I recently came back from Corfu, Greece where I was awestruck with its natural, lush terrain and warm- hearted people. A definite must for anyone wanting island sun, blue skies and delightful Mediterranean cuisine. I attended the 18th American Biologics Symposium. One of the best lectures given was on the most recent Lyme disease research by Professor Garth Nicolson. Here is what I learned from that presentation:
Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness, caused by the Borrelia burgdoferi spirochete. This infection results in flu-like symptoms, headache and joint and muscle pain. If the disease is left untreated and infection spreads, serious health complications can result. According to Professor Garth Nicolson and the Institute of Molecular Medicine, these chronic conditions, like fatigue, arthritis, neurological and heart problems are often mistaken for other health issues. This can make treatment difficult if a late-stage Lyme disease patient is misdiagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Rheumatoid Arthritis. Several laboratory tests need to be conducted to assure a proper diagnosis.
New research from The Institute of Molecular Medicine has shown that Lyme disease is often accompanied by other infections. The various strains of the Babesia protozoan, like Babesia microti, Babesia divergens and Babesia bova, can worsen the symptoms of Lyme disease in humans during the early stages. Some of these symptoms include weakness, high fever, gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, and anemia.
Mycoplasmal infections are very common with Lyme disease. Research indicates that 60 to 70% of individuals with Lyme disease also carry a form of the Mycoplasma co-infection. It is difficult to identify Mycoplasmal infections with lab tests. Mycoplasmas require very sensitive tests because they are not detected freely in the blood, but in various tissues instead. The symptoms of a Mycoplasmal infection are similar to the Borrelia burgdoferi infection.
Various strains of Ehrlichia are known to cause a co-infection, resulting in fever, headache, weakness and pain in the muscles and a low white blood cell count, among other symptoms.
It is best to treat Lyme disease and the co-infections in its early stages before the disease progresses. Those patients with Lyme disease and any co-infections can undergo antibiotic treatment. Dietary changes can help keep the immune system strong and fight off infection. Diets should include whole grains, yogurt, wheat germ, cruciferous vegetables, and fish. Patients should avoid junk foods, refined sugars, alcohol and caffeine. Patients need to drink plenty of water and juices. It is also important to take vitamin and mineral supplements. Levels of vitamin C, E, CoQ-10 and B-complex are often poorer in patients with chronic disease due to absorption problems. Zinc, magnesium, chromium and selenium stores are often depleted and can be restored with supplements.
Overuse of antibiotics destroys the “good” bacteria found in the intestines. This allows room for dangerous bacteria to harvest itself in the intestines. It is recommended that Lyme disease patients undergoing antibiotic therapy to add Probiotics to their diet. Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bifidus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and several other strains can be taken in a capsule or powder form. These healthy strains of bacteria replace the bacteria destroyed by antibiotics and improve gut health. Herbal remedies also help to improve the immune system. Professor Nicolson found that ginseng root, herbal teas, bioactive whey protein and olive leaf extract can help the immune system from relapsing.
Another herbal remedy for Lyme disease is Uncaria tomentosa, also known as “Cat’s Claw”. Cat’s Claw is found in the product, Samento®. Cat’s Claw contains pentacyclic oxindale alkaloids (POA’s), which helps the immune system fight infection.
This current research conducted by Professor Garth Nicolson and the Institute of Molecular Medicine shows promising ideas in Lyme disease. We hope that this research brings about more advancement in the field to help those with this disease.
1. Nicolson, Garth, Ph.D.“Diagnosis and therapy of chronic systemic co-infections in Lyme disease and other tick-borne infectious diseases.” “http://www.immed.org/reports/infectious_disease_illness/LYMETreat-01.9.25.html.”