Lyme Disease, Co-Infections, Tick-Borne Illness (TBI) and Functional Medicine.
If getting over Chronic Lyme/TBI was as simple as taking antibiotics or herbs you would already be well.
The complex of Lyme Disease and the many Co-Infections that can go with it is known as Tick Borne illness (TBI)
Those suffering from Chronic Lyme disease or TBI know that it can be a devastating, life-altering illness.
Lyme disease is an infection with a bacterium from the Borrelia group. Several types of Borrelia can result in the clinical condition known as Lyme. Other Borrelia and other Spirochetes (the kind of bacteria that Borrelia is) can cause similar illnesses. And several other bacteria and viruses can mimic Lyme disease or have symptoms all their own. Some of these Co-Infections are Bartonella, Babesia, Powassan virus, and many more.
Acute Lyme is a disease that everyone in the medical community agrees exists. Symptoms include:
- muscle pains
- joint pains
- swollen lymph nodes
About half of people with Lyme Disease/TBI recall a tick bite or the classic rash, Erythema migrans.
Most people with acute Lyme seem to get over it without intervention. Others continue to be ill and get tested and/or treated. Some never have the classic symptoms of acute Lyme and so are never considered for the diagnosis of Lyme.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion surrounding even acute Lyme. Many doctors seeing a patient with a Lyme-like rash, tell them they will order a test. The test returns negative, and the patient is told they do not have Lyme. The problem is when a patient first develops the Lyme rash, it is often too early for the test to be positive. With a negative test, the patient is told they do not have Lyme disease. The patient’s Lyme goes untreated.
The controversial part of Lyme is the chronic or persistent form. It is so controversial that even using the term Chronic Lyme raises the ire of many doctors.
Even among “Holistic Doctors” antibiotics are often the mainstay of treatment for the persistent form of Lyme. Yet even with years of antibiotic therapy, many people remain crippled with symptoms.
Many theories try to explain why the persistent form of Lyme has a poor response to antibiotics. They range from the long-life cycle of the bacteria to “antibiotic indifferent” forms of the bacteria evading therapy to it not being related to an ongoing infection at all. And there is good reason to believe elements of all those theories.
Back to the notion that many people with Lyme just get over it with no intervention. This is something that has been shown in many publications. That begs the question, if others can fight it off on their own, how can we mobilize your defenses to rid your body of Lyme? This is just one of the questions raised by Functional Medicine.
Let’s build a 1 in a billion, unique to you, intervention to treat your Lyme Disease/TBI.
Wellness is the optimal expression of your genes. At Just Be Well, we use the principles of Functional Medicine to help you optimally express Genes so that your disease susceptibility is reduced. In other words, we unleash your innate healing response.
First, we must create an environment within you that is hostile to the existence of Lyme/TBI. That may mean the use of diet, Lifestyle, herbs, nutraceuticals, or even antibiotics to inhibit the growth of the Lyme/TBI bugs. But that is only the start.
The purpose of a timeline:
We construct a lifelong timeline of your health. This is to uncover predisposing factors or susceptibility. In Functional Medicine, we call these ATMs, partially because this is where the “money” is ~ so to speak~. “A” stands for Antecedents, these are things that predispose you to illness. These things might be genetic, prior illnesses, accidents, or lifestyle factors. “T” is for Triggers, things that set illness in motion. A trigger might be a tick bite and infection with any number of TBIs, as an example. The “M” stands for mediators. Mediators are signaling processes in your body that are either working to help you get well or keeping you sick. The role of Mediators is illustrated in the video at this link.
The Purpose of the Functional Medicine Matrix:
From there we look at the 7 physiological domains of health, the mental, emotional and spiritual domains of wellness, and the 5 modifiable lifestyle factors.
This will lead to a 1 in a billion, unique to you, treatment for your Lyme Disease/TBI.
Health starts in the gut. We assess your digestion, absorption, microbiome, and Gut Associated Lymphoid tissue (70% of your immune system associated with the gut). We correct any abnormal or suboptimal findings.
Next, we assess Defense and Repair. Do you have an imbalance? Many with chronic Lyme have abnormal immune responses. many have chronic upregulated oxidative stress or inflammation. We can address this in many ways. A Myers IV is one way. This IV is full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Another area unique to Lyme Disease is its ability to displace “Stealth Pathology”. This is a fancy way of saying the Lyme and TBI have a unique ability to evade our immune system, antibiotics, herbs, and drugs. We have to target these stealth systems to rid your body of Lyme. One of the tricks Lyme/TBI use to survive the immune system and antibiotics is to form or join biofilms. One of the most powerful biofilm treatments know is EDTA. This is something useful in stubborn cases.
Energy is key to recovery from any illness and Chronic Lyme is no exception. We use several tools to assess your mitochondrial function (the powerhouse inside each cell). Many interventions can resuscitate your mitochondria, and we use many oral supplements for this. Among the most powerful ways to resuscitate your mitochondria is NAD+.
Many with Chronic Lyme/TBI have suboptimal ability to detoxify. We often find toxic metals, mold toxins, persistent organic pollutants (pesticides, solvents, etc.), and more. We can optimize detoxification with many techniques including Myers IV, IV Vit C, IV Chelation, and Phosphatidylcholine.
Transportation on the Functional Medicine Matix is not just about blood circulation, although that is an important part. It is also about Lymph circulation and intracellular transport. As an example, at the bottom of your spine is the “head” of a neuron. That neuron has an axon (cell extension) that goes all the way to your toe. Nutrition, signaling molecules, and much more have to travel inside a single cell all that distance. As you can see transportation is a critical step to intracellular and intercellular communication. We test your cardiovascular health and do other tests to assess circulation and transport. Finding and optimizing these pathways elevates wellness so that illness can not flourish.
Communication has to do with hormones, neurotransmitters, molecules of emotion, and immune modulators. It is all too common to find issues in these areas. Building hormone receptor sensitivity is an often overlooked issue. Many practitioners only think of increasing hormone levels. This is often counterproductive. Think of hormones like Keys to locks, the locks being the hormone receptors. More “Keys” will not make a rusty lock more likely to open. Fixing the locks (Hormone receptors) is far more important than your hormone levels. Levels naturally decline with age, and this seems to be protective rather than a problem. So let focus on the right part of the lock and key equation.
Structural integrity is another critical area. This includes intracellular membranes up to joints and muscles. Many think of the nucleus of a cell as its brain. That is not true, the nucleus is its gonad. (Jokes about how men think will be omitted here) The real brain of the cell is its membranes. This is where the hormone receptors, signaling receptors, etc are. This is where the cell reacts to its environment (See Communication above). Membranes are made of fats. Healthy fats make better membranes than unhealthy fats. Phosphatidylcholine is a healthy fat found in abundance in healthy membranes. We have a variety of options to improve membrane health including IV Phosphatidylcholine.
The center of the matrix is about Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual wellness. Recent studies show that these domains of wellness are more powerful than the other physical domains. More powerful than blood pressure, cholesterol levels, gene expression, and the like. Yet these areas are rarely considered. Our Program “ReBalance to HEAL” addresses the Limbic system and how it keeps you in fight or flight. Fight or flight is an overactive sympathetic response. This results in preventing your healing response from being activated. By normalizing your Limbic and Autonomic nervous system responses we can unleash your innate healing response. For some, they are deeply locked into an overreactive Limbic response and fight or flight. For those, more aggressive treatments may help such as low dose ketamine.
We also assess the 5 modifiable Lifestyle Factors. You heal when you sleep. So optimizing sleep is central to healing. Movement is also a critical factor. You may not be ready to run a marathon. Some movement such as range of motion of your joints or gentle yoga is important. Nutrition can have specific anti-Lyme action. We know that it is hard to grow Lyme in culture. The medium used is very high in sugar. By lowering sugar in your diet we can weaken the Lyme bugs and make it hard for them to grow. Stress is a symptom of fight or flight and we have already discussed how that shuts down your immune response. Managing stress is important. And relationships can make you or break you. We have programs to help you with understanding and cultivating healthy relationships.
If you do the math, this results in a 1 in a billion, unique to you, interventions, to treat your Lyme.