better and they start gaining the energy reserve back that they used to have—it really is quite remarkable.
VIP works for everyone but the difficult part is getting a patient prepared to be able to take it in. This is because patients need to make sure that all of their Lyme-related and other infections are completely gone before they can take the VIP. Otherwise, they will not get the full benefit of VIP and may even get worse during treatment as a result of ongoing inflammation.
Usually the last infections to leave the body are chronic viruses. The level of activity of these chronic viruses must also be reduced. I have found that once patients are infection-free, they do extremely well on VIP therapy. The hard point is just getting them to reach that point.
The length of VIP therapy varies from person to person. Many people come into my clinic and believe that their Lyme infections are gone, but 9 times out of 10, I find they still have very low levels of infection that must first be treated. So in these situations, in which patients still have some level of low-grade infection, I will typically have them combine bio-magnetism therapy (described later in this chapter) with herbal remedies to eliminate any residual infections. Once this is accomplished, they can then start the VIP treatment.
As with other treatments, I start my patients out on a low dosage of VIP and ramp up on that dosage slowly. Typically, most people will need treatment for 3 to 6 months, and during that time, the VIP will reset the HPA axis. It is quite remarkable; after the treatment, people will find that they no longer need to take adrenal support or supplemental hormones anymore, and they can start eating a normal diet. VIP in conjunction with the Restore™ product works very well for healing the gut, but both are best done near the end of the treatment process.
To find practitioners that understand VIP and Dr. Shoemaker’s 11 step treatment process, I recommend visiting the SurvivingMold.com website. I have found the 11-step protocol to be hugely effective. In my own battle with Lyme, I found that even after I had eliminated all of the infections, I still had issues with fatigue and intestinal inflammation, but after I went on the VIP, I was able to more completely regain my health.
Note; This article was originally published on ProHealth.com.
One of the unfortunate realities of Lyme disease is that it can lead to other chronic health conditions. For instance, some researchers and Lyme-literate doctors believe that people with Lyme are at an increased risk for cancer. As it is, one in two men and one and three women in the United States will get cancer at some point during their lifetime, due to the plethora of toxins in the environment, which are responsible for over 75% of all cancers, according to American Medical Research LLC (AMR), a widely regarded medical research company.[i] People with Lyme disease may be at an even greater risk, because Lyme disease damages cells, causes inflammation, influences hormone levels and creates increased levels of toxicity in the body, among other biochemical problems. These issues can lead to DNA and mitochondrial damage that are associated with cancer.
In addition to my work as a Lyme disease researcher, I have helped to write two cancer books involving 15 integrative doctors, and have interviewed over 50 integrative cancer doctors for a podcast series that I host for the Alternative Cancer Research Institute. My work with many doctors has taught me that in today’s toxic world, everybody is susceptible to cancer, but perhaps especially those of us who are already battling chronic disease, so it makes good sense to take steps to prevent it. The good news is that it can often be prevented.
Many integrative oncologists, such as Robert Eslinger, DO, in my book, Defeat Cancer: 15 Doctors of Integrative and Naturopathic Medicine Tell You How contend that the following three conditions in the body can increase cancer risk. Dr. Eslinger calls them the “three I’s.”[ii] They are: Inflammation, Infections and Insulin (or high insulin). People with Lyme disease tend to have all three, which also provides evidence that people with Lyme may be more susceptible to cancer.
Many people with chronic Lyme disease already know that eliminating infections is the first crucial step toward wellness and toward preventing other illnesses, such as cancer. Antibiotic therapy is still considered to be the standard of care for eliminating infections, although many integrative doctors are now incorporating additional strategies, such as herbal remedies, ozone therapy and hyperbaric oxygen into their patients’ regimens. In cases of chronic Lyme disease, and according to ILADS doctors, at least six months of treatment, but more commonly, 2-3 years of treatment are needed to eliminate the pathogen load.
Many people with Lyme disease also have high levels of insulin and blood sugar regulation problems due to hormonal de-regulation, inflammation and other biochemical problems caused by Lyme disease. Nearly every Lyme-literate doctor that I have interviewed over the years has shared this fact, as well. High insulin levels are exacerbated by a high-glycemic and carbohydrate-rich diet, so it makes sense that many Lyme-literate doctors also recommend a low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat diet.
Common dietary recommendations include healthy fats such as nuts, coconut oil, avocados and olive oil; low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens, and organic animal protein sources such as eggs, beef, turkey, ostrich, lamb, chicken; low-mercury fish such as wild salmon or sardines, and wild game meat. Keeping insulin levels down is crucial for preventing cancer and other conditions such as metabolic syndrome, and I have observed that many people with Lyme disease feel better when they keep the amount of carbohydrates that they consume in their diet to a minimum. Some Lyme-literate doctors also believe that too many high-carbohydrate foods such as white rice and high-glycemic fruits can feed Borrelia and yeast infections, so they encourage their patients to minimize their consumption of these. Inflammation has been implicated in cancer as well as Lyme disease.
In fact, inflammation is the one factor that is common to all chronic health conditions. Most Lyme-literate doctors believe that reducing inflammation is therefore key for recovery from chronic Lyme disease. A variety of supplements have been found in studies to help accomplish this; things such as Vitamins C and D, turmeric, and omega-3 EFAs are among the most well studied. All of these are widely advocated among the integrative cancer doctors that I interviewed for Defeat Cancer because of the immense amount of research backing their effectiveness for cancer prevention and treatment. Lyme-literate doctors often advocate them for their Lyme patients, as well, to support immune function and reduce inflammation.
Finally, exercise has been shown in studies to reduce insulin resistance and combat inflammation, and may therefore also help to support immune function so that the body can not only more easily heal from Lyme, but also prevent cancer. Many people with Lyme disease struggle to exercise, but even 30 minutes of walking, 3-4 days per week, has been shown to lower insulin resistance. For example, one study, the results of which were published in August 2014 in the Global Journal of Health Science revealed that 30 minutes of walking, combined with stretching, lowered plasma glucose levels and insulin resistance in women with type 2 diabetes.[iii]
As a final note, people with Lyme disease often have compromised detoxification mechanisms, which means that their bodies are often overloaded with toxins. Toxicity has been linked to cancer, so people with Lyme may want to work with a Lyme-literate doctor who can help them to effectively remove environmental toxins, such as heavy metals, pesticides, plastics and other common contaminants from the body. Some common detox strategies may include infrared sauna therapy, coffee enemas, intravenous Vitamin C and glutathione, and taking oral toxin binders such as EDTA, DMSA and chlorella. Indeed, many Lyme doctors have found detoxification therapy to be an important component of recovery from chronic Lyme disease for many of their patients.
[i] “The Cancer Cascade.” American Medical Research, LLC. (Oct. 2004)
[ii] Strasheim, C. (2011). Defeat Cancer: 15 Doctors of Integrative and Naturopathic Medicine Tell You How. S. Lake Tahoe: BioMed Publishing Group.
[iii] Motahari-Tabari N, Ahmad Shirvani M1, Shirzad-E-Ahoodashty M, Yousefi-Abdolmaleki E, Teimourzadeh M. The effect of 8 weeks aerobic exercise on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes: a randomized clinical trial. Glob J Health Sci. (2014 Aug 14);7(1):115-21. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v7n1p115.
Note: This article was originally published on ProHealth.com.
Parasitic infections don't just happen to people in third-world countries. Dr. Amin, a world-famous parasitologist and owner of Parasitology Center, Inc., in an interview for the Alternative Cancer Research Institute last year, shared with me that at least half of all people in the United States have some type of parasitic infection.
People with Lyme disease may be particularly susceptible to parasitic infections because Borrelia and co-infections suppress the immune system and create an environment in the body that is hospitable to such infections. Indeed, some Lyme-literate doctors have discovered that many of their patients are infected with parasites beyond Babesia.
Parasites can cause a diverse array of symptoms, including gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, brain fog, depression, and pain—among others, and basically mimic symptoms of Lyme disease. I was amazed when Dr. Amin shared with me about how a certain type of tapeworm depletes vitamin B-12 in the body and causes dementia, which can also be a complication of Lyme. He then shared with me about how he was able to help reverse one woman's dementia in a matter of weeks just by removing the parasite and giving her B-12 supplementation.
In my 2012 book, Beyond Lyme Disease, I shared that parasites are a major cause of chronic illness in people with Borrelia and co-infections, but are often missed by Lyme-literate doctors who may focus more upon the common tick-borne infections than other causes of symptoms. But parasites besides Babesia can make a person with Lyme just as sick, or even sicker than the Lyme-related infections. For this reason, when I was really sick with Lyme disease, I found it worthwhile to test and get treated periodically for parasites.
Just as important, I adopted lifestyle strategies to help prevent me from getting re-infected. Parasites are in our food, water, soil and other places that we come into contact with daily, so if you have Lyme disease, you may also want to take the following simple steps to avoid parasitic infection or re-infection.
1) First, don't let your pets sleep with you or lick you, especially your face! I love animals, but dogs and cats carry parasites and parasite eggs in their fur and saliva. If you know that you are susceptible to parasitic infection, you may want to have your pets sleep elsewhere.
2) Thoroughly wash all produce. According to Dr. Amin, fruits and vegetables should be soaked for 15 minutes in vinegar or in 1 teaspoon of bleach mixed with a gallon of water. If you use bleach, you'll want to make sure to thoroughly rinse the produce afterward. Much organic produce in the US is imported from Mexico, where human waste is used as fertilizer, so even organic produce needs to be disinfected.
3) Wash your hands after using the bathroom, cleaning the litter box or changing your baby's diaper. Parasites hang out everywhere on toilets- (so it goes without saying that you should also clean your toilets frequently!).
4) Thoroughly cook all meats, especially pork, so that there is no pink color left in their middle. Some researchers argue that when you cook meat well, you destroy some of the beneficial amino acids in it, but in the end, I think that it’s better to avoid the parasites and find other ways to get your amino acids, such as through protein drinks and supplements.
5) Don't drink tap water, which nowadays is laden with microbes such as giardia and cryptosporidium. Purchase a high-quality water filter with a sub-micron pore structure. Multipure: multi pure.com makes good filters.
6) Don't walk barefoot on soil, and use gardening gloves when working in the garden. Avoid swimming in rivers and lakes, especially those where the water is stagnant and does not flow continually.
Parasitic infections can be difficult to treat, and I've found that the best of herbal formulas are sometimes inadequate for addressing stubborn infections. On the other hand, pharmaceutical drugs, while more effective, can be harsh on the body, especially the liver, and compromise immune function.
Interestingly, Dr. Amin has developed an herbal parasite protocol that he has found to effectively remove a wide variety of parasites- from worms to protozoa, and even fungi and bacteria, and which works better than many pharmaceutical drugs. If this protocol works as well as Dr. Amin contends, it would be great news for people who haven't had luck getting rid of the microbes with drugs or other herbal remedies. Dr. Amin always advocates getting tested so that people can follow a protocol that is tailored to their needs, but his basic Freedom-Cleanse-Restore regimen may be helpful for some people. It contains a wide variety of anti-parasitic herbs; the only drawback is that some people may need different dosages than what are contained in the formula.
MMS, or Miracle Mineral Supplement (sodium chlorite), mixed with citric acid or lemon juice, is another option for removing parasites, as is ozone. However, these are best administered under physician supervision, as they are very powerful and can be toxic if prepared improperly or taken in the wrong dosages.
Parasite treatment may be the missing link to recovery for some people. I have known a few people with Lyme disease for whom this was true. As all things, I recommend working with an experienced Lyme-literate doctor or integrative doctor experienced in parasite treatment, if you suspect you have parasites or simply want to get checked for them.
Note; This article was originally published on ProHealth.com.
If you’re like me when I was really sick with Lyme disease, mornings are your worst enemy. Healthy people awaken with energy, but when you have chronic Lyme, you tend to awaken somewhere between 9 AM and 3 PM (3 PM being your “morning”) feeling as though you hadn’t slept at all. Or maybe you awaken at 5 AM because you can’t get more than a few hours of shut-eye. Regardless, your body no longer remembers what a circadian rhythm is and you feel worse than before you went to bed the night before.
Your limbs are like lead; your body is heavy with the weight of exhaustion, and pain courses your back and neck as every movement is met with a cracking of joints and aching of limbs. Negative thoughts plow through your mind like wild horses as low blood sugar and inflammation contribute to the depression of feeling horrible before the day has even begun. And yet, you can’t just lie in bed all day, even though much of you would like to. Somehow, you have to get up and find purpose and meaning in the day. It’s no easy task.
I used to deal with the morning malaise by internally arguing with my body while still in bed. Had I been able to put it into words, the conversation might have gone something like this:
Mind: “Okay, body, it’s 10:30 AM. We should have been up two hours ago.”
Body: “Just a few more minutes in the fetal position. I’m wiped out. All that shish-kabobing during the night left me exhausted.”
Mind: “I have a lot to do today...come on.”
Body: “Sorry, the adrenals wouldn’t be cool with that. Push them and I’ll rebel even further. Ahhh, the pillow feels so grand against the belly, doesn’t it?”
Mind: “Can’t you just put me into a deep night’s sleep, for once?”
Body: “It’s not my fault. If you’d quit worrying so much about your life maybe we’d sleep better.”
Mind: “We’ve been lying here awake for an hour now.”
Body: “What’s wrong with that?”
Mind: “You’re wasting my life!”
Body: “As far as I’m concerned, lying beneath this comforter is the best thing we could do all day.”
Mind: “Dear God, what am I going to do? My body won’t cooperate with me, but I’ve got to get to work.”
Body: “I could lie here all day; all day and all night. How about we watch a movie instead?”
Mind: “No, we can’t. I can’t. I have to make a living. I have to work to pay for those treatments that will get us well.”
Body: “Yeah, but if you push me, I’ll need even more rest. Do you want that?”
So went my internal quandary, and for years, I ended up mostly pushing my body, rather than honoring its need for rest. And let’s face it; many of us who have dealt with chronic health conditions do have to push ourselves, because there’s nobody else who will provide for us or help us to get well. On the other hand, it’s a good idea for us, whenever possible, to find a healthy balance between work and rest, as our recovery can be compromised by a lack of rest.
Today, I still push myself, but I am learning how to respect my body’s need for rest. If I need to sleep late some days, or spend an hour or two in the morning in meditative prayer, then I do it, because I know I’ll be more productive if I do. And I don’t want to have a setback in my healing. It’s hard, because sometimes the pressure of work and other responsibilities pull at me, but I am realizing that rest is one of the most crucial and powerful healing tools there is, especially for us “type As” who have endured severe health challenges.
By learning to rest, I have found that I am now awakening more refreshed and energetic, and am spending less time battling my body in the morning. What’s more, I have learned to forgive my body for not functioning optimally, and instead thanking it for what it has been able to do. Both of these strategies have become powerful tools in my healing arsenal, and perhaps you will find them useful, too.