When you or your child gets a tick bite, fear goes straight to your heart. As well it should. Because some tick bites lead to Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria borellia burgdorferi and it can wreak havoc on any and every part of your body, especially your gut and your immune system.
The symptoms of Lyme are widespread, and typically antibiotics are presented as the main and sole solution. Doctors hand out a prescription and send you on your way with no guidance on the healing. While antibiotics are necessary, they don’t provide a whole systems approach to recovery, which you definitely need. Additionally, antibiotics leave your microbiome in bad shape, and with a taxed immune system (from the Lyme), you won’t be able to fight out any bad yeast that cropped up during antibiotic treatment.
What does it look like?
It’s necessary to recognize the signs and symptoms of Lyme, as they are vast and could be masked under other diagnoses.
- bull’s eye type rash
- fever and or chills
- stiff neck
- painful muscles or joints
- swollen glands
- symptoms can appear within 3-30 days after the bite
- fatigue (systemic exertion intolerance disease)
- migratory joint and muscular pain
- neck and shoulder stiffness
- daily persistent headaches
- tingling and numbness
- disordered sleep
- recurrent flu-like symptoms
- cognitive dysfunction
- mood and psychiatric dysfunctions
- increased sensitivity to foods, smells, light and noise
Because the symptoms are so widespread, it makes sense that Lyme disease has a systemic burden, including ongoing inflammation, immune system exhaustion, cellular oxidative stress, and neurotoxin release.
What to do?
It is hopeful to know that the symptoms of Lyme can be attenuated through different lifestyle, diet, and supplemental protocols.
Sleep should be addressed within a holistic approach to Lyme disease. Sleep disturbances and chronic fatigue are prevalent with Lyme. And sleep is so necessary for healing and building the immune system up.
- Arrange your schedule to allow for 8 hours of sleep.
- Practicing good sleep hygiene is important: not using screens for a couple hours before bed, making sure you go to bed at the same time every night and sleeping in a cool dark room.
- If falling asleep or staying asleep is a problem, there are numerous natural sleep aids: melatonin, passionflower, lemon balm, or GABA precursors.
Stress management is essential. External stress can further the stress inside your body and prevent recovery.
- Down time
- Deep breaths, taken throughout the day
Diet: the goals of being to reduce inflammation, rebuild the immune system, improve gut health (repair after the pathogens and antibiotics), and nourish the person.
- Eat whole foods
- Avoid high sugar and fat foods, such as processed starches, candy and junk food, fried foods
- Increase intake of fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains
- Choose organic when possible
- Eat more anti-inflammatory foods (plant based, omega-3 fatty acids, Mediterranean diet)
- Repopulate the gut with probiotic rich fermented foods (contraindicated in some people)
- Address food sensitivities, such as gluten and dairy, as all food sensitivities can increase inflammation, weaken the immune system and worse Lyme symptoms
For gut health, we might need to kill off any yeast or other pathogens that are present. (There are many options for this, but I don’t recommend trying them without supervision from a qualified practitioner.) Then also heal the gut lining from any injury from the Lyme or other pathogens as well as reinoculate with probiotics.
Supplementation should be utilized in order to address and TREAT poor immune function, chronic fatigue, neurological symptoms, muscle spasms, joint pain, and gut and hormonal imbalances.
Some ideas to decrease overall inflammation and inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokine production:
- EPA/DHA (omega 3 fatty acids or fish oil)
- Alpha lipoic acid
- Tart cherry juice
- Coconut oil
- Green tea
Some ideas to address chronic fatigue or neurological symptoms and boost general immune health:
- High quality multivitamin
- Co-Enzyme Q10
- Acetyl L-Carnitine
- Vitamin B Complex (with activated Bs)
- Gamma linolenic acid (GLA)
- Omega 3 EFA fish oil
- Alpha lipoic acid
Here is a testimonial from a client of mine. She came to me, feeling like crap, after the doctor had put her on numerous rounds of antibiotics for the Lyme:
“My sophomore year of high school I was diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease. This led to multiple rounds of doxycycline and amoxicillin along with my 5 year battle of joint pain, fatigue, and the ever present stomach issues. I finally began seeking help, and was led to Dianne. She put me on a treatment plan, for the lifetime of stress my body’s been under due to the high amounts of antibiotics I had been on, and quickly began rebuilding my gut. Alongside the supplements Dianne recommended, I changed my diet and almost immediately began feeling a change! Within three months I felt like a new person. I have a new lease on life that I had never experienced before and began living a life without fearing of the pain that was coming. I am now studying abroad in France and have the freedom from suffering with fatigue, pain, or digestive issues.”
As you can see a functional approach to Lyme is much more comprehensive than what you will get from the doctor alone. Antibiotics kill the Lyme but don’t support the healing or clean up the mess that the Lyme (or the antibiotics themselves) created.