Nutritional Guidance for Lyme Disease

lyme disease treatment with diet and acupunctureLyme disease is a rapidly growing illness for people, especially in certain parts of North America. Its numbers seem to be increasing in reported cases each day by the hundreds. There is much controversy around Lyme disease including how it is acquired, how it can be transmitted, how to treat it and if it is truly something that can be healed and cured. In reading research, case studies, personal accounts and personal experience, the following is information that should be read and considered with an open mind.

Lyme disease is a total load illness. It is not one infection, or even one major and one co-infection. It is a disease that is from multiple bacteria and viruses that the body has acquired; some from recent incidences and some are viruses and bacteria that the body has housed for years, yet a recent infection was the one that fueled the storm. Lyme is also reactive and symptomatic based on pre-existing bacteria/parasitic/mold infections, hormone balance, diet, exercise, toxins and heavy metals in the body, sleep, genetics, gut integrity, stress, your constitution … you get the idea.

This could be the reason 50% of people with Lyme disease have never had a reported case of a tick bite- in fact more cases are showing that some infections can be sexually transmitted and also passed from mother to baby. This could also be why Lyme disease presents itself in many different “forms” and symptoms can vary greatly: in some cases the disease shows symptoms in joint tissue, in organ damage, in the nervous system, or in all of the above.

It was generally thought that the symptoms were dependent on the co-infection(s) and this is still true, but it is much more than just Lyme (borrelia) and co-infections (like bartonella, babesia, anaplasma, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, relapsing fever, ehrlichiosis, just to name a few). This is why working with a skilled health care professional(s) is really crucial in getting better; the whole person needs to be evaluated and treated- not just the infections.

If you have heard or read anything about Lyme disease, you would know that some cases are very difficult to treat. Certain bacterias are great at hiding and escaping from the immune system; borrelia has developed itself with quite an advanced intelligence inside of it. Some cases of chronic Lyme disease seem to re-occur no matter how aggressive or persistent the drugs and herbs are; other cases seem to heal just fine after a course of antibiotics.

Obviously then, treatments and protocols vary drastically and what will work for one case may have no effect on another case. Therefore, the following guidance is just that- guidance; it is not to be used as medical advice. If you have Lyme disease, suspect you do and haven’t gotten a positive test, or have been treated and find more treatment to be necessary, it is best to find yourself a team of medical professionals who have experience in treating Lyme beyond the 2-4 week antibiotic course.

Often times, people find that the antibiotics take care of their symptoms and infections. Others find that they help some, but other symptoms and issues are still experienced. This is where herbs, supplements, diet and lifestyle factors need to be addressed.

Diet – This needs to consist of whole, organic foods. Increase the amount of antioxidants in your diet with more of a variety of colored vegetables, fresh herbs, some fruits, nuts, seeds, organic meats and seafood, and cultured foods, vegetables and beverages to help keep the good bacteria numbers up while battling the bad bacteria. Following these recommendations, your immune system will have what it needs to stay strong in dealing with the infections. Something to mention: if you notice that food sensitivities have become an issue, it is because of the bad bacteria and their waste. Try a low histamine diet and slowly add in foods that are higher in histamine. Sometimes digestive enzymes or digestive bitters can be used to help with the digestion process.

Lifestyle – Most pathogenic bacteria and viruses love when you are stressed- they thrive in high cortisol environments, sensing that the immune system is already bogged down they wait for high stress times to take advantage! Yes, Lyme disease is stressful; the symptoms you experience are stressful, disheartening and beyond physically exhausting. Sometimes, exercise can have a positive outcome; however most times, low impact exercise and meditation are reportedly some of the most helpful things for those living with and healing from Lyme disease. Walking, gentle yoga, and non-competitive swimming are great examples of low-impact exercise. Meditation and/or prayer are also worth building a practice of for as little as 10 minutes a day due to their wonderful benefits.

Sleep – Something most people with Lyme disease will tell you can be very disruptive and inconsistent, especially with specific co-infections. Using supplements, herbs and sometimes sleep medications can be helpful. L-Theanine, magnesium, CBD oil, valerian, hops, rhodiola and holy basil all have good results. Dosages and amounts vary so work with a health care practitioner.

Supplements and herbs – the following have shown good results in treating many Lyme infections, die-off reactions, nourishing the immune system and other organ systems in fighting Lyme disease. Work with a health care practitioner to decide what is best for you as well as dosages, pulsing herbs, and rotations.

1. Antibacterial and antivirals: Cat’s Claw, olive leaf, andrographis, cordyceps, reishi, maitake, lysine, and astragalus

2. Cytokine and inflammatory reaction control: Curcumin, resveratrol, holy basil, NAC and ALA, lemon and lime water

3. Antifungals (also preventative): Lauricidin, caprylic acid, thyme, rosemary, pau d’arco, grapefruit seed extract

4. Biofilm disruptors: Lauricidin, monolaurin, serrapeptase, stevia

5. Helping to detoxify: Milk thistle, dandelion, artichoke, burdock, lemon and lime water

6. Pain and headaches: Curcumin, CBD oil, rosemary, chamomile, passionflower, and feverfew

7. Other things: Drinking plenty of quality filtered water is extremely important. This is not a time for dehydration. If it is a problem, get Essentia water or another high- quality electrolyte water to ensure you are not going to be dehydrated. Taking Epsom salt baths and getting plenty of sunshine is also suggested.

How Acupuncture can help. Pain, fatigue, energy imbalance, disruptive sleep, headaches and cognitive issues are just some of the symptoms that are associated with Lyme disease and co-infections. Acupuncture can help in addressing these symptoms by boosting the immune system, relieving pain in joints and muscles, reducing chronic fatigue, and improving mood and sleep.

Learn how acupuncture works

Call us for a free consultation and let us show you how we can help you treat Lyme Disease with acupuncture, Chinese herbs, nutritional supplements, as well as lifestyle and diet modifications.

Amy Carlson Holistic Functional NutritionistAmy Carlson is a Holistic Nutritionist who practices a whole-foods based approach in helping the body to heal and thrive. She has a strong interest in sharing what she has learned so that everyone has the opportunity to live in a healthy body. “Each body has the ability to heal if it is given what it needs and the understanding of why it is hurting is discovered and nurtured as well.” Learn more about her approach to wellness by visiting her website.