Lyme Disease Treatment
Lyme Disease has been receiving much publicity in the news lately with such celebrities as Avril Lavigne & Yolanda Foster currently suffering from it, and others such as Ben Stiller & George W. Bush having had previous episodes. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease every year. While many cases may be minor ones, Lyme disease can be a major debilitating injury causing havoc in ones normal way of life.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. In addition to Borrelia burgdorferi two other bacteria often are found as co-infections: Bartonella and Ehrlichia; and 1 protozoa: Babesia. When one looks at the symptoms of Lyme disease they seem to cover virtually everything.
Lyme can cause a plethora of symptoms, and depending on which of the co-infections you may have certain ones may predominate.
Patients with Borrelia burgdorferi often have random body pains, gut issues, numbness, tingling, neurological issues, and twitching. This can compare to patients with Bartonella more often exhibiting anxiety, striae, depression, rashes, heart issues, headaches, and un-resolving heal pain.
One list available online of the differing symptoms can be found here.
Typically those with Lyme and its common co-infections do not only have Lyme. They often also may have food sensitivities, other infections (virus, fungal, etc.), heavy metal toxicity, etc. We will talk about this and the consequences later in this article.
How did I get Lyme disease?
Traditionally the way to contract Lyme disease was by getting bit by a tick and then developing a bulls eye rash. In reality less than 50% of people ever develop any type of rash, with many clinicians thinking the number is closer to 17%. Traditionally it was thought that getting bit by a tick was the only way to contract Lyme, but new evidence suggests it can be passed down from ones mother during pregnancy, through breast milk, sexual intercourse, and blood transfusions. Some doctors hypothesize how it can be transferred through animal milk, or even when eating meat, if the bacteria are in their protective cyst forms. Mosquitoes are also to be able to transfer Lyme disease to humans after biting an infected deer or other animal. Approximately 50% of cats are shown to be infected with Bartonella (“cat scratch fever”), and can then be passed to their human owners.
Because of the many ways one can get Lyme (not just from a tick bite) and more often than not having no rash, more people are realizing they have Lyme then ever previously thought.
Testing for Lyme Disease?
One can get an ELISA or Western Blot test for Lyme, but since they only test for a very small number of the strains of Borrelia burgdorferi they miss up to 60% of Lyme cases, according to Johns Hopkins. Most doctors who treat Lyme disease consider IgeneX to be one of the best available tests to see if you have Lyme, but even this test may miss some, according to many physicians. A good summation of some of the major Lyme tests and their pros and cons is on the website of Lyme expert Scott Forsgren.
Because of the many false negatives involved with Lyme testing some LLMDs (Lyme Literate Medical Doctors) often give a high dose antibiotic to patients they suspect of having Lyme disease. If the patient has a herxheimer reaction (an exacerbation of symptoms due to the dead bacteria releasing toxins faster than the body can handle them), then they consider the patient to be positive for Lyme.
How to Treat Patients with Lyme Disease?
If you were just bitten by a tick and have the suggestive bulls-eye rash, I would suggest seeing an MD and getting prescription antibiotics along with the advice below.
One difficulty when treating Lyme is its ability to transform from its spirochete form to its cell-wall-deficient form to its cyst form. The cyst form doesn’t cause symptoms but is antibiotic resistant and allows Lyme to hide while it is being treated with antimicrobials. This is why Lyme often comes back in many individuals. Each form also has differing symptoms and needs to be treated in a different manor. Borrelia burgdorferi has also been shown to express quorum sensing. That means the Borrelia burgdorferi can communicate with microbes in the community to give them information on how to best survive in the host.
This means that Lyme can switch between different forms, each one needs to be treated in different ways, and they can also communicate with each other!
While I never recommend a one-treatment plan for each person, in some common cases you see often you can make educated treatment suggestions. While these typically don’t work as well as a thorough exam and testing, with a bit more time they can work. With Lyme it can be harder since in clinical experience it seems patients frequently rotate between their body wanting to kill the active Lyme and its co-factors for several days and then switching over to detox mode where it wants to clean up all of the dead microbes and waste released. This cycle seems to occur in Lyme patients much more often than almost any other type of issue. Simply killing the microbes for long periods of time can make a person sicker than they started.
Many Lyme clinics sadly only treat the Lyme and ignore many other co-infections and health issues which Lyme patients typically have. As Scott Forsgren said, co-infections with Lyme should be looked at as the rule and not the exception. Most Lyme patients seem to also have a fungal/candida overgrowth. They also may have heavy metal toxicity. These will all increase the total load on ones body, making it much harder to treat the Lyme. Without addressing all causes of stress on the body typically one is not healthy enough to eradicate the Lyme disease, and it will simply go into cyst form before coming back weeks, months, of years later with the same symptoms. Treating biofilms can also be a key player in recovering from Lyme disease.
When treating Lyme and its co-infections dietary restrictions can also play a huge role. Identifying any possible food sensitivities will help decrease inflammation, and increase healing, in the body. In some patients this involves temporarily going on an extremely low fat diet to treat biofilms, according to Dr. Stephen Fry MD.
When treating Lyme, there are many variables, as mentioned above. Because of these, treating Lyme can be much more difficult than normal illnesses, and the treatment regime can change often due to the rapidly changing form of Lyme and its co-infections. This is why seeing an Applied Kinesiologist (AK) specially trained to help diagnose and treat Lyme disease is your best option. A physician trained in AK and Lyme disease is able to help find out what microbes are affecting you, in addition to Lyme, in addition to other food allergies, heavy metals, and bodily stressors. They are also some of the most qualified in helping determine individual treatment plans which include taking the right supplements, when to switch between antimicrobials and detoxification supplements, in addition to addressing what antimicrobial to use when treating Lyme in its various forms of spirochete, cell-wall deficient, and cyst.
Because many Lyme patients have so many stressors on the body they often can’t handle many supplements out there due to the fillers, flowing agents, and other unnecessary ingredients in products. While supplements can be one of the best ways to treat Lyme, taking the wrong supplement, or the “right” supplement with the wrong added ingredients, can actually make you worse then when you began. This is another one of the many reasons mentioned above why many Lyme treatment regimes often only get minimal results.
I hope you found this helped and as always, please email me at DrNoahLebowitz@gmail.com if you have any questions.
-Dr. Noah Lebowitz is a second generation Chiropractor and Applied Kinesiologist practicing in Tacoma / Seattle WA. Dr. Lebowitz treats the chronically ill patient with fatigue, intestinal issues, depression, autoimmune conditions, etc. The patients he sees have often seen many other doctors beforehand and are able to be helped using the unique protocol developed by Michael Lebowitz DC. He also works with professional athletes (including NHL and MLB All-Stars and MVP players) and amateurs working to optimize muscle function and nutrition helping decrease injuries and increase performance.