Excerpt from “Treating Lyme Disease”
Treating Lyme disease is as equally complex as testing, because of the resiliency of the condition, the various forms that Borrelia Burgdorferi can assume, and a lack of comprehensive and multi-system treatment. For these reasons many people who have been previously treated for Lyme may still be suffering from an infection and its long-term effects.
Even if Lyme is recognized and subsequently treated, symptoms may linger for an extended period of time. This is known as chronic Lyme disease and typically causes severe, long-lasting symptoms. Depending on the patient, symptoms will vary in severity. Many medical practitioners do not believe that chronic Lyme is a legitimate condition and simply brush it off as lingering symptoms. Unfortunately, this leaves many patients to suffer from an untreated and undiagnosed condition. If a case of chronic Lyme is not fully and appropriately treated, symptoms can reemerge months or years after the initial treatment is concluded. It is important not to become complacent in treatment once symptoms subside.
The Challenges of Typical Lyme Treatments
Generally, Lyme treatment consists of multiple weeks of antibiotics. Borrelia Burgdorferi is a slow growing bacterium meaning that early aggressive treatment is the best method for ceasing its growth and eliminating it from the system. However, treatments consisting of only antibiotics or inappropriate antibiotics may result in worsening of the condition. Most antibiotics are ineffective against the L-form and cystic forms of Borrelia. This is part of why standard antibiotic treatments and even extended use of antibiotics for months or years is not an effective method for completely eliminating Lyme.
Studies have found that pulsed antibiotics, established as a set number of days using antibiotics followed by a similar number of days without treatment, may be a more effective method of combating Lyme than traditional antibiotic approaches – learn more about pulsed antibiotics for Lyme disease here. In other forms of infection, a pulsed treatment typically creates antibiotic resistance. As mentioned earlier, the Borrelia Burgdorferi infection will go into a dormant stage (persister cells) to fight the antibiotics, which is why a pulsed treatment plan is the proper treatment for Lyme. When the persister cells return to their active state, when antibiotics are not present, you can hit them again with antibiotics. This is the most effective way to treat with antibiotics.
One of the primary reasons antibiotics alone are not enough to combat Lyme relates to another cellular property of Borrelia Burgdorferi. In addition to shifting form and becoming resistant to targeted medications, Borrelia can transform to a biofilm when it senses an attack. Biofilms are a collection of Borrelia bacteria and other organisms including molds, yeast, parasites, and viruses that band together and incorporate other organisms into a substance composed of different material including DNA, proteins, and polysaccharides. This amalgam is nearly impenetrable regarding antibiotics. To effectively combat Lyme, biofilms must be disrupted so that treatment can enter and destroy the cell.
Is There a Better Treatment Option for Lyme?
There are two primary groups who have very different approaches to treating Lyme disease. Doctors who are part of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) contend that the standard treatment protocols are still the best approach. However, this group also dismisses the existence of late-stage or chronic undiagnosed Lyme despite thousands of studies to the contrary. Alternatively, doctors in the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) believe that traditional approaches are ineffective. Their understanding is that Lyme is a multifactorial and may exist undetected for numerous years. Typically, doctors in ILADS (LLMD) are more likely to adapt to new research and information while attempting to incorporate it into a multi-system approach of Lyme treatment.
To effectively treat and resolve Lyme disease, a multi-system approach is necessary. This method includes use of specific antibiotics that are effective against spirochetes, L-forms, round bodies, persister cells, cystic forms of Lyme, immune modulators, supplements specifically targeted against Lyme, anticoagulants, mold, hormone therapy, and medications that support antibiotic efficacy against Borrelia spirochete. A knowledgeable Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) should be employed to create and oversee a patient specific treatment plan.
The Multi-System Approach to Lyme Disease
A multi-system and multi-factored approach to treating Lyme is currently the most effective treatment available, because it treats the many systemic factors and symptoms while supporting the immune function. This involves the detection and resolution of co-infections, balancing hormones, and optimizing lifestyle factors. Enlisting the aid of a Lyme specialist or LLMD is necessary to make sure the most effective multi-system treatment plan is in place for each patient.
Treating co-infections is a critical part of resolving Lyme because these infections can over-work and weaken the immune system. Regardless of how the pathogens were acquired; bacterial, viral, parasitic, or fungal infections all inhibit the healing process and the body’s natural defenses. Even if they are not caused directly by Lyme, co-infections limit the effectiveness of treatment and should be a primary focus of the treatment plan. Common co-infections to be aware of and actively treat when attempting to alleviate Lyme may be: Babesia, Bartonella, Rickettsia, Mycoplasma fermentans and pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, Epstein-Barr virus, Parvo virus, Candida Albicans, and entroviruses.
Ozone therapy is another tool that can support the body’s ability to combat Lyme. By introducing a safe amount of ozone into the blood, the body experiences greater immune function and mitochondrial activity. Usually, ozone is administered through an intravenous method. Ozone (O3) is also able to subvert some of Lyme’s defenses against antibiotics, which allows for a more effective attack against Borrelia bacteria.
Another major component of resolving Lyme is stabilizing the immune system. A Lyme infection typically causes the immune system to become imbalanced and less capable of responding to infection. The imbalance is centered on TH1 immunity (the innate system) and TH2 immunity (the adaptive system). Lyme suppresses TH1 while inducing over activity of TH2 resulting in excess inflammation and widespread systemic dysfunction. This can cause neurological, endocrine, and gastrointestinal malfunction. If the immune system is not properly balanced there is little hope of eliminating Lyme.
The most essential part of treating Lyme is using an individualized approach that incorporates patient-specific methods of recovery. Treatments should be composed of some or all of the following items based on unique patient needs:
- Hormone balancers
- Immune modulators
- Low dose immunotherapy
- Nutritional supplements
- Ozone therapy
- Prescription and/or natural antibiotics
Lifestyle changes can also be incorporated into treatment practice to further facilitate recovery. Areas to focus on and improve include:
- Eliminating exposure to toxins via smoking or otherwise
- Limiting mental and physical stress
- Low intensity exercise or movement
- Optimizing diet to include anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense foods
- Sleep quality and regularity
Each case of Lyme disease requires an individualized approach to achieve total recovery and wellness. In treating Lyme, it is critical that a multi-system approach be used that accounts for the many contributing factors of Lyme including co-infections, hormone imbalance, immune regulation, digestive issues, energy regulation and more. By enlisting the aid of Lyme specialist or LLMD and employing a multisystem approach to treat Lyme, the likelihood of a long-term resolution increases significantly.
At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to utilize cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to uncover and address Lyme disease. If you are experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease or if you’ve been diagnosed with Lyme, but aren’t getting the treatment you need, call us at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!