Journal of ISSN: 2373-4310JNHFE

Nutritional Health & Food Engineering
Research Article
Volume 4 Issue 5 - 2016
When Living With Chronic Lyme Disease: A Clinical Nutrition and Holistic Perspective
Rika Keck*
NY Integrated Health, USA
Received: May 15, 2016 | Published: July 28, 2016
*Corresponding author: Rika Keck, FDN-P, CMTA, NY Integrated Health, 310 West End Ave 3D, New York, NY 10023, USA, Email:
Citation: Keck U (2016) When Living With Chronic Lyme A Clinical Nutrition and Holistic Perspective. J Nutr Health Food Eng 4(5): 00144. DOI: 10.15406/jnhfe.2016.04.00144

Abstract

Studies have shown that most patients diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease either have no objective evidence of previous or current infection with Borrelia burgdorferi or are patients who should be classified as having post-Lyme disease syndrome, which is defined as continuing or relapsing nonspecific symptoms (such as fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, and cognitive complaints) in a patient previously treated for Lyme disease. Despite extensive study, there is currently no clear evidence that post-Lyme disease syndrome is caused by persistent infection with B burgdorferi. Four randomized placebo-controlled studies have shown that antibiotic therapy offers no sustained benefit to patients who have post-Lyme disease syndrome. These studies also showed a substantial placebo effect and a significant risk of treatment-related adverse events. Further research to elucidate the mechanisms underlying persistent symptoms after Lyme disease and controlled trials of new approaches to the treatment and management of these patients are needed.

Keywords: Chronic Lyme; Borrelia burgdorferi; Post-Lyme disease syndrome; Relapsing nonspecific symptoms; Persistent infections; Fatigue; Musculoskeletal pain; Cognitive complaints

Abbreviations

LB: Lyme borreliosis; EM: Erythema Migrans; IDSA: Infectious Disease Society of America; GALT: Gut Assocociated Lymphoid Tissue; CIRS: Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome; MARCONS: Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staph; SNP’s: Single W Nucleotide Polymorphisms; PTLDS: Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome; ALS: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; PCR: Polymerase Chain Reaction; ILADS: Infectious Diseases Society of America

Introduction

According to the CDC, 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed in the United States each year; however, that statistic is flawed, as vectorborne infections are grossly underreported and current testing methods are unreliable. The reality is that more than a million individuals are infected. Symptomology associated with these infections can persist after short-term antibiotic therapy and it presents differently in each individual. Key components involved in the expression of ongoing sickness behavior include the host’s immune response, toxic environmental exposures, genetic vulnerabilities, autonomic and hormonal dysregulation, unresolved emotional trauma, and other concomitant inflammatory agents.

Common belief is that transmission of infectious agents occurs only after 24 hours. This is incorrect and transmission can occur within ten minutes of attachment. The spirochetes, evident in the salivary glands of infectious vectors, are far more infective than the spirochetes that reside in the midgut, Thus the infection time after the tick penetrates the skin of the host, in preparation for feeding, is accelerated.

Borrelia burgdorferi, commonly referred to as Lyme disease in the United States, is known as the great imitator. It masquerades and mimics many different illnesses and diseases, and in most cases individuals are repeatedly misdiagnosed over many years. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, chronic Lyme disease from a diagnostic standpoint does not exist, yet persistent Lyme disease is recognized as a multi-system illness. Only a certain percentage of infected individuals initially present a classic bull’s eye lesion, known as erythema migrans (EM). Atypical rashes that occur at the site of a tick bite, or on other parts of the body after infection, are often misdiagnosed or dismissed. Infected individuals can exhibit early symptoms such as Bell ’s palsy, severe joint pain, heart palpitations, sweats, severe headaches, nightsweats or fevers. In the absence of a rash, it is imperative that physicians use clinical and critical thinking as standard Lyme disease testing, including the Western Blot test, is not reliable. This matters especially in the early stages of infection when antibiotic and anti-malarial type interventions, beyond 2-3 weeks of treatment, are essential to prevent persistent infection, and future development of a debilitating (and expensive) chronic disease process.

Chronic Lyme disease does not exist according to the CDC and IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America), as no comprehensive assessment of health burden is currently available. In the conventional paradigm of infectious disease, psychiatry, gastro- enterolgy, neurology, pediatrics, cardiology, dentistry, and others in the medical community, symptoms associated with chronic Lyme and co-infections are in many cases not recognized and validated 

Persistent infections adversely affect mental health, energy production and the function of various biological systems in the body: This includes autonomic nervous system function, hormonal balance including sex hormones, cortisol and thyroid function, microbial balance in the gut, digestive motility, cardiovascular, neurological and cognitive function. All are compromised in individuals who are living with the burden of undiagnosed vectorborne infections. (The term chronic Lyme is controversial in conventional medicine, however, it is fully accepted in the Lyme-literate community.)

It is essential that therapeutic treatment integrates a critical and investigative approach based on a detailed medical history, specialized testing and clinical findings. Challenges include opportunistic secondary and tertiary infections that mimic persistent Lyme disease. These have great potential to gain a foothold with compromised immunity, steroidal and mineralcorticoid imbalances, and antibiotic-induced microbial dysbiosis in the gut. Biofilm and sustained low-grade inflammation presents an ongoing challenge with all chronic infections.

Co-infections, e.g. Bartonella henselae (also known as Cat Scratch Fever), Babesia (Babesiosis), Ehrlichia, Mycoplasma, Borrelia mayonii and Borrelia miyamotoi, etc., are part of this complex scenario. Multiple agents or vectors involved in transmission of various infections include: e.g. ticks, mosquitoes, sand flies, fleas excrement on pets, and spiders. Transmission can also occur during pregnancy, feeding of breast milk, and possibly fluids shared between infected partners during sexual activities.

Existing research has not extended into the multiple co-infection strains that occur in endemic regions around the world. Besides the magnitude of variable strains, political wrangling with special interest groups and medical boards, regulations regarding approved testing methods, opposition from insurance companies for prolonged medical treatment for persistent infections, and lack of funding for research are challenges. In the United States there is research from major institutions including the John Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center, research by Dr. Ying Zhang from John Hopkins, scientific studies by Dr. Kim Lewis from Northeastern, and the Mayo Clinic.

Persistent Lyme & Biotoxin Illness

When infected with vector-borne infections and genetic challenges, one is more susceptible to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker) associated with biotoxin illness, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, gastric challenges and toxic mold accumulation. Biotoxins are also known to cause, or contribute, to psychiatric, brain fog, cognitive challenges, insomnia and behavioral problems, they mimic Lyme disease. Sustained toxic environmental exposures in water damaged buildings, underlying inflammation, genetic vulnerabilities and immune dysregulation promote an ongoing catabolic cytokine cascade resulting in mood disorders, circadian rhythm disruption, chronic fatigue, and neuro-inflammation associated with neurological diseases and Spectrum-related disorders.   
Lyme-related infections exacerbate CIRS or environmental-related illness. A hyper-reactive immune response occurs with mold illness. Chronic sinusitis (the sinus is a direct pathway into the brain), yeast overgrowth in the gut, mouth or urinary tract, and a metallic taste in the mouth are common occurrences. In the nasal cavities colonizations of multiple antibiotic resistant microbes, called MARCONS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staph), are additional challenges.

Mold toxins can physically alter the brain, especially the forebrain. Within structural alterations and disturbed neuro- immune-endocrine function, any vectorborne infection and expressed genetic weaknesses will facilitate more dysfunction in an already compromised physiology. In addition, accumulated mycotoxins contribute to an altered vitamin D metabolism, resulting in lowered immune function. Mold-sick individuals will be more sensitive to external mold exposures, e.g. buildings with water damage and leaks, and naturally occurring mold spores in the outdoor environment.

Many children and adults are misdiagnosed with a mental illness and prescribed psychotrophic medications without consideration of vectorborne infections, CIRS, strep infections, multiple genetic vulnerabilities affecting excessive glutamate and histamine accumulation, neutransmittor imbalances, ammonia accumulation, and deficient glutathione production, besides a compromised GALT (gut associated lymphoid tissue), reactivation of dormant viruses, microbial imbalances in the gut, zonulin, oxalate and salicylate challenges, a poor diet, Circadian disruptions, vaccine-related injuries, emotional trauma, and other pharmaceutical interventions. 

Common Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndromes: Ongoing Pain & Chronic Fatigue

Even after antibiotic treatment, sustained Lyme arthritis- related joint pain with painful swelling is a common factor for many. Yet often individuals are not considered as possibly still being infected with Borrelia burgdorferi or other co- infections after short term antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can include, e.g. osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Pain can manifest in various joints including the knees, hips, wrists, neck, jaw, elbows, shoulders and fingers. The prolonged inflammation and pain can result in disability, impaired work performance, financial ruin, opioid addiction, and it causes great emotional and mental distress.

This Belongs To Chronic Pain Section: Any physical brain injury, including a concussion, whiplash in a car accident, or a blow to the head during sports, can contribute to ongoing pain symptoms (and gut permeability). Even the birthing process can alter structural alignment, immune resilience, and organ function from childhood into adult life.

Gut health always plays an important role in chronic pain. Toxins from bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections in the gut, (teeth or sinuses) contribute to sustained inflammation, pain and immune hyperactivity that can mimic other illnesses and infections. An inflamed and leaky gut plus concomitant food intolerances increase systemic inflammation, harmful microbial overgrowth and sustained painful joints. Vector-borne infections have an affinity for hyaluronic acid that is prevalent in joint tissues (and the eye).  Hidden stealth infections, e.g. primary Lyme spirochetes, reactivated viral infections, or secondary gram-negative infections can be root causes of ongoing joint pain and sustained inflammation.

Inflammatory toxins from infectious agents, called endotoxins, literally poison the body if the lymphatic flow, methylation pathways, gallbladder function and drainage capacity are compromised. Endotoxins affect, e.g. brain function, motility in the intestines, memory, etc. They stimulate the immune system and trigger an inflammatory cascade, while also damaging cell membranes, increasing free radical activity and adversely affecting mitochondrial function. 

When Lyme-related infections settle in parts of the brain, or on the microglial cells of the vagus nerve that run along the torso, an inflamed and irritated nervous system results in unresolved pain symptoms, multi- organ dysfunction, metabolic and hormonal chaos.

Mitochondrial dysfunction decreases our ability to fight-off infections; it diminishes our energy production at cellular level. Dysfunction and excessive oxidation plays an important role in the individual’s i n ability get rid of accumulated cellular toxins and mitochondrial DNA protection. Damaged mitochondrial membranes encourage the reabsorption of poisonous substances and environmental toxins into the cells, while inhibiting or promoting apoptosis. This dysfunction allows for increased inflammation, pain, and disease-promoting mutations at genetic level. (Antibiotics directly harm the mitochondria and prolonged use will have multi-system and fatigue-inducing consequences).  

Chronic fatigue is a common denominator in all Lyme, mold, and viral associated illnesses as mitochondrial function is compromised. Adrenal insufficiency is part of the chronic fatigue scenario that incorporates the HPA (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal) axis. Fatigue is also associated with multiple factors that are not limited to hormonal imbalances including a poor diet, lower levels of free T3 thyroid hormone, lower sex hormones, e.g. testosterone or cessation of the menstrual period, insulin resistance, sleep disruptions, blood sugar and blood pressure swings, medications, methylation vulnerabi l ities, and excessive oxidative stress and toxicity at cellular level.  

The Impact of Genetics & Detoxification

Persistent Lyme is game changer at genetic level, too, as infections have great potential to activate sickness- supporting genes that were dormant prior to infection or excessive stress that resulted in expression of sickness- symptoms associated with vector-borne infections. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPS’s) can contribute to the debilitation associated with chronic infections. Increased inflammation, accumulation of endotoxins, neurotoxins, and environmental pollutants, accumulate, and low levels of glutathione production and recycling challenge the host. Polymorphisms in studies that induce a stronger TH1 and inflammatory response include TLR1 (1805GG), TLR2 (2258GA), and TLR5 (1174CT).

 An individual’s ability to detoxify is a major factor when it comes to ongoing illness despite various treatment modalities. Besides non-optimal gallbladder, liver and kidney function, inherited or epigenetic challenges in methylation pathways, e.g. C677T, A1298C, and other polymorphisms, can greatly affect the host’s ability to clear infections, to maintain optimal blood viscosity, to maintain a full-term pregnancy, and to eliminate toxic substances. Genetic testing, e.g. 23andMe, pyyrole, neurotransmitter and Organic Acids Testing, is helpful to identify underlying genetic predispositions that affect metabolic and biochemical function, Genetic testing, inherited or acquired pyrrole evaluation and targeted nutrient support in methylation pathways can increase the host’s ability to reduce the infectious burden associated with Lyme- related infections, yet it is important not to treat the genes, but to address the individual as a whole. 

Accumulated levels of histamine, oxalates and/or ammonia in the blood also present a variety of mysterious health symptoms that can be mistaken for a persistent Lyme infection. Yet vectorborne infections and microbial overgrowth in the gut microbiome can create or contribute to a scenario where the body has difficulty breaking down excess histamine, oxalates and ammonia. Inherited or acquired pyrrole must also be. 

The kidneys and liver are both major elimination channels that are compromised with heavy metal toxicity, chemical exposures, xenoestrogens and prolonged use of medications. Toxic build up causes or contributes to health symptoms - it is not always Lyme that is creating e.g. palpitations or joint pain or skin eruptions. Lack of optimal bowel function is another consideration. regarding autointoxication, chronic fatigue and increased symptoms of ill health.

 A deficiency in vitamin B12 and folate is known to contribute to cognition challenges, neurological-related symptoms and mood disorders, including depression. Vectorborne infections and multiple drug treatments with side effects and nutrient deficiencies often result in chronic digestive and gut microbial disturbances. As a result, B12 production in the gut is compromised and a deficiency at tissue level will create additional neurological, mental, psychological and cardiovascular symptoms.  

Any physical brain injury, including a concussion, whiplash, or blow to the head can contribute head during sports at any time when growing up, a car accident, and even the birthing process can alter structural alignment and organ function.

The CDC acknowledges that certain individuals experience health challenges post- antibiotic treatment, which affects their quality of life, physical and mental wellness, work performance, besides impacting health care costs. The CDC labels the multisystem illness as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, PTLDS, when symptoms are present despite standard antibiotic interventions within the first three weeks of infection. The number of those afflicted is not available and it also will not be accurate. Many individuals with persistent symptoms post-treatment are misdiagnosed with other chronic illnesses, and thus fall outside the radar of PTLDS. It is a clinical diagnosis. 

“Absence of proof is not proof of absence.” Conventional diagnostic blood testing is limited, unreliable and flawed. Many infected individuals are misdiagnosed repeatedly as having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, heart arrhythmias, gastro paresis, cognitive challenges, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, Autism Spectrum related disorders, depression, or degenerative neurological diseases, including multiple sclerosis and ALS. Different strains of bacterial infections, parasites and viral infections are discovered in continuous scientific research and one must consider their interconnection with the Lyme-related infections. 

Dr. Richard Horowitz (Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center, New York, USA, is a highly respected international chronic Lyme disease specialist, author and activist, has mentioned that currently there are over 100 strains of Borrelia in the US, (over 300 strains worldwide) and 30 types of Bartonella. In his book “Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme & Chronic Disease”, he provides a groundbreaking sixteen-point differential diagnostic map, the Lyme MSIDS (multiple systemic infectious disease syndrome) MAP, which can be extremely helpful for anyone who is just not recovering despite prior antibiotic treatment. His work and current research in persistent infections with specific drug applications, in particular the Dapsone Trial, is groundbreaking. 

The gold standard ELISA and Western Blot testing methods for Borrelia burgdorferi infections are inaccurate, flawed and unreliable. The serum tests do not accommodate for challenges associated with biofilm, changing forms including cyst forms, infections within the tissues versus the blood and suppression of the immune system by infectious agents, and various co- infections. Advanced blood and urinary testing methods using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology fare better in specificity and sensitivity compared to diagnostic tests that rely only on an antibody response from the host.

Standard oral treatment includes tetracyclines up to three weeks, e .g. Doxycycline, at a dose of 200mg daily or higher dose IV therapies. It is important to note that this single drug approach will not address concomitant parasitic, protozoan and viral infections, e.g. Babesia microti, Powassan virus, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Borrelia miyamotoi that can occur at the same time of a e.g. tick-borne Borrelia burgdoferi transmission. Many ticks carry more than two infectious vectors that if not treated appropriately, and in a timely manner, result in multisystemic illness for the host.

Conclusion

For individuals who present multiple clinical findings post –Lyme treatment, addressing the individual as a whole is essential. The medical history, unique biochemistry and emotional stability of the host matter in their ability to overcome long-term infections. Common questions include: What was your health like before the infection? Who is treating your Lyme or mold- associated illness at this time? What was your life like before you felt ill? Were you born via a natural birth, or by C-section? Were you breastfed or bottle-fed? Did you play outside in a yard, or were your growing up years spent in sanitized homes and school buildings? What about antibiotic use during childhood and in recent years? Did you exercise or play sports? Do you spend more time indoors currently, or do you often walk outside in nature? Who is supporting you emotionally during this time (e.g., your partner, family, and friends)? What is easing your symptoms? Do you eat organic or commercial foods? Does your diet contain animal proteins, or is your path more on a plant- based approach? What are your personal goals? How do you feel today? In addition, any current use of medications can induce other symptoms of nutritional deficiencies. It all matters. 

All these intake questions provide an important backdrop of the unique individual who is dealing with chronic Lyme or persistent vector borne-related symptoms. In conjunction with the above questions, other factors include the parents’ medical history, past and present physical pains, any physical injuries and concussions, any prior digestive or thyroid dysfunction, or diagnosed auto-immune diseases, childhood vaccinations, emotional traumas, surgeries, mood disorders, relationship matters, prior serious infections, sexual abuse, financial worries, allergies, and chemical sensitivities. These additional layers matter when dealing with the complexities of vectorborne infections, epigenetic factors and environmental pollutants. 

Dietary Interventions

Many individuals have sought out nutritional counseling in the past in an attempt to alleviate digestive troubles, joint pain and extreme energy slumps while treating persistent Lyme and co- infections. However, when it comes to the multisystem challenges associated with chronic Lyme, and often prolonged pharmaceutical use, nutritional strategies must be customized to accommodate for unique dietary needs. Multiple digestive disorders, hidden gut infections, dehydration and food intolerances are prevalent. The collateral damage from long-term use of oral antibiotics is debilitating for the gut microbiome, affecting microbial diversity, nutrient absorption, cellular energy production, detoxification pathways, metabolic functions, and induce, or contribute to, possible malnourishment concerns. 

When it comes to dietary needs on an individual basis, it is important to c onsider that specific environmental influences of where one lives, financial means, food preparation challenges, genetics, and emotional, spiritual, and psychological stress all matter. Food sources today are altered with excessive processing, high fructose corn syrup, hybridization of grains and other foods, pasteurization to prolong shelf life, rancid fats, artificial sweeteners, growth hormones, and GMOs that change the DNA and nutrient value in foods. In addition, the excessive use of antibiotics, hormones and pesticide in foods is causing severe microbial imbalances in the human microbiome. Organic food is contaminated, too, with pesticide transference from rain, industrial run-off in groundwater, and pollution in the air. 

A generalized dietary approach is not optimal, although all will benefit from the elimination of inflammatory processed foods, refined sugars, fried foods, wheat products, sodas, diet drinks and commercial fruit juices. From a nutritional perspective, certain food choices beyond dairy, corn, soy, nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers), yeast, nuts, high histamine foods and gluten, can add fuel to the flame with ongoing inflammation and sickness associated with vectorborne infections. Yeast containing foods, including fermented foods, and yeast-containing supplements can worsen mold and Lyme symptoms. Elimination of gluten and dairy is essential with all mold related illness as these foods contain brain fogging and inflammatory molecules, which incidentally also have a morphine- like and addictive nature. It certainly would be easier if there existed a “one-size-fits-all diet” for individuals dealing with chronic Lyme, (CIRS and toxic mold-related infections.)

A membrane stabilizing diet is necessary as sustained inflammation induces excessive oxidative damage, affecting the complex function, electrical signalling and mitochondrial DNA of the cell. Membranes require a balance of unrefined Omega:3 and Omega:6 essential fatty acids. Phosphotidylcholine, electrolyte and trace mineral balance must be considered within a whole-food and supplemental strategy. Digestion and nutrient absorption in the gut must be optimized, e.g. digestive enzymes, HCL and oxbile supplementation might be appropriate to improve biological and mechanical function. Microbial balance in the gut and daily elimination must be established. Probiotics, hydration and adequate intake of fiber (prebiotics for butyrate production) all matter within a customized nutritional protocol.

A personalized strategy is advised as many individuals exhibit digestive and food transit dysfunctions caused by vectorborne infections, secondary gut infections including parasite, yeast and bacterial overgrowth, food sensitivities, migrating motor complex difficulties in the bowels, gut permeability concerns, and neurological gut-brain challenges.

The Impact of Environmental Toxicity

Chemical exposures (and dietary factors) contribute to the worsening of seizures, palsy, nervous ticks, headaches, migraines, trigeminal neuralgia, chemical sensitivities, etc. It is essential to evaluate toxic exposures in the immediate living and working environment that contribute to pain patterns, which can be associated with persistent Lyme disease symptoms. By increasing drainage, decreasing toxic exposures, supporting the gut and modifying the diet, investigating phase 1 and phase 2 genetic variants, one can lower inflammation and toxicity- related symptoms in the body and brain.

Environmental pollutants are excessive for everyone. Harmful industrial pollutants are causing havoc in human bodies, the oceans, and for wildlife too, as they are dispersed in the water and air. These are known as POPs, persistent organic pollutants, and they include PCBs, DDT, dioxins, etc. Regulation is greatly insufficient and profit-driven interests are flourishing at the expense of our fertility, physical and mental health, besides affecting our environment on a global scale. Infertility is rampant. Babies are born with over 200 known toxic chemicals in their bloodstream; some are known to be cancer- causing toxins.

Vaccinations with formaldehyde, thimerosal, foreign proteins, e.g. monkey kidney tissue, L-histidine, egg proteins and aluminum hydroxyphoshate or potassium sulfate, etc., and excessive environmental toxins in the soil, food, water and air, all play a role in the host’s ability to ward off vectorborne infections. Sustained inflammation is also caused by exposure to metals, including mercury exposures in amalgam fillings, crowns, and gold fillings, flu shots, cosmetics, and seafood. Smoking, cleaning solvents and alcohol increase toxicity and inflame blood vessels in the body. Metal toxicity, e.g. aluminum is a common additive in commercial baked goods and baking powders, or lead in drinking water or arsenic in white rice, etc. all contribute to sustained pain patterns. The atmospheric spraying, called Chem -Trails, create an insidious health hazard for all as we breathe in nanoparticles that accumulate in the brain and bones. All the above are also major contributors to the rapid increases in autoimmune diseases seen today.

Commercial foods are sprayed excessively with harmful, cancer- causing pesticides (e.g., glyphosate, insecticides, and fungicides). Some, e.g. lettuce or strawberries, are sprayed up to 45 times before they end up on the plate. Just washing produce and fruits will not be sufficient to get rid of all pesticides and chemicals that inflame the body, harm the brain and thyroid, promote weight gain by affecting insulin levels, the body and brain. Many also disrupt thyroid and reproductive hormones in the body contributing to biochemical and metabolic disruptions, besides worsening of PTLDS symptoms.  It is in this arena that one can make health-supporting changes by decreasing toxic exposures. Use of commercial household cleaners, detergents, carpet shampoos, and air fresheners add to the toxic burden above. The human body is not designed to handle all these chemicals, especially when liver and gallbladder function are already challenged by chronic infections, commercial foods and medications.

Common toxic ingredients in cosmetics, fragrances and personal care products include chemical estrogens called xenoestrogens, benzenes, formaldehyde, aluminum, petroleum, mercury in eye shadows, parabens, bisphenol A, coal tar, phthalates, propylene glycol, sodium laurel sulfate, talc, synthetic colors and fragrances, xenobiotic (chemical hormones), and many more. Dioxins are found in many commercial cotton balls, tissues, sanitary pads, and tampons, which all come in close contact with the skin and membranes, and they irritate the immune system.

The variables discussed in this article add different layers when dealing with Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome. Current infectious disease protocols and government guidelines are outdated; records have not been updated for over eight years. Ill individuals are misdiagnosed by their infectious disease physician, or even worse, dismissed because of lack of positive findings on lab tests, that often are not sensitive or specialized for the stealth vector-bore infections.

Resilience of the host must be emphasized, it is not just about antimicrobial therapy to lower the immune burden. No therapeutic protocol should be implemented without the following: dietary and lifestyle interventions, emotional trauma release, neuro- endocrine function and neurotransmitter challenges must be considered, glandular, mineral and anti-inflammatory therapies are best implemented, an assessment of methylation pathways to optimize therapeutic treatment, gut function and microbiome diversit must be investigated, restriction of electromagnetic exposures, membrane stabilization with an anti-inflammatory diet and essential fatty acids, adrenal, thyroid and sex hormone evaluation, plus drainage and detoxification pathways must be optimized. It takes a multi-systemic approach, a whole mind-body approach.

 The scientific research regarding infections, persistent Lyme post-antibiotic treatment, and various herbal and drug treatment options is forever evolving. I applaud all the Lyme organizations, including ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Disease Society) that increase funding for research, and promote education and awareness of the debilitating effects of this chronic infection. Multiple organizations strongly push for research and the need for specialized testing to ensure an early diagnosis and appropriate, customized treatment. In addition, Lyme disease organizations and lime advocacy groups challenge existing government treatment guidelines, and they are instrumental in challenging current limitations in treatment protocols and restrictions from insurance companies regarding long-term treatment for persistent vectorborne infections, including Lyme [1-21].

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