If you’re suffering from Lyme disease, first of all, my heart goes out to you. You are suffering from a little-understood chronic problem, with dangerous implications. Yet no one really seems to have the answers for you, do they? As a Lyme Disease sufferer myself, I understand how frustrating this can be. I want to share some of the things I have learned in my practice having seen patients with Lyme (or problems like Lyme) for over twenty years.
Warning: what this article will not be. This article will not be an article discussing the most recent methods of diagnosing Lyme disease. It will also not be an article talking about the most recent drugs and or supplements used to treat Lyme disease. What it will be, is an article discussing why Lyme disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose, treat, and what things must be addressed in order to recover from Lyme disease, or as I like to call it, Lyme Syndrome. Why Lyme Syndrome? Because so many things are woven into Lyme disease, imitate Lyme disease, or exacerbate Lyme disease, but it’s more of a syndrome at this point. Read on to learn more.
What makes recovery from Lyme Disease so difficult?
- Disagreement on how to diagnose Lyme Disease. It seems like everybody has a different opinion on how to diagnose Lyme disease. There’s the medical “gold standard” of the Elisa and Western blot tests, which by conservative estimates are 70% in accurate. And then there’s the other Lyme disease tests, that I don’t want to mention by name, that are not approved by the “medical establishment”. It seems like there is no clear consensus on how to test Lyme disease (let alone treat it). From what I’ve seen, patients are both over-treated and under-treated for Lyme disease. There’s got to be a better way. We use functional blood chemistry, Lyme disease blood tests, and Nutrition Response Testing to give a more complete picture of where the immune stress is in the body, and how to handle it.
- Everyone out there on the internet (and yes, this is another one) has an “opinion” on Lyme Disease, which, without a combination of muscle testing and blood testing, is really just trial and error, and experience. Problem is, not many people have too much experience or success with Lyme Disease. Especially a lot of people talking about it on the internet (I’ve found to my own chagrin). Many people who have written books on Lyme disease don’t seem to be offering much in the way of a solution either.
- In my own experience, Lyme Disease is more of an opportunistic syndrome, capitalizing on weakness within the individual. Ignore these weaknesses, and the Lyme disease won’t heal. That sounds like a common story, doesn’t it?
- Differing opinions on what Lyme Disease actually is. Is it a man-made, weaponized bacteria? Is it really a virus? Is it more like a fungus? The truth is, Lyme Syndrome can actually be all of these.
- Differing opinions on how to tell if treatment is effective. Do we just go by blood markers, or symptoms? How come some symptoms get better, and some get worse? Did we get the Lyme disease, or is there something else?
- Differing opinions, especially within the medical community, of how to treat Lyme Disease.
That all being said, this will not be a talk about what other people say about Lyme Disease, how to treat it, how to diagnose it, etc. I am also not anti-antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease. I believe, especially in the beginning stage, that antibiotics are very effective for Lyme Disease. This will be a talk on what I’ve experienced here in my office, and what my colleagues say about Lyme Disease (by colleagues, I mean those who see it in their office, and practice Nutrition Response Testing and/or Functional Medicine). We will also address what I think is the most important thing about Lyme Disease: how come symptoms are so persistent? I hope you all find this inspiring, and eye-opening.
What I’ve found to be the things that complicate Lyme Disease:
- Food allergies. If you have Lyme Disease, or think you have Lyme Disease, and you are still eating foods you are sensitive to, you probably won’t recover. Food sensitivities both look like Lyme Disease at times, as well as make it worse. This is a case of keeping the body too unhealthy to fight effectively any infection that might actually be there. By the way, most people do not know they have food sensitivities that are impeding their immune system. Over 80% of people that have food sensitivities have no digestive symptoms. They just have impaired immune function. The only way to know for sure that you have a food sensitivity is to test for them and then perform a therapeutic withdrawal of the possibly offending food and track your symptoms for improvement.
- Metal Toxicities. Heavy metal toxicity can mimic Lyme Disease symptoms, and can also make Lyme Disease worse. Metal toxicity is way more common than people think. People think the only way you become metal toxic is to have a one-time severe exposure or poisoning. On the contrary, most metal toxicity is accumulated slowly over time. Serum (blood) tests for metals only show acute exposure. Then the metal poisons accumulate in the organs, especially in the brain and nerves, in the case of mercury. Silver amalgam fillings are the single-worst offender when it comes to chronic metal toxicity. So if you are treating Lyme Disease, and aren’t getting anywhere, maybe you have metals instead of or concurrently with Lyme Disease, that are suppressing your nervous system and immune system.
- Chemical Toxicities. Same situation here as with heavy metals. Chronic, low-grade exposure is the most common type of chemical toxicity. Toxic chemicals, among them pesticides, cause disease in many different ways. So whether Lyme Disease is present, or toxic chemicals are present, you need to support the body’s channels of detoxification and elimination properly or no healing will occur.
- Other Immune Problems. Is it Lyme? Or some other type of chronic infection? Chronic infections are notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat. Good tests for viral infections, for example, are few and far between. We pair functional blood chemistry and Nutrition Response Testing to find and handle hidden chronic immune system challenges.
- Scars. Not many people know that scars can cause or contribute to chronic health problems. The mechanism is still not completely understood. What we have seen, is that when scars are a problem, and you handle them properly, you can finally begin to heal. Some scars may cut the nerves beneath the skin, known as the autonomic nervous system, and may inhibit immune system communication within the body. The question is, which scars cause the biggest problems, and do you have any of them? Once again, we use Nutrition Response Testing and heart rate variability to assess which scars on the body may be inhibiting your immune system.
- Functional Hypothyroidism. The symptoms of functional hypothyroidism can completely mimic Lyme Disease. These are aches and pains (especially in the neck and arms), brain fog, fatigue, depression, constipation. And just because someone is hypothyroid does not mean they will also be overweight. Some of the thinnest patients I’ve seen are also hypothyroid! The problem is, current laboratory reference values miss up to 90% of hypothyroidism, which is a lot. So do you have hypothyroidism that has been missed? Or do you have Lyme Disease? Sometimes it’s hard to tell without the proper evaluation. Once again, we use functional blood chemistry and Nutrition Response Testing to tell the difference and handle it accordingly.
- Functional Hypoadrenia. Just like functional hypothyroidism, the symptoms of functional hypoadrenia can mimic the symptoms of Lyme Disease. Common symptoms of functional hypoadrenia are: headaches, aches and pains, hormonal issues, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and more. I had a patient come in the other day who could barely walk—she had terrible hip pain that would not respond to chiropractic care. Since Lyme Disease is endemic to our area, I asked the question, could it be Lyme Disease? It turned out, her problem was not Lyme Disease, but hypoadrenia, caused by blood sugar imbalances. Simple dietary changes and adrenal support helped her start to improve immediately.
- Various Nutritional Deficiencies. B vitamin deficiencies, vitamin C, A, and D deficiencies, calcium, magnesium, and iodine deficiencies, can all cause symptoms that mimic Lyme Disease. These are anxiety, fatigue, lowered immunity, migrating joint pains, and depression. Functional blood chemistry and Nutrition Response Testing find these deficiencies (which are better termed insufficiencies, since the levels are less than optimum but not low enough to be a true deficiency), so they can be supplemented quickly and efficiently.
- Other organ dysfunctions. Most people know that stresses on the heart can cause left jaw and left arm pain, but did you know that liver toxicity can cause right shoulder, right-sided neck and right arm pain? Or that ovarian insufficiency can cause hip and knee pain? Large intestine problems can cause low back and hip pain. Kidney problems can cause back and knee pain. You get the picture. Do you have Lyme Disease, or is it a stressed-out organ?
- Detoxification inadequacies. Most people have heart by now about MTHFR methylation issues. But when you evaluate people using Nutrition Response Testing and functional blood chemistry, it is much more common and apparent to see weaknesses in the liver, gall bladder, kidneys, bladder, and large intestine, which are all organs of detoxification and elimination. Once again, using standard lab reference ranges, most of these weaknesses will be overlooked. But by using functional blood chemistry, these weaknesses and inadequacies are easily seen and handled.
Results Using this Approach:
- I have one gentleman in his fifties that was diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica. We found that he had what we call an “immune challenge”, associated with Lyme. When we supported his detoxification pathways (kidney, liver, and bowel), he recovered.
- I have one young woman, who had been under medical treatment for the past two years, primarily with antibiotics. When we located her food allergies, and supported her bowel detoxification pathways, she gradually began to improve.
- I have one middle aged woman who had Lyme disease associated with multiple immune challenges, mineral deficiencies, and chemical challenges. Once we supported these other complicating issues, she rapidly improved.
- I have one woman who “roller-coasters”, meaning she gets better and worse, with numerous symptoms. Once we supported her immune system, she stopped roller-coastering.
- One woman who just started care here had lots of neurological findings; basically, it looked like she had MS, but had not been diagnosed yet. She was “negative” for Lyme on all lab tests, but looked exactly like she had Lyme Disease. We found out she was reactive to sugar. Once we cut that out, she immediately improved. After three weeks, she walked into her appointment the other day without her cane-I was stunned.
- One young girl who had a Lyme diagnosis (and was supposedly cured), still had intermittent blindness and numbness in her left arm. She also had previously not been able to walk due to knee pain. She was treated with antibiotics two years prior, which helped, but the symptoms came back. We found the immune system blockage using Nutrition Response Testing using the proper herbs. Her symptoms have not returned since.
- An 80-year-old lady came in with terrible back pain that was not responding to chiropractic care. There were immune system issues affecting her kidneys, but she did not completely recover until she supported her kidneys properly by drinking enough water and taking the right supplements. Years of suffering were resolved by doing this.
- A young woman and her entire family came in from a local Lyme Disease doctor and another functional medicine practitioner. All had been treated with mixed results. Once we located the immune system and digestive issues with her and her family, they all improved and are very happy with their care.
- These are just a few of the cases here.
The moral of the story is, the problem is Lyme Disease more often than doctors think (or can diagnose). It is also not the problem quite often when one of the mimics listed above is the real culprit. The only thing I have seen that can differentiate Lyme Disease and its mimics, is a combination of functional blood chemistry and Nutrition Response Testing.
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