Adrenal Fatigue or Lyme Disease?

“It’s not all about the bugs”-You might say that this is one of the themes of my upcoming book, Beyond Lyme Disease: Healing the Underlying Causes of Chronic Illness in People with Borreliosis and Co-infections. As mentioned in my previous post, my new book- which will be available for sale in approximately two weeks, Beyond Lyme Disease describes what’s making people with Lyme sick- besides infections!

For example- adrenal fatigue. Lyme disease causes adrenal fatigue, but adrenal fatigue also creates susceptibility to symptoms from pathogenic infection, because the adrenal glands play a crucial role in immune function. And when the adrenals (or more accurately, the HPA-axis), becomes dysfunctional, due to stressors of all kinds- physical as well as emotional- immune function is compromised because adrenal hormones such as cortisol play a crucial role in the body’s inflammatory and other immune responses.

Interestingly, symptoms of adrenal dysfunction mimic those of chronic Lyme disease, so it can be difficult to distinguish how much each one is contributing to the overall symptom picture (taking into account that Lyme causes symptoms of adrenal fatigue). Dr. Lam, author of the incredibly well-researched and informative book, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, writes in his book, “Symptoms of Lyme disease and H. Pylori infection, in particular, can mimic adrenal fatigue syndrome.” He also writes, “Adrenal fatigue syndrome, particularly stage 3 (adrenal exhaustion) is related to many recognized diseases, such as hypothyroidism, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, hypoglycemia, depression,Lyme disease, IBS, autoimmune diseases and many other defined and regularly diagnosed and treated medical conditions.” He states that people will sometimes be diagnosed with conditions (such as these) which are really not the root cause of their symptoms. His book, which was just published this year, confirms something that I have suspected for many years- adrenal fatigue can be what causes Lyme infections to gain a foothold in the body, and is sometimes more important in the overall symptom picture than infections.

Consider this- many people harbor Borrelia, Babesia and Bartonella- as well as other tick-borne infections (which aren’t just “tick-borne” anymore!)- but are unaware of it because they don’t have symptoms from these infections because their immune systems keep the infections under control. A person with severe adrenal fatigue is less able to do that.

So when adrenal fatigue is primary in the symptom picture, or the trigger for disease from infections, toxins and other factors, it requires more than just taking some Vitamin C and pantothenic acid to heal it. As I mentioned in an interview today with my publisher, Bryan Rosner, healing requires addressing all of the factors that caused the adrenal fatigue to happen in the first place; from unhealthy beliefs and behaviors, to bad eating habits, relationship problems, environmental toxins, and so forth. Adrenal fatigue represents, at its core level, a mishandling of, or accumulation of, life’s stressors. Sometimes, it can be triggered by one thing- such as a major trauma, and of course, infection.

Knowing this matters because it determines the level of priority that will be given to treating the adrenal dysfunction. Often, Lyme-literate doctors and people with Lyme will invest a fair amount of energy and effort into treating infections, while regarding adrenal fatigue as an “incidental” problem that can be dealt with by simply taking some Vitamin C, adrenal glandular products, or pantothenic acid. But taking a few supplements will not correct the condition for many people.

And if adrenal fatigue isn’t adequately addressed, then the immune system may not be able to effectively eliminate the Lyme disease infections. When adrenal fatigue occurs, all of the body’s processes slow down- from metabolism to energy production, cellular detoxification, and waste removal. The latter is because the liver,kidneys and other organs cease to function properly. And if the body cannot remove toxins, then antimicrobial treatments for infections can make a person worse.

I wrote Beyond Lyme Disease because I realized that conditions such as adrenal fatigue, among many others- were major causative factors of illness in people with Lyme, along with Borreliosis and co-infections, and I wanted to provide solutions that would help people to heal from these conditions.

It is my hope that by “going beyond”in my new book, people who have not found healing from chronic illness involving Lyme, will encounter new hope, answers and practical solutions for wellness.