Want to share this article? Visit our re-post guidelines.
- A Lyme disease diagnosis prompts serious consideration of treatment protocols. They are many and varied. Choosing the one that is best for you can be confusing and overwhelming.
- Many treatments on the market, including rife machines, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and ozone therapy, claim to be effective methods of ridding the body of pathogens. Often, they command a significant out-of-pocket expense.
- Antibiotics are often a first line offense against Lyme’s Borrelia burgdorferi and other infections. Sadly, studies have shown that Lyme infections can continue long after antibiotic treatment.
- Risks and complications can result from over-prescribing antibiotics, including gut microbiome and mitochondrial damage. Additionally, pathogens can develop antibiotic resistance.
- An all-out offensive to kill pathogens with antibiotics or natural antimicrobials may not be the best first step.
- The body can be made hostile, even deadly to invading microbes by stabilizing and supporting its environment.
- Using supplements that support the body and a healthy immune system, rather than just bombing the bugs with antimicrobials, could be a preferred approach.
- Drainage is critical. Supplements and protocols that open the drainage pathways help the body rid itself of toxins, wastes, and pathogens.
- Lyme’s B. burgdorferi bacteria can live inside parasites. Therefore, clearing parasites with supplement protocols is also a priority.
- Mimosa pudica seed has many therapeutic uses and is a superior parasite cleanser.
- Protease-containing digestive enzyme supplements can break down proteins before parasites can feed on them.
- Clearing the body of toxins and heavy metals is an absolute necessity in today’s world.
- Nutrients not acquired through a healthy diet should be taken in supplement form.
- Vitamin D deficiency is commonplace in Lyme disease patients.
- Supplementation with vitamin D3 can correct deficiencies.
- Magnesium is an essential nutrient that supports 300+ biochemical functions.
- Not all magnesium supplements are created equal. There are both topical and oral applications.
- Curcumin is an active ingredient in the turmeric, a favorite spice in Southeast Asian cooking.
- Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antimicrobial.
- B-complex vitamins are eight individual nutrients needed for many metabolic and physiological functions.
- The entire body, not just the thyroid gland, needs iodine.
- The body doesn’t make iodine. It must come from the diet or from supplements.
- Supplement choice hinges on the health of the body and its ability to fight infectious organisms.
- Consider the phase of an individual’s Lyme or chronic illness (acute, chronic, etc.), and target supplementation accordingly.
- Address predominant symptoms and work upstream toward the source.
- You can map out your personal protocol using my At-Home Lyme Disease Program or receive beneficial support and guidance from our team of doctors in the 1:1 Coaching Program.
Supplements for Support and Success in Lyme and Chronic Illness
Your diagnosis: Lyme disease. Or perhaps Lyme disease is strongly suspected by your symptomatology. Your heart sinks. You may be anxious and worried, and fearful as well. Now, what???
You may decide that it’s time to go on the attack. You want to annihilate those invaders–rid yourself of Lyme Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria or any number of other pathogens you might have contracted through coinfections. Begone bugs!
Realistically, once a Lyme disease diagnosis is made, a patient has a lot of confusing, overwhelming, and potentially costly decisions to make. An internet search reveals unending protocol choices that may require a significant out-of-pocket investment. Alternative treatments and technologies are continually being developed. So, how do you know if they’re effective and not merely a waste of money?
Alternative Treatments and Technologies: Are They a Sound Investment?
Are novel alternative treatments and technologies for you? Let’s review a few of them.
Rife machines are said to emit programmable frequencies that will not only eradicate pathogens like Borrelia burgdorferi, and it’s coinfections, but will support general healing as well. Rife technology uses a similar theory to homeopathy. It is based on the principle that everything is composed of energy and emits a specific frequency. The average cost of a Rife machine is between $2500 and $3500. For many patients, using this frequency technology to address illness may be cost prohibitive and can cause many unwanted symptoms.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) increases oxygen in the body to kill bacteria like Lyme Borrelia burgdorferi and other anaerobic pathogens that can’t survive in an oxygenated environment. A patient is placed in an enclosed, pressurized chamber to receive this treatment.
The super-oxygenated environment created in the body by HBOT is also thought to repair damaged tissues and boost immune function. A hyperbaric clinic generally charges around $250 per session with possibly hundreds of sessions needed to complete treatment. A portable unit can be rented or purchased for multiple thousands of dollars.
Ozone therapy has been utilized for decades and is said to be safe, proven, and have minimal side effects.1 Its mechanism of action is through inactivation of bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, and protozoa. Additionally, it oxygenates the body and activates the immune system.
There are numerous ozone therapy applications.2 Some practitioners offer this therapy intravenously. Blood is removed from the body, injected with ozone, and then returned to the body. Also, machines that generate ozone are available for purchase. And ozone saunas are said to open pores so that ozone is easily absorbed into the skin and lymphatic system.
Overall, ozone treatments are costly and require a significant investment of funds. Like many other new treatments and technologies, it may not be a practical option for many Lyme and chronic disease sufferers.
Are Antibiotics and Natural Antimicrobials a Better Choice?
Many protocols start and end with the typical treatment recommendation for any infection: antibiotics that will supposedly wipe out the infectious pathogen(s). Despite 2-4 weeks of antibiotic treatment or even IV antibiotic treatment in some cases, many people continue to experience symptoms of Lyme disease well beyond the initial treatment phase.3
Antibiotic treatment is a significant infection-fighting tool, and many patients can benefit and respond positively when they have a standard infection. But, as most doctors are aware, some risks and complications result from over-prescribing antibiotics. Each case should be assessed individually and carefully.
The pros and cons of antibiotic treatment should be evaluated with an eye on where each Lyme patient is in the treatment stage. Is this an acute diagnosis, where a tick bite and ensuing bullseye lesion precipitated the need for treatment? If so, antibiotics may be a prudent choice.
But then, a patient could be past the acute phase to the chronic phase. Over time, Lyme B. burgdorferi corkscrew-shaped spirochetes drill into tissues and organs or cross the blood-brain barrier. This makes them difficult to get at by conventional means.
Furthermore, thinking of antimicrobials in general, should you take the antibiotic route? Or instead, should you choose the natural antimicrobial route and use supplements and herbals for treatment of Lyme disease and other chronic illness?
Perhaps There’s A More Sensible Approach
Let’s take a step back. Understandably, you’re gung-ho about getting those bugs gone. Who wouldn’t be? But think about it–why have they gained such a foothold in your body? Shouldn’t a healthy human body and immune system be well-equipped to handle an invasion of these critters? Yes, in fact, it should!
So, what if it’s the terrain, the environment in your body, that needs to be addressed to make it inhospitable, even deadly, for the microbes. If we work on the terrain with protocols that include reducing exposure to mold, opening drainage pathways, eliminating parasites, and detoxing heavy metals and chemical and biological toxins, then the microbes don’t require as big of a push to move them out.
Zapping the bacteria is extremely important, but may not be the right first step for most patients. An initial focus on controlling inflammation, reducing immune impairment, and resolving autoimmune activation could be more prudent. Afterward, once the body is recalibrated to a new baseline, the infection can be addressed.
A Strategic Defense That Makes Sense
Let’s consider that maybe we don’t need a ton of antimicrobials. It’s well-known that pathogens respond to antimicrobials by becoming resistant to them, in true Darwinian fashion.
Additionally, when antibiotics are used, it is important to also focus aggressively on gut support to protect and later rebuild and re-establish a healthy microbiome. Also, antibiotics have been shown to damage the mitochondria, and the critical importance of mitochondrial health is a hot topic as of late.
And while eliminating pathogens may mount a solid offense, perhaps deploying a strategic defense is just as important, or even more so.
The Lyme bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi is one stealthy bug.4 It’s an infection that hides from the body, suppresses the immune system, creates a lot of toxicity, and blocks the drainage and detox pathways so that the body is unable to detoxify and heal.
B. burgdorferi assumes different forms and can protect itself when threatened.5 Treating this bacterium like a routine infection, by using antibiotics in an attempt to kill it, could well lead to a patient who only gets sicker and sicker over time.
So, when discussing supplements for Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses, it makes sense to consider supplements that support the body and a healthy immune system first, rather than just bombing the bugs with antimicrobials.
In treating chronic Lyme, assessing and taking into account the unique individuality of the patient is a crucial piece. Each individual expresses the same disease differently depending on many factors. This again returns us to the need for an individual, customized approach to restoring the health of the terrain.
In my specialized programs, Lyme disease and chronic illness sufferers don’t need expensive procedures, IVs, and other treatments. Instead, we provide advice about how to use the best herbs, essential oils, homeopathic remedies, and nutritional supplements. Additionally, we supply usage protocols. You’ll know how much to use and in what order to use them for minimum cost and maximum effect.
In both my At-Home Lyme Disease Program and 1:1 Coaching Program, we talk about mapping out your protocol. We move upstream to the source, or sources, of the illness (i.e., mold, parasites, chronic infection from bacteria and pathogens, viruses like Epstein-Barr and retroviruses) and focus the approach on minimizing the symptoms that you are suffering from the most.
Opening Drainage Pathways: A Critical First Step
Once we’ve detected and diagnosed, we’ve secured our starting point. The next place we look is toward drainage in the body. Drainage is a critical function. If we want to move something out, a waste, pathogen, or toxin, we need to be sure our drainage pathways are open and functioning optimally.
The drainage system in the brain, called the glymphatic system, drains into the lymphatic system of the body. The lymphatic system is a network of circulating fluids that carry away waste and supply critical pathogen-fighting immune cells. It flows into the liver/bile duct. Lemon and apple cider vinegar produce an astringent action that causes contraction of the lymphatic nodes and vessels to promote flow.
The liver is the detoxification lifeline of the body. After two phases of detox, it pushes 80% of toxins into the bile to be drained from the body. Bile production demands a high energy cost, so bile is mostly reabsorbed in the small intestine. Consequently, toxins are reabsorbed as well.
Supplements and homeopathics can help to cleanse the liver, promote liver, gallbladder, and bile duct drainage, and soften the bile. TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid) is a water-soluble bile acid that can cleanse the liver, counteract the toxicity of regular bile, and aid in cellular protection.
The liver/bile duct drains into the colon and kidneys. The colon depends on the kidneys for hydration. Constipation is often an indication that the kidneys are compromised. The kidneys remove fluid and waste from the body in urine.
Supplements including magnesium, vitamin C, and digestive enzymes can help hydrate and tone the bowel for smoother evacuation. Fiber powders and fiber-rich foods boost colon motility. Fermented foods are a natural, nutrient-rich way to populate the colon with bacteria that are essential for health.
There are numerous herbal remedies and homeopathic remedies that flush and tone the kidneys and support kidney function.
If any point along the body’s drainage pathway is clogged or stagnant, all drainage from that point on is compromised. Pathogens, toxins, and wastes will not be removed from the body. So, before we start moving things out, or detoxing, we must make sure these pathways are open so that the wastes can be eliminated from the body.
Drainage supplements and protocols are numerous, varied, and system-dependent. For a full run-down of supplements and protocols, please refer to my article on drainage.
Another critical step in re-establishing a healthy body environment that can effectively dispatch pathogens is eradicating parasites. Parasite detox needs to be conducted early on in a protocol.
Studies have found that Lyme bacteria live within certain parasites, where they are protected from the body’s immune system and antimicrobials.6 When parasites are residing within the system, it is impossible to remove Lyme pathogens.
Furthermore, mold spores often live inside parasites. If external mold exposure is eliminated, but mold illness persists, it could be because mold spores living inside parasites are being released.
There’s also a parasite and heavy metal connection. Parasites are sponges for heavy metals. The body will allow them to remain intact to protect itself from the burden of their heavy metal toxicity.
Parasites love to inhabit the liver/bile duct, hampering proper drainage in that area. They’ve also been known to live in the pancreas and interfere with blood sugar balance.
Parasites consume protein from ingested food, preventing it from being broken down into amino acids that are used by the body for essential functions like neurotransmitter production. So, anxiety, depression, agitation, brain fog, ADHD, and mood swings can result from parasites in the body.
Taking enzyme supplements containing protease with meals is one way to prevent the parasites from consuming ingested protein. They will quickly break down the protein into amino acids before the parasites can consume it.
Supplements the are useful parasite eliminators include:
Potent supplements, like black walnut and sweet wormwood, kill parasites and release whatever is inside, possibly leading to an unpleasant Herxheimer reaction from the onslaught of toxins.9
Mimosa pudica seed has many therapeutic uses and is a superior parasite cleanser.10
Mimosa pudica paralyzes and adheres to parasites, then forces them to release their attachments to intestinal tissues and organs, allowing them to be flushed from the system. That leads to eliminating the parasites whole, rather than bursting them open and allowing what’s inside to be released.
Even so, managing parasite die-off is necessary during a cleanse. An organic Mimosa pudica seed supplement, particularly the supplement and protocol recommend in my At-Home Program, is useful because it plays multiple parts in recovery. It’s an excellent foundational supplement. In the digestive tract, it binds and scrubs the gut of toxins and by-products of parasite die-off, such as ammonia, heavy metals, and mold spores.
Mimosa pudica supplements can be taken on a continuing basis. It is important during use to keep a strict eye on bowel elimination. Poor colon drainage and difficulty passing bowel movements can be problematic during a parasite or detox cleanse. Make sure to reinforce colon drainage with enemas, magnesium, and frequent water consumption to promote regular bowel movements.
Clearing Heavy Metals and Other Toxins
Toxicity is an ever-increasing health threat. The toxic load put on the human body becomes more challenging by the day. Detoxification is no longer optional, it is an absolute necessity. Pulling toxins out of the body is crucial to maintaining health.
Heavy metal toxins, including arsenic, aluminum, lead, mercury, and cadmium, are unavoidable in our water and environment. They compromise health and exacerbate issues in Lyme disease and chronic illness sufferers.
As mentioned earlier, parasites absorb heavy metals. In fact, they can absorb 6-8 times their weight in heavy metals. The body tends to leave them alone to bear the heavy metal burden. Then, the parasites themselves produce toxins and stress on the body. So, parasites clearing is a priority for heavy metal detoxification.
BioActive Carbons is the preferred method to detoxify heavy metals from the body.
Other Important Health-Promoting Supplements
Vitamin D, which is technically a hormone, is vitally important. Yet, low vitamin D levels are epidemic. Vitamin D deficiency is commonplace in Lyme disease patients.
Doctors prescribe weekly high doses vitamin D2 to boost low vitamin D levels in the body, but D2 is a synthetic form of vitamin D. It’s unnatural, and the body recognizes it as such, so may not be the most useful vitamin D supplement.
A vitamin D3 supplement is highly preferable if vitamin D levels are low. When taking vitamin D3, it’s also advantageous to take vitamin K2 and magnesium to avoid complications associated with excessive calcification.
Furthermore, to fully evaluate the body’s need for vitamin D, it’s necessary to check both inactive and active vitamin D levels. Inactive vitamin D levels can be too high if the body can’t efficiently convert it into the active form. Magnesium is a nutrient that is needed to convert vitamin D to its active form, so levels of magnesium must be sufficient to use vitamin D3 properly.11
Magnesium is an essential mineral and the fourth most abundant in the body.
It is thought that the pathogen that causes Lyme disease creates a deficiency of magnesium in the body because the pathogen hijacks the mineral for its own uses. Consequently, magnesium supplementation is essential for Lyme disease sufferers.
Magnesium supports many functions, including:
- Increased energy production
- Improved and deeper sleep
- Pain and migraine relief
- Muscle relaxation
- Optimal circulation, blood pressure, and heart health
- Bone density and calcium balance
- A calm nervous system
- Digestion and bowel elimination
- Blood sugar balance
- Natural and adaptive immune functions
Many food sources of magnesium exist, yet even without the additional complication of Lyme-induced deficiency, low magnesium levels are still rampant in human populations. Supplementation can be oral or topical, with different responses generated by each.
Magnesium oil or gel can be applied topically to relax tight muscles. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) can be added to bath water to promote overall relaxation. Topical magnesium is particularly useful as it is absorbed quickly and easily.
Oral magnesium supplements come in many forms because the mineral must be bound to another substance. Several magnesium combinations that are well-absorbed are:
- Magnesium Malate
- Magnesium Glycinate
- Magnesium Taurate
- Magnesium Orotate
- Magnesium Chloride
- Magnesium Citrate
- Magnesium L-Threonate
Magnesium L-Threonate is relatively new on the scene and thought to be more of a “neuro” magnesium supplement. It is said to cross the blood-brain barrier and provide neurological benefits.
Forms of magnesium that are less readily absorbed, like magnesium hydroxide, magnesium oxide, and to a lesser extent, magnesium citrate, tend to provide greater constipation benefits as they draw more water into the bowels.
Curcumin, an ingredient in the spice turmeric, can be particularly useful for people with Lyme and other chronic illness. It is a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and pathogen-fighting antimicrobial.
Look for an extract supplement with a high percentage of curcuminoids to see the greatest benefits.12
As a spice, turmeric can be used liberally in cooking or concentrated as an herbal tea.
Broad spectrum B vitamins are eight individual vitamins with closely interrelated functions. The B-complex group plays an essential role in many metabolic and physiological functions.
B vitamins are water-soluble and are not stored well in the body, so must be acquired daily through diet or supplementation. They are quickly depleted when Lyme disease, chronic illness, stress, tobacco use, unhealthy food, alcohol and drug use, poor quality sleep, and other lifestyle and health challenges are present.
Iodine is a mineral in a group of similar elements called halogens. Other halogens, including chlorine, fluoride, and bromine, can displace health-sustaining iodine from the body.
For example, fluoride from toothpaste, dental treatments, and fluoridated water can displace iodine from the body. Pharmaceutical companies attach drugs to halogens like fluoride to assist them in passing through cell walls. Chlorine exposure from household cleaning products or swimming pools can cause similar displacement of iodine. Wheat and other grains contain bromine from processing, and consumption produces the same effect on iodine.
Although it’s well-established that iodine is needed to make thyroid hormone, the entire body, not just the thyroid gland, needs iodine. Tissues that absorb and use iodine include the thyroid gland, skin, breasts, stomach, salivary glands, pancreas, brain, cerebral spinal fluid, and thymus gland. Additionally, iodine helps to kill bacteria, fungi, and many different kinds of parasites, a benefit particularly helpful for Lyme disease patients.13
With so many challenges to healthy iodine levels, it’s safe to say that an iodine-rich diet and supplementation can be vitally important. There are abundant dietary sources, with the highest levels found in sea vegetables and seafood.
Success and Support in Lyme Disease and Chronic Illness
With so many treatment options available, surviving and thriving after a Lyme diagnosis is an attainable goal. Still, there’s no clear cookie cutter approach for every Lyme and chronic illness patient.
Choice of supplementation hinges on the health of the body and its ability to fight the pathogens. It’s important to consider the phase of Lyme or chronic illness you are in, acute, chronic, or somewhere in between, and target supplementation accordingly. Identify the predominant symptoms you would like to work through and deal with, and proceed from there.
Remember, there is no need for long-term grocery bags of supplements. Use supplements judiciously. On the whole, it’s typically best to eat food for nutrients and supplement with whatever you are unable to get in your diet.
While supplementation and restoration of a healthy body environment may not entirely rid you of the pathogens, you can make huge strides by lowering the body’s burden and restoring balance. And while you balance the body and create a defensive force against Lyme disease, you’re also building a body environment that supports robust immune function and lifelong health. It’s a win-win.
- Elvis, AM and Ekta, JS. “Ozone Therapy: A Clinical Review.” Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2011. Web
- Smith, Noel L et al. “Ozone Therapy: An Overview of Pharmacodynamics, Current Research, and Clinical Utility.” Medical Gas Research, Vol. 7, No. 3, July 2017. Web
- Brannon, Keith. “Study Finds Lyme Bacteria Can Survive Antibiotic Treatment Months after Infection.” Tulane.edu, Tulane University, 13 Dec 2017. Web
- Kraiczy, Peter. “Hide and Seek: How Lyme Disease Spirochetes Overcome Complement Attack.” Frontiers in Immunology, Vol. 7, No. 385, 26 Sep 2016. Web
- Meriläinen, Leena et al. “Morphological and Biochemical Features of Borrelia burgdorferi Pleomorphic Forms.” Microbiology, Vol. 161, No. 3, Mar 2015. Web
- “Lyme Bacteria Hides inside Parasitic Worms, Causing Chronic Brain Diseases.” PRNewswire.com, Cision Communications, 19 May 2016. Web
- Nirmala, J et al. “Anthelmintic Efficacy of Crude Neem (Azadirachta Indica) Leaf Powder against Bovine Strongylosis.” Journal of Parasitic Disease, Vol. 39, No. 4, Dec 2015. Web
- Cortes, A et al. “Effects of Dietary Intake of Garlic on Intestinal Trematodes.” Parasitology Research, Vol. 116, No. 5, Aug 2017. Web
- Sanjeev, K et al. “Artemisinins: Their Growing Importance in Medicine.” Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, Vol. 29, No. 10, 1 Oct 2008. Web
- Gulzar, M et al. “Mimosa Pudica L., a High‐Value Medicinal Plant as a Source of Bioactives for Pharmaceuticals.” Wiley Online Library, Wiley-Blackwell, 15 Dec 2015. Web
- Mercola, J. “The Importance of Vitamin D, K, and Magnesium for Lyme/MSIDS Patients.” MadisonAreaLymeSupportGroup.com, 2 Mar 2018. Web
- “Curcumin in Lyme Disease.” Community Pharmacy, 20 Feb 2012. Web
- Klebanoff, SJ. “Iodination of Bacteria: A Bactericidal Mechanism.” The Journal of Experimental Medicine, Vol. 126, No. 6, Dec 1967. Web