In January this year I attended a Lyme Disease conference (thankfully, it was in Florida!). The conference speaker was Lyme Disease expert Dr. Richard Horowitz.
The following are my impressions and notes from his lectures. Super important info on a big disease caused by a tiny bug!
Some Background on Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease (LD) is the #1 spreading vector-borne epidemic in the US and Europe. Ticks that transmit Lyme Disease are now found in half of US counties, and tick-borne co-infections are also rapidly rising.
Additionally, LD is now found to be transmitted by blood transfusions (4/1000 transfusions), maternal-fetal transmission and possibly sexual encounters via semen and vaginal secretions. Scientists say because of the changing global ecosystems, we can expect 5 new emerging pandemic diseases each year into the future (identified thus far: Ebola, West Nile, Dengue, Borrelia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Bartonella, Tularemia, Babesia, Protomyxoa Rheumatica, Filiariasis, TBE, Powassan, Heartland, Bourbon viruses, Yersinia pestis, Schistosomiasis, Malaria, Chikungunya, Lyme). Read more about this on the National Science Foundation site.
LD can present as either acute or chronic illness:
Acute: flu-like symptoms of fever, fatigue, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, nausea and vomiting, headaches, stiff neck, light sensitivity OR sudden onset of neurological symptoms such as Bell’s palsy OR erythema migrans rash (may or may not be a bull’s eye pattern).
Chronic LD: often referred to as the great imitator and can be associated with >38 different symptoms (often associated with co-infections) including chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, Alzheimer’s, headaches/migraines, neuralgias and neuropathies (ex: trigeminal neuralgia), cranial nerve palsies (ex: Bell’s palsy), interstitial cystitis, IBS/IBD, depression/psychosis/OCD/anxiety, low growth hormone, pain that is resistant to standard treatments, and more. A complete list of symptoms can be accessed at www.cangetbetter.com. A score of >46 confers a high probability for LD.
There are potentially multiple problems with diagnostic testing:
Intra- and inter-laboratory testing variations: 3 different commercial ELISA tests showed discrepant sensitivity for the same known infected blood sample (36.8%-70.5%)
There are now 15 documented species of Borrelia, and not all species are tested
2-tiered testing is the standard of care in conventional medicine (only if ELISA testing is positive is an immunoblot done), which misses up to 55% of positive LD cases. According to Dr. Horowitz, there are problems with the sensitivity of the ELISA. He recommends using the C6 ELISA instead, as well as considering labs that expand the number of strains of borrelia on the Western Blot, and add specific strains based on the local strains seen.
Dealing with Lyme Disease
Important components of successful treatment include:
Lower inflammation: block NFKappa-B (LDN) and activate Nrf2 (curcumin, green tea, resveratrol/pterosilbene, sulfurophanes and other phytochemicals)
Block activation of glial cells in the brain (LDN)
Replace minerals per need, especially zinc, copper, magnesium
Get proper sleep and exercise (insomnia increases inflammatory cytokine IL-6)
Remove chemicals and inflammatory cytokines that trigger or worsen inflammation and use natural support for lowering inflammation (IV/oral glutathione, magnesium, NAC, glycine, ALA, DIM, sulfurophane, increased protein in diet, cruciferous veggies)
Minimize toxic exposure (air and water purifiers, clean up personal care and cleaning products, minimize exposure to lawn and other chemicals, clean diet)
Optimize mitochondrial function to assist the body’s own detox processes (NT factor, COQ10, NADH)
Assist and balance biotransformation/liver detoxification pathways (NAC, glycine, B vits, minerals, herbs)
Increase antioxidant reserve to protect against damage caused by toxicity (ALA, resveratrol, sulfurophane, green tea, diet)
Ensure hydration to assist with excretion through the kidneys, bowels, respiratory tract and skin
Others: biocidin, essential oils, liposomal Vitamin C
Protect Yourself & Be Proactive Against Lyme Disease!
When hiking or spending time outdoors, particularly in high weeds or woods, tuck pants into socks or shoes, wear light clothing so ticks can be easily spotted, and have someone help you check for ticks when you return. Tea tree oil is acts as an effective tick repellant, so spritzing on before you head outdoors can add another layer of protection.
If you discover a tick that is attached, remove it by grasping with tweezers at its mouth parts. Never squeeze the tick’s body or burn it. Approximately 25% of ticks transmit Lyme’s or infections other than LD, so save the tick and send it for testing.Igenex Labs will test the tick for the most common tick-borne infections: Babesia, Bartonella, Rickettsia (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) and Ehrlichia.
The incubation period for LD is several days to several weeks. If there are immediate symptoms following a tick bite, the cause is likely a different tick-borne infection.
Remember that less than 40% of those infected with LD actually develop a bull’s eye rash.
Being proactive is the key! A complete recovery is highly likely when treated early!