#Lyme Disease and Biotoxin Removal Protocols

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.

In Conclusion

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.

– Laura

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21 responses to “#Lyme Disease and Biotoxin Removal Protocols

  1. Thank you Laura for this helpful information. My LLMD has me on a low dose of cholestyramine in addition to many pharm grade supplements, Rife, and an anti-fungal med. Just takes time, I guess. Where do you purchase Meriva? Just started taking an organic tumeric powder. Will “Google it” too. Take care, :J

    • Hi Julie,

      Meriva is a concentrated, highly bio-available form of turmeric. My doctor prefers Thorne brand. I get mine online – but it still ain’t cheap! $34 for 120 caps (and I take 4 per day)
      Try Iherb.com or vitacost.com. Best prices I’ve found.

      thanks for sharing your Lyme plan. I’m always looking for things that help.

      Best,
      Laura

  2. Thanks so much for this! I have been dealing with EI/chronic lyme for a long time now, & just had a huge upsurge in barely tolerable symptoms the last 7 weeks or so that feels like moldy/fungal stuff, and kept feeling my gall bladder was really involved! Just an intuitive feeling. But I decided to search online for “mold gallbladder lyme”, found this, and it’s like hitting pay dirt! Can’t believe you just posted this a few days ago. Pure grace. Your blog is so intelligent, eloquent, and helpful. I am so grateful; have never seen such a well-thought out yet simple to understand treatise on these issues. I will be carrying this around with me for a while I expect! Thanks thank thanks for your good work!

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for your comment. I, too think this information is at the core of my recovery from Lyme. I had that gut feeling that the problem was in my liver/galbladder/bile. And then I found Shoemaker’s research. I now believe LD to be a component of a larger biotoxin illness. We must unload the toxic burden before progressing with Lyme treatment, or we just keep recycling and feeling miserable!

      I’m doing the Cholestepure, foot detox, and environmental mold detox. I’ll post soon when I see how this affects me.

      Best,
      Laura

  3. Thanks again, Laura. I have a very holistic LLMD, and I have felt for years that detox is the basis of healing; we never felt antibiotics were the right path for me. Your careful awareness about the role of inflammation/cytokines in detox, though, were quite helpful. I will look forward to seeing your healing progress. Mine too, I hope! I wonder how a burdened liver is supposed to do so much fish oil. Do you think it’s critical before Cholestopure? Thanks again!

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I increased my intake of fish oil temporarily to see if it would help. However, my stomach couldn’t take it. And I noticed increased bruising, so it was thinning my blood too much. So I backed down to 2g per day.

      My pain level is reduced significantly after three weeks. Whether or not this is due to the Cholestepure and detox, I’m not sure. But I’m sure that when I restart anti-microbials the inflammation will increase again. I know this is an ongoing process. Perhaps I will have to alternate killing cycles with detox cycles.

      Best,
      Laura

  4. Laura, this is so great! I have not seen this emphasized enough, and I think it’s a huge key to how stuck I have felt:
    ” I’m sure that when I restart anti-microbials the inflammation will increase again. I know this is an ongoing process. Perhaps I will have to alternate killing cycles with detox cycles.”
    Thanks again.

  5. Hi Laura. I see an ND for Lyme. He put me on body bio products cause I cannot detox properly. The chlo pure I cannot tolerate at all. In fact I’m very sick and using a cane now. Do you know what I can mention to him in place of this. He’s never had this happen to a patient before. I couldn’t walk for 3 days and I have been so sick. Were not killing right now, just trying to re build. Thanks so much.

    • Hi Rachel,

      I’m sorry to hear that you are so ill. I have come a long way, but still have plenty of challenges. My symptoms are mainly neurological.

      We are all different, so what works for one may not work for another. I believe that detoxing is my biggest problem. I have done my share of experimenting to find things that work for me. The Cholestepure agrees with me. 1 – 2g of buffered vitamin C every couple of hours can be helpful. I think the Cowden Nutramedix herbs Pinella and Burbur also decrease my detox symptoms. My LLND just put me on 2 caps of activated charcoal per day to adsorb toxins. She also uses cholestyramine and Welchol for some patients. I also have a practitioner who does NAET and BioSET. Seeing her when I flare is always helpful. She can also test my medicines and tell me what my body tolerates.

      Before that I had my amalgam fillings removed, did 11 months of I.V. chelation, aggressively treated candida, and have done EFT and EMDR therapies for emotional detox from trauma. I think they are all important pieces in my recovery.

      Good luck and keep in touch.
      Laura

  6. Hi laura,
    I am fascinated by your blog, i have spent hundreds of hours searching for some decent research into Lyme Disease with no luck.
    All the information I find is contradictory. I was Diagnosed With LD in 2008 within two weeks of contracting it. The doctors put me on regular antibiotics and told me I would be fine. Most information out there Says that due to the spirochete nature of LD it is practically undetectable so even if I was to be retested with the Elisa test and it came back negative that the bacteria could still be in my body?
    How did you get diagnosis? I am in the UK.
    Also about a year ago I started having a severely painful wrist, it will come and go in periods of weeks, I am just getting over a 3 week stint of it now. However it is only in my left wrist joint. I have a friend in Pennsylvania where LD is rife and she was horrified when I told her I was left basically un treated and told me that it never goes. Which is something my hubby to be has also read, he also read that it is passed though breast milk to your babies.

    Any advice you may have would be greatly received, I have already bookmarked your blog to stay informed, thank you for such an informative post.

    • Hi Melita,

      Here is what I’ve learned in a nutshell: A doctor who really knows LD will diagnose based on tests, history and symptoms. Testing alone is unreliable, especially when you’ve been sick for longer than a month or two. Using antibiotics to kill the infection is only part of the battle. The immune system must be supported, and systems must be brought back into function and balance. One can never kill off all of the bacteria. The goal is to bring it down to a manageable level and help the body to finish the healing.

      My pain from LD moved around my body so much that doctors thought I was a hypochondriac. From everything I’ve read, this is normal.

      Most of the helpful information I’ve found is from an alternative medicine perspective. But there are MD’s out there who “get it”, too. Try researching Dr. Joe Burrascano, Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, and Dr. Steven Harris. Go to the ILADS website for good information. There are also some good patient websites out there. Look at http://www.betterhealthguy.com and Connie Strasheim’s blog on Lyme.

      My advice to you is to find a doctor who knows to treat this disease holistically.

      Good luck and keep up hope!
      Laura

  7. Laura,
    I was just diagnoed with mold illness. I saw Dr. Scott McMahon (He was trained by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker). Dr. McMahon is in Roswell, N.M. Dr. McMahon is starting me on cholestyramine 4 times daily for 3-4 months. I have been using NAET and several supplements recommended by my allergist (who is integrative). I have already started detoxing by using these methods, but Dr. McMahon says the cholestyramine will speed up the detoxification process.
    My question is: Are there any natural supplements that detox the body or rid it of mold and othere bio toxins? The Cholestepure that you mentioned in the info above; Is it made by Pure Encapsulations? Does it do the same thing as cholestyramine? Can you take Cholestepure and Cholestyramine together? Or should I finish the cholestyramine and then start on the Cholestepure? Thank you for your help!

    -Amy

    • Hi Amy,

      It sounds like you’re off to a good start. The cholestyramine is the one with the research behind it for toxin removal, but there are many other binders. Welchol (a milder Rx) Cholestepure (yes, Pure Encapsulations), activated charcoal, special clays, apple pectin. You ingest them at least 1/2 hour before a meal and they absorb the bile when it’s released. It may be trial and error to see which one works for you. Have your NAET practitioner test the products for you. He/she can tell you what strengthens or weakens you. I’ve rotated through a few natural ones for 8 months now. Haven’t done the RX ones yet. Keep meaning to ask my doc about them.

      Dr. Schaller has a comparison of the effectiveness of common toxin binders on mold toxins on his website: http://www.usmoldphysician.com/articles/comparingmoldtoxinbinders.html

      Doing regular saunas will help with detox. Some people say the certain Japanese foot patches are good for detox. Check out the BetterHealthGuy website, and also look up Dr. Richard Loyd’s mold protocol. He is an advocate of natural treatments.

      Good luck and keep researching!
      Laura

  8. Patricia McMillen

    Thank you so much!!!!!! I have been ill for over 25yrs and I am just now finding the clues!
    Thank you,
    Pat

  9. I need an inpatient program. I’m absolutely baffled that this isn’t available. I’m too disabled to take and do all the things I’m suppose to take and do. At that point my doctor said, “What do you want from me?”. I guess they just want to prescribe and get you out of their office so they can take the next patient. If I were an alcoholic I could get inpatient treatment.

  10. After reading a review for Mold Warriors a doctor posted that Cholestepure, Zeolite and activated charcoal work well. He loved the info in the book, but said it was so disorganized that it would confuse anyone with brain fog. I just ordered some Cholestepure (already have the other items), but am so grateful to have found your blog. Now, I know how to better prepare my body while I wait the week or so for the Ch to show up. I have been diagnosed and treated for lyme, heavy metal toxicity, though I am still sick. I live on a roller coaster of better to worse. Initially I saw Dr. Shoemaker featured on the tv show The Incurables and woman they featured could have been me 100%. I live in Texas and have depleted all of my funds for running around the country seeing more doctors. I have done tons of research myself. Don’t forget about using Chlorella and Sarsparilla as natural gentle binders as well. Chlorella helps with heavy metals esp mercury. Sarsparilla has the ability to bind endotoxins. I have recently been taking Chapparal and Carnivora to lower my viral load and have feeling pretty good. I also started the LipoB shots advertised on sites like Groupon. That is how I discovered that I have a problem with Methylation. Blood tests showed I was low in B vitamins, but no matter how much I took it didn’t make a difference. Once I started on the shots I finally got some energy! My doctor told me to ask if they were using Methylcobalamin (methylated B12) and they were. He said it was cheaper than a genetic marker test just to try taking the methylated B vitamins to see if they help. I also have found a fantastic Vit C product called Lyposomal Vit C by LivOn Labs. It is about $30 a box on Amazon, S&H included. Each pkt they ‘unofficially’ say = 5-6grams of Vit C and does not give you stomach upset, at least not until you start taking 4 pkts at a time. If you want to take that much you have to work up to it. A bit expensive for that though. Thank you so much for your blog! Being sick is so difficult and so lonely because no one else understands!

  11. To take the Vit C pkt which is in gel form I pour about 2t of apple juice in a shot glass and then squirt the in the gel and ‘shoot’ it down. Stuff is nasty by itself. Important info if you decide to try it. Thx!

  12. I just read thru this blog, and am very impressed. It is now February of 2015, and I am wondering how well all this worked in creating your recovery. an update would be greatly appreciated.

  13. G’day Laura. great blog & read! well done.

    Um….as a long time Lyme sufferer – im keen to try questran/ cholestyramine but I see you need a prescription. hence – until I get to see my lyme doc again – i will look at cholestopure. Do you know how effective it is compared to cholestyramine, bentonite clays etc?

    Cheers

    Ro 🙂

    • Hi Ro,

      I’m so sorry that I missed your message. I just found it in my email. I can’t compare the efficacy of various binders or bile sequestrates. I do know that cholestyramine has research behind its detox abilities. It can be harsh with unpleasant side effects, though. There are other things, such as activated charcoal and modified citrus pectin that have helped people. Personally I went off the cholestyramine because of unpleasant side effects. My doc put me on the citrus pectin. I have no problems from it. And it doesn’t interfere with absorption of other meds.

      Regards,
      Laura

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