What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease: A Natural Approach To Healing


Dr. William Cole | MindBodyGreen


Lyme disease: We've been hearing about it a lot lately, on the news, online, and from friends.

That's because the disease has spread rapidly across the country in recent years. The number of counties in the U.S. reporting a high incidence of Lyme has surged by 320 percent since the '90s. And the CDC suggests that the number of Lyme disease cases may be 10 times higher than the officially reported number, with an estimated 300,000 incidences each year in America.

Lyme is often called “The Great Imitator” because its symptoms can mimic many other diseases, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and dementia. (In fact, some researchers have questioned whether Lyme could actually be a trigger for some of those diseases.)

Sadly, partly for this reason, people with Lyme are frequently misdiagnosed. And those struggling with chronic Lyme are often told that it's all in their head, or that they're simply “just depressed.”

As a functional medicine practitioner, here's what I wish more people knew about Lyme disease:

What Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is the most common tickborne infectious disease in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health.

It's a bacterial infection: the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria is transmitted to humans when they're bitten by an infected tick. These parasites are often so tiny that most people don't see them or even notice the bite. Depending on where you live it could be:

  • An infected blacklegged tick or deer tick, in the northeastern and central U.S.
  • An infected western blacklegged tick, on the West Coast of the U.S.
  • An infected sheep tick, in parts of Europe.

In acute Lyme, within about a month of a bite, the symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms including fever, hot flashes, and chills
  • Joint pain
  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • A red “bull's-eye” rash may appear

In mainstream medicine, a patient who exhibits these symptoms will likely have lab work done to confirm the diagnosis. The standard treatment is then antibiotics, and it's believed that most of those infected will recover within a few weeks.

But in some cases, symptoms can persist. In mainstream medicine, the idea that these symptoms are due to a persistent infection is controversial, and “chronic Lyme syndrome” is largely unrecognized. Still, some functional medicine doctors and organizations, such as the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), insist that chronic Lyme is a growing problem, and one that should be recognized. Some of the recurring symptoms post-treatment might include:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Muscle and joint pain that moves around the body
  • Severe brain fog
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety attacks

So why might Lyme be so hard to detect and recover from, even after antibiotics? Here are three main theories:

Problem 1: Lyme is one smart bug.

Research suggests some surprising reasons why Lyme is so hard to detect and kill off. Lyme bacteria actually suppresses our immune system, which allows it to hide and grow stronger. Lyme also seems to have the ability to “cloak” itself, making itself invisible to our immune system.

Borrelia is so smart that some research suggests that when it senses it's being attacked it can change to a dormant state, allowing it to live and survive antibiotics. Other studies suggest that Borrelia can undergo gene mutations that make it resistant to various antibiotics.

Problem 2: Diagnosis is difficult.

Only about half of all Lyme patients actually remember getting a tick bite. Plus, the classic “bull's-eye” rash that people associate with Lyme may not appear in all cases. And some research suggests that conventional Lyme tests may not be sensitive enough for diagnosis, especially during the later stages of disease. False-negative results can also be common.

Problem 3: Conventional treatment may not be enough.

The conventional approach to Lyme typically includes 10 to 28 days of antibiotics. Then what? Well, nothing. The problem with this is that some research suggests that as many as 25 percent of patients with Lyme disease still have some symptoms long after antibiotic therapy.

Related Article: How To Avoid Mosquito Bites And The Life-Threatening Conditions They Can Cause

A Functional Medicine Approach to Lyme

As a functional medicine practitioner, my approach to Lyme is different. Here's what I recommend:

1. A careful health history.

I start by asking a lot of questions about your health history. In fact, so much so that one patient asked me if I was in the KGB. No, ma'am, just want to get to the root issues of what you're experiencing! Consider a free webcam or phone evaluation with my health center to get the conversation started.

2. Comprehensive labs.

It's important to catch Lyme as early as possible so it doesn't become chronic. In addition to using the two conventional tests accepted by the CDC, Elisa and Western Blot labs, I also often screen clients with these labs:

  • CD57+/CD8-Absolute count: At this point, we believe that only Lyme bacteria will depress the CD-57. So someone with a high CD-57 is probably sick with something other than Lyme.
  • C4a: This is another blood test to assess the immune system. Chronic Lyme disease could be associated with increased levels of C4a.

We might also consider other tests to dig a little deeper.

3. Support healthy biofilms.

Biofilm is a thin, slimy film of bacteria that adheres to a surface. Biofilms are not bad in themselves. Biofilms are just a way that bacteria colonize. It's the composition of the biofilm that makes it probiotic or pathogenic. Functional medicine's goal is to promote a healthy biofilm through foods, lifestyle changes, and natural medicines. Some natural biofilm-modifying tools I might recommend include:

  • Colostrum/Lactoferrin supplements: Lactoferrin inhibits pathogens and promotes healthy biofilms.
  • Probiotics and prebiotics: These promote probiotic balance.
  • Enzymes: These break down biofilm.
  • Xylitol: This is a natural anti-biofilm.
  • EDTA: This is a strong anti-biofilm.

I recommend talking to your health care practitioner about what might help support your health.

4. Address microbiome issues.

At least 70 percent of our immune system is in our GI tract, and the microbiome is a foundational part of immune health. Addressing any underlying gut dysfunctions, such as candida overgrowth, could help to strengthen the immune system to fight off infections.

5. Integrate natural medicines.

I typically suggest blends of immunity support, such as Siberian ginseng, samento, sarsaparilla, guaiacum, astragalus, resveratrol, and cat’s claw. One study also suggests that stevia could be as effective as antibiotics in treating Lyme disease.

Read the rest of the article…


Tags: , , , , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

7 Reader Comments

Trackback URL Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ag grade Lime does the trick too and prevents them from being in your yard. I use the white powdered form and spread it about every two years. Just do it before it is going to rain and don’t let your anmals walk on it until after the rain washes it into the soil. It also keeps snake out of your yard becasue they don’t like it on their skin.

  2. Justine Taylor Hughes this made me think of you. Maybe there is something that could help a little here. It’s been a while, so you may be better and I’m sure you have heard most of it but I hope you are well. I want you to be.

  3. Anna Lloyd Anna Lloyd says:

    Use products b 4 ur bitten
    It’s too late after.

  4. Corine Veldhuizen

  5. Dan Kellam Dan Kellam says:

    Perhaps adding other antiviral and antibacterial foods would be wise too. Pau darco is antibacterial, anti parasitic and anti fungal, and antiviral. (Gotta love the end products of rainforest evolution) I realize they suggest its purely a bacterial infection but perhaps there is also a viral component? If so, there are plenty of antiviral plants and adaptogens that can bolster ones immune system

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Send this to a friend