Lyme Disease: Can I Really Recover Using a Natural Approach?
by Dr. Lindsley
When an individual is faced with treating Lyme bacteria and the potential co-infections that are present with it, choosing a single treatment that is able to address all of the various parasites and bacteria that may be present becomes difficult. The question that is often asked, is if there is a single anti-biotic or herb that can accomplish this in a relatively short amount of time, without having to be treated for months, and suffering the many side effects that several treatment options will cause in the individual? The question I like to ask is if the bacteria and parasites present are causing the individual’s symptoms, or is it the toxins being secreted by the bacteria and parasites that are causing the symptoms? Many of us can accept the fact that most healthy individuals can easily put up with a single parasite or bacteria in our enteric (intestinal) system, but when they leave our intestinal system and enter our blood stream, heading into our central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and joint tissue, the body can become overwhelmed quickly and the symptoms of the invading parasite or bacteria can increase rapidly in these tissues.
We are often told that ridding ourselves of the invaders of our tissues is the primary goal. Is it? I believe a successful treatment for Lyme disease should include five areas: remove the neurotoxins causing the symptoms; eliminate the parasites and bacteria secreting the toxins; enhance the immune system; rebuild the energy producing systems of the body; and support all tissues that are being damaged by the bacterial and parasitic toxins. This leads us to a couple of approaches that are currently available at this time to overcome the Lyme disease: antibiotics, or a natural approach that can be tailored to encompass all five areas to help the individual recover from Lyme disease successfully.
“The question I like to ask is if the bacteria and parasites present are causing the individual’s symptoms, or is it the toxins being secreted by the bacteria and parasites that are causing the symptoms?”
Using the standard medical route, most practitioners treating for Lyme disease will attempt to kill the bacteria and parasites causing the symptoms in the body. Patients are usually given one to three types of oral antibiotics for weeks to months, with rotation of these antibiotics on a monthly basis to try to decrease the potential of the bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotics being used. Some individuals with a strong immune system have found some level of success relieving their symptoms and are able to live normal functional lives once again. If this basic level of treatment fails, an option is to use a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line directly into a vein where the antibiotics can be put straight into the blood stream where they bypass the liver’s initial attempt to remove them from the blood stream and potentially have a higher concentration when reaching the infected areas of the body. While this approach has some level of success at killing the bacteria present, often the parasites that are not affected by this treatment can increase in numbers and some of the symptoms can become worse.
Many of the antibiotics used are harmful to the probiotics (good flora) in the gut system that play a major role in detoxifying the toxins being released from the bacteria and parasites. Several of the thirteen good bacteria that are found in the intestinal system secrete non-essential B vitamins that help break down ammonia to urea where the kidneys will eliminate it through the urinary system. Ammonia is the main neurotoxin that is secreted by bacteria and parasites associated with Lyme disease. This toxin is highly alkaline, highly inflammatory, and can cause neurodegenerative processes in the brain and spinal cord. This often is described as the headaches, pressure, or “brain fog” that many people suffering with Lyme disease encounter. The unfortunate part is that often, someone suffering with Lyme disease will have a parasite overgrowth in the intestinal system. The parasites that live in the intestinal system secrete a chemical that is deadly to good bacteria in the gut system called phenol. Unless the parasitic overgrowth in the intestinal system is addressed, many Lyme sufferers will have an increase in symptoms while using antibiotic therapy. This happens due to the fact that they are already deficient in the production of non-essential B vitamins that help break down and remove the toxins. When the antibiotics come in contact with the intestinal system, often any good bacteria remaining in the gut are eliminated and an overgrowth of yeast quickly spreads throughout the gut system. The yeast produce acteylaldehyde, which is also a neurotoxin causing more symptoms in the patient. This is why many patients are given Flagyl to stop the yeast overgrowth in the gut system.
The 5 Pronged Approach to Healing Lyme Disease
Another idea to treating this disease is to use the five-pronged approach that I mentioned earlier. The question becomes again, can an individual receive treatment for Lyme disease that uses several approaches at one time that can address the immune system, detoxification pathways, tissue support, and elimination of the pathogens? The answer to this question is yes. An individual suffering from Lyme disease can in fact have all of these areas addressed using a systematic approach.
Stephen Harrod Buhner is a master herbalist that outlined the basics of this treatment plan in his book, Healing Lyme. I would recommend reading this book if you are interested in understanding how herbs can accomplish this in an alternative treatment approach. He mentions several protocols for Lyme bacteria and the common co-infections that have been successful in helping individuals recover from Lyme disease. I believe the first step in the healing process is addressing the toxins that are causing the symptoms.
Addressing The Immune System And Infection
Certain herbs, much like individual antibiotics, have been known for thousands of years to have anti-parasitic, antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, while others support detoxification pathways in our body. Still other herbs have shown the ability to boost immune function, while others have mineral and vitamin properties. Many people have tried using single herbs to treat the symptoms of Lyme disease with some level of success. I have found that the real power in using herbal remedies is the combining of herbs at the correct ratios to allow the individual to be able to have support in their body for detoxification, tissue repair, and removal of the bacteria and parasites related to Lyme disease. While many herbs come in powder or capsule form, the most effective way to help someone defeat Lyme disease is by using herbal tinctures. There is a simple rule in applying herbs to the body: herbal pills and powders for the intestinal system and herbal tinctures (liquids) for a whole body approach.
“The fatigue can vary from not being able to complete a normal day of work to waking up exhausted every morning no matter how many hours they have slept.”
The herbal tinctures in liquid form are quickly absorbed by the intestinal system and can easily cross the blood brain barrier and reach into connective tissue of the body where the bacteria and parasites tend to make their home. Along with the blended herbal tincture, it is also very important to remove any parasite or bacteria from the intestinal system that may be secreting toxins and destroying the good gut bacteria. In the gut system it is all about numbers, so as you remove the parasites and bad bacteria, begin immediately reseeding the gut system with the good bacteria that will allow you to enhance the production of non-essential B vitamins that help convert the ammonia to urea removed via the urinary tract. It is truly amazing how many people have little or no good bacteria in their intestinal system, which allows the ammonia toxins to overtake the tissues. If the ammonia urea conversion is working well, very few symptoms are actually felt by someone who has Lyme bacteria and co-infections in their body.
The Energy System
One of the biggest complaints of most individuals is the incredible amount of fatigue they experience with Lyme disease. The fatigue can vary from not being able to complete a normal day of work to waking up exhausted every morning no matter how many hours they have slept. If you wake up exhausted, there is a good chance you are toxic and the toxins have blocked your ability to not only repair your tissues, but make enough energy to function on a daily basis. This is where we often see the brain fog, headaches, joint pain, and the feeling of no longer enjoying life at any level. The activities you use to love become overwhelming to you and you will find yourself doing less and less with family and friends simply because of being mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. You are typically the toxic patient. The good news is that by adding the B vitamins, micro and macro minerals into your system while you are removing the toxins; you can quickly begin to reverse the energy debt that you are running. I have often been asked if it is okay to feed the body at the same time you are trying to eliminate the toxins and the infections from the body. My answer is absolutely. Most of what we have lost in vitamins and minerals to the infection are the same nutrients that are used to create energy and to detoxify our tissues. Without bringing these nutritional levels up, often the individual will experience an even more profound loss of energy or worsening of symptoms. There is a simple but old saying about our body’s function in mineral and vitamin levels: “When your body runs low, you run slow.” Creating normal tissue levels of vitamins and minerals can take twelve to eighteen months to correct depending on how long you have been deficient. We recommend using activated B vitamins and micro minerals that are easily absorbed in the intestinal system. To address the neurotoxins, detoxification and eliminate the pathogen (bacteria and parasites), we developed a liquid herbal blend that we believe supports the body’s requirements on all levels to safely and effectively remove the toxins, allowing your body to recover and rebuild your tissues, and energy levels.
We have seen many individuals who would have been considered failed cases of Lyme treatments have great recovery using this five-pronged approach. Using these natural methods, an individual can begin to rebuild their body and once and for all regain their lives, and a sense of well being that has been waiting to come back.
For more information on herbal tincture blends, and how to start your own healing process, please contact: Lindsley Chiropractic Clinic 2004 Highland Ave, Suite O, Eau Claire, WI 54701 715.832.8414. Dr Lindsley is a former Lyme Disease sufferer that has been studying natural approaches to help patients remove the source of the toxins from invading bacteria and parasites while naturally boosting their immune systems. He is currently working on a book to help others educate themselves on effective natural approaches to heal themselves from Lyme Disease.