My Unique Approach to Lyme Disease (part 2)

The  Integrated Approach to Lyme Disease

All ticks are not infected with Lyme Disease. Named for the town of East Lyme, CT, where the disease was first identified, a Lyme infected tick, as it feeds off its human host, passes a bacteria known as a spirochete into the bloodstream.

When a child or adult is quickly treated with an appropriate antibiotic, the result is usually a swift and positive healing.  However, if the person does not recover with the first round of antibiotic, additional rounds are routinely prescribed, often leading to “antibiotic cocktails.”  Long-term antibiotic therapy can result in an imbalance of micro-organisms in the intestinal tract and deplete the functioning of the immune system, making the body more susceptible to other illnesses.  Consider taking the best of both conventional and holistic medical practices by integrating natural remedies with antibiotic therapy.  They can help keep the body strong while the antibiotic does its job.

When my son had Lyme disease, blood tests confirmed that it was accompanied by the virulent bacteria, ehrlichiosis, and his doctor immediately put him on an antibiotic.  I gave him probiotics and echinacea as described below. However, since antibiotics do not treat viruses, rather than waiting to see if one round of antibiotics would bring him to total recovery, I tested him for viruses, using kinesiology.  I gave him natural remedies that specifically addressed the particular strains of virus that commonly piggyback the spirochete and for which he tested positively (this is discussed in Lyme Disease: Part III).

Friendly bacteria and yeast micro-organisms live harmoniously in the intestinal tract. 
The antibiotic does not differentiate between beneficial and harmful bacteria and, in its quest to go after the “bad guys”, may deplete the “good guys” located in the intestinal tract. When the level of good bacteria is depleted, yeast, regularly kept in check by the “good guys”, has an opportunity to grow out of control.  Yeast overgrowth can cause a variety of symptoms such as bloating, gas, itchy skin, itchy ears, sugar cravings, brain fog, joint pain, extreme fatigue, headaches, weight gain, mood swings, depression, and even mouth sores. Sometimes it’s hard to know which of the symptoms are caused by the Lyme and which are caused by the intestinal imbalance known as candida.

Acidophilus and other probiotic, active bacterial cultures help to bring balance to the intestinal flora by repopulating the area with good bacteria.  Probiotics are available in capsules, liquid and tablet form, and are best taken three times a day, one hour before or after the dose of antibiotic, and continuing for at least three weeks, three times a day, following the antibiotic therapy.   Making the last dose of the day right before bedtime helps the good bacteria to grow unimpeded overnight. A probiotic supplement containing FOS (fructooligosaccharides) is also good because FOS stimulates immune function within the intestines. If yogurt is eaten as a supplement to the probiotics (not strong enough on its own), be sure to eat plain yogurt without added sugar, as sugar feeds yeast.

Echinacea is an herb that helps to support an immune system depleted by antibiotic use. Known to gardeners as the purple coneflower, it is a popular, non-toxic herb easily found in health food stores.  Although it is available in tea and capsule form, the liquid alcohol extract of echinacea is the most potent and effective form of the herb, safe for adults and children alike (except for those with autoimmune disease).  One teaspoon, diluted in a little bit of water or juice, taken two to three times a day, can accompany the antibiotic therapy (see my book, Gentle Healing for Baby and Child (Simon & Schuster), for dosing instructions for children).  To further strengthen the immune system, continue taking the echinacea for a few weeks after the antibiotic is finished.  Cycling it for 10 days on and 4 days off will keep your body from becoming resistant to its benefits and give you an additional immune-stimulating boost each time you go back on it.  People often feel weakened coming off an extended therapy of antibiotics.  Supporting the body’s immune system will help them to feel stronger when the therapy is finished.

Bacteria and viruses feed on sugar so it would be a good idea to reduce sugar intake. Desserts should be limited to low sugar fruits like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  Keep in mind that many fresh and dried fruits, and fruit juice, like banana, raisins and apple juice have high sugar content. This would be a good time to eliminate junk foods and eat health promoting foods like pesticide-free vegetables, antibiotic-free chicken, fish, grains, organic eggs, and nuts, so as not to pose any additional challenges to the body.  Check with your local health food stores and organic produce departments in supermarkets for the best choices.

©Andrea Candee

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