My latest hobby has been researching cancer treatments, and I’ve discovered that cancer and Borrelia have a couple of important things in common. They are both anaerobic organisms (that is, they thrive in an absence of oxygen) and both love sugar.
Most people in the Lyme disease community are aware that treatments such as ozone, hyperbaric oxygen and exercise, are detrimental to Borrelia’s existence, because the oxygen produced by such treatments functions on multiple levels to weaken and kill the organism. The same is true for cancer.
Similarly, both Borrelia and cancer love sugar, and throw massive proliferation-fests whenever fed some of this fabulous stuff.
Yet, I have observed that cancer books focus more upon starving cancer of sugar and flooding the body with oxygen, than Lyme books do. Maybe it’s because cancer is more of a life or death issue. Whereas most people with Lyme won’t die (at least right away) if they eat sugar. Perhaps this fact makes those of us with Lyme disease, well…kinda lazy when it comes to addressing Borrelia’s survival mechanisms.
Dr. Burrascano, in his treatment guidelines, proposes a strict diet for those with Lyme disease. No grains are allowed. No fruit is allowed except the low-glycemic kinds, such as strawberries and grapefruit. Middle-of-the-road glycemic fruits, such as apples and pears, are only allowed on occasion. And forget the sweet stuff from which desserts are made.
It surprises me how many Lyme doctors and Lyme sufferers I know take a lackadaisical approach to diet. Why? Do they believe that it’s really not a big deal to eat fruits and grains? (most would agree that table sugar is a bad idea). If doctors have great treatment outcomes, no matter the diet of their patients, then great! Perhaps diet doesn’t matter as much for some as it does for others, but how do you know whether you aren’t one of those for whom diet would make a huge difference in your healing?
A diet void of most fruits and grains is challenging, to be sure. Personally, apples, rice and brown rice/quinoa crackers have been staples for me over the past couple of years. I get depressed if I cut too many foods out of my diet, so I have weighed the benefits of having a veggie-meat-nuts only diet against the benefits of adding a couple of unprofitable food choices to my regimen.
Still, I think diet matters. Eating well is extremely important for most people with Lyme disease, and should be an important consideration when formulating any kind of protocol. In cancer, diet can be a life or death issue. So what if we, in the Lyme disease community, adopted the perspective that eating well means the difference between a life of sickness and a life of prosperity? If it became “life or death” for us, would we change the way we eat?
I’m not trying to berate anybody, it’s just that, I know too many people who don’t take the diet issue seriously and I think it’s important that they do. Yes, some Lyme doctors believe that it’s OK to eat grains and fruit, and in the end, you have to find a diet that works well for you, based on your constitution, lifestyle and other factors. Personally, I believe that it’s not OK for most people with Lyme disease to eat copious amounts of medium and high glycemic fruits. Grains (even rice and whole grains), if they are consumed at all, should be consumed in limited quantities, depending upon where you are at in your healing process. If you are very sick, eating any type of grain product could compromise your healing. If you are nearly “out of the woods”, you might be able to afford having rice or a piece of bread on a daily basis, or a dessert once a week.
Eating well disables one of Borrelia’s survival tactics, and also strengthens the immune system so that it can more effectively combat the infections. Feeding the body oxygen does likewise.
Which brings me to the second thing that people with Lyme can do to exploit Borrelia’s survival mechanisms. In cancer, as Lyme disease, ozone is sometimes used to oxygenate the tissues and kill off cancer cells. For people with Lyme, ozone saunas or insufflations are a great adjunct treatment that can boost the body’s healing defenses immensely as they kill off pathogens. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers do the same.
For most of us, though, the best way to get oxygen into our tissues on a regular basis is through exercise. While most Lyme disease doctors wouldn’t recommend heavy cardiovascular exercise, activities such as swimming, walking and low-intensity biking can be beneficial. Also, muscle-strengthening and stretching exercises such as yoga and Pilate’s are good options. Some people are too weak to get out and do much, and a ten-minute per day walk may be all that they can manage. The important thing is to do something, and increase the intensity and duration of that exercise over time.
Exercising every other day boosts the immune system, and the oxygen that Borrelia receives as a result, puts a damper on its anaerobic survival techniques.
So starve Borrelia of what it needs to survive! That means taking away its sugar, and altering its anaerobic environment. Eating well and exercising are the two most important ways to accomplish this.