Alternative Treatment Options for Lyme Disease
By: Nadine Miles BS, MS, PA-C
Lyme Disease has become a growing concern for those living in endemic areas in the United States. The Center of Disease Control reports about 30,000 cases of Lyme annually, however, it has been suggested that an estimated 300,000 people are afflicted with Lyme disease each year in the United States. Lyme can be responsible for a slew of vague symptoms that medical providers can easily overlook or misdiagnose. Acute exposure to Borrelia Borgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, may produce a “bullseye rash,” low grade fever, chills, fatigue, stiff neck, and muscle aches. However, chronic symptoms can include neurological complaints, bouts of arthritis, mild to severe fatigue, sleep disturbances, muscle aches, migratory joint pain or swelling, or difficulty concentrating, to name a few. Furthermore, testing is limited due to the “stealth” nature of the disease, and its ability to evade the human body’s natural immune system response. It is well known that traditional testing options have poor sensitivity and poor reliability.
Conventional treatment options remain limited to antibiotics and are frequently prescribed for too short a course. Other inadequacies of traditional therapy include antibiotic-mediated disruption of gut flora, and the failure to address the various forms that the spirochete can morph into when it is under immune system attack. This ultimately allows the disease to further proliferate, despite completing course after course of antibiotic.
In order for Borrelia to survive, it requires collagen. To obtain this, it will activate the immune system’s cytokine response. This in turn, creates tissue inflammation, leading ultimately to a collagen rich environment that can promote the life cycle of the disease. This is why chronic Lyme disease symptoms are frequently associated with collagen rich regions of the body: joints, brain, muscles, eyes, and skin. Therefore, the goal of treatment is to calm down the body’s inflammatory response – that is to say, to calm down cytokine activity.
Through the traditional medical approach, a minimum of 3 weeks of antibiotic therapies are required to account for Borrelia’s lengthy life cycle. Extended antibiotic use, has been proven to be damaging to the gut microbiota, alternative therapies such as medicinal plants can be helpful to alleviate the body of Lyme, but are also safe for long term use, thus, sparing gut microbes, and may also help support the body’s immune system in the process. Several medicinal plants such as Andrographis, Resveratrol, and Chinese Skullcap, to name a few, have been researched to be antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. They can decrease the body’s inflammatory response, enhance natural killer cell function, and ultimately starve Borellia from its nutrient supply. Other therapies that we have found useful to stabilize symptoms of acute or chronic Lyme disease include hyperbaric oxygen, IV vitamin C, and activated oxygen therapy. Furthermore, addressing and supporting detoxification impairment, mitochondrial dysfunction, gut health, and neurological health are key to fully treating and alleviating symptoms of Lyme disease.
If you are experiencing symptoms that may be related to tick borne illness, contact the Magaziner Center for Wellness today and schedule an appointment.