If you have a tick-borne illness like Lyme disease, treating and managing symptoms can be challenging. Functional medicine is an invaluable resource to assist in getting you on the road to recovery.
Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), characterized by symptoms like fatigue, joint pain and brain fog that may persist long after antibiotic treatment has ended, is known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.
There is no one-size-fits all treatment plan for Lyme disease. Everyone’s body responds differently to antibiotics, necessitating an individual approach.
Early diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease are paramount for avoiding more serious symptoms and complications. Antibiotics are the most effective treatment when taken promptly; however, not everyone responds to antibiotics in the early stages of infection; thus, additional methods such as functional medicine may be needed in order to manage symptoms and heal from Lyme disease.
Chronic or late-stage Lyme disease is more challenging to treat than its early stage counterpart. Traditional treatments for Lyme disease include long-term antibiotic therapy and symptom management with medications like pain medications and physical therapy.
Due to Lyme infection’s systemic inflammatory response, patients with chronic Lyme require additional support to strengthen their immune systems. This is achieved by addressing the causes of inflammation and encouraging cellular detoxification and repair.
Vitamin C and other antioxidants are essential to strengthen your immune system against Lyme disease-causing bacteria. Eating foods high in vitamin C (such as bell peppers, citrus fruits, and berries) can help reduce overall inflammation within the body.
Other supplements can help increase the body’s production of glutathione, an essential anti-inflammatory molecule essential for restoring and maintaining healthy immune function. Numerous supplements support glutathione production, such as vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Supplementing with digestive enzymes, vitamin C and magnesium supplements can also assist the body’s natural detoxification processes.
Though it may not always be possible to completely avoid tick bites, it can help minimize exposure by avoiding tall grass and using insect repellent. Additionally, getting enough rest at night and limiting stress are recommended in order to reduce the body’s inflammatory response.
Another essential nutrient for treating Lyme disease is Vitamin B12. This nutrient supports energy production and brain health, and can be found in meat, poultry, eggs as well as seafood like wild salmon.
Many patients with Lyme disease experience brain inflammation, commonly referred to as “neuroborreliosis.” Borrelia causes this inflammation and impairs neurotransmitter production, making it difficult to think clearly. Supplementing with vitamins B12 and DHA can help restore normal brain function while improving moods.
Nutritional needs of Lyme patients should be taken into account as part of a functional medicine approach to treatment, particularly those who have inadequate vitamin and mineral stores before beginning antibiotics. Furthermore, Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria can deplete nutrients during treatment; hence why a nutrient dense diet is so important after returning the body with essential vitamins and minerals after treatment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest a low-fat diet consisting of plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as high quality proteins like fish. Furthermore, they advise avoiding sugar which may interfere with immunity and other vital organs, and yeast-contaminated foods.
A healthy dietary program can make a major impact in the healing process, particularly for those suffering from chronic Lyme inflammation. To combat this condition, it’s best to steer clear of highly pro-inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy and replace them with anti-inflammatory “good fats” like olive oil, fish, flax seeds and nuts.
Eating plenty of high fiber, nutrient-rich foods such as fresh produce like fruits and vegetables as well as legumes is also essential to detoxify the body, prevent chronic inflammation and support a healthy gut microbiome, which has been negatively affected by Lyme disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease can create an imbalance in the microbiome that negatively impacts gut health and immunity. A leaky gut allows toxins, microbes, and antibodies from intestines into bloodstream, increasing inflammation throughout other parts of the body.
A nutritionally balanced and anti-inflammatory diet can help alleviate symptoms like fatigue, headaches, brain fog, joint pain and swelling caused by inflammation. A naturopathic integrative functional medicine approach to healing may reduce these signs by providing a nutritionally balanced and anti-inflammatory diet.
Lydia Madrigal, a nutrition scientist at MakeWell, suggests a Lyme-friendly diet consisting of whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, and fatty fish. It also provides essential vitamins and minerals as well as anti-inflammatory compounds which may be helpful to those suffering from Lyme disease.
When treating Lyme disease, it’s always wise to consult an experienced naturopathic doctor or functional medicine practitioner as each person responds differently. Furthermore, everyone should follow an anti-inflammatory diet and any prescribed antibiotics should be taken along with a restorative gastrointestinal protocol and supplements for maximum benefit.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne, bacteria-infected illness that affects millions of people annually. Because there is no known cause for this disorder, it can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
Though many people with Lyme disease will find relief after treatment, a significant number still experience persistent symptoms like fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, disrupted sleep patterns and mental fogginess. This condition is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) and it’s marked by persistent symptoms like fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, disrupted sleep patterns and cognitive dysfunction.
The primary cause of chronic Lyme disease is a compromised immune system. This can be due to numerous factors, including poor diet, environmental toxins, stress and more – all of which can weaken the immunity and make it less effective at fighting off infections.
A weak immune system can also lead to inflammation, which plays a major role in the development of symptoms associated with Lyme disease. Therefore, treating this type of inflammation is an integral component of any functional medicine approach for Lyme disease.
Functional medicine is an integrative approach to healthcare that assesses all aspects of a person’s physiology and systems, then works to restore balance. This type of treatment for chronic illnesses often provides better results than traditional medications which often focus on just one aspect.
In addition to treating the underlying symptoms, functional medicine practitioners may suggest lifestyle modifications as well. These could include avoiding stress, eating anti-inflammatory foods and getting enough sleep each night.
Patients with Lyme disease need long-term support to reduce the severity and frequency of their symptoms. These strategies often work in conjunction with antibiotic treatments, helping prevent future episodes related to Lyme disease from occurring.
For instance, a Mediterranean diet that’s low in processed foods and high in plant-based items can help slow down inflammation. It is especially beneficial for those suffering from autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Antibiotics are often the first line of treatment for Lyme disease. While they can be effective at relieving symptoms such as the rash, they should only be used if diagnosed early in the disease process. When used incorrectly, antibiotics may actually worsen existing symptoms or even lead to new infection.
Functional medicine utilizes antibiotics as part of a comprehensive approach that includes diet and lifestyle modifications as well as other tools to rebuild the body’s immune system. Our goal is to rebalance your system so it can recover from Lyme disease and any associated infections.
Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, causes systemic inflammation throughout your body. It attacks tissue at all levels of defense – especially your heart and brain – while suppressing your immune system to allow these germs to spread more easily. Ultimately, this can lead to autoimmune issues as well as other serious health complications.
Antibiotics are essential in treating Lyme disease, as they can effectively eradicate the infecting bacteria while also helping to prevent antibiotic resistance. Different antibiotics exist that can be used for this infection, including fluoroquinolones (which kill off both pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria), amoxicillin/clavulanate, erythromycin, and tetracycline.
Some people find the side effects of antibiotics too severe to bear, so they may opt for natural alternative therapies instead. These may include herbs which suppress opportunistic pathogens, homeopathic remedies and other botanical supplements.
Another option is hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which increases oxygenation throughout the body with numerous benefits like decreasing inflammation. It may also assist in regulating immune functions and improving cognitive health.
A functional and integrative medicine practitioner can tailor a treatment plan that works best for you. In addition to medication, they may incorporate other natural methods of treating Lyme disease like peptide therapy or dietary modifications.
Lyme disease can present with fatigue, fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain, bloating, nausea and brain fog. Other signs may include tingling and numbness in your nerves – either in your brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves – which may mimic other conditions like fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis.