Archive for the ‘Gut Health’ Category

Lyme Detox 101 Basics

https://www.treatlyme.net/guide/lyme-detoxification-101-the-basics  Video Here (Approx. 5 Min)

Updated: 6/13/22

By Dr. Marty Ross

How to Detoxify in Lyme Disease

In this video and written article, I describe basic steps a person can take to detoxify in Lyme disease. The basic steps include:

  • eating organic foods to avoid toxins
  • living in a mold free environment to prevent absorption of mold toxins
  • avoiding toxic chemicals in your home
  • supporting liver detoxification with glutathione
  • promoting regular bowel movements to eliminate toxins
  • drinking plenty of water to support kidney detox and to promote regular bowel movements
  • sweating through sauna or exercise as tolerated
  • binding toxins in the intestines with binders if needed

A Word About Feeling Toxic

Often people report they “feel toxic” in Lyme treatments.  A major cause of feeling toxic is due to excessive cytokines the immune system makes as it tries to control Lyme infection.

A good way to deal with “feeling toxic” is to lower cytokines and work to remove the toxins triggering the cytokines. Read more about how to lower cytokines in Control Cytokines: A Guide to Fix Lyme Symptoms & The Immune System. Two basic steps that support lowering cytokines are to take liposomal curcumin and to use liposomal glutathione.

The Basic Steps to Lyme Detox

Keep Toxins Out

Start with your diet – eat organic foods. These do not contain harmful poisons. For specific diets I recommend see The Best Brain, Inflammation, Pain, Energy, and Detox Diet Ever and Elimination Diet to Find Problem Foods.

Avoid toxins in your environment. This includes mold toxins. Also use green cleaning supplies. The fumes and gasses of toxic cleaning supplies get absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs.

Support Toxin Removal by The Liver, Intestines, and Kidneys

From the blood, toxins are cleaned out of the body by the liver. The liver transforms toxins from fat-based forms to water-based forms by tagging them with water-based chemical groups. In the intestines the tagged toxins are then moved out of our bodies through the stools. However, if a person does not have regular bowel movements, bacteria in the intestines can remove the water-based tag. If this happens, the now fat-based toxins move into the blood. Fiber in the diet and water intake promote regular bowel movements. In addition, fiber can bind the fat-based toxins so that they do not get reabsorbed.

Some use coffee enemas for detox. The tannins in coffee irritate the intestine lining causing bowel movments. There is a very small effect of coffee promoting more toxin release by the liver – but this is quite small. Because they have similar effects promoting bowel movements, I find using fiber and water in the diet is easier than coffee enemas.

Fiber & Water Support Detox

Water. It is important to drink 1/2 of your ideal body weight in ounces daily (ie: a 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces of water a day). This helps to flush the kidneys and promotes regular bowel movements.

Fiber. To bind toxins in the intestines and to promote regular bowel movements have 3 or more servings a day of fiber. Foods rich in fiber are beans, legumes, and whole grains. Apples are also a good source. To determine how much to have in a serving, I advise that a clenched fist is roughly equal to two serving sizes.

Support Liver Detoxification

Liver detoxification requires glutathione. Glutathione is a very powerful antioxidant generated in all cells and used in the liver to detox fat soluble toxins. Faced with toxin excess, the liver can exhaust its glutathione supplies. Most forms of oral glutathione are poorly absorbed. However there are sources designed for improved absorption which microscopically wrap the glutathione in fats called phospholipids. This type is called liposomal glutathione. For more information see Glutathione: The Great Fixer.

In my practice, I find that glutathione is more effective at promoting detox than other products like Nutramedix Burbur and Pinella. I do not recommend these supplements, but go with glutathione instead.

Sweat to Remove Toxins

Sweating through exercise, hot baths, or using infrared saunas can help remove toxins. When you heat up and sweat, toxins move to the liver and some move to your sweat. About 80 percent are cleared by the liver and about 20 percent are removed in the sweat. For more information about saunas and hot baths see Far Infrared Sauna Detox: More Than Sweat.

Use Binders to Remove Toxins

At times it helps to bind toxins in the intestines so they cannot get absorbed into the bloodstream using binders. Binders include bentonite or zeolite clay, activated charcoal, silica, humic acid and fulvic acid. Some companies make products which contain a number of these binders together in one pill.

Probiotics and Detox

Healthy bacteria that line the intestines remove toxins. In Lyme disease it is common to have unhealthy bacteria in the intestines due to herbal or prescription antibiotics and the stress of the illness. Rebuilding the healthy lining with high quality probiotics can help with detox. For more information about probiotics see Probiotics in Lyme Treatment.

Dosages For Supplements in This Article

Glutathione

Liposomal Glutathione 400 to 500 mg 1 to 2 times a day. An example of liposomal glutathione shown to raise cell levels of glutathione is Tri-Fortify by Researched Nutritionals. (3)*

Curcumin

Liposomal Curcumin 500 mg 1 or 2 pills 3 times a day. An example of liposomal curcumin is Meriva 500 SF by Thorne.

Probiotic to Support Healthy Intestinal Function and Detox*

Multi-biome by Researched Nutritionals 1 to 2 pills 1 time a day. This product is a soil-based spore-forming probiotic that includes strains of Bacillus scientifically proven to support intestinal health. It also includes human strains of probiotics too. This product does not require refrigeration.

Binders to Support Detox*

GI Detox + by Biobotanical Research or MycoPul by Researched Nutritionals 1 to 2 pills 1 time a day. Do not take any medicines or supplements beginning 30 min before taking these binders through 2 hours after taking these binders. The reason for this is binders will bind your supplements and prescription medicines too. You can eat any time, but the best time to have a small amount of food or a meal is 30 minutes after taking the binder.

Disclaimer

The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References

  1. Pizzorno, J. The Toxin Solution: How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water, Food, and Products We Use Are Destroying Our Health–AND WHAT WE CAN DO TO FIX IT. New York, NY: HarperCollins; 2017.
  2. Pizzorno J. Glutathione! Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal. 2014;13(1):8-12.
  3. Sinha R, Sinha L, Calcagnotto A, Trushin N, Haley JS, Schell TD, Richie Jr JP. Oral supplementation with liposomal glutathione elevates body stores of glutathione and markers of immune function. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2018;72:105–111.
  4. Lynch, B. Dirty genes. New York, NY: HarperOne; 2018.
  5. Ballatori N, Krance SM, Notenboom S, Shi S, Tieu K, Hammond CL. Glutathione dysregulation and the etiology and progression of human diseases. Biol. Chem. 2009;390:191–214. doi:10.1515/BC.2009.033.
  6. Gulcubuk A, et al. Effects of curcumin on proinflammatory cytokines and tissue injury in the early and late phases of experimental acute pancreatitis.. Pancreatology. 13(4):347-354.
  7. Lee DW, Gardner R, Porter DL, et al. Current concepts in the diagnosis and management of cytokine release syndrome. Blood. 2014;124(2):188-195. doi:10.1182/blood-2014-05-552729.
  8. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. Curcumin. Micronutrient Information Center; Phytochemicals website. lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/curcumin Accessed August 18, 2018.
  9. Lu SC. Glutathione synthesis. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2013;1830:3143-3153
  10. Pall M. Approaches to curing chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, gulf war syndrom, and possibley many others. Townsend Letter. 2010 (Feb/March) http://www.townsendletter.com/FebMarch2010/cureNO0210.html Accessed August 19, 2018
  11. Peacock BN, Gherezghiher TB, Hilario JD. et al. New insights into Lyme disease. Redox Biol. 2015;5:66–70. doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2015.03.002.
  12. Shachar I, Karin N. The dual roles of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in the regulation of autoimmune diseases and their clinical implications. J Leukoc Biol. 2013;93(1):51–61. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0612293.
  13. Zhao F, Gong Y, Hu Y, Lu, M, Wang J, Dong J, Qiu F. Curcumin and its major metabolites inhibit the inflammatory response induced by lipopolysaccharide: Translocation of nuclear factor-κB as potential target. Molecular Medicine Reports. 2015;11:3087-3093. doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2014.3079
  14. Markowiak P, Śliżewska K. Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Human Health. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):1021. Published 2017 Sep 15. doi:10.3390/nu9091021

The Fuss About Intestinal Microbiome in Lyme Treatment

https://www.treatlyme.net/guide/intestinal-microbiome-function-protection-strategies  Video Here  (Approx. 2 Min)

Intestinal Microbiome Function & Protection Strategies in Lyme Disease Treatment

Dr. Marty Ross

Aug. 23, 2022

Intestinal Microbiome Function & Protection Strategies Image

Intestinal Microbiome Considerations in Lyme Treatment

The exponential growth in research on the activity and importance of the intestinal microbiome indicates the important role the bacteria, viruses, yeast, and parasites living in our intestines play in health. This is especially true in chronic illnesses like Lyme disease and tick-related infections.

As a person considers using antimicrobials to treat Lyme and related infections, they must weigh risks and benefits. There is the risk of harm to the gut microbiome. But for most people the benefit of using antimicrobials is a return to a quality life that makes this risk worthwhile.

In this article, I describe the role of the microbiome. I also layout strategies to protect the gut microbiome using

  • herbal antibiotics rather than RX antibiotics when possible,
  • diet,
  • exercise, and
  • probiotics.

Bricks and Mortar of The Intestinal Microbiome

According to intestinal microbiome expert Gomaa:

  • “The intestinal microbiota consists of more than 1500 species, distributed in more than 50 different phyla”.
  • “As a result of their abundance in the digestive tract, bacterial species make up to 60% of the feces dry mass. Fungi, protists, archaea, and viruses are also present in the gut flora, however, less is known about their activities.”

The Institute for Functional Medicine teaches that 90 percent of the genetic material in human bodies comes from the viruses, bacteria, yeast, and parasites that make up the microbiome.

Key Functions of the Intestinal Microbiome

A well balanced microbiome

  • supports a healthy immune system,
  • decreases inflammation,
  • protects against intestinal infections,
  • promotes cell growth and proliferation,
  • supports the blood vessels,
  • regulates the hormonal systems,
  • provides brain and nerve signaling,
  • supports and regulates mental health
  • promotes bone density,
  • provides energy to the body,
  • makes key vitamins and metabolic chemicals,
  • makes neurotransmitters,
  • eliminates toxins,
  • eliminates allergens, and
  • more.

How to Protect the Microbiome in Lyme Disease

Use Herbal or Prescription Antibiotics Only if You Have Symptoms

If someone tests positive for an infection like Lyme, but has no symptoms, I do not recommend herbal or prescription antibiotics. First, the test could be a false positive. Second, even if the test is true, I do not want to disrupt the microbiome and potentially cause more long-term harm down the road.

When Possible Choose Herbal Over Prescription Antibiotics

In my experience, herbal antibiotics cause less disruption of the gut microbiome. I say this because I rarely see intestinal yeast overgrowth infections when someone is on herbal antibiotics. I see intestinal yeast overgrowth infections much more frequently when someone is using prescription antibiotics. The presence of intestinal yeast overgrowth means the microbiome is out of balance.

Unfortunately, I am not able to find any research that supports the idea that herbal antibiotics are less harmful to the gut microbiome – but clinically they seem to be.

In each of my articles on how to treat Lyme and related infections, I provide herbal antibiotic options with a description of the relative chances the herbs will help versus prescription options. For more information see the Infection Treatment Plans chapter on this site.

Emphasize Plant-Based Food

Fiber in plant-based diets supports a healthy microbiome much better than foods found in the SAD (Standard American Diet). Types of diets rich in plant-based foods include Mediterranean style diets and plant-forward paleo type diets. And obviously, vegetarian diets do this too!

Exercise for Microbiome Health

Athletes tend to have healthier intestinal microbiomes than those that do not exercise regularly. This finding has to be interpreted with some consideration that athletes may also tend to eat healthier as they focus on all aspects of health.

I do recommend exercise to my patients, but at a level that does not flare a person up. In Lyme and tick related illnesses this may mean no exercise is good, or a 5 minute walk, or even long-distance running if a person can tolerate it.

Use Probiotics During Treatment

Probiotics are shown to protect and maintain microbiome health. There are a variety of probiotics including

  • human strains like Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • spore-forming soil-based strains like Bacteroides, and
  • healthy yeast like Saccharomyces boulardii.

For my patients, I recommend they take human and spore-forming strains together. At times I also recommend adding Saccharomyces Boulardii.

For an extensive article on how to use probiotics during treatment and which products I recommend see: Probiotic Strategies in Lyme Disease Treatment.

Disclaimer

The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the site-wide Terms & Conditions.

References

  1. Gomaa EZ. Human gut microbiota/microbiome in health and diseases: a review. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2020;113(12):2019-2040. doi:10.1007/s10482-020-01474-7 (View)
  2. Lynch SV, Pedersen O. The Human Intestinal Microbiome in Health and Disease. N Engl J Med. 2016;375(24):2369-2379. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1600266 (View)
  3. Sharon I, Quijada NM, Pasolli E, et al. The Core Human Microbiome: Does It Exist and How Can We Find It? A Critical Review of the Concept. Nutrients. 2022;14(14):2872. Published 2022 Jul 13. doi:10.3390/nu14142872 (View)

About the Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice. 

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) and The Institute for Functional Medicine.

US Data Shows “Vaccine” Injuries Skyrocketed; Strategies to Recover

https://www.theepochtimes.com/vaers-autophagy_4497753

Latest US Data Shows Vaccine Injuries Skyrocketed; How Will We Recover?

BY Dr. Yuhong Dong and Health 1+1 May 28, 2022

At present, the adverse events brought about by the COVID-19 vaccines are getting more and more attention from the public. If vaccination causes injury or damage, how can the body heal itself?

Juliana Mastrantonio of New York is an 18-year-old full-time college student and part-time pharmacy technician. Prior to the vaccination, she was in good health and exercised daily. Juliana was infected with COVID-19 in December 2020 and recovered without long COVID symptoms.

Juliana received her first dose of Pfizer vaccine on December 10, 2021 and her second dose on January 2, 2022. Within one week after the second dose, Juliana developed pelvic pain that gradually worsened, and she became hospitalized.

Four days after being discharged from the hospital, she developed other severe symptoms, headaches, and tremors. When she woke up the next morning, she found herself immobile from the waist down, and was paralyzed. And she is currently undergoing rehabilitation.  (See link for article)

__________________

SUMMARY:

  • Since Juliana was previously healthy and only developed these severe symptoms after ‘vaccination,’ it is highly likely there is a link.
  • The EMA has updated AstraZeneca’s shot product information to include rare spinal disorders as a side effect of the vaccine.
  • The shots can cause mitochondrial damage and induce cytokine storms that impair the immune system which leads to autoimmune diseases.
  • ALL the COVID shots have been hastily used without adequate testing andmay cause autoimmune diseases in organs if they contain the spike proteins and components of the virus.
  • As of May 13, 2022 VAERS has received more than 1.2 million adverse events reports; however, AHRQ states this only captures less than 1% of the true number.  Events include:

    • more than 28,000 deaths
    • over 157,000 hospitalizations
    • over 129,000 cases requiring urgent care
    • more than 190,000 cases requiring doctor office visits
    • all of which meet the definition of a serious adverse event
    • the vast majority of events occurred within 3 days of ‘vaccination’
    • 65% of deaths were related to the Pfizer shot, the most used injection
    • 26% were related to Moderna
    • 9% were related to J&J
    • the rest are unknown
    • The most common COVID-19 vaccine related adverse events reported by VAERS:
      • Permanent disability: nerve injury
      • Myocarditis, Pericarditis: cardiac injury
      • Heart attacks: cardiovascular injury
      • Bell’s palsy: facial nerve injury (with unknown etiology)
      • Shingles: dormant virus activated
  • Three strategies to detoxify the “vaccines” are:
    • prevent attachment of spike protein to ACE2 receptors by using ivermectin, suramin, catechin, curcumin, prunella vulgaris extract.
    • neutralize the downstream toxicity by using NAC, Vitamin C, other antioxidants.
    • enhancing self repair mechanism (autophagy) of cells through intermittent fasting as well as consuming polyphenols such as EGCG, Oleuopein, punicalagin, apigenin, resveratrol, pterostilbene, curcumin

For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2020/12/21/warning-3150-injuries-in-1st-week-of-covid-vaccines-among-american-healthcare-workers-pregnant-women-included/

FREE Webinar: Impact of Gut Microbiome on Immunity & Inflammation

https://info.allergyresearchgroup.com/impact-of-the-gut-microbiome-on-immunity-and-inflammation-webinar


Impact of the Gut Microbiome on Immunity and Inflammation

Description 

The gut microbiome consists of a complex set of microbial communities that shape human physiology in multiple ways, both subtle and profound. Two-thirds of the body’s lymphocytes reside in gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) or traverse GALT and return home to other organs. Interaction between gut microbes and GALT creates a basal state of immune activation that starts at the mucosal surface and impacts the entire body. The composition and metabolic activity of intestinal microbes yields effects that promote inflammation and that help resolve inflammation. These effects result from the impact of structural components of microbial cells (e.g., lipopolysaccharides) and metabolites of microbial enzyme activity (e.g., butyrate, hydrogen sulfide).

Recent studies have shown that T-lymphocyte function is especially sensitive to the bacterial composition of the microbiome. The structure and function of the gut microbiome is molded by personal genetics, diet, co-habitation, environmental toxins, hygiene, personal care products, psychosocial stress, intercurrent infections, vitamin D, tryptophan metabolites, nutritional status, medications, herbs, probiotics, and prebiotics. Disturbances in the ecology of the microbiome/host relationship create a condition called dysbiosis, which influences the development and the outcome of many different diseases. The ability to recognize and correct dysbiosis is a skill that can help clinicians improve the outcomes of infectious, allergic, and autoimmune disorders and may aid the immunotherapy of malignancy.

We hope you can join us live on May 18th at 4 PM MT. If not, don’t worry, signing up will still grant you access to the webinar recording.

Time 

2022-05-18 16:00:00 MT
Speaker:
Leo Galland, M.D., is recognized as a world leader in functional and integrative medicine and a pioneer in the study of intestinal permeability and the gut microbiome as they impact immune function and systemic health. Educated at Harvard University and the NYU School of Medicine, he completed a residency in internal medicine at the N.Y.U.-Bellevue Medical Center and held faculty positions at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Stony Brook University and the University of Connecticut, where he also completed a fellowship in Behavioral Medicine. He subsequently served as Director of Clinical Research at the Gesell Institute of Human Development in New Haven, Connecticut. Since 1985, he has maintained a private consulting practice in New York City where he evaluates and treats patients with complex medical disorders, who visit him from all over the world. Board certified in internal medicine, he is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Nutrition. Dr. Galland has received the Albert Norris Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who’s Who for his contributions to medical innovation and the Linus Pauling Award from the Institute of Functional Medicine for developing basic principles of functional medicine. He is recognized in The Leading Physicians of the Worldand America’s Top Doctors. Dr. Galland has contributed to world medical literature with several dozen articles in scientific journals and chapters in medical textbooks. He created the section on Functional Foods for the Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition. An international best-selling author, Dr. Galland has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, on the Dr. Oz Show, The Today Show, and Good Morning America, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox. His PBS Special, The Allergy Solution, aired over a thousand times. Since January 2020, he has studied the COVID-19 pandemic in depth, compiling his findings in an online, extensively referenced and free Coronavirus Guidebook, and has created educational videos on the long COVID syndrome.
For more:

Lyme & Headaches: Natural Relief for the 5 Most Common Causes

https://rawlsmd.com/health-articles/lyme-headaches-natural-relief-for-the-5-most-common-causes

by Jenny Menzel, H.C.
Posted 3/17/22

Take a look at just about every ailment in medical literature, and there’s a good chance you’ll see “headache” listed as a possible symptom, but not all headaches are a result of underlying illness. Most people who get occasional headaches will pop an over-the-counter pain reliever and carry on, but it’s not always that simple for those battling chronic Lyme disease.

Lyme-induced headaches can be constant and debilitating, disrupting everyday tasks that can often be taken for granted — like walking the dog, making breakfast for the kids, or going to work. These symptoms can be so severe that getting out of bed to shower might be the day’s largest accomplishment, with modern headache medicine often unable to supply relief.

old age, health problem, vision and people concept - close up of Asian senior woman  sitting on sofa and having headache at home.She may had Headache Symptoms.She looks pain  and sick

Approximately 80% of children and 50% of adults get Lyme-related headaches, with roughly 17% experiencing at least moderate migraines. Many continue suffering through the pain for months to years with little reprieve. Plus, added to the emotional stress of managing chronic headache pain is the maze of trying to figure out what triggered it in the first place.

So why does Lyme disease cause headaches? And what can you do to find lasting relief? If you’ve been struggling for a while with Lyme and the headaches that often accompany this complex illness, consider whether the following might be contributing factors for you. Although some people might stumble upon a quick fix, that’s probably not the norm for most, so you may have to be persistent in your healing efforts before noticing changes.

5 Lyme Headache Causes and Solutions

various microbes icons

Cause 1: Untreated Microbes

A common misperception about microbes is that they’re generally bad and should be killed. However, our bodies house trillions of helpful microorganisms, which outnumber our own cells by about 10 to 1 and account for up to 3% of our body weight. They’re essential to maintaining homeostasis and balancing our body’s microbiome.

But this balance can be upset when Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme, and coinfections, including bartonella, babesia, and mycoplasma, among others, proliferate throughout the body. The result? They may entrench themselves into places like the brain, kicking up a storm of headache-causing neuroinflammation as the body tries its best to corral the stealth pathogens.

herbal supplement bottle and capsule icon

Solution: Suppress Microbes with Antimicrobial Herbs

To make some progress, you may need to focus on long-term ways to suppress harmful microbes. Herbal antimicrobials may not be as potent outright as traditional antibiotics, but they can combat bacteria over an extended period of time without disrupting the microbiome or the toxicity that can come with aggressive drug therapies. Herbs also boost immunity and tame inflammation — typically not something antibiotics have a flair for. Top herbal choices include:

  • Andrographis: Andrographis has a longstanding history of medicinal use in India, and it contains antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties. It also has immune-enhancing, cardioprotective, and liver-protective qualities.
  • Cat’s claw: Native to the Amazon region, cat’s claw contains antimicrobial properties and is a foundational herb in most Lyme disease protocols. Additionally, it has immune-modulating and anti-inflammatory qualities.
  • Japanese knotweed: Japanese knotweed with resveratrol has been used for centuries in traditional Asian medicine, and it’s a potent antioxidant with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. The herb may also assist in combating bartonella.
  • Chinese skullcap: As a multi-purpose herb, Chinese skullcap has antimicrobial properties, decreases cytokines, and supports immunity. It works well with other herbal remedies to enhance their effectiveness.
  • Sarsaparilla: The root of sarsaparilla has been used throughout the tropics for inflammatory conditions of the skin, connective tissues, and the bowel. It binds to and helps dispose of endotoxins that are released from microbes during die-off.

image split between andrographis, cats claw, japanese knotweed, chinese skullcap, and sarsaparilla

Exciting research published in Frontiers adds credence to the use of plant extracts to combat persistent infections. Japanese knotweed, in particular, offered superior protection against a wide range of microbes by busting biofilms and crossing the blood-brain barrier, where Lyme can impact different regions in the brain and potentially produce headaches. Other herbs that showed antimicrobial properties were black walnut, sweet wormwood, Mediterranean rockrose, and cryptolepis, and they were capable of outperforming common Lyme-fighting antibiotics like doxycycline.

If you’re new to herbal therapy, working with a well-trained, Lyme-literate practitioner or doctor can help you find the right blend of antimicrobial herbs to reduce the frequency and intensity of your Lyme headaches.

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Cause 2: Herxheimer Reactions

Herxheimer reactions (usually referred to as a herx or herxing) can occur within days of starting or increasing dosages in your Lyme protocol. And while plant-based antimicrobials are gentler on the body than antibiotics, they still effectively kill bacteria, which means they’re not exempt from causing herx reactions, including headaches, due to pathogenic die-off.

When these microscopic bugs are attacked and killed, pieces of dead bacteria called endotoxins can create an inflammatory autoimmune-like response. If you find your headaches increase after introducing any form of antimicrobial agents to your system, it may be a sign that you’re not expelling endotoxins fast enough.

icon of water drop with circling arrow

Solution: Detoxify Your Body

Getting your organs of elimination (colon, skin, liver, kidneys, lymph, and lungs) opened up and operating optimally is at the core of minimizing herx reactions, and there are many ways to detox and expel inflammatory endotoxins to improve head pain:

Clean Your Pipes

Constipation is a sign of hampered digestion, keeping toxins stuck in your body and recirculating when they need to get out. Eating a whole-food diet full of fibrous fruits and veggies supports a healthy gut microbiome and increases your ability to export toxins. If diet alone isn’t doing the trick, natural remedies like castor oil packs on the belly, professional colonics, or supplementing with magnesium may keep things flowing.

Sweat It Out

Sweating through your body’s largest elimination organ, the skin, is imperative to ejecting toxins. Exercise is a great way to induce sweat but not necessarily when you’re in the throes of a Lyme headache or migraine. If you’re feeling too depleted for exercise, far-infrared (FIR) saunas, red light therapy, or heating pads can raise your body temperature and spark a toxin-removing sweat session while honoring your need for rest.

Support Your Liver

Your liver works hard to filter toxic waste from the blood and breakdown harmful substances in the body — support it with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a valuable antioxidant and glutathione precursor which helps reduce inflammatory cytokines, protect nerve tissues, and combat the toxins that may trigger migraines. One study found that NAC helps reduce the frequency of monthly headaches when combined with vitamins C and E as a preventative measure.

Manage Your Lymph Fluid

Much like the circulatory system carries nutrient-rich blood into our cells for nourishment, the lymphatic system has a similar network of vessels that carries waste away from those same cells, helping us stay healthy by fighting infection. However, there’s one major difference: Our hearts automatically pump blood, whereas our lymphatic system has no such pump and requires the action of your muscles and respiratory system to keep it moving. Manage your lymph fluid by exercising, dry brushing your skin, and adequately hydrating to help your body remove toxic waste.

Be Mindful of Your Breath

Deep breathing has displayed a number of detoxifying effects on the body by reducing stress and circulating lymph. Evidence also shows deep breathing can alter the perception of pain by modulating the sympathetic nervous system through relaxation. A breathing technique that can help your body’s ability to rest and digest is the down-regulated breath, which involves slowing your breathing down to four breaths (or less) per minute.

How to practice down-regulated breathing: In a seated or resting position, slowly inhale through your nose for a count of eight, raising your belly and then your lungs. Hold for a bit at the top of the breath. Then, exhale through your nose while deflating your belly and lungs for a count of eight.

Practice this for a few rounds until you feel yourself relaxing. Because of the strong parasympathetic response, this breath is best done after a meal, before bed, or any time you feel anxious (never while driving). It may take time to reach a full eight counts on each inhale and exhale, but with practice, you’ll find your rhythm.

icon of fork and knife

Cause 3: Food Sensitivities

True food allergies and intolerances are hard to miss and can even be life-threatening in some cases. But for many with Lyme, subtle food sensitivities form slowly and go undetected as a result of leaky gut syndrome — an inflammatory condition caused by intestinal permeability, usually due to long-lived gut imbalances from infections, prolonged antibiotic use, poor diet, and stress. Indeed, many people can pinpoint specific foods that bring on headaches and migraines, but what can be done about it?

stomach icon

Solution: Work on Gut Health

While nixing the offending foods should be at the top of the to-do list to minimize headaches, healing your gut is also a priority so that you don’t have to avoid these foods forever. Demulcent herbs like slippery elm can rebuild the mucosa in your gut lining, while digestive enzymes aid in breaking down the food you eat. The abundant amino acid L-glutamine shows ample ability to increase the tight junction proteins needed for a strong intestinal wall. Additionally, bitter herbs like dandelion and burdock will also take a load off the liver to assist digestion.

icon of two different pills

Cause 4: Medications

Headaches are a side effect of some antibiotics. Those with chronic Lyme disease have often tried a range of antibiotic interventions, making it difficult to tell if the headaches stem from medication use or the illness itself. What’s more, in an effort to cope with head pain or migraines, the overuse of certain pain-relieving medications often end up doing the opposite of their intended design: Instead of alleviating headaches, they wind up causing them.

herbal supplement bottle icon

Solution: Seek Natural Pain Relief

Magnesium

Research suggests that different forms of magnesium, the crucial mineral responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, has promising potential for migraine relief, with intravenous (IV) magnesium sulphate offering the most impressive results. But if IV magnesium isn’t realistic every time you have a Lyme-related headache, supplementing it may be beneficial for you. However, not all magnesium is created equal. For example, inexpensive magnesium oxide isn’t readily absorbed by the body and may cause loose stools and stomach upset. Instead, opt for such bioavailable forms as magnesium glycinate or liposomal magnesium, the form of the mineral most able to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a non-invasive way to gain greater awareness and control over certain body functions, and it’s proven itself as a useful tool to reduce migraines as well. As a matter of fact, a study published in Behavioral and Brain Functions found migraine frequency and symptom severity were cut in half for up to 70% in the study participants.

The average sustained results lasted around 14.5 months after therapies were discontinued — and one of three biofeedback therapies used in the trial, hemoencephalography (HEG), was considered to be a superior migraine management tool compared to other biofeedback options. Plus, when administered by a trained professional (like a healthcare provider), most insurance carriers often cover biofeedback sessions.

Curcumin

This primary anti-inflammatory compound found in the spice turmeric has been attributed to providing potent pain relief, according to one study in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine. Curcumin has proven its power to reduce the severity, frequency, and duration of headache and migraine symptoms by targeting the same NF-kB and COX pathways as aspirin and ibuprofen, thereby regulating pain and inflammation known to cause migraine headaches.

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Cause 5: Chronic Stress

It’s a safe bet that if we were to dig to the root of all illness, some form of physical, mental, or emotional stress could be found. In fact, according to a study published in The Journal of Headache and Pain, perceived stress is the most common trigger of chronic migraines. There are proven ways to modulate our body’s stress response, but finding the methods that work best for you is what matters most — as it should be something you can maintain long enough to experience the benefits.

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Solution: Calm Your Nervous System

Learning to self-soothe in stressful situations can go a long way toward curbing headaches. However, if you feel like you’ve tried everything to get rid of them, get back to the basics with a stress-reducing, mind-body practice, where you can be in control. But don’t let this be one more thing on your to-do list that stresses you out, too. Keep it simple by choosing one practice you feel curious about, start slow, and be consistent. Some mind-body options to consider include:

Managing these five causes can go a long way toward warding off future headaches and migraines caused by Lyme (and life). And while it may seem overwhelming to keep up with it all, investing time and effort into just a few of these solutions will eventually pay off. Keep at it, even if relief isn’t felt overnight. It can and often does get better.

Dr. Rawls is a physician who overcame Lyme disease through natural herbal therapy. You can learn more about Lyme disease in Dr. Rawls’ new best selling book, Unlocking Lyme.

You can also learn about Dr. Rawls’ personal journey in overcoming Lyme disease and fibromyalgia in his popular blog post, My Chronic Lyme Journey.

REFERENCES
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