Integrative Treatment Strategies
for Healing Lyme disease
The Focus of Part 3 of the Lyme Disease series will focus on the Integrative Treatment Strategies for recovering and healing from Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease recovery depends on and is influenced many factors. Factors that determine the Recovery from Lyme Disease are:
- Timeline of Diagnosis with the Stage of Lyme. Knowing the Stage of Lyme is essential to choosing the proper Treatment Strategies.
- The Severity of the Symptoms.
- The Underlying health of the Infected Person, it is important to know the overall health of the patient and to determine other Immune and Health Challenges that they may have.
- The Prescence of other Immune Conditions, Infections, Co-Infections, and other chronic diseases.
- Knowledge and Lyme Literacy of the Practitioner in identifying and treating Lyme Disease.
I believe that the most effective strategies for treating Lyme involve the Integrative Approach of combining Western Medicine with Naturopathic Medicine. You team should have a Lyme Literate MD and a Lyme Literate ND working in combination to Kill the Bacteria and Strengthen the Immune system.
I will review the concepts and strategies of Treatment and not so much the specifics. I highly recommend that if you or a loved one has Lyme or suspects that you have Lyme, are guided by a Lyme Literate Doctor. They will do the appropriate testing and treatments for your body and condition specifically. Not all Lyme treatments are appropriate for everyone. It Is best to be under the care of a specialist to have complete recovery.
Lyme is on the Rise
The escalation in new Lyme cases is due to increased exposure. More robust tick populations, weatherchanges producing longer tick seasons and other related factors are contributing to a rise of Lyme Disease and related co-infections. New Research suggests that other insects may serve as vectors for this Lyme. Besides the black-legged tick/deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, Lyme disease may also be transmitted by otherspecies of ticks, spiders, mosquitos, and Fleas. I know, it is scary!
Functional medicine practitioners understand that the terrain of our body is very important in determining how disease progresses in our bodies. We are increasingly being exposed to an overwhelming assault of inflammatory stimuli. This is causing increases in autoimmune disease,allergies, and deregulated immune response. Lyme disease is being seen as a complex of the bacterial exposure on an inflamed terrain exposed to toxins, stress, and inflammation.
Wondering how it’s possible that one person can have Lyme and show no symptoms, and yet others canhave chronic symptoms that can be crippling at times? The bottom line is that everyone is hosting a range of different viruses, bad bacteria, fungus and even cancer cells in their body at any given point in time; What’s important is the immune systems ability to keep the invaders at bay.
An Integrative Approach to Lyme Disease Treatment
Successful integrative protocols for Lyme disease involve Combining the Best of Western and Conventional Medicine with Naturopathic Medicine including:
- Medical and Herbal antimicrobials to Kills the Lyme Bacteria.
- Medical and Herbal antimicrobials to Eradicate the Co-Infections.
- Supporting the Antimicrobial Treatments with Liver and Gut support to make sure the Body can detoxify the Toxins from the antimicrobials and “die off “of the bacteria. (Hint…. Dr. G’s Magic Detox Smoothie)
- Supporting the Immune system and reducing inflammation. (Hint…Dr. G’s Inflammation Support Smoothie)
- Rebuilding the Body by addressing Cellular Function, Adrenal and Hormonal Balance, and Regenerating the Mitochondria of our cells after war with the Microbes if over.
I have seen so many patients that have come to see me after lengthy antibiotic treatments for Lyme and they don’t feel any better. They often assume that the bacteria are not gone. Often, the Lyme Bacteria is gone. However, they are dealing with the toxins of the bacterial die off, toxicity of the meds, and a compromised Immune and Adrenal system. Luckily this can all be repaired.
WESTERN MEDICINE TREATMENT APPROACH
Standard allopathic treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotic therapy immediately after infection occurs or issuspected. The most common antibiotic treatment for Lyme infection is a combination of amoxicillin, cefuroxime doxycycline antibiotics taken for 2–4 weeks. However, not everyone will respond well to these antibiotics, including those with infections that spread through the central nervous system. The sooner treatment begins after infection, the quicker and more complete the recovery will likely be — so people whowait a while before being diagnosed might not react positively to antibiotics. The Western Medicine Approach is very effective for the INITIAL STAGE of LYME and may be effective during the LATE STAGE of Lyme as well.
Common symptoms of Early Lyme disease include
- Rash - most are solid pink to red; uncommon: “bull’s-eye” or other appearance
- Muscle and joint pain
The non-rash symptoms are often described as a “summertime flu.” If the Lyme Bacteria progresses deeper into the body, the symptoms start to carry the characteristic or LATE LYME DISEASE. Once the infection spreads beyond the skin, it can affect any system of the body.
Common Symptoms of Later Lyme Disease include:
- Debilitating fatigue
- Muscle pain
- Nerve pain and weakness
- Heart problems
- Psychiatric symptoms: anxiety, depression, irritability, psychosis, and more
- Difficulty with thinking, memory, language, and math skills
- Sleep disturbance
- Problems with vision and hearing.
- Cardiovascular problems, including blood pressure imbalances and irregular heartbeat
Common Symptoms of Chronic Lyme:
If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated early, the spirochetes can spread and may go into hiding in different parts of the body. Weeks, months or even years later, patients may develop problems with the brain and nervous system, muscles and joints, heart and circulation, digestion, reproductive system, and skin. Symptoms may disappear even without treatment and different symptoms may appear at different times.
When Lyme disease reaches the chronic stage, antibiotics are often ineffective in eradicating the infection. That’s in part because the bacterium that cause Lyme disease, as well as other co-infections, burrow within tissues once the infection takes hold. One place they often hide is within the nervous system, including thebrain. Therefore, anti-inflammatory therapies that can cross the blood-brain barrier are particularly important for reducing neurological symptoms of Lyme and other diseases. Lyme bacterium may also utilize Biofilm, which are protective barriers that are resistant to treatment. Strategies to Break up Biofilm’s, which includes, Enzymes and Antimicrobial herbs may help Chronic Lyme Disease.
NATUROPATHIC STATEGIES for LYME
I have listed some of the basic Naturopathic Strategies of Lyme Treatment in Conjunction with medical treatment. It is not my intention to recommend Specific Treatments. Lyme is a dangerous and complex Illness, especially when it is Chronic. I feel patients are best guided by a Functional Medicine, Integrative Medicine, or Naturopathic Doctor to navigate the proper treatments that are specific to their needs.
Supporting the body’s detox systems, particularly phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxication pathways, is alsoessential. For this, botanicals including milk thistle seed, dandelion, gingko, as well as the nutrients N-acetyl cysteine, alpha lipoic acid and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) supplement are important. Alginates, derivedfrom brown seaweed, possess detoxifying, immune-enhancing and anti-inflammatory properties. These andother natural detox agents help support the body’s ability to safely metabolize and remove toxins from tissuesand circulation.
Dr. G’s Detox Smoothie helps to provide all the nutrients that the body needs to support the Live and the Gut to be able to Detox.
ANTIMICROBIAL and IMMUNE SUPPORT THERAPIES
Targeted antimicrobial nutrients, botanicals and antioxidants can help treat infection while also modulatingimmune and inflammation responses. Garlic and its derivative, allicin, is a treatment often used for addressingLyme disease.Other botanicals, including curcumin from turmeric, cat’s claw, Boswellia from frankincense, astragalus, artemisia, and prickly ash bark, can also be helpful in addressing infection.
IMPROVE MITOCHONDRIAL FUNCTION
The next step in Lyme disease treatment is improving cellular mitochondrial functioning and protection.Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, along with viruses and parasites, can attack healthy cells and weaken yourdefenses. To restore cellular health, your doctor may recommend supplements such as Vitamin D3, Co=Q10, B-Complex, Omega 3’s, Magnesium and other nutrients based on your symptoms and test results.
REST and STRESS SUPPORT
Chronic stress, whether physical or emotional, has been proven time and time again to weaken the immune system and increase someone’s risk for getting sick. Stress can trigger inflammation and cause hormonal imbalance. Managing Chronic Stress includes: Rest, Sleep, Adrenal therapies, Time in Nature, Meditation and Mindfulness.
Dr. Rawls’ Lyme Treatment Guide
Dr. Rawls’ is an Integrative Lyme Practitioner and has a great page on his website that evaluates many of the Western, Naturopathic, and Alternative Lyme treatments. Some of these include Infrared Saunas, Ozone Therapy, Bee Sting therapy, Supplements, Glutathone, Antibiotics and more. Follow this link to see his rating of Lyme Treatments from his vast experience of years of working with Chronic Lyme Disease.
I encourage Patients to explore healing modalities as part of their healing adventure. However, just because something is “natural”, it doesn’t mean it is right for you nor that it could have negative side effects. So when you want to explore new healing modalities, I encourage you to do so under the recommendations of your doctor.
Lyme, like all chronic illnesses, can best be remedied with the Integrative Medicine approach to healing. Chronic Disease gives us the time and opportunity to reflect on our lifestyle and priorities. If things are not in line with our purpose and growth, we can change the course of our adventure and get in line with our Destiny to our Best Self.
Dr. Gabrielle Francis is a New York City Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor and Acupuncturist that supports patients working with Lyme Recovery.