One of the more challenging aspects of Lyme disease is treating neurological dysfunction. According to Dr. Singleton, in his book, “The Lyme Disease Solution”, six factors contribute to neurological symptoms. These are:
1) Ongoing infection that has not yet been brought under control by the immune system.
2) Chronic inflammation, especially due to poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle
3) Oxidative stress, especially due to glutathione and deficiency of other anti-oxidants
4) Neurotoxin accumulation
5) Brain metabolism problems, involving abnormalities in the way the brain and neurological tissues handle glucose and other energy sources
6) Neurotransmitter, hormonal and other “miscellaneous” brain issues.
Obviously, getting rid of infections in the brain is paramount to healing, as is controlling inflammation, since it has been cited as the primary cause of chronic degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In a previous post, I mentioned Dr. Singleton’s suggestions for reducing inflammation.
Also, oxidative stress, a situation in which too many free radicals circulate in the brain, can damage healthy cells. The effects of these radicals can be mitigated by maintaining an anti-oxidant rich diet. Many foods that reduce inflammation, incidentally, also eliminate free radicals.
Further, a diet rich in the following nutrients help to reduce oxidative stress: Vitamin C (especially), Vitamin E, (in the form of gamma-tocopherol, and which must always be taken in conjunction with Vitamin C), Co-Q10, grapeseed extract, alpha lipoic acid and glutathione (which is the most important anti-oxidant produced by the body itself).
Dealing with neurotoxins in the brain is also important for reducing neurological symptoms. In previous posts, I have suggested strategies for ridding the brain and body of neurotoxins, so here I will mention only those advocated by Dr. Singleton. These include cholestyramine (a drug that is especially useful if a person has trouble detoxifying) and Welchol. More natural approaches offered by Dr. Singleton include: zinc, chlorella, resveratrol, modified citric pectin, activated charcoal and phospholipid exchange (which involves the use of Phos-Chol and other fatty acids). The latter has also been recommended by Dr. Klinghardt for deep tissue neurotoxin removal.
Brain metabolism problems are a less commonly known cause of neurological symptoms, and specifically, how the brain and neurotissues handle the energy fuel, glucose. Many Lyme disease sufferers suffer from some degree of insulin resistance, and this hormone is required for the brain to absorb glucose and to send signals into the cells. As insulin resistance worsens, it leads to increased oxidative stress, inflammation, neurotoxin build-up and cell death.
One way to normalize insulin resistance is by taking supplements that function to synergistically open brain cell wall channels for detoxification (which is a function of insulin signaling). Such supplements include omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (found in animal foods).
Other supplements that facilitate detoxification in the brain include: cucumin (this spice is also an anti-inflammatory), green tea, and chlorella. Alpha-lipoic acid helps the brain by enhancing insulin sensitivity.
Further, andrographis, japanese knotweed and stephania heal neurological dysfunction in a number of ways. For more information on these herbs, I recommend reading S. Buhner’s book, “Healing Lyme.”
Finally, addressing neurotransmitter, hormonal and other “miscellaneous” issues are also important for ameliorating neurological symptoms. Use of amino acids to boost neurotransmitter levels and bio-identical hormones to heal hormone dysfunction are just a couple of other strategies advocated by Dr. Singleton for these “miscellaneous” issues. In previous posts, I have discussed additional strategies for dealing with hormone and neurotransmitter problems.
Healing neurological dysfunction in Lyme disease often requires a multi-faceted approach, patience, and much perseverance, but can be realized by applying the above-mentioned strategies to a Lyme disease protocol.