As summer comes to a close, a new season at times begins for some unfortunate people. It is the season of strange flu-like symptoms, headaches, muscle-and-joint pain, and other symptoms commonly affecting the skin, heart, and nervous system. Over time the symptoms can continue to worsen and turn into a long-lived inflammatory response similar to an autoimmune illness. All too frequently, this ends with a diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is a complicated infection that is caused by bacteria transmitted from a tick or insect bite. The majority of cases of Lyme are due to a bite from a type of deer tick known as the black-legged tick, which can carry and pass on bacteria known as borrelia burgdorferi. It’s also been found that other insects can spread Lyme disease or cause similar infections, including other types of ticks, mosquitoes, and possibly spiders or fleas.
Overall, up to 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year, according to new research from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC). Lyme disease cases are largely concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 14 states accounting for over 96 percent of cases reported to CDC. Virginia ranks consistently as one of the highest states reporting tick-borne illnesses, including Lyme disease.
Although Lyme disease originates from an insect bite, symptoms are caused by an inflammatory infection that has a lot to do with the strength of someone’s immune system. Two people who are both bit by the same insect carrying the bacteria that causes Lyme disease can respond very differently. That’s why preventing and treating Lyme disease symptoms by improving overall immunity is key.
Symptoms and Signs of Lyme Disease
A temporary “butterfly” skin rash that appears where the tick bite occurred. Many, but not all, develop a rash shaped like a bull’s eye that appears as a red ring around a clear area with a red center. The CDC reports that around 70 percent of Lyme disease patients develop this rash. This is followed by flu-like symptoms including fever, trouble sleeping, neck pain, fatigue, chills, sweats, and muscle aches. Symptoms can progress to poor sleep, chronic fatigue and lethargy, digestive issues, including nausea, loss of appetite, aches, and joint pain. Thirty percent of Lyme patients develop symptoms of arthritis with some showing long-term mood changes, including increased depression and fatigue. Cognitive changes are also a long-term symptom and include forgetfulness, headaches, brain fog, misplacing things, and trouble concentrating.
To make matters more confusing many people will have symptoms of Lyme disease but not test positive for the disease with blood testing. Often these patients do not receive treatment for Lyme, resulting in chronic symptoms. For those who do receive treatment, the most common conventional Lyme disease treatment utilized today is prescription antibiotics. The most common antibiotic treatment for Lyme infection is a combination of amoxicillin, cefuroxime axetil or doxycycline antibiotics taken for 2–4 weeks. However, not everyone will respond well to these antibiotics, including those with infections that spread through the central nervous system. Antibiotics can also weaken the immune system over time by negatively altering gut bacteria, especially if they are used for an extended length of time. They kill not only harmful bacteria, but also the good bacteria we need for strong immunity. This means that antibiotics can possibly make Lyme disease bacteria spread even more and worsen in some people.
Lyme Disease Prevention Tips
A smart move is to use a natural bug spray or insect repellent (such as one made from essential oils) when you’re anywhere that has a high amount of insects. We recommend a blend by NOW Foods called “Bug Ban.” Clove, Oregano, and Lemongrass essential oils are also potent tick repellents. Wearing long pants, long sleeves and long socks, and wearing lighter-colored clothing can all prevent tick bites. Checking your skin after you’ve been in the woods or elsewhere outdoors is a must and should be done thoroughly. Last but not least, improve your overall immune strength before you even get infected, as that will give you the best chance of having a minimal reaction.
Four Natural Treatments for Lyme Disease
1. Eat to Improve Immune Function
The best way to overcome chronic Lyme disease is by naturally boosting your immune system, lowering inflammation, and managing the root causes of your symptoms. Your body can overcome Lyme disease for good only once you control the inflammatory responses it’s triggering.
My basic dietary advice for anyone struggling with an inflammatory condition is to try removing grains, fruit, and sugar from your diet while consuming anti-inflammatory foods, mostly vegetables, nuts, seeds, coconut, bone broth, organic meat, and fermented foods. If you want to learn more about this approach to controlling leaky-gut syndrome and inflammation, you can watch our “Heal The Gut” video: https://youtu.be/98JOR55pNu4
2. Supplements to Help Improve Cellular Function
The next step in Lyme disease treatment is improving cellular functioning and protection. Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, along with viruses and parasites, can attack healthy cells and weaken your defenses. In order to restore cellular health, consider adding these essential nutrients to your regime:
Vitamin D: Vitamin D3 naturally boosts immunity and plays a role in regulating inflammation. I recommend you supplement with around 5,000 IU daily, especially if you’re vitamin D deficient.
CoQ10: CoQ10 can help protect your brain and nervous system from degradation and inflammation, while also lowering symptoms like joint pain and aches. Most physicians recommend taking 200 milligrams twice daily.
B-Complex: B vitamins support many metabolic and cellular functions, plus they help fight infections and improve neurological health. Vitamin B-6 is especially important for Lyme patients, or just about anyone dealing with the effects of stress or fatigue.
Omega-3 fatty acids: These fatty acids are highly anti-inflammatory and support neurological/cognitive functions. In addition to consuming food sources of omega-3s (for example, wild-caught fish, nuts, and seeds), I recommend supplementing with 1,000 milligrams of fish oil daily.
Magnesium: Magnesium is an electrolyte with hundreds of roles in the body, from supporting nerve signaling to reducing muscle aches. Many people are magnesium deficient, and those with Lyme disease can’t afford to run low since stress and illness only increases the body’s need for more.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help reduce joint pain, headaches, and damage to blood vessels or nerves.
Probiotics: In addition to consuming probiotic-rich foods, I recommend supplementing with probiotics with at least 8 strains and 50 billion units daily. The GR8 Dophilus supplement we carry in the office works wonderfully. I believe this is the most important factor in destroying Lyme.
CBD Oil: While research is still new with CBD oils, the research is promising. CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation, boost immune function, and help cellular healing. 30-50mg of CBD oil per day should be sufficient for most people.
3. Treating Lyme Disease With Essential Oils
The complexity of Lyme and antibiotic resistance has led to the use of antimicrobials like essential oils. Essential oils can help to both prevent Lyme disease and reduce the symptoms upon infection. They work by fighting bacteria, improving the immune system, and detoxifying the body. Research shows that essential oils can be a positive solution for fighting back against Lyme conditions in the brain. Not only can essential oils help prevent some of the symptoms like brain fog, that happen to Lyme patients, but it can also help to remove Lyme from the brain through drainage.
While different people will suggest different cures for Lyme and bacterial infections, some of the most common antimicrobial oils include:
1. Cinnamon Oil
Cinnamon oil can be a powerful essential oil when fighting bacteria. Studies have been published to show the effectiveness of cinnamon against the bacteria planktonic E. Faecalis. Additionally, the study concluded that cinnamon essential oils are effective antimicrobial agents to use in antibacterial treatment.
2. Oregano Oil
Studies show that oregano oil can work effectively against various strains of drug-resistant bacteria. The research shows that combined and singular treatments with oregano and other oils can limit cell density. This gives way to antimicrobial activities thanks to the disruption of cells. Ultimately, the results suggest that oregano oil may be an effective treatment in controlling infections.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another powerful solution designed to fight back against bacteria. This antimicrobial substance can be effective against various infections. Research conducted in India showed that tea tree oil combined with eucalyptus can fight staph and E. coli infections. These studies suggest that an immediate effect occurs upon application. It can also have an ongoing impact from an antimicrobial perspective as well. The effects offer a slow-release healing process over a 24-hour period. This means that the oils continue to work within the body after the initial application.
Treating the Brain with Essential Oils
There are various elements involved in the treatment of Lyme disease with essential oils. One common approach begins with examining problems in the brain. As mentioned previously, untouched Lyme infections can quickly progress. Often, the result is mental and emotional responses that impact the memory and concentration.
“Brain fog” is a term given to people with Lyme who suffer from sluggish or reduced mental clarity because of the bacteria. Brain fog can be quite common amongst people infected with Lyme and is commonly referred to as “cognitive dysfunction.” The severity of this “brain fog” varies greatly from case to case.
Since Borrelia Burgdorferi can persist in the brains of chronic Lyme sufferers, it’s important to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. Getting a significant amount of sleep can be one of the best ways to drain your brain. Sleep is the only time when the brain can drain glymphatic fluids. To aid this process, a drop of frankincense oil with a carrier like coconut oil can be beneficial. Place this mixture against the forehead and temple before bed. I’ve seen numerous clients get significant relief from using this simple technique. Frankincense has long been a powerful essential oil for brain treatment. It supports mood, improves focus, and reduces distractions.
Other essential oils useful for brain treatment include:
1. Lemon Oil
Citrus oils like lemon are highly uplifting to the body and mind. When used aromatically, lemon promotes purification and physical energy. The invigorating fragrance of lemon is warming, and many clinical studies suggest the use of lemon for managing mood and stress.
2. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint is yet another popular oil which can be effective for stimulating the mind in patients with Lyme disease. The scent of peppermint oil can assist with concentration and focus. Some people also find that peppermint oil is beneficial when it comes to mental performance and concentration.
Remember that every person with Lyme disease is different. Not all will show all the common Lyme symptoms described above, suffer from deficiencies, or deal with high amounts of stress. That’s why customization, patience, and being open-minded are important. Different methods for Lyme disease treatment work for different people, so don’t lose hope.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your Lyme disease symptoms. here’s what I recommend:
1. Focus first on changing your diet. Reduce nutrient deficiencies, improve gut health, and lower your intake of harmful ingredients that are found in processed/packaged foods.
2. Make sure to take it easy on yourself. Give yourself rest, sleep nine hours a night, reduce stress, and address emotional issues. Remember that stress, guilt, anger, and frustration only make things worse.
3. Try different supplements. Listen to your body, and try to pay close attention to what works bet.
Naturally overcoming Lyme disease can take time, so remember to not just treat Lyme, but instead focus on getting your body into a healing state for good.
We’re offering 10% Off Essential Oils in our Roanoke chiropractic office through August 23. Stop in our office to stock up on your favorites or to choose a few new oils to try.
Daryl C. Rich, D.C., C.S.C.S.