Lyme Disease Therapies
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterial infection Borellia burgdorferi. Common co-infections include Babesia, Bartonella, Mycoplasma, Ehrlichia and Anaplasma. Antibiotics are often an important treatment for Lyme Disease.
Borellia burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease, is a complex bacteria that requires strategic antibiotic therapy for effective treatment. When treating Lyme disease and co-infections with antibiotics the following principles may be applied:
- Extended antibiotic therapy may be required in Chronic Lyme Disease.
- Treat both the cell wall and intracellular form of the Lyme disease bacteria. This may require rotation through different classes of antibiotics, or taking more than one antibiotic in combination at one time.
- Treat the cystic form of B. burgdorferi. This can be accomplished with prescription or natural antiparasitic therapies.
- Treatment of any co-infections that exist. Depending on which co-infections a patient has, these may be require antimicrobial therapies before, during or after treatment of Lyme disease.
- It is important to note that prescription medication (including antibiotics) is out of scope for a naturopathic doctor in Alberta.
Herbal and Nutrient Therapy
One of the key therapies used by Naturopathic Doctors is herbal medicine and nutrient therapy. These therapies cover a very broad range of therapeutic targets, which is important when dealing with Lyme disease and co-infections. Herbal medicines can be used under the guidance of a naturopath to help treat the infection, in additional to antibiotic therapy or for patients who cannot tolerate antibiotics.
The Naturopathic Doctors at the Nardella Clinic in Calgary have the experience to use herbal therapies in conjunction with other therapies such as antibiotics, or as a stand-alone treatment based on the patients individual needs. Our Naturopathic Doctors use herbal medications and nutrients for a number of purposes including the following:
- Breaking down biofilm to increase efficacy of antimicrobials
- Natural antifungals
- Improving detoxification
- Increasing energy
- Enhancing mitochondrial function
- Regulating inflammation
- Improving immune function
- Improving memory and cognition
- Managing herxheimer reactions
- Healing neurological tissue
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the administration of 100% oxygen under increased pressure. Hyperbaric medicine is unique in its ability to treat Lyme disease and co-infections, as it is able to both treat the infection and help to resolve damage caused by the infection. Because of this Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is useful in both Lyme disease infected patients, and patients suffering from Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome.
Lyme Disease is an anaerobic bacteria, which means its thrives in low-oxygen environments. Hyperbaric treatments increase the oxygen levels in tissues all throughout the body, creating an environment that the Lyme disease bacteria have difficulty living in.
A study done a Texas A&M in 1998 by Dr. William Fife treated patients with Lyme Disease with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at 2.36 ATA. It is important to note that pressures lower than this will NOT increase tissue oxygen saturation significantly enough to kill the infection. 85% of the patients noticed either a significant decrease in their symptoms or resolution of their symptoms.
Antimicrobial treatment is not the only benefit of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for patients with Lyme disease and Co-infections. Our naturopathic doctors may also recommend hyperbaric oxygen therapy to our patients for its ability to:
- Decrease inflammation
- Regulate the immune system
- Decrease nerve pain
- Increase energy
- Improve circulation
- Reduce headaches
To learn more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy read our section on Hyperbaric Medicine.
Ozone is a gas composed of three oxygen atoms. Ozone has the ability to kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites. This makes it a versatile therapy when trying to address the multiple infections patients with Lyme disease are frequently affected by. For the treatment of Lyme disease ozone therapy is typically administered via a process called major autohemotherapy. Ozone can also be administered rectally, vaginally, topically or by drinking ozone water.
Lyme disease is a complex disease that impacts many systems throughout the body. Various intravenous therapies have the ability to address each of the affected areas. The administration of substances intravenously has the advantages of increased absorption and increased tissue saturation of the substances. Intravenous therapies can be used to treat infection, support the immune system, manage symptoms, improve detoxification and repair tissues that were damaged by the Lyme bacteria and co-infections.
Naturopathic Doctors Nardella and Haggarty have over twenty years of experience providing these therapies safely and effectively. Their expertise helps to guides patients as to which therapies are the most appropriate for each individual. Intravenous therapies that are commonly used for the patients with Lyme disease and associated infections include:
- High-dose Vitamin C
- Vitamin and minerals (Myers)
- Amino acids
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Chelation (EDTA and DMPS)
To learn more about each of these substances please visit our section on Intravenous Therapies.
Naturopathic medicine has its roots in optimizing digestive health and detoxification. It is worth noting that many patients who suffer from chronic Lyme disease have issues with detoxification. It is the theory of many that a patient’s ability to detoxify properly many be one of the contributing factors as to why some people are affected more than others by the infection. Additionally, many patients with Lyme disease and co-infections may be affected by GI dysbioisis as a result of immune dysregulation and/or prolonged antibiotic therapy.
Colonic hydrotherapy is the slow administration of warm water to aid with cleansing the large intestine. When detoxification through the digestive tract is supported, patients with Lyme disease notice a decrease in systemic symptoms. It helps with improved cognition, increased energy, and supports a stronger immune system. In addition to colonic hydrotherapy patients may also benefit from colonic reflorastation (rectal administration of probiotics) and rectal ozone. The Nardella clinic in Calgary has offered colonic hydrotherapy in Calgary for 20 years.
Optimizing detoxification is necessary for enhancing the recovery process when dealing with chronic Lyme disease. Our Naturopathic Doctors use a combination of diet, herbal medicine, naturopathic nutrients and intravenous therapies, such as glutathione, to support proper detoxification.
Chelation therapy may also be beneficial for patients with Lyme disease. Not only may Lyme disease patients have higher levels of heavy metals in their system due to a decreased ability to detoxify, but it also is more important to properly remove these metals due to the role they may play in decreasing a patients immune system and ability to fight infection. Substances commonly used to help remove heavy metals stored in various tissues throughout the body include EDTA, DMPS, DMSA and glutathione.
To learn more please visit our sections on Colonic Hydrotherapy and Detoxification.
Pain is one of the most common complaints of patients with Lyme disease and has one of the biggest impacts on a patient’s quality of life. Pain may present as joint pain, muscle pain, bone pain, nerve pain and headaches. Treating the underlying infections using various therapies is one of the most important keys to gaining control of the pain long-term, as this is the fuel on the fire that causes inflammation in the body. However, many naturopathic therapies can help with pain management until the time that infection can be adequately controlled. These therapies include:
- Intravenous curcumin
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Neural therapy
- Intravenous alpha-lipoic acid
- Herbal and nutrient therapy
Neurological Health and Rehabilitation
Another common group of symptoms affecting Lyme disease sufferers are those associated with neurological Lyme disease. These symptoms can range from nerve pain, to numbness and tingling, to difficulty with focus and concentration, and even disorientation. Naturopathic medicine has a large toolbox when it comes to neurological health. In addition to treating underlying infection, targeted therapies can help to support the nervous system to heal and repair. Intravenous glutathione, alpha-lipoic acid and phosphatidylcholine are amongst the naturopathic therapies that will help with the symptoms of neurological Lyme disease. These therapies help to promote healing of the nervous tissue and decrease pain and improve cognition.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is helpful with both decreasing nerve inflammation and pain, and with healing the brain to help with cognition and memory. Increased oxygen delivery to the brain and other nervous tissue helps to actually heal the tissue, rather than just mask the symptoms.
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