The Role And Impact Of Diet In Managing Lyme Disease
For many Lyme sufferers, antibiotic treatment alone is not enough to cure all symptoms, and many are thought to suffer from food insensitivities or autoimmune issues which are either triggered by, or affected by the infection.
But with a ton of information to sift through on the internet and sometimes conflicting information and experiences to be found in online forums, what diet is best? And how much difference can it really make to your recovery?
As part of our Lyme Awareness Month content, in this blog we are shining some light on this method of managing Lyme, and have posed questions to some of the leading nutritional clinics and consultants in the UK on how diet can play its part in fighting Lyme or managing the symptoms.
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Problem : Conventional Treatment May Not Be Sufficient
The conventional approach to Lyme typically includes 10 to 28 days of antibiotics. Then what? Well, nothing. That course of antibiotics supposedly kills off the bacteria. 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, suggesting that some bacteria lingers, or its effects linger in the body.
Foods To Avoid If You Have This Tick
Sometimes referred to as inflammatory foods, medical experts strongly recommend that you avoid these if you are infected with a tick-borne disease like Lyme borreliosis. Thats because these foods contribute to inflammation and subsequently exacerbate symptoms:
Processed Foods Processed foods are often high in sodium, artificial colors and flavors, sugar, unhealthy fats and chemical preservatives. For people with this kind of disease, eating processed foods can worsen inflammation and make it harder to fight off the infection. Its best to avoid or minimize processed foods and stick to fresh, whole foods as much as possible.
Nightshade Vegetables Nightshades are a family of vegetables that includes tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant and goji berries. They contain solanine, a glycoalkaloid poison found in plants. Solanine can cause problems for people with autoimmune diseases like Lyme borreliosis, because it can aggravate inflammation.
Dairy Products People with Lyme disease often find that their symptoms get worse after consuming dairy products. Dairy is one of the top food allergens, and its also a common irritant for people with digestive issues. The lactose in dairy products can cause problems like diarrhea, bloating and gas. Plus, dairy proteins can contribute to inflammation in the body. If youre struggling with this disease, its best to avoid dairy altogether.
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At What Stage Of Lyme Treatment Should Patients Consider Their Diet
Gilian Crowther, Director of Research for the Academy of Nutritional Medicine says: Right from the beginning is best. Initiating an anti-inflammatory diet from the outset will certainly give your chances of overcoming the infection swiftly a huge helping hand. The pathogen underlying Lyme disease, Borrelia, is a driver of inflammation, as are the coinfections that sometimes come with it, particularly Bartonella.
Judy Rocher, Nutritional Therapist and Naturopath agrees: As soon as they start to get symptoms, any Lyme patient should pay particular attention to a clean diet. This means avoiding processed, additive-laden foods, avoiding trans fats, as well as gluten, dairy and sugar and eating a wide variety of organic vegetables and the fruits lower in fructose such as apples, pears and berries. Chicken and meat should be free range and organic. They should avoid any foods they feel they may be intolerant to, and increase intake of organic foods in a rainbow of colours to enable their bodies to get all the nutrients needed in order to recover.
Lydia Madrigal, Nutritional Scientist at MakeWell says: Diet should be considered right when the treatment is started, as antibiotic treatments are very demanding on the body. Further, before the treatment, chronic disease and inflammation in most cases have already led to poor vitamin and mineral states, as it is very common that the nutrient resorption in the intestine is impacted in a negative way.
Foods That Fight Chronic Inflammation Part 2
Welcome back to our blog. There are many factors that can either contribute to or can relieve the symptoms Lyme disease patients experience, and your diet is one of them. One of the most common symptoms associated with this condition is chronic inflammation, which may affect the nerves, joints, muscles, and digestive system. Therefore, eating foods that combat inflammation can help reduce pain, discomfort, and limited mobility caused by inflammation. Last time, we started looking at some of the best foods to incorporate into your diet to fight inflammation caused by Lyme disease. Lets look at three more foods that can naturally fight inflammation in the body in todays blog post.
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Foods You Need To Avoid
- Gluten – is contained in almost all of the foods that we eat. It is included in breadmaking and other foods that contain starch such as wheat, barley, and rye. However, for a Lyme disease patient, gluten tends to cause inflation, which leads to joint pains, edema, and headaches. Therefore, patients find that they do better if they avoid gluten. It is also important to note that avoiding gluten is neither easy nor cheap. It will, therefore, call for dedication from your end.
- Carbohydrates and Sugar – Sugar is food for yeast, and this, in turn, affects the gastrointestinal system. As we all know, the gastrointestinal system is a key part of the bodys immune system defense. If you eat too many carbohydrates and sugar, your body will be incapable of countering the Lyme disease bacteria.
- Red Meat and Dairy – Avoid red meat unless it is organic and avoid drinking pasteurized milk and switch to raw milk instead.
- Oxalate Products – Just like gluten, oxalates increase the inflammation in your gut, which can cause joint pains, edema, and headaches. As a Lyme disease patient, you will have a better experience if you avoid consuming oxalates. Oxalates are contained in a number of common foods. They include spinach, chard, tofu, peanuts, coffee, and citrus peels.
Dietary Lyme Disease Remedies
In some cases, limiting certain foods can act as a natural Lyme disease remedy. Dairy, red meat, sugar, and caffeine all can worsen Lyme disease. The bacteria that carry Lyme, spirochetes, feeds off of sugar. Because of this, when there is a lot of sugar in the diet, they become stronger and have more long-term effects on the body.
One of the most important factors in helping your body get stronger is reducing inflammation. Inflammation adds stress and requires your body to focus more energy on reducing inflammation than on important tasks like fighting Lyme disease.
Here are some ways to help you reduce Lyme and inflammation in your body:
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What Foods Make Lyme Disease Worse
Food is a substance that is consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is essential for growth, development, and survival. There are six classes of nutrients that are crucial for human health: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Each type of food contains a different combination of these nutrients. Some foods, such as processed junk food, may contain empty calories that offer little in the way of nutrition. Other foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are packed with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are essential for good health.
But what foods make Lyme disease worse? Read more to find out.
What Support Is Available For Those Living With Lyme Disease
Anyone who suffers from Lyme disease must be able to know that theres hope. Fortunately, theres support available for people who have to live with this condition. Its a fact that Lyme disease can be a very isolating condition. A lot of people diagnosed with this disease are usually in the late or chronic stages. Also, many of those people are severely affected because of poor health. At its worst, people might lose their homes, their jobs, and a lot of their relationships. The best thing to do is surround oneself with those who can provide the support needed.
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Support Your Immune System
Your immune system requires an array of nutrients to function at its best. Furthermore, infection and stress deplete the body of critical micronutrients. Lets take a look at several of the micronutrients needed for a well-functioning immune system:
Vitamin D is frequently low in patients with persistent Lyme disease On top of that, Borrelia burgdorferi directly reduces vitamin D receptor expression in immune cells, increasing the need for vitamin D.
Vitamin D is critical for Lyme disease recovery. Daily sun exposure and the consumption of vitamin D-rich foods, including fatty cold-water fish and pastured egg yolks, support a healthy vitamin D status. However, supplementation is often necessary, especially during the fall and winter months.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that regulates both the innate and adaptive branches of the immune system. The innate immune system is our set of frontline immune defenses, whereas the adaptive immune system is composed of specialized cells that target specific pathogens.
We need both branches of the immune system to battle Lyme, and vitamin A can help. Interestingly, vitamin A deficiency worsens Lyme arthritis in mice, whereas vitamin A replenishment reduces the harmful inflammatory response.
Zinc also inhibits complement activity. Complement is a part of the immune system that is excessively activated by Lyme infection and contributes to inflammation.
Recovery From Afs And Lyme Disease Remedies
Though its not known if you can rid yourself of the bacteria associated with Lyme disease completely, it can be mitigated. The same type of diet that works to help with Lyme disease actually has a similar effect when used to combat AFS. Because the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis is so heavily involved in both afflictions, the similarities are far reaching.
Limiting sugar and caffeine intake can have profound effects on stress and inflammation. Because AFS inevitably leads to high levels of inflammation and hormone depletion, using the same dietary program to limit levels of inflammation for Lyme disease will have great benefits for AFS as well. Any reduction in pain levels caused by a weakened inflammatory response will also reduce stress. Stress reduction causes lower inflammation, higher immunological effectiveness, and moves you toward recovery.
Its not just anti-inflammatory foods that you need to be concerned with when trying to recover from excess stress and immunological weakness. You also need sufficient nutrient uptake to produce necessary hormones. This is where high fiber and antioxidant-rich foods such as beans and nuts come into the picture.
Lyme disease and AFS both make it difficult to detoxify, which can cause you to feel fatigued, foggy, and anxious. Lowering your intake of toxin-laced processed foods can help you to naturally restore the balance that makes you feel well and energetic.
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List Of Food Classes You Can Include In Your Daily Diet
- Wild-caught sea-food: Richest dietary source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
- Non-starchy vegetables: Radish, carrots, leafy vegetables, kale, cabbage, pumpkin, cucumber, okra, eggplant, celery, tomato, etc are vegetables that metabolize quickly. They also provide dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B, and gut-health properties. At least 3 to 4 servings per day are recommended.
- Starchy vegetables and whole fruits: Moderate serving of starchy vegetables and whole fruits are recommended for a healthy nutritious palette. However, please consider your blood sugar levels before consumption as poor blood sugar controls will impair the immune response to the infectious disease.
- Nuts and seeds: To be avoided if you are allergic. For those who are not allergic, a handful of different types of nuts and seeds daily is recommended as they provide trace minerals, vitamin B, vitamin E, and vitamin A.
- Healthy fats: Are found in olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, and wild-caught seafood.
This list is just for information purposes. Those who follow different diets like vegetarians, vegans, those with sea-food allergies, etc. can accordingly adjust their food depending on the type of nutrition they have less of/ missing. For example, in place of sea-food, vegans/ vegetarians/ those with sea-food allergies can choose seaweed and algae, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, kidney beans, and edamame for omega-3 fatty acids.
Can A Person Contract Southern Lyme Disease From Lone Star Ticks
Lone star ticks do not transmit Lyme disease. However, they can spread tularemia, ehrlichiosis, and southern tick-associated rash illness .
As with Lyme disease, STARI causes a rash that appears similar to a bulls-eye. The rash typically appears within 7 days of being bitten by a lone star tick.
Unlike Lyme disease, STARI does not appear to have an association with arthritis, chronic symptoms, or neurological problems.
Healthcare professionals do not know which pathogen causes STARI.
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Dr Nicola Mcfadzean: The Lyme Diet
Can you tell me about the basic tenets of the Lyme diet?
First of all, avoid refined sugars at all cost. Sugar is very immune suppressive and it also can feed candida. A lot of people with Lyme have candida issues, whether theyre on antibiotics or not. Antibiotics perpetuate the whole thing. Even if someone is not taking antibiotics, a lot of Lyme people can be prone to yeast issues. You want your immune system fighting as hard as possible, so anything to suppress immune function is not good. Even fruit sugar can be problematic in some people, especially those taking antibiotics who have candida issues. In these people, fruit has to be limited.
The second thing is to avoid gluten, because gluten is very inflammatory. A lot of people are gluten intolerant and don’t know it. You dont have to have digestive symptoms to be gluten intolerant. Again, its a source of inflammation in the body and gives the immune system one more thing to deal with.
Do you always have these tests done when you see a Lyme patient?
Most of the time I will have them do an IgG intolerance test. And if they dont, a lot of my patients are very willing to work on diet, so theyre willing to be dairy free and sugar free and gluten free. A lot of them find that over time thats one thing they are able to do to help themselves. People seek me out for a more integrative approach, so typically theyre motivated to take responsibility for their diet.
Do you have patients who cant change their diet?
The Lyme Diet Nutritional Strategies For Healing From Lyme Disease By Nicola Mcfadzean Nd
Reviewed By: Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org
Improving diet may be one of the most important steps a Lyme patient can take on the road back to health.
Changing the way you eat can be difficult enough for people who are generally healthy. Trying to transform dietary habits when youre chronically ill might seem insurmountable. Yet, according to Lyme-literate naturopath Dr. Nicola McFadzean, improving diet may be one of the most important steps a Lyme patient can take on the road back to health.
In her book, The Lyme Diet: Nutritional Strategies for Healing from Lyme Disease , McFadzean examines what she calls three pillars of Lyme treatment. These are: killing bugs strengthening the body and reducing other stressors
Writes McFadzean: The role of nutrition is central not so much in the actual bug-killing, but in the underlying strength and resilience of your health. Immune support, inflammation management, hormone regulation and detoxification functions can all be vitally influenced by your nutritional intake.
The Lyme diet she recommends is first and foremost anti-inflammatory. According to McFadzean, the chronic inflammation associated with Lyme disease contributes to joint pain, swelling, fatigue, brain fog and headaches, and inhibits healthy cell function. She advises against highly pro-inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy, and in favor of good fats like fish and flax oil for their anti-inflammatory properties.
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Foods To Help Fight Lyme
Here are some food suggestions for fighting Lyme Disease, and what foods to avoid — taken directly from Dr. Strams PowerPoint presentation to Core Life Eaterys sold out audience on June 13th in Vestal, NY.
We hope this information will help you in your quest to overcome Lyme!
Eat these foods in abundance
Healthy oils and fats
Raw or cured fruit fats
- All raw or toasted nuts, except peanuts, which are a legume
Herbs, seasonings and condiments
- All Fresh and dried herbs, spices and rhizomes*
*Many commercially packed condiments and seasonings, such as mustards, horseradish, salsas, tapenades, vinegars, and herb/spice mixtures can be used if they were made without the addition of wheat-derived vinegars or any sweetener other than natural stevia. Be aware that some packaged products are made at plants that process wheat and/or soy and thus may be contaminated.
- Broccoli Leafy lettuce and greens
- Brussel sprouts Leeks
- Summer squashes and squash blossoms Winter squashes
- Yellow was beans
- Wild Fish Shellfish and mollusks
- Black cod Sea bass Calamari
- Halibut Trout Clams
- Grass-fed or pasture-raised meats Free-range organic poultry
- Beef wild birds
The following foods can be used in moderation.
Moderation means that you may eat small amounts of these ingredients once a day.
- Nongluten flours used in very small amounts for dusting, coating, or thickening sauces only:
- Tapioca starch Chestnut Flour Brown rice flour
Praise We Have Recieved
I suffered with Lyme for 5 years and was under the care of a Lyme Specialist when I came across this book. It was the one thing that relieved most of my symptoms. It is an investment in yourself that you truly deserve if you have been suffering from fatigue, phantom pains, etc.
I was amazed at how many good dishes they were able to create even with the limitations of the earlier phases of the diet.
Finally, a cookbook I can give to my clients with food sensitivities without hesitation!
Coupled with gorgeous photographs, the recipes should appeal to anyone seeking wholesome food. No sense of deprivation here. And no need for the cook to be preparing two different menus for people with a different health status.
If I could give this 6 stars, I would. I want to sing this books praises Lost 20 pounds. Feel even better please give this a try. Its been better than any of the medications Ive been on.
BEST recipe book I have EVER bought. Both my husband and I have Lyme disease and it has been such a challenge to cook for this, until this cookbook! My husband says I have never made better food and it makes having to restrict what we eat a pleasure rather than a pain.
A healthy, delicious way to eat for just about anyone. After following the diet for a week, my joint pain has decreased by 75%. Meanwhile, I have lost 8 pounds without cutting back on calories and feeling hungry. The recipes are easy to follow and the results are phenomenal.
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