More than 300,000 cases of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases are diagnosed each year. Like many people, I have relatives and friends with lingering and extreme cases, so it’s a topic of interest to me.
I recently listened in on The Chronic Lyme Disease Summit, gaining insight from 33 experts in the field on numerous aspects of Lyme: comprehensive treatments, the pelvic floor and Lyme, mold and Lyme, heavy metal detoxification, nutritional treatments, and more.
My favorite session was “Comprehensive Lyme Treatment Strategies” with David Minkoff, MD. His highly successful holistic-treatment approach gave me hope for all those suffering with these diseases. It astounded me how treating such a nasty, morphing disease involved what we talk about at Experience Life so often — whole-person, preventive health, and healing root causes instead of treating symptoms.
Three major points from this session that have me looking differently at Lyme:
- Dental Health
About 80 percent of the people Minkoff treats for Lyme disease have dental problems, such as gingivitis, root canals, dead teeth, and lower jawbones that never fully healed after the extraction of wisdom teeth. Because the lower jawbone has a major nerve trunk running straight into the midbrain, all of these dental issues tax the immune system heavily as it attempts to protect the brain. These areas also become dumping grounds for toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides. A dead tooth, for example, can be full of toxic bacteria and produce high levels of biotoxins — all which inhibit cells from doing their normal job of making energy. This energy is then not available to fight diseases like Lyme. When these areas of the body are treated, it frees the immune system to prevent other diseases — like tick-borne illnesses.
- Bacteria Plasmids
Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which causes Lyme, is one of the most sophisticated bacteria known to researchers. Strep and Staph may contain zero to three extra plasmids (tiny pieces of DNA material that allow the cell to resist medications), but Lyme bacteria has 23 plasmids — more than any other bacteria. It has many ways to resist antibiotics. This allows the bacteria to:
- Change shape
- Go dormant
- Go inside of cells and tissues
- Make toxins that can block or kill our own cells that make antibodies
- Holistic Treatment
Minkoff and his team at Life Works Wellness Center successfully treat patients by unburdening their immune systems with these protocols:
- Fixing their teeth
- Healing their gut
- Adding hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes to their diet
- Recommending an organic, whole-foods diet that avoids grains, beans, and dairy as well as processed, packaged fare. He begins by having a patient clean out his or her pantry and replacing processed, refined foods with whole foods. He also tests patients for food sensitivities and allergies.
- Getting rid of yeast, fungus, and parasites such as flukes, round worms, tape worms, and rope worms — all of which are very common in Lyme patients
- Adjusting dental and chiropractic structures
- Addressing imbalances in hormones and minerals in the biochemical structure
- Rebalancing the autonomic nervous system (part of the nervous system that controls functions like breathing, heartbeat, and digestion)
Image by Cliff Alejandro.
16 Factors That Complicate Lyme Recovery
A wide range of health concerns can complicate recovery from Lyme and related disease, says Richard Horowitz, MD, author of Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme & Chronic Disease. Many patients get well only when multiple factors are addressed:
- Co-infections (often coming from the same tick as the Lyme spirochete), most commonly Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Bartonella
- Immune dysfunction
- Environmental toxins and detoxification problems
- Vitamin, mineral, and/or nutritional deficiencies
- Mitochondrial dysfunction
- Hormonal abnormalities
- Neurodegenerative disorders, possibly precipitated by infection
- Neuropsychiatric disorders in the aftermath of infection
- Sleep disorders
- Autoimmune disease and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a condition that affects the autonomic nervous system and causes such symptoms as low blood pressure, fatigue, palpitations, and dizziness
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Liver dysfunction
- Pain disorders
- Deconditioning and lack of exercise
This sidebar originally appeared in “Beating Lyme Disease” by Pamela Weintraub.