Tag Archive: Lyme


ILADS Sound Bites Day 2: 10/10/14

It’s Day 2 of the ILADS 15th Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. Here’s some sound bite highlights:

President Daniel Cameron

“Today, we open with our largest opening ever…500 attendees representing 42 states.”

Dr. Monzayeni, MD: Bartonella: Scientific and Clinical Considerations in Lyme Disease

“Suspect Bartonella especially when there are neurological or neuropsychiatric findings…especially when Lyme treatment fails.”

“It is possible to get Bartonella with out Borrelia. In fact, I think it is quite common. Bartonella can cause false positive on IgM Western blots.”

“Rodents. Birds. CATS. Dogs. Wildlife. Notice my emphasis on CATS?! Cats have 1,000,000 fold higher Bartonella levels in their blood than other animals. People can get Bartonella from cat (scratches) and flea exposure. That’s why they call it cat scratch fever.”

“Bartonella’s infection strategy is to get in the vascular system. It is a Small Vessel disease. Small Vessel disease causes working memory impairment and mood disruptions. Other signs include peripheral neuropathy (tingling), POTS, tremors, muscle/joint/pain, headache, fatigue.”

“With Bartonella, nerves are like the most sensitive trip wires.”

“When testing for Bartonella (Galaxy Labs), take a sample. Test the serum for presence of Bartonella DNA. Culture the blood. Test that. If negative, wait for awhile. Then repeat.”

“Bartonella is bizarre. It is an immune suppressant. Yet a B-cell stimulator.”

“In one case of a 30 year old veterinarian, a breast cyst tested positive for Bartonella. What is fibrocystic breast disease? Is there a connection? I don’t know. Liver cysts have also been seen.”

“You know you’ve arrived when you get a nasty letter from the editor from the CDC Lyme Team.”

“In my practice, 1/3 of my patients with Bartonella have Lyme, 1/2 have psychiatric issues and most have neurological issues.”

“There is no data on transmission of Bartonella during pregnancy. Over the last 4 years, I’ve seen five pregnancies, and the umbilical cord blood was negative for Bartonella in all 5. All the children are well. Nature may have developed a way of dealing with Bartonella.”

“My overall experience with Bartonella is generally positive, when using antibiotics.”

“Endocrine dysfunction is very common in Bartonella and this dysfunction interferes with treatment drugs. The adrenal and thyroid dysfunctions must be treated first or treatment will fail.”

“Typically with Bartonella, i.v. antibiotics is not needed. And there is a low rate of true relapse.”

Dr. Joseph Annibali: The Role of Spect in Diagnosing & Treating Lyme

“Modern psychology may reflect and lead to connections to infectious disease. Like Bartonella.”

“What is my connection to Lyme? My friend Gary, my daughter, her dog, our horse. And our cat at home, Valentino..My friend Gary was in a cardiac unit for 10 days after having palpitations. They wanted him to get a pacemaker. It ended up he had Lyme.”

“SPECT stands for Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography. It measures blood flow to the brain, not brain activity. It shows areas of the brain that work right and areas that don’t work right. It doesn’t give us specific answers. But it helps us ask better questions. There are other causes of low blood flow, or hypoperfusion, such as drug use or HIV.”

“In 75% of Lyme patients, we see hypoperfusion. Blood flow is reduced and the brain looks less healthy. It indicates low activity in certain areas. Abnormalities in an MRI are found in 14%. The SPECT is much better than an MRI.”

“There are two patterns in a SPECT. The first pattern is scalloping. These looks like bumps in the image of the brain. It has a toxic-looking bumpiness to it.”

“The second pattern of a SPECT is limbic overactivity, or inflammation.”

“How does a SPECT ultimately help? It emphasizes the need to decrease inflammation and/or calm the limbic system. It helps parents and families and even the affected to understand and accept why they are acting or feeling a certain way, including moodiness. It’s validation. It reduces guilt and shame. It can also help follow the progress of treatment.”

Stephen Phillips, MD: Brucellosis

“Brucellosis has been studied for over 100 years. We still have no agreed upon treatment.”

“When given, Vitamin C 1 gram per day for 15 days, 75% reversal of Brucella anergy was observed. Edible mushrooms are also helpful.”

“Liposomes are spherical vessels with lipids. Their structure mimics cell membranes. The immune system sees liposomes as invading cell and gobble them up. This makes liposomes an ideal drug/nutrient delivery system.”

“Liposomal gentamicin is 20,000 times more effective than free gentamicin.”

“If you miss a case of Brucellosis, it’s a tragedy. We don’t have the diagnostics, but we shouldn’t miss it by looking for increased CRP, fevers mostly in the evenings, hobbling and pain.”

Robert Bransfield, MD: Sleeping Disorders Impacting Lyme Patients

“Recovery is associated with sufficient REM sleep”

“Chronic stress and non restorative sleep from Chronic infections contributes to disease perpetuation which leads to compromised immunity.”

“With Chronic Lyme, you are half awake, half asleep all the time. You are never fully awake and never in a deep sleep.”

“Lack of sleep causes mitochondrial stress and shrinkage of the brain.”

“Delta sleep deficiency and sleep problems result in increased proinflammatory cytokines. Sleep deficiency blunts the immune response.”

“I’ve seen patients with horrific and intrusive images in the form of nightmares.”

Wayne Anderson, ND: Parasites

“Abdominal pain and constipation are two of the main signs or symptoms.”

“My Constipation Hypothesis: Chronic Lyme patients will have great difficulty or never get better when they are constipated. It blocks and locks the system. I’m highly sensitive to constipation in my patients.”

“Magnesium and vitamin C can be helpful.”

“When the constipation is recalcitrant, think parasites!!”

“Constipation happens because there is a lack of communication between the brain and gut. And inflammation of the lining of the gut.”

“The worse the abdominal pain, the most likely to be parasites. My suspicion index goes way up.”

“Antiparasite pharmaceuticals include Alinia, Albenozole, Ivermectin.”

“Antiparasitic herbs include Byron White A-P formula (15 drops 3x/day), gamma oryzanol, artemisia (helpful for babesia)”

Dr. Horowitz: Case studies

“For neuropathy, we used methyl B12, alpha lipoic acid and benfotiamine.”

“For OCD, inositol 2 grams several times per day.”

“For detox, oral liposomal glutathione which also helps with memory and fatigue.”

“Adrenal dysfunction is the largest nail that needed to be pulled. Find all the nails by using the 16 point MSIDS map. Once all of the things on the map are addressed, the patient will start to get better. It’s all in my book.”

“Thank you all for your compassion. It’s really people like you that are the future of medicine.”

“Joe Burrascano is one of the father’s of Lyme disease. He taught me what I know. Now I teach you what I know.”

Thank YOU all for YOUR compassion speakers and ILADS!!

500 docs from 42 states learning how to diagnose and treat Lyme!

500 docs from 42 states learning how to diagnose and treat Lyme!

Katie Courage

Here’s the follow up to the Katie Courage, er, uh, Katie Couric show that just began covering the topic of chronic lyme. There is hope they will continue to do so based on all the comments and buzz and stories that keep rolling in (way to bite back lymies). Below is a link for Katie’s Follow Up Friday video as well as a link to the Q&A with Dr. Horowitz and Dr. Halperin.

For the video, click here:

http://katiecouric.com/videos/follow-up-friday-lyme-disease-surviving-evil-ll-cool-j/

For the Q&A, click here:

http://katiecouric.com/features/have-a-question-about-lyme-disease-ask-the-docs-here/

Let’s all continue to follow the developments through Katie Courage, er, uh, Couric, it seems like the show may continue to ask for our stories…share them!! 

Don’t whisper…scream from the mountaintops!! 🙂

 

 

 

What follows is my interview for the January issue of NDNR, a naturopathic doctor newsletter. The intreview is conducted by Dr. Mark Swanson, ND, someone I have had the privilege of knowing for almost 16 years. He has been a great support to me, and I appreciate his offering me a voice in NDNR. The treatment plans discussed were the treatment plans at the time of this interview. Please note, lymies, I made my plea to the naturopathic community, we need their help! Check out the pdf from NDNR here: NDNR

Gluten-Free Lyme Whisperer

Interview with Joy Devins, patient and advocate.

with Mark Swanson, ND

This issue of The Expert Reportis a refreshing reminder that healing wisdom and learning comes

as much from listening to our patients as it is does from the science, knowledge and understanding presented by fellow

ND’s and colleagues, medical specialists, researchers and

academics. Our special guest is Joy Devins – a New Hampshire resident, naturopathic patient and

health advocate. At 37, she is a vibrant and busy working mother, a runner and athlete, nutritionist,

and fills a top executive position with a leading nutritional supplement company. She also faces her

own personal health “issues” – namely the dual conditions of gluten intolerance and Lyme disease.

Not surprising, she has met many other fellow “Lymie-Glut’s” through her support outreach and blog,

www.lymewhisperer.com

She knows she is no longer alone or feels isolated. She’s found the voices

in the dark and as a result has made lasting friendships and close healing bonds.

Through a health partnership with her naturopath, she has been successful at turning her

health crisis into a proactive health challenge that refuses to let her become a victim of her conditions.

As a result, she is winning this long battle of endurance, conquering new heights, and now offers

inspiration and hope for others like her. Joy has agreed to share her patient story, and insights on her

health and healing journey with revealing details of her medical history, treatment protocol and

passion for advocacy.

“I was thankful for all the things it wasn’t”

What’s your secret to staying healthy in the faces of Lyme and gluten intolerance?

Positive attitude is number one, good fortune is number two. When I was diagnosed with

gluten intolerance, I adopted a gluten-free lifestyle from that moment on and never looked back. I

never focused on what I couldn’t eat, only on the many things I could. My diet is much more diverse

and healthy now, and I don’t miss a thing. I say good fortune because I have been working in the

supplement industry for many years, have met many health professionals like yourself, and was very

aware and educated on gluten already. Because of these things, it was more or less a seamless

transition for me.

Lyme disease—not so seamless. Lyme disease is a debilitating, isolating illness. I spent several

years with frightening symptoms and no answers. Once the diagnosis came, I was thankful for all the

things it wasn’t, despite the private hell that Lyme disease is. I knew I would be here for my kids, so I

was relieved, grateful and ready to fight. My gluten free diet, physical activity, and knowledge of and

access to all the right supplements has been paramount to my health. I even ran my first 5K for Team

Lyme this summer, and I haven’t stopped running since.

What came first Lyme disease or gluten intolerance?

I can’t be sure. I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance first. In fact, because of some of my

Lyme symptoms—tingling and numbness in the hands and feet—I was tested for celiac disease, which

was negative. Then later tested for gluten intolerance, which came back positive. I adopted the

gluten-free lifestyle, but the tingling never went away. Two years later I was diagnosed with Lyme

disease.

“…I had obvious symptoms for two years before being diagnosed”

How long did you have symptoms of each before they were diagnosed?

I have probably been gluten intolerant for most of my life. I’ve had psoriasis since early

childhood. As an adult following a gluten-free lifestyle, my psoriasis is mild and at times has been in

almost complete remission. Before going gluten-free, it was moderate to severe. Regarding Lyme

disease, I had obvious symptoms for two years before being diagnosed. Looking back, there are some

instances before then that make me wonder if underlying Lyme was to blame, including two very

difficult pregnancies and recurrent back problems. I never saw a tick, and never had a bulls eye rash,

fever, or joint pain.

Do you recall the tests performed?

I had the genetic test for celiac disease, which was negative. I also had salivary IgG and IgA

which diagnosed the gluten intolerance. Regarding Lyme, I had a Western Blot, which was

inconclusive, followed by a CD57 count, which was indicative of Lyme disease.

Are you surprised that many others have both Lyme and gluten problems?

No, not at all. I have met many fellow “Lymies” through my blog who were diagnosed with

Lyme and are now on gluten-free diets. They described their Lyme symptoms as worsening, especially

headaches and stomach problems, when exposed to gluten. A number of people indicated that their

food issues did not stop with gluten, and that they gradually became unable to tolerate other foods as

well. I am also the founding member of a Lyme support group in my community. At our last meeting, a

participant described experiencing allergies to new foods often, sometimes every 4 to 6 weeks (which

coincidentally coincides with the Lyme bacteria life cycle). She has suffered with Lyme disease for 21

years and her only symptoms have primarily been food allergies. Another member described sinus

infections and persistent environmental allergies as her most obvious symptoms.

What are your most common and most bothersome symptoms?

The nerves in my hands and especially my feet are constantly tingling, vibrating or pricking like

pins and needles. I’ve gotten used to feeling like I’m short circuiting. I’m forgetful. I have muscle

twitches all over my body. I have vertigo. I’m forgetful. My bladder is inflamed and spasmodic. Did I

mention I’m forgetful? I need to write things down everywhere, and all the time, so I don’t forget

them. And I have to push through fatigue every day. But most of all, it’s the back pain. Did I mention

forgetful too?

How would you characterize your digestion and GI function before and after being on a gluten-free diet and Lyme therapy?

I was fortunate in that I really didn’t have many GI issues from the gluten intolerance. My issue

was mostly my skin, specifically the severity of my psoriasis. With Lyme, however, GI issues consume

me at times. First, there’s the antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Second, there’s a recurrent flu-like GI

distress. I have periods where I don’t experience it, then periods where I experience it every few

weeks. It’s hard to say if it’s a Herxheimer reaction from the die-off of treatment, or the Lyme itself.

Even though the GI issues are bothersome, I tend to worry more about the effect of Lyme on my blood

sugar and hormone endocrine function. My fasting blood sugar and progesterone levels are higher

now with Lyme than they were before.

How many physicians did you see before you found the right one?

I saw six specialists and ended up in the ER. I bounced from one doctor to the next for two

years. My symptoms were dismissed by my primary care physician and the neurologist as being stressrelated,

once MS and a B12 deficiency had been ruled out. The urologist, optometrist, and ob/gyn also

found nothing, despite the symptoms that brought me to them. I thought I was

dying and no one could help me. And yes, all the while working and being a

mom. Finally, I landed in the hands of a competent Lyme literate naturopath, one of the smartest and most intuitive people I know.

Can you share some of your naturopathic treatments, a protocol that works for you?

As with the Lyme antibiotics, the herbal or natural protocols change every few weeks or

months, as you adapt your protocol to your symptoms, which tend to migrate with the bacteria. In my

first year of treatment, I mostly used herbal tinctures containing garlic, licorice, and Uncaria as an

example, to target the bacteria, along with a high potency probiotic. In my current second year of

treatment, I am taking a ,more potent form of Uncaria extract that’s free of tretracyclic alkaloids

(TOA), Banderol bark extract, olive leaf extract, and maitake mushroom to target Lyme. I plan to add

andrographis and resveratrol to this protocol soon. I also take homeopathics to target the co-infection,

in my case bartonella. I also take a teasel root tincture and a greens protein drink for detoxification.

Lastly, I take systemic enzymes to help lessen inflammation and as a result some of my symptoms. In

addition, I continue to take a high potency probiotic formula too.

Are you also taking antibiotics for these conditions?

I have been on various combinations of antibiotics for two years prescribed by my ND. I

currently take azithromycin, 500 mg once per day and minocycline, 200 mg twice per day. These

target the Lyme bacteria in its spirochete, or spiral, shaped form. In a few months I will start

metronidazole (Flagyl), an antibiotic that goes after Lyme in the cystic form, the form it likes to hide

out in. I am hoping to come to an end to my antibiotic therapy within the next six months, but it could

be another twelve months or more. We may decide that I will never reach a point of being totally

Lyme free and discontinue the antibiotic treatment. At which point I’ll maintain a natural protocol,

probably for the rest of my life, to keep my health in balance.

“I’m so grateful for the health that I do have. I try to make every day a good day.”

Does it cycle in you, with good and bad days?

Again, it mostly all comes back to attitude. I try to make every day a good day, despite it all.

Except when my bladder acts up! Then there are some definite logistical issues. I’m just so grateful for

the health that I do have. I think that the gratitude and inner strength is what people “see” when they

tell me I look healthy or good despite the Lyme. On my “bad” days I power through fatigue, vertigo,

back pain and brain fog. My symptoms do tend to get worse or change in 4-6 week cycles, sometimes

longer. Sometimes the worsening of my symptoms coincides with a stressful week, a full moon or with

my menstrual cycle. My symptoms always get worse in the fall and winter, without the summer sun.

“I also have a child with Lyme.”

How do you get through all this mentally and stay motivated to follow your treatment plan?

To push through the physical and mental challenges every day? I’m a warrior for my kids! I

want them to have a strong mom and to see me as nothing but. I also have a child with Lyme, and

need to be a strong role model for him. My 8 yr old is also on azithromycin 200 mg/5ml once per day

and rifampin 150 mg/5 ml., twice per day. He also takes the Uncaria, Banderol bark, maitake, and

probiotics. We go to the same ND for our Lyme. He is a hockey and baseball player on top of and

despite it!

I have no choice but to be positive and persevering. I am lucky to enjoy my work, my

colleagues and employees, and that gives me purpose every day. They would say I am a productive

and effective leader that has risen and continues to rise above this challenge. That motivates me even

more. I want to be an inspiration within the Lyme community, for being physically strong and fit. That

is also a great source of motivation for me. Lyme has been a horrific journey, but it has also been a

blessing. I wouldn’t change anything for the strength I’ve found, the lifestyle changes I’ve made, the

prioritizing I’ve done, and the amazing people I’ve met, especially my new Lyme friends.

What can the naturopathic community do to better support individuals dealing with

Lyme and gluten sensitivities?

ND’s can help us have a voice and can be our advocates too. ND’s can aspire to be Lyme

literate by joining ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society. There are so many

obstacles, controversies and dead ends for Lyme sufferers. We need more naturopaths to take a stand

for us. This is the epidemic of our time, the stats are out there. I know this to be true firsthand from

my blog, http://www.lymewhisperer.com. I have followers from all over New England and the Northeast US,

Pacific Northwest, Missouri, Montana, California, Kentucky, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania

and more. Internationally, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands and Australia. All of them suffering with

Lyme and many also with gluten intolerance. And so many of them with nowhere to turn medically. In

a few short years, I have gone from knowing no one with Lyme to many in my community alone. My

doctor’s practice has grown and expanded and moved several times to accommodate the explosion of

new cases. I fear that we won’t have the doctors we need to handle this epidemic. We need you!

This is my plea.

“The naturopathic community is one of the few trusted places we can turn”

You have the podium…and we are listening.

Gluten intolerance will always be a silent struggle, but with diligent gluten avoidance it is quite

manageable personally and socially. Chronic Lyme disease is a much greater struggle and needs more

understanding, rightful recognition and medical acceptance. One needs not have had a bulls eye rash,

fever, or joint pain to be a candidate for Lyme screening, contrary to what some medical

establishments believe. The medical community and insurance companies should expect that many

months of treatment will be required for chronic Lyme. Its quite commonly “brushed off” as a

psychosomatic illness that “developed” after the initial short course 30-day antibiotic regimen ends

(and fails). So many chronic cases are faced with mounting medical bills for their ongoing I.V.

antibiotic treatments because insurance refused to cover after 30 days. When someone is diagnosed

with other chronic illnesses the medical profession seems more resourceful and supportive. In

contrast, a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease means you more likely be shunned and not viewed as

being seriously ill. Its frustrating. Why was the vaccine pulled so prematurely, and why can’t it be brought back? Why did

research at UC Berkeley on anti-borrelial serum proteins from the western fence lizard stop, without

the chance to be developed into a treatment? There are so many unanswered questions obstacles,

controversies and dead ends for Lyme sufferers. With more help and recognition, we can prevent

other people from suffering our same journeys. The naturopathic community is one of the few trusted

places we can turn. We need you to take on the challenge of Lyme disease, particularly diagnosing and

treating it. That’s how you can help us most.

… So when you go to a party, club or something and see someone eating crackers or

pretzels – do you get like all wigged out, or stay OK with it and just keep dancing,

tingling feet and all?

Ha! The pretzels and dip are hard. Oh my! Just bring on the gluten-free beer!

Dr Swanson’s closing comment:

Thank you Lyme Whisperer! More than any other health care provider, naturopaths listen

most and embrace learning from their patients. Many will strive to meet your plea, even as far away

as here in the Northwest and beyond! The late and beloved Dr. Bastyr said,

“It’s not the doctor that does the healing, it’s the patient”.

Joy, your healing journey with the inspiration and hope it brings to others is no exception.

© The Expert Report™ Mark Swanson, ND / The Good Doctor, Inc. 2012. All Rights Reserved

NDNR

English: Photographic general view of the Ways...

English: Photographic general view of the Wayside Inn, South Sudbury, Massachusetts, circa 1935, Historic American Buildings Survey, The Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Wayside Inn, Sudbury Massachusetts, N...

English: Wayside Inn, Sudbury Massachusetts, November 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nathan Morris, M.D., is a board certified family practitioner. He is a founding partner at Indian Creek Family Health and practices functional medicine at his satellite office, Good Medicine, in College Corner, OH. Dr. Nate Morris was a guest in town recently while attending the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) annual conference held in Boston in November.

This interview begins at the historic Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, in Sudbury, Massachusetts, where we have just ordered lunch for a table of 6, and have been seated by the fireplace. Dr. Nate has ordered a Coow Woow. Pronounced “Cooh Wooh”…as in Yahoooo! Right, Dr. Nate?? The Coow Woow is America’s first cocktail served at America’s oldest Inn. Yes, even George Washington stayed here. It’s not the fire keeping Dr. Nate warm. It’s the Coow Woow. Bet it was the same for George.

LW: First and foremost, Dr. Nate, it’s my pleasure to reveal the exact Coow Woow recipe for this historic, might I say epic, ginger infused experience that you so appreciate. I mean, who knew you were such a history buff? Oh, wait, it’s more about the brandy, and less about the history, isn’t it? Well, it’s good stuff, and here it is!

To enjoy a Coow Woow, mix:

1. 2 parts white rum
2. 1 part ginger brandy
3. Pour over crushed ice
4. Stir
5. Strain
6. Serve in a cocktail glass

7. Enjoy the alcoholic spirits and the colonial spirits of the Inn

8. Start talking and let the conversation roooooooll!!! Isn’t that right, Dr. Nate?

Dr. Nate: Yes! Thank you for the Coow Woow recipe and it is so great to finally meet all of you!   I cannot express how grateful I am for your hospitality.   I am stimulated and excited by our conversation.   I mean, I get to nerd out with Kelly Heim, PhD!  Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to visit you all.  And I would truly love to help in anyway with you and yours son’s Lyme issues. And to contribute some sound advice for all the LW followers out there.

LW: You are Coow Wooonderful. And that’s not the Coow Woow talking. And yes, readers, the Kelly Heim he speaks of is none other than Professor Polyphenol, featured in a previous oddball humor interview that you all seemed to find amusing (what does that say about you, Whisperers?!). Dr. Nate, thank you. You are as sincere as you are funny. And smart. And crazy.  What do you have against mops, anyway?

The Plumber

The Plumber (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Nate: That’s funny, LW. I take it you are referring to a previous comment I made about my practice. My practice is built upon the belief that medicine should not be a pharmaceutical biased, disease identification model. It should rather be focused on identifying the cause of disease and repairing this cause rather than just treating the symptoms of disease. For example, if your sink is overflowing, which is better, a plumber or a mop salesman? In the same way, functional medicine, on which Good Medicine is based, strives to be the plumber and fix the sink rather than making money selling mops. It’s with this belief Good Medicine was established.

LW: There will be no mops here today. As you have licked that Coow Woow cocktail glass dry. And most importantly, there will be no mops used in your approach to treating lyme or other chronic diseases. This is why I adore and admire you. Tell me, as the plumber then, what IS your approach to fixing a very sick sink. That is clogged. Broken. Gurgling. Leaking. Rusted. Hardened. With Lyme.

Dr. Nate: LW, Initially, it’s ALL about the GALT and the gut. GALT stands for Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue. That’s where immune activation, inflammation control and healing take place. The GALT is actually a portion of the immune system located in the gut. Actually, 60-70% of immune tissue is in the small intestine and determines 99% of our immune response usually. This is where nasty invaders like bacteria can be stopped before entering into circulation or paradoxically our gut can think we are being invaded with a “leaky gut” and mount an immune response (unnecessarily) to the food we eat.

LW:  GALT it…Get it? “Got it”… “GALT it”? Anyhoo. I can blame my stupid humor on lyme brain.  But seriously, that is a solid and practical approach. You also say you can help your patients many times for no more than $2.50 per day. Is this how you do it? By supporting the GALT before recommending many of the other items we typically find as part of a lyme protocol, including Samento, Banderol and Byron White formulas? If so, how DO you support GALT?

Dr. Nate: Yes, I strive to keep my cost for most patients at no more than $2.50 per day, when on a maintenance regimen, but when treating Lyme initially this may go up to $5-$6 dollars a day. It could be much more expensive but by addressing the basics of gut restoration then you can use less supplements to support the immune system.  My recommendations for supporting the GALT are simple but effective and might include various combinations of the following: vitamin A, olive leaf, arabinogalactan, glutamine, fish oil, probiotics, curcumin, artemesia, garlic, phytostanols, colostrum, and nondairy immunoglobulins. The whole idea is to help the immune system, specifically the GALT, become more active. The immune system can be a lyme-kicking machine when you activate those natural killer (NK) cells, specific cells within the immune system that fight foreign invaders. I do check CD57 levels in my lyme patients periodically, after focusing the treatment protocol on supporting the GALT, to determine if the body seems to be clearing the disease better.

LW: Cool beans. How else?

Dr. Nate: Well speaking of beans, of course the right diet plays a BIG part in maintaining healthy immune function in the gut. Gluten-free diets.  Dairy-free diets. Eating whole, unprocessed, organic foods.  These approaches are all key. Allergenic foods, bacteria, and meds like antibiotics  and anti-inflammatories, can cause leaky gut. A leaky gut is like a leaky sink, creating a mess and even damage. My practice focuses on this kind of dietary and nutrition counseling… Does all this answer your question…about how to “fix the sink” rather than buying a mop?

LW: Yes. But I’m hungry for more. Can you elaborate on the damaging role of gluten and dairy on the gut, GALT, and overall immune health?

Dr. Nate: Think of it this way. Gluten causes damage and opens the holes in the gut. Gluten then gets through the cracks and leaks into your system. Causing leaky gut. And inflammation. And an overactive immune response as your body tries to kill the foreign invader, in this case gluten.  Can I give you a little history lesson, because I am so inspired by this historic setting…and beverage?…Historically, wheat had been 97% starch, 3% protein. 50% of that protein was comprised of gluten. By the 1870s,  hydridized wheat had been introduced, a wheat with a protein content of 26% compared to the 3% it was previously. That’s almost a 900% increase in the amount of gluten. This “superwheat” made for better baked goods for the American palate. But it also made for leaky guts! And allergic reactions!

Gluten-Free, Vegan Ukrainian Christmas Eve Mai...

Gluten-Free, Vegan Ukrainian Christmas Eve Main Course (Photo credit: Canadian Veggie)

LW: Good thing George was not around for the hybridized wheat. Would have been terrible if he had a leaky gut!

Dr. Nate: Yes, it would have! Now, another point I need to make is that you need bacteria to properly digest gluten. Antibiotics, which many lyme patients take, kill bacteria, even the good kind in your gut. This, then, affects one’s ability to digest gluten. Making it all the more important for lyme patients to avoid it.

LW: You know what I’ve always wanted? A gluten-free vegan Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner. I’m not Ukrainian. But I am random, obviously. HA! But seriously, would go great with the Coow Woow.  And what about dairy? You know, “glutens number one hombre”?

Dr. Nate: Yes, you literally took the words right out of my mouth. Not about the Ukrainian vegan gluten free dinner…that is random…But I DO  refer to dairy as glutens number one hombre! Dairy, like gluten, is very hard to break down. Dairy is homogenized, and pasteurized, which breaks protein down into inflammatory molecules.  It makes for inflammatory milk! Raw milk is better, but not for everyone. Of course there are so many alternatives now, like soy, almond and coconut milks. So much gentler on the gut and GALT!

LW: Hmmm. Would you say Professor Polyphenol is your number one hombre!? Any other gluten hombres?

Dr. Nate: Yes, LW, just like Professor Polyphenol is one of my number one hombres! Well, another gluten hombre that I spend a lot of time counseling my patients on is….sugar. In any form! You DON’T want to feed bacteria or yeast in your gut with sugar!

LW: Okay, next question. Going in a different direction. But still not using a mop. You mentioned it is critical to know your environment. Specifically, your risk or likelihood of mold toxin exposure. Why?

Dr. Nate: Mold toxins cause similar immune suppression as Lyme.   Twenty-five percent of the population is sensitive to mold. I’ve treated Lyme patients whose immune systems were handling the disease just fine until their bodies became overwhelmed by exposure to mold. You can’t improve your Lyme symptoms if you don’t resolve underlying immune suppression due to mold.   In fact, mold toxin exposure can also suppress CD57 numbers just like Lyme does so if exposed to mold your numbers will be down even if you are doing a good job with treating the Lyme. There are tests you can take and labs you can use to determine your exposure to mold toxins. They include the ERMI test from Mycometrics and ESML labs, which tells of your home’s mold burden.    There are also genetic testing that tells of your vulnerability to mold exposure, which involves HLA DR testing from LabCorp, and then a qualified physician to interpret this test.   It is discussed in Ritchie Shoemaker, MD’s book “Mold Warriors”.

 

LW: Thank you, very valuable advice! Actually, I was just at my naturopaths office yesterday and she ordered the HLA DR genetic test for me! I will soon know if mold toxins are playing a part in my inability to make progress with my remaining lyme symptoms despite treatment for several years. Speaking of valuable advice, what was the most valuable or exciting information you walked away with from the annual ILADS convention? How to get at those damn persisters in the biofilm?  Rad cyst-busting protocols? What?

Dr. Nate:  I think the biggest thing I walked away with is that we must approach this disease as if we are playing cat and mouse with it as it very effective at hiding.   This includes using cyst busting and biofilm busting drugs like Flagyl and Plaquenil with other antibiotics.     It seems that Lyme does not become drug resistant like other bacteria but instead it becomes good at hiding by forming biofilms and cysts and becoming inactive (the persisters) so that antibiotics cannot “reach” it.   When the antibiotics are gone then it re-emerges if the immune system is weakened.   This is why doing “pulse therapy” where short antibiotic holidays are taken may be effective in the long run as the Lyme thinks the “coast is clear” and comes back out to “play” and wham you hit it again with antibiotics.   It also makes sense why a active immune system is so important for long term successful therapy so it can take over this job from the antibiotics.

LW: Okay, now on the flip side, were there any developments that you learned of at ILADS that disappointed or discouraged you in your quest to help patients?

Dr. Nate: I don’t think so.   I realize this is a really tough disease that has numerous aspects that we have to address from many different angles.   I think I was more encouraged this time, than previously, that more doctors are starting to put the puzzle together and are coming at it from different angles.   I think the Functional Medicine approach will be key as we address all the issues that co-exist with Lyme and actually help it manifest.   Gluten, mold, heavy metals, poor sleep, excessive stress, and the list goes on in regards to what weakens the immune system and “exposes” us to active Lyme with an unhealthy gut being one of the most important starting points.   It is my opinion there are a lot of people with Lyme who do not manifest symptoms and I think we have the most to learn from them.   I suspect the unifying factor with these people is an uncompromised immune system from the above factors.   Antibiotics alone will not solve chronic Lyme.

LW: Dr. Nate…it seems that our immune system can be balanced and activated to sustain the fight with lyme and keep Borrelia at bay. You have convinced me that one of the best ways to do this is to support the gut and the GALT. And I don’t think I am doing enough to do that. I have not put enough focus on repairing my gut and supporting the part of the immune system that resides there.  I assume this means you have accomplished your mission to get this point across to me? I also assume that you want another round?

Dr. Nate: Yes—Borrelia can be suppressed and its impact lessened. And yes, it all starts with supporting the GALT….Now, as much as I agree that the Coow Woow is the most amazing cocktail I’ve ever had, I actually can’t have another. It’s just too powerful. Is this how the revolution was won? Or celebrated? Wow! Potent stuff!

LW: Thanks, Dr. Nate. This world needs more brilliant, creative, genuine, passionate, spirited, dynamic, “gutsy” docs such as yourself. I thank you for your time and your work as a clinician and researcher. I understand now that your approach to treating many conditions and chronic diseases is to treat the gut first. Including depression, fatigue, allergies, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.  The gut is where it all begins.  And hopefully for many people suffering, where it all ends, with your help. Cheers to you and everything you do. And cheers to Coow Wooooooow toooooo!! To learn more about Dr. Nate and his practice, visit www.goodmedicineonline.com.