What about Lyme disease?
Lyme disease! We have all heard about it, but what exactly is it, and why should you be concerned? In this post, we discuss the signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease, and our unique approach to Lyme disease through a holistic lens which, no surprise involves diet, lifestyle, and herbs!
What is Lyme disease and what are its signs and symptoms?
Lyme disease is an infection that is caused by the bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi and is usually transmitted from a tick or insect bite. Lyme disease is very prevalent, infecting around 300,000 Americans per year. While many people are aware of Lyme disease, the varying presentation of Lyme among different people may make detection difficult.
Lyme disease’s symptoms start small, often presenting as flu-like symptoms, but if left untreated, may progress to a serious inflammatory response affecting the skin, joints, gut, heart, and central nervous system, and even death.
Common Early Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease
- Muscle/Joint Pain
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
- Butter-fly or bull-eyes shaped rash
- Digestive Issues (nausea and loss of appetite)
Later signs and symptoms of Lyme disease
- Worsening headaches and stiffness of the neck
- Worsening muscle/ joint pain and swelling
- Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Shooting pains, numbness, and tingling
- Facial palsy (drooping of one or both sides of the face)
- Depression and fatigue
- Brain Fog and forgetfulness
As you can probably tell by the symptoms listed above, Lyme disease is a serious disease! We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to work alongside a health professional if you suspect you have Lyme or have Lyme. This is not a disease that should be left alone, in fact, the consequences severely heighten the longer it is left untreated.
Our Approach to Lyme Disease
We believe that working with a conventional medicine practitioner alongside an integrative (or holistic) health professional is beneficial in helping to manage the symptoms and treating Lyme Disease. The primary treatment of Lyme disease usually involves antibiotics. However, depending on the severity of Lyme the effectiveness of these antibiotics varies, especially once the disease has progressed and has spread to the Central Nervous System.
Alongside conventional treatment, we like to utilize other tools like antiviral plants/herbs and supplements and make changes to one’s diet and lifestyle to help support the body’s detoxification, immune system, and inflammatory response during Lyme Disease.
Plants/herbs with antiviral properties
Did you know that some plants and herbs have antiviral properties that work to enhance your immune system? This is just another reason why we LOVE plants and all that they do for us. Specifically, there are seven plants/herbs that we are interested in due to their unique properties that may help reduce the viral load and therefore help your immune system.
7 plants/herbs with antiviral (and others) properties that may help with Lyme Disease
- Oregano – antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties
- Sage – antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties
- Echinacea – antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties
- Licorice Root – antiviral properties, may reduce adrenal fatigue, and boost immunity
- Olive Leaf – antiviral properties, and may help with chronic fatigue
- Astralagus Root – stimulates the immune system, is anti-inflammatory, and may help lower cortisol (hello stress!)
- Garlic – contains allicin which has antiviral properties
You may be surprised at just how effective these antivirals can be. However, it all comes down to quality and dosing, so make sure to work with a health practitioner (like us!).
The Use of Supplements to support the body through Lyme Treatment
We also love utilizing supplements to help support the body during Lyme Disease. Specifically, we look for supplements that help to boost immunity, decrease inflammation, promote detoxification, and protect the nervous system.
Supplements that may support your body during Lyme Disease
- Vitamin D – beneficial in increasing immunity and reducing inflammation
- Vitamin C and Zinc – common deficiencies in people with Lyme disease and play a role in immune function
- CoQ10 – can be helpful for reducing inflammation, specifically in joints, and also has protective benefits on the brain and nervous system
- B-Complex – supports your body in numerous ways and may be protective neurologically (which is important for Lyme)
- Omega 3’s and Turmeric – anti-inflammatory
- Magnesium – supports the joints
- Milk Thistle – support detoxification
- Glutathione – aids in detoxification
Now that we have covered plants/herbs and supplements, let’s dive into tips for supporting your body when going through Lyme treatment.
Our top tips for supporting your body when going through Lyme treatment
Lyme disease takes a toll on the body, so it is important to do all you can to support it! We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to nourish and be gentle with your body! Now is the time to focus on high-quality nutrient-dense whole foods. Think more fruits and veggies (organic if possible), high-quality sources of protein (wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat, pasture-raised eggs, etc), and less processed foods with inflammatory oils, added sugars, and artificial colorings/flavors.
10 tips for supporting your body during Lyme Disease
- Nourish your body with nutrient-dense, high-quality foods (organic fruits and veggies, wild-caught fish, pasture-raised eggs)
- Limit/avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Move your body gently (walking, yoga, pilates)
- Engage in mindfulness and stress reduction practices (mediation, journaling, getting outside!)
- Consider taking a variety of supplements to help decrease inflammation and viral load, while increasing detoxification and boosting the immune system
- Reduce screen time! – can contribute to brain fog and reduce mental clarity
- Get quality sleep! (this is key in detoxification and immunity)
- Prioritize yourself and healing!! (some decisions are easy said than done, but now is the time to make the hard decisions and focus on what your body needs)
- Surround yourself with people who are going to support you during your healing process! (think: family, friends, and a great medical team)
- Be patient! Healing takes time!
Wondering how to incorporate these tips into your daily life? We’ll walk you through a day in the life for some inspiration!
First things first, upon waking, engage in some sort of stress management activity. This could look like doing a ten-minute guided meditation followed by listing three things you are grateful for. Then, get outside and go for a walk (even twenty minutes can make a huge difference!). When you get back, have a cup of Dandy Blend (an alternative to coffee that tastes like coffee, but does not have caffeine and helps in detox). While you’re sipping on this, make a nourishing breakfast. This may look like some berries, with pasture-raised scrambled eggs, spinach and mushrooms, and a piece of gluten-free toast with avocado. Mid-day, make sure to check in with yourself and your stress levels. If you have the time, get some movement in (whether that is a walk, yoga, or pilates). For lunch, have a big green leafy salad with your favorite veggies (we love brussels, asparagus, carrots, beets, and cucumber for decreasing inflammation) topped with a high-quality protein of choice and dressed with extra-virgin olive, lemon, salt and pepper. Dinner may look like wild-caught salmon with homemade sweet potato fries and sauteed broccoli. At night, engage in a nightly routine that supports your body and has a calming effect setting up your body for a good night’s sleep. This may look like putting your legs up on the wall, then dry brushing to support lymphatic drainage, then taking a hot shower/bath, then getting into bed and reading a book. Try aiming for eight to ten hours of sleep per night! Rest and repeat (always making sure to be in touch with your body and what it needs!).
The Bottom Line
Lyme disease is a complex disease. Ultimately, the goal is for it to be caught early, however, utilizing holistic methods, with an emphasis on diet and lifestyle, alongside conventional medicine can be extremely beneficial in symptom management and recovery.
Suffering from Lyme disease and need help? Click here to work with me!