Over the past decade since I was first diagnosed with Lyme, I have completely changed my understanding of the disease and how I approach it. This enabled me to live symptom-free for the past 5 years, and I have reproduced these results with many other clients since then.
Part of the problem is the ambiguity by which the disease is diagnosed in the first place. Over the last few years, people have seen the issues with PCR and antibody tests in being able to conclusively prove the cause of illness. This is why so many people fail to be diagnosed with Lyme, or receive the diagnosis when in fact, it has little to do with the symptoms they're experiencing.
New theories and research into Lyme disease have been discovered in recent years and because of this it is important to understand how diet and other lifestyle factors can play into the treatment of potentially chronic Lyme symptoms. To better explain how lifestyle changes can make a difference in treating Lyme disease you need to understand the science behind how Lyme is working in the body.
Lyme disease is initially caused by a bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks. The disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, and it can initially cause a range of symptoms, including fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. In some cases, however, the symptoms of Lyme disease can persist for months or even years, even after the infection has been treated with antibiotics. This condition is known as chronic Lyme disease, and its true cause is a topic of ongoing debate among medical professionals.
However, these symptoms of vastly different from the symptoms of acute infection. They include, but are not limited to, chronic fatigue, joint and muscle pain, headaches, autoimmune and hypersensitivity, digestion problems, neurological problems, heart problems, and more. The variation of these symptoms, and how they often tend to occur almost randomly and inconsistently, means that they are not conclusively caused by a single pathogen, as you would find with other such diseases. Similarly to chronic or "long" Covid, there is another explanation for these symptoms that does a much better job of helping us understand how both Lyme and Covid create permanent changes in our bodies long after the infection is gone.
One theory that has gained traction in recent years is that chronic Lyme disease symptoms are the result of oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, aldehydes, and iron accumulation from anemia of infection. Anemia of infection is triggered by D3 supplementation. To understand how these factors may contribute to chronic Lyme disease, it is important to first understand the basics of oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation.
Oxidative stress is a process that occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the body's ability to neutralize them with antioxidants. ROS are highly reactive molecules that can damage cells and tissues in the body, leading to inflammation and other health problems. Lipid peroxidation, on the other hand, is a process that occurs when ROS react with unsaturated fatty acids in cell membranes, resulting in the production of toxic aldehydes such as malondialdehyde (MDA) and 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), as well as damage to tissues, organs, and the nervous system.
Both oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation are known to play a role in a variety of chronic health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, autism and neurodegenerative diseases. In the case of Lyme disease, researchers have found evidence that oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation may be contributing factors to the development of chronic symptoms.
One study published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine in 2017, for example, found that patients with chronic Lyme disease had significantly higher levels of MDA and 4-HNE in their blood compared to healthy controls. The researchers also found that the levels of these aldehydes were positively correlated with the severity of the patients' symptoms, suggesting that lipid peroxidation may be playing a role in the development of chronic Lyme disease.
Another study published in the journal Infection and Immunity in 2016 found that the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, is able to induce oxidative stress in human cells. The researchers found that the bacteria were able to stimulate the production of ROS in human immune cells, leading to oxidative stress and cell damage.
Iron accumulation from anemia of infection is another factor that may contribute to chronic Lyme disease symptoms. Anemia of infection is a condition that occurs when the body's immune response to infection causes a decrease in the production of red blood cells. This can lead to a decrease in the amount of oxygen that is delivered to tissues throughout the body, resulting in fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms.
Iron is an essential nutrient that is needed for the production of red blood cells, but it can also contribute to oxidative stress when it is present in excess. Iron can catalyze the production of ROS through the Fenton reaction, which can lead to lipid peroxidation and other forms of oxidative damage.
In the case of Lyme disease, researchers have found evidence that iron accumulation may be a contributing factor to the development of chronic symptoms. A study published in the journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta in 2015 found that patients with chronic Lyme disease had significantly higher levels of iron in their blood compared to healthy controls. The researchers also found that the levels of iron were positively correlated with the severity of the patients' symptoms, suggesting that iron accumulation may be a contributing factor to the development of chronic symptoms in Lyme disease. Excess iron levels in the body can cause oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, which can lead to chronic inflammation and tissue damage. Therefore, reducing iron levels in the body may be an important strategy for managing chronic Lyme disease symptoms, which requires fixing the iron recycling system, balancing iron, copper, and zinc, and many other factors.
It is important to note that, the typical tests for iron in the blood do not always indicate whether or not we have a problem with iron accumulation. In fact, it can actually show up as anemia, especially if someone has been supplementing with D3 or has taken birth control, or eats a diet high in polyunsaturated fats or copper, like a vegetarian diet.
This is why so many chronic Lyme cases devolve into "neuro Lyme," where the patient develops neurological degenerative symptoms. Every neurodegenerative disease involves high levels of oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, iron accumulation and aldehydes. Lyme disease is no exception.
Recent research has shown that doxycycline, an antibiotic commonly used to treat Lyme disease, may also have antioxidant properties that can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. A study published in the Journal of Immunology Research in 2019 found that doxycycline was able to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in human immune cells that were exposed to Borrelia burgdorferi.
These findings suggest that some individuals who believe they have chronic Lyme disease may actually be experiencing symptoms of inflammation and oxidative stress, rather than ongoing infection. Because doxycycline has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it may help alleviate these symptoms and improve quality of life for these individuals during treatment, but exacerbate the underlying issues in the long term because of its interactions with other metals and the microbiome.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, doxycycline has also been found to be an effective iron chelator. Iron chelators are compounds that bind to excess iron in the body and remove it from circulation, which can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. A study published in the Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry in 2014 found that doxycycline was able to effectively chelate iron in vitro, suggesting that it may have potential therapeutic applications for conditions characterized by iron overload. This property of doxycycline may also contribute to its effectiveness in managing chronic Lyme disease symptoms, as iron accumulation has been implicated as a contributing factor to the development of these symptoms. However, there are many ways of accomplishing these desirable effects with diet and lifestyle changes instead of with the use of harsh antibiotics long after the acute infection.
In my years of research and experimentation to figure out how to heal myself, I began to realize that most of the "cures" are actually exacerbating the underlying issues. If you're struggling with your symptoms despite doing all of the "right" things, now you are beginning to understand why.
It is important to note a useful analogy here, as well. I often ask people what would happen if they just didn't clean their kitchen or do their dishes for a while. Bugs and vermin would show up, right? But are they causing the mess, or cleaning it up, leaving their excrement as a way of saying thank you? It's the same in our bodies, the parasitic infections are feeding on the mess caused by the oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation damaging our tissues at the cellular level. They're feeding on the metals and other toxins that accumulate. Parasites in nature thrive in dirty, stagnant water and decaying life, just as they do inside our bodies. And the truth is, when we simply remove the parasites without addressing the underlying issues, we make things worse.
The true cause of chronic Lyme disease symptoms is still a topic of ongoing debate. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, aldehydes, and iron accumulation from anemia of infection may be contributing factors to the development of chronic symptoms. This is why my approach that focuses on addressing these issues continues to be so successful not only for completely eliminating my own chronic Lyme symptoms, but also consistently helping many others do the same.
Oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation are well understood, but quickly dismissed when it comes to treating chronic diseases. This seems insane, considering the mountains of evidence that all of the symptoms and damage related to these diseases are caused by these processes. And there's other evidence that even when these diseases stem from an infection, addressing these processes first allows the body to rid itself of the parasites it no longer needs because they were helping with management of dead tissue, waste, toxins and metals.
If you are interested in discussing how my approach can help with your chronic Lyme schedule a call with me today. You will quickly be able to start connecting the dots between things you are doing or may have done to treat your Lyme that may have actually caused more problems and prolonged your struggle.
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