A Natural Approach To Therapy
Is Lyme disease curable? Realistically, this war is won slowly and incrementally. It is not a battle with specific microbes as much as it is an imbalance within the entire microbiome of the body .
The underlying cause is disruption of immune function caused by the microbes, as well as other factors such as poor diet, toxins, and chronic stress.
As such, the solution is breaking the vicious cycle of chronic immune dysfunction and creating a healing environment within the body. This is done by taking pressure off the healing systems of the body by reducing stress factors.
Herbal therapy is ideal for restoring wellness because herbs empower the body to get well. Comprehensive herbal therapy enhances immune function, reduces inflammatory cytokines, and supports healing of tissues.
Herbs do not function like antibiotics. Herbs suppress opportunistic pathogens, but without destroying non-harmful flora. This rebalances the microbiome and restores wellness to the body.
When the approach shifts from treating an illness to supporting wellness and the ability to function normally, specific diagnoses and whether or not specific microbes are present does not matter as much.
Antimicrobial Treatments For Lyme Disease
The conventional medical approach to Lyme disease treatment in adults is a ten to 21-day course of the antibiotic doxycycline.1 However, a growing body of research shows that this treatment is insufficient, if not completely ineffective, for cases of chronic Lyme disease. Functional medicine offers a far more comprehensive approach to the antimicrobial treatment of Lyme disease. Read on to learn about the types of antimicrobial treatment options available, and how they can be combined for optimal effect.
Keeping Cells Free Of Debris
You depend on your immune system to keep the spaces between cells free of debris so that they get good flow. Specialized immune cells, called macrophages, constantly patrol your tissues searching for debris they are the garbage collectors of the immune system. Macrophages engulf debris from dead cells and then break it down with strong acid and potent free radicals.
This process is happening in the body all the timeyou couldnt survive without it. As long as the collection of debris doesnt exceed the capacity of the immune system to clean it up, you never know its happening. Its deemed inflammation only when accumulation of debris from cell turnover is greater than the immune system can process.
Tissues congested with debris stresses cells. When cells suffer, you feel it as symptoms. The type of symptoms depend on the types and location of cells that are suffering. Symptoms associated with inflammation can be transient and localized when cell injury is finite, such as with an acute injury, or chronic and systemic when cell injury is ongoing, such as with chronic Lyme disease or really any chronic illness.
Lets take a look at inflammation in more detail, particularly chronic inflammation as it impacts people with Lyme disease, along with the best ways to quash it.
You May Like: Antibiotics Given For Lyme Disease
Treatment Round #: Antibiotics
My initial Lyme treatment looked like a whole lot of antibioticsdoxycycline, plus two others that were supposedly beneficial for combating common Lyme co-infections. And this was fine with me. Given the severity of my symptoms, I was willing to try anything. Plus, at the time, I didn’t really know I had any other options.
Because I’d likely had Lyme for years by the time I began treatment, it took some time for me to notice any results. But soon, there was no question the drugs were working. After three months, I had less pain after six months, I could walk around the block and after nine months, I could go on a 2-mile hike. All told, I was on this combination of antibiotics for about two years , after which I felt completely symptom-freesomething I never, ever expected.
And I felt pretty great for about a year. But then I’d start to feel a bit more achy than usual after walking my ankles and knees would get red, hot, and painful I started to notice that old tingling sensation in my arms and legs and eventually, I was struggling to walk again. My Lyme was re-emerging even after lengthy antibiotic treatmentand apparently, that’s not uncommon. This, I’ve since learned, is partially due to the spirochete shape of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease , which allows some forms of the bacteria to essentially burrow deep into your tissue and lay dormant only to re-emerge later when conditions are more favorable.
The Vital Plan Restore Program
I took a leap of faith and in late November 2014 I began following the protocol set out in the book to the letter.
In January 2015, I made the decision to follow the Vital Plan Restore Program.
The Restore Program was formulated by Dr Rawls. He created the program using his extensive knowledge of herbal therapies and incorporated everything that helped him in his own recovery from chronic illness.
The program includes four different supplements, a diet plan, a 6-month email course and ongoing support from the Vital Plan team. It is all encompassing and is a culmination of everything Dr Rawls has learned put into an easy-to-follow program.
The four supplements included in the Restore Program are:
- Advanced Biotic: Andrographis, Berberine, Cats claw, Japanese Knotweed, Garlic, Sarsaparilla
- Adaptogen Recovery: Chinese Skullcap, Reishi, Cordyceps, Rehmannia
- Mitochondrial Support: Glutathione, NAC, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin C, Co-enzyme Q10
- Prevention Plus: vitamin and mineral supplement that also contains herbal therapies such as Milk Thistle, Pine Bark Extract and Resveratrol
Initially, I felt worse from the herbal therapies but an inner voice told me I was on the right path and I needed to keep going. Sure enough, I then began to see small improvements and glimmers of hope that my health could improve.
Don’t Miss: Hydrogen Peroxide Treatment For Lyme Disease
Natural Remedies For The Chronic Inflammation Of Lyme Disease
Everyone knows that inflammation isnt good, especially when it becomes chronic. But to do something about it, you need to understand whats driving the inflammation in the first place.
Though you cant actually see chronic inflammation, you can certainly feel it. It manifests as joint discomfort, stiffness, general achiness, fatigue, low stamina, brain fog, slow mental activity, depressed mood, and all the other symptoms associated with chronic Lyme disease. Simply put, you feel inflamed.
The root of inflammation is excessive turnover of cells. We all lose cells, and up to a certain point, its perfectly normal. Cells in the body are constantly wearing out, getting injured, or being invaded by microbes. In fact, we typically lose 50-70 billion cells every day. While much of cellular turnover is accounted for by cells that are shed from the body, such as skin and intestinal cells, tissues inside the body are losing cells, too.
When cells die, they break apart and create debris. If enough debris collects in tissues, it obstructs the flow of water, nutrients, and oxygen that cells need to stay healthy. At the same time, metabolic waste produced by cells is trapped around the cell, which, of course, isnt a good thing. If enough debris collects, cells start to choke in their own waste.
Western Blot For Lyme
This test relies on production of antibodies by the hosts immune system for different parts of the bacteria. Antibody production does not occur until the bodys secondary defense kicks in, and its dependent on the hosts ability to mount an immune response.
The Western Blot test may provide a more accurate diagnosis of Lyme disease than most of the other available tests. Because Borrelia shares antigens with other bacteria, multiple positive antibodies are required for a true positive test.
IgM antibodies show acute Lyme disease CDC guidelines require two positive bands out of three . IgG antibodies are indicative of chronic disease CDC guidelines require five positive bands out of 10 . Band 41 is specific for the flagella of spirochetes , but is not absolutely specific for Borrelia.
True positive tests are not that common. A company called IGeneX adds extra bands for more accurate testing, but the test can be expensive.
The newest technology for testing for acute Borrelia infection is the Ceres Nanotrap . This test, performed on a urine sample, captures the outer surface protein from the Borrelia bacteria. The company claims high specificity for the Borrelia bacteria and high sensitivity for picking up acute infection. At this time, the test is not indicated for diagnosing chronic Lyme disease.
Recommended Reading: Lyme Disease Blood Test Name
How Long Will It Take To Work
It does take time, says Dr. Rawls. Certain symptoms, particularly those found in people with neurological Lyme, can take months to years of steady, comprehensive herbal therapy to see substantial gains.
Although an herbal therapy approach tends to be slower, its important to remember that healing is cumulative. Thats because youre chipping away at the underlying causes while simultaneously restoring health to your body as opposed to only attacking microbes or masking the symptoms.
The good news is that because herbs have a low potential for toxicity, they can safely be used for a long time to suppress microbes, balance the microbiome, and establish a more robust immune system.
Its not a short-term proposition, acknowledges Dr. Rawls. It took me years of taking herbs to get my life back completely. And Ive continued taking immune-supporting herbs long term I think thats really, really important for lasting wellness.
Dr. Rawls is a physician who overcame Lyme disease through natural herbal therapy. You can learn more about Lyme disease in Dr. Rawls new best selling book, Unlocking Lyme. You can also learn about Dr. Rawls personal journey in overcoming Lyme disease and fibromyalgia in his popular blog post, My Chronic Lyme Journey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lyme The Nervous System And Neuropathy
Unfortunately, once the infection begins to spread throughout the body, many people will develop Lyme neuroborreliosis . This is neurological Lyme disease, which affects and inflames the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Research suggests the neurologic manifestations of Lyme disease may be present in approximately 15% of the patient population. However, the exact incidence of LNB isnt well known. A brief stint in an online Lyme patient forum will quickly reveal that most individuals report experiencing at least some amount of neurological involvement on a routine basis.
One debilitating symptom that may be present among those with LNB is peripheral neuropathy . This is a disease process that impacts the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord. Neuropathy occurs when there is damage or dysfunction of neurons in one or more nerves.
The damage results in interference among the neurons, and they begin to have difficulty communicating with each other and the brain.
To make matters worse, co-infections like Babesia and Bartonella can contribute to neuropathy as well, according to a study in the International Journal of General Medicine.
So how do you know if the symptoms youre facing are neuropathy, and what can you do to find some relief? Read on to learn about the symptoms, diagnosis, and ideas on how to manage the pain and discomfort associated with neuropathy more effectively.
You May Like: How Do You Test For Lyme Disease In Adults
When Inflammation Becomes Chronic
Imagine if the acute inflammatory process was going on in tissues throughout your body and it never resolved. Thats exactly what happens with the chronic inflammation associated with chronic Lyme disease.
The driving force is bacteria invading cells. Its not an all-out invasion like you would find with an acute infection, such as pneumonia, however. Its an insidious migration of bacteria into tissues throughout the body in the brain, heart, joints, muscles, kidneys, intestines, everywhere.
When Lyme bacteria enter the bloodstream from a tick bite, WBCs gobble up the bacteria in an attempt to get rid of them. The bacteria, however, have sophisticated ways of staying alive inside the WBCs. Instead of eradicating the bacteria, the WBCs unintentionally become transport vehicles to distribute bacteria to tissues throughout the body.
On arrival, the bacteria surface and infect other cells. Its not as much a deluge of invasion as it is a random sprinkling. Tissues throughout the body become peppered with cells that have been infected with bacteria.
The Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are intracellular, which means they infect and live inside cells. The cells provide nutrients to make new bacteria as well as protection from the immune system. Once the bacteria have used up the resources a cell has to offer, they surface and infect other cells.
Understanding The Acute Inflammatory Response
Suppose youre walking barefoot in the yard one summer day and accidentally step on a sharp piece of glass hidden in the grass. Pain alerts you to the injury and you stop to assess the situation. If the wound isnt deep, youre up to date on your tetanus vaccination, and a rinse in the sink reveals no foreign objects in the wound, you place a bandage over the area, and youre back on your way.
Swelling occurs because blood vessels dilate to allow an influx of WBCs and flush the area with fluid. Macrophages and arriving WBCs engulf debris, foreign matter, and microbes that have entered through the open wound, and destroy the material with potent free radicals and hypochlorous acid. Its a noxious process that causes collateral damage to normal cells, but its part of the healing process.
Once the injury is contained and the mess is cleaned up, WBCs migrate out of the area. Surviving cells repair damage from the injury and the inflammatory process itself. Gradually evidence of the injury disappears like nothing had ever happened.
Recommended Reading: Neurological Disorders From Lyme Disease
Being Diagnosed With Lyme Disease
As I headed into 2016, I felt that my health had begun to plateau. This led to me seeking answers and in September 2016 I was diagnosed with late stage Lyme Disease!
I began taking the Restore Program for my Fibromyalgia and, without realising it, I had also been treating undiagnosed Lyme Disease.
I am so grateful for Dr Rawls and I dread to think how poorly my health may have become had I not taken that leap of faith!
I feel that the Restore Program has played a significant role in my recovery story. It set a solid foundation, which I then built upon by having treatment at a clinic called Infusio in 2017.
Infusio use stem cell therapy, among other treatments, to help repair the damage done by the Lyme bacteria and modulate the immune system. You can read all about my experience at Infusio and subsequent recovery following the treatment here.
Although I am not yet 100% recovered and maybe I never will be I am significantly improved and functioning at a level I once thought would never be possible for me again.
If you would like to read more blog posts relating to my story and recovery, here is a list you may enjoy reading:
Blood Or Tissue Culture
The most definitive test for proving the presence of a microbe is growing it in the lab from a tissue or blood sample. However, because Borrelia exists in such low concentrations in blood and tissues and is so difficult to grow under artificial conditions, cultures have marginal benefit for Lyme disease.
Also Check: How Do They Test For Lyme Disease
How To Begin A New Natural Lyme Protocol: Your Top Questions Answered
Anyone beginning a new herbal protocol for Lyme disease is bound to have questions. After all, if youve been taking a variety of prescription medications for a while, switching to a natural regimen can feel like a leap of faith. Will the new protocol be one that you can tolerate? How will you handle die-off reactions or detoxing? How long will it take to work?
To help you answer these questions and more, we turned to Dr. Bill Rawls, MD, Medical Director of RawlsMD and Vital Plan, who has experienced chronic Lyme firsthand. We also scoured the research and other reliable sources to create a resourceful guide to getting started, plus offer suggestions for tackling some of the more common pitfalls patients encounter.
One overarching bit of advice to remember: When implementing a new protocol, starting low and going slow is often a critical step to sustaining any health regimen over the long haul. If you hit a roadblock along the way, try not to panic. You can always press the pause button and give your body a chance to reset.
My Long Road To A Lyme Diagnosis
I could write a freakin’ book about my pre-diagnosis Lyme experience. Not to sound dramatic, but it was basically a nightmare playing out in slow motion. For your own sanity, I’ll give you the condensed version.
Personally, I don’t remember a tick bite, and like many Lyme sufferers, I never got the bull’s-eye rash or flu-like symptoms so often touted as “classic” signs of Lyme disease. Instead, my whole ordeal began with a sharp, stinging sensation in my left ankle after a day of walking in New York City, where I’d just begun my first “big girl” job. It hurt, but I didn’t think much of it, and about a week later I was told I had tendinitis that would resolve relatively quickly. But then my other ankle started to hurt, and after a few months, the pain extended to the bottoms of my feet, my knees, and even my arms. Sometimes it would feel like electric currents were running through my toes when I stood up. After a while, I began to question my tendinitis diagnosis, but after about five “second opinions” and countless tests , doctors had no real explanation for what was going on. In the words of one of my least favorite doctors, “There’s nothing else I can do for you.”
Recommended Reading: Cottages For Sale In Old Lyme Ct