When it comes to chronic tick-borne infections, the most common being Lyme disease, patients are searching for the treatment plan providing the most rapid recovery. Their treatment may be a blend of antibiotics with natural medications in a complementary fashion or natural medications alone. Chronic Lyme disease may also take a patient on a journey implementing immunotherapies, heavy metal chelation, stem cells, magnetic therapies, hyperthermia therapy (fever induction therapy), essential oils, energy medicine modalities (ex. Reiki) and oxygen enhancement therapies.
As with any other chronic medical conditions, treatments will vary depending on the individual constitution, patient philosophy, access to care, cost, and ability to tolerate treatment. If there are complications along the way like symptoms flares due to treatment causing increased inflammation called Jarisch-Herxheimer response, it’s important to have a very diverse holistic approach to reduce the bumps on the road to recovery. These flares are usually the rule, rather than the exception with treating tick-borne infection. It’s important to support the body, mind and spirit throughout the process because it can be a longer journey than anticipated.
Whatever path of treatment is taken, there should be a sturdy foundation built into the treatment plan that can be taken consistently throughout the process to support the body in its recovery. The Foundational Naturopathic Treatment Plan laid out below is used with most of my adolescent and adult patients currently undergoing treatment for tick borne disease, both with and without antibiotics. Pediatric patients under the age of twelve tend to have a more simplified treatment regime based on ability to swallow medications, compliance with taste sensitivity and medical appropriateness based on age. There is one absolute constant which is the use of probiotics no matter what anti-microbial treatment chosen.
There are changes made based on individual needs co-infections present such as Babesiosis, Bartonella, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Brucellosis, Q-Fever and more. There are also typically multiple strains of the above-mentioned infections which makes confirmation with testing difficult. It’s important to have the knowledge and tools to help assist in your healing journey. The ideas listed below are supportive options, however they are not a replacement for meeting with Lyme Literate Medical Professional to help guide you through the process. They are a set of guidelines if you need a place to start or want to streamline your treatment routine.
10-Step Natural Treatment Plan for Chronic Lyme Disease
The examples given here are just a sampling of options available for treatment. They were chosen because they are the most commonly used and easiest to find in the marketplace.
Get a Probiotic supplement that provides 200–400 billion colony-forming units (CFU); take at lunchtime and before bed. This supplement needs to be taken at a different time from antibiotics—at least two hours before or after. It can be taken on empty stomach or with food. You may need to take higher or lower dose depending on the reaction of the gastrointestinal tract. The goal is to have regular bowel movements daily and no signs or symptoms of a yeast infection. You want it to have a blend of bacterial cultures to support the very heavily populated Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, as well as protective beneficial yeast support to crowd out non-beneficial yeast microbes such as Candida albicans.
2. Saccharomyces boulardii
This is a form of beneficial yeast in the body that crowds out nonbeneficial yeast in your system. This would be best to take if yeast antibodies are found on lab work or if you have gas/bloating, itching of the skin, sugar cravings, rashes, and uncomfortable vaginal discharge.
3. Herbal Antimicrobial Formulations
The best formula for you is based on your individual needs, and may be either a single-herb form or a combination formula. This can be in liquid and capsule form. Common herbal anti-microbials are Allicin (Garlic), Lomatium, Berberine compounds, Olive Leaf Extract, Oregano oil, Skullcap, Sarsaparilla, Monolaurin, Banderol, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Black Walnut, Astragalus and many more.
4. Detoxification Support Formula
This is to assist the liver and gastrointestinal tract in moving toxins out of the body. It is important to have a combination of herbs to assist in maintaining healthy hepatocytes and improve flow of bile to release toxins. Bitter herbs (dandelion, burdock root, artichoke), Swedish bitters and nutrients to enhance glutathione (cysteine, glutamine, and glycine) will typically be a part of the formulation. Detoxification support can also be in the form of a binder such as bentonite clay or activated charcoal, but be careful to take these away from other medications, as they can significantly decrease absorption.
5. Adrenal Support
The type of support the adrenal glands need depends on whether the glands are to be calmed down or enhanced so their function returns to a healthy level. Those that enhance function are most commonly used; these are taken in the morning. Most commonly seen herbals used in formulations are licorice root, ashwaghandha, holy basil, eleutherococcus, cordycepsand rhodiola.
6. Biofilm Busting Herbals
Examples: Turmeric and garlic, or proteolytic enzymes like serrapeptase or lumbrokinase. Take on an empty stomach and at least two hours before eating, if possible; it’s best to take it daily, even if you must take it with food. This formula breaks up biofilm and also has antimicrobial properties. Breaking up biofilm allows the antimicrobials and your immune system to more effectively treat your infection.
7. Anti-inflammatory Herbal Combination
Take two capsules per day. The main reason we feel symptoms physically is the body’s upregulation of pro-inflammatory signals, called cytokines. Many natural remedies can reduce the production of cytokines, which benefits the musculoskeletal system, neurological system, and cardiovascular system. Good anti-inflammatory herbal combinations include things like turmeric, garlic, quercetin, boswellia, bromelain, black cumin seed oil, and malic acid.
8. Gut Protective Fibers
Gut protective fibers like Konjac glucomannan is a natural dietary fiber that offers protective benefit to the gut with antibiotic use. It is most supportive to Bifidobacterium species (beneficial bacteria) against the use of penicillin and tetracycline medications.
9. Herbal Antifungals
Herbal antifungals combat the overgrowth of yeasts and other non-beneficial funguses in the body. A dose of two to four capsules per day is typical for the majority of formulas on the market, including gentian violet, caprylic acid, pau d’arco, garlic, monolaurin, and berberine.
Take 2,000–4,000 EPA/DHA total fatty acid content per day with food. It is for reduced inflammation, improved blood sugar balance, and improved neurocognition. While EPA/DHA is commonly found in fish oil, fish oil has high concentrations of heavy metals. There are plant-based versions of EPA/DHA that work just as good, such as those extracted from algae.