The Link Between Lyme Disease and Cancer

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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 NAhmad Shirvani M1, Shirzad-E-Ahoodashty MYousefi-Abdolmaleki ETeimourzadeh 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.



Parasites: Another Common Lyme Disease "Co-Infection"

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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 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. 

Morning Battle with the Body

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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.

Seven Super, Simple Detox Strategies for People with Lyme Disease

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Environmental toxins contribute to symptoms in chronic Lyme disease so many doctors consider toxin removal to be an essential component of healing. Detoxifying the body can be a costly and complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be.
Below I share a few of my favorite toxin-removal strategies, which I like because they are (mostly) inexpensive, give you great bang for the buck, and are highly effective at removing a variety of toxins, including industrial chemicals, plastics, pesticides, heavy metals, pathogens and many others that we come into contact with through our food, water, air and household cleaning and personal care products.  So if you can’t afford expensive toxin binders or detox strategies—don’t worry! You can often “spring clean” your body quite effectively by doing some, or most, of the below.

I advocate doing as many of these strategies as possible for a well-rounded toxin-removal protocol that can help you to heal faster from Lyme disease or whatever chronic condition ails you. Your doctor may want you to do different or additional therapies, so please don't take the following recommendations as medical advice, and consult your doctor before beginning any of the below. We all have unique needs, although I have found that the tools that I share below are beneficial for most people. 

1) Sauna Therapy- Sauna therapy is the one item on this list that isn’t inexpensive in the short term, since you may have to buy a piece of equipment, or join your local gym, where you can have access to a sauna. Yet over the long haul, sauna therapy is actually less expensive than many other detox methods because it only involves a one-time purchase. I bought my sauna in new condition on for $800. New, two-person far infrared saunas can cost more than twice that, but you can sometimes find used ones on websites such as Ebay, Amazon or craigslist. There are even portable fabric infrared saunas that you can get for less than $200, and while they may not be as effective as other types, they help you to sweat, which is the most important thing. Far infrared saunas mobilize toxins from deep within the tissues, and are excellent for removing chemicals such as phthalates (which come from plastics), heavy metals and other environmental toxins. 

2) Liver Cleanse- In people with Lyme disease, liver function is often compromised. Many of us have gallstones in our livers, which makes them even less efficient at detoxifying the body. You can dramatically improve your liver function by removing these stones with a liver cleanse every 3-4 months. There are many cleanses out there, but I personally like those developed by Dr. Steve Hines, ND. To access Dr. Hines’ cleanses, click here. Liver cleanses can make you a bit tired or nauseous, and are contraindicated in a few health conditions, so consult your doctor before doing them. Dr. Hines claims that he's seen many of his clients' symptoms dramatically improve after doing multiple liver cleanses.

3) Coffee enema- Coffee enemas cleanse the liver, gallbladder and colon. They are a great detox option for when you just need a fast, superficial cleanse that isn’t hard on the body. They don't remove as many gallstones as a liver cleanse but they can remove some stones, along with lot of other toxins from your body.  Many reputable integrative medical doctors now recommend enemas to their patients. To learn how to do a coffee enema, click here. 

4) Ball bouncing/body brushing - Your lymphatic system may be your body’s most underrated system, yet it’s responsible for helping to get toxins from your cells to their final destination in the body, which is the excretory organs, and finally, out of the body. The lymphatic system is like a superhighway of vessels that get easily clogged with stagnant lymph fluid. To keep your lymph flowing and toxins moving onward and outward, I recommend bouncing up and down on a large rubber ball for 10 minutes daily, which stimulates the flow of lymph. You can also buy an inexpensive, long-handled body brush made of stiff natural fibers and brush your skin in long, broad strokes toward the direction of your heart, which also moves stagnant lymph.

5) Exercise- Any type of exercise that gets your body moving will aid it in its detoxification processes, since exercise increases oxygen delivery to the tissues and encourages the movement of toxins through and out of the body. Exercise can be challenging for people with chronic Lyme disease, but even a 20-minute walk or rebounding for 10 minutes daily or every other day can go a long way toward helping the body to remove toxins. If you are a bit stronger, you could try some low-impact exercises such as biking, Pilate’s or swimming. If you can’t exercise, simply practicing deep breathing can also aid in tissue oxygenation and toxin removal. For information on how to deep breathe, I recommend Michael Lam, MDs Adrenal Breathing Exercise CD. 

6) Clay Mud Treatments- Bentonite clay, as well as green, red and some other types of clay can bind toxins and carry them out of the body. Clay can be taken orally, or diluted with water to make a paste, which you can then rub on your skin, and allow to dry. The paste pulls toxins out through your skin. Clay is inexpensive and relatively safe compared to some other toxin binders, which is why I recommend it. Clay can be found at most health food stores, as well as online.

7) Juicing- Juicing is a fantastic way to load up your body with nutrients while also eliminating toxins. Certain vegetables and fruits are especially cleansing and nourishing to the detox organs; among these, carrots, beets, cucumbers, lemons, limes, parsley, dandelion greens, and granny apples. When you juice daily or periodically, you can eliminate an abundance of toxins, and help your body to function better than ever. As a final note, use only organic vegetables and fruits, so that you don't re-toxify yourself with pesticides that are found in all non-organic food. Avoid high-glycemic fruits that can spike your blood sugar and feed the Lyme organisms. This includes things like melons, bananas and even pears, peaches and apricots.

By doing detoxification strategies on a regular basis, you’re likely to find yourself feeling better over time; with more energy, less pain, better sleep and mood, and fewer problems overall.



What Life with Lyme Disease Is Like and Some Fast Facts about One of the World's Worst Pandemics

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Imagine that you awaken daily feeling as though you had the flu. Imagine exhaustion like lead, weighing down your limbs, and stabbing, burning, aching pain, continually assaulting your joints and muscles. Then imagine that you struggle to focus, think or remember, and do such simple things as read a book or drive a car.  Imagine that you are suddenly allergic to every food and chemical out there, and can no longer go out into public places because you will get even sicker.  Then, imagine crying for hours, day after day, month after month, year after year, from depression and anxiety.  And then, picture another 10-20 symptoms on top of that.

Then, imagine losing your job, home and everything you once loved about your life—because you can no longer function. Imagine being isolated and confined to your house, for years. Imagine no longer being able to go anywhere except an occasional trip to the grocery store; attend gatherings, parties or events, travel or essentially “have a life.”

It might all be tolerable if you knew that it was temporary; if you understood what was happening in your body and that, like the flu, there would be an end to it all in the near future. You might be able to remain hopeful and hang in there if you knew that the pain, fatigue, grief, cognitive problems and the rest, would disappear with time and the right treatments.

But then imagine that it doesn’t all go away, day after day, year after year and that nobody knows what’s wrong with you, including you. You go to your doctor and tell him or her what is happening; he or she runs some tests, finds nothing wrong, gives you an anti-depressant and tells you to go home and get more exercise, or change your diet. Thus begins your journey, from doctor to doctor, as you do test after test, and spend all of your savings, your 401K and then some, only to get no closer to the real diagnosis.

Then, imagine that you are no longer able to work, so you run out of money for basic necessities and put your home up for sale. You call on family and friends for help, expecting they might understand your desperate plight. Yet because you haven’t been diagnosed with cancer or some other horrible disease that is widely understood, the doctors don’t know what’s wrong, and (with the exception of some hair or weight loss) you seem to look and act pretty normal—so they don’t extend a hand to help. 

In fact, many of your loved ones don’t even believe you are that sick. Some even tire of your battle and abandon you. Those that don't, may insinuate that you’re depressed; that you need to exercise or get out more, or just take a pill and get over it. Besides, the doctors have said there’s nothing wrong with you, because you, and your labs, look fantastic. And occasionally, you can go out for a social event; or maybe you are even well enough to get on a plane to visit friends or family in another state. You might even still be managing to work part-time. So what’s the big deal? Many think. Everyone is tired. Everyone hurts. Everyone has bad days…right? 

Except you now have a bad day, every day of your life. And your bad days aren’t just about a sore back, tiredness from a sleepless night or a temporary flu. Daily, every organ and system of your body malfunctions and affects basic bodily functions that others take for granted. Things like, being able to breathe, go to the bathroom, or stand up for more than a few minutes at a time. This is in addition to the fatigue, pain and other more obvious symptoms that you have.

Some days are better than others, but symptom-wise, none of your days are great. You seldom, if ever, awaken with energy; pain is your daily companion, as are brain fog and other problems. Other symptoms come and go, and they vary from day to day, or month to month, in their intensity. But they never go away.

Then, finally, one day, you find a doctor who knows what’s wrong with you. He says, “You have Lyme disease.” The diagnosis is a welcome relief from all the uncertainty, but the relief is quickly replaced by dismay, as you find that the road to recovery is longer and harder than you ever dreamed. It involves thousands of dollars, difficult detox reactions, hours of pills and therapies, and more time, energy, money, determination and discipline than you have ever spent on anything else in your entire life. It is the most difficult trial you have ever faced.

Your doctor tells you that you’ll be on intravenous or oral antibiotics, herbs, vitamins, hormonal treatments, a rabbit food diet, and two dozen other therapies—for anywhere from 2-5 years, although you find that many others in your boat end up doing treatments indefinitely.

You begin to realize, from the stats, that you may or may not fully heal. The treatments will definitely help you, but you’ll be fortunate to recover 70-80%. What nobody tells you at the outset, but what you learn down the road, is that treating Lyme disease will cost you anywhere from $15,000-$30,000 per year, or more...for the rest of your life.

Because even if you are able to attain remission, you may have to do a lot more than you once did to stay well. You’ll have to take lots of supplements, do detoxification treatments, and other things, just to stay functional. This is because the Lyme disease has damaged your body so that your organs don’t work as well they once used to.

You may regain enough energy to return to work part-time or full-time, but not enough to maintain a social life or a life that includes other things. And even though you have less energy to work than before, you have to find a way to make a lot more money than before, because you now have an ongoing health maintenance regimen that chews up a huge chunk of your income. You might have to forget about saving for retirement, buying a new car, or that vacation to Europe.

Or perhaps you will be more blessed, and able to return to the life that you had before…and while this should be everyone’s hope and goal, the reality is that not everyone will get to that place.

This scenario is typical of what many, if not most, people with chronic Lyme disease face. For some, it is not quite as bad, for others, it is even worse. 

But do your friends and family know what you, and so many others, are living? Does your community know? If not, I encourage you to share your story, this article, and the following statistics with them.

First, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are over 329,000 new cases of Lyme disease every year in the United States alone, although these numbers are likely to be much higher; as high as one million per year, by some researchers’ estimates. This is because this statistic doesn’t account for the unreported and misdiagnosed cases, as well as many other factors. Yet Lyme disease is a worldwide pandemic, but remains improperly diagnosed because it mimics symptoms of other illnesses, such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, arthritis, and many others.

What’s more, conventional tests such as the Western blot and ELISA are unreliable, inaccurate and don’t detect most cases of Lyme.  These tests look for antibodies to Lyme, but many people do not produce antibodies to the disease. Lab tests have also not yet developed for many species of Borrelia, Babesia, Bartonella, Mycoplasma and other infectious microbes involved in Lyme. Instead, sophisticated, outside-the-box testing methods such as Borrelia culture tests, electrodermal screening, dark field microscopy, Applied Kinesiology, PCR tests and others, are needed to detect it but few doctors use these.

Diagnosis is complicated by the fact that most doctors are not taught how to identify chronic Lyme disease and are even taught that it doesn’t exist. Instead, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Centers for Disease Control maintain that chronic Lyme disease—which is the fastest growing infectious disease in the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe and perhaps worldwide—can be cured with just two weeks of antibiotics. Any symptoms that continue after that time are attributed to “Post-Lyme Syndrome”, an imaginary condition created by the medical establishment to explain away the presence of ongoing infection, which they refuse to recognize, despite much evidence to the contrary.  

Those doctors who dare to treat it, risk persecution and their licenses being revoked. So many people with Lyme disease must travel, even to other states and countries, to find doctors and practitioners who understand it. These doctors’ waiting lists are many months’ long, and their services often pricey, since most insurance companies will not cover treatment.

Further, Lyme disease is a political disease, and research study results published in the worldwide medical database are distorted to favor the political agendas of some, while other studies reveal the truth. Yet because all of these studies, including those that tell a lie, are published in well-respected medical journals, medical practitioners are left in a sea of confusion about chronic Lyme. Others know the truth but don’t want to touch the complicated disease with a ten-foot pole, because of the difficulties of diagnosis and treatment, and because they risk persecution for doing prolonged antibiotic therapy and other valuable treatments.

What remains then, is for those of us who are canaries in the coal mine, to tell the truth. To spread the word, far and wide, about the reality of a severe, disabling disease that isn’t just spread by the bite of a tick, but by other insects such as mosquitoes, fleas and mites; as well as from person-to-person, congenitally, via body fluids, blood transfusions, and other means.

We must tell the truth to our local government representatives; to the CDC and IDSA, to doctors, to everyone that we know, so that the current diagnostic and treatment guidelines will be overturned, and new, accurate methods of diagnosis and treatment will be created and embraced. And we must stand together to uplift, encourage and support one another, especially when our other friends and family members do not understand what we are going through.  

In the meantime, be encouraged: you can get better with perseverance and the right treatments. Be encouraged, because more and more people, including doctors, are becoming aware of chronic Lyme disease and learning about how to treat it. More and better resources are becoming available, and knowledge is power. Be encouraged, and keep going; putting one foot in front of the other, fighting to create awareness as you also fight to recover your own health.

How to Manage Your Time When You Only Get Half-Days

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One of the unfortunate realities of having chronic Lyme disease is that your days seem to be cut short. You still get 24 hours like everyone else, but a lot of those hours are spent on treatment-related activities, in bed, in doing things more slowly than you did before, or in doing fewer things. Not only that, but you might spend many more hours shish-kabobing in bed than the average person, so even if you only sleep 6 hours, you still find yourself beneath the covers a good 10-12 hours. Add to that the time that it takes to undergo rigorous treatment regimens and detox therapies, research and see doctors, do tests, and then somehow find time for family, friends and work—and those 24 hours get used up rather quickly. And if you work, you might find time management even more challenging.

While I am much more healed than I was 12 years ago when I was first diagnosed with Lyme disease, I still have to take a lot of supplements and do detoxification and other therapies to stay functional, while also working to support myself—and I don’t get 16 productive hours in my day like a healthier person my age—which means that I have to heavily prioritize my time.

It doesn’t help that I need to bring in enough bacon so that I can also afford to pay for the expensive supplements that keep me functional. Yes, it’s challenging, but it is what it is. I’ve simply learned that every minute of my day counts and if I use my minutes wisely, I can manage, although I still don’t get as much recreational or downtime as I’d like. But in the meantime, I have learned a few strategies for coping and making the most of my days. Here are my time-management strategies. Perhaps you’ll find them helpful for you, too, especially if you are a single person with Lyme who works either part-time or full-time.
·       Do your most difficult work at the beginning of the day, or whenever your brain is most active and alert. This could also be in the evening, when people with Lyme tend to feel at their best. Or, it might be at the very start of the day, before you have expended all of your energy on other activities.

·       If you work, avoid Internet distractions such as Facebook and other social media. Or, schedule your social time during a work break and limit it to five minutes.

·       Save non-essential email messages and phone calls for the end of the day, and only if you have time and energy to make those calls or return messages. Check email only twice a day, if you can help it. In order to get my work done, I have to basically ignore my phone (unless the call is work-related or an emergency) until 8 PM.  I care about people; I deeply love my friends and family, but I just don’t have time to chat during the day. Or, I save my calls for when I’m out on a walk, or doing dishes.

·       Don’t try to meet everyone else’s needs if you are feeling overextended. We all have responsibilities toward family members, partners or friends, but not everyone’s problem needs to be solved today. Personally, I don’t have many close friends because I simply can’t manage a lot of friendships and I prefer to invest deeply in two or three friendships rather than try to stretch myself thin by having a bunch of superficial relationships.

·       Don’t cram all of your difficult tasks into a single day, or try to do too much in one day. If you do this, you will overdraw from your energy bank and find yourself with a deficit the next day.

·       Balance computer or mental work with physical activity. I have found that I am less efficient when I try to push through and spend all day on the computer. Get up and take a walk, go to the grocery store, or do a relaxing therapy in between your mental tasks.

·       Rest or take a short nap during the day, or at least take short breaks. (I am still working on this one!). By doing this, you will actually save time because you will re-charge your body and brain, and find that you actually get more done later in the day because you’ve had some downtime.

·       Start the day in meditative prayer. Recount things that you are thankful for, and ask God to set your agenda for the day, and help you to have energy to do all that you need to do. I have found that doing this puts me into a positive mental space, and enables me to be more effective in my work. It also helps me ease into the day, instead of leaping full-throttle into my work, which my adrenals tend to detest!

·       Have a green smoothie or some bone broth, for optimal energy and functioning. Eat regularly, as this will help you to keep your energy up, and ultimately save you time because you’ll have more energy to do what you need to do.

·       Establish a routine and make “to-do” lists. Keep your work area clean and organized. I have found that organization and routine help me to be efficient because I don’t waste a lot of time scrambling around trying to find things or figure out what I need to do next.

·       Allot yourself a specific amount of time to do your tasks. I have found that when I set goals and tell myself that I only have a certain amount of time to write an article or a chapter, for example, that I am actually able to finish in that amount of time. Of course, this can become a double-edged sword, as you don’t want to pressure yourself with unrealistic expectations. But when applied reasonably, this concept of goal setting actually works.

·       Do something fun or relaxing daily, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Watch a favorite television program, talk to a friend at the end of the day, take a hot bath, or read a good book. This will help to motivate, rejuvenate, refresh and recharge you so that you can take on the next day.  Ideally, all of us who battle Lyme disease would have at least a couple of hours every evening to relax with friends and/or family, but the reality is that I have found this kind of schedule to be unrealistic for those of us who have the demands of both work and treatments and a body and mind that only sometimes function. That said, we all need extended breaks—so if you can, try to take at least a couple of hours, a couple of nights per week, as well as one full day per week—to simply rest or get out of the house and do something fun (if you can, of course). Most of us are tired by the end of the week, but a night out at the movies or at a nice restaurant can do wonders to rejuvenate the spirit and soul, and with that, the body.

Diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia? It Could Be Lyme Disease

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Lyme disease is often called The Great Imitator because it mimics a variety of health conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis), fibromyalgia, and other illnesses that involve the central nervous system. It is also the fastest-growing infectious disease in the United States and possibly worldwide, with at least 300,000 new cases every year in the US alone. Some experts believe the numbers are even much higher than that.

If you think that you don’t have Lyme disease because you don’t recall ever having been bitten by a tick, think again. Most people with chronic Lyme disease actually don’t ever remember a tick bite; even fewer get the characteristic “bulls’-eye” rash that is supposed to characterize Lyme disease, and ticks aren’t the only means by which Lyme disease infections get transmitted. Research is finding that fleas, mosquitoes, biting flies and other insects carry Lyme disease. It can also be transmitted person-to-person via sexual contact, mother’s breast milk, saliva, and blood transfusions.

When I wrote my doctor interview book, Insights Into Lyme Disease Treatment13 Lyme-Literate Health Care Practitioners Share Their Healing Strategies, a few of the Lyme disease experts that I interviewed, such as nurse practitioner Ginger Savely, DNP, shared with me that their practices were once comprised primarily of chronic fatigue syndrome patients. But the focus of their work shifted to Lyme disease when they realized that many of their patients actually had Lyme disease as the primary cause of their symptoms! For instance, Dr. Savely discovered that nearly 80% of all of her chronic fatigue patients had Lyme disease, and this revelation changed the scope of her practice. I have since heard similar stories from many other doctors who treat Lyme disease.

People with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia can have symptoms that present a clinical picture that is identical to that of a person with Lyme disease. Symptoms of all three conditions can be similar and overlap with one another. For example, people with Lyme, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia can all battle fatigue, joint, nerve and muscle pain, cognitive dysfunction, mood disorders, digestive problems, autonomic nervous system disturbances and disordered sleep—among other symptoms. The same goes for the underlying systemic problems that these conditions cause, such as pituitary insufficiency, adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, leaky gut, compromised detoxification mechanisms, nutritional imbalances, environmental toxicity, inflammation, and gastrointestinal and mitochondrial dysfunction—just to name a few.

Of course, everyone is unique and no two people have exactly the same symptom picture or set of underlying biochemical problems, but many people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia can, unbeknownst to them, have chronic Lyme disease infections as a primary cause of symptoms. At the same time, many people with Lyme disease aren’t just sick due to infections.  

In my case, I discovered a year after I became sick, in 2005, that I had Lyme disease, and the diagnosis gave me great comfort because finally—finally! I knew what was wrong with me. Or so I thought…but over time, as years of antimicrobial remedies failed to heal me, I began to look more at other causes of illness, and discovered that I had other problems, such as severe neuroendocrine dysfunction, that weren't just caused by Lyme. My symptoms only dissipated after I began taking nutrients to support my brain and nervous system, along with my adrenals and thyroid. Conversely, I have seen people who were diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia or other conditions that Lyme disease mimics (such as ALS, MS and Parkinson’s) significantly or completely recover when given antibiotics, herbal remedies, ozone or other powerful antimicrobial remedies.

If you have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia and are saying to yourself, “I was tested for Lyme disease and my results came out negative” or “I took some antimicrobials for six months or a year and I didn’t improve, so I must not have Lyme disease…” I urge you to consider how you were tested and treated, because most tests for Lyme disease are inadequate for identifying the multiple infections involved in Lyme, and treatment for Lyme can take many months or even years. People will often do treatments for many months before they witness any improvement in their symptoms, even if the right protocol is followed.

It is beyond the scope of this article to describe proper methods for diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, but I encourage you to learn more by visiting ProHealth’s Lyme disease site, particularly the diagnosis and treatmentsections. I also encourage you to check out one of the many books that are out there on Lyme disease. For instance, many people have found my doctor interview book, Insights into Lyme Disease Treatment which describes the treatment protocols of 13 Lyme-literate doctors to be helpful to them, as well as Beyond Lyme Disease, which describes some of the other factors that make people with chronic Lyme disease sick.

I’ve been interviewing integrative and holistic doctors and researching medicine for over a decade, and if there is one thing that I’ve learned about complex chronic illness, it is that diagnoses can also be confining. While they help us to understand what’s going on in the body, they can limit our perspective by keeping us from looking outside the realm of typical treatments for that diagnosis. Most doctors tend to treat according to diagnoses, rather than looking at the whole person. That means that any symptoms or dysfunction in the body that are outside the realm of what is expected for a particular disease, condition or diagnosis, are often excluded or minimized and therefore, improperly treated. This means that many cases of Lyme are overlooked because doctors and patients may be looking at tests and treatments commonly used to diagnose and treat fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, but not Lyme, and vice versa. 

Chronic illness is complex, and it’s prudent for all of us to be careful with labels, because labels are limiting. In today’s toxic world, people are basically sick for four reasons: infections, environmental toxins, poor nutrition and stress (whether physical, mental or emotional).  Whatever name we give to the cocktail of stressors in the body and the problems that these cause matters less than being able to accurately identify each stressor and treat it with the right remedies and therapies.

So rather than treating according to a diagnosis, perhaps it’s more useful for us and our doctors to be looking at the inner terrain of our bodies and asking such questions as, “What needs to be removed here?” (Such as toxins and infections) “What needs to be added?” (Such as nutrients or love). “What needs to be balanced?” (Such as hormones or energy chakras). And let the diagnosis be a compass, but not the only factor upon which treatment decisions are based.  

To find healing from Lyme disease, I’ve had to go beyond treating Lyme disease. If you are battling symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, I encourage you to do the same and look into Lyme disease infections as a potential cause of symptoms, because once those infections are removed, you might be surprised at how much your symptoms improve.

As I mentioned, Lyme disease isn’t a rare condition; it is the fastest-growing infectious disease in the United States and perhaps even worldwide. Some renowned integrative doctors believe that most people are now carriers for Lyme disease. We are all susceptible to it; not all of us will become sick from it, but some of us will. However, this doesn’t need to be a source of discouragement. Rather, it can be a source of empowerment and encouragement, especially if you battle chronic fatigue syndrome and/or fibromyalgia, because it can provide you with new answers, hope and ultimately, healing, if you happen to find that Lyme is a major part of your overall symptom picture.



The Best Strategy for Eliminating Lyme-Related Infections

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There is much debate within the Lyme disease community about the best way to treat Borrelia and co-infections.  Or maybe should I say, Babesia, Bartonella and co-infections, since most Lyme disease doctors that I’ve interviewed have shared with me that these infections are most often a bigger problem for the body than Borrelia! Indeed, the notion that Lyme is “a Borrelia infection transmitted through the bite of a tick” is outdated and inaccurate, since nearly everyone with Lyme is battling an array of infections, which include a variety of parasites, bacteria, viruses, fungi and mold.

Because of this, it can be complicated to sort out what antimicrobial methods are best for addressing all of these infections. Typically, long-term antibiotics and pharmaceutical medications have been the treatment of choice for many doctors, while others use herbal remedies in combination with medications, and still others, just herbal remedies.

That said, after twelve years of researching Lyme, I’ve come to believe that what matters most in this game is not just what antimicrobials you use, but how you use them, and what other treatments you do to support, heal and detoxify your body.  Because if you don’t repair, replenish and restore your body, and treat things in the right order, your body may not be able to mount an immune response against the infections, anyway, no matter what antimicrobial you use.

For instance, Wayne Anderson, ND, a Lyme-literate doctor who has been treating Lyme for over 25 years (which is about as long as most doctors have been treating it!) shared with me in an interview for my upcoming book New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment (which will be released in October, 2016) that his treatments are based upon what the patient’s primary issues are, which aren’t always Lyme.

This is because some people’s main problem may be primarily metabolic in nature, while others may have mold toxicity or some other condition as a main issue.  Understanding this is important for prioritizing treatment, as, while most doctors might agree that everyone with Lyme has certain issues in common, such as metabolic disturbances, immune dysfunction, toxins and infections, understanding which of these is the current primary cause of disease, is essential for recovery. You can kill as many bugs as you want but if you aren't treating the primary issues, the bugs may not go away. 

As Dr. David Minkoff, another Lyme-literate doctor that I interviewed for New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment shared with me, you have to prioritize treatment according to what the body’s greatest threat is. You can’t fix everything at once. So for some people, that might mean removing mold from the body before treating Lyme infections, because the body may not be able to knock out Babesia or Bartonella until the mold is addressed. For others, it might mean getting the detox organs working and functional, or supporting the hormones with bioidentical hormone therapy, before starting antimicrobial treatment.

However, the type of antimicrobial treatment that you do does matter, and in an upcoming article I will share about some of the best treatments that doctors are now giving their patients for Lyme. But again, the best treatment strategy is the one that takes into account and supports the whole person, and which prioritizes what the greatest issues are for the body and the person—not the one that aims to first or just eliminate infections. 

Nutrients for Improving Cognitive Function in Chronic Lyme Disease

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         Cognitive problems, such as difficulties with focus, concentration, spatial orientation, memory, word finding, decision-making and analysis, are common in chronic Lyme disease. This is for numerous reasons. Lyme causes inflammation in the brain, destruction of neurons, dysfunctional firing between the neurons, damage to the myelin sheath and other nervous system components; reduced blood flow and oxygen to the brain, nutritional and hormonal deficiencies, food allergies, blood-sugar imbalances and more.

         Cognitive problems have been a major problem for me throughout my battle with chronic Lyme disease, but over the years, I’ve discovered some great supplements to help mitigate the symptoms, which I hope you’ll find useful, too. As a medical writer and book author, I can’t afford for my brain to not work, and while at times I have struggled to put words to the page, I have battled even more with other issues; remembering names, dates and appointments, or where I parked my car. Or being able to listen to people without my mind wandering a thousand places, or carrying out activities that have required coordination, focus or the ability to analyze.

         Today, I still suffer from memory problems and occasionally struggle to focus and concentrate, but my symptoms have greatly improved over the past 10 years. I can work at least twice as fast and get things done a lot more efficiently and effectively than when I was first diagnosed with Lyme. I don’t have to labor as much to stay engaged in a conversation, and I get lost less frequently when I drive.

Restoring my brain function hasn’t been easy, but I have found all of the following nutritional supplements to be helpful. Perhaps you will find them to be helpful for you too:
·       5-HTP. The body makes serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter, from the amino acid 5-HTP. Serotonin also assists with memory and cognitive function, and is commonly low in people with chronic Lyme disease. People with methylation problems (which is most of us) may need to take a methyl donor, such as SAM-e, P5P, methyl-folate or methyl B-12 to make 5-HTP work effectively in the body. It is best to get tested to find out how much 5-HTP you might benefit from, as well as to discover which methylation supplements would work for you. Taking too little or too much of a supplement, as well as the wrong kinds, can exacerbate symptoms, which is why I recommend testing. However, many doctors share with me that short-term dosing of 5-HTP is generally safe for most people.

·       L-tyrosine.  According to an article published in 2007 in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, L-tyrosine can prevent cognitive decline due to stress. I have also personally found it to be helpful for improving cognitive function in Lyme disease. It has helped me with focus, analysis and to process information faster. L-tyrosine is also a mood enhancer. However, it can be stimulatory, so as with 5-HTP, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor to find out whether it would benefit you.

·        Alpha GPC (L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine). This is phospholipid metabolite isolated from lecithin, which increases acetylcholine levels in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that aids with memory, cognition, comprehension, creativity, and spatial orientation. This is perhaps one of the most important nutrients for restoring cognitive function related to neurological disease.

·       L-acetyl-carnitine. According to Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS and author of Why Isn’t My Brain Working? this amino acid compound binds and activates the acetylcholine receptor, and studies have shown L-acetyl carnitine to improve cognition and delay Alzheimer’s progression. Since spirochetal infections such as Borrelia have been linked to Alzheimer’s, L-acetyl carnitine may benefit some people with Lyme disease. It can also help to restore energy, among other things.

·       L-Huperzine A.  This compound decreases the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. Studies have shown it to aid in memory and cognition, and according to Dr. Kharrazian, it is one of the best to use if you have symptoms of acetylcholine imbalance.

·       Vinpocetine. Vinpocetine increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain and protects it against the effects of glutamate, a neurotransmitter found in excess in people with chronic Lyme and which damages neurons. According to an article published in 2008 Neurochemistry International, vinpocetine protects against the cytotoxic effects of glutamate overexposure. The authors of the study then state that glutamate excitotoxicity leads to the dysregulation of mitochondrial function and neuronal metabolism. So vinpocetine may be a very helpful nutrient for some people with Lyme disease.
There are many other nutrients out there that are known for improving cognitive function in chronic Lyme disease, but I haven’t tried them personally, and what works for one person may not work for another. Nonetheless, I highly recommend Dr. Kharrazian’s book, Why Isn’t My Brain Working? for more general information on how to improve cognitive function.

Also, cognitive function in Lyme disease can be improved by restoring hormonal levels, gut health and brain oxygenation, and by balancing blood sugar levels. People with Lyme disease tend to have imbalances in all of these areas, so I recommend working with a doctor to make sure that you are on an anti-inflammatory, blood-sugar stabilizing diet, and are taking supplements to support the health of your gut. Personally, I have found a high-fat, moderate protein and low carb diet to be most beneficial for stabilizing my blood sugar. Getting your hormones tested and balanced is likewise important, as is doing therapies that encourage blood flow and oxygen to the brain, such as exercise and EWOT (exercise with oxygen). Incorporating these nutrients and strategies into your daily regimen can go a long way toward helping your mind (and body!) to function optimally.


Kharrazian, D. (2013). Why Isn’t My Brain Working? Carlsbad, CA: Elephant Press.

 Tárnok KKiss ELuiten PGNyakas CTihanyi KSchlett KEisel UL. Effects of Vinpocetine on mitochondrial function and neuroprotection in primary cortical neurons. Neurochem Int. (2008 Dec);53(6-8):289-95. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2008.08.003. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

Young, S. L-Tyrosine to alleviate the effects of stress? J Psychiatry Neurosci.(2007 May); 32(3): 224. Accessed on December 30, 2015 from:

Five Super Strategies for Restoring Sleep in Lyme Disease

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One of the worst symptoms that I’ve endured throughout the years in my battle with Lyme disease is insomnia. At times inconvenient, at other times grievous, insomnia has been a wicked, constant companion that has stolen from me many years of productivity, sanity and peace. Most people can endure a bad night or two of sleep, but when you can’t get more than a few hours of shut-eye for weeks, months or years on end, such exhaustion tries even the strongest of souls.
Fortunately, as I’ve recovered from Lyme, I’ve been able to find relief from sleeplessness, and while I still don’t get a solid 8 hours every night, which is really what my body needs, I can count on a solid 6.5-7 hours most nights (if I do everything right) which is good enough for me. If I slip up though and eat junk food, stay on my computer past 9:30 PM, or allow the struggles of life to get to me, then I can fall back into insomnia’s grip. But I no longer go through my days fatigued, tormented and depressed because I’m sick with exhaustion.
It took me many years of trial and error and pain to find some real answers to the problem of sleeplessness, which plagues so many with Lyme disease and chronic illness.  In people with Lyme disease, the reasons for insomnia are many and include such things as inflammation, neurotoxins in the brain and body, hormonal imbalances, neurotransmitter imbalances, pain, poor gut health, electromagnetic pollution and more. To make matters worse, most doctors prescribe sleep medication to their patients, which, while I believe is useful and even necessary at times, makes the body’s chemical imbalances even worse. I took anti-depressants and sedative drugs to sleep for nearly eight years, and it took me several years to heal my brain and body from the effects of those, and the process of weaning off of them was excruciatingly difficult.
Had I known back then what I know now, I believe that the process could have been made much easier, but the good news is, I now have a good arsenal of strategies for sound sleep that have given me my life back, and which I hope will help other people with Lyme disease, as well. Indeed, I’ve learned enough about this topic to write a book—and perhaps I will someday!—But for now, I’ll share just a few highlights about some of the tools that have helped me, in the event that you find them helpful, also.
First of all, the usual advice that’s given to people with insomnia is to do things like take a hot bath, drink a warm glass of milk, or take some valerian root herb. These strategies can be helpful, but for people with severe neurological disease, they are seldom sufficient. For me, I found all of the following additional tools to be useful and necessary:
1) Balancing the hormones.  If your thyroid function is too low or too high, you may not sleep well at night. If you have an imbalance of progesterone relative to estrogen (common in peri-menopausal and menopausal women), you won’t sleep well. Similarly, if you have adrenal exhaustion, which can cause either too high or too low cortisol levels, you may not sleep. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have your doctor order a complete hormone panel and correct for any imbalances using bio-identical hormones, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements. This can include things like bio-identical thyroid hormone, pregnenolone, DHEA, 7-keto DHEA, progesterone, adrenal glandular supplements, or nutrients such as Vitamin C, pantethine and phosphatidyl-serine.  You’ll want to work with your doctor to find out what remedies would best benefit you, based on your lab results. Most good integrative doctors do hormone panel testing.
2) Having a protein snack before bedtime. Adrenal fatigue and Lyme disease often cause the body’s blood sugar levels to be unstable, which means you may not be able to get through the night without your body awakening you and screaming for some glucose. The conventional advice is to not eat too close to bedtime, but for me, and others I know with Lyme disease, a protein snack right before bedtime can make for a longer, and better night of sleep. I will often have a chicken leg or beef stick from US Wellness meats, which sells clean, organic high-quality animal protein. Nuts are also a great protein snack.
3) Replenishing and restoring neurotransmitter levels with amino acids.  Lyme disease causes neurotransmitter imbalances that create symptoms of insomnia, depression, fatigue and brain fog, among others. Balancing neurotransmitters with amino acids can help to restore sleep, along with a myriad of other symptoms. Amino acid therapy, in fact, was one of the most important things that I did to recover my health.
Amino acids such as L-tryptophan, 5-HTP, L-theanine and GABA all aid in sleep, but they must be balanced in the body so I don’t recommend taking random amounts of these nutrients or they may not work. They also require certain co-factors for the body to be able to use them and create neurotransmitters from them. Nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C and P5P are among these. Many people with Lyme disease also have genetic mutations that don’t enable them to properly break down and synthesize neurotransmitters, so I recommend doing genetic testing, along with amino acid and neurotransmitter testing to find out what your body needs.
You can compensate for genetic mutations by taking certain nutrients that aid in amino acid synthesis and neurotransmitter metabolism, such as SAM-e, methyl B-12 and methyl-folate but you’ll want to get tested and work with your doctor to determine precisely what you need. Randomly taking nutrients isn’t a good idea and can even backfire on you and make symptoms worse. You may respond poorly to amino acid therapy without the proper methylators and co-factors, and while testing can be expensive and laborious, I have found that it’s well worth the time, effort and investment.  Amino acid therapy can even help you to wean off of sleep medications and anti-depressants.
4) Lowering electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in your environment.
I regularly interview integrative cancer doctors for a podcast interview that I host for the Alternative Cancer Research Institute, and time and again, these doctors tell me that many people don’t sleep well due to the prevalence of electromagnetic fields in the environment.  EMFs from Wi-Fi, microwave towers, cell phones, smart meters, power lines, disrupt sleep by causing imbalances in the body’s electromagnetic field. I found that doing all of the following helped me to sleep better:
a)   Turning off the circuit breakers in my bedroom
b)   Turning off my cell phone, cordless phones, and Wi-Fi router at night
c)   Using Graham-Stetzer filters throughout my home. Graham-Stetzer filters block the EMFs that are transmitted via smart meters through the wall wiring. For more information, see:
You can find more information on how to lower EMFs in your home in my 2014 book, Create a Toxin-Free Body and Home, which I co-authored with Lee Cowden, MD.
5) Lowering inflammation and high glutamate levels. When the body is inflamed, it doesn’t rest. Whether from pain or high glutamate levels caused by disease, inflammation guarantees a bad night’s sleep. To combat inflammation, avoid allergenic foods in your diet, and ask your doctor about taking an anti-inflammatory supplement such as curcumin, turmeric or low-dose aspirin, before bedtime.  L-theanine and alpha-ketoglutaric acid are two supplements that help to lower glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter that disrupts sleep and which is caused by Lyme neurotoxins.
In addition, I recommend working with your doctor to improve your gut health, as most of the body’s neurotransmitters are made in the gut, and ensuring the health of your gut will help to ensure the health of your brain and neurological system.
Finally, I encourage you to do a relaxing activity before bedtime, such as reading a good book, praying, meditating, or journaling—anything that will help you to empty your mind of worrisome thoughts that could keep you up at night.
Sleep is the foundation of health, and by discovering the underlying causes of sleep deprivation, you will be empowered to find solutions and recover not only from insomnia but also from all other symptoms of Lyme disease. 

Ten Common Causes of Symptoms in Chronic Lyme Disease

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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) 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:
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. 



The Link Between Lyme Disease and Alzheimer's

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One of the unfortunate realities of Lyme disease is that it can create susceptibility to other illnesses and conditions, such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few. This is because Lyme disease interferes with a multitude of biochemical processes in the body; it damages cells, causes inflammation and toxicity and other unfavorable issues that can become a setup for other problems.

Since Lyme disease is first and foremost a neurological disease that affects the brain and nervous system (although it affects every system of the body), perhaps one of the most important diseases that people with Lyme disease are at an increased risk for is Alzheimer’s dementia. Indeed, research shows that some chronic infections are linked to Alzheimer’s, including spirochetal infections such as Borrelia, one of the primary infections of Lyme disease.

Authors Thomas J. Lewis, PhD and Clement L. Trempe, MD, describe the correlation between Alzheimer’s and Lyme disease in their 2014 book, The End of Alzheimer’s: A Differential Diagnosis Toward a Cure. They cite Dr. Judith Miklossy, a pioneering doctor who has extensively researched the connection between infection and Alzheimer’s. In a 2011 research paper entitled, "Alzheimer Disease—A neurospirochetosis?" Dr. Miklossy states, (as cited in The End of Alzheimer’s), “It is established that chronic spirochetal infection can cause slowly progressive dementia, brain atropy and amyloid deposition in neurosyphiis. Recently it has been suggested that various types of spirochetes, in an analogous way to Treponema palladium could cause dementia and may be involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.” 

Borrelia burgdorferi has been shown to be similar to the syphilis spirochete, but Dr. Miklossy also goes on to say, “Borrelia burgdorferi was detected in the brain in 25.3% of AD [Alzheimer’s dementia] cases analyzed and was 13 times more frequent in AD compared to controls.”  Even more interesting, she notes that the common dental spirochete Treponema has been observed in over 90% of people with Alzheimer’s. Thus, spirochetal infections have been shown in multiple studies to be linked to Alzheimer’s.

Borrelia is thought to cause chronic inflammation and corticol atrophy and to play a role in amyloid deposition. These are all factors which lead to Alzheimer’s. Corticol atrophy refers to degeneration of the outer layer of the brain, which consists of six folded layers of connected neurons.  Amyloid deposition refers to the plaque deposits on the brain that are found in Alzheimer’s patients. In The End of Alzheimer’s, Dr. Miklossy is quoted as saying, “Bacteria and their degradation products may initiate a cascade of events leading to cell death, neurodegeneration and amyloid deposition in Alzheimer’s disease.”

 What’s more, a meta-analysis on the relationship between spirochetal infections and Alzheimer’s, published in 2015 in Journal of Alzheimer’s Diseaserevealed that there is a tenfold increased occurrence of Alzheimer’s when there is evidence of a spirochetal infection, including Borrelia.

Fortunately, by understanding the connection between Lyme and Alzheimer’s, people with Lyme disease can be empowered to heal more completely from the illness and prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. The obvious first step is to eliminate the infections. Beyond that, there are things that people with Lyme disease can do to improve cognitive function, prevent neurological degeneration and lower inflammatory markers.

One of the most important of these is to take Omega-3 essential fatty acid (EFA) supplements from fish oils.  Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been shown in studies on thousands of people to lower inflammation and prevent or reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s. They are responsible for maintaining the integrity of neuronal cell membranes, and since the brain is comprised of 80% fat, consuming omega-3 EFAs can help to prevent degradation of brain tissue.

In The End of Alzheimer’s, Authors Thomas J. Lewis, PhD and Clement L. Trempe, MD cite additional nutrients that have been shown in studies to help prevent Alzheimer’s. These include Vitamin D and magnesium, both of which lower inflammation and which have shown to be specifically helpful for people with Alzheimer’s. The authors note that deficiencies of zinc and Vitamin K have also been associated with Alzheimer’s, so supplementation with these nutrients may also be helpful.

Diet also plays a crucial role in staving off Alzheimer’s. Because inflammation has been linked strongly to Alzheimer’s, avoiding inflammatory foods in the diet is essential for people with chronic Lyme. This includes any food that the body perceives as an allergen, including food additives, genetically modified food, and foods that may seem to be healthy but which the body may prefer to avoid because they are not natural. High-carbohydrate diets have been particularly linked to Alzheimer’s, because they cause blood sugar imbalances and high insulin levels, which have been linked to Alzheimer’s.  Many Lyme-literate doctors have found Paleo diets, which are rich in animal protein, healthy fats like olive and coconut oil, fruits and green veggies, to be generally healthful diets for people with Lyme disease and for keeping inflammation at bay.

Finally, keeping the brain engaged and active, and connecting with others socially can help to prevent dementia. Working in a stimulating or mentally challenging job or having a mentally stimulating hobby, and interacting with others on a regular basis, all encourage brain health.
Further Reading and References
Bu XL et al.  “A study on the association between infectious burden and Alzheimer's disease.” Eur J Neurol. (2014 Jun 9). doi: 10.1111/ene.12477.

Lewis, T. and Clement Trempe. (2014). The End of Alzheimer’s: A Differential Diagnosis Toward a Cure. TJLPHD, LLC.

 Maheshwari P1Eslick GD. Bacterial infection and Alzheimer's disease: a meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;43(3):957-66. doi: 10.3233/JAD-140621.

 Miklossy J. “Alzheimer's disease - a neurospirochetosis. Analysis of the evidence following Koch's and Hill's criteria.” J Neuroinflammation. (2011 Aug 4);8:90. doi: 10.1186/1742-2094-8-90.

Hyperthermia: An Effective Alternative Treatment for Lyme Disease

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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.

The Benefits of Sauna Therapy in Lyme Disease

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During Lyme disease treatment, the liver and kidneys can become overwhelmed, especially during Herxheimer, or pathogen die-off reactions, which create greater amounts of toxins for the body to filter out of the blood and eliminate.
When detoxing your body from Lyme neurotoxins and environmental toxins, you can give your liver and kidneys a break by eliminating some of those toxins through your skin with sauna therapy. With this therapy, you can reduce the amount of toxins that your liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract have to filter, process and eliminate.
Not all saunas are created equal, so you’ll want to choose a sauna that is made of high quality materials that don’t outgas harmful chemicals and which have low levels of electromagnetic fields.  Far infrared saunas work best for detoxifying the body at a deep level, although traditional gym saunas and other types can at least help you to sweat, and thereby confer some benefit for detox. That said, I have personally found high quality infrared saunas to be much more effective and comfortable than traditional gym or other types of saunas, because they don’t heat the body to as high a temperature as the latter saunas. If you have compromised adrenal function, you will fare much better in a high quality infrared sauna—at least I have found that to be true for myself and other people that I know. At the same time, high quality infrared saunas go deeper into the tissues to remove toxins at the cellular level than other types of saunas.
In addition to detoxifying the body, infrared sauna therapy can support healthy inflammatory levels and in so doing help to reduce pain. It also increases circulation and lymphatic flow, which may help the body to remove toxins and uptake nutrients, since one of the jobs of the lymphatic system is to shuttle nutrients to the cells and help to carry waste away from them for elimination by the body.   It may also help to kill pathogens and support the body in removing cancer cells.
As great as sauna therapy is, it may not be beneficial for everyone with Lyme or at every stage of the healing process. Because saunas can mobilize toxins from deep within the tissues, if your body is already compromised from processing toxins from pathogen die-off, pulling more toxins out of the cells may overwhelm the detox organs. If your adrenal function is low, sauna therapy can sometimes exacerbate exhaustion. It may also be contraindicated in a few other conditions, so you’ll want to consult with your doctor or healthcare practitioner before doing it.
Saunas can be pricey, but I actually purchased a slightly used one on Craig’s List for $400. It is a very high quality Sunlighten portable sauna made from a special heating technology called Solocarbon. It emits low EMFs and I don’t feel exhausted after doing a session, unlike when I used to go to the gym.  I have also found moderation to be key. I feel best when I use my sauna only a few times per week, for no more than 30 minutes. Some people may be able to do more, or less, but if you try sauna therapy, you may want to start out slow and at a low temperature to see how your body responds. Again, I recommend consulting with your local health care practitioner for guidance in this, especially since saunas can cause, or potentially exacerbate, Herxheimer reactions.
As a final note, consider doing some oil pulling or taking a toxin binder after you do your sauna.  Oil pulling involves swishing a healthy type of oil, such as olive or coconut, around in your mouth for five minutes and then spitting it out. The oil will pull toxins from your bloodstream, through the mucus membranes in your mouth.  Because sauna therapy mobilizes toxins, you may have a greater amount of toxins circulating around in your bloodstream after the treatment which is why oil pulling and taking toxin binders such as zeolite, chlorella, apple pectin, charcoal or glutathione following a sauna may be especially beneficial.
Sauna therapy is described in greater detail in my book New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment (which will be released in October, 2016).

Lyme Stop: A Novel New Treatment for Lyme Disease

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New treatments for Lyme disease are continually emerging, with some appearing to be more effective than others. The tried and true treatments have, up until now, mostly been limited to antibiotic and herbal remedies, as well as oxidative therapies such as ozone. Other treatments, such as hyperthermia, IV silver, and even Rife machine therapy also have proven to be of benefit to Lyme sufferers.
Still, these therapies haven’t helped everyone, so I was excited to recently learn about another type of unconventional treatment that has been emerging over the past five years, which has apparently been helping many people that the more conventional treatments have not. 
It’s called LymeStop, and it is a hands-on, brain-body technique developed by Tony Smith, DC a chiropractor who has developed and/or used a number of natural healing techniques over the past 36 years to treat a variety of chronic health conditions. LymeStop integrates several of these hands-on neurophysiological techniques, and is an effective, all-natural method of identifying and eliminating Lyme-related infections.
It is difficult to adequately explain how LymeStop works in a short article, but basically, it involves manually stimulating certain points on the brain and body with magnets and the hands. Each body point corresponds to a particular infection, and by simultaneously stimulating those points, along with the brain, the brain is given a signal to go after the infection- wherever it happens to be in the body- and kill it.
Interestingly, the body eliminates the infections over a period of months, even though the treatment is typically completed in only a week. It also modulates the Herxheimer reaction over time so that, as in Dr. Smith’s words, the body “kills and relaxes, before killing and relaxing again.”
There is a Lyme Stop Facebook group, where members can post their experiences with the treatment. After studying the site for months and observing people’s responses to the treatment, I was so impressed that I invited Dr. Smith to participate in a chapter in my upcoming book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Lyme Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work. 
When I interviewed Dr. Smith, I was even more impressed with the kindness, humility and compassion that came through in his voice when he spoke about his work and described his heart for Lyme patients. Having battled Lyme himself, Dr. Smith intimately understands the battle that Lyme sufferers face, and was able to heal himself using his own technique.
What is really unique about LymeStop is that it is a relatively inexpensive, fast treatment that can be completed in a week, which is followed up by one or two follow-up treatments months later. Does this sound too good to be true? I would say so, except that if you look on the LymeStop group on Facebook, you’ll find testimonials of people who have experienced radical improvement in their symptoms, many of which have lasted for a year and beyond.
Like all treatments though, LymeStop seems to be more helpful to some people than others, and I believe that for many, other co-conditions that are often present in Lyme disease must also be addressed. Removing infections isn’t the only factor that influences recovery, but I am optimistic about the potential of LymeStop to provide new answers to the quandary of Lyme, especially for those who haven’t found help elsewhere.
To learn more about Dr. Tony Smith and LymeStop, see: Dr. Smith’s work is also described in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Lyme Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work. 



The Best Diet for People Who Battle Lyme Disease

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One of the biggest quandaries for people with Lyme disease may be what to eat. So many foods cause allergic reactions, and doctors, nutritionists and diet books promote all kinds of diets, from the ketogenic diet, to the Paleo diet, to many others.  You may find that your body reacts to all kinds of foods that you previously tolerated prior to Lyme, and/or you may find it challenging to come up with meal plans that work for you.
My experience and belief is that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet for everyone, and any healthcare practitioner or diet book that promotes one kind of diet for people with Lyme may not be helpful. This is because no two people have the same metabolic chemistry or set of infections and co-conditions, and therefore will respond differently to foods.
True, there are a couple of categories of food that are generally deemed to be safe and healthy for most everyone, such as non-starchy veggies and perhaps some sprouted and fermented foods, but the agreement seems to stop there. I interview doctors for a living, and I’ve found that even the most well regarded and experienced don’t always agree upon the same type of diet for people with Lyme or any other chronic health condition.
And if you've read enough diet books or medical articles, or talked to enough health care practitioners, you may be left wondering what you can eat! For instance, some experts will say that red meat is a no-no because it causes acidity in the body and is hard on the liver, while others will shun fish, because most fish contains high levels of mercury. Others advise against consuming dairy products because they are mucus forming and allergenic for most people with Lyme, as are many, if not most, grains and foods containing gluten. Then there are processed and artificially flavored foods, which are an obvious no-no. Fruit feeds Candida, as do legumes and grains, so what does that leave you? Green veggies and chicken…three times a day? Well, unfortunately for some people—yes. But if you have ever wondered in frustration what you can eat—know that you are not alone.
As I have navigated my own health challenges over the years, I’ve been frustrated by the array of dietary recommendations out there and conflicting opinions about diets and food. The fact that much of the food supply is contaminated doesn’t help the average Lyme sufferer to find foods that will work for him or her.
What I have ultimately discovered is that while there are general categories of foods, and guidelines that will work for many people with Lyme disease, everyone needs a somewhat different diet, according to their unique chemistry. I came to this conclusion after interviewing many dozens of Lyme-literate doctors. The late William Donald Kelley, DDS, a famous dentist who reportedly helped thousands of people to recover from cancer in the 1960s created a system called metabolic typing which is based on the idea that diet should be individualized and tailored to the person’s metabolic type, or situation, which includes their biochemistry, health condition, physical characteristics and other factors.
Dr. William Lee Cowden, MD and I describe Dr. Kelley’s diet in our 2014 book,Foods that Fit a Unique You, which is also based on the idea that we are all unique and have different dietary requirements.  But Dr. Cowden and I agreed that in addition to metabolic factors, it was important to look at other issues in the body, including allergies, how the body’s pH responds to different foods, and how foods are combined.  Ironically, when you are eating foods that are right for your metabolic type, your pH should come into balance, regardless of whether the foods you consume are categorized as “acidic” or “alkalinizing.” 
This is because, for instance, Borrelia can make the body excessively alkaline, because it produces a neurotoxin called ammonia, which is alkalizing. This means that healthy acidic foods, such as red meat, can sometimes help to balance the pH in people with Lyme. Dr. David Jernigan, DC, describes this phenomenon in my book New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work. (coming in October, 2016). In it, he contends that excessively alkaline diets are sometimes not beneficial for those with Lyme, until they get to a certain stage in their healing process.
Now, excessive acidity in the body is never a good thing, just as being too alkaline isn’t a good thing. But my point is that depending upon where you are in your healing journey, you may find that your needs differ from others or from conventional wisdom, or even change over time.  Going back to the example of red meat, your doctor may tell you that red meat is bad for you because it’s acidic, but if you are anemic or have weak adrenals, you may find that including some red meat in your diet will actually help you to feel better.
Portions and food combining matter, too. If you eat too much or consume certain foods together (such as starchy foods with protein) this may challenge your digestion. The body expends a lot of its energy to digest food; energy that your body may need to heal, so you may find that eating frequent, small meals is more beneficial for your body than consuming a few larger ones.  
In Foods that Fit a Unique You, Dr. Cowden and I describe an easy, at-home test you can take that can help you to determine what foods are best for you. It’s called the Coca pulse test. For this, you simply calculate your pulse rate before you eat, and then again afterward. According to Dr. Cowden, if your pulse is elevated by more than 15 beats per minute immediately after you finish a meal, chances are, you were allergic to, or your body did not respond well to something you ate.
Another way to determine your body’s response to food is to measure your pH after you eat. The heavier the food you eat, the longer you’ll want to wait after your meal to test your pH. For instance, fruit passes through the body relatively quickly, so Dr. Cowden advocates testing the pH several hours following fruit consumption, but up to 8 hours after animal protein consumption. It’s best to test yourself after eating only one food at a time, so you know which foods your body reacts to. You can also test your pH first thing in the morning, to see how you are doing overall with your diet.  Now, your pH is also affected by stress, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when doing pH testing. For more information on pH testing, see Foods that Fit a Unique You. 
Finally, pay attention to how you feel after you eat. Are you tired, bloated, energetic, sad or happy? Not all food allergy reactions manifest immediately after you eat, but as a general rule, if you feel more energetic and happy after a meal, that’s a good thing. You aren’t supposed to be tired after you eat. If you are, it could mean that you ate something you were allergic to, or you ate too much.
In New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, the ten doctors that I interviewed shared with me their dietary recommendations for those with Lyme. Most agreed that the diet has to be individualized but also agreed that certain categories of foods, such as low-glycemic fruits, nuts, seeds, veggies and some types of animal protein such as chicken and turkey—are generally beneficial for a majority. So, you may want to start here when creating a diet plan for yourself, and then tailor it to your specific needs, according to a few of the food-testing tips described here.  This, along with taking a metabolic typing quiz, can be an easy, inexpensive way to figure out what foods will help you to feel your best. For more information on metabolic typing, I recommend consulting The Metabolic Institute website. 

Tests for Lyme Disease that Truly Work

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Typically, the ELISA, Western blot, PCR and Lyme culture tests have been promoted as the best ways to diagnose Lyme disease.  The ELISA has been deemed to be essentially worthless by most Lyme-literate doctors that I know (for reasons that I won’t go into here, because I simply don’t know a single educated doctor who uses it anyway). The other tests are used among some Lyme-literate physicians, although their usefulness is limited. 

The Western blot looks for antibodies to Lyme, which the body produces in response to the infections. It can be helpful for detecting a few species of infection, but it is only somewhat useful because in the later stages of disease, the body may not be able to mount an antibody response against the infections, and up to 60% of all people with Lyme will test negative on it. The PCR is similarly useful for detecting a few species of infection, but not most. According to Wayne Anderson, ND, in my October, 2016 book New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, “we now know that there are over 290 subspecies of Mycoplasma that can affect humans, but tests have been developed only for one Mycoplasma species, which means that lab tests will miss most of them. Similarly, current lab tests can only detect 2 out of the 29 species of Bartonella that are out there, and only 2 species of Babesia, even though there are over 100! The same is true of other microbes.” So these tests may miss most of the microbes. Further, PCR antigen testing (which looks for samples of microbial DNA in the blood) misses many cases of Lyme because most microbes aren’t in the blood and a random sample may or may not contain microbial antigens.

The good news is—world-renowned Lyme-literate doctor Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD, has recently discovered a method for obtaining accurate PCR results in his patients—nearly every time. I describe this method in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment. The great thing about it is that it means that any patient or practitioner can now do PCR testing and get mostly accurate results- but urine test samples must be collected according to the method described by Dr. Klinghardt, which involves doing deep tissue massage to “chase” the bugs out of hiding, before collecting a urine sample for the PCR test. 

There are other ways to find out for sure whether you have Lyme. First and foremost, you'll want to see a healthcare practitioner who can diagnose Lyme based on your symptom patterns and who uses tests only to confirm the diagnosis. Secondly, consider looking for a practitioner who does dark field microscopy testing. This involves looking at the blood under a microscope. It is a great way to test for some infections, because if you have microbes in your body, they will tend to show up under the microscope. It is a helpful adjunct diagnostic tool when used along with other types of testing.

Finally, bioenergetic testing, using tools such as muscle testing and bioenergetic devices like the ZYTO can be incredibly useful for showing the infections that the body is battling at present, and many practitioners now use these in their practices. 

“Challenge” testing, which involves giving patients an antimicrobial remedy to see how they respond to it, is another way to determine whether an infection is present. A few of the doctors featured in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment have found the Byron White remedies to be especially useful for this purpose.

In summary, you don’t have to rely upon the Western blot or useless ELISA tests to find out whether you have Lyme. Explore some of these additional testing options with your doctor to see if you might find a better, easier way to detect the infections. For more information on Lyme infection testing, I encourage you to check out  New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment which will be released in October, 2016. To be notified of when the book will be out, click here.

My New Book! New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work

Note: This article was originally published on Also, as an update to the information in this article, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment will be published later this month and will be available for purchase on my website as well as at 

I’ve often said that chronic Lyme disease is a quagmire for even the most brilliant of minds, and that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment protocol that works for everyone. I’ve written many books, blogs and articles on Lyme disease over the past eight years, to share what I’ve learned from Lyme-literate doctors and my own research, in the hopes that this information would help those who haven’t found answers or healing through the resources currently available to them.  
While I believe these writings have helped many people, much better answers for Lyme have emerged since the publication of my last doctor interview book in 2009. So this fall, I will be releasing a new book entitled, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: Ten Top Doctors Reveal Treatments that Work. Here, 10 of the world’s most successful Lyme-literate doctors will share new, innovative approaches to Lyme disease treatment.
One thing that makes this book unique is that the doctors describe healing strategies that haven’t been discussed at length elsewhere. This includes things such as intravenous phospholipid, silver and ozone therapy; bio-magnetism, low-dose immunotherapy, hyperthermia and essential oils, and hands-on treatments and devices that literally “re-boot” and “re-program” the body.
The doctors also discuss how to use traditional tools such as antibiotics and herbal remedies in smarter, gentler ways. The motto within the Lyme community once seemed to be that strong Herxheimer (or detoxification) reactions were a sign of successful treatment, but many Lyme-literate doctors now believe that heavy-handed treatments are not better, and can even be harmful, because “Herxing” means that the body is toxic and that toxins are not being effectively cleared from it. 
I don’t know about you, but the fact that people can get well without having to endure heavy-handed Herx reactions and feel horribly sick for several years before feeling better, is great news to me and gives me hope.  I spent many years enduring difficult Herx reactions myself, as the result of the harsh treatments that my doctors gave me, and in the end, I never seemed to feel better. Instead, I spent years on my sofa, floor and bed in agony, yet believing the “Herxing” was somehow good for me. It’s time for a paradigm shift! You shouldn’t have to feel worse for months or years before you feel better.
Speaking of hope, all of the doctors in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment will tell you that healing from Lyme disease is possible, and that you can recover, with the right tools. While every doctor represented in the book has a unique way of treating Lyme, one thing that they share in common is that they all aim to heal the body from the “ground up,” not just treat infections. They understand that Lyme disease isn’t just about treating a handful of infections called Borrelia, Babesia, Bartonella and Ehrlichia, but about correcting the multiple systemic and organ dysfunctions and damage that have occurred in the body as a result of microbes, mold, environmental toxins, trauma and other problems that are involved in Lyme.
As I wrote in the Preface of New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment “Many doctors now believe that the term “Lyme disease” is really a misnomer; a label to define chronic illness involving Lyme-related pathogens. This is because people get sick due to a weakened immune system, which doesn’t just occur because of infections, but many other environmental factors. So in reality, healing isn’t just about eliminating a defined set of pathogens collectively called “Lyme disease,” but about restoring and rebuilding the “terrain” of the body so that Lyme pathogens can’t flourish there. Lyme microbes are a cause of disease, but they are also the result of an immune system that has been weakened by other factors. Those factors must be addressed if people are to fully recover.”
I am also excited about this new book because the doctors share things that you can do from home that will aid you in the road to recovery. By themselves, these tools may not fully heal you—and I don’t recommend self-treatment for Lyme anyway, as it is simply too complex and complicated for most people to navigate on their own. Yet I recognize the reality that many people don’t have the funds to see a Lyme-literate doctor on a regular basis or have already spent thousands of dollars to get well and have perhaps depleted their treatment funds. (I’ve been in that boat myself, many times). For this reason, I asked the doctors to share with me safe therapies that people can do from home, and a few went to great lengths to do this, as well as to share herbal protocols that you can do on your own.  

Whether you are just beginning your healing journey and are looking for a good doctor to help you get well, or are a seasoned Lyme veteran who needs to find a new treatment approach or new adjunct tools for your healing because those of the past haven’t worked, you will find information in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment that will help you. I believe this book is my best work yet, and contains a wealth of information that will help you to navigate the challenges of chronic illness.
To see a list of the doctors featured in the book, and to be notified of when the book is out, click here.

Why Am I Not Healed? Factors that Hinder Recovery from Lyme Disease (and Related Chronic Illnesses) and What You Can Do About It

Note: This article was originally published on 

Lyme disease is, unquestionably, one of the most challenging and complicated diseases to treat. Many doctors who treat both Lyme and cancer have shared with me that, as a general rule, Lyme is even more difficult to treat than cancer. And sadly, many people who battle chronic Lyme have trodden a long, difficult path, spent thousands of dollars and many years on treatments—only to feel as though they are no closer to the finish line than when they started. 

If this is you, I feel your pain. I have been there myself, and I intimately understand the frustration of expending, and spending, all of your time, energy, effort and money on treatments—only to suffer one horrible detox reaction after another and not feel any better at the end of it all.  I don’t know why healing seems to come more easily for some than others, but I do know that if you aren’t better, after much effort, it’s not necessarily because you are doing something wrong.

People with Lyme disease are all infected with a unique bunch of microbes, each of which varies in its pathogenicity, virulence and effects upon the body, so there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” treatment that will work for everyone. Furthermore, people with Lyme aren’t just dealing with a single microbial infection; I cringe every time I hear a news reporter say that Lyme is “a Borrelia burgdorferi infection transmitted through the bite of a tick.” I don’t know how this myth continues to get perpetrated, but for those in the media who still haven’t bothered to do their research –Lyme disease is not all about Borrelia, and it is not just spread through a tick bite. It can be transmitted through other insects and from person to person, as well as via other means.

Not only that, but people with Lyme disease are usually infected with multiple pathogenic microbes, which cause literally every organ and system in the body to malfunction, and which, as a downstream effect, creates new health issues. And often, Lyme infections are just one cause of symptoms in people with the disease. For instance, mold and heavy metal toxicity can be a cause or effect of Lyme. One makes the body more susceptible to the other.

In any case, most diseases today, including Lyme, can be boiled down to four causes: environmental toxicity, microbes, nutritional imbalances and trauma, and all of these disease factors are present in most people with chronic Lyme. Rare is the soul who gets well from simply taking some antibiotics. It has just become more complicated than that for most of us.

For this reason, any doctor who treats Lyme disease, as well as all of us who have been infected with Lyme microbes, need to understand that once Lyme becomes a chronic condition, simply going after the infections isn’t going to get people well.  The bugs must be cleared out, no doubt, but the body must also be detoxified, repaired, restored and replenished, and its systems balanced, and any other underlying causes of disease, such as mold toxicity, must be addressed.

Interestingly, many of the doctors that I interviewed for my new Lyme doctor interview book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work (coming in October) shared with me that over half of all people with chronic Lyme also have mold toxicity, and absolutely will not recover from Lyme unless the mold is also addressed. Yet how many Lyme doctors test their patients for mold toxicity? Not many.

The good news is, there are increasingly more doctors who are becoming informed about chronic Lyme and putting together more pieces of the puzzle. If you’re not getting better, it may be that your doctor has missed one of these crucial pieces. Following is a short list of factors that affect recovery from Lyme, according to what I have learned from my interviews with dozens of Lyme-literate physicians, and through my own personal research and healing journey.

 I encourage you to share these with your doctor so that together, you can find solutions for these issues.  The more pieces of the puzzle that you can address, the greater will be your chances for recovery. Keep in mind, not all of the following will apply to everyone, although most people that I know who have battled Lyme have found all of these important to address, to some degree. Also, this is not a comprehensive list; I’ve chosen to share only those that are an issue for the majority of people with Lyme.
1)   Mold Toxicity. Mold removal, which I just mentioned, is not a do-it-yourself treatment. Like Lyme, mold treatment is complex and requires working with a doctor who understands the importance of removing live mold from the body as well as removing mycotoxins (or mold toxins) with the right binders (which differ for everyone, according to the type of mold they are infected with and their unique constitution).
2)   Non-Lyme Related Microbial Infections. This could include parasites, fungi such as Candida, viruses such as Epstein-Barr, Cytolomegalovirus and other pathogenic organisms such as Mycoplasma. All are common in people with chronic Lyme disease, since Lyme weakens the body in such a way that makes it susceptible to these other “opportunistic” infections.
3)  Environmental Toxins.  Many studies have proven that we are all overloaded with chemical and electromagnetic toxins. These toxins cause all kinds of chronic, degenerative diseases and can be a primary cause of symptoms in people with Lyme, even more so than the microbes themselves (depending of course, upon the person). We breathe these toxins in; they are found in the air, as well as in our food and water supply. Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD, who is featured in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment shared with me in his interview for the book that the incidence of death from neurological disease among women has skyrocketed over 600% over the past 20 years, due to toxins such as glyphosate and aluminum, which are prevalent in the environment. These toxins damage the brain and nervous system so getting them out of the body is paramount for healing.
Solutions for doing this can be found in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, as well as in a short book that I co-authored with Lyme-literate doctor W. Lee Cowden, MD in 2014 entitled, Create a Toxin-Free Body and Home…Starting TodayThere are many other resources out there, but regardless of the resource you choose to learn about detox, the most important takeaway message here is that you must make detoxification as much of a priority when healing your body as removing the Lyme infections. It can’t be relegated to something that you do when you have a few minutes of spare time. Toxins play a major role in Lyme disease.
4)  Balancing the Body’s Systems. Lyme disease affects the gastrointestinal, neuroendocrine, immune and other systems of the body. In many people with Lyme—especially women—the hormones are completely out of whack, and the body will not recover unless support is given to balance the hormones. For most, this means taking nutrients, herbal remedies and/or bio-identical hormones to support adrenal gland and thyroid hormone production. Vitamin C, licorice, pantothenic acid, Siberian and Panax ginseng and adrenal glandulars are popular adrenal-support nutrients, although some people may also require bio-identical hormone supplements such as pregnenolone, DHEA and even hydrocortisone. Thyroid support may include iodine, selenium, tyrosine and bio-identical thyroid hormone. 
In addition to hormonal support, most people with Lyme are deficient in a variety of amino acids, which are used to make proteins for the body. A complete amino acid product can be useful for healing the body, as can specific amino acids to help restore deficiencies. I recommend consulting your doctor to determine which amino acids you might need.
Supporting the health of the gut is similarly important, as most people with Lyme have a damaged gut, as a result of infections and toxins. Supplementation with hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes and a quality probiotic is essential for most, as are nutrients to repair the gut such as glutamine, aloe, marshmallow root and/or slippery elm. But again, you’ll want to consult with your doctor to determine exactly what you may need.
These are just a few areas that commonly need to be addressed in order to balance the body so that it can effectively recover from Lyme. Without the right raw materials, the body simply can’t heal, so doing nutritional and other tests is important for discovering what you might need to get to the next stage in your recovery process.
For instance, Vitamin D, magnesium and zinc are all common nutritional deficiencies in people with Lyme, and without these nutrients, your immune system can’t function properly.  Therefore, replenishing your body’s nutritional stores, balancing your hormones and restoring your gut are just a few things that will help your body to rebuild itself so that it has the ammunition that it needs to fight Lyme.
5)   Healing Emotional Trauma.  Many studies have proven that stress, depression and anxiety, which result from both Lyme and trauma, can lead to disease. This is because when the body is in a state of “fight or flight” or high anxiety, and/or depression, the immune system shuts down. For many of us with Lyme, emotional trauma was a precursor to disease, so resolving the negative emotions, harmful belief patterns and thoughts that are a natural outcome of trauma (although not beneficial) is crucial for recovery.
Sometimes, deprogramming the limbic system from its stress patterns, with tools such as Dynamic Neural Retraining, can also be helpful, since the autonomic brain becomes conditioned to respond in a stressful way to situations once it has been programmed by trauma. In addition, there are many tools out there for healing the emotions on both a cognitive and mind-body level; counseling, inner healing prayer ministry, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) are just a few of these.

How Amino Acid Therapy Helps to Alleviate Symptoms of Depression

This article was originally published on

Depression in Lyme disease is caused by many factors, including, but not limited to: infections, toxins, hormone and neurotransmitter imbalances, and inflammation. It can also be caused by psycho-emotional factors and circumstances of chronic illness, such as isolation and pain.
While I intend to one day write a book covering all of the causes of depression in people with Lyme disease, because I believe it is such an important concern for many with Lyme, for now I’d like to share about a fantastic nutritional strategy that radically reduced my own symptoms of Lyme and which helped me to overcome depression, among other problems.
When I was really sick with Lyme disease, I used to cry daily, for hours on end. It got so bad that I’d wake up and make it as far as the coffee pot before a barrage of tears would overcome me for half the day. I struggled to work, think, sleep and function. Some days, I could literally do nothing because the depression was so overwhelming.
My doctors gave me antidepressants, none of which worked for long, and which actually caused me to feel worse in the long run because they depleted my body of much-needed neurotransmitters. Because that’s what antidepressants do; they don’t provide serotonin or dopamine, or other mood-enhancing chemicals to the body, but instead cause you to more quickly use up your body’s own supply of these chemicals, so that you feel better for awhile, but then eventually crash.
About eight years into my healing journey, I discovered the power of amino acids to rescue my brain and the rest of my body from depression. A couple of doctors had recommended amino acids before, but these aminos had always made me feel worse, instead of better. Little did my doctors or I know that they didn’t work because I needed different types and amounts of these amino acids, along with other substances to make them work in my body. Taking random dosages and types of amino acids is a recipe for disaster; but when properly prescribed, they can work wonders.

Amino acid therapy helped me to become a new person, and to fight Lyme and function when depression had taken me down and out of the game of life. And, it was very validating for me to discover that the main reason why I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, or think positive thoughts, or do much of anything really—was simply because my body was screaming for some nutrition. I was relieved to discover that the reason why I couldn’t stop crying wasn't because I wasn’t trying hard enough to be positive. Maybe you can relate.

I'll keep the chemistry of this simple for the purposes of illustrating my point. Depression in people with Lyme disease can be caused, at least in part, by a serotonin or dopamine deficiency or imbalance. These are brain chemicals that regulate mood, energy, sleep, cognition, pain and more—and most depressed folks don't have enough of either, or they have an imbalance between the two. 5-HTP is an amino acid precursor to serotonin, and L-tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine. We all need both of these in the right amounts and in the proper proportions to be well. The same goes for other amino acids, but these two play a prominent role in mitigating depression.

But here’s the kicker. Amino acids don't tend to work well in people with Lyme disease, unless those amino acids are accompanied by specific vitamin and mineral co-factors, especially vitamin B6, magnesium, and Vitamin C. People with Lyme tend to be deficient in these nutrients, but the body needs them for proper neurotransmitter synthesis and function. I describe them in greater depth in my 2012 book, Beyond Lyme Disease:Healing the Underlying Causes of Chronic Illness in People with Borreliosis and Co-Infections. 

Even more importantly, amino acids don't work well in people with methylation problems, such as yours truly and many others with Lyme disease. SAM-e, methyl-folate and methyl B-12 are methylators that can help the body to synthesize and utilize neurotransmitters. So if you take amino acids such as 5-HTP and L-tyrosine without SAM-e, and you have a methylation problem, you're likely to feel worse after taking amino acids. That’s what happened to me and I gave up on amino acid therapy for a long time for that reason. If you have responded poorly to amino acids in the past and not been tested for methylation problems, I encourage you to have your doctor to order methylation tests for you. 
Amino acid therapy may fail to work or cause you to feel worse for other reasons. For instance: 

1) If you have a severe deficiency of either serotonin or dopamine. You can feel worse before you feel better when you start taking amino acids, if you are very deficient in these vital neurotransmitters. 

2) You aren't taking balanced amounts of amino acids. Perhaps your doctor gave you too much 5-HTP relative to L-tyrosine, or not enough L-tyrosine relative to 5-HTP. Balance is crucial.

3) You don't have enough of, or the proper type of methylation support. Some people do better with SAM-e than methyl-folate or methyl-B12. Or you may need less or more of a particular methylator. 

4) Your body doesn't need the amino acids, or you are using products that have allergenic fillers in them, or which simply don't work.  I found transdermal products to work better than oral ones, since I had digestive problems. You may find this to be true for you, too.

Amino acid dosing is an art, and it’s not always easy to sort out what your body needs. I had to visit multiple doctors, pick the brains of a couple of brilliant biochemists, and experiment for several months with amino acids before I was able to figure out what I needed. In the meantime, I endured some bumps in the road before I got better. 

Unfortunately, I haven’t found many doctors who understand amino acid dosing all that well, but if you suffer from depression, I think it is well-worth doing the research to find one who does, as amino acid therapy can be life-saving and is a far better solution to depression than taking antidepressants. You may want to call a reputable lab that does amino acid testing, and ask the people there for a doctor recommendation in your area. I don’t recommend doing amino acid therapy on your own, as you'll want to get tested to determine exactly what you need, and enlist the help a skilled physician who can help you with that. 

To learn more about how amino acids can help to heal you from depression, I also recommend checking out Jeremy Kaslow, MDs articles on neurotransmitter repletion.