The official stance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Lyme disease is that it is a tick-borne illness that it completely treatable by a short round (typically no more than three weeks) of antibiotics. While true in broad strokes, this position is hardly useful for those who do not respond well to conventional medicine or who are still suffering from side effects years after the infection. Nonetheless, the medical industry refuses to acknowledge or accept alternative therapeutic modalities, claiming that these suggestions contain no “biologic plausibility.”
It is true that there is not a lot of scientific research on alternative treatments for Lyme disease — but that’s because no one wants to fund them. If there is no money for research, there is no research, and nothing is ever disputed or validated. Thankfully, there are still people out there who prefer to look at alternative, natural ways to treat various diseases.
Althea Northage-Orr, L.Ac., RH (AHG) is a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine and says that Lyme disease should be treated as a whole, with patients needing to address different aspects of the illness to ensure a full recovery. This deviates from allopathic medicine in that it not only addresses the bacterial growth in the body but focuses on strengthening the immune system as well.
There are four aspects to this more holistic approach to Lyme disease treatment.
- Vitamin C (and lots of it!) — Really, what can this vitamin NOT do? Vitamin C therapy has been shown to be effective for a variety of illnesses, from polio to cancer. It finds its use again in the treatment of tick-borne diseases, including Lyme. Vitamin C reduces the inflammatory effects of Lyme endotoxins while boosting the body’s ability to fight off illnesses.
- Change in diet — The pathogen thrives on sugar. To force Lyme disease into latency, deprive it of its food source. The best diet for this is the ketogenic diet wherein ketones become the cellular food source rather than glucose.
- Supplements that support neurocognitive function — Lyme disease causes shifts in neural connections, which explains why many patients complain of paralysis and weakness. You can prevent this by supplementing with fish oil, vitamin D, and a good multivitamin. Other nutrients to take include: resveratrol, vitamin B complex, lysine, and CoQ10.
- Botanical medicine — These act as support and augment the usefulness of the three other factors. Traditional Chinese medicine, in particular, could help alleviate many symptoms associated with Lyme disease by regulating the flow of qi (life force). This is usually done by asking the patient to ingest a concoction of various herbs everyday for a few weeks. (Related: Treat Lyme Disease with Over-The-Counter Chinese Herbal Medicines.)
Northage-Orr says that this treatment program is more effective at not only curing the disease, but in protecting the patient from further complications.
On the disease
Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete. Of the three genotypes known to cause the disease, Borrelia burgdorferi — the one carried by deer ticks — is the most common. Research does exist documenting other possible vectors of Lyme disease, including mosquitoes, fleas, and mites. However, the number of cases attributed to these insects are few and far between.
The spirochete is transmitted to humans through bites. The bacterium will then travel through the bloodstream and establish itself in different tissues in the body. Symptoms typically manifest themselves one to two weeks after infection.
Lyme disease is rarely fatal but can be debilitating while its symptoms are being felt.