Lyme Disease Treatment with Elizabeth Large, ND

Elizabeth Large, ND

How I Treat Lyme Disease

Having Lyme disease is a unique journey. No two Lyme patients will present the same symptoms, therefore treatment must be tailored to fit the individual, level of sensitivity, and degree of illness. In healing chronic infection, there is no “magic bullet.”

Dr. Large is a board-certified Naturopathic doctor with 15 years clinical experience treating complex illness. She is trained as a primary doctor but her clinical emphasis is focused on treating complex disorders that might encompass the following: Chronic Lyme disease or infection, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, mood disorders, allergies and endocrine imbalances. If you have seen numerous doctors for your medical condition without benefit, you are in the right place. Appointments are available in the Santa Rosa and Marin offices.

See Dr. Large's full bio

After many years of practice, Dr. Large began seeing patterns emerge among her patients, both pediatric and adult. Her patient population exhibited similar symptoms such as chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, chronic digestive issues, high reactivity to foods and medications and other unusual symptoms. She discovered that many of her patients were suffering from chronic infections or neurotoxic illnesses such as Lyme disease, co-infections, mold and/or heavy metal toxicity.

She sought further education in this area, preceptoring with Dr. Wayne Anderson in the summer of 2010 at Gordon Medical Associates, and went on to become the first ND to complete a five month internship with Dr. Anderson in Lyme, infectious disease, and neurotoxic illness. She also preceptored with Dr. Ray Jones and Dr. Ann Corson. She practiced with Gordon Medical Associates until 2016, and is now back in the GMA offices as of March 2017. Dr. Large was honored to be a speaker at the 2016 American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) Conference on treating Lyme disease. Dr. Large is known for her unique approach to treating Lyme disease, and has patients across the US and in Europe.

See an article on the preceptorship with Drs. Jones and Corson
Dr. Large and Dr. Jones
Dr. Elizabeth Large and Dr. Charles Ray Jones
Ixodes Tick

Having Lyme Disease Requires You to Have Patience, Great Self-Care, and Knowledge of Your Limitations In a Way That Brings You Back to Truly Knowing Yourself

Having Lyme disease is a unique journey. No two Lyme patients will present the same symptoms therefore, treatment must be tailored to fit the individual, level of sensitivity, and degree of illness. In healing chronic infection, there is no “magic bullet.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by Ixodes ticks, also known as deer ticks, and on the West Coast, black-legged ticks. These tiny arachnids are typically found in wooded and grassy areas. Although people may think of Lyme as an East Coast disease, it is found throughout the United States, as well as in more than sixty other countries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the US every year. That’s 1.5 times the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer, and six times the number of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS each year in the US. However, because diagnosing Lyme can be difficult, many people who actually have Lyme may be misdiagnosed with other conditions. Many experts believe the true number of cases is much higher.

Lyme Disease Affects People of All Ages

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete—a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme is called “The Great Imitator,” because its symptoms mimic many other diseases. It can affect any organ of the body, including the brain and nervous system, muscles and joints, and the heart.

Patients with Lyme disease are frequently misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and various psychiatric illnesses such as panic disorder and depression. Misdiagnosis with these other diseases may delay the correct diagnosis and treatment as the underlying infection progresses unchecked.

Lyme Disease Affects People of All Ages
Lyme Disease Affects People of All Ages
How Do People Get Lyme Disease?

Most people get Lyme from the bite of the nymph, or immature, form of the tick. Nymphs are about the size of a poppy seed. Because they are so tiny and their bite is painless, many people do not even realize they have been bitten.

Once a tick has attached, if undisturbed it may feed for several days. The longer it stays attached, the more likely it will transmit the Lyme and other pathogens into your bloodstream.

If pregnant women are infected, they sometimes pass Lyme disease to their unborn children and, while not common, stillbirth has occurred. Some doctors believe other types of human-to-human transmission are possible but little is known for certain. The Lyme bacteria has been found in all body fluids.

Many people with Lyme disease are misdiagnosed. Diagnosing Lyme can be elusive. May sick patients do not test positive on lab tests. Therefore a Lyme diagnosis must be made by a Lyme literate physician who can read the clinical signs and symptoms.

Tick Identification Wallet Card
The distribution of tick sightings across the United States between a) 1907–1996 and b) 1907–2015. - "Lyme disease–carrying ticks are now in half of all U.S. counties" - Science Magazine
Where Is Lyme Disease Found?

Lyme disease has been found on every continent except Antarctica. It is found all across the United States, with a particularly high incidence in the East, Midwest, and West Coast. Rates have increased significantly over time. Some of this increase may be because of disease spread, but it is also likely that it reflects growing public awareness of the disease.

Not all ticks are infected. Within endemic areas, there is considerable variation in tick infection rates depending on the type of habitat, presence of wildlife and other factors. Tick infection rates can vary from 0% to more than 70% in the same area. This uncertainty about how many ticks are infected makes it hard to predict the risk of Lyme disease in a given region.

“Lyme disease–carrying ticks are now in half of all U.S. counties”Science Magazine Jan. 18, 2016

Map of Tick Infection Rates in California
The Real Story

Lyme disease is actually a “syndrome” and not a straight forward bacterial infection. Ticks carry multiple infections so a tick bite may result in a person being exposed to the Lyme bacteria as well as Bartonella, Babesia, Erlichia, Anaplasma, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, also known as “co-infections”. This helps to explain why no two cases of Lyme disease look the same. Each person may have a different combination of tick borne infection. Many people who get sick with lyme may also have predisposing factors such as mold exposure, a history of trauma, chronic stress, toxicity or just a compromised immune system.

See More About Lyne Disease on the GMA Blog
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed?

It is estimated that 35% of lyme disease cases are missed with standard ELISA testing. Also, less than 1/3 of people will have the classic Bulls-Eye rash or Erythema Chronicum Migrans after a tick bite. I use a combination of lab tests, Igenex Lyme and co-infection testing, clinical history and current signs and symptoms. I believe that a large majority of people have been exposed to these infections and may have antibodies without being sick. It is often an acute stressor that is the trigger to people to getting ill. These acute stressors may be accidents, high levels of stress, pregnancy or hormonal changes, or emotionally challenging situations. It may be that the infection was there all along and the immune system was able to keep it suppressed until the microbial load became overwhelming to the immune system.

Igenex Lab
What Is Lyme Disease or Coinfection Treatment?

Often the person being diagnosed with Lyme or co-infections is in a depleted or toxic state which must be addressed for a person to respond to Lyme treatment. Also, chronic inflammation from infection puts stress on the adrenals, thyroid, liver, gall bladder, lymphatics, spleen and digestive system. In complex illness, there will be many layers that need to be addressed and will be different in each person.

My Approach to Treating Chronic Infection

1. Supporting the toxic or weak organ systems.

2. Treating the infection with combinations of antimicrobials: either antibiotic, herbal, Low Dose Immunotherapy or intravenous therapy.

3. Reducing inflammation through herbs, diet, or nutrients.

4. Reducing exposure to compromising factors such as EMF, mold, pesticides, allergens, or heavy metals.

5. Treating biofilms. Biofilms are polysaccharide matrixes that form around infections protecting them from harsh antimicrobials such as antibiotics. If a person is not responding to treatment, biofilms may need to be addressed with herbs or enzymes capable of breaking down the layers of biofilm.

5. Lifestyle and nervous system management. Toxic or stressful life situations must be addressed. Since Lyme affects the nervous system, quieting the nervous system is a key component in healing – meditation, rest, getting 8 hours of sleep, self-acceptance, and dealing with previous trauma.

6. A healing diet – Organic, reduced carbohydrate and sugar intake, free range, grass fed meat, dairy and eggs. Various diets may be recommended depending on the individual’s needs such as: Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Low Histamine Diet, Low Fodmaps Diet, Autoimmune Diet, or the GAPS Diet.

Herbs and Food