Monthly Archives: May 2012

Byron White Formulas and Their Use in Lyme Disease

I came across this article from the Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine:

http://www.faim.org/newfrontiers/byronwhiteformulas.html

The article focuses on treatment of LD with Byron White Formulas, which are broad-spectrum, herbal, anti-microbial agents. The article helps to explain Lyme Disease as a multi-factorial illness, whose treatment involves addressing the disease in a multi-faceted way: killing the pathogens, detoxification, and immune system support.

I like this article because it helps the reader understand that LD is much more than a simple infection. In the very beginning the disease can be successfully treated with a simple antibiotic regimen. But when the infection is left undiagnosed and untreated for years it penetrates the CNS and organs, and affects the immune system and the entire body in myriad ways. As everyone is different, the disease manifests itself somewhat differently in each patient.

I often cite sources from the alternative medicine camp. As a scientifically minded person who worked in medical research for ten years, I would prefer more scientific papers and information from conventional medicine. Unfortunately, it does not seem that conventional medicine has a true understanding of the chronic, late-stage form of Lyme Disease at this time. All of the groundbreaking and truly helpful information I come across is from the alt. med. perspective. And, indeed, I am slowly overcoming this disease with help of an Integrative Medicine/Naturopathic practitioner. I look forward to the day where allopathic and alternative medicine join forces and provide integrative, holistic care for all of us.

– Laura

Advertisements

Insomnia

My sleep became disturbed starting in about 1999 and continued to worsen. I got to the point around 2005 that I was no longer able to sleep unaided. So began my quest for effective  sleep aids without side effects. Ambien and Xanax are both miraculous for sleep, but should not be taken long term. Kava helps, but it is reported to be hard on the liver. I’ve tried numerous herbs and supplements, and through trial and error I’ve found some good combinations to give me the sleep that I need.

My current sleep cocktail is this:

  • 200mg L-theanine
  • 3mg melatonin (taken right before bed*)
  • 2 capsules Power to Sleep PM by Irwin Naturals (taken right before bed*). Contains common relaxing ingredients such as Ashwagandha, passion flower, GABA, hops, lemon balm and valerian.

*Note: supplements containing melatonin and valerian must be taken immediately before bedtime. If taken while the user remains awake, they can “backfire” and worsen insomnia. I have noticed this effect.

This combination helps me fall asleep and maintain sleep. Even if I awaken in the middle of the night, I’m able to go back to sleep. And I don’t have a “hangover” in the morning. I wake up easily and refreshed.

In the past I’ve used another helpful supplement called Kavinace, together with melatonin. This was a great combination, but it left me a bit groggy in the morning. Kavinace contains 4-amino-3-phenylbutyric acid (aka phenibut), a GABA agonist that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Beware, one can develop a tolerance to phenibut, and some claim that it’s addictive. I notice that the effectiveness wears of periodically, so you need to rotate this one in and out. But it’s a staple in my medicine cabinet.

I hope this helps someone out there. Different things work for different people. Good luck in finding the right ones for you.

–        Laura

The Amygdala Hyperarousal Model and Retraining Program

I was recently sent some information that I find promising on the connection of ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia to microbial infection and trauma to the amygdala (the primal seat of emotion in the brain). A British therapist, Ashok Gupta theorizes that the amygdala is traumatized by psychological stress and chronic infection (including a virus called XMRV) and that it can be reprogrammed to help patients overcome this type of illness. Following are excerpts from his website:

 

The Amygdala Hyperarousal Model

“…ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia may be caused by a conditioned trauma in the amygdala following an acute viral, bacterial or physical insult, combined with psycho-social distress. Once the classical and operant conditioning has occurred, the amygdala in association with the insula, become hyper-sensitive to signals from both the body and external stimuli, and magnify both the extent and frequency of the incoming stimuli in the sensory thalamus and cortex.”

 

How Amygdala Retraining Might Reduce XMRV and other Opportunistic Pathogen Levels

“Amygdala retraining aims to reduce the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system by creating a projecting neurone from the prefrontal cortex to the amygdala to control its over-zealous reactions. This in turn would reduce the sympathetic overload, allowing TH1/Th2 ratios to gradually return to normal, allowing the body’s own immune system to fight off opportunistic infections such as the suspected XMRV. Symptoms from amygdala hyperarousal (including changes in the brain), and symptoms from opportunistic infections would then subside, as well as any allergic effects of TH2 dominance.

Amygdala retraining aims to bring homeostasis back to the body after a period of imbalance, where the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems returns to normal, as does the TH1/TH2 balance.”

Read more about his theory and recovery program at http://www.guptaprogramme.com/xmrv.asp

 

Now, I don’t know if his program is worth a toot, but I do like his hypothesis for the vicious cycle of CFS type diseases. I think he hits the nail on the head.

  1. Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors (1)
  2. Triggers: Acute Psychological Stress (2) & Viral, Bacterial, or Other Triggers (3)
  3. The combination of these precipitating factors changes the circuitry of the amygdala, making it continually over-stimulate the body (4).
  4. From then on, the amygdala continually over-stimulates the sympathetic nervous system directly (5)
  5. Hyper-arousal of the body then causes the symptoms (6) and creates Secondary Illness Cycles (7).

“Over-stimulation can cause adaptation in receptors so that systems are down-regulated, or certain systems may simply exhaust due to over-stimulation, as is the case with the adrenal glands. Nitric oxide levels may rise (as per the observations of Professor Martin Pall), which can cause a whole host of secondary effects and symptoms in the body, including mitochondria dysfunction, perpetuating the entire vicious circle. Because the immune system is responding inappropriately, opportunistic viruses such as HHV-6 have the opportunity to flourish, increasing symptoms. Finally, at 7, secondary illnesses such as allergies and chemical sensitivities can occur due to the hypersensitivity of the entire system.”

Sound familiar?

This could be a revelation for Lyme Disease sufferers! As we are learning, antibiotic treatment alone is not the answer, especially for those with chronic Lyme.  We need help to detoxify and desensitize/reprogram. Perhaps this therapy could be useful in this regard. I plan to do further research.

– Laura