Where I live, ticks are literally a part of everyday life. We have a farm with half of our property being heavily wooded. As a natural health practitioner, I often get asked about my thoughts on Lyme Disease treatment. I'm not going to claim to be anything close to an expert on this complicated and devastating illness. There is much to know and just not enough info out there about this complicated disease yet.
For now, I'm simply going to throw some additional considerations on the topic of Lyme Disease. These are things that I personally found quite intriguing and my research and I hope you do too!
First off, I would like to offer my thoughts of the dominating fears surrounding Lyme Disease. I am obviously a big proponent of proactive health, but I refuse to be engulfed by fear of any disease. Fear is such a prison and it robs us of abundant living.
I'm not talking about wise caution here; I'm referring to fear that negatively affects our lives and fills our thoughts with worry.
The Bible has so much to say about fear and this lack of faith, so I won't get into it all. In many instances, Scripture reveals that people were given the same fate as the one they feared. I would encourage those struggling with fear to really seek God more intimately and find rest in His plan and purpose.
Focusing On A Strong Immune System (And Even Reconsidering Antibiotics)
I'm a farmer. And if you read my post The Best Health Advice Comes From Farmers, you know there is a lot we can learn about our health from farmers! When it comes to Lyme disease with goats, for example (because that's what I raise), we know they can have Lyme disease without any symptoms. Farmers know that the ones who end up with chronic health issues from it are those who already had a pre-existing weak immune system.
I believe the same holds true for people. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans have weakened immune systems. This is not only because of the Standard American Diet full of junk food and nutritionally-negative food, but also because of the many things we have in our medicine, food, and environment that negatively damages our immune system.
Do you know that in my practice, almost every single client I help have gut dysbiosis and resulting weak immune system? It is so common today that we think it is normal, but it is anything from normal. Common, yes. Normal, no.
The thing that is most damaging to the gut (and the immune system) is, consequently, the very thing they use to treat Lyme disease: broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Now this where it gets controversial, and that's okay. I don't have all the answers and I'm not saying antibiotics shouldn't be used for treating Lyme Disease. I'm saying for me, personally, I would seek strong, natural antibiotics that help support the immune system (see below). You see, there's no evidence that long-term antibiotic treatment even helps. According to a 2012 article in The Open Neurology Journal:
There are no currently available tests to determine whether the spirochetes are actually present or not present in an individual, and whether the bacteria are active or inactive. Hence, often cited recommendations about the duration of treatment, eg four weeks is curative or adequate treatment, have no factual basis to support that recommendation...1
It goes on to say:
B. burgdorferi is sensitive in vitro to various antibiotics, including the penicillins, tetracyclines, and macrolides, but there are a number of mitigating factors that affect the clinical efficacy of these antibiotics.
There continue to be various recommendations regarding antibiotic treatment of patients with relapsing or persisting symptoms...With the exception of the study that involved a month of intravenous ceftriaxone followed by two months of oral doxycycline, and subsequent studies of either one month or ten weeks of intravenous ceftriaxone , there have been no randomized, placebo-controlled trials of longer duration, using other antibiotic regimens.1
And to make matters worse, 1 out of every 3 people who receive doxycycline treatment for Lyme disease have one or more drug-related adverse events.2
And more expert input on the topic of antibiotics for Lyme Disease:
Antibiotics alone may not suffice because Lyme disease is caused by an intracellular spirochete bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. "Intracellular means that the spirochete gets into the cell and therefore is not always available to the antibiotics," explains Isaac Eliaz, MD, coauthor of the journal report and founder of Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center in Sebastopol, California. "The cell membrane inadvertently protects the bacteria and shields it from the antibiotics. The bacteria can also hide dormant in the nervous system, among other places, where antibiotic drugs can't reach them."4
Some experts even believe that antibiotics drive the spirochete deeper into the body's cells, resulting in a higher risk of chronic Lyme symptoms.
Furthermore, there is so much overlap in the symptoms of other health issues commonly-related to gut dysbiosis (aka leaky gut), such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome that we can see the similarities in potential underlying issues as well.
Now if a strong immune system is the most important thing for helping keep one healthy despite the presence of Lyme spirochete, then we must consider the implications of antibiotic treatment--especially long-term antibiotic treatment--on the symptoms and severity of the disease.
Leading Lyme expert Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt says:
We have recognized that today many if not most Americans are carriers of the infection. Most infected people are symptomatic, but the severity and type of the symptoms varies greatly.5
There is much to consider with the difference a strong immune system can have on our exposure to a wide range of viruses, bacteria (including Lyme), and environmental toxins.
Realizing the Unreliability of Tests
According to Dr. Klinghardt, the tests used nowadays are not reliable:
To use conventional diagnostic tests such as the Western Blot, one has to think in paradoxes: the patient has to be treated with an effective treatment modality first before the patient recovers enough to produce the antibodies, which then are looked for in the test. Since antibody production is greatly compromised in infected individuals, it makes no sense to use these tests as the gold standard or benchmark for the presence of Bb (Borrelia burgdoferi). 5
And Realizing It's Not Just Deer Ticks
There are many other insects that can carry Lyme spirochete. According to Dr. Klinghardt:
We also are aware that in endemic areas in the US up to 22 percent of stinging flies and mosquitoes (2, 8, 9, and 10) are carriers of Bb and co-infections. In South East Germany and Eastern Europe 12 percent of mosquitoes have been shown to be infected. In addition, many spiders, flees, lice and other stinging insects carry spirochetes and co-infections. Making the history of a tick bite a condition for a physician to be willing to even consider the possibility of a Bb infection seems cynical and cruel.5
Furthermore, dairy and beef animals can carry Lyme:
A tick-borne coinfection, Bartonella, has been detected in 89% beef cattle tested from Oklahoma and 17% of dairy cattle from California. Recently, a study by the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University reported finding one or more species of bartonella in 82.4% of cattle they tested. 6
In a few tests, animal colostrum and blood tested positive for the co-infections. Thus, there is the possibility of Lyme disease bacteria and/or co-infections in meat and milk. However, I am not pointing this out as a recommendation to avoid meat or milk. (In fact, there are anecdotal reports of individuals eliminating their Lyme Disease symptoms with raw milk.)
I am pointing these things out simply to show the strong presence of exposure to Lyme disease and related co-infection bacteria in our lives. It is unavoidable.
In my opinion, fearing Lyme Disease is a waste of energy. If we fear it to the point of avoiding possibility of encountering it, we would have to avoid everyday things like going outside, avoid drinking milk and eating meat, etc. For me personally, I know that that is not the way God wants me to live! I think the only way to handle the potential of chronic, symptomatic Lyme disease is nourish our bodies and focus on maintaining a strong immune system through proper nutrition (whole-foods diet and quality supplements), avoiding exposure to gut destroyers, etc., and trusting God with the rest.
And I believe we can utilize natural therapies that will help strengthen our immune system and increase our vitality.
When it comes to natural therapies for Lyme disease, we just aren't going to see documented research on these things. There's no profit in utilizing nutritional therapies that can't be patented and cost pennies on the dollar compared to patented pharmaceuticals with kickbacks. But there are some rogue physicians out there that have some excellent information to share with us on the topic. Here are just a few things I will note:
If there were a one-word synonym for lyme disease it would be INFLAMMATION. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in quantity is the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent there is. 3
The following article details a physician's clinical experience in treating both acute and chronic Lyme disease with Intravenous Vitamin C:
Vitamin D...is to be encouraged as it is frequently low in patients with persistent Lyme disease, and may be helpful in providing anti-inflammatory benefit.1
Here again, we see proof that a weak immune system and poor liver function (the main reasons for low Vitamin D) may be an underlying issue for those experiencing symptoms of Lyme Disease.
Silver kills lyme (and other infections) through oxidation first, then alkylation.
When using silver for lyme disease, we should keep in mind that smaller particle sizes are typically better. This allows for more free silver ions to be available, and more surface area for the silver to generate its "oxidative" actions for killing lyme. Silver hydrosol, the type in Argentyn 23, is probably one of the best. It has no silver protein in it, no stabilizers. Hydrosol just means the silver is suspended in pure water, whereas other colloids might use solvents.
To many patients, but particularly those with lyme, silver can also bring warning bells as it is in fact a heavy metal. All lyme patients should have had a heavy metal workup with conventional blood tests and with provoked tissue challenges as certain heavy metals can be profoundly immunosuppressive. Silver is a heavy metal, but its clinical effects are opposite to the poisonous metals (lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury). It seems that the margin of safety is far far greater for silver than for other heavy metals.
“Please consider putting in a plug for the homeopathic remedy, Ledum. Ledum in the 1M potency is almost a specific for Lyme disease. I use it in my own practice and have several cures of Lyme disease with it. (I am a homeopath.)
“R. F., M.D.”
Dr. R. F. (definitely not his real initials) is yet another natural-minded physician who is likely to lose his medical license if State “health” authorities find out that he’s successfully treating inflammation without antibiotic drugs. 3
Complete Natural Therapy Protocol
On many websites, Dr. Klinghardt's entire protocol can be seen listed out, including here. As you will see, Dr. Klinghardt focuses on detoxing heavy metals and cites the most important nutrients are Iodine and other minerals. His protocol is extensive, so you may want to find a naturopathic or integrative practitioner to assist you in this.
Blessings of good health,
~Sara Jo Poff