LYME DISEASE AND WHOLE BODY HEALTHNov 24, 2010 03:41PM ● By Adam Breiner, ND
LYME DISEASE AND WHOLE BODY HEALTH
There is a seemingly never-ending debate over how Lyme Disease should be treated and how it should be diagnosed. The debate is particularly intense regarding those cases which are described as chronic Lyme. While most people are aware of the approaches used by traditional medicine, few are aware of the alternative detection methods and treatments available.
Lyme Disease was first identified in 1975 after outbreaks of an arthritis-like illness among children living in Lyme and Old Lyme, CT. Named after the town of Lyme, this illness has now been reported in all 50 states and is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. Several years after that initial outbreak, it was determined that the disease was carried by the deer tick Ixodes scapularis, whose bite transmits a disease-causing spirochete known as Borellia burgdorfi.
While 100 strains of Borellia burgdorfi have been identified in the United States, about 300 strains have been identified worldwide. To complicate the picture further, most patients with Lyme Disease are also infected with other tick-borne pathogens which may include Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Bartonella, Mycoplasma, and Rickettsia. Because their immune systems are compromised, Lyme patients may also be infected with various viruses including HHV-6, EBV, CMV, and XMRV.
Individuals bitten by a tick may or may not develop the trademark bull’s eye rash. Half of all patients with Lyme have no recollection of ever having been bitten. Those who do know and seek medical help will probably have the ELISA screening test, which, unfortunately, has been shown to miss up to 35% of culture-proven cases. While the CDC recommends no further testing for those with a negative ELISA, it recommends the Western Blot test for those with a positive ELISA. Unfortunately, because bands 31 and 34 have been removed from the commercial Western Blot kits, many cases are not diagnosed. In fact 20% to 30% of culture-proven Lyme cases will test sero-negative on their Western Blot samplings. In fact, the longer a patient has Lyme, the harder it becomes to diagnose it using standard testing.
There are, however, a number of specialized laboratories which focus on detecting tick-borne pathogens. Not only do they have highly specific tests for detecting Lyme and its co-infections, but they also look at all the bands of Lyme-specific antigens. These labs are much more successful at accurately diagnosing Lyme; unfortunately, they, too, will miss many cases.
Patients with Lyme Disease may experience a huge variety of symptoms, and this characteristic often leads to erroneous diagnoses and erroneous treatment plans. Left untreated, Lyme becomes a multi-system disorder and may settle in one or more of the body systems, including the nervous, musculoskeletal, and cardiac systems. The conventional approach for treating Lyme is to prescribe any of a variety of antibiotics, either orally or intravenously, and in any number of combinations and rotations
Sometimes doctors also prescribe antiprotozoal drugs to deal with the cystic form of Borellia and antimicrobial drugs to deal with the host of co-infections.
Early in my practice I was quick to refer patients for high-dose antibiotic therapies. As I began to develop my own treatment methods, I began seeing positive results in patients who could or would no longer tolerate long-term antibiotics. Therefore, I now think it is possible to treat and possibly cure patients with Lyme Disease without the use of antibiotics. There are, however, times when high-dose antibiotics may be essential. Antibiotics may be needed when the myocardium is infected, when there is a rapidly progressing neurological disorder like ALS, or to suppress a serious infection as quickly as possible.
When dealing with all chronic illnesses, the “terrain is the game.” Our bodies have the amazing ability to heal themselves and return to homeostasis. However, the greater the number of insults to our bodies in the form of toxins, viruses, and bacteria, the harder it is for the bodies to return to balance. These toxins may include chemicals, toxic metals, pesticides, food additives, drugs, infections, and even emotional stress. There comes a point when we reach our toxic threshold. At that point our organs of detoxification, like our liver and lymphatic system, become stressed and over-taxed; inflammation, immune suppression, and disease symptoms set in. The “final straw” may be coming down with the flu, getting bitten by a tick, or suffering a major emotional trauma. But, from that point on, it is not sufficient to merely treat the disease. One must address all those factors that are
When dealing with chronic illnesses, the "terrain is the game",
adversely affecting the body. Only then can one build up the immune system and restore a person to health.
Not only is it essential to reduce the levels of the toxins described above, but it is also important to improve the balance of the body using both supplements and a proper food plan. This nutritional intervention focuses on making the body more alkaline, and on increasing both cellular energy and mitochondrial output. Most patients will benefit from a low-glycemic diet, rich in fresh organic produce.
Carefully selected homeopathic medicines and botanical medicines are also helpful in multiple ways. Homeopathics can boost the immune system to more effectively fight certain organisms; they can assist various organs in eliminating toxins. Certain homeopathic remedies support the Krebs cycle, the liver, and kidneys. Other homeopathics aid the nervous system, the bowels, the skin, and the joints. The remedies chosen are tailored to the individual patient and may be updated on subsequent visits as levels of various organisms change.
Botanical medicines include antimicrobial herbs, specifically designed to deal with Lyme and its co-infections; these may be pulsed to avoid organisms building up resistance to these medicines. Botanicals may also be used to help the various organs eliminate toxins, including those produced as the multiple organisms die.
While it is impossible to cover, in a short article, every method used for identifying and destroying the Borellia and its co-infections, there are multiple unique approaches available. There are also many ways of addressing the issue of detoxification; these may include using far-infrared saunas, ionic footbaths, lymphatic drainage massage, and colonic therapy. Last but not least, we have protocols which address the cognitive deficits that plague so many patients who have Lyme Disease.
It is important to realize that it is not just the Lyme organism that needs to be addressed; it is the entire body that must be made healthy. Only through eliminating toxic influences and rebalancing the body’s chemistry through proper nutrition that our bodies will not play host to such pathogens. Using this comprehensive approach optimizes the outcome for our patients with Lyme Disease.
For more information about Lyme Disease visit the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society's website, Ilads.org.
Dr. Adam Breiner practices naturopathic medicine. His skills in detecting and removing the "obstacles-to-cure" have had Lyme patients from across New England and beyond seek his help and expertise. Visit WholeBodyMed.com or call 203.371.8258 for more information. The Whole Body Medicine is located on the Fairfield/Trumbull line at 5520 Park Avenue.