This easy-to-read guide is packed with useful information
By Dorothy Kupcha Leland
April 25, 2023
Hacking Lyme Disease: An Action Guide to Wellness is a compilation of articles from Dr. Marty Ross’s informative website “treatlyme.net.”
It covers a wide range of topics, including what he considers the best herbal and prescription antibiotic treatments, what to do if your previous treatments have failed to get you well, and a discussion of many alternative therapies (both pro and con).
It is not a guide to treating yourself. Dr. Ross strongly advises you to discuss these matters with your Lyme-literate practitioner. But it answers a lot of questions that Lyme patients may have, including about many alternative treatments.
The Ross Lyme Support Protocol
He outlines his own treatment guidelines for chronic Lyme and related infections, which he calls The Ross Lyme Support Protocol. He says it’s designed to:
Boost the immune system,
Kill the infections, and
protect and repair from the harmful effects of the infections and the herbal and prescription antibiotics.
Dr. Ross emphasizes that treating Lyme disease is complicated. “The infection triggers an immune system cytokine reaction that affects most organs and systems of the body,” he writes. “In my experience, the great majority of people can recover if they address each of the steps in The Ross Lyme Support Protocol.”
He refers to anything that kills Lyme and related infections as “antigerms.” These herbal and prescription antigerms include:
Antibiotics for bacteria like Borrelia (Lyme), Bartonella, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Clostridium difficile;
Antifungals for intestinal yeast overgrowth;
Antiparasitic agents for Babesia and hidden intestinal parasites, and
Antivirals for chronic infections like mononucleosis and human herpesvirus 6.
However, his action steps encompass much more than just trying to eliminate bacteria. He includes recommendations regarding sleep, diet, controlling inflammation, hormones, exercise, detoxification and more.
He also discusses complicating factors such as yeast infections, mold toxin illness, and mast call activation syndrome.
A unique aspect of Hacking Lyme Disease is how it incorporates information from LymeDisease.org’s MyLymeData research project. More than 17,000 Lyme patients participate in MyLymeData, providing feedback about their treatment experiences.
Dr. Ross includes MyLymeData findings in his discussion of prescription antibiotic use as well as a wide variety of alternative medical treatments.
This easy-to-read guide is packed with lots of useful information.
A flying instructor, who held a Class 1 Medical, died inflight while flying with a qualified pilot. The pilot thankfully was able to land the aircraft safely. A post-mortem concluded that the instructor died from acute cardiac failure. And UNLV football player Ryan Keeler’s death is being investigated by Las Vegas authorities after the 20-year-old was found unresponsive in bed in a studio apartment.
Zoe Green, 26-years-old from Kettering, was found dead on the floor in her bathroom by her mother. The mother-of-three has died alongside her unborn baby boy after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. Meanwhile, a Jackson State football player, Kaseem Vauls suffers cardiac arrest at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He was resuscitated, but remains in critical condition. Doctors have told his father, William Vauls that his heart was functioning at 10-15%.
In the August 2022 James Gill paper titled “Autopsy Histopathologic Cardiac Findings in 2 adolescents following the second COVID-19 vaccine dose” (click here), two teenage boys died in their sleep within the first week after receiving the 2nd Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose. Both boys were pronounced dead at home.
Sudden deaths of Canadian children have skyrocketed in recent months. I have tracked these deaths since November 2022, when healthy Canadian children began to die from influenza, strep, myocarditis, blood clots, strokes, sudden deaths while playing sports and sudden deaths in their sleep (!)
I have been overwhelmed with the sheer number of these sudden deaths recently and this will be my last report of this kind.
The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine status in many of these tragic cases is unknown. Some of these children were mandated to have COVID-19 mRNA vaccines to play sports or attend University or College. While it is unknown in how many of these cases mRNA toxicity played a major factor, even ONE child death due to mRNA vaccine damage and injury, is one death too many. (See link for article)
Canadian politicians, Public Health Officials and healthcare leaders committed many serious crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, but one of the most heinous was the forced COVID-19 mRNA vaccination of healthy child athletes in 2021-2022 so they could continue to play sports. Here are some of Canada’s youngest athletes who died suddenly in the past 3 months. (See link for article)
Dr. Anthony Emanuel Chifor grew up in Windsor, Ontario. His family, like mine, was from Slovakia and had emigrated to Canada to find a better life.
He graduated from University of Windsor where he was celebrated as an Outstanding Scholar and a Lead Gold Medallion Scholar, earning his B.Sc. in Biology and Biochemistry with Great Distinction and was part of the Dean’s Honour Roll.
He was studying medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, in Detroit Michigan (USA), when he was forced to take three COVID-19 vaccines to continue his medical training.
He was in the process of completing his 3rd year of medical school when he died suddenly at the age of 25, on January 17, 2023.
He is currently the youngest Canadian doctor death in my database.
According to my research, deaths of Canadian doctors under the age of 30 increased by 900% in 2022 compared to the 2019-2020 average.
His medical school continues to enforce its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Overall Canadian physician mortality in 2022 was 53% higher than 2019, however, as with all excess mortality data in highly COVID-19 vaccinated jurisdictions, this mortality is heavily skewed towards the younger age groups, with the youngest doctors – medical students or medical residents under age 30 dying at a 900% higher rate in 2022, compared to the 2019/2020 average. (See link for article and pictures of all the deceased doctors forced to get the clot shot.)
Dr. McCullough Issues Three Bits of Advice for Those Who Took the COVID-19 Shots
Adverse effects appear to be cumulative. DO NOT GET ANYMORE SHOTS.
Be vigilant, especially for symptoms of blood clots and heart damage.
Detoxify your body. Nattokinase is currently being studied but there are no RCTs. Preclinical trials show it degrades the toxic spike protein.
It should also be pointed out that although German and Spanish scientists have found toxic components in the shots, ingredients vary considerably from batch to batch, with some being highly toxic, while others might be nothing more than saline, or a true placebo. So, there’s always hope.
How to lift brain fog and boost your immune system
By Lonnie Marcum
Both viruses and bacteria can invade the brain. All too frequently, patients with lingering symptoms following infection complain of “brain fog.”
Brain fog describes the feeling of mental confusion, forgetfulness, memory loss, lack of motivation, inability to focus, and/or difficulty concentrating.
A simple technique known as lymphatic drainage massage may help to clear the fog and boost your immune system at the same time.
Patients with brain fog often report “drawing a blank” when trying to remember the name of a friend, family member or pet; forgetting what they were going to do; or getting lost on the way home or to a familiar location. Brain fog can also be associated with symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.
Prolonged brain fog can be caused by a variety of factors, including sleep disturbance, certain medications, head injury, environmental toxins, inflammation and infection—which is the case in many individuals with “Lyme brain.”
In 2011, researchers at the University of California, Davis were able to show how Bb invades the lymph nodes within 24 hours after infection. They later discovered how it causes abnormalities in the lymph tissues and impairs the immune system.
A more recent study suggests that the choroid plexus may play a role in how Borrelia infections affect the nervous system. The choroid plexus is found within the ventricles near the center of the brain. It produces and filters cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the clear fluid that circulates around the brain and spinal cord.
Another important study from Tulane University found spirochetes that cause Lyme disease in the autopsied brain tissue of a patient who had been aggressively treated with antibiotics. This demonstrated that infection can persist despite antibiotic treatment.
Even if the Borrelia spirochetes don’t completely penetrate the brain, they are frequently present in the meninges. These are three protective layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Infection of the meninges is associated with increases in inflammatory cytokines, and meningitis, a swelling of the meninges.
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S. and Europe. The spread of Bb to the central nervous system causing Lyme neuroborreliosis occurs in approximately 10–15% of all cases of Lyme disease. In the U.S., one of the most frequent manifestations of Lyme neuroborreliosis is lymphocytic meningitis.
Lyme lymphocytic meningitis is swelling of the meninges with the infiltration of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) into the CSF. Symptoms may include fever, headache, neck pain/stiffness, sensitivity to light and cognitive impairment.
Two Circulatory Systems
There are two circulatory systems in our bodies: the cardiovascular system and the lymphatic system.
The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and blood vessels (arteries, veins, capillaries). Basically, arteries carry oxygenated blood and nutrients away from the heart to every tissue in the body, while veins carry used blood back to the heart and lungs in a continuous loop. Capillaries are the small vessels where the arteries and veins connect.
The lymphatic system is a secondary circulatory system. It works separately but in conjunction with the cardiovascular system. When working properly, lymphatics only move in one direction—towards the heart. Included in the lymphatic system are small bean-shaped structures called lymph nodes. Depending on one’s age and sex, there are 400-700 lymph nodes throughout the body with main clusters found in the neck, armpits, chest, abdomen and groin.
T-cells (T-lymphocytes) – play a crucial role in cell-mediated immunity;
B-cells (B-lymphocytes) – produce antibodies that help fight pathogens;
Dendritic cells – present antigens to T-cells, activating the immune system;
Macrophages – engulf and digest foreign matter, cellular debris, and pathogens;
Natural killer cells – attack abnormal (cancerous) or infected cells;
Plasma cells – produce and secrete antibodies.
As bacteria and viruses enter the lymph nodes, the immune cells work to identify and remove them. The more fluid that moves through the lymph nodes, the more immune cells will be produced. From there, the waste is filtered out through the liver and kidneys and the lymph is returned to the blood stream in a continuous cycle.
Unlike the cardiovascular system, which is powered by the heart, the lymphatic system lacks a central pump. Thus, it relies on muscle contractions to circulate lymph. To keep lymph moving through the system, you must drink plenty of water and be active enough to move the fluids through the body.
However, many patients with persistent symptoms of Lyme suffer from chronic fatigue, making activity and traditional exercise nearly impossible—which was the case with my daughter.
When my daughter was immobile due to chronic illness, I used three things to help with lymph drainage: passive range of motion exercises, medical grade compression stockings, and manual lymph drainage massage. These were all things I’d been taught as a physical therapist (PT).
Later we worked with a PT who specialized in chronic fatigue syndrome. She helped my daughter design a full body lymph drainage massage technique she continues to use to this day.
[Note: While you can learn to do all these things on your own, I highly recommend scheduling an appointment with a licensed physical therapist to learn the proper technique for each. PT is covered by most insurance.]
Whether an infection is active, persistent, dormant, or the dead remnants of previous illness, it can produce inflammatory waste products that the body must try to clear through the circulatory system.
Lymphatic drainage massage is a therapeutic technique that uses gentle, rhythmic strokes to stimulate the flow of lymph fluids in a specific direction through the body.
Whole body lymph drainage massage helps reduce inflammation and remove waste products. It also helps stimulate the immune system and allows the movement of basic hormones needed for rest and healing.
Lymphatic drainage massage is similar to deep cleaning your home. It’s like clearing the cobwebs out of the corners and the dust bunnies out from under the bed. When the lymph nodes are plugged, they slow the flow of lymphatic fluid. Leaving those nodes clogged and swollen impairs the healing process.
Never underestimate the value of keeping the lymphatic system functioning.
The Glymphatic System
In the brain, the lymphatic clearance pathway is called the glymphatic system—a pathway that was only recently discovered.
Maiken Nedergaard is a Danish neuroscientist who works at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. In 2012, she first identified the existence of the network of lymphatic vessels in the brain that eliminate toxins via cerebrospinal fluid. Prior to this, no one knew how the brain cleared waste and infections. Nedergaard created the word “glymphatic” to represent the relationship between the glial cells and the lymphatic system of the brain.
Nedergaard discovered that the glymphatic system is responsible for removing byproducts of infection, including amyloid beta. It’s a protein that can build up in the brain and is associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
The glymphatic system is most active during uninterrupted deep sleep. This is one reason why sleep is so important for overall brain health and why sleep deprivation can exacerbate neurodegenerative diseases.
Head/Neck Lymphatic Self-Massage
[Note: If you have any contraindications listed below, please speak to your doctor before performing this procedure.]
When doing lymphatic drainage massage, you always want to start by opening the lymph valves closest to the heart first, work your way outwards, then back in towards the heart. The first time you do this type of massage I recommend going low and slow — maybe 10 – 20 motions of each of the following steps. Later, if no adverse reactions, you can increase to 50 repetitions of each step.
Step 1. From a comfortable seated position, begin by gently pulsing the lymphatic nodes at the base of your neck, the soft space just above the collarbones. These nodes need to be opened before anything can move down from the head/neck.
Step 2. Move your fingers higher up the neck to the groove just behind your ears. With palms flat, pull the skin gently towards the front and all the way down to the center of your neck where it meets the “V” between the collarbones. (P.S. If your sinuses and/or ears pop and you feel like swallowing, you are doing it right.)
Step 3. Make the “Spock” hand sign. Place your middle and index finger behind the ears and the ring and pinky finger in front of the ears and gently pull downwards.
Step 4. Move your hands around the back of the head/neck to the base of the skull and gently pull forward.
Step 5, 6, and 7 is the first three steps in reverse: Perform steps 3, 2 and 1, pulling all the fluid down towards the collarbones.
This is the video I most frequently use to teach people this simple beginner’s self-drainage massage technique.
Ananti-inflammatory diet, full of high quality proteins, fresh fruits/veggies and fiber, and low in processed foods, sugar, gluten and dairy.
Vitamin B, vitamin C andvitamin D are also vital to immune health,
I always recommend speaking to your treating clinician before beginning a new treatment method. Contraindications to lymphatic massage include acute infection, cardiac edema, cancer, blood clots (DVT), bleeding conditions, kidney failure, bronchitis, uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Find a Lymphology Certified Specialist through LANA.
Self-help: The Concise Perrin Technique: A Handbook for Patients. By Dr. Raymond Perrin. (A practical companion to The Perrin Technique 2E: How to diagnose and treat CFS/ME and fibromyalgia via the lymphatic drainage of the brain.)
LymeSci is written by Lonnie Marcum, a Licensed Physical Therapist and mother of a daughter with Lyme. She served two terms on a subcommittee of the federal Tick-Borne Disease Working Group. Follow her on Twitter: @LonnieRhea Email her at: email@example.com.
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Dr. Steven Harris, a physician specializing in Lyme at Pacific Frontier Medical, was guest speaker as part of our Distinguished Speaker Series. His presentation on the complexity of tick-borne diseases is transcribed below to share his invaluable insights into novel treatment options for those living with chronic/persistent Lyme and other intractable infections that severely curtail patients’ quality of life, bringing hope and restoring health to many. Note: This transcribed presentation has been edited for clarity.
What is “Precision Medicine”?
“The concept of precision medicine, which is a growing area, is where we look at an individual and try to create a tailored plan for that person. I think many doctors wish that we could have a ‘cookbook’ approach to medicine that would work for our patients. But unfortunately, that approach doesn’t work. Luckily, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are doctors offering precision medicine including Dr. Sunjya Schweig in Berkeley, Dr. Christine Green, with us at Pacific Frontier Medical, and Dr. Eric Gordon, at Gordon Medical Associates in Marin and others. And thankfully, we have Stanford and UCSF (our local medical centers) that we work peripherally with. In addition, the Open Medicine Foundation is making great strides in understanding illness and Dr. Mike Snyder’s group at Stanford who are working on multi omics for chronic fatigue that track an individual patient’s data.
“These doctors are working in their own fields, not necessarily just tick-borne diseases, but our work overlaps. For example, the Snyder Lab multi-omic study involves genomics, epigenomics, metabolomics, where they are looking at tons of data and assimilating a lot of this different data to try to create treatment plans that work for the individual, because of the fact that a ‘cookbook’ approach doesn’t work for this group of chronic complex patients. For example, we look at someone’s multi-ome and the parts that make them up, including their microbiome, epigenome among many others, which is becoming a bigger and more exciting field. One of the practical aspects we try to determine is how to address an individual’s level of inflammation, the diversity of their personal bacterial flora, and how to help compensate for any deficiencies—or over abundances—that help contribute to disease.
“Precision medicine doctors are looking at as much data as we can, but we are also learning to incorporate treatments that illustrate how our bodies interact with an ever more toxic world, such as with glyphosate and organophosphates, toxic metals, among hundreds of others harmful agents. Some may argue that electromagnetic sensitivity or electromagnetic stressors are also affecting people. This needs more research and is still a very young field, but what providers report is that electromagnetic sensitivity does affect many patients. In addition, if we look at some of the old stalwarts, such as mold, actinomyces, and other biotoxins, these can contribute significantly to a patient’s burden of illness. So, taking a very detailed approach to looking at what external stressors someone has is really important.
Human Energy and Mitochondrial Function
“Another nascent area that is probably going to become bigger is mitochondrial work, i.e., mitochondrial function—at least in the ME/CFS world—which translates too many other areas, including the Lyme and co-infection world, because illness and wellness is fundamentally all about energy. The concept is that if we have enough energy to mobilize our immune systems and get ourselves to detoxify, and to absorb nutrients, the body will be able to function effectively on its own. The goal of treatment is to ease the body to do what it needs to do by itself without so much external intervention. That is one of the subtle things that we’re learning as we do this. The approach in the past has been, ‘there’s an infection and we want to knock the infection out,’ but many times we have discovered that healing doesn’t work that way.
“Dr. Eric Gordon describes the healing exchange as being like a dance that the provider helps the patient do with various treatments. You try to tease out the way forward to get on the right path, like finding that yellow brick road. And if we are able to do that leg work early on to eliminate the stressors, evaluate and optimize the mitochondrial dysfunction, etc., then we can often take a much more direct path to wellness.
“What is exciting is that there are new tests in the research world that assess mitochondrial function. Seahorse testing, for example, currently in the research phase, looks at ATP production and free phosphate production. We’ve been using mitochondrial muscle biopsies primarily to evaluate mitochondria in the past, but there’s more to investigate regarding the way energy is made at a cellular level. In the near future more research is going to be examining the inner mitochondrial membrane to watch how the very basic pieces of electron chemistry are translating to a cell and then translating to the organism as a whole.
Telomeres and Cellular Aging
“Dr. Horvath and a group at Stanford recently wrote a paper focused on decreasing cellular aging using things like growth hormone and DHEA, and metformin (a diabetes drug), to try to decrease the age of cells. There’s also a lot of talk in medical fields about telomeres and their relationship with cellular senescence. The hard part is, how do we translate this when a patient comes into the office and put burgeoning research into actual practice? Much of this is not going to be FDA approved as treatments for perhaps the next 10 or 15 years. So, part of the approach to addressing some of these very complicated patients is working in a partnership with them, because we don’t have the answers. We can work towards the likely answers, but sometimes we have to do it with very short steps, and with a patient who is deeply engaged in the treatment process.
It’s like a dance that the provider helps the patient do with various treatments. You try to tease out the way forward to get on the right path, like finding that yellow brick road.
“This is a very different model than we’re used to. When I grew up, the doctor told you what treatments to take. You took the treatment. Then, you went back and reported your symptoms. This doesn’t seem to work for this very complicated group of patients. These patients also happen to be some of the most savvy, educated, well-researched, intelligent people, mostly because they’ve been through so much and have seen so many doctors. By the time they come to one of us, they may have seen 20 or 30 doctors. So, we have to offer them something fresh and new that also has a high likelihood of actually working.
“On top of the physical issues, we must also consider the psychological burden that chronic illness has had on people. This may seem simple and obvious, but it is such an important piece: We have to address the trauma. And sometimes we can’t address trauma head on. We have to address it in a very circuitous but meaningful way. There are a lot of non-pharmacological, non-ingestible ways to do this: Through the Dynamic Neural Retraining SystemTM (DNRS), through vagus nerve training, through neurofeedback, neuro stimulation, and through various other methods. There is a new device called the PoNS device, which will hopefully become widely available very soon, which is a tongue neurostimulation device. It is FDA approved for head trauma, but it also works for post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s an amazing way to use electricity with neuro signaling to the amygdala and help to retrain the brain to get out of that stress response. A scientist in Wisconsin, Yuri Danilov, developed it and the company that owns it is called Helius Medical technologies. They’re trying to get FDA approval for it, and they are making it available to physical therapists. It’s mentioned in Dr. Norman Doidge’s book The Brain’s Way of Healing. I’ve seen it used with some patients, and it’s phenomenal.
Regenerative Therapies and Exosomes
“In addition to the cell aging and telomere lengthening concept, one area that does seem to be slightly farther ahead is the field of regenerative therapies. Regenerative therapies include exosomes, PRP, and alpha 2-macroglobulin, among others. Some of these chemicals are injected. Oftentimes, we use it mostly for tendon issues and for osteoarthritis and for different orthopedic situations. But exosomes, especially, have other uses. There are many doctors who are using exosomes in parallel to stem cell therapies and there are many types of stem cells from autologous cells that come from your own body—to umbilical, to fetal, all the way to human embryonic. There is a book by Amy Scher titled, This is How I Save My Life. She has become a notable author who wrote about her journey through India, where she received human embryonic stem cells, and went from a very severe neurologic case of Lyme to being quite well now.
When I grew up, the doctor told you what treatments to take. You took the treatment. Then, you went back and reported your symptoms. This doesn’t seem to work for this very complicated group of patients.
“These various therapies can be amazing if used properly, but we need more studies. Much of this is outside of the purview of many mainstream practitioners and health plans and the medical establishment at large. But many of these treatment approaches can be done safely and effectively, and definitely have their place for decreasing that overall illness burden. One of the thoughts about stem cells used to be that ‘Oh, the stem cells can change into whatever cell, and then the cells can regenerate this way or that way.’ But what we now think is that it’s probably more to do with the cell signaling chemicals, and the growth factors, that are really at play here. Exosomes don’t have any nucleic acid in them, it’s just those chemicals themselves. Many people are using those very successfully and it’s still early, obviously, but there are some very neat ways to do it, especially with some of the structural conditions such as CCI.
The Body’s Structure and Craniocervical Instability
“CCI is Craniocervical Instability, which is a fairly new conceptual understanding, but as a condition it’s been with us for a long time. It is where micro shear forces are happening in the neurovascularly structurally dense area where the skull meets the cervical spine, which can lead to lots of inflammatory responses. Mast cells, which are some of the allergy producing cells, are involved, among many other immune cells. A very big inflammatory response occurs when there is a combination of an infection, such as Borrelia, Babesia or Bartonella, mycoplasma, viruses, et cetera, usually plus head trauma, or a hypermobility syndrome such as Ehlers-Danlos; it’s one of the part of a triad for these people who are a setup for CCI. Dr. David Kaufman is an expert in the area who helped popularize the idea of CCI, and it’s been absolutely amazing for some of these patients who have especially severe chronic fatigue. The ME/CFS world are early adopters in considering it, but for many Lyme patients and practitioners, it is not yet on their radar. It should be because fatigue is one of the very significant presentations of chronic Lyme patients. I’ve seen four or five patients who have had this surgery with pretty astounding results. But what we’re trying to do is get away from a fusion surgery if at all possible. That’s where the exosomes can theoretically come in, especially properly placed injections of exosomes and PRP and these other regenerative therapies to stabilize an area in the cervical spine. The inflammation goes down with many of these injections but getting the benefits to continue when people move their heads frequently is another matter.
Much of this is outside of the purview of many mainstream practitioners and health plans and the medical establishment at large. But many of these treatment approaches can be done safely and effectively, and definitely have their place for decreasing that overall illness burden.
“Obviously, this is a complicated and very new field, and the challenge is that the neurosurgery boards in America don’t allow surgery for fatigue. You need something like a chiari malformation or an instance where a vital system is being compromised before the neurosurgeon can actually do surgery for this. So, sometimes by the time they do surgery, the patient can be significantly decompensated. The results aren’t quite as good as they would have been if we could have done it earlier. But in addition to the environment, genomics, and metabolomics, and microbiome, a way to approach some of these pathogens is by looking at a patient’s body structure—CCI being one of those aspects.
Jaw Misalignment, CCI and Spinal Issues
“Another important structural approach is to investigate jaw misalignment. We can see when people have a bite that’s ‘off.’ There’s been quite a bit of work on this, mostly with the craniosacral folks, but there’s some very good science that shows that every time we speak, and every time we bite that we’re moving our cerebral spinal fluid, and if it moves and flows in an aberrant way, then the whole nervous system becomes ‘off’ as it were. Sometimes just by repositioning the jaw we can make an incredible impact on patients. I’ve seen absolute magic. It’s not usually something we do first, but it is something that we now think about, especially with the chronic complex illness. We look at things like root canals, and of course, that’s old news, but it’s still important looking at some areas of surgery and surgical scars and things like titanium rods, etc.
One insult by itself isn’t probably going to do anything. Throw that insult in with the Lyme, with the environment, with the structural issues, and you start seeing how complicated some of these patients are.
“Therefore, jaw misalignment along with CCI and other spinal issues, such as scoliosis and different ways the spine presents in space can have very profound implications for a chronic illness. Let’s not forget, these patients are coming to me, and they typically also have infections. So, the infections are probably one of those rate-limiting steps. There are a lot of people who have scoliosis and who have jaw misalignment and CCI, who aren’t actually sick. But when you throw in what these infections are doing to people, and you combine that with the structural issues, then you start seeing the picture come together about the infections. And it’s not just about Lyme and babesia species and Bartonella and ehrlichia and anaplasma, relapsing fever, borrelia, etc. There are a lot of other organisms that come into play: there are a lot of GI parasites, brain parasites, worms, and amoebas of all kinds that compromise the human system. Not that they’re necessarily making people sick by themselves, but they change the conditions in the body. One insult by itself isn’t probably going to do anything. Throw that insult in with the Lyme, with the environment, with the structural issues, and you start seeing how complicated some of these patients are. And so, then it becomes a question of, ‘Okay, let’s evaluate all these different things that could be happening.’ I look at it as being like an onion. What’s the top layer of the onion? How do you pull that top layer off and then go to the next one and then finally get to the core? It’s a model that often works. It’s just sometimes slow, but it’s better to be slow and complete than trying to race to the finish and then having to do it over again.
Viruses and Body Decompensation
“And then of course viruses are another piece of the puzzle, that are becoming bigger and bigger. We just happen to be right in the midst of a very large viral thing right now. Viruses have their own problems, and they can cause the body to decompensate on its own. But in the case of things like Epstein Barr and human herpesvirus 6, enteroviruses and varicella, they can be very opportunistic. We know about opportunistic viruses through the HIV world. The immune system is typically able to surveil these opportunistic infections really well. However, if the body becomes weakened, whether through the immune system already being weak or there’re being too many stressors on it, those viruses can take on a life of their own. Dr. Jose Montoya earlier and now the current folks at Stanford in the chronic fatigue center are looking closely at human herpesvirus 6. The late, great Paul Cheney, who was so important in putting chronic fatigue on the map, was looking at human herpesvirus 6 primarily, while John Chia has been very involved with enteroviruses. These different viruses definitely can contribute to fatigue and contribute to various related symptoms. But, in my view, they are often purely opportunistic and come up because the body is decompensated. So just treating those, in my experience, hasn’t been fully effective, but it is very important to look at them in the overall scheme of what we’re doing for patients.
mTOR Agents and Autophagy
“At an ILADS conference a few years back, Dr. Steven Phillips did an amazing talk on the use of mTOR agents, (mammalian target of Rapamycin). This process has to do with how our cells can clean the body by degrading older and dead cells. People who can clean their body of debris have a much higher chance to heal and recover. People who have high levels of autophagy can heal, because there’s cellular turnover and new healthy cells taking the place of old or unruly cells. There are many agents that we’re starting to look at for people who have been sluggish, who have been sick for many years, and have been through many different treatments and have been stagnant. Trying to increase one’s autophagy through the use of things like Rapamycin is starting to get attention nationwide. At the 2022 ILADS conference in Orlando, I met with many people who are starting to use this cancer drug in low doses to try to increase the body’s ability to rid itself of debris. Other things include Honokiol, which is a magnolia leaf, and doxycycline, and many other agents increase autophagy including methylene blue. This is one of those areas that we’re exploring as a group, and one of the ways that we approach these complicated patients. Vitamin D is another example of an mTOR agent.
If the body becomes weakened, whether through the immune system already being weak or there’re being too many stressors on it, those viruses can take on a life of their own.
Toxic Load, Nutrient Status and Environmental Stressors
“One way to approach patients is to look at what’s happening with their ability to absorb nutrients and then get rid of waste i.e., absorption and detox. And it always comes back to that for many of us in the day-to-day working with these patients: how do we increase their absorption and nutrients? Their ability to tolerate nutrients? Their ability to get rid of the stuff that they don’t need? One way to do that is through membrane chemistry and using different kinds of fats to flush out some of the debris, on the so-called classic lipid bilayer on the surface of cells. There were common, simple methods used in the past to just detox patients and assist them in draining and elimination that we used to employ, but simple strategies no longer work in the most complex subset of patients. Oftentimes there is too much happening in their metabolism. There’s too much junk that is causing their bodies to react. Sometimes the reactivity is so profound that nothing happens if we can’t fix that reactivity.
Sometimes, this over reactivity is related to infection. Sometimes it’s because there’s too many bad chemicals in the body. With all of these environmental exposures that people have, a way for the body to respond to these stressors is by overreacting. While it could be driven by just the infections, it’s usually a complicated causation as to why people have ‘mast cell activation.’ We learned about it through a tumor of mast cells called mastocytosis. This is a little bit different because people don’t have these tumors, but they elicit an infection-related, allergy-producing response. It’s the body trying to help itself, but it does so ineffectively and in a way that increases a person’s suffering. David Kaufman and some other folks have found a triad of Ehlers-Danlos or hypermobility syndrome with what’s called POTS or orthostatic tachycardia with mast cell activation. We’re finding groups of these people where this hypersensitivity syndrome is actually the first thing that we have to assess. Unless that is successful the rest of the treatment process can’t really ensue. Again, we used to just do some detox, get patients prepared, and then work from the top down, working on the biggest thing like worms, then go to parasites, then go to metals, then go to babesia, then go to Lyme, etc. Now that initial dance to diminish the reactivity can become the bulk of the treatment regime. On the positive side, once we get past that part, the rest of the treatments can often be done faster, with very positive results, where patients develop momentum in approaching wellness.
In conclusion, these are a few different ways to address this most complicated, most difficult group of patients. I truly believe that everybody can get better, and I think that sharing that hope with the patient is a way for them to be able to hold on during what is a marathon for many of them. Not everybody needs to take every step, but the steps are there, and it can be done.
– Dr. Steven Harris
This blog is part of our BAL Happenings series. Bay Area Lyme Foundation provides reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. For more information about Bay Area Lyme, including our research and prevention programs, go to www.bayarealyme.org.
How to Use Detox as an Effective Tool for Lyme Recovery
Wed. Jan. 18, 2023
8 PM EST
Live Webinar + Q&A: Lyme Detox
Chronic Lyme patients know that following the right detoxification plan is vital to supporting the body’s ability to heal and avoiding or minimizing Herxheimer reactions that commonly occur with microbial die-off. But finding the right plan amidst all the products and programs out there can be downright confusing.
So which detox methods are best for removing toxins like mold, heavy metals, and bacterial die-off from the body, and when is the right time to put a Lyme detox protocol into action?
Join a live webinar with Dr. Bill Rawls, author of the bestselling book Unlocking Lyme, as he shares a practical and sustainable approach to Lyme detox at a cellular and whole-body level. He’ll discuss his insights on the safest and most effective ways to naturally minimize the inflow of toxins, maximize the outflow, and speed your recovery.
PLUS: Don’t miss an exclusive gift for webinar attendees, and have your questions ready for a LIVE Q&A on Lyme detox with Dr. Rawls.
In This Webinar, Dr. Rawls Will Discuss:
*Environmental toxins that can overtax the body
*How MTHFR mutations and other genetic factors inhibit your ability to flush toxins
*Lifestyle and diet changes that enhance your body’s natural detoxification processes
*The best time to detox in order to optimize your Lyme treatment regimen
*The best herbs and natural supplements to increase toxin outflow
*Numerous insights during the live Q&A with Dr. Rawls