In the last 20 years, cases of Lyme disease have tripled, as reported by some sources. This disease is caused by bacteria found in certain ticks and can cause individuals to experience a range of chronic symptoms if not treated promptly. The complex and challenging nature of the condition has motivated doctors to explore alternative treatment methods, which has led to significant progress in helping patients recover. Expert opinions suggest that developing a healthy gut microbiome is crucial when it comes to treating Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is a type of illness that is transmitted through blood-feeding arthropods such as mosquitos and lice. It is common knowledge that the overall health of the person who acquires the disease depends on the balance of gut microbes.
Dr. Julia Greenspan, a licensed naturopathic physician with a doctorate in naturopathic medicine specializing in Lyme disease, explained to The Epoch Times that the microbiome is a complex community of microbes that naturally reside on or inside our bodies, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other organisms.
According to Dr. Greenspan, if the microbiome is already compromised, symptoms will be more severe, making it more challenging to treat patients with oral medication.
In the past, chronic Lyme disease was treated with a variety of antibiotics. While they were effective in treating early cases, they have been known to disrupt the body’s natural healing process by creating a microbial imbalance. Rika Keck, a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner, is well aware of the pros and cons of antibiotics.
Her husband was first diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2007 and received a 21-day prescription of doxycycline, which made him very sick at first. However, he appeared to have recovered from the infection.
Restoring the microbiome
New research is shedding light on the impact of Lyme disease on patients’ microbiomes. In a recent study by the American Society for Microbiology, researchers found that patients with chronic Lyme disease have a unique microbiome signature, with over 80% of cases accurately classified based on this signature.
The research showed an increase in Blautia bacteria and a decrease in Bacteroides. The authors concluded that a patient’s immune system plays a crucial role in the development of chronic Lyme disease.
80% of immunity
Dr. Darin Ingels, a naturopathic doctor specializing in Lyme disease treatment, notes that the gut microbiome is responsible for up to 80% of the immune system’s function.
Therefore, merely targeting the microorganisms with antimicrobials is not sufficient for treatment. The disease often disrupts the normal microbiome, exacerbating the dysbiosis in the intestinal tract. Additionally, Lyme disease treatment, particularly with antibiotics, can further worsen the situation.
To restore a healthy balance of gut microbes, it is necessary to consume a clean diet by avoiding processed foods that can impair microbiota health. Instead, it is recommended to replace them with nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods that support the normal growth of large intestine bacteria.
Although dietary changes may be challenging, most patients report improved cognitive function, energy levels, reduced pain in the body, less sinus congestion, and improved digestion.
According to Dr. Ingels, fermented foods can also improve gut health as they are a natural source of probiotics.
Probiotics and butyrate, which is an essential nutrient that supports bacterial growth, are often added to help reestablish a healthy microbiome.
However, it is important to choose well-researched and stable strains of probiotics as many over-the-counter probiotics are dead and do not provide any benefits.
Furthermore, managing stress is also crucial as it can negatively impact the gut microbiome.
Dr. Ingels incorporates various herbs, such as cat’s claw, Artemisia, Japanese knotweed, Cryptolepis, Houttuynia, and Coptis, into his treatment plans for patients. He believes these herbs are clinically effective and don’t pose the same harmful effects as antibiotics, which can damage normal bowel flora or mitochondria.
Additionally, daily movement is an essential aspect of the doctors’ protocols, as exercise has been shown to enhance gut microbiome health. A study examining the benefits of resistance training in patients with chronic Lyme disease found that resistance exercises performed three times a week for four weeks resulted in significant improvements in symptoms.
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