Neil Nathan, MD Hosts Last Interview on Lyme Disease on The Cutting Edge of Health and Wellness Today

Note: This article was originally published on on November 10, 2016. While this radio interview was recorded in November, 2016, you can still listen to it by clicking on the links below. 

Neil Nathan, MD, who has been in practice for 44 years and treating complex, chronic degenerative diseases (including Lyme disease) for over 25 - is the host of The Cutting Edge of Health and Wellness Today, a radio show that features some of the leading voices in integrative medicine and which provides valuable insights and information on complex conditions like Lyme, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. After two and a half years of interviewing doctors, researchers and others involved in integrative medicine, Dr. Nathan will be hosting his last live program tomorrow, Friday, November 11, 2016 at 2 PM Pacific Time.
I will be featured as the last guest on Dr. Nathan’s program, and will be sharing about better solutions for Lyme disease, which are based on my just-released book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that WorkAmong the topics that we’ll discuss are: how the book evolved, what's in it, how it will help others with Lyme, and why it's different from other resources on Lyme disease.
Dr. Nathan has a way of bringing out the most accurate cutting-edge information on a variety of health topics. His program has been a premier go-to site for consumers and medical practitioners wanting to obtain in-depth information on the most challenging chronic health conditions. Thus, I am honored to be able to share what I’ve learned about better answers for Lyme disease on his program.
While Dr. Nathan’s last interview will be tomorrow, you can still listen to the long list of interviews featured on the The Cutting Edge of Health and Wellness Today website. In addition to practicing medicine and hosting this show, Dr. Nathan has authored multiple books (including a chapter in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment) and plans to continue writing about how to treat complex chronic illnesses like Lyme and mold illness.
During past 2.5 years that Dr. Nathan has hosted this program, over 400,000 people worldwide have listened to his interviews with a variety of experts. I am thankful for his tremendous contributions to the field of medicine, and believe that his research and expertise have helped many to live better, healthier lives.

Novel Solutions for Resolving Insomnia in Lyme Disease

Note: This article was originally published on February 15, 2017:

One of the greatest battles that I’ve faced throughout my journey with Lyme disease has been insomnia. It stole years from my life as I spent over half a decade in the throes of severe sleep deprivation, and another half decade with just enough rest to get by, but not really function.
If you’ve ever battled insomnia, you know how torturous it can be to endure sleep deprivation for months or years on end. Most people can handle a night or two—or even several weeks of sleeplessness without feeling crazy—but let’s face it, when you are really sick, it’s not uncommon to suffer from a lack of quality rest, sometimes for years.
In my quest to find healing from insomnia, I read all kinds of books on sleep, but was often frustrated by the answers that I found in these books, because they seemed mostly targeted to an audience that was otherwise healthy. Some of the advice was helpful, but was nowhere near enough for a mind that was battling neurological disease.
Let’s face it—when you have Lyme disease, a little valerian root, melatonin and/or a hot bath before bed often aren’t enough. And if you’re like me, you may have discovered that the effects of most sleep medications are temporary and often cause you to feel worse in the long run, even if at first they may be helpful.
As I’ve probably mentioned before in other articles, I took sleep medications for years while undergoing treatment for Lyme disease; everything from SSRI anti-depressants to benzodiazepenes; otherwise known as sedative drugs. These medications helped me to stay sane while I took potent anti-microbial drugs and herbal remedies, but the weaning off process was probably even more difficult than the symptoms that I faced from Lyme disease and caused me just as many biochemical problems as the original mess of Lyme disease.
I don’t want to discourage you if you truly need sleep medication, but I want you to know that taking any kind of sleep medication long term can create dependency and the possibility of difficult, protracted withdrawal symptoms once you decide to wean off of it.
I understand though that at times, you just do what you gotta do, but I also want you to know that often, there is a better way! And as part of my recovery, I discovered many better solutions for sleep besides medication, and which went beyond the typically prescribed natural remedies like melatonin and a hot bath.
Don’t get me wrong; melatonin, valerian root and a hot bath are all great for improving sleep, and at times, I have found them to be helpful adjuncts to my sleep regimen, but in my worst moments with Lyme disease, they were not enough. Chances are, if you have struggled with sleep for months or years, as I did, you know about all of the common sleep remedies that are out there, yet not found them to be sufficient for restoring your sleep.
With that said, I’d like to suggest some tools that helped me to restore my sleep-wake cycle to near normal and which you may or may not have tried. I describe these (and other solutions) in greater detail in an upcoming book on insomnia that I will be releasing in March, called Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath: Advanced Sleep Solutions for People with Neurological Disease and Chronic Insomnia and which is targeted to those with neurological illnesses. If you would like to be notified of when the E-book is out, click here. (Scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email in the box right below "Get News and Updates."
First, proper sleep hygiene is essential. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, make sure to get off of your computer, ipad, iphone and other glowing gadgets at least two hours before bedtime. The electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and light from these devices stimulate the pineal gland and nervous system.
Similarly, unplug all of the appliances in your bedroom, and/or better yet, turn off the circuit breakers at night.  Electromagnetic pollution is a major cause of insomnia nowadays, unbeknownst to most people, and is one of those stealth toxins that nobody thinks is a problem for them until they get out of their high-EMF environment!
For years, I lived in a sea of electromagnetic pollution, and ultimately, I ended up having to move because it affected my sleep so much. When I finally found a home with lower electromagnetic fields, I began to sleep better. I also purchased some Graham-Stetzer filters, which mitigate electromagnetic pollution that gets transmitted through the wall wiring. I also purchased a sleep canopy, which is a metallic-lined mesh net that drapes over the bed and filters out high frequency EMFs that come from sources such as microwave towers, cell phones and Wi-Fi routers.  To learn more about EMF-shielding products, see:
In addition, some outside-the-box tools that I have found to be incredibly helpful for restoring my sleep-wake cycle over the years include:
·       Neurofeedback and Light-Sound Devices. These are devices that modulate and ramp down your brain waves at bedtime. They range from the moderately effective and inexpensive to the highly effective but more expensive.
Lee Cowden, MD, recommends light-sound devices from The device slowly ramps down your brain waves until you get into a delta wave pattern, which is conducive to sleep. Light-sound devices are less expensive than neurofeedback devices, which modulate your brain waves based on input from your brain.
Neurofeedback devices also modulate brain wave patterns, but rather than simply lowering your brain waves, they input frequencies to your brain that are based on feedback from your brain.
I have used both types of devices, and found neurofeedback to be more effective for severe insomnia, but light-sound machines adequate for moderate insomnia. In fact, the neurointegrator device from Clear Mind helped me to wean off of years of sleep medication use. For more information, see:
(note: I receive no compensation from any company for sharing the tools mentioned here). Neurofeedback devices can be quite pricey though, so you may want to try a sound-light machine first if finances are a factor for you.
·       Cannabis. I have also found low-THC cannabis to be incredibly beneficial for sleep. Not all states have legalized marijuana for medical use, but increasingly, more states are allowing it. The Indica strains of cannabis in particular, are very calming to the nervous system, and studies show that cannabis provides a multitude of benefits to the body, including nervous system regeneration.
You don’t have to get “high” to enjoy the benefits of cannabis for sleep. Many products on the market contain very little THC (this is the compound in cannabis that has psychotropic effects upon the mind) and are very relaxing and healing to the nervous system.
THC has its own health benefits, but it’s not for everyone and you don’t really need it for sleep, since it’s the compounds called cannabinoids in the plant that induce relaxation and rest. What’s more, long-term studies on cannabis show that it is safe for most people.
There has been a negative stigma surrounding cannabis for years, and while it can be abused like all medicines, the controversy is somewhat unwarranted as it is safer and has fewer side effects than most over-the -counter drugs like Advil PM and Benadryl (both of which have been shown in studies to cause Alzheimer’s dementia with prolonged use!).
On that note, Mary’s Medicinals makes some wonderful products for sleep; I have found both CBD and CBN capsules to work for this purpose. Both contain 5 mg of cannabinoids per capsule and just a tiny amount of THC.  For more information, see:
Cannabis is also available in many other forms, but I find that the capsules are the easiest way to take it for a peaceful night’s rest. You can experiment with different forms to find one that works for you.
·       Histamine-Modulating Substances.  Excessive levels of histamine and inflammation can be major causes of insomnia, especially in people with neurological diseases like Lyme, as well as in other health conditions. Histamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in your body’s immune response and is produced when you have an allergic response to something. People with mold illness and Lyme disease often get overloaded with histamine as their bodies get stuck in a perpetual inflammatory, or allergy response.  High histamine levels and inflammation in turn, cause sleep disturbances.
If you don’t believe me, consider the medication Benadryl, which is often recommended by doctors as an over the counter sleep aid to block and/or shut down the effects of histamine!
Histamine release is also implicated in mast cell activation disorder (often abbreviated MCAD), a condition in which the body overproduces mast cells, and which is common in those with Lyme disease and mold illness. Mast cells release histamine and cytokines, or chemicals that cause widespread inflammation throughout the body.
Proper treatment for MCAD can shut down a variety of symptoms caused by inflammation, including, you guessed it—insomnia. Even if the only symptom that you have is insomnia, consider that excessive levels of histamine might be keeping you awake at night!
The anti-histamine medication ketotifen, in addition to quercetin and diamine oxidase, were helpful for treating my MCAD and enabling me to get deeper, more restorative sleep. You may find that these or other natural supplements or medications will help to lower your histamine levels and better enable you to sleep.
What’s great about the medication ketotifen is that it is profoundly effective and, unlike other commonly known antihistamines like Benadryl, it isn’t anticholinergic; that is, it doesn’t block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and peripheral nervous system. Some antihistamines do this, and it is why drugs like Benadryl have been associated with Alzheimer’s and memory loss, since acetylcholine plays a vital role in memory and cognition.
Quercetin, which may be one of the better-known natural remedies for treating MCAD, is described in Lawrence Afrin, MDs book, Never Bet Against Occam. In it, Dr. Afrin says, “It (quercetin) seems to result in reduced production of inflammatory mediators (e.g., leukotrienes and histamine). It may also serve as an inhibitor of tyrosine kinases and other regulatory proteins of interest in activated mast cells.”
Other nutrients that have anti-histaminic properties include: vitamin C, magnesium glycinate, curcumin, Siberian ginseng and holy basil, all of which are believed to help the body to metabolize histamine.
Curcumin, which has been well studied for its anti-inflammatory effects, may be one of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory substances there is, and studies show that it decreases histamine, in addition to a variety of other inflammatory mediators such as cytokines.
I describe some additional solutions for restoring sleep in an article that I published in October 2015 entitled: “Five Super Strategies for Restoring Sleep in Lyme Disease.” You can read more about those here:
They include:
·       Balancing the hormones
·       Replenishing and restoring healthy neurotransmitter levels with amino acids like GABA, 5-HTP, L-theanine and L-taurine
·       Lowering inflammation and high glutamate levels with natural remedies like curcumin, alpha-ketoglutaric acid (which lowers glutamate) and an anti-inflammatory diet
·       Having a protein snack before bedtime (especially if you are prone to hypoglycemia).
The above-referenced article is only a starting point for learning about how each of these factors affects sleep, but I encourage you to share about them with your doctor and/or other holistic health care practitioner if you struggle with insomnia. I also describe each one of these in much greater depth in my upcoming book.
These are just a few of the most important tools that I used on my journey back to restful sleep. You may find that using just one of these tools is sufficient for you, or, if you are like me, and your insomnia has been caused by multiple factors, including damage from long-term sleep medication use and neurological illness, you may need to do more than just one thing to heal and re-set your sleep patterns. 
For instance, I found that I needed to “stack” remedies, one on top of the other, over a long period of time. I didn’t do 10 things at once, and my body didn’t snap back into getting a solid 7 or 8 hours of rest overnight.  My brain had been badly damaged by Lyme and other factors, and it was a long trial-and-error process for me to find things that worked. But, each tool that I used brought me one step closer to the finish line, and I believe that if I can do it, you can, too.
My sleep is not perfect to this day, but if I do everything right (and except for when I travel), I can get a solid 7-8 hours of rest most nights, whereas I used to sleep 3-6 hours for years on end.  (And I’m not one of those people who functions well on six hours of rest, never mind three!).
Finally, our sleep is profoundly affected by our emotions and any past history of trauma, so if you suspect that worry, fear, anger and/or trauma are keeping you up at night, I encourage you to find ways to heal or manage those emotions so that they don’t disrupt your sleep. I share some tools for dealing with worry and fear in my upcoming book Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath, and will also share them in an upcoming article on ProHealth in the weeks to come.
In the meantime, be encouraged—there are tools out there that can help you to recover from insomnia! There were many times throughout my healing journey when I thought that I would never get my sleep back, and although the process was long and arduous, I finally did.  And if I did, then I believe that chances are, you can, too.

New Ebook on Solutions for Insomnia and What Makes It Unique

If you're like me, you know how chronic insomnia resulting from a neurological illness can wreck your life.  For many years, I was exhausted, irritable, brain fogged and miserable due to a lack of sleep from Lyme disease, sleep medication withdrawal, pain and other factors. Insomnia affected my relationships, seriously compromised my ability to function, and led me into a pit of hopelessness - and at times, I believed there was no way out. Fortunately, after many years of trial and error and trying out many treatments, I discovered a handful of new tools that eventually restored my sleep, and I'm excited to now be able to share those with you in my latest book, Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath: Advanced Sleep Solutions for People with Chronic Insomnia.

If you have tried every sleep remedy or medication out there, only to feel frustrated because nothing works - be encouraged—there ARE better answers. The tools that I share in my new book go beyond what you might find in other sleep books, because they are tailored to those of you who, like me, have battled severe health challenges like neurological Lyme disease, or sleep medication addiction. If you haven’t found help through the treatments that have been made available to you, chances are, you will find new hope and help in Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath: Advanced Sleep Solutions for People with Chronic Insomnia. Short but succinct and power-packed with solutions, you will find tools here that will help you to heal from chronic insomnia, no matter the cause. These range from free, do-it-yourself at-home treatments, to more sophisticated brain modulation devices and novel sleep remedies. To learn more, click on the "Recent Books" section of this site.  

The Best Way to Approach Antimicrobial Treatment in Lyme Disease

Note: This article was originally published on on January 19, 2017:

People often ask me what's the most effective antimicrobial treatment for chronic Lyme disease and co-infections. While antibiotics and anti-parasitic medications have typically been considered the treatments of choice by most Lyme-literate doctors - especially those on the East coast - I've observed that in recent years, more doctors and patients have been turning to alternatives to manage Lyme disease, as antibiotics don’t always help everyone to recover.
Granted, antibiotics are important and necessary for some people, perhaps especially those with very aggressive and/or severe cases of neurological Lyme disease. Indeed, Lyme-literate naturopath Wayne Anderson, ND, has found that only 20% of his patients- those with severe neurological Lyme disease (such as those featured in the documentary Under Our Skin) absolutely require antibiotics. Other doctors may prescribe them as part of a protocol that includes other antimicrobials, or only during certain intervals throughout the treatment process.

Some Lyme-literate doctors have also shared with me that they don’t believe that it matters as much what treatments you use to attack the infections as much as what else you are doing to support and heal the body. The theory behind this is that if you support the body and immune system enough, then the body can overcome the infections, no matter what antimicrobials you use to remove the infections.
My experience with Lyme disease and that of others that I know with Lyme, is that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment for everyone, and that it is vitally important to support the healing of the entire body—not just focus on infectious treatment.
Some of the more effective, and popular treatments for Lyme include, in addition to antibiotics:
·       Intravenous ozone therapy
·       Colloidal silver
·       Botanical remedies, such as andrographis and cat’s claw, and the Beyond Balance, NutraMedix, David Jernigan, Byron White and Buhner remedies.
·       Essential oils
·       Hyperbaric oxygen
·       Hyperthermia
Other therapies that have some anecdotal evidence for effectiveness (but which are not often used among Lyme-literate doctors) include:
·       Miracle Mineral Supplement (chlorine dioxide)
·       Rife machine therapy
·       High dose sea salt/Vitamin C
I’ve observed though, that the most savvy and experienced Lyme-literate practitioners won’t just focus on using just one type of treatment on their patients. Rather, most will stack or layer multiple modalities of treatment- one on top of the other, and over time, as their patients tolerate increasingly greater amounts or dosages of treatment.
One mistake that some medical practitioners and patients have made when treating Lyme disease is to give their patients too much treatment, too soon, or just one type of treatment, during their patient’s recovery process. But, as several Lyme-literate practitioners such as David Jernigan, DC, Neil Nathan, MD and Wayne Anderson, ND shared with me in their interviews for my 2016 book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work, too much treatment will cause patients to have strong Herxheimer, or microbial die-off reactions—which is not a good thing. Similarly, just doing one type of treatment is ineffective.
A Herxheimer reaction basically means that the body is toxic, and that the toxins generated by the microbes during the detox or die-off reaction are being circulated back into the body, rather than shuttled out. Basically, the organs of elimination are being overloaded.
Those practitioners who understand this treat their patients based on whether their patients improve over time with a treatment, rather than whether they have a severe reaction to the treatment.  At the same time, they understand the importance of giving multiple treatments to their patients; say, antibiotics in combination with some herbal remedies and/or ozone, but not all at once, but rather, in a layered fashion over time.
Those who believe in a stronger approach to treatment will argue that microbes quickly develop resistance to antimicrobial remedies and therefore, high dosages of multiple medications at the outset are important. In other words, you really have to “whack the bugs” and catch them off guard. Yet those who advocate lower, slower dosages of treatment and the “stacking” of remedies, have found that an effective treatment approach is based more upon giving the patient a wide variety of remedies and rotating those over time. This is so that the patient can remain strong and functional, and so that the microbes don’t have an opportunity to become resistant to just one type of treatment.
Herxheimer reactions can yet occur with this kind of approach, but if the treatments are done properly, detoxification reactions can be minimized and managed, so that the patient’s energy can instead be focused on removing microbes rather than trying to remove a backup of biotoxins. For instance, for my current mold treatment regimen (mold is a common Lyme co-condition), my doctor started off by prescribing me just one capsule daily of a probiotic called saccromyces boulardii. And I’ll admit, I was tempted to want to take more than he prescribed, just because I wanted my treatment to be “over and done with” and because I thought I was strong enough to handle it. But then I recalled that in the past, the heavy-hitting, get-it-over-with fast treatment approaches that my doctors would often give me had never really worked, and in fact, made me feel worse—for months at a time!
So I decided to stick with my doctor’s suggestion to take just one teeny-weeny capsule of the probiotic, and in so doing, I avoided feeling horrible during the first weeks of my treatment. To the probiotic treatment, my doctor then added in one capsule of bentonite clay daily, to bind the mold toxins in my body. Over a period of weeks, he then gradually increased the dosage to three capsules daily. About two months into my regimen, he started me on three nasal sprays to clear up the mold in my sinuses, and break up any biofilms and staph infections there. I was instructed to take these sprays for 4-6 weeks before starting on mold treatment for my gut, which consisted of, at first, nothing more than a teaspoon of colloidal silver, but to which my doctor added over time, Sporonox and then Nystatin. The entire build-up process took four months.
While I have experienced some detoxification symptoms as a result of my treatments, they have not been severe and they have not incapacitated me as my former Lyme disease treatment regimens, which at times nearly sent me to the ER. I think this is how Lyme disease (and mold) treatment should be.

Besides that, imagine the immense amount of suffering that people with Lyme disease go through when they have to endure Herx reactions for weeks, or months, on end! It can destroy people's morale and desire to get well, and cause them to lose hope as they wonder if they will ever feel better. Doctors and patients need to seriously consider this when taking into account the type of regimen that their patients need to be on.
In the end, through my many years of research and experience with this disease, I have come to believe that a combined regimen that includes multiple types of treatment is best—and the greater the variety, the better, but not all at once, and not in dosages that make patients bedridden or send them to the hospital. Indeed, many Lyme-literate doctors have found a gentler approach to be a more effective approach for their patients, too.

A Deep Look at the Symptoms of Six Major Lyme-Related Infections


Note: This article was originally published on on January 16, 2017:

Reprinted from New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment with the kind permission of Connie Strasheim and Wayne Anderson ND. To learn more about the book and read more of Dr. Anderson's chapter, see:
I’ve learned through experience that each Lyme disease pathogen causes a specific set of symptoms in the body, and that I can readily identify infections in my patients by analyzing their symptoms. In the following sections, I describe typical symptom patterns of six of the most common Lyme-related infections. I encourage doctors to refer to this section when trying to identify which infections are dominant in their patients.

These symptom patterns should only be used as a guideline for diagnosis since no two people are exactly the same, and symptoms will vary from person to person. Neurotoxins from these infections all cause inflammation in the brain and nervous system and cause similar symptoms and compromise the body’s function in a similar way. Yet, each microbe often will manifest its own unique traits or personality.

Understanding the different symptom patterns that the microbes cause is especially important since lab tests for Lyme disease aren’t adequate (although they have improved greatly in recent years). Diagnosis also can be complicated by the fact that people’s immune systems respond differently to infection, according to their life stressors and metabolic strengths and weaknesses. Doctors should look for patterns in their patients and always appreciate that treating people with Lyme disease is about shades of gray, because the infections create symptom pictures that are never black and white.
Babesia or Babesia-like Organism (BABLO) Symptom Patterns
Babesia, or Babesia-like organisms (BABLO) primarily affect the brain and autonomic nervous system. The first words that a patient with active Babesia-like organisms in his body might say are that he can’t focus or think. His cognitive function is significantly compromised, and his mood is almost always affected. Both depression and anxiety are very common. A person with Babesia has a lot of emotional upheaval; fear is a dominant symptom.

Babesia also can affect the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for much of the “automatic” functions of the body, such as heartbeat, breathing, etc. This means that the communication between the brain and body is affected, so any physical symptoms that patients have from Babesia can be related more to autonomic nervous system dysfunction rather than the organisms themselves. For instance, Babesia can cause postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS); a racing heart at rest and/or an irregular heartbeat and heavy pounding heart at night, but the problem isn’t in the heart. The problem is that the autonomic nervous system isn’t functioning properly.

Shortness of breath is also common, because people with Babesia don’t regulate their oxygen-saturation flow properly due to problems in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Such people feel a sense of “air hunger” because the ANS isn’t dilating their bronchial tubes or opening their diaphragm properly, because these parts of their body are not getting the signal to do so from the command center in brain.

Additional symptoms of Babesia include lots of drenching sweats and chills. Babesia is a relative of the malarial organism and is part protozoan and part bacteria. So as with malaria, people can get terrible chills and lots of sweats and basically feel like they are going crazy.  People with Babesia are often quite chilled and can’t get warm and will have to take a hot shower or jump in a bathtub to warm up. The temperature de-regulation is again related to a dysfunctional autonomic nervous system. So, people either can’t get warm, or they get too hot. They turn down the thermostat at night because they are too hot, but then they get too cold while in bed and so turn it back up by a degree. They freeze when going to bed and throw the covers on; then, in the middle of the night, they get boiling hot and throw the covers off and drench their bedclothes in sweat.

Insomnia is common as Babesia affects the sleep center in the brain. Other symptoms include blurred vision, bowel-motility issues and bladder difficulties. People with Babesia will either have trouble starting their urinary stream or will go through episodes of incontinence. They may also have problems with bowel motility; usually constipation, but can also sometimes have diarrhea due to autonomic nervous system de-regulation. A dominant Babesia infection also can affect certain areas of the wrists, hands, ankles and feet. These areas can be painful, numb or experience temperature extremes.

Babesia does not generally cause pain in the body, so if a person has pain, then it’s usually due to another problem. The picture is always complicated though because people with Babesia who have a compromised detoxification system will have pain in their body as a result of poor waste removal. But, the pain is not from the infection itself.

These are what I call clearly identifiable Babesia symptoms in those patients who have an immune system that is not terribly depleted or who don’t have a compromised detoxification system or other conditions or infections that are currently active and which could complicate the symptom picture. The same holds true for the symptom patterns of all of the other infections described here.
Bartonella or Bartonella-like Organism (BLO) Symptom Patterns
Many people have Bartonella or Bartonella-like (BLO) infections in their bodies. They are perhaps the most abundant infections in people because many veterinarians say that 80 percent of all house cats and nearly 100 percent of all hunting cats carry Bartonella microbes. Fleas bite cats and infect them with the Bartonella-like organisms, which are then transmitted to humans when they get bitten by the flea. Bartonella and BLO infections are therefore probably the most common of the vector-borne Lyme disease co-infections.

People who have active Bartonella symptoms have much more pain than people who are manifesting predominantly Babesia-related symptoms. The first thing out of their mouths is usually, “You have to help me with my pain.” They have pain in their joints and the connective tissue around their joints. This joint pain will migrate to other areas of the body. So for instance, patients with active Bartonella might have knee pain, but just when they are about to go to the doctor for the pain, the pain will migrate to the left elbow. The hallmark symptom of Bartonella is sensitivity and tenderness on the bottom of the feet, especially the soles.
Generalized pain in the body, or pain that is sharp and severe, is often related to BartonellaBartonella can also cause headaches and ice pick-like pain.

Both Babesia and Bartonella cause headaches, but Bartonella headaches are worse. A Babesia headache produces more weird sensations in the head and pressure in the head. People with active Babesia infections will say, “I don’t know if I’d really call what I have a headache. It’s more like a pressure in the head.” Babesia can cause migraines as can Bartonella, but Babesia migraines are generally less severe.  Bartonella prefers the occipital areas of the head; the back of the head and neck are generally painful. So pain is a dominant characteristic of Bartonella.

All of these slow-growing intracellular infections affect the brain but create different symptom patterns, according to which infection is dominant or most active. I see more depression in people with active Babesia but less variability of mood, whereas people with active Bartonella may be irritable and anxious but then “flip over” into depression. Many people with Bartonella infections are misdiagnosed as having bi-polar disorder due to their fluctuating moods; they can easily go from being angry and irritable to being depressed.

Bartonella-like organisms can also stay on the surface of the organs and tissues and cause a wide array of symptoms. One such symptom is gastritis. In fact, most cases of gastritis that aren’t caused by Helicobacter pylori infections are often caused by Bartonella, which is the second-most common cause of this condition. It can irritate the stomach so that people lose their appetite and/or get heartburn.

Bartonella can cause a low-level, relapsing sore throat. People with active infections will periodically awaken with sore throats and wonder if they are coming down with a cold, but then the sore throat will go away.

Bartonella irritates the bladder and can cause frequent urination, interstitial cystitis, or other chronic inflammatory conditions of the urinary system. 
Bartonella can also cause fevers, but for patients to be able to run a fever, they need to have a relatively functional immune system, so not everyone who has a Bartonella infection will get a fever. Yet people will often feel hot, as if they have a fever, but their body temperature may be low normal.

Bartonella can affect the eyes and cause conjunctivitis, or inflammation of the outermost layer of the eye, which results in irritated, dry red eyes, as well as other eye problems.
Bartonella cause more skin-related problems than the other infections. Red bands or stretch marks on the skin called striae are common, as are acne and other skin problems.

Bartonella lives in the liver and spleen where it inflames these organs and compromises their functioning. When the liver and spleen are inflamed, the filtering capacity of the blood is affected, resulting in thick blood. People with Bartonella may have slightly elevated liver enzymes on lab tests. For instance, the alanine aminotransferase (ALT) test score may be just outside of the normal range and high only intermittently. The inflammation that Bartonella causes in the liver and spleen can compromise the body’s detoxification system in a major way, though. When the spleen is compromised, the lymph glands may also become swollen, which then causes the lymph flow to become thick, sludgy and slow.
Borrelia Symptom Patterns

Borrelia symptom patterns are a bit harder to define because this organism isn’t as aggressive as the others. The distinguishing symptom that it causes is fatigue; people who have active Borrelia symptoms tend to have more fatigue than those whose predominant symptoms are due to Bartonella or Babesia. People with active Babesia and Bartonella are much more restless than those with active Borrelia infections. All of the infections cause exhaustion; that is ubiquitous within the entire family of neurotoxin infections, but Babesia and Bartonella cause more restlessness, whereas people who are primarily manifesting Borrelia symptoms are often more tired. Feeling “wired and tired” is common with all the neurotoxin diseases, so I am really just focusing on the shades of gray here.

Borrelia causes pain, but the pain is much more diffuse and spread throughout the body. It also can be muscle-related and fibromyalgia-like, rather than primarily in the joints, as with Bartonella. However, doctors and patients need to keep an open mind when it comes to diagnosis and not over- generalize about symptom patterns. For instance, there is a subset of Borrelia patients who have arthritic-like symptoms and lots of inflammation in their joints, although I see this maybe less than 10 percent of the time.

The symptoms of Borrelia can be a mixture of a little of what’s found in all of the other Lyme-related infections. Borrelia affects the nervous system, but it’s a bit more “ghost-like” in the symptoms that it causes, so it’s not as defined or specific.  If patients have been adequately treated for Babesia and Bartonella infections and have only 20 percent of their symptoms remaining, such as a bit of fatigue, achiness and brain fog, I might suspect that they still have some Borrelia microbes that need to be addressed.

Lyme microbes are smart and are looking for hiding places in the body; they want to be invisible and disguise themselves from the immune system. This means that they don’t stay in the blood for long and quickly go to areas of poor circulation, to avoid being attacked by the immune system. Their goal is to lull the intracellular environment into complacency. For instance, Borrelia is able to change its form and alternate between the spirochete, cell-wall deficient and cyst forms as a way of confusing and hiding from the immune system.
Mycoplasma Symptom Patterns
Mycoplasma is an interesting organism that is also found in nearly everyone with Lyme disease. It’s very small, like a virus, and some researchers believe that it is really a cross between a virus and bacteria. It can accumulate on the endothelial lining (which is comprised of cells that line the blood and lymphatic vessels) and cause inflammation and pain.

This means that people with dominant Mycoplasma infections can get migraine headaches because the infections irritate the vascular system in the brain. Or, people might have inflammatory gut or lung issues because the microbes are active on the endothelial lining of the gut and lungs. They can also be prominent in the bladder. Interstitial cystitis, or bladder inflammation, is caused more often by Mycoplasma, but can also be caused by Bartonella.

Mycoplasma can cause a minor cough when it is in the lungs; not the more extreme cough that’s caused by a cold or flu, but the kind of cough that occurs whenever a person takes a deep breath or laughs. People with Mycoplasma feel a little winded and may have mild inflammation in their chest. Mycoplasma can irritate the throat and cause a low-level sore throat.  It also goes deep into the body and can affect the joints, connective tissue and cartilage. A rare and aggressive form of Mycoplasma can cause symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and result in severe joint swelling and deformity.

Some German researchers believe that Mycoplasma exists in everyone in a benign form, and that it’s one of trillions of bacteria that colonize the body. However, when the immune system becomes compromised, and the body’s “compost heap” gets too full, then the Mycoplasma mutates into a pathogenic form and harms the body. So instead of living in harmony with us, it begins to inflame us and feed on us. I mentioned that Borrelia causes fatigue, but Mycoplasma is the most fatigue-causing Lyme disease-related pathogen there is.

I have found that if I have already treated my patients for all of the dominant Lyme disease co-infections, and they are even more tired than before, and their joints are all of a sudden stiff and achy, then this means that they may have a dominant Mycoplasma infection that is currently causing their symptoms.
As I mentioned earlier, the immune system prioritizes and focuses on the microbe that it currently perceives to be most dangerous to the body. This means that it will often bring out Mycoplasma-like symptoms after some of the other infections, since Mycoplasma does not inflame the brain and nervous system as much as the other infections. The immune system will always protect the brain at all costs, and simplistically speaking, it does not perceive Mycoplasma to be as dangerous as some of the other co-infections; therefore, it is usually a deeper layer of infection that the immune system focuses on later in the treatment process.

Since it inflames the brain less than the other infections, people with active Mycoplasma also don’t have as many cognitive problems as people with active Babesia or Bartonella or as much mood instability. Mycoplasma likes to live in the fascia layer of the skin, which is directly beneath the top layer of the skin. So people with Mycoplasma might have a crawling feeling under their skin or their skin might feel sensitive to the touch. In addition, they might have a variety of unusual rashes. Because patients with active Mycoplasma have sensitive skin, they may not like to be massaged.
Mold Symptom Patterns
Mold illness is a common co-condition in people with Lyme disease, but the medical community has generally underappreciated its effects upon the brain and immune system. Mold affects the body in the same way as the bacterial infections that I have so far described, in that its toxins stick to the surface of the cells and are absorbed into the cells, where they cause inflammation and cellular dysfunction.

The organs and systems that are most affected by mold are the self-regulating systems of the brain and nervous system, as well as the endocrine, gastrointestinal and immune systems. Lyme and mold affect the immune system in the same way, and when one of these conditions is present in the body, the body becomes more susceptible to the other. In addition, 23 percent of all people have a genetic susceptibility to mold illness that can be determined by doing certain lab tests (more on this later).

People who have been exposed to mold will be affected by the mold in a couple of different ways. Some lucky people, whenever they are exposed to a moldy environment, will have an immediate immune reaction; they will feel dizzy and spacey and quickly learn that they need to get out of the moldy environment. A second group of people will be less aware that they have been exposed to mold, and the spores that they inhale will stick to the mucus membranes in their sinuses, lungs and gut and colonize there. If this latter group has a genetic susceptibility to mold, they will have a greater chance of getting symptoms from mold exposure.

Mold and biotoxin expert Ritchie Shoemaker, MD, has established a set of criteria that doctors can use to determine their patients’ susceptibility to mold illness. One of these involves evaluating a certain HLA DRB gene pattern, the testing for which is done by Lab Corp. 
 (Editor’s Note: For more information on this and the other criteria used to establish a mold diagnosis, see: as well as some of the other chapters in this book, which describe mold and mold treatment in greater depth).  Mold toxicity is important for people with Lyme and their doctors to understand because it can cause serious illness and compromise recovery from Lyme.

A healthy immune system and body that are not genetically susceptible to mold are designed to “zap” the mold upon its entry into the body so that it cannot colonize there, but in certain immune-compromised people, it is able to colonize. Once this happens, it’s very hard to dislodge. Once it’s in the body, it produces toxins, called mycotoxins, which inflame the body.

Over time, the mold takes over increasingly greater areas of mucous membrane in the body and always ends up finding its way to the bowel. The bowel is dark, moist and nutrient-rich, making it a hospitable place for mold to grow. And the more compromised and damaged the good bacterial community (microbiome) on the endothelial lining of the bowel is from Lyme and other factors, the easier it will be for the mold to expand its territory there.

Anytime the mucus membranes of the body are inflamed – whether in the nose and sinuses, gut, lung, bladder lining, skin, or the vagina – mold colonization should be suspected. The person who is unlucky enough to have high mold toxin levels will have symptoms that can be difficult to differentiate from those of Lyme disease. Like Lyme toxins, mold toxins stick to the cell membranes and then ooze into the cells, where they accumulate and add to the body’s cellular compost heap.

Mold organisms cannot live just anywhere in the body though; they are confined to the mucous membrane surfaces, and it is their waste products, or the mycotoxins, that enter the bloodstream and cause systemic symptoms. Consequently, the symptoms of mold toxicity are not as dynamic and variable as the symptoms caused by the adaptive Lyme microbes. Instead, they are more dull and flat. So if patients have seesaw symptoms; meaning, they get better for a while, then get worse, or have two or three good days, followed by three weeks of feeling terrible, then their symptoms are less likely to be mold-related.
In people who are predominantly battling mold toxicity, every day is the same; they struggle to get through the day and have low energy and a mild amount of brain fog. This pattern is fairly consistent. Mold also affects the brain and nervous system, so people with mold illness will have specific neurological symptoms. Neuropathies (damage or problems with the nerves) are common. Symptoms may include numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. Mold toxicity also causes a lot of depression, so when people have a Herxheimer reaction from mold detox (removing cellular mold with toxin binders and other therapies), depression may intensify along with other mold symptoms.

Mold symptom patterns can vary and are always worse during wet or humid seasons when mold thrives. Remember, the effects of neurotoxins are additive and cumulative. So, when brain fog or another mold symptom is added to the brain fog caused by Babesia, Bartonella, heavy metals, petrochemicals or Borrelia, the effects of each organism or toxin may compound those of the others. So, people with significant brain fog probably have more than one factor or infection causing that symptom.
Rickettsia Symptom Patterns
Rickettsia is another class of common Lyme disease co-infection that has been largely underestimated or unappreciated by the medical community and which I still have not understood fully myself. Ehrlichia is a type of Rickettsia infection that most Lyme doctors are familiar with, but most of us are not familiar with the hundreds of other types of Rickettsia that can cause disease. We got lucky with Ehrlichia since there are just two species of this organism that we know of, and there is a lab test that can identify both of them.

Yet, there are many other families or species of Rickettsia that are quite harmful and for which tests do not exist. The one that we know about is Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). The infectious disease community believes that RMSF is limited to specific regions of the United States. Lyme-literate doctors didn’t worry much about it initially. However, more recent evidence has shown that there are probably over 1,000 Rickettsia species, and that Rickettsia infections are more common and less regional than we had previously believed.

Rickettsial organisms are simpler than the dynamically changing Borrelia. They don’t seem to have multiple growth stages or as many forms as Borrelia; there are no cell-wall deficient forms, for instance. Therefore, they may be easier to treat, but we Lyme disease practitioners need to have a higher index of suspicion about their presence before we can learn how to adequately treat them all.

 I’m still honing in on the specific symptoms that Rickettsia causes and distinguishing those from the symptoms of the other infections. I have some preliminary impressions about them, though.  For instance, I’ve observed that people with Rickettsia can have a variety of skin and scalp rashes, the hallmark symptom being a rash on the palms and soles.

Rickettsia also causes stagnant, thick blood and congested circulation, which causes the blood vessels to become inflamed and results in blotchy and mottled skin. There can be an overall congested feeling in the body. Edema is common: people who have puffiness in their ankles or puffy faces and/or eyes when they awaken may have congested circulation due to Rickettsia. 

Rickettsia commonly causes headaches. Cognitive problems, such as trouble focusing and concentrating, are generally not as common in people with active Rickettsia as in patients who are manifesting other Lyme co-infections such as Babesia and Bartonella. All of these infections can cause a bit of forgetfulness, but a person with Rickettsia will not think they have Alzheimer’s like a person with Babesia and won’t tend to get lost while driving home.

Rickettsia causes injected (red) blood vessels on the surface of the eye, unlike Bartonella, which causes a uniform redness. Some people have difficulty focusing their eyes and a blurriness described as “feeling like they are under water.”

However, the most prominent symptom of Rickettsia is musculoskeletal problems. People with these infections have lots of numbness, tingling and joint pain in addition to achy muscles.  Therefore, when patients’ symptoms are vascular, musculoskeletal and less brain-related, then their doctors should suspect that they have a Rickettsia-like symptom presentation.

In Rickettsia, the lymphatic system is also more congested, as evidenced by areas of puffiness in the skin. This is because when the blood is “mucked up,” the lymphatic system will try to clean it. So, picture for a moment, that the lymph is like a drainage ditch on the side of the road and that the blood is the road. If you get a hard rain, the road will drain water into the drainage ditch. Similarly, the body will dump any “gunk” from the bloodstream that is not being adequately filtered by the liver into the lymph system to try to keep the blood as clean as possible. 

The Magic of Magnesium

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Magnesium is the second-most abundant element in human cells. It helps to regulate the activity of over 300 enzymes in the body, and is involved in a wide variety of bodily functions, including food metabolism, fatty acid and protein synthesis; muscle control, electrical impulses, energy production and toxin elimination.
Many people with Lyme disease are deficient in magnesium, due to the metabolic effects of the microbes upon the body. Some researchers also believe that microbes use magnesium for their survival. Stress also depletes magnesium, and in chronic Lyme disease the body is obviously under a lot of stress.
In my just-released book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, David Jernigan, DC, describes the benefits of magnesium for those with Lyme disease. Among these, he contends that it may support heart and circulatory health, which in turn reduces irregular heartbeats, blood clots and hardening of the arteries. It also regulates blood pressure and may improve nerve function by regulating electrolytes and maintaining proper calcium levels in the blood.
In addition, magnesium is a powerful stress reliever. The body uses magnesium to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, which is a mood-enhancing chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of wellbeing.
For these reasons and others, many Lyme-literate doctors recommend that their patients take a magnesium supplement.  Not all supplements are bioavailable and readily uptaken and assimilated by the body though. Most Lyme doctors that I know recommend magnesium malate or magnesium citrate, which are among the forms that are the most well-absorbed and utilized by the body. Recommended dosages vary, but many practitioners recommend taking magnesium to bowel tolerance, which could be up as high as 800-1,200 mg daily- or even higher- in two divided doses daily.
Common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include: muscle cramps, twitches, muscle pain, irregular heartbeat and anxiety.  In cases of severe magnesium deficiency, intravenous magnesium or magnesium shots may be necessary. Sometimes, people with Lyme disease have difficulty raising their magnesium levels to normal just by taking oral supplements, in which case transdermal magnesium sprays may be more beneficial.
Magnesium may be one of the most important nutritional supplements needed by those with chronic Lyme disease. Of course, it all depends upon the person but in general, most people that I know and most doctors that I’ve interviewed believe that it is one of the most crucial minerals that is lacking in people with chronic Lyme. To find a dosage and product that is right for you, I recommend consulting with a Lyme literate doctor. 

How I Discovered Hyperthermia for Lyme Disease and Why It Works

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Reprinted from New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work, with the kind permission of Friedrich R. Douwes, MD and Connie Strasheim. To learn more about the book and to read more about Dr. Douwes’ treatment approach, see:
 It was entirely by coincidence that I began treating Lyme disease patients and ended up discovering a groundbreaking new treatment for Lyme.  It started in 2000, when two cancer patients who also had Lyme disease came to my clinic. One was from Boston, and the other was from Canada. The Canadian woman had advanced breast cancer with metastases to her lungs, liver and bones. When I took a history on these women, both told me that they actually suffered more from symptoms of Lyme than from symptoms of cancer! Their symptoms were typical of cancer, but because I had not worked with Lyme disease patients before, I did not know that some of their symptoms could also be due to Lyme disease.

I gave them whole-body hyperthermia treatments for their cancers. Hyperthermia in its various forms is a very effective and well-researched cancer treatment. Cancer cells die in the presence of high heat, so many doctors worldwide use hyperthermia on their cancer patients.

There are different types of hyperthermia, including whole-body hyperthermia, which is what we give both our Lyme and cancer patients. For this, the patient lies down inside of a special thermal chamber similar to a large incubator. It heats the body’s tissues to 41.6° Celsius (or 107° Fahrenheit). It takes two hours to raise the body to this temperature. Once there, the body is maintained at this temperature for two hours. After the treatment, it takes two more hours for the body to cool down, which means that the patient’s temperature is elevated for a total of six hours.

Once the body has reached the maximum temperature, we administer chemotherapy (for our cancer patients). Chemotherapy is activated and potentiated by heat, so hyperthermia makes it more effective. We have had such great success with this kind of treatment approach that our clinic has become well known internationally as a cancer treatment center, and we now see patients from all over the world.

Anyway, after these two women received hyperthermia treatment for their cancers, they told us that their Lyme symptoms had also disappeared! The brain fog, tingling in their fingers, fatigue and other symptoms—were all gone. We had associated the tingling with polyneuropathy, which is a side effect of chemotherapy, but in these women, it was a symptom caused by Lyme.

I pondered this and said to my work colleagues, “Do you remember that before there were antibiotics, doctors treated syphilis (which is similar to Borrelia in its composition, structure and behavior) by intentionally infecting patients with malaria to induce a fever, which then killed the syphilis?”  The treatment was called “malariotherapy.” Doctors would then give the syphilis patients the age-old drug quinine to control the fever and kill the malaria. Professor Julius Wagner-Jauregg at Vienna University was one of the first authorities in syphilis treatment, and he won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1927 for his discoveries.

When I recalled that doctors used to treat syphilis with heat, it made me wonder whether hyperthermia also might be effective against Borrelia, since the Borrelia organism is similar in its characteristics to syphilis. I said to my colleagues, “Could it be that our whole-body hyperthermia treatments could also be effective for Lyme disease?”      

I researched the medical literature to discover whether any studies supported my hypothesis, and I found one that was conducted by a group of Swedish researchers in 1996. In the study, the researchers proved that Borrelia was “thermolabile,” or susceptible to destruction by heat, and could not tolerate high temperatures. At 39° C (or 102.2° F), they found that the spirochetes became immobile, and at 40° C (or 104° F) they shed their outer membrane, but when they were exposed to a temperature of 41.6° C (or 106.9° F) for two hours, 100 percent of the bacteria died.       
 I was excited to discover this, and I told my colleagues that this was exactly what we were doing by treating patients using hyperthermia; we were raising their body temperature to 41.6° C for two hours. So I suggested that we do this treatment on some Lyme disease patients just to see what would happen. I wanted to find out whether my theory had any substance, because up until this point, we had only been treating cancer patients.   

Shortly thereafter, we found four or five patients with advanced Lyme disease, and gave them two whole-body hyperthermia treatments. We also gave them intravenous antibiotic therapy during the treatments and found that not only did the heat kill the microbes, but that the antibiotics were also more effective when their bodies’ temperature was elevated. This phenomenon was described in the Swedish study. According to the researchers of the study, if you administer Ceftriaxone or another antibiotic after elevating the patient’s body temperature to 41.6°, the medication’s activity becomes amplified 60-fold.            
From our research and clinical observations, we discovered three things:
1)   Hyperthermia kills Lyme microbes
2)   Hyperthermia increases the effectiveness of antibiotics
3)   Hyperthermia decreases microbes’ resistance to antibiotics and enables antibiotics to get inside the cells much more easily.
After I had treated somewhere between five and seven patients with Lyme disease, I decided to attend a medical conference in the United States to learn more about the disease. While there, I sat next to a cardiologist who told me that he had been attending the conference because his entire family had been infected with Lyme while on vacation in Austria.  His wife was bedridden; his daughter had been a medical student, but could no longer attend medical school, and his younger son, who was a 10-year-old prodigy who had played the violin in public, could no longer even hold a violin and was unable to attend school.

I told the doctor that I had just discovered a new treatment for Lyme disease that was possibly superior to any other treatment modality out there, although it had only been tested on a few patients so far. The man, figuring that he had nothing to lose and everything to gain, traveled to Klinik St. Georg with his wife, son and daughter, and I treated them all with hyperthermia.

The results were amazing. The whole family got well, and the wife ended up going back to work in her husband’s clinic. The daughter finished medical school, and the son was able to play the violin again, and today – as far as I know – is the symphony conductor at his college. Successfully treating this family was the turning point for us in our approach to Lyme disease.
Our Success Rate with Hyperthermia
Not long after treating this family, we began to treat many more people with Lyme disease – maybe 50 per year initially. Now, we treat 150-200 people per year, and statistically, the patients that we see are those who have a long history of disease and who have seen somewhere between 10 and 20 doctors. They are people who have received all kinds of conventional and natural treatments, from nutrition to antibiotics—to you name it. So, when they get here, they are so-called “lost causes,” because no treatment or doctor has been able to help them thus far.

Fortunately, we have found that we are able to get over 60 percent of these patients “back to life” by using hyperthermia, along with a variety of adjunct treatments. By the time they leave our clinic, they are functioning well and are able to return to work and live a normal life. And, I have many testimonials to prove this. You can find some of these on the Klink St. Georg website:

Another 30 percent of our patients improve with the treatment, but still require additional treatments to get better. These are generally people whose bodies need repair from the damage caused by Lyme disease.

The remaining 10 percent of our patients do not experience any improvement. Now, keep in mind that we treat the most advanced cases of Lyme disease; people for whom every other treatment approach out there has failed. These people are the “worst of the worst.”

 Yet, the results that we have had for others have been miraculous. We have seen people who were once bedridden or who used to have seizures every 50 minutes, or who were unable to even communicate, get well.  We have seen people who were once given a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and who couldn’t walk, return to having a normal life.

Since 2000, I have treated over 850 Lyme disease patients with mostly good results. Since we use antibiotics in conjunction with hyperthermia, I like to call our treatment approach “Antibiotic-Augmented Thermal Eradication (AAT) of Lyme disease.”

Hyperthermia is probably the only treatment out there that can eradicate Borrelia infections nearly 100 percent, because the heat goes deep into the connective tissue and joints, where most conventional treatments can’t penetrate. And, unlike other modalities, the microbes can’t develop resistance to this type of treatment. Of course, it’s unlikely that any modality can eradicate the microbes completely, because a 100 percent eradication rate doesn’t exist in medicine, but I feel that we have one of the highest rates of success in eliminating Borrelia.

Once we eliminate the Borrelia organisms with hyperthermia and antibiotics, the amount of Lyme neurotoxins in the body is also immediately and automatically reduced. This is because Borrelia throws out neurotoxins in the body literally every minute or every second, so once it is gone, this can no longer happen. Neurotoxins are one of the principal causes of symptoms in people with Lyme disease, especially neurological and rheumatic symptoms, and joint inflammation. They cause chronic, silent inflammation that is sometimes difficult to diagnose, but which causes other symptoms.

So we find that as soon as we eliminate the Borrelia, then the neurotoxins in the body also diminish to almost nothing, as does the inflammation.  We’ve had patients here that used to have seizures (a sign of encephalitis and brain inflammation), but as soon as their Borrelia was eliminated, their inflammation and seizures disappeared, too. It really has been remarkable.
About Friedrich R. Douwes, MD
Friedrich R. Douwes, MD, is a medical doctor and Director of Klinik St. Georg, a world-renowned clinic in Bad Aibling, Germany, which specializes in the treatment of cancer, Lyme disease and other chronic health conditions, using conventional and complementary therapies. Dr. Douwes has treated cancer patients for over 40 years, and Lyme disease patients for over 16 years, since approximately the year 2000.

Dr. Douwes studied medicine in Germany and Switzerland and received his board certification in Internal Medicine in 1975 at the University Hospital Göttingen. He completed his fellowship in hematology and oncology at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. Subsequently, he became the medical director of Sonnenberg Hospital, an oncology, hematology, immunology and oncological rehabilitation center, in Bad Sooden-Allendorf, Germany.

While at Sonnenberg Hospital, Dr. Douwes was dissatisfied with the outcomes that he saw with conventional cancer treatment, so he developed his own philosophy of integrative holistic medicine. Some hospitals, including the Veramed Hospitals in Brannenburg and Biomed Klinik in Bergzabern, Germany, now follow this model of medicine.

Dr. Douwes has continued to work actively and research new cancer therapies in addition to better treatments for Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses. He has become the go-to specialist for all kinds of hyperthermia treatment, including whole body, loco-regional and urethral prostate treatment protocols, and has successfully treated thousands of patients from all over the world, including many from Canada and the United States.

For many years, Dr. Douwes served as First Chairman of the charitable organization, Friends of Integrated Cancer Therapy. He is also President of the German Society for Oncology (DGO) and Founder of the German Society for Biological Cancer Control (GfBK) and Hyperthermia (DGHT).   

Dr. Douwes organizes seminars and conferences for physicians and therapists, which focus on biological cancer treatments. In 2011, he organized the first International Congress for Complementary Oncology, an event that features a variety of international guest speakers who focus on integrative cancer treatment approaches.

Dr. Douwes is also a sought-after international lecturer at seminars and conferences.  Numerous films about his work have been made, including Life with Cancer, which was an award-winning film project. Norwegian television has also broadcast a 45-minute film about his work with cancer patients and his work has also been featured on both German and international television.

In 2015, Dr. Douwes received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Comprehensive Integrative Medicine (ACIM) “for his contributions to the advancement of the art and science of medicine, specifically as it relates to integrative oncology.”

Dr. Douwes has authored countless scientific papers, which have been published in German and international journals. His work has been featured in Biological Medicine, Internal Journal of Clinical Oncology, Alternative Medicine, Journal for Alternative Complementary Therapy, New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet and Excerpta Medica. His work is also featured in several books.

What sets Dr. Douwes apart more than anything else is his warm and compassionate manner toward his patients. This, combined with his abundant knowledge about Lyme disease, cancer and other health conditions, makes him a unique person whom you will want on your side to overcome illness. To learn more about Dr. Douwes’ work and Klink St. Georg see:

Is Mast Cell Activation Making You Sick?

Note: This article was originally published on on November 15, 2016:


This past summer I experienced a very difficult setback in my healing journey. In fact, July through October were perhaps the most difficult four months of my life.  The reason? I was exposed to black mold in my home after a poor remediation job, and around the same time, had received some platelet-rich plasma therapy injections in my lower back which caused an adverse reaction in my nervous system. These two things simultaneously set off a cascade of inflammation and horrific MS-like symptoms.

The inflammation incapacitated me and hindered my ability to drive, work and function on a basic level. Dizziness, brain fog, severe depression, fatigue, numbness, a lack of coordination and tremors in my extremities, sleep apnea, chest pain, POTS, tachycardia and disorientation were just some of the symptoms that I endured.  Most days, I couldn’t get out of bed before 5 PM, and was only able to get up and about for a few hours in the evening.

Prior to this, I had been doing pretty well, so the experience was disconcerting. 
Many people who are suffering from Lyme, or who have battled it in the past—as I have, are also susceptible to sickness from mold toxins. Increasingly, Lyme-literate doctors are discovering mold to be a factor that causes illness in their patients. Lyme tends to make people more susceptible to environmental illnesses and allergies of all kinds, but environmental factors can also cause latent Lyme infections to become active.
Regardless, both must be treated if they are causing symptoms— although the symptom picture can be hard to unravel, since mold and Bartonella infections can cause near identical symptom pictures.  In my case, circumstances, doing a test through RealTime Labs, and visiting a Lyme and mold-literate doctor helped me to understand what I was dealing with.

The good news is—after consulting with a variety of practitioners, I finally found one who knew what was going on in my body. The injections and mold had somehow simultaneously inflamed my spinal cord and brain, and caused my immune system to overreact.
Because mold is such an important issue in many with Lyme, many of the doctors featured in my just released book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work share their strategies for healing the body from mold toxicity as well as Lyme. If you have a history of exposure to mold or water damage in your home or workplace, or simply suspect that you are mold-toxic, I highly recommend reading what these doctors have to say about mold diagnosis and treatment.
In addition to prescribing me some remedies for mold and mycotoxins, my doctor gave me a couple of natural supplements and a medication for Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD), or systemic mastocytosis, which he suspected was caused by the mold. MCAD is a condition whereby the body releases an excessive amount of mast cells, which are immune cells that release histamine and cause inflammation in the body. 
Like all immune cells, mast cells play an important role in immune function, by releasing wound-healing substances such as histamine and leukotrienes, but can get out of control when the body is faced with chronic health challenges. MCAD can be caused by a variety of environmental insults (and may even be genetic, according to some sources), including mold toxicity, and in my case, it turned out to be an important cause of my symptoms.
I knew because the day after I took an anti-inflammatory medication called Ketotifen that my doctor prescribed to me for mast cell activation—I was a new person in less than 48 hours. I’m still not healed, but I am able to function and work most days, and I no longer cry for hours daily. This little drug worked when dozens of other remedies and detox supplements did not, and literally reduced my symptoms by at least 50-60%, after months of intense suffering—in just under two days. A few of the symptoms, such as the chest pain and apnea—were completely eliminated. 
Now, if I forget to take the medication, the severe symptoms come back full-fledged, because the root cause of the mast cell activation—which is the mold toxicity and whatever damage was done by the injections—hasn’t yet been fully dealt with, but the medication is helping me to function as I heal.
Unlike other commonly known antihistamines like Benadryl, however, Ketotifen isn’t just a Band-Aid for symptoms, and it isn’t anticholinergic; that is, it doesn’t block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and peripheral nervous system. Some antihistamines do this, and it is why drugs like Benadryl have been associated with Alzheimer’s and memory loss, since acetylcholine plays a vital role in memory and cognition.
Ketotifen seems to have a much safer side effect profile and in fact, may be healing to the body as a couple of doctors and pharmacists that I have spoken with believe that it actually re-sets mast cells in the immune system. However, this process can take many months, even a year or longer.
In any case, Ketotifen has so far been for me one of those little miracles of medicine that has made a huge difference in my wellbeing. In addition to this, I have also been taking a couple of natural supplements that have been known to control mast cell activation; namely, quercetin and Diamine Oxidase (from porcine kidney) in a product called DAO Histaminase by Allergy Research Group. 

I take my medication, quercetin and DAO Histaminase 30 minutes before meals, since certain foods trigger histamine release and taking these supplements before food helps to control histamine and thereby heal the gut. 
A number of other natural substances and medications have anti-histamine or histamine receptor blocking effects, as well, but not all of these drugs or remedies will work well for everyone. Like most things in medicine, treatment must be tailored to the individual.
According to Lawrence B. Afrin, MD, author of Never Bet Against Occam: Mast Cell Activation Disease and the Modern Epidemics of Chronic Illness and Medical Complexity, some medications that can be used to treat MCAD include the anti-depressant doxepin, tricyclic antidepressants and benzodiazepenes. I am not a fan of drugs that cause other problems in the body so I would recommend asking your doctor about others, if you suspect MCAD to be a problem for you.
Dr. Afrin also notes the beneficial properties of quercetin and states that, “It seems to result in reduced production of inflammatory mediators (e.g., leukotrienes and histamine). It may also serve as an inhibitor of tyrosine kinases and other regulatory proteins of interest in activated mast cells.” He notes that quercetin chalcone may be better absorbed than other forms. By itself, quercetin wasn’t enough for me, but it may be a good start for some of you who are reading this (if you have MCAD).  Other supplements with anti-histaminic properties, such as Vitamin C, may also be helpful. 
Mast cell activation disorder (MCAD) is not rare. In fact, it is now thought by some savvy doctors to be a major player in many chronic, degenerative diseases. For instance, in his book, Dr. Afrin lists at least a couple of hundred conditions that he suspects are at least indirectly due to MCAD. These include chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Lyme disease and mold are not listed, but a couple Lyme-literate doctors that I know believe that mold and Lyme can cause MCAD and I can tell you from experience that it has been a major cause of the mess in my body that I had to deal with this past summer.
In any case, I have learned enough to believe that MCAD may be a major player in Lyme and mold illness, and that if you suffer from these conditions, you may want to seek out a physician who understands MCAD and who can prescribe a trial treatment to determine whether, in fact, it is a part of your symptom picture. Trust me, if MCAD is a problem for you, you will want to know.
In the meantime, and as I continue my recovery, I am thankful for this relatively recent discovery in medicine, which has provided some doctors with a fantastic new tool for helping their patients- and for people like me- new answers and hope. 
Afrin, L. 2016. Never Bet Against Occam.  Bethesda, MD: Sisters Media, LLC.
Frieri, M. Patel R, Celestin J. Mast cell activation syndrome: a review.
Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. (2013 Feb);13(1):27-32. doi: 10.1007/s11882-012-0322-z.
Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD), Chronic Illness, and its Role in Methylation. Genetic Genie. Accessed on Nov. 5, 2016 from:
Valent, P. Mast cell activation syndromes: definition and classification.
Allergy. (2013 Apr);68(4):417-24. doi: 10.1111/all.12126. Epub 2013 Feb 15.


The Power of Phospholipids in Recovery

Note: This article originally appeared on on January 6, 2017:

Phospholipids are a crucial component of all cell membranes.

Healing the body at the cellular level is an important component of recovery from chronic Lyme disease.  Microbes, toxins and inflammation all damage the cells, and while the body does regenerate itself, sometimes, it needs a little help.
One powerful tool for healing and restoring the body involves using phospholipids, which are a type of fat that comprises all cell membranes, in addition to cholesterol. The cell membrane is where all cellular communications take place, and is responsible for uptaking nutrients into the cell while removing waste from it.  The cell membrane gets damaged by toxins, inflammation, and other factors involved in Lyme, but by restoring it with phospholipid therapy, the body can more quickly heal.
Phosphatidylcholine is a type of phospholipid that is commonly used by Lyme-literate doctors to heal the cells. It is most effective when taken intravenously, but I have also personally found transdermal phosphatidylcholine to be incredibly effective and beneficial. Oral forms of this super nutrient may also be useful, and are an especially good choice when your funds are limited.
In addition to rebuilding cell membranes, phosphatidylcholine helps the body to detoxify Lyme and other toxins, but in a way that is gentler than many detox treatments. It supports liver function (and is in fact a treatment for fatty liver disease), and assists with dumping waste out of the cells. By supporting cellular function and the liver, the body can more easily eliminate toxins.
David Minkoff, MD, a leading Lyme disease doctor featured in my just-released book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, has this to say about phosphatidylcholine: “There are petrochemicals, plastics, heavy metals, pesticides and other environmental toxins stored in the cell membrane, and phospholipids help to remove these toxins. Phospholipid therapy is essential therefore for detoxification as well as for healing cell membranes and keeping cells intact.”
What’s more, phosphatidylcholine can improve Lyme symptoms of brain fog, memory loss, depression and anxiety, and even increase energy.  It is a component of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that aids in memory and cognition. I have personally found it to be as important for supporting the function of my brain as other brain support tools such as amino acid and hormone replacement therapy. Whenever I have a lot of mental work that I need to get done, I load up on this super nutrient and find that it helps me to process information more quickly, improves my ability to think abstractly—and even improves my mood!
Another great thing about phosphatidylcholine therapy is that it is completely safe and not harmful to the body in any way, although because detox reactions can occur with it, people with Lyme may want to start out on low dosages of it. I recommend working with a Lyme-literate health care practitioner to best determine what you need, and in what form.   To learn more about phosphatidylcholine, see:


Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) Treatment: The Key to 100% Recovery from Mold Illness

Note: This article originally appeared on on January 6, 2017. 

Reprinted from Raj Patel MD's chapter in my 2016 book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work
In this section of New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, Raj Patel, MD, shares about Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) treatment, which he considers to be a key step in recovery from mold illness.  This excerpt represents only an overview of VIP. For more information, we highly recommend consulting the works of Ritchie Shoemaker, MD: To read Dr. Patel’s entire chapter on mold and Lyme disease treatment, see:
Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) Treatment: The Key to 100% Recovery
A major part of my treatment program is designed to repair the damage in the body that has been caused by Lyme infections and mold. Typically, I find that patients’ immune systems have become severely compromised by infections and other factors, and that they also have a lot of endocrine damage that needs be repaired, even after the Lyme infections are gone.
I have found that Lyme disease patients who have been chronically ill for more than a few years never tend to recover completely by just treating the infections.  Even after all of the microbes have been eradicated, they typically only return to 70% functionality, at best. 
The last 30% of healing doesn’t happen until the damage that has been left behind by the chronic infections and accompanying inflammation has been addressed.  Such people will typically still have Leaky Gut Syndrome and food intolerances, as well as persistent signs of endocrine, or hormonal dysfunction, as evidenced by chronically low levels of MSH, melatonin, testosterone, and adrenal hormones.  These deficiencies can leave patients feeling like they still don't have the energy reserves that they used to, to handle normal, everyday stressors. 
To bring patients to 100% wellness, I will have them do Dr. Shoemaker's protocol for repairing hypothalamic damage with Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP). This, when combined with other modalities like addressing food intolerances (using low dose allergen desensitization or another similar other treatment modality to remove allergies) can help significantly to heal the remaining 30% of the body so that patients can return to 100% functionality.
Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has outlined an 11-step program to help patients that are sick from mold exposure to recover so that they are not as reactive to moldy environments. This program can be found on his website: and in his books Surviving Mold: Life in An Era of Dangerous Buildings and Mold Warriors.
Certain aspects of this program can help people with Lyme disease, as well, whether or not they also have mold toxicity. This is because both mold and Lyme disease are what are called “biotoxin illnesses”. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of chronic Lyme disease patients have a genetic predisposition that keeps their immune system from recognizing Lyme biotoxins, and creating antibodies that will bind and eliminate them from the body. These proteins cause inflammation and damage, and particularly affect the hypothalamus in the brain. When the function of the hypothalamus becomes compromised, then it leaves behind a damaged endocrine system. Dr. Shoemaker’s 11-step treatment protocol is designed to not only eliminate mycotoxins, but also restore the body’s hypothalamic function, and thereby improve endocrine and immune function.
 For the final step in the biotoxin illness treatment program, Dr. Shoemaker recommends vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), a neuro-regulatory hormone that is produced primarily by the hypothalamus. VIP helps to repair the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. When this happens, the body starts to produce adrenal hormones normally. People can also see their testosterone levels rise to normal; their vitamin D metabolism improves, and the lining of their gut starts healing. VIP also helps in raising melatonin levels. It has far-reaching effects and turns on hundreds of gene systems involved in repair and restoration.
For Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol, VIP is compounded as a nasal spray. When patients are done with the Lyme disease and the bugs are gone, I will then take them through Dr. Shoemaker’s 11-step program. With VIP therapy, they then start to see improvements in all of their symptoms; their energy improves, they sleep better and they start gaining the energy reserve back that they used to have—it really is quite remarkable.
VIP works for everyone but the difficult part is getting a patient prepared to be able to take it in. This is because patients need to make sure that all of their Lyme-related and other infections are completely gone before they can take the VIP. Otherwise, they will not get the full benefit of VIP and may even get worse during treatment as a result of ongoing inflammation.
Usually the last infections to leave the body are chronic viruses.  The level of activity of these chronic viruses must also be reduced. I have found that once patients are infection-free, they do extremely well on VIP therapy. The hard point is just getting them to reach that point.
The length of VIP therapy varies from person to person. Many people come into my clinic and believe that their Lyme infections are gone, but 9 times out of 10, I find they still have very low levels of infection that must first be treated. So in these situations, in which patients still have some level of low-grade infection, I will typically have them combine bio-magnetism therapy (described later in this chapter) with herbal remedies to eliminate any residual infections. Once this is accomplished, they can then start the VIP treatment.
As with other treatments, I start my patients out on a low dosage of VIP and ramp up on that dosage slowly. Typically, most people will need treatment for 3 to 6 months, and during that time, the VIP will reset the HPA axis. It is quite remarkable; after the treatment, people will find that they no longer need to take adrenal support or supplemental hormones anymore, and they can start eating a normal diet. VIP in conjunction with the Restore™ product works very well for healing the gut, but both are best done near the end of the treatment process.
To find practitioners that understand VIP and Dr. Shoemaker’s 11 step treatment process, I recommend visiting the website. I have found the 11-step protocol to be hugely effective. In my own battle with Lyme, I found that even after I had eliminated all of the infections, I still had issues with fatigue and intestinal inflammation, but after I went on the VIP, I was able to more completely regain my health.

The Link Between Lyme Disease and Cancer

Note; This article was originally published on 
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"

Note: This article was originally published on 

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

Note; This article was originally published on 

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

Note: This article was originally published on 

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

Note: This article was originally published on 

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

This article was originally published on 

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

Note: This article was originally published on 

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

Note; This article was originally published on

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

Note: This article was originally published on
         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

Note: This article was originally published on
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.