Category Archives: nutrition and supplements

#Lyme Disease and Chronic Fatigue

Hello to All,

I had a good deal of physical and emotional stress this past winter/spring and it led to a major crash in May. I had to revisit some of my strategies for energy improvement and I thought this would be a good choice for a blog entry.

Although many of my debilitating symptoms are gone (joint pain, muscle pain, dizziness, vertigo, panic attacks, night sweats, severe migraines), I still deal with chronic fatigue symptoms. I find that I have to deal with fatigue from four angles:

  1. Adrenal function
  2. Thyroid function
  3. Mitochondrial function
  4. Neurotransmitter deficiency

First off, my cortisol is chronically low. The adrenal glands are taxed by chronic illness or stress of all kinds. During times of emotional or physical stress I have to take prescription hydrocortisone 10mg twice a day before 2PM. This is considered a physiological dose that replaces the cortisol that my body cannot produce on its own. This helps my energy, anxiety, and pain. I am far less fragile when I take it. When the stress ends, I can switch back to an adaptogen. Maca and eleuthero are my favorites.

The second thing that helps me is thyroid support. My recent thyroid test came back slightly low (both T3 and T4, but normal TSH), so my doctor started me on thyroid hormone. An important note: I do not have autoimmune hypothyroid. It’s important for your doctor to test you for thyroid antibodies and TSH level before treating you. Autoimmune thyroid disease requires a more comprehensive treatment.

The third thing needed is mitochondrial support. Mitochondria are the body’s energy production centers inside our cells. Often they are damaged by chronic illness. I take 200mg of CoQ10 and 2,000mg of l-carnitine per day. I use a specific brand of CoQ10: Thorne Q-Best. This one actually works for me, unlike the other ones I’ve tried. I use regular l-carnitine because acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) gives me a headache. However, ALC is supposed to cross the blood-brain barrier and is said to be better for people with chronic fatigue. Another helpful supplement for energy is d-ribose, but I avoid all sugars because of chronic yeast. Eating good fats (nuts, avocado, olive and coconut oil, etc) is also helpful to rebuild our mitochondria.

The fourth strategy that helps me is taking amino acids such as dl-phenylalanine and l-tyrosine. These aminos are the building blocks of stimulating catecholamines in the brain. L-phenylalanine is stimulating, but d-phenylalanine has anti-depressant and analgesic properties. This strategy is from The Mood Cure book by Julia Ross. I cannot recommend this book enough! I currently take 1 gram of tyrosine 2x per day. Some people report side effects, but for me it works well.

Since implementing these strategies in May, my energy has improved noticeably. I can usually make it through a day without a nap, and I can exercise or do physical work such as gardening (though I still have my down days, especially when detoxing). My ultimate goal is to repair my body so as not to need all these supports. But for now, I’m grateful to have them.

Best,

Laura

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#Lyme Disease Nutrient Spotlight: Butyrate

I want to share one of my favorite supplements for managing symptoms related to Lyme Disease called Butyrate.

I’m a chronic headache sufferer, and my most frequent trigger for headaches is eating. I used to think food sensitivities were the problem, but I got to the point where eating solid food of any kind caused me a headache. I began to suspect the problem lied more in the process of eating and the toxic bile release that followed. I also noticed that when my general inflammation level was high, I was sensitive to everything, not just food. When the inflammation subsided, I had no problems eating anything.

My LLND gave me this supplement to calm food reactions. I take 3 or 4 caps of high potency Body Bio brand 600mg Cal/mag butyrate with or just after a meal when I feel the headache coming on. It usually stops the headache within 20 minutes. When I feel good, I try to remember to take a maintenance dose of 3 caps per day. When inflammation is high, I take 8 – 9 caps per day.

So what is butyrate? It’s a fatty acid that helps to combat ammonia, support the health of the digestive tract, and reduce cytokines (inflammation generating signaling compounds), among other uses.  Butyrate is proving to be a remarkable nutrient for a number of conditions.

Here is an excerpt from an article written by Mark Speight, MD.

…Butyrate is an amazing molecule. From cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, to irritable bowel, it is proving to be a powerhouse.

Butyrate is a four carbon chain fatty acid that the intestinal tract uses as food. It is generated from the colon bacteria in conjunction with fiber products. If you don’t have enough healthy bacteria and fiber in your intestinal tract, then the chances are good that you won’t make enough butyrate.

Butyrate has also been shown to slow the beginning of cancer, in fact inducing what we call differentiation (making cells that were previously behaving like cancer cells – rapidly dividing, become normal again). In one study some 20 years ago animals with chemically induced tumors in the colon had reduction in the size and number of their tumors when they were treated with butyric acid enemas twice daily for eight weeks.

More recent research suggests that Butyrate quells the storm of cytokines that causes inflammation in the brain leading to scarring and cell death. By doing so, it is thought that chronic degenerative diseases like Alzheimers, ALS, and others may be slowed or even reversed. In fact, preliminary evidence suggests this is so when this nutrient is given in conjunction with others.

There are different kinds of butyrate. Some butyrates are attached to sodium, others to calcium and magnesium. Most people need calcium and magnesium so calmag butyrate is a reasonably safe option.

Butyrate also helps clean the liver, the gall bladder, and biliary tree in the liver. It also helps clean the bowel, helps control ammonia, and removes unwanted “renegade fats”…

To read the complete article, including references, visit http://www.cfwellness.com/articles/butyrate

–        Laura

Lyme Flares and Detoxing Part Two: How to Stop a Herxheimer Reaction

Hello Again Dear Readers,

I’ve learned a few things since my last post about detoxing. I think I’ve stopped my detox reaction (aka Herx) in its tracks.

I learned over a year ago that my chronic headaches, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, digestive problems, and general misery are my body’s reaction to toxicity. When I got the Lyme diagnosis 10 months ago, I finally understood why. But figuring out what to do about it eluded me. Until now.

For this last flare up, my BioSET practitioner did muscle testing and said that mold played a role, as did Bartonella. She did a treatment on me and I felt somewhat better. I was still having headaches after every meal, however.

I researched solutions to Herxes on message boards and from known Lyme doctors. Then I talked to my doctor about my plan to be sure it wouldn’t cause a problem. Here is what I did:

Take a break from anti-microbials

I temporarily stopped all anti-microbial medications, pharmaceutical or natural. This gave my body time to process out the dead microbes and their toxic by-products.

Glutathione

Two days in a row I took Liposomal Glutathione in the following method, as suggested by noted LLMD, Dr. Joseph Burrascano.

  • Alka-Seltzer Gold in water with lemon.
  • Liposomal Glutathione, 1500 MG (may put in juice to make more palatable)

Liquid Diet

One of my worst problems is that I often get intense headaches after eating. I now realize it isn’t WHAT I eat, but the FACT that I eat. Ingesting solid food of any kind overwhelms my body that is already overburdened by chronic infection. So here is my solution.

I consume only liquid meals when I need to seriously detox. They don’t overwhelm the organs of elimination that are already struggling with processing toxins. I add in solid food one meal per day and then more as tolerated. I have vegan protein shakes with fruit for breakfast and vegetable smoothies with garlic and onion for lunch and dinner. I sneak a few rice crackers and olives if I need something salty. This may sound harsh, but it helps me feel better.

Chlorella

I ingest 1 – 2 g of chlorella, 30 minutes before eating. Chorella is a detoxer. Ingesting it 30 minutes before food puts it in your small intestine at exactly the right place for your body’s bile release when you begin eating. In addition to helping digest food, bile contains toxins filtered out by the liver. You want a substance to absorb these before they cause a reaction and are reabsorbed by the intestines.

Buffered Vitamin C (very helpful!!!)

If I feel a reaction after eating, I take 1 tsp (5 grams) buffered Vitamin C powder in water. (I use Nutribiotic Calcium Ascorbate). This is my lifesaver! It stops a reaction in its tracks for me. I repeat this after every meal if I’m feeling sensitive. I can tolerate 15g or more per day in divided doses without adverse reactions.

 Quercetin

I take 500mg quercetin, 3x per day. This is supposed to support healthy histamine levels.

Other helpful things:

  • Warm Epsom salt baths
  • Coffee retention enemas (help purge the liver)
  • Pekana homeopathic detox remedies to support liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system
  • Plenty of fiber and water

Voila! The detox reaction is now mostly gone. I am gradually adding more solid food into my diet. No problems. No headaches, no indigestion. All my symptoms are abating.

I hope this helps someone else out there. Please let me know if it does.

–        Laura

Current Treatment Protocol, March 2012

Current Treatment Protocol as of March 2012

For anyone interested, here is my current treatment protocol as of March, 2012. I am being treated by a Lyme-Literate Naturopathic Doctor (LLND). She treats Lyme with both pharmaceutical and herbal antibiotics.  I opted for a gentler, herbal treatment to start. If necessary, I will do the pharmaceuticals. This is a long post, so bear with me.

I am using a comprehensive approach to overcome this illness:

  1. Kill off the infection
  2. Support the body’s detoxification pathways
  3. Desensitize the body from multiple “allergies” that developed as a result of the infection
  4. Physical and emotional release of trauma (both at the root of, and a result of chronic pain)

Antimicrobials:

  • Byron White formula: A-BAB, 7 drops 2x per day (an herbal antibiotic, specifically for Babesia). Previously on B.W. A-L Formula for three months. Beware: these can cause significant die-off.
  • Lauricidin: 7 pellets before bed (generally antimicrobial, esp.  antifungal, antiviral) Beware: can cause significant die-off.
  • Garlic cloves: insert vaginally overnight for yeast flare. Don’t laugh – this is very effective.
  • Fluconazole: for yeast flares

Detox Support:

  • Cal/Mag Butyrate: 4 capsules with lunch and dinner (helps intestinal repair, reduces food reactions, anti-candida)
  • Interfase Plus (contains digestive enzymes and EDTA to break up biofilms) 2 capsules, 2x per day
  • Digestive enzymes before meals
  • Chlorella with every meal
  • Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate) daily
  • Meriva Curcumin (anti-inflammatory) daily
  • 60+ oz filtered water daily
  • Coffee enemas weekly. Don’t laugh – this is very effective. You want to use special coffee for this purpose: S.A. Wilson’s. More on this later.
  • BioSet treatments (see below)

Vitamins and Minerals:

  • Calcium/magnesium/zinc (1000/500/15mg) daily
  • Vitamin D: 5,000 units per day
  • B Vitamins: Folate, B6, B12 daily

Hormones:

  • Bio-identical progesterone cream morning and evening 21 days per month (for PMS caused by low progesterone)
  • Natural thyroid: 45mg every AM

Mood Support:

  • St. John’s wort

Sleep Support:

  • 5mg melatonin
  • 200 mg L-theanine (supports Gaba)
  • 2 capsules Kavinace (supports Gaba)

Therapies:

  • BioSet (Bioenergetic Sensitivity and Enzyme Therapy): It integrates traditional Chinese medicine and acupressure together with contemporary approaches to applied immunology and nutrition. The BioSET System employs three basic treatments: organ-specific detoxification, enzyme therapy, and desensitization. I think of it as Biofeedback via the body’s energetic pathways. Also helps to open the detox pathways and prepare you for antimicrobial treatment. And you can continue to self-treat at home. I no longer suffer from food sensitivities! I will devote an entire page to this remarkable therapy soon.
  • Psychotherapy with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, aka “Tapping”) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming). Excellent work for reprogramming the body after trauma. It is important to remember that trauma can cause chronic pain, but chronic pain can also cause trauma! This is the only psychotherapy that has ever been truly helpful to me. And you can continue to self-treat at home. I will write more on this treatment soon.

Diet: (mostly organic)

  • I try to get nine cups of fruits and vegetables per day. Intensive nutrition is key to recovering from chronic illness of any kind. I am starting to juice to accomplish this.
  • High quality proteins: grass fed meat, organic poultry, and fish
  • Beans
  • Low grains
  • Low sugar
  • Low alcohol (one of my weaknesses!)
  • Minimal dairy – eat goat or sheep cheese when possible
  • Avoid processed “dead” food
  • Avoid additives and preservatives
  • Plenty of good fat: oils, nuts, seeds
  • 3g high quality fish oil per day

Pharmaceuticals: (I rely on these less now)

  • Tylenol for moderate pain
  • Tramodol for intense pain
  • Sumatriptan for severe headaches
  • Ambien for insomnia (if natural supplements fail)
  • Fluconazole for yeast flare-ups
  • Xanax for anxiety/panic

Previous medicines/therapies: Alternative

  • Removal of amalgam fillings in 2010. Replaced with composite or hypo-allergenic gold
  • Intravenous chelation for heavy metals from 2010 to 2011 (could not feel the benefit, but was necessary in my opinion)
  • 6 months of intense anti-fungal therapy in 2011 with fluconazole, Amphotericin-B, and Nystatin (helpful)
  • Anti-fungal treatment with oral Nystatin 2008 – 2010 (helpful)
  • Acupuncture (temporary pain relief only)
  • Chiropractic (not helpful)

Previous medicines/therapies: Conventional

Before this, I tried numerous medications and treatments to prevent the pain. None of them worked. Here are the ones I remember:

  • At least five different antidepressants
  • Anti seizure (Topamax)
  • At least two different anti-hypertensives (propranolol, etc…)
  • Nerve pain meds (Neurontin, Lyrica)
  • Anti-anxiety meds (Xanax)
  • Physical therapy (not helpful)
  • Psychotherapy (not helpful for pain, somewhat helpful for emotional problems)

Next steps:

  • Arteminisin (per Dietrich Klinghardt protocol)
  • Switch to other BW formulas to kill off co-infections

I am very pleased with my course of treatment in the last six months. My pain level is significantly lower! I also believe that the BioSet was a turning  point for me. These treatments rid me of food sensitivities and vulvodynia pain. I will continue them as long as I can afford them. I hope viewers find this information useful.

– Laura