Holistic Treatment of Lyme Disease
People experiencing a range of symptoms like fatigue, headaches, poor memory, inability to concentrate, depression, anxiety, recurrent flu-like symptoms, rashes, and a general sense of not feeling well may have conditions that are not always easily diagnosed by doctors. Lyme disease is one such illness.
People may have Lyme and not test positive for it; others who do test positive did not suspect it or can’t recall getting bitten by a tick. Lyme disease can overlap with other conditions such as chemical sensitivity, viral infections, bacterial infections and mold. As such, treatment for Lyme is complex.
Many Lyme patients benefit from an antibiotic protocol if the disease is caught in the early stages. However, for an optimum outcome with antibiotic treatment, further therapies supporting the entire body are important.
Some patients simply do not tolerate antibiotics at all, and therefore need an alternative herbal antimicrobial approach. Others are so far along in the process of the disease that antibiotics are not very effective. Treatment plans must be tailored to each patient’s needs and tolerance; there is not a one-size-fits-all approach in the management of Lyme.
There are, however, commonalities regarding systemic affects on the body that many Lyme patients experience, as it is an infection that causes chronic inflammation and imbalances in immunity.
It is critical to have as stable a foundation of health as possible before beginning the intense treatment that chronic Lyme requires. The basics of health are therefore addressed in this stage of healing.
Many Lyme patients are nutrition savvy; however they still may not be eating a diet that is appropriate for their particular constitution. It is possible that their diet may not be targeted to optimize the body’s detoxification systems and cellular biochemical reactions.
Sensitivity or allergic reaction to foods consumed by the patient may be creating more inflammation in the body. They may not be consuming adequate levels of micro- and macronutrients. Through clinical history intake and functional nutrition laboratory tests, these aspects of health can be understood and then addressed.
Appropriate dietary recommendations can then be made to optimize functional nutrition status. Nutrients, herbs and supplementation are also given to support all the organs of elimination. Lyme patients very often benefit from intravenous therapy with micronutrients, glutathione and phosphatidyl choline.
Addressing the Body’s Unique Biochemical Imbalances and Genetic Tendencies
Special laboratory work can reveal genetic tendencies or specific imbalances in the body’s natural biochemical makeup. People with Lyme disease often have these imbalances that need to be addressed in order for healing to be optimized.
Elimination of Toxins
Our environment is laden with toxins, from pollution in our air and water, to added chemicals and hormones in our food sources. Mercury is in dental amalgam fillings and seafood, lead is found in paint and some toys and also in the foods we eat, and other toxins are found in plastic water bottles. Exposure to these and other toxins can wreak havoc on our immune and nervous system, and as well can be carcinogenic over the long term.
Lyme patients are more susceptible to illness from toxin exposure as their immune systems are already weakened. In addition, they will not receive the full benefit of treatment from antibiotics, herbal and nutritional therapies when toxic burdens to the body are high. Therefore, a comprehensive detoxification protocol is key in the treatment of Lyme. Detoxification could include heavy metal chelation, neural therapy and strengthening of the liver’s natural detoxification pathways. Regular sweating is important as well for the excretion of toxic substances.
Microbes and Biofilm
Co-infections and opportunistic infections in Lyme patients are common. Microbes exist in communities: bacteria, viruses, mycoplasma and molds co-habitate, and it is very common for Lyme patients to suffer from a variety of these. Microbes secrete biotoxins to subdue the host’s immune responses. Therefore, treatment with antibiotics and/or herbal antimicrobials to address these co-infections is critical.
Repairing the Body
Bacterial infections weaken the biochemistry and physiology of the body, and therefore repair is needed. Protocols for the gastrointestinal tract, mitochondria, nervous system and immune system will be put into place, not only before and while detoxifying and treating the microbes, but also on a follow-up basis.
As Lyme is a multi-systemic disease, treatment needs to be comprehensive and individualized. Protocols must address not only support of the organs and the body’s natural biochemical processes, but also safe detoxification.
Nafysa Parpia, N.D. is an independent practitioner working out of both the Santa Rosa and the Marin offices of Gordon Medical. Using a functional and biological medicine approach, she works as a detective to discover and ultimately remove the underlying cause(s) of illness. At the same time, she helps to alleviate symptoms. Dr. Parpia specializes in the treatment of Lyme disease and other complex chronic illnesses such as autoimmunity, mold toxicity, fibromyalgia, environmental toxicity and gastrointestinal disorders.
Dr. Parpia’s patients with chronic Lyme Disease are typically those who either do not do well with antibiotics, or prefer the biological medicine approach to treatment with little antibiotic use. As well, she specializes in detoxification, collaborating with other medical practitioners to support their patients who have complex chronic illness.