So after a tough month of detox symptoms following a new anti-microbial regimen, I decided to research an improved detox protocol for myself. I am cleaning up my diet (again) and taking time off from killing the infections until I can reduce my existing toxic load and improve my body’s detox system.
My understanding of this illness has deepened considerably in recent months. Chronic Lyme Disease is not a stand-alone condition. It is a complex interaction of impaired physiology, biotoxin load, and immune dysregulation. The infection is only a part of the problem. Borrelia and other pathogenic microbes are opportunistic and stubborn infections that will wreak havoc in the already impaired body.
My research has led me to the work of two researchers who advocate removal of mold toxins from the body and the immediate environment as the path to regaining one’s health: Ritchie Shoemaker, MD, a family practice physician, author, and researcher, and Richard Loyd, PhD, a researcher and nutritionist. According to these pioneers in the field of biotoxin related illness, treating mold and removing existing toxins from the body is vital for a full recovery from Lyme disease.
Both of their protocols use an intestinal toxin binder, such as cholestyramine or Cholestepure. They both work by binding toxins in the intestines that have been released from the gallbladder. Toxins are stored in fat cells. They are processed through the liver then on to the gallbladder until a fatty meal causes the gallbladder to release bile and the toxins into the gut. Without cholestyramine or other toxin-binding agents, they can re-circulate back into the blood stream. This is a self-perpetuating cycle. Even if you kill off pathogenic microbes in the body, their toxins continue to circulate in people with ineffective detox pathways. The gist of treatment is threefold: Avoid, Prepare, and Remove.
Note: Cholestyramine is a prescription bile acid sequestrate intended for use in lowering cholesterol. It has also has been found clinically to be effective in relieving the symptoms of toxic mold syndrome. It works by binding to the mold toxins in the gut and removing them from the body. Cholestyramine has been used for decades in mainstream medicine to lower cholesterol. It is also used by the U.S. military to remove neurotoxins after exposure in combat. It has an excellent safety profile because it is not absorbed into the blood stream. The most common side effects are constipation, heartburn, and nausea. Dr. Loyd suggests a product called Cholestepure as a natural, gentler alternative.
CAUTION: Lyme patients, or people with any severe biotoxin illness may not be able to tolerate any cholestyramine at all. Starting a toxin binding protocol such as this can lead to intense detox (Herx) reactions. Talk to your doctor. And prep with a good anti-inflammatory protocol BEFORE commencing a protocol like this.
Step One: Avoid further exposure to mold toxins
Remove yourself from toxic environments, or remove the mold from your environment. See Dr. Loyd’s website and paper on mold http://www.royalrife.com/mold_toxins.pdf for mold removal strategies, including diffusing mold killing essential oils with a diffuser into your car, garage, and basement. Read Dr. Shoemaker’s books: Mold Warriors and Surviving Mold for detailed information.
Step Two: Prepare your system for the detox storm to follow
Cholestyramine can cause unbearable detox symptoms (inflammation!) in chronically ill patients. Once you start processing out the toxins, more are released from their safe hiding places. Though a number of physicians (including Dr. Klinghardt) once prescribed a short course of a drug called Actos to mitigate detox symptoms, this drug is now linked with increased risk of bladder cancer. This drug can also be problematic for those with insulin problems and low leptin levels.
See http://www.survivingmold.com/docs/biotoxinpathwayritchieshoemakermd.pdf for helpful diagrams of the body’s chemistry to better understand the inflammatory cycle and detox pathways.
Dr. Shoemaker now advocates preparing the body with very high doses of fish oil as a natural anti-inflammatory. The targeted dose of fatty acids is 2.4g EPA and 1.8g DHA daily for 8 days prior to commencing binding therapy. This can be 5 or more capsules of high potency fish oil!
Dr. Loyd suggests one of the following products: UltraInflamX, Kaprex, KaprexAI, BioticsKappArrest. They inhibit NF-kappaB, a messenger that causes the release of inflammatory cytokines. They are safe, natural alternatives to Actos.
In addition to fish oil, my doctor has me on a concentrated, highly bio-available form of turmeric called Meriva.
To my surprise, Dr. Loyd (and also noted LLMD, Dr. Steven Harris) also suggests foot detox to draw out toxins. He suggests electronic foot detox baths and foot detox patches. See http://www.royalrife.com/mold_toxins.pdf. Honestly, I thought foot detox was pure B.S. until I read his website. Scott Forsgren from www.betterhealthguy.com has also used the Japanese-made patches with success. Go to his website for brand suggestions, since there are likely many ineffective ones out there. This is supposedly a gentle toxin removal treatment without side effects. It may be helpful to undertake this before commencing with toxin binding.
Part Three: Bind the Toxins
Mix one packet of cholestyramine in water four times daily between meals, preferably 30 minutes before a meal.
- As an alternate, Welchol is a gentler pharmaceutical binding agent that can be used.
- As a natural alternate use 1 – 3 capsules of Cholestepure, three times per day in between meals.
Shoemaker requires a low sugar, low amylase (starch) diet to aid in the process and reduce detox reactions. Duration of treatment is anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on the toxic load.
Please be careful when taking any new medications/supplements or implementing a detox protocol. It’s tempting for desperate, chronically ill people to play doctor on themselves. But detoxing can have serious side effects, including runaway inflammation, which is not only painful, but is dangerous. Get professional help. Do your research. And go slowly and carefully.