An Introduction to Lyme Disease

Lime disease

What is it?

This would have to the worst modelling job in the history of really bad modelling jobs. “Hmmm you have a particularly beautiful finger, please just hold it still while we let these potentially infectious Ticks crawl all over you…”

Most people asscociate Lyme disease with a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that enters your system after being bitten by a tick.

However these days the term Lyme has been widened to refer to a whole host of different bacteria (babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, bartonella, mycoplasma) that can also make their home in your body. There is talk that the bacteria is coming from not only tick bites but also from some of our other little friends such as mosquitos and mites. It also appears possible that Lyme can be transferred from mother to baby at birth.

To make things simple for myself I use the word ‘Lyme’ as a catch all for different types of bacteria that enter your body after being bitten by an infected insect.

There is the acute type of Lyme that if caught quickly (within 6-12 months) can be treated fairly successfully with antibiotics. Then there is the chronic type of Lyme (when you’ve been infected for over a year) that requires a more complex and subtle approach. It’s worth noting at this point that the majority of the medical community is yet to recognise the existence of Chronic Lyme. Sound familiar?

How does it relate to CFS/ME?

The chronic version of Lyme has very similar symptoms to that of CFS/ME. Like CFS/ME it is also largely a clinical diagnosis which means that Doctors recognise the condition based on what the patient is experiencing rather than any particular test result. The treatment approach is also very similar, requiring a whole system approach which focuses on detoxification, immune support and reducing inflammation in the body. The difference being that once there is a diagnosis of Lyme it becomes important to focus more intently on ways to kill or pacify the bacteria that are causing trouble with the immune system.

From one perspective Lyme can be though of as a subset of CFS/ME. And as testing becomes more and more refined it will become clearer what percentage of the population of those suffering from CFS/ME actually have Chronic Lyme disease.

There are however some distinct symptoms that help to determine Lyme and it’s co-infections from CFS/ME. Visiting this website will give you a useful introduction to the illness and also lists the symptoms specific to Lyme and its co-infections.

How do I test for Lyme?

So now the fun part. How do you find out if your one of the lucky ones with spirochetes (Lyme bacteria) having a pool party in your body?

Historically the tests for Lyme have not been accurate. However recently it seems there are more and more viable options becoming available. These include the increased sophistication of PCR testing (particularly through RedLabs in Belgium) and the use of energetic testing such as bioresonance (Dr. Byron White) and Autonomic Response Testing (Dr. Klinghardt). Your average Doctor has yet to wrap their stethoscope around these last two but perhaps in the future they will become common place.

The lab Igenex in the United States seems to get the thumbs up from a number of well respected LLMD, but others say that these tests are as inaccurate as the rest. Have a look at the Testing page from betterhealthguy.com to get a feel for how many options are available and how it can be a bit of a journey to get a clear result.

Can you beat it? 

The short answer is yes. The long answer is ‘it’s a long journey’. There is debate over whether it is actually curable (i.e you completely eradicate all the Lyme bacteria in your system) or if in fact you just get it to a point where your own immune system can take over while you live a life with all the fun bits like sex, work, parties and marathon running.

Here’s what Stephen Harris MD from the US has to say:

‘Most of my patients need treatment for anywhere from nine months to three years, if they do everything right. If they comply with their treatment regimens, then most of them should get 90% or more better.’

And here’s what Lyme guru Dr. Burrascano had to add:

‘If treatment can be continued long term, then a remarkable degree of recovery is possible.’

Treatments on offer

There are 1001 different treatments available for Lyme disease. Like CFS/ME different things work for different people and everyone needs to work with a health professional, experiment and find out their own perfect combination. While there is alot of debate about the best course of action most tend to agree on 3 principles:

  1. Reduce the Antimicrobial load (bacteria).
  2. Improve detoxification.
  3. Immune Support.
The big decision people become faced with…. Is it best to kill the bugs with pharmaceutical antibiotics or natural antibiotics? The trick with this decision is to take your time and assess all the options. Talk to your doctor, research other patients stories and above all listen to that voice deep inside of you (not your mother-in-law, the wise one that sounds like Morgan Freeman in the Shawshank Redemption).
While antibiotics definitely have the ability to kill bacteria and have saved many lives, a percentage of people (there is debate as to how large) appear to relapse once they stop taking the drugs. Antibiotics can also have strong side effect upon your system (particularly the gut) and are a daunting prospect over the long term (12-18 months or even longer).
If you choose to use pharmaceuticals then you (and your Doctor) next have to decide whether to start with the intravenous (I.V) option which is much more intense, powerful and expensive, or the oral option which many Doctors prefer to start with and trial resorting to I.V if needed. However, again, there are differing views on which of these is best employed first. So with all the question marks hovering above Lyme you begin to get a sense of how it becomes critically important to get educated and trust your instincts.
While they aren’t taught in medical school and there isn’t studies to back them all up, it’s worth at least exploring the many alternatives to antibiotics such as:
  • Herbs (Dr. Cowden and Dr. Zhang both have plant based protocols)
  • Rizols (Dr Klinghardt championed this approach)
  • Rifing (A machine that sends electro currents through your body to kill bacteria)
  • Homeopathics (Dr. Byron White has a range of powerful options available for Lyme)
  • Bee Venom Therapy (You’d want to find a reputable expert, but there are good reports)
  • And other natural antibiotics such as colloidal silver, freeze dried garlic & propolis.

Doctors to know about

Similar to the world of CFS/ME there seem to be a range larger than life of charismatic Doctors all with slightly (or radically) different approaches to treating the illness. I’ve chosen to highlight four here that have resonated most during my own research.

On the Holistic side is Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt & Dr. Byron White. These are both doctors that have successfully treated themselves for Lyme disease and have gone on to develop treatment protocols that do not rely on antibiotics.

Dr. Klinghardt is a German born physician who has trained in physics, psychology, medicine and most other things you can imagine to create a very unique and elegant system of treating chronically ill patients. He has the air of a genius about him and his German accent is very reassuring when he gives lectures and talks.

Dr Byron White is another pioneer who was unable to use antibiotics in his own treatment of Lyme due to allergies. He went on to develop a range of homeopathic formulas that are specifically designed to treat Lyme and a whole other hose of infections. Many people report great improvement using his approach and it appears he has created a viable alternative to pharmaceutical drugs for treating Lyme.

On the more Conventional side is Dr. Joseph Burrascano who was one of the first doctors to recognise Lyme when it became apparent in the US. He has treated thousands of patients over the years but sadly has stopped practising due to pressure from the US Medical board and Insurance companies who continue to question his treatment methods (along with the majority of LLMD’s) despite their obvious success over the years.

Another Lyme tour de force is Dr. Richard Horowitz. Also from the US, Dr. Horowitz uses a 15 point treatment plan taking a very comprehensive look at a patient’s symptoms and addressing the many different types of chronic infection and environmental illness. He combines antibiotic treatment with a range of alternative methods.

Where to Learn More

  • There is a brilliant documentary called Under Our Skin which I highly recommend.
  • Also the blog Better Health Guy is a wealth of clear, concise and very helpful information.
  • And finally if you are looking into treatment be sure to consider the issue of biofilms and co-infections as they will have serious impact on your approach.

Got some experience with Lyme you’d care to share?

Leave a comment below and add to the lovin’.

Where to Next?

Get the low down on oldest and some say greatest form of detoxification on the planet.

 

8 Responses to An Introduction to Lyme Disease
  1. amy
    August 20, 2012 | 12:00 pm

    Hey Joe. This is really interesting. I was tested positive for past infection of Mycoplamsa. That was a few years ago now. How is it all going for you? Have you begun a new treatment protocol?
    Cheers, Amy

    • Joe
      September 25, 2012 | 12:19 pm

      Hey Amy,
      Rad to hear from you. I’ve been missing my vegemite over here in Europe and all those awesome creatures with pouches hanging around in the Bush.
      Things are going well for me, I’m currently staying with my girlfriend in Brussels being a house husband while she’s at university. I spend my days cleaning, shopping and studying Hypnosis and Life Coaching online. Also researching Lyme and the 1001 approaches to getting it under control.
      I haven’t begun any new protocols yet but I’m interested in the work of Dr. Klinghardt right now.
      How about you? How you going? How are your insanely delicious recipes coming along and your biology home studies? Have you ever heard of Bastyr University, if not check it out, looks like an amazing program.
      Hugs
      Joe

  2. amy
    October 11, 2012 | 5:57 am

    Thats fantanstic! I have looked at Dr Klinghardts protocol before too. It is so overwhelming all these approaches. I am going ok. I made it to Byron Bay!! Am living with amazing like minded health nuts, am still making slow improvements but im not currently happy with my progress. I would still consider myself 50%. The weather and lifestyle up here definitely helps. I have started studying one subject at Australia Institute of Applied Sciences, which is great but verrry challenging for me. I actually trialed LDN a few weeks ago and I had a really bad reaction to it, so I think that has set me back a bit. It exasperated flu like symptoms, tight chest and pain and also caused nausea and headaches for me. Definitely too high dose at 3mg and then 1mg but even when I lowered it, still the same effect. Currently trying to research why this is so. Also have been doing a methylation protocol for 4 months now as well as undergoing hardcore parasite drug protocol, something I was opposed to doing ha. Just about to purchase a portable sauna! Thats me in a nutshell. Still on this journey! I shall check out this uni! Cheers

    • Joe
      October 18, 2012 | 2:45 pm

      Wicked!

      You made it to the promised land. I’m on track to move there myself next year so I’ll definitely keep you posted. So glad to hear your dipping your toes in the world of natural health study, I’m considering the many various options right now myself. I’ve got a portable FIR sauna and love it. Bummer to hear about the LDN reaction, but that’s the only way we find our answers by keeping on with the experimentation right?

      My visit to the Klinghardt clinic was an amazing experience, very intense and enlightening, so I’m now on this path for the foreseeable future. They focus on Immune modulation, detoxification and antimicrobials as a general rule. 1001 supplements but all seems very thought out and hihgly individualised.

      Stay in touch and hope to catch you in Oz one day soon.

      Best :)
      Joe

  3. Macca
    December 20, 2012 | 1:43 am

    Hi Joe

    I got a positive Lyme PCR test result from Australian Biologics in Sydney. After doing some more investigation, including talking to Prof Andrew Lloyd at UNSW and also Infectious Disease specialist in Brisbane, I formed the opinion that the test result was dubious as is the long term antibiotic treatment that is proposed by ‘LLMDs’. As a suggestion, people might want to have a look at the CDC website in the US, which has good info on Lyme diagnosis and treatment.

    • Joe
      January 13, 2013 | 9:35 am

      G’day Macca, thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s definitely worth a very long and thorough investigation before committing to any new diagnosis or long term antibiotic protocol. Interesting to hear that the Aussie Academic were dubious, did they give any particular reasons? Hope you’re making progress in your recovery.

  4. Troy
    March 7, 2013 | 9:38 am

    Hi there,
    I’ve read a few posts here, seems like a common path travelled by many of us. I’ve tested positive to candida and to Lyme plus mercury and parasites. How can you ever get ontop of that!?!!?
    Pharma Antibiotics and Antifungals give me great symptom relief, for a few days then back to draggy, listlessness. Herbs and homeopathic’s mess me up and send me a bit wild, so annoying.
    Have you managed to find a happy treatment plan?

    • Joe
      March 20, 2013 | 5:35 am

      Hey Troy.
      Thanks for the message.
      There’s always a way forward my friend. The human body has an incredible power to get itself back in balance. I’m currently exploring the work of Dr. Klinghardt and focusing on Detoxification, Antimicrobial treatment and Immune support.
      Good luck in your journey friend.

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About
Welcome! I'm Joe and my vision is to empower people with the knowledge they need to take control of their health. I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME) in 2003 and recently added Lyme disease to that diagnosis in 2012. I'm on a path to recovery and I invite you to join me..... P.S. It's best to never take anything I say too seriously. In fact I reckon it's best to never take anything too seriously!