Today’s article is compliments of Darin Ingels, ND, FAAEM, and his new book The Lyme Solution: A 5-Part Plan to Fight the Inflammatory Autoimmune Response and Beat Lyme Disease. Lyme disease can be found in just about any state in the US and many parts of the world. Many people with Lyme disease go from one doctor to another trying to find answers for their mysterious illness. What should you do if you think you have Lyme disease? Read on…
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is common in New England and the central Midwest of the United States, but can now be found in just about any state in the US and many other parts of the world. It is transmitted primarily through a tick bite and unlike other insect bites, cannot be felt on your skin. Once you’ve been infected, you can experience headaches, joint and muscle pain, dizziness, numbness and tingling in arms and legs, high fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and brain fog.
The symptoms can seem vague and the diagnosis often gets missed as it often looks like many other illnesses. Many people with Lyme disease go from one doctor to another trying to find answers for their mysterious illness. Your labs all look normal and you get shuffled off from one specialist to another. You finally get in the hands of someone who has seen this all before and runs a different series of tests that shows you have Lyme disease.
For some people, being diagnosed with Lyme disease is daunting and perhaps even scary. You may know someone with Lyme that has been suffering for months to years. So many questions begin to fill your head. Can I get better? Can I recover from Lyme disease? I know how this feels. I contracted Lyme disease in 2002 and went through many of the same thoughts and feelings that you may have experienced. But I also learned how to overcome Lyme naturally.
If Your Lyme is Recent
First and foremost, breathe. While Lyme disease can be complicated, there are several ways you can be proactive and help rid you of Lyme disease. If you know you have been infected within the past month or two, antibiotics can be effective at eradicating Lyme disease. While the standard recommended treatment by the CDC is 21 days of antibiotics, many Lyme-literate doctors feel that 21 days is too short and not enough time to adequately treat Lyme. The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) recommends at least 6 weeks of treatment to give you the best chance of getting rid of Lyme. If your doctor is hesitant to prescribe more than 21 days of antibiotics, then I suggest finding a Lyme-literate doctor who will work with you.
If you suspect you have had Lyme disease for months to years and were misdiagnosed, then antibiotics are less likely to provide you relief. When Lyme has been in your body awhile, it can trigger an autoimmune-like illness, so it needs to be treated from a broader perspective than just trying to eradicate the infection. I recommend following my 5-part plan to get rid of Lyme:
5 Part Plan to Get Rid of Lyme
Heal Your Gut
Start with healing your gut. So many people with Lyme disease have chronic constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating or some other problem that interferes with proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Since the gut is responsible for 80% of your immune function, if it is not working well, you well have a harder time fighting off Lyme on your own. Taking probiotics, glutamine, digestive enzymes, fish oil and resveratrol can help heal your gut and reduce inflammation.
Follow an Alkaline Diet
Start following an alkaline diet. Many diets have been reported to help with Lyme disease, but I have found that following an alkaline diet gives the best results. This means eating foods that make your body more alkaline. When your body becomes more acidic, it is more prone to inflammation. Eating processed foods, junk foods, dairy, sweeteners and coffee all make your cells more acidic. Blood pH is very tightly regulated, so eating this way will not affect the acid/alkaline balance in your blood. But it can shift your cells into a more alkaline state, making it easier for your cells to function properly. Start eating lots of fresh vegetables, coconut, almonds, seeds, beans, quinoa, amaranth and green drinks, including kale or spinach. Try to limit your meat and egg intake to less than 20% of your total dietary intake for the week. Drink plenty of clean water and herbal teas. Avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners or dyes, canned foods, dairy, corn and gluten products as these tend to be very acid forming in the body.
Use herbs to help treat an active infection with Lyme. There are numerous herbal protocols that have been used successfully to treat Lyme disease, with few to no adverse side effects as often seen with antibiotic use. I recommend using herbs from Dr. Cowden (also known as The Cowden Protocol) or from Dr. Zhang. I have used both protocols personally and with thousands of Lyme patients and find they are well tolerated and effective. Although you can follow these protocols on your own, I recommend working with a healthcare provider knowledgeable in herbs to help guide you. Other herbal protocols that have worked well to treat Lyme include Byron White, Beyond Balance and Buhner protocols.
Clean Up Your Environment
Clean up your environment. Make sure that your home and workplace are safe as various toxins and toxicants can add to your body burden of chemicals, damaging your immune system. Switch your cleaning chemicals, personal care products and lawn care products over to safer, less toxic substances. Be vigilant about mold in your environment, as mold exposure can lead to symptoms that are almost identical to Lyme disease. Have your home checked for water damage and mold exposure as most people who get sick from mold have no idea they were ever exposed. Make sure to properly remediate any mold damage in your home as it can lead to serious long-term health problems for you and your family if left untreated.
Practice Self Care
Practice self-care on a daily basis. Getting good sleep, exercising regularly in whatever way is possible for you and managing stress are all important to overcoming Lyme disease. Our body and mind are intimately connected, so maintaining a healthy balance of both is essential for long-term recovery. When you don’t feel well, it’s important to put your health first and do the things you need to do take care of your self. Give yourself a break to meditate, go on a walk, listen to music, talk with friends or whatever you need to do to reduce your stress. This may be difficult if you care for your family or parents, but there is no shame in making yourself a priority too.
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More Lyme Disease Resources
Lyme disease is more than an infection, but rather a complex medical condition that requires taking a whole body approach to get well. Know that your body has an innate ability to heal and you need to give yourself the tools to overcome Lyme. In my book The Lyme Solution: A 5-Part Plan to Fight the Inflammatory Autoimmune Response and Beat Lyme Disease (Avery, 2018), I outline the path to recovery from Lyme disease using safe, effective natural methods.
To purchase a copy of The Lyme Solution, click HERE.
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