Category Archives: Tick-Borne Disease

Tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, babesia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other common co-infections.

Supplements for Chronic Inflammation

venulecells2Supplements can be very helpful in dealing with chronic inflammation, which can occur for many different reasons (or sometimes, it seems, no reason at all). Below are some of the supplements that can help reduce chronic inflammation.

Curcumin

Curcumin, an extract of the spice turmeric, has been well studied for its anti-inflammatory effects. Recommendations for dosage vary a great deal- some recommend up to 700mg per day! This might be a bit excessive for some people, though. The dosage depends on your body and the other medications and supplements you take. For instance, curcumin is known to thin the blood somewhat, so people expecting to have surgery or major dental work in the near future may not want to take it. It is a real anti-inflammatory superstar and a great supplement to take- just make sure it is right for you first.

Ginger

Ginger is a bit like curcumin. Both come from rhizomes, the twisted-looking roots of a plant. Both have fabulous anti-inflammatory properties. Both can cause blood thinning. But ginger is much more familiar to most of us. It is also easy to obtain. Fresh ginger can be made into a tea. Or you can take ginger supplements.

Stephania

Stephania is a good anti-inflammatory for those with neurological problems. It would be a good choice for those suffering from Lyme disease. One suggested dose was 400 to 700mg, taken in 2 or 3 doses over the course of the day.

Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin seems to be the new darling of the supplement world (move over, curcumin). It is a powerful antioxidant extracted from algae and phytoplankton. It is Generally Recommended as Safe by the FDA. One of its more interesting properties is that it acts as both a fat soluable AND water soluable antioxidant. It also provides lots of healthy carotenoids.

Green Tea

Green tea (and related extracts/supplements L-Theanine and EGCg) are excellent antioxidants that provide many health benefits, including strong anti-inflammatory properties. They also help fight the effects of Advanced Glycation End Products. Green tea offers support for the immune system and for joints. It could even help you lose a few pounds.

Noni

Noni is a fruit native to India that has long been used as a cure for many maladies. It is a strong antioxidant and has been shown to be effective as an anti-inflammatory.

Devil’s Claw

Devil’s Claw is an herbal anti-inflammatory that can help with chronic pain due to inflammation. It should not be used by people with diabetes or other blood sugar issues. One recommended dosage is 500 to 1000mg taken 2 to 3 times per day.

White Willow Bark

White willow bark has long been used as an anti-inflammatory. In fact, it is the basis for the over-the-counter pain reliever aspirin. It does not, however, cause the same bleeding issues that aspirin does. For pain and inflammation, take 500 to 1000mg, 2 to 3 times a day.

Boswellia

Boswellia extract is the resin from the Boswellia serrata tree, which is also known as frankincense. It has been used since biblical times as an anti-inflammatory pain reliever.

Enteric-Coated Proteolytic Enzymes

Proteolytic enzymes, such as papain, bromelain, pancreatin, rutin, trypsin and chymotrypsin, are potent anti-inflammatories with multiple mechanisms of action, including reducing swelling and thinning the blood. They are a good choice if you could also use their immune supporting properties.

Maitake Mushrooms

 

Maitake is a Japanese mushroom known for its anti-inflammatory and immune strengthening effects. It can also help if you have high blood pressure or high blood sugar. It has been well studied for its health effects, including preventing cancer and fighting viral infections. You can find Maitake mushrooms in some supermarkets or as encapsuled supplements (which are probably easier to take on a regular basis).

Aloe 

Aloe is best known for healing skin wounds and burns, but it is also great as a general anti-inflammatory and immune system modulator. In fact, it has been studied for treating leukemia and HIV. (The FDA actually approved concentrated aloe for the treatment of HIV, as it stimulates white blood cell production.)

Walnut Oil

Walnut oil makes a great anti-inflammatory. For best results, don’t heat it. Usually people eat walnut oil with food to benefit from it, but it might be possible to use it topically as well.

Cod Liver Oil

Most of us are cringing at the idea of cod liver oil, especially if your mom or grandma ever made you swallow it as a liquid. Don’t worry! You can take cod liver oil in capsule form. It’s been known for its beneficial health effects for a long time, one of which is that it is a good anti-inflammatory. As of late, however, some experts are raising questions about its safety and effectiveness. Since there are good arguments on both sides of this fence, I think it’s best for people to do their own research and make their own decision as to who they believe is correct.

 

 

 

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Supporting the Immune System in Lyme Disease

lyme-diseaseIf you have Lyme disease, three parts of your immune system especially need support: macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, T-cells, and cytokines (IL-2 and IFN-g).

Supporting Macrophages in Lyme Disease

Supplements that can help in supporting macrophages include:

  • Beta 1,3 glucan. Take 10 to 250mg/day.
  • Aloe vera (acemannan is the active component). Acemannan reduces auto-immunity, inflammation and free radical damage.

Supporting Natural Kill Cells When You Have Lyme Disease

First, try to avoid substances that are harmful to NK cells, such as environmental chemicals like herbicides and pesticides. General anasthesia can also be harmful, so talk to your doctor about the effect anasthesia could have on your immune health.

Chronic infections with viruses, such as herpes viruses, Epstein-Barr virus or HIV, wreak havoc on NK cells. It is important to get chronic viral infections under control.

Chronic stress damages NK cells. Obviously, if you are dealing with chronic Lyme disease your body has been through a great deal of stress. Try your best to mitigate physical and mental stress and cope with it in healthy ways (such as with meditation). Avoid exhaustive exercise and take care to remedy any nutritional deficiencies to the best of your ability, as these will also harm your NK cells. Vitamin deficiencies that are particularly harmful are vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, zinc and beta carotene.

Recognize that your body’s stores of glutathione, its most important anti-oxidant and an important influence on NK cells, are often depleted by chronic illness. Take care to avoid drinking alcohol and taking acetaminophen, which are known to worsen this problem. Unless your diet prohibits it, you might also consider drinking whey protein drinks, which help increase glutathione. NAC supplements also help.

Other ways to support glutathione should be helpful. These include beta carotene (some experts recommend up to 10,000 IU’s per day as a dose), garlic, curcumin, vitamins C and E, selenium, B-complex vitamins in general, NAC, alpha lipoic acid and glutamine.

Exercise is a powerful way to increase your NK cells. In fact, endorphins in general will help increase your NK cells- hello laughter, massage, dark chocolate and acupuncture. Anyway, as far as exercise goes, it’s important not to overdo it before your body is well enough to handle the stress. On the other hand, it’s an important part of treatment for so many reasons. One LLMD recommends exercising about an hour (you work up to this, of course), favoring strength training over aerobic exercise. Before exercising, take your temperature. After exercising, take it again. If your temperature is lower, you are pushing yourself too hard (which will not help you when you have Lyme).

Sleep is vital for your NK cells as well as for other parts of the immune system. Aim to be asleep by 10:00 PM each night and to get up at 6:00 AM. Do your best to stay on schedule. If you are having difficulty sleeping, make sure your phone/computer/TV habits are not interfering with your melatonin production. The blue light in these screens suppresses melatonin and without that, you will not get sleepy. Avoid looking at these types of screens in the evening, or use blue blocking glasses, screens or apps to shield yourself from overdosing on blue light.

 

Supporting the T-cells, or T-lymphocytes when You Have Lyme Disease

The following can help your immune system’s T cells, or T-lymphocytes, in fighting Lyme:

  1. Cat’s Claw. Some experts, such as Stephen Harrod Buhner, say that capsules are okay, while others, such as Singleton, say Cat’s Claw liquid is best. The dose for the liquid is to work up to 10 drops per day twice a day. For capsules, take two 500mg capsules three times per day. Take Cat’s Claw for 12 days and then stop taking it for two days. Cycle on and off in this manner repeatedly. This is especially known to help with the low CD-57 cell count associated with Lyme.
  2. Resveratrol/Japanese Knotweed – 500mg taken three times per day.
  3. Andrographis – You should research this herb thoroughly before taking it. The dose is to work up to 500 to 1000mg, two to three times per day.
  4. Alpha lipoic acid – Take 200 to 300mg per day.
  5. N-Acetylcysteine – Take 300 to 500mg per day.

 

Proper Rest for Immune Support in Lyme Disease

Circadian rhythm disturbance is common in Lyme disease. Contrary to what our society tells us, circadian rhythm is important. It influences the immune system, our mental and cognitive abilities and more. Natural sunlight is extremely important in regulating circadian rhythm. As long as you have no other medical reasons to avoid sunlight (i.e. you are taking doxycycline and it has caused light sensitivity), you should get out in the sun for a few minutes each day. Morning time is best for this purpose, as there appears to be a strong effect on circadian rhythm when the retinas and the skin are exposed to bright sunlight early in the morning.

Another strategy for supporting circadian rhythms is to take vitamin D3 supplements each morning. Check the bottle for the proper dosage. Dosages range from 400 to 2000 IU per day. Getting adequate vitamin A can also help (about 5000 IU per day).

Adrenal Support for Those with Lyme Disease

Certain supplements can provide support for stressed adrenals, which are common in any chronic illness. These supplements include:

  • Eleuthrococcus
  • Rhodiola
  • Licorice
  • Vitamin C (500 to 2000mg per day)
  • Vitamin B5 as pantothenic acid, or even better pantethine. Take 300 to 900mg a day.
  • Magnesium – 400 to 1000mg a day. This is particularly important in Lyme, where magnesium levels already tend to be depleted due to the bacteria. Magnesium oxide is the most common type, but it is the least effective. Better options are magnesium chloride or chelated magnesium (taurate, citrate, aspartate, etc.).

 

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