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Lyme Disease Tracking and Treatment

by Jonathan Orchard(more info)

listed in infections, originally published in issue 238 - May 2017

Chronic Lyme disease is becoming a hot new topic and with it all the classic drama we are so used to with many medical issues. Denial by much of the mainstream that Lyme disease can even persist in a chronic state after the standard treatment of 4 weeks of doxycycline, approved tests that are out of date and have such a poor reliability as to make them next to useless for most people, patients usually having to self-diagnose and pay themselves for more accurate testing that is then often dismissed by their doctors as not being ‘approved’. Go to any Lyme disease forum and you will hear first-hand the tragedy that is now playing out across the world. This story is an account of my journey into the world of Lyme disease over the last 9 months. These are a few basic facts and figures about Lyme disease:

 

tick

Photo Credit: The Tick Image is courtesy of DrPhotoMotoJohn Flannery and is available
to use under a Creative Commons License 

  • Lyme disease is a family of spirochete called Borrelia with Borrelia burgdorferi being the main one but there are many other forms of Borrelia like Borrelia sensu stricto, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii. There are over 300 strains worldwide;
  • Public Health England estimates that there are 3,000 new cases in the UK each year and the CDC now estimates there are 300,000 new cases in the USA each year, a 25 fold increase since monitoring began in 1982;
  • Lyme disease is a vector borne disease, it is potentially transmitted by any biting organism. The main vector is the tick however there is evidence of transmission through mosquitos, horse fly’s, spiders, fleas etc.[1, 2, 3,4] There is also evidence that is can be passed in the breast milk and in-utero from mother to child;
  • A study published in The Journal of Investigative Medicine 5 showed Lyme organisms in the vaginal secretions of all the women and in the sperm 50% of the men who had tested positive for Lyme disease, none were found in the control group. Although this does not prove the sexual transmission of Lyme it does suggest it is likely, especially considering the sexually transmitted disease Syphilis (Treponema Pallidum) is also a spirochete and has many similarities to Lyme;
  • Lyme disease (Borrelia) does not travel alone; people will often have multiple viral and bacterial infections along-side the Borrelia, organisms such as Babesia - also called Nuttallia, Bartonella – Lyme and Tick Disease organisma, CMV - Cytomegalovirus, EBV - Epstein Barr Virus, HSV – Herpes Simplex and others;
  • Less than 50% of people with confirmed Lyme disease remember a tick bite and in some studies less than 15% remember a tick bite;
  • The standard 2 tier testing using the ELISA and Western blot has only a 35-50% reliability.

In 2016 as a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, with a deep interest in nutritional and functional medicine I had the opportunity to attend a series of conferences by the Academy of Nutritional Medicine in London www.aonm.org . The conferences were primarily about Lyme disease, its diagnosis and treatment. The speakers featured some of the world’s leading experts on Lyme disease and included luminaries such as Dr Dietrich Klinghardt, Dr Joseph Jemsek, Dr Armin Schwarzback, Professor Basant Puri and Dr Jean Munro.

Before attending I knew very little about Lyme disease and was stunned by what I was hearing - how devastating it can be, how widespread it is and how challenging it can be to test for and then treat. What really struck me was the repetition by all the speakers about just how common it has become, that it is a ‘hidden epidemic’ impacting far, far more people than we realise. This made me decide to take the plunge and test myself using the more accurate ELISPOT test with one of the most respected private German laboratories - Armin Labs. As a reasonably healthy 45 year old with two young children, I thought the general mild malaise and joint pains I experienced at times was simply what I call ‘tired dad’ syndrome. Having never to my knowledge been bitten by a tick or having an EM rash from any insect bite (tick or other) I was shocked to discover that I was testing positive for the following Lyme and multiple co-infections:

  • Borrelia Bergdorferi and other Borrelia strains;
  • Chlamydia Pneumonia;
  • Epstein Barr virus;
  • Cytomegalo virus;
  • Herpes Simplex 1 virus;
  • Coxsackie virus;
  • Ehrlichia.

Armin labs

Along with the positive results for the pathogens, my absolute CD3 and CD57 were 892 uL(ref range 900-1900)  and 21 ul(100-360) respectively, both below the bottom of the reference range and the CD57 being very low. These are measures of types of natural killer cell activity; the very low levels demonstrated that my immune system had become severely suppressed, suggesting that the infections had been running for many years, maybe even decades and I needed some serious help. I was functioning, but barely and without doing something to change my situation, much more serious and debilitating symptoms could be only months away.

 

Chinese Herbs

Treatment with Chinese Herbs,  ACS 200, Lyposomal Vitamin C, Bravo Probiotic

Multi-Modality Treatment Approach

There are many different approaches to treating chronic Lyme disease and co-infections but most practitioners agree that the holistic approach is best. Support and stimulate the immune system, detoxify the body, address nutrient deficiencies and use antimicrobials to reduce the pathogen load.

There are so many potentially effective products to choose from and so many different opinions and experiences, both positive and negative that it can be quite overwhelming to choose a protocol to follow, however after attending several other conferences, reading a few recommended books, much internet research and speaking to several experts I put together my own plan of action that seemed to make reasonable sense. Supporting my immune system by improving my gut microbiome using Bravo probiotic yogurt www.bravo-probiotics.com/ this contains GcMAF for stimulating the immune system(Macrophage activating factor), Megasporebiotic and Japanese brand called Miyarisan(Clostridium Butyricum) both of which increase butyrate production in the gut and significantly help to reduce intestinal permeability and improve the general microbiota.

Diet wise several months before discovering I had Lyme, I changed my diet to a high fat-low carb Ketogenic diet and noticed immediate and dramatic improvements in chronic back pain and stiffness. Testing revealed that my C-reactive protein dropped from 55 to 4, a huge drop in inflammation. I later learnt that Borrelia primarily feeds on glucose as do some of the other pathogens and there are quite a few anecdotal reports about the benefits of the ketogenic diet for Lyme disease, this is certainly my experience and I have continued with it.

For dealing with the pathogens I have been using a variety of products to give me a broad approach to the pathogens. There are several very popular tried and tested herbal protocols by Stephen Buhner, Dr Lee Cowden and Dr Dietrich Klinghardt and I selected several of the most popular herbs from these protocols. I use Chinese concentrated herbal preparations of Artemisa Annua, Andrographis Paniculata, Smilax Glabra, Japanese Knotweed, Rhizoma Coptis, Reishi mushroom and Stevia drops to sweeten the mix. Other antimicrobials have been the Results RNA ACS200 silver and periods of using high doses of Altrient liposomal Vitamin C. Other tools I have used to support my healing are Pulsed electro-magnetic therapy (PEMF) to boost mitochondrial function www.drpawluk.com and a very powerful breathing technique called Transformational Breathing®.

My Clinical Progress

So far I believe my treatment progress has been successful; over the 7 months that I have been actively treating the Lyme and co-infections I have felt and seen significant improvements in my energy, increase in my mental focus, improved emotional wellbeing and no aches and pains that had been a problem for over 1 year. My intention is to carry on with my program for another month or so and then do a follow up test with Armin Labs to see how my results have changed. I know that it is not necessarily possible to completely rid my body of the pathogens and I will need to keep an eye on things for years to come; however I can get to a place where my immune system is back in control and the levels of pathogens are severely limited.

Scope of  Lyme Disease Infection

During my journey through the ‘Lyme’ world I have had the opportunity to speak to many of the leading Lyme practitioners in the UK and to ask them to estimate how often they come across Lyme disease. These are the people who understand the symptoms and regularly test their clients. So what are they seeing? Anything from 70-95% of the test results coming back positive for Lyme and co-infections. In my own clinic I have only done 7 Armin Labs tests far and of them all 7 people have had multiple co-infections, 5 of them include Lyme and 6 show well below the reference range for CD57(immune suppression). I would encourage everyone to learn more about Lyme disease and its co-infections, with the understanding that chronic infection may be affecting many more of us than is realized. Doing so can help to initiate much earlier treatment that will ultimately improve the outcome. It is very unusual for someone to test for Lyme when relatively asymptomatic, I now realize now just how lucky I am that I did. If you would like more information about my testing and treatment, please see my blog at www.lymeexperiment.com

References

1. http://folia.paru.cas.cz/pdfs/fol/1998/01/11.pdf

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2646031

3. http://jcm.asm.org/content/26/8/1482.full.pdf

4. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s150100050029#page-1

5. The Journal of Investigative Medicine 2014;62:280-281. https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-sexual-transmission-2/

Further Information and Resources

www.lymeexperiment.com

www.ilads.org

https://caudwelllyme.com/

http://lymediseaseuk.com/

https://www.klinghardtacademy.com/

http://buhnerhealinglyme.com/

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About Jonathan Orchard

Jonathan Orchard BSc(Hons) MBAcC has been running a private acupuncture practice for more than 17 years. With a particular interest in functional approaches to health including nutrition, supplementation, breath work and emotional integration work. He is also an accredited ‘Journey’ and Transformational Breathing practitioner www.wimbledon-acupuncture.co.uk. Jonathan is also a director of a successful business importing US nutritional supplements from the USA www.abundanceandhealth.co.uk and may be contacted via jonathan@abundanceandhealth.co.uk

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