- Lyme disease (borreliosis) is more common and widespread than conventionally thought.
- once infected with Borrelia, a multitude of other pathogens can be transmitted, such as Bartonella, Babesia, Erlichiosis, Rikettsia, Mycoplasma, Chlamydia and viruses.
- the time for infection transmission can be as little as 10 minutes, not 24-48 hours as mentioned by most sources.
- the presence of spirochetes on Earth dates back about 100 million years and have infected humans since ancient times.
- ways of transmission can be varied and are not limited to the tick.
- lack of immediate symptoms or Erythema migrans (or bulls eye rash) does NOT rule out the presence of infection! Less than 50% of infected people develop the specific rash!
- spirochete infection (in their cystic form) can remain dormant in the body for a long time (months, years) and when the immune system is low, the infection can reactivate.
- Lyme disease is called the “great imitator” because the associated symptoms and conditions are extremely diverse.
- most testing technologies are inaccurate and offer many false negative results.
- the 5 days of antibiotic that are usually prescribed after a tick bite are often insufficient and do not act against co-infections.
- each treatment program must be very individual and take into account the entire health profile of the person, the condition of the immune system, and the types of infections present.
The incidence of Borrelia burgdorferi infections and other co-infections has become so high (but also underestimated and incorrectly addressed) that the subject can no longer be avoided. I have both worked with people who suffer from Lyme disease and recently, both my daughter and I were infected by a tick bite. So I decided to share a summary of facts that are not very well known by a majority of the population.
What Is Lyme Disease (borreliosis)?
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted mainly through ticks. Under the name Borrelia there is, in fact, a group of several genospecies involved in Lyme pathology; the genus Ixodes is the one that carries the Borrelia bacterium.
Borrelia burgdorferi is a spirochete, a spiral-shaped bacterium, similar to the bacteria that causes syphilis, but more genetically complex. It is the leading cause of Lyme disease in North America, while Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii, other members of the Borrelia species, are the leading causes of Lyme infection in Europe and Asia. More recently in North America, Borrelia miyamotoi, Borrelia mayonii and Borrelia hermsii have also been involved to a significant extent in cases of Lyme disease.
The presence of spirochetes on Earth is not new, but dates back about 100 million years; they have infected people since ancient times. Otzi, the “Ice Man” who lived 5,300 years ago, was infected with Lyme disease spirochetes and had arthritis. Spirochetes are also found in an impressive number of wild and domestic animals. But today, borreliosis and its co-infections are growing rapidly and unprecedentedly among the population. In the US, for example, the CDC reports that approximately 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. This number may underestimate the true prevalence of the disease due to poor testing, misdiagnosis and underreporting.
One question many people ask is, “How come the tick bite suddenly became so dangerous, because we never had such problems in our childhood?” The answer is: the population has grown rapidly and has aggressively altered the ecology of the environment, the changing and warming climate is conducive to the development of ticks, electromagnetic effects, and excess antibiotics and other environmental stressors cause increased virulence and resistance, spirochetes being particularly intelligent microorganisms, with a high survival and adaptation rate.
Lyme disease must be recognized as a virulent epidemic that is at least six times more common than HIV / AIDS.
How Is It Transmitted?
Ticks are vehicles for transmitting Borrelia to “hosts”, which can be mice and deer, but which usually have no adverse effects on the pathogen. People, play a different but equally critical role: they are a source of food for ticks. During their lifespan of about three years, ticks go through four stages of life: egg, larva, nymph and adult. Ticks transmit Borrelia (and many other pathogens) during the feeding process: once it is on a human or animal, it attaches to the skin and secretes a numbing substance, which prevents the host from feeling the bite. If the tick contains pathogens, infectious organisms in its saliva are transmitted to the host during the feeding process.
It is important to note that clinical evidence and several recent studies have brought into question other vectors of transmission, such as mosquitoes and spiders. Specifically, a study conducted in Germany by people at Goethe University, the Senckenberg Gorlitz Museum of Natural History and the University of Frankfurt found, in accord to previous studies, that a significant amount of spirochete can be found in the salivary glands of mosquitoes. The findings suggest that mosquitoes may play the role for an occasional transmission of Lyme disease. The researchers were able to confirm that the mosquitoes kept Borrelia in the body during metamorphosis, despite the fact that they never had a blood feeding. Even if the evidence is not yet very conclusive or sufficient, it is worth considering in the future.
Also, several evidences indicate that Borrelia is found in the vaginal secretion and semen of infected people, which suggests the possibility of sexual transmission as a mode of infection. Although these conclusions remain speculative, and / or there are certain particular situations in which there are higher chances of infection (eg the man is the infected one, the severity of the disease, the condition of the immune system, etc.), these indications certainly require more studies.
Ticks are reservoirs for dozens of microorganisms besides Borrelia, including other types of bacteria, parasites and viruses. Some are not pathogenic, but influence the tick’s ability to host and transmit pathogens, making it more virulent. Others are pathogenic, causing distinct sets of symptoms in the infected person and complicating the clinical picture:
Babesiosis: Infection with Babesia microti causes anxiety, sweating both day and night, affects breathing and heart rate.
Bartonella: Infection with Bartonella species causes sore throat, swollen glands, leg pain, abdominal pain, joint, shoulders and knee pain. It is also linked to neuropsychiatric disorders such as anxiety, panic, anger and sudden onset schizophrenia.
Ehrlichiosis: Ehrlichiosis causes flu-like symptoms, including a dry cough, fatigue, muscle aches, and low white blood cell counts. It also lowers platelets and increases liver enzymes.
Rickettsia: Rickettsia infection is often confused with the flu because it causes symptoms such as fever, nausea and vomiting. In 50 to 85 percent of people, it causes a red rash on the palms of the hands. Like Ehrlichia, it reduces white blood cells and platelets, increasing AST and ALT. Rickettsia is thought to play a significant but underestimated role in Lyme pathogenesis, influencing the persistence of the disease.
Mycoplasma: Mycoplasma pneumoniae overstimulates B cells, causing autoimmune reactions and rheumatoid diseases, fatigue and joint and muscle pain. The weakened immunity caused by Borrelia burgdorferi makes the body more susceptible to Mycoplasma infection.
Chlamydia: Chlamydia infection causes arthritis, respiratory infections and pneumonia and can contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases.
Viruses: Ticks have a high viral density, and can transmit new, harmful viral species, such as the South Bay virus.
What Are the Symptoms?
Once an infected tick bites a human, if the immune system responds immediately to the flow of pathogens, acute symptoms appear. If the immune system does not detect bacteria quickly or if the treatments in the acute phase fail to completely eliminate the infection, Lyme disease can cause chronic symptoms.
Acute symptoms of Lyme disease.
The recent bite of a tick and the appearance of specific irritation called migratory erythema are indicative of Lyme disease; these people can be diagnosed without clinical trials. However, few people with Lyme disease detect the attached ticks (which are often incredibly small), and erythema occurs in less than 50% of cases, even if the infection is present. Symptoms are also often confused with other diseases, such as the flu, which delays the diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Other symptoms of acute Lyme disease include:
- Increased fatigue
- Night and day sweats
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Sore throat
- Sleep problems
- Tingling and numbness in the hands and fingers
Symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease.
Lyme disease can become chronic, causing significant physical and mental deficiencies. Some of the symptoms of chronic Lyme disease overlap with acute symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain and sleep problems. However, chronic Lyme disease can also cause more severe dysfunctions in various body systems:
- Neuropsychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety, headaches, mood swings, emotional instability, suicidal thoughts, and cognitive dysfunction
- Aggression and violence with sudden onset, which have been observed in some cases of Lyme disease and Lyme co-infections, especially Bartonella
- Alzheimer’s disease, manifested by a well-documented relationship between Lyme and neurodegenerative diseases
- Immune dysfunction and inflammation, which is perpetuated by poor quality sleep
- Neuropathy or nerve dysfunction, which can be caused by inflammation of the nervous system in different parts of the body
- Cardiovascular symptoms
- Problems with fetal brain development in cases where a pregnant woman has Lyme disease that is transmitted to her baby
About Lab Testing.
Testing for Lyme disease and co-infections has long been deficient and has a low rate of accuracy for complex, diverse, and difficult-to-solve reasons. First, in the first 2 to 4 weeks after infection, only about half of people produce a measurable number of antibodies to spirochetes. People who test during this period will often get a false negative result and are retested only when their health deteriorates. IgM antibodies increase in the third week after infection, reach a maximum level after 4-6 weeks and then disappear after about 8 weeks. So if you do a test after this date, the antibodies may not appear at all. IgG antibodies, which appear after 6 weeks of infection and up to 3 months, may persist for years after successful treatment and if you do a retest you may find that you are positive for Lyme disease, even if you are not infected.
The antibody response may be weak or non-existent at different stages of the disease in different individuals. Spirochetes tend to reach a maximum level 60 days after infection and then decrease to a minimum level in the body. Thus, they can be so low that they cannot be detected by current tests, not even by biopsy. In addition, the bacterium can turn into a cystic form, making it even harder to detect. If antibiotic treatment has been followed, their level will again be insufficient to be detected with current laboratory technologies. Spirochetes continuously alter their shape so that they are “invisible” in laboratory tests and to the body’s immune system.
For decades, laboratories have relied on a “two-step” blood testing strategy to diagnose Lyme disease. The first level is an ELISA blood test, which measures the levels of antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi. The second level, Western blot also tests antibodies against B. burgdorferi, but goes one step further by reporting reactivity to 10 different proteins found in the bacterium. However, this testing strategy has several disadvantages:
- low sensitivity (a low ability to correctly identify those infected) of 30-40% in the early stages of Lyme disease. In all stages of Lyme disease, including the often devastating stages, the sensitivity of the “two-step” algorithm increases to only 57.6% !!
- Western blot does not test many other strains of Borrelia that cause the disease.
- Western blot is prone to methodological problems and subjectivity in interpretation, which can lead to false negative results.
What other options are there?
- Immunoblot serological testing, a new test that is more sensitive than Western blot and is designed to take its place.
- Molecular testing can be used to supplement serological results. EliSpot from ArminLabs evaluates the T cell immune response to Borrelia burgdorferi, thus reflecting the current activity of Lyme disease. The test becomes negative when B. burgdorferi is no longer active, which makes it useful for monitoring treatment.
- Global Lyme Diagnostics provides the GLD test, which tests the presence of antibodies against external surface proteins, thus expanding the number of species and strains that can be detected.
- Ceres Nanoscience, offers the Lyme Nanotrap test. This test concentrates Lyme antigens in the urine and then detects the antigens using ELISA and Western blot.
- Testing with PCR (DNA Connexions) technology – although once very promising, has been found to frequently produce false positive results and demonstrate low sensitivity. The low number of spirochetes is not homogeneous in the tissues and frequently, DNA cannot be detected. However, there are steps to use this PCR technology in the urine, being known that Borrelia colonizes the bladder of all vertebrates.
In conclusion, if it is not possible to make use of several such tests in combination, together with the analysis of the person’s symptoms, then I consider that the best solution is a natural treatment to prevent and even eliminate the infection after the tick bite.
About Natural Methods of Treatment.
Since its discovery, Lyme disease has been loaded with controversy. The conventional medical community claims that Lyme disease is rare and easy to treat with a single round of antibiotics. Key proponents of this theory include organizations such as the US Center for Disease and Control (CDC) and the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA). However, other medical organizations and numerous experts in the treatment of Lyme patients have expressed serious doubts about the ethical behavior of these groups in developing Lyme disease treatment guidelines.
The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) is in direct opposition to the CDC and IDSA, arguing that Lyme disease is a complex condition that often requires extensive treatment beyond conventional recommendations. Despite abundant evidence that Lyme disease persists after standard treatment and that current diagnostic tests are inadequate, the CDC and IDSA continue to resist changing screening and treatment guidelines. It continues to deprive patients of the tests and treatment they need to heal.
Currently, both I and my colleagues in the US, Australia and the UK are following the recommendations of world-renowned experts in the treatment of Lyme disease, such as Stephen Buhner, Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, Dr. Lee Cowden, Dr. Richard Horowitz, Dr. Joseph Burrascano.
Below is a summary of an “action plan” that I believe is essential to follow at most stages of Borrelia infection and its co-infections, and especially in the early stages. Of course, it must be customized according to the health profile of each person. My approach is based on the natural, functional and integrative principles of health, on the study acquired in recent years on this topic, as well as following recent personal experience.
A proper diet for your metabolic type, with the role of supporting healthy immune function and reducing inflammation caused by borreliosis, provides a solid basis for recovery. If you do not know what foods your body needs for a robust immune system, then you can find out through the metabolic test. This methodology will teach you how your metabolism works, what foods it needs for optimal health, how you can balance your unique biochemistry, and how to ensure the reversal of existing negative symptoms. The multitude of external factors that have affected us throughout life, as well as our genetic inheritance, play an important role in determining the right foods for our body.
- Biochemical balance
Mineral imbalance is at the root of all illnesses and negative symptoms. Healing is not possible without the correct and accurate detection of mineral imbalance in any body.
The most accurate and correct way to determine the exact deficiencies of minerals is by hair tissue mineral analysis and knowing the metabolic type. This is the only way you can know exactly which minerals you need to supplement, also taking into account the fact that all minerals work in antagonism and synergy with each other. That is why it is often inefficient and even dangerous to supplement minerals at random; you will automatically influence the condition of other minerals, vitamins and nutrients, by decreasing or increasing them. This way you might cause other deficiencies or you might destabilize other minerals or vitamins.
- Immune, gastrointestinal support and detoxification
Borrelia affects the immune function of the host, thus managing to persist in the body without being detected. This immune suppression makes the host more susceptible to opportunistic infections, such as Candida, further affecting the body’s health. Chronic Lyme disease can also cause autoimmunity by cross-reactivity between Borrelia antibodies and one’s own body proteins. This mechanism may explain why Lyme disease has been linked to multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Borrelia also changes her own morphology to evade the immune system; it transforms from its spiral shape into a spherical cystic structure, devoid of cell surface recognition proteins. It also teams up with other pathogens to form a biofilm. Biofilm is a buildup of microorganisms that live in synergy and can become resistant to antibiotic treatment. Therefore, in resistant infections, nutrients like serrapeptase can be added in order to break the biofilm.
Supporting the immune system and the adrenal gland with proper nutrition, a balanced lifestyle and specific nutrients are essential. Among the most effective nutrients to support the immune system in borreliosis and co-infections are:
- astragalus (3,000 mg / day one month after tick bite and 1,000 mg / day thereafter, long-term, but NOT in cases of chronic Lyme disease)
- cordyceps and other medicinal mushrooms
- cat’s claw
- licorice root
The various co-infections transmitted by the tick can disrupt the intestinal microbiota, contributing to intestinal dysfunction and systemic inflammation. Given that 70% of the body’s immunity is in the intestines, it is essential to provide adequate gastrointestinal support throughout treatment. This can include a variety of pre- and probiotics, digestive enzymes, nutrients for intestinal healing such as colostrum and other nutrients for reducing inflammation and irritation of the intestines and stomach.
Due to the large amount of toxins that will be released when the infection is eliminated and to avoid possible Herxheimer detoxification reactions, specific nutrients can be added to support liver functions, as well as to “bind” toxins (called binders), such as chlorella, zeolite or activated charcoal.
- Anti-inflammatory support
Borrelia elicits a profoundly inflammatory systemic response, releasing pro-inflammatory cytokines, which adversely affect tissues from the heart to the brain. The neuroinflammatory effects of the bacterium cause peripheral neuropathy and inflammation of the brain, leading to depression, anxiety, brain fog and other neuropsychiatric symptoms. Almost all the plants and nutrients mentioned in this article have an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant role, but in addition you can also consume curcumin.
- Support for collagen structures
Borrelia has an affinity for connective tissue and both bacteria and pro-inflammatory cytokines generated by the immune system to fight infection can damage this tissue and cause a multitude of problems, including chronic pain. The joints, ligaments, muscles, brain, eyes, skin and heart are all made up of large amounts of collagen, a major component of connective tissue, and as such, they are among those most affected by Borrelia infection.
Additional support and protection for connective tissue in the form of collagen from supplements, vitamin C, selenium and concentrated bone soup can be included in the program.
- Antimicrobial program
The antibacterial program must have a broad spectrum and may or may not be accompanied by an antibiotic (doxycycline or azithromycin) for 20 to 30 days. Doxycycline does not eliminate all possible bacteria, such as Bartonella and approx. 35% of people have relapses after antibiotic administration alone.
For maximum effect, the antibacterial program must be followed together with the natural extracts for immunity mentioned above, it must be very individual and take into account the entire health profile of the person, the condition of the immune system, and the types of infections present. The most effective and common herbal extracts with antibacterial role (recommended by Stephen Buhner, a world-renowned expert in herbal medicine) are:
- Japanese knotweed root (Polygonum cuspidatum)
- Cat’s claw
- Houttuynia cordata
- Scutellaria baicalensis
Personally, both my daughter and I have followed and continue to follow with great success a modified program based on the recommendations of Stephen Buhner, along with a homeopathic treatment consisting of ledum palustre, aurum arsenicosum and borrelia nos. I also applied oregano and local cannabis oil around the bite and on the entire surface of the migratory erythema, which developed only in my case.
- even if you live at home with a garden or go on a hike, a walk in the park, a picnic or any other outdoor activity where there is vegetation, stay on well-kept paths and avoid the rich vegetation and bushes. When trying to feed, the ticks climb the tops of the grass and wait to cling to a host.
- use insect spray (essential oils of eucalyptus, lemongrass, lavender, geranium, cedar, etc.)
- perform thorough body checks to see if you have a tick attached. Nymph ticks are the size of poppy seeds and therefore quite difficult to detect.
- remove the attached tick as soon as you can, preferably with special tweezers such as TickEase. Do not squeeze the body of the tick, do not twist, burn or try other home remedies. This may increase the risk of infection, as the tick may regurgitate the contents of the stomach into the bite area.
- immediately apply a poultice on the bite site made of a paste of green clay and andrographis tincture. Wait until it dries up and then you can wash it with water. Apply the poultice every few hours for several days. The paste can cause minor skin irritation, so make sure you moisturize the skin between treatments. This paste helps absorb many toxins from the affected area and minimizes the impact of microbes. Alternatively, you can massage the bite site with oregano oil, applying all around, in wide circles.
For specialized consultation for your health problems you can schedule an appointment here.
Buhner, Stephen. Healing Lyme.
Horowitz, Richard. Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease.