In previous posts, I have mentioned that treating Lyme disease isn't just about eradicating infections. It's about healing the body from the multiple systemic dysfunctions that Lyme disease causes, and getting rid of environmental and bug toxins, while infected with Lyme and even after the bugs are gone.
Having managed to put my Lyme disease infections in remission, I am now focusing more on healing my neuro-endocrine system, which remains in disarray because of Lyme or factors that preceded Lyme. I also continue to do prolotherapy injections, which are effectively restoring the tissue in my hip and back that was gobbled away by the bugs.
Because of these issues, I continue to take supplements, and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, because I'm realizing that the battle doesn't end until the body's systems are back up and running at optimal efficiency. So I believe that restoring the body and repairing the damage that has been done by Lyme disease is important, while treating Lyme, and even afterwards.
For instance, I continue to struggle with adrenal fatigue, which can be incredibly complicated to heal, so I have begun a program with an adrenal specialist to restore and heal my adrenals. Healing the adrenals can fix a multitude of problems in the body, including faulty blood sugar and blood pressure regulation, sluggish detoxification, POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, insomnia, fatigue and so on. The doctor I consult with for a few minutes every week, Michael Lam, MD, has prescribed me the following products from Horizon (www.supplementclinic.com) to heal mine.
-Liposomal Vitamin C -Liposomal glutathione (adrenal fatigue causes liver detoxification problems, which glutathione can help to remedy) -Quantum (an amino acid product, to rebuild the body) -Pandrenal (a derivitive of pantothenic acid) -Fish oil
Many people know that Vitamin C and B vitamins are needed by the adrenals for optimum function, but their effectiveness is only as good as the body's ability to absorb them, which most of the time, is mediocre. Studies have revealed that most Vitamin C products have a 20% absorption rate, which means that 80% of the vitamin gets discarded by the body. According to a recent post on Lyme disease researcher Scott Forsgren's blog: http://betterhealthguy.com/joomla/blog/232-making-a-liposomal-compound, studies have shown liposomal Vitamin C to have up to an 93% absorption rate. I wonder if the poor absorption factor is part of the reason why some people haven't been able to heal themselves with supplements. Perhaps part of my adrenal doctor's success has been due to the fact that he prescribes liposomal supplements.
As another integral component of repairing my body from the damage that Lyme has done, I continue to take high doses of omega-3 fish oil, to heal my brain and nervous system. Freshly prepared chicken broth, which supplies many nutrients needed by the adrenals and other organs for recovery, has also become a staple part of my regimen. Bone broth soups are vital for providing the body with all of the building blocks that it needs to repair the organs, and while I have not used them, I suspect bovine broth and broth made from other animals to be beneficial, too.
Probiotics to restore the billions or trillions of gut flora that antibiotics wiped out of my system have also been important. I use products from Garden of Life, and as of late, have been drinking Kefir from fresh coconut oil.
Additionally, recently I saw an acupuncturist and allergist who uses an IQS (Interactive Query System), an electrodermal testing system which allows practitioners to discern literally hundreds of problems in the body in a single session. From my session with the acupuncturist, I learned that Lyme disease had caused my body to produce antibodies to several of its neurotransmitters and hormones, which requires a bigger fix than just getting rid of some bugs.
Having discovered allergies to serotonin and aldosterone, as well as a few other items in my body which were "off," this brilliant allergist then used the IQS to "reset" my body. She also prepared me a homeopathic remedy to address all of the problems that she found. Admittedly, I am having a hard time believing that a single homeopathic remedy can reverse all of the auto-immune processes in my body created by Lyme disease, but I figured that taking the remedy was worth a try.
Many Lyme disease practitioners use amino acids and bioidentical hormone replacement to correct their patients' neuro-endocrine problems, but these can be ineffective, even harmful, if patients are allergic to their own hormones or neurotransmitters. Also, people who are severely adrenal fatigued can react badly to amino acid supplementation because their bodies may not be able to effectively synthesize neurotransmitters and other proteins from those amino acids. For instance, Vitamin B-6 is required to make serotonin but many of the adrenally-fatigued can't utilize B-6, which is why people with this condition also tend to be depressed.
Neuro-endocrine problems are one of the most common "messes" caused by Borrelia and other organisms, and may persist despite treatment for the infections, which is why it's important to treat them.
Also, years of multiple antibiotics and antimicrobial herbs, along with the pathogens themselves, can really take a toll on the organs, especially the liver and kidneys, which are responsible for processing the majority of the body's toxins. I continue to take a homeopathic drainage remedy from Pekana for my kidneys. I'm not sure if the long-standing rikettsia infection that took up residence in my kidneys, or some other factor has caused them to be stressed, but in any case, I find the drainage remedy, along with occasional pineapple-celery-parsley cocktails, to be helpful.
Last but not least, I have discovered that getting rid of Lyme hasn't meant that I can return to my former ways of eating, and not only because my body yet needs all the help that it can get to return to a normal state of functionality. Indeed, the way food is produced and processed today means that nobody, healthy or half-dead, should eat anything less than an organic diet void of sugar, dairy products, gluten and alcohol. I used to think that only the sick were obliged to eat organic food and had to shun all the "fun" stuff that other people get to eat, but the conventional way of eating isn't healthy for anyone. First, because food in a box, bag or can, or anything that's prepared using more than five ingredients, probably isn't food at all. Indeed, some experts estimate processed food to be 75% chemicals and only 25% real food! Secondly, the pesticides, antibiotics and hormones which are added to meats and vegetables are destructive to the digestive, endocrine, immune and hormonal systems, so nobody should consume foods with this stuff in it.
One hundred years ago, wheat and dairy products were actually healthy foods, and most people today have been deceived into thinking that they still are. But pasteurization, as well as other factors, have caused all dairy products, whether organic or conventional, to be a source of inflammation for the body. Wheat products are made with three times the amount of gluten that they used to have (in addition to other harmful additives), so only the most robust can adequately digest them. Add to that the fact that some foods, such and corn and soy, whether organic or conventionally produced, are all genetically modified, which causes allergies and inflammation.
So the strict diet that people with Lyme must maintain isn't just for those with Lyme and other chronic health problems. The entire population of the United States (as well as other countries that have adopted harmful food producing techniques), would be wise to adopt such a diet. An excellent book which describes the origins of our food and which puts modern day food production into perspective is Michael Pollen's, "The Omnivore's Dilemma."
While no two people's healing journeys are alike, I pray that what I have learned from my own would serve to help others who are sorting out how to heal from the effects of Lyme disease. Honestly, I wish I had devoted more energy and thought towards the beginning of my healing journey to healing my body from the neuro-endocrine and other messes that Lyme had made of it. While I have always taken toxin binders and nutritional supplements, I have generally allowed the infections to be the primary focus of my attention, when in reality, I should have paid just as much attention to the other aspects of healing. Thankfully, now I can devote more energy and time to those.
Your journey may be different. For some people, Lyme infections are the primary player in their symptom picture, and once they get rid of those, they tend to feel much better. But for others, treating neuro-endocrine, auto-immune, detoxification and other problems is just as important. Of course, Lyme disease creates all of the aforementioned problems but it's a fallacy to believe that getting rid of Lyme will automatically fix the systemic problems that it causes, or that Lyme is necessarily the first cause of these problems. Surely, the scenario is different for everyone, but I believe that by listening to our bodies, paying attention to how they react to treatments, and asking God for discernment, we can figure out the path that we are meant to be on.