The Top 6 Super Solutions to Ease PMS Symptoms

Many women accept premenstrual syndrome (PMS) as a normal, although irritating, part of being a woman. We’ll go to a doctor for other ailments, but when it comes to PMS, many of us think we have to just suck it up and take some ibuprofen, or ride out the symptoms for 3-10 days a month. PMS can be especially debilitating in women who are battling other health conditions, such as Lyme disease, fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, as these conditions wreak all kinds of hormonal havoc upon the body.

To make matters worse, society has been known to shame and poke fun at women with PMS. Jokes about the disorder abound, especially among men (no offense, guys!). I suppose men kid about their wives, co-workers, sisters and girlfriends as a way to relieve the tension of having to live or work with women who are prone to irritability and becoming despondent during that time of the month- well, I do sympathize with you, Guys!

But really, PMS is no laughing matter. If you’re going to laugh about PMS, you may as well laugh at people who have Lyme disease, heart disease, cancer, or any other illness. Because for many women, PMS can be like a disease in and of itself and can make symptoms of other conditions worse. Common PMS symptoms include:

And as the amount of environmental toxins in our environment increases, and as the stress of daily living and battling a chronic illness burns out our adrenal glands, women are experiencing increasingly difficult and challenging symptoms of PMS. By some estimates, up to 75% of women have PMS, especially those who are 35 and older, and it can last anywhere from 3-10 days per month. Which means that some women are in misery a third of their lives from PMS alone.

One major reason for PMS is that all of the chemical toxins in the environment, especially phthalates and other chemicals from plastic, have xenoestrogenic effects upon the body; meaning, they mimic the effects of estrogen upon the body, causing an imbalance in the hormones, and consequently, PMS. Most of us are estrogen-dominant because of these chemicals and it’s severely disrupting our lives.

Fortunately, PMS can be managed or mitigated, although it’s not always a simple process. Following I share some strategies that I have found to be helpful for myself and others:

Supplements and Lifestyle Modifications to Beat PMS Symptoms

1) First, many women who suffer from PMS also have adrenal fatigue. The closer a woman gets to menopause, the more the adrenals begin to take over the production of the body’s sex hormones as the ovaries produce fewer of these hormones. If your adrenals are taxed or overtired, your body will struggle to produce balanced amounts of estrogen and progesterone, which can lead to PMS.

So the first thing you want to do is- support your adrenals! My 2012 book, Beyond Lyme Disease contains a chapter on adrenal fatigue.

2) Get your progesterone and estrogen levels tested. If you have a progesterone deficiency, you can supplement with compounded or over-the-counter natural progesterone cream (Do not take synthetic progestin drugs, which only makes the problem worse).

If you have high levels of both progesterone and estrogen (this can occur if you have already been taking supplemental progesterone for several years and residue of the cream has built up in your skin), don’t take more progesterone! I learned the hard way that this is a bad idea and can exacerbate symptoms of PMS. What most doctors don’t know is that symptoms of progesterone excess are often similar to symptoms of progesterone deficiency, but when they see high levels of estrogen relative to progesterone in their patients, they will often prescribe their patients even more progesterone, even if the progesterone levels are in the high-normal range. This is a very bad idea and can make you feel lousy.

3) If you have high levels of both estrogen and progesterone, focus on lowering your estrogen levels. You can do this by detoxifying from, and avoiding environmental toxins as much as possible, especially phthalates, which are found in plastics;  things like food wrapping and plastic water bottles. Tap water and non-organic food also contain contaminants that can throw the hormones out of whack, so avoid these as much as possible.  Also, I encourage you to do regular saunas, which remove plastic toxins from the body.

You can help your liver to metabolize estrogens by doing a liver cleanse periodically, which, over time, may also lower your body’s estrogen levels.

Take di-indole-methane (DIM) and calcium D-glucarate, which may help your body to metabolize estrogen. Other vitamins and supplements, especially B-vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and selenium, assist with estrogen metabolism, so make sure you also have adequate amounts of all of these vitamins and minerals in your diet. Drinking green tea and eating cruciferous vegetables, which contain DIM, can also be helpful.

4) Balance your hormones with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Many compounding pharmacies test for hormonal imbalances, and can provide customized bioidentical hormone products, such as pregnenolone, DHEA, thyroid hormone — among others, to balance your body (as needed). Bioidentical hormone replacement is an art and requires a lot of skill to do properly, so I recommend working with a holistic doctor that specializes in this, for best results.

5) Avoid stress, food allergens, and high amounts of animal protein, especially during the two weeks before the start of your monthly cycle. Sugar, caffeine, alcohol, animal protein (especially dairy products and red meat) and stress can all exacerbate PMS. If you have adrenal fatigue, animal protein avoidance isn’t a good idea, but eating more veggies and low glycemic fruits in the week or two before the start of your cycle may help to mitigate symptoms.

6) Work on balancing your emotions and dealing with any unresolved emotional issues, by talking with a counselor, minister or doing some brain retraining with a great program like Annie Hopper’s Dynamic Neural Retraining or Gupta’s Amygdala Retraining.

This article was first published on ProHealth.com on September 20, 2018 and was updated on February 11, 2020.


Connie Strasheim is the author of multiple wellness books, including three on Lyme disease. She is also a medical copywriter, editor and healing prayer minister. Her passion is to help people with complex chronic illnesses find freedom from disease and soul-spirit sickness using whole body medicine and prayer, and she collaborates with some of the world’s best integrative doctors to do this. In addition to Lyme disease, Connie’s books focus on cancer, nutrition, detoxification and spiritual healing. You can learn more about her work at: ConnieStrasheim.

Is Dynamic Neural Retraining a Treatment for Lyme Disease?

I’ve always believed that healing can happen on one of three levels: the spirit, soul and, body. We may or may not heal on all three levels at once, but it is only when we are healed on all these levels that we become whole. Our spirit is that part of us that connects to God and love, and that love can permeate and restore our physical body, even from chronic Lyme disease.

Even if you don’t believe in God, some integrative practitioners, such as the renowned Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, believe that healing at the level of the spirit is the highest there is (whatever that may look like for each person). He also considers healing at the mental and emotional level to be a higher level of healing than what happens at the physical level—and I do, too. This is because again, when the mind and emotions are healed, often the body heals, too.

Time and again, I’ve heard of many stories of spontaneous healing and remission once a person has been healed of an underlying emotional cause of disease. People are also healed physically at times when they are able to replace any harmful beliefs and lie-based thinking patterns and behaviors with healthier ones. The mind is so powerful!

That’s not to say that Lyme disease symptoms are just caused by emotional traumas or lie-based thinking; the pollution and toxins to which we are exposed in the environment are making many of us sick. That means that anything that we can do to get well—whether that means taking nutritional supplements, doing a mind-body therapy, or focusing on the spiritual aspects of illness—is valuable.

Dynamic Neural Retraining for Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms

Of late, I’ve been researching Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS), which is a mind-body brain training program that aims to restore the limbic system, which is a collection of brain structures that includes (but which is not limited to) the hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, and cingulate gyrus.

The limbic system powerfully influences many of the body’s systems, including the fight or flight response, digestive, neuroendocrine, and immune systems. Most of us are familiar with autonomic nervous system, or that part of the brain and nervous system that controls the “automatic” functions of the body, like breathing, blood pressure and heart rate. This too, is regulated by the limbic system, and more specifically, the hypothalamus.

DNRS involves using the mind to restore physiological function to the entire limbic system, and with that, the body. I believe that DNRS has tremendous potential to help people recover from chronic conditions such as Lyme disease, mold illness, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia, by modulating limbic system dysfunction. In fact, I’ve watched a number of YouTube videos in which people have shared their testimonials of healing from these and other conditions using the program—sometimes as a standalone therapy, and sometimes in combination with other tools.

Of course, if your body is filled with environmental pollutants and infections, you may need a prescription medication, antimicrobial remedies or other supportive therapies to really get well. That said, Annie Hopper, the founder of Dynamic Neural Retraining, suggests in her book, Wired for Healing, that restoring limbic system dysfunction can improve the body’s gastrointestinal, immune, and detoxification processes. This, to me, indicates that the body may begin to dump toxins and infections on its own, once all of its “machinery” is functioning properly.

I consulted with a DNRS coach and asked her about whether people with infections like Lyme disease test negative for infections, once they believe they have been completely restored as a result of DNRS. She replied to me that she didn’t know but stated that a friend who had done the program, saw her methylation issues vanish after doing the program—as confirmed by lab testing.

I know it can be challenging for some of us to believe that a brain program, which involves harnessing the power of the mind to heal, can be powerful enough to fully restore a person to health and be an integral part of Lyme disease treatment. Even if we do believe it, we might think that it’s possible for only a few, or for those who aren’t as sick as we are.

I thought that myself when I first heard of DNRS five or six years ago. Even after I finally purchased the program two years ago, I wasn’t convinced it would be all that powerful for me. I regret that I didn’t even start it until recently, but in the short time that I have done it—about two months, to be precise—I have observed some positive changes to my wellbeing. My attitude, stamina, energy, and cognition are better many days, and I can stand up for longer periods of time.

DNRS requires discipline and work—trigger terms for us type A personalities, or those who may be exhausted from years of trying and failing multiple treatments or regimens. Yet it’s one of those things that, when you see the improvements, you tend to be motivated to keep going. Plus, there’s a great support group for all those who are participating and doing the program, which can help with motivation.

The process of healing using DNRS can take many months, although for some, it may be faster. But I like it because it’s monetarily inexpensive (and how many of us have spent our life savings on medical treatments, only to improve moderately or not at all?) Don’t get me wrong—treatments can be valuable and important, but as long as we believe that disease is strictly, or mostly, a physical problem, then I think the gains for many of us will be limited.

DNRS works on the physiological level, and in so doing, corrects many problems in the body, but it also heals the mind and emotions, because it teaches you to believe, think and “do” life in a healthier, happier way. It teaches you to dream; to recall the things that you could do, and loved doing, when you were well. At the same time, it spurs you on to dream about what you will do in the future, when you are healthy again, and encourages practices for healthier, happier living.

All of this is just as important to recovery as doing medical treatments. And by working on the level of the mind—it works on a higher level than the physical body, and in so doing, aids in restoring not only the body, but the mind and emotions, too!

DNRS may not be for everyone, but I encourage you to give it a try, as I believe that it can make everything else that you are doing for your recovery, work exponentially better, including your medical treatments and supplements. At the very least, if you find your healing at a standstill, consider whether working at another level, such as that of your spirit or soul,  might bring about a new breakthrough in your recovery!

This article was first published on ProHealth.com on July 1, 2018 and was updated on September 13, 2019.


Connie Strasheim is the author of multiple wellness books, including three on Lyme disease. She is also a medical copywriter, editor and healing prayer minister. Her passion is to help people with complex chronic illnesses find freedom from disease and soul-spirit sickness using whole body medicine and prayer, and she collaborates with some of the world’s best integrative doctors to do this. In addition to Lyme disease, Connie’s books focus on cancer, nutrition, detoxification and spiritual healing. You can learn more about her work at: ConnieStrasheim.

Author Amy B. Scher Discusses Her Book, “This Is How I Save My Life”

In the fall of 2018, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Amy B. Scher’s latest book, This Is How I Save My Life: From California To India, A True Story of Finding Everything When You Are Willing To Try Anything. I also reviewed her last book on energy healing, and was blown away by it, and still implement the techniques I learned from it on a daily basis years later as part of my health and self-care regimen. So, needless to say, after reading Scher’s book How to Heal Yourself When No-one Else Can about energy healing, I was excited to read her latest book. However, I did not expect it to change my life as her previous book had. Some books touch you; they move something deep within, something which cannot be named, and change you forever on a fundamental level. It is rare, but it happens — and it happened again with her latest work. At times, the book is at both heart-wrenching and heartwarming.

A Journey through Stem Cell Therapy for Lyme Disease Treatment

In This Is How I Save My Life, Amy chronicles her journey in India where she went to seek out a controversial stem cell therapy for Lyme disease treatment. Although the therapy was risky, and much was unknown, she was a Lyme disease patient hanging on by a thread, and she was willing to try anything at that point. So, she packed her bags, and thus began her hilarious, heartwarming, heartbreaking, yet soul healing journey in India. While she expected, or hoped, to return to the United States with a physical cure for Lyme disease, what she returned with was actually so much more. She returned with her deep self, which she had lost along the way due to years of suffering and pain, like many do when enduring chronic illness. Naturally, after so long, the soul disconnects from the body, whether we realize it or not. Becoming an integral, whole being again is crucial to healing and finding our ways back to not only health, but our true selves. We all have our own path to becoming whole again in order to fully heal, and its crucial to do so, although the work is hard. For Amy, the work came in the form of her undeniably entertaining adventure to India. I recommend anyone with Lyme disease, any chronic illness, or struggling in general read this book. Amy was kind enough to answer the following questions about her journey for us below:

An Interview with Author Amy Scher

Amy, I am aware many Lyme stories are relatively the same in nature, so I am not going to ask you to go back and describe the suffering and pain in great detail. However, for readers who may not be as familiar with the descent of health accompanying chronic Lyme disease, do you mind giving us a brief background of your own?

I always say that my health issues began in my early 20s with migraines and nausea, then progressed to fatigue and pain, amongst other things. But the truth is, I can remember physical symptoms even before that. I had stomach aches growing up, strep throat all the time, mono in high school, and so on. I think there is a point in time where we begin to pay attention and sometimes refer to that time when it “all started,” but for many of us, we realize that’s not exactly how it unfolded.

What led you to discovering the controversial stem cell treatment in India, which was not even being used specifically for Lyme disease?

I thought I was out of all options. I had been doing antibiotics, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, natural remedies, and more. Nothing was helping like it was supposed to. That’s when I met a woman who had just undergone the stem cell treatment for a spinal cord injury. She mentioned the doctor in India knew about Lyme disease, which really surprised me. I contacted the doctor to discuss how the stem cells might help repair my body from the damage it had incurred because of Lyme – and the rest is history.

What then led you to decide to undergo the treatment for Lyme disease, when you were aware of how controversial it was, that it was in India where you had never been, and that it was not a treatment specifically for Lyme? Did you have the advisement of a LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor), friends and family, or your intuition?

My LLMD advised me against it but my gut told me to go. And for one of the first times ever, I decided to go against logic and follow my gut. For me, it was important to go to “find out” more than be cured. I needed to find out if the treatment would work. I feel like if I shied away from it for fear or any other reason, I would forever wonder if it could have been a missing piece.

Along with the physical and neurological symptoms of severe Lyme come the often debilitating ones such as anxiety and depression. Did you struggle from those? If so, were you struggling with them at the time you left for India, and how did you find the strength within yourself to do so in spite of fear of the unknown?

I definitely had anxiety. I was probably depressed too, although it’s hard to say because I was on narcotic painkillers, anti-anxiety meds, and more. So my whole life felt like a blur. In those days, I was simply just pushing through and surviving. To this day, I don’t know how I had the strength to get there. I think sometimes we manage to do things even if we believe we have nothing left inside to do it with.

Can you take us back to the moment you decided you were going to, without a doubt, go to India for treatment and leave all you knew behind? And how that felt? Empowering? Terrifying? Both?

 It was both. It was the greatest leap of faith and also the easiest decision I’d ever made. Typically, I would obsess and analyze and drive myself crazy trying to decide about something. But for this, I just decided and went forward. I knew inside it was what I needed. I hadn’t ever been so clear about something. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t terrified. It just means that my clarity was greater than my fear in this moment.

What was it like being in a foreign country staying at a center where you were the only one with Lyme disease?

 I felt alone. Sometimes I thought I was dying and there was no one to turn to or talk to about it. I had my parents, of course, but I still felt so on my own because of the medical environment I was in.

Was there any one particular moment in India that was especially difficult psychologically? Can you describe that for us, and how you summoned the resilience within you to get past that and continue on with treatment in India rather than give up?

 Every moment. Ha. The noise drove me to near insanity. The water wasn’t hot so much of the time. I didn’t like the food. It felt like every day pushed me to the brink of what I could handle. I feel like something inside of me was driving me; the will to survive maybe. Each day I simply woke up and waded through the best I could. And it turns out, that’s enough sometimes.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in India?

To let go. To be open. To give up on trying to control everything in our lives. The more I relaxed into what was instead of fighting it, the better my life and my health became. There is just no way to struggle your way to happiness or well-being or ease. At some point, you’re going to have to let go of the reins and lighten up if you want to survive.

Do you believe India changed you, if so how?

Yes, but I believe I changed most when I got home. I wasn’t able to process my experience while I was still there. It was after I got home that I felt like I had more life, vitality, and energy. And while of course the treatment played a part, I feel like a lot of that was the adventure itself. We get so stuck in the monotony of our “sick life” at home that we lose sight of the bigger world out there. Going to India helped reinvigorate my spirit. I needed that so badly.

Did your experience in India shift your perspective on illness and healing? If so, how?

It definitely helped me understand that healing is not just about the physical body. I was never going to heal until I worked on my “inner landscape,” too. And it wasn’t until I relapsed about a year after India that that became so clear. But I’m glad I saw it in such a dramatic way. Here I had traveled across the world for such a radical and incredible treatment; and it still wasn’t the complete “fix.” While it was heartbreaking in many ways, I also needed it to play out that way so I could see that I would have to look at my own part in the illness in order to truly heal.

If you could tell others just one single thing who are in the thicket of their own dark nights of the soul with Lyme disease, what would it be?

I know it hurts, but keep going..even if you have to drag yourself through sometimes. And try try try your very hardest to lighten up on yourself along the way. Your dawn is coming.

To learn more about Amy’s journey with stem cell treatment for Lyme disease, her work and her books, refer to the following resources listed below.

RESOURCES:

Website: Amy B. Scher

Book sales: Amazon

Facebook: Amy B. Scher

Instagram: amybscher

This article was first published on ProHealth.com on October 4, 2018 and was updated on July 30, 2019.


Shelley M. White is an herbalist, yoga teacher and writer. She is the author of ‘Cannabis for Lyme Disease and Related Conditions: Scientific Basis and Anecdotal Evidence for Medicinal Use’ (visit www.cannabisforlyme.com to learn more). She also writes articles for various print and online publications. You can view her portfolio, as well as indulge in her free yoga videos, meditations and other contents by visiting her website: shelleymwhite.net.

Healing Mold Toxicity When You have Lyme Disease

In recent years, many people with chronic Lyme disease have also been diagnosed by their doctors with mold toxicity. I’ve often wondered which came first in most people in this population – the mold or the Lyme disease? Regardless, many integrative doctors are finding that their patients heal much better and faster if they address their patients’ mold toxicity, and often, before Lyme disease treatment.

Treatment for mold toxicity, like Lyme disease, can be a lengthy process, as well as complicated, as most homes in the United States (and probably worldwide) are mold-contaminated, and healing requires living in a mold-free environment. This may be the most challenging aspect of mold treatment for most people.

Furthermore, not everyone responds well to mold treatments. The general consensus among mold-literate doctors seems to be that it’s important to treat not only the mold, but the toxins it generates, but not all people with mold can tolerate antimicrobial treatments or mold toxin binders. However, a few doctors have found that by starting their patients out slowly and on low dosages of antimicrobial treatments, they are able to tolerate mold treatment regimens.

Approaches To Mold Toxicity: Which Is Best?

For instance, mold and Lyme disease expert Neil Nathan, MD, in his recently released book, TOXIC, shares an effective and integral mold treatment approach for those who are sensitive and unable to tolerate typical mold regimens. He finds that his patients with mold and Lyme typically require 1-5 years of treatment, depending on their level of toxicity, sensitivity and compliance, among other factors—but that they do heal!

Other people have found that total mold avoidance in an area outside civilization; typically, in a wilderness setting away from the soup of chemical contaminants found in most towns and cities, is essential for healing. People who manage to successfully do total mold avoidance, such as Bryan Rosner, a former Lyme sufferer and publisher of multiple Lyme disease books – have found avoidance to be a hugely successful way for their bodies to automatically dump toxins on their own.

In an interview that I conducted with Bryan on mold toxicity, Bryan shares that he was unable to tolerate mold treatments until he pursued total mold avoidance. This meant leaving his home, which was moldy, and purchasing an RV, where he moved with his family into a toxin-free area in the desert. Within just a few months of doing this, his body began to automatically unload massive amounts of mold toxins, without the help of any treatments, and within a short time, he was feeling better than he ever had in his life.

I was so intrigued by Bryan’s story that I recently conducted an interview with him to learn more about his approach to avoidance, and to discuss other options to mold treatment. You can listen to our hour and a half discussion by clicking here. 

In our interview, I brought up brain retraining, which is another popular approach to restoring the body from both mold and Lyme disease. Most brain retraining programs, such as Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS), and Amygdala Retraining, were initially designed to help people recover from conditions such as ME/CFS, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS); however, many people have found them to be surprisingly helpful for helping them to recover from Lyme disease symptoms and mold exposure, too.

Brain retraining programs are meant to re-wire the brain’s limbic system, which apparently gets stuck in a chronic fight-or-flight response when exposed to toxins or prolonged stress. The limbic system has a profound effect upon the body’s other systems, including the immune, endocrine and digestive systems. By retraining the brain to behave as it’s supposed to, the immune and other systems often come back “online.”

I suspect that brain retraining helps the body to function better on multiple levels; what remains unknown, however, is whether brain retraining effectively heals the detoxification pathways so that the body can now remove mold by itself. Some people who were diagnosed with mold illness have recovered with brain retraining alone—but what nobody knows is whether they are still harboring mold toxins (mycotoxins). If they feel well, then perhaps the body has eliminated them through the training, or at least stopped reacting to them.

Which brings up another question. Does brain retraining simply quell an overactive response to mold toxins, or does it train the body to function as it’s supposed to, so that it eventually eliminates mold toxins on its own? Perhaps both.

Total mold avoidance and living away from a contaminated society to me, intuitively seems like the best way to heal. That said, the average person probably can’t sell their home and belongings and live forever as a nomad in the desert. Some people who pursue avoidance end up leaving society temporarily, until they get “cleaned out” and are then able to live in a low-mold environment, in less densely populated, cleaner towns and cities in states such as Nevada and New Mexico, but mold avoidance can be just as tricky as treatments. This is because any contact with mold or mycotoxins—such as from a patch of moldy air in a city that contaminates the air—can ruin the whole experiment, and you may have to find a way to live and survive outside of society—at least for a while.

At the same time, doing mold treatments is a lengthy, complicated process, although it does seem to be helpful for some people. At least, based on the contentions of some educated doctors that I’ve interviewed over the years.

I’ve also witnessed brain retraining as a powerful healing tool, but like all things, it may or may not be enough for some people.

Finally, the big elephant in the room that few people in the medical community seem to be talking about, is the fact that people can get sick from mold in the outdoor air. You don’t have to have water damage in your home. Case in point: I live in a newer townhome in the Dallas area that has been pretty thoroughly tested for mold. There is no history of water leaks, but we recently had some penicillium mold contamination from the outdoors. I did some research and discovered this mold lives in the outdoor air but enters the home whenever you open the door, and it easily colonizes on furniture. The only room in our place that tested high for penicillium was the room by the front door—which caused me think that the contamination was from outdoor air. And it is a dangerous mold, to be sure.

The conventional wisdom once seemed to be that outdoor molds were safe, but even outdoor molds can be dangerous when they are combined with chemical toxins. The problem nowadays isn’t that everyone is all of a sudden being exposed to mold. The problem is that there are thousands of toxic chemicals and manmade electromagnetic fields in our environment, that are making once-benign outdoor molds virulent and dangerous. Therefore, living in a mold-free home doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will avoid getting sick from mold. You may have to live somewhere where the overall level of contamination, and mold species, are low—in the indoors, as well as outdoors. One advantage of avoidance is that for those who are able to do it, it provides a way to heal without having to take lots of toxin binders and other treatments, and it seems to be a much faster road to recovery, for those that are able to do it well.

But like all things, avoidance doesn’t work for everyone. Just as mold treatments and brain retraining don’t work for everyone. But they all work, to varying degrees. The bigger question we all probably need to be asking though is: what factors influence each approach to recovery? And of course, what approach is best for you?

The Takeaway?

I have to live in a big city right now. I live at the intersection of two major highways, and while I would much prefer to live in a pristine wilderness, life’s obligations require me to be here.  However, I practice brain retraining and have found it to be incredibly beneficial for helping me to function well.  Is it enough? I don’t know. What I do know, is that the world is getting increasingly toxic, and we will need better answers to healing from mold exposure and Lyme disease.

In the meantime, I would like to encourage you again to check out Bryan’s and my recent interview on mold avoidance. You just may find some tidbits in here that will be helpful for you in your healing journey!

This article was first published on ProHealth.com on February 15, 2019 and was updated on July 09, 2019


Connie Strasheim is the author or co-author of 13 wellness books, including the recently released New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Real Healing Strategies that Work. (October, 2016) and Happy, Healthy and Free: Spirit-Soul-Body Solutions for Healing from Depression. She is also a medical copywriter and an editor at ProHealth.com, as well as Editor of the Alternative Cancer Research Institute (ACRI). Her passion is to help people with complex chronic illnesses find freedom from disease and soul-spirit sickness using whole body medicine, and she collaborates with some of the world’s best integrative doctors to do this. In addition to Lyme disease and insomnia, Connie’s books focus on cancer, nutrition, detoxification and spiritual healing. To learn more about her work, see: www.ConnieStrasheim.org.

 

9 Supplements that Support Liver Function in Lyme Disease

Toxins are everywhere—they’re in our food, medications, water, and even our air. The most diligent among us can’t avoid them completely, so our liver works 24/7 to keep all those troublesome toxins out of our blood stream. We ask a lot of our liver and we should do everything we can to help it function at its highest capacity. But what can we do for liver support?

Liver Support and Lyme Disease Treatment

As chronic Lyme disease patients we talk a lot about detox strategies. There are many ways to detox the liver, but one way is by supporting the liver with supplements. The liver is the largest internal organ, which is no surprise because it does a lot to keep us healthy. In addition to removing toxins from the blood, it has over 250 functions.

Those of us with Lyme disease know we need to pay extra attention to our liver function due to strong medications and die-off from treatment, both of which affect the liver. When our liver is stressed we can feel it, like when die off happens faster than our liver can process and dead bacteria get recirculated into the blood (know as a Herxheimer reaction). It shows up as an intensification of Lyme disease symptoms, such as headaches, joint pain, fatigue, skin issues, and digestion problems—all signs of a buildup of toxins. Fortunately, there is help in the form of these nine supplements.

Supplements to Aid Liver Function

1) Vitamins C, E & B

All essential vitamins and minerals support liver health, but these three in particular are standouts when it comes to detox. Vitamins C and E are strong antioxidants and help neutralize free radicals to reverse oxidative stress in the liver. It is suspected that Vitamin E can help rebuild damaged liver cells. The B vitamins help the liver break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates for easier digestion. Like vitamin E, B12 also aids in liver regeneration. You can get these vitamins from food or supplements, but if you’re using only food sources make sure your dosing is sufficient.

2)Milk Thistle

The active ingredient in this flowering herb is silymarin, a potent flavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Perhaps the best-known liver supplement on the market, the benefits of milk thistle were enough to make the mainstream medical community take notice. This has led to significant research surrounding milk thistle and the liver. Studies show varied results, but a recent paper showed silymarin reduced inflammatory cytokines and protected the liver from damage in mice. It also has regenerative properties.

3)Dandelion Root

Dandelion root is a natural diuretic and laxative, which means it helps move fluids and waste through the body. The more we urinate and move our bowels, the more we rid our bodies of toxins. This decreases the liver’s burden. The root of the dandelion is also believed to help clean the liver and gallbladder of toxins. This supplement often comes in a detox tea but can also be taken in a capsule.

4) Burpleurum

This herb, used in traditional Chinese medicine, is an anti-viral. Common latent viruses, such as herpes and Epstein- Barr (EBV) are very taxing to the liver and this herb may help to reduce our viral load. Like other potent herbs, it also aids in detoxification. Studies suggest that it may even help to prevent liver cancer in those with cirrhosis. Because this herb is so powerful, it’s best to check with your health care provider before starting a regimen.

5) Schisandra

The medicinal part of the schisandra plant is the bright red berry. The schisandra berry aids in the production of glutathione by stimulating liver enzymes. Glutathione is perhaps the most powerful antioxidant in the body, thus reducing free radicals and cleansing the blood.

6) Chlorella

Chlorella is a single-celled algae that is a detoxifying powerhouse. In the digestive tract, chlorella binds to heavy metals and other toxins and carries them out of the body. Unlike other binders, such as activated charcoal and bentonite clay, it doesn’t also remove healthy minerals from the body. Chlorella has the added benefit of supporting the immune system.

7) Artichoke

Artichokes are related to the milk thistle plant, so it’s no wonder it also benefits the liver. Artichokes contain cynarin, a phytonutrient that increases the production of bile to promote digestion. As the body digests, it carries toxins out of the body. Artichoke also has been found in studies to have antimicrobial properties, warding off bacteria, fungus, and mold, which tax the liver.

8) Phosphatidylcholine

Every single cell has phosphatidylcholine in the membrane. As we age, the level of phosphatidylcholine decreases and is associated with liver damage and also some brain conditions. Studies have shown replacing phosphatidylcholine through supplementation improves liver enzymes and decrease symptoms in those with hepatitis, fatty liver disease, and liver damage from alcohol abuse. Even those without a serious liver disorder will see benefits from phosphatidylcholine.

9) Turmeric Extract

This spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties is one of the best things you can take for your liver. The active ingredient, curcumin, prevents the build-up of toxins in the body. Taking a turmeric is usually safe, which makes it a great option for those who can’t take other anti-inflammatory medications.

Many liver supplements on the market use blend of these key ingredients, so check labels to avoid overlap. Talk to your doctor about which liver supplements best fit your needs during Lyme disease treatment. Support your liver today and feel better tomorrow.

This article was first published on ProHealth.com on July 31, 2018 and was updated on July 05, 2019


 Kerry J. Heckman is a freelance writer and therapist based in Seattle. She authors a wellness & lifestyle blog called Words Heal [kerryjheckman.com] and writes about health, chronic illness, and travel. You can also follow her healing journey on Twitter [@kerryjheckman] and Instagram [@kerryjheckman].

 

 

 

 

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Continue reading “9 Supplements that Support Liver Function in Lyme Disease”

What Lyme Patients Need to Know About Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

For people with Lyme disease, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. Each patient will have a unique treatment plan that will most likely change over time. The most common treatments are antibiotics and herbal protocols, but outside of that there are emerging therapies, such as IV nutrition/light therapy and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). With so many options it’s difficult to determine what approach or combination of approaches is right for you. If you’ve been considering HBOT, here is everything you need to know from a Lyme patient’s perspective.

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

As a complication from Lyme disease I developed osteomyelitis, otherwise known as a bone infection. It was while I was doing research for treatment of bone infections that I first learned about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Later, I found out HBOT is beneficial for a reduction in Lyme disease symptoms in patients even without osteomyelitis.

So how does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy work? To receive HBOT, a person is placed in an enclosed, pressurized chamber. This chamber can be a small room that fits multiple people or a large tube-like structure that fits one person. Chambers can be hard or soft-sided and vary in levels of pressure. During therapy, medical grade oxygen may be administered through a cannula, mask, or special hood. A typical session lasts from 45 minutes to two hours depending on your condition and tolerance.

The theory behind HBOT is that the tissues of the body cannot perform properly without oxygen, and in some illnesses oxygen is not able to reach where it needs to go. The pressure of the chamber assists the lungs in acquiring more oxygen than is possible with normal breathing, which is then carried by the blood to the tissues. This therapy is approved for multiple conditions, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, decompression sickness, burns, diabetic wounds, and certain types of infections.

So, does hyperbaric oxygen therapy kill Lyme? In Lyme disease, HBOT is used to increase oxygen to the body in order to kill off anaerobic (can’t exist in an oxygenated environment) bacteria. It also has the capacity to increase immune function and repair damaged tissues.

My Experience with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

I am fortunate, because there is a clinic near me that uses HBOT as part of comprehensive Lyme disease treatment. Because it is a relatively non-invasive treatment, I decided to pursue it. Then I saw the size of the chamber and I almost changed my mind. I have claustrophobia and need sedation for MRIs. The HBOT technician at the clinic talked me through the process and told me that most people with claustrophobia don’t have problems, because the chamber is more spacious than an MRI. After my first treatment, I found this to be true for me; however, it should definitely be a consideration for others with claustrophobia. Especially, because due to the pressurization, the chamber needs a few minutes to depressurize before you are able to get out.

Prior to my first treatment, the HBOT technician walked me through what to expect and provided me with a walkie talkie in the chamber in case I had any questions or concerns during the session.

Once you are in the chamber, the technician will start pressurization. Once it begins, your ears will pop multiple times like you are going up in an airplane. This can be slightly uncomfortable, but not painful. Your ears will no longer pop once the chamber is fully pressurized. In the pressurized chamber, you will likely not feel anything during the treatment, with the exception of a sense of heaviness to your body. It tends to be a relaxing experience and a good time to take a nap or meditate. At the end of the session, when the chamber is depressurizing your ears will pop again.

It is possible for Lyme patients to have detoxification or Herxheimer reactions from HBOT, because of the antibacterial properties. Personally, I’ve had four sessions. After the first session I only had minor fatigue, but after the second session I had a huge Herx. I experienced a severe headache, nausea, and had to stay in bed for a few days to recover. The following two sessions, I only experienced slight fatigue that lasted about a day. The reaction to treatment is different for everyone, just like with antibiotic or herbal treatments.

Final Thoughts

When doing HBOT, make sure you are doing a lot of detox. A few supplements that may be helpful during HBOT are binders, like activated charcoal and bentonite clay, magnesium, and the B vitamins. Other common detox strategies, like good nutrition, infrared sauna, and Epsom salt baths may also decrease any Herxheimer reaction you may experience.

If you do not have one of the approved conditions and have HBOT prescribed by a medical doctor, it is rarely covered by insurance. You will most likely need to find a private clinic and pay out of pocket. The number of sessions per week and number of weeks/months you need will all depend on your tolerance, doctor’s recommendation, cost, and patient preference. As an example, my current treatment plan is weekly for 8 weeks, then every other week for 2-3 months, then monthly on an ongoing basis. However, I’ve heard of people doing as many as one hundred sessions. Some people use HBOT as a maintenance treatment after antibiotic treatment is completed.

Lastly, it is very important to find a skilled practitioner, because improper administration can be dangerous. There are some risks, such as ear injuries and lung collapse. These are rare and HBOT is generally considered to be a safe treatment. Read reviews of the clinic you are considering and try to get feedback from other patients. Another good idea is to interview your technician before starting treatment. Write up a list of questions and concerns and ask your technician to talk you through what to expect both during and after a session.

So far, I have a positive impression of my experience with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and have decided to continue with the protocol. Time will tell if this is a miraculous treatment or simply another tool in my healing toolbox.

This article was first published on ProHealth.com on May 17, 2018 and was updated on April 18, 2019.


Kerry J. Heckman is a freelance writer and therapist based in Seattle. She authors a wellness & lifestyle blog called Words Heal [kerryjheckman.com] and writes about health, chronic illness, and travel. You can also follow her healing journey on Twitter [@kerryjheckman] and Instagram [@kerryjheckman].

Risk of Borrelia Miyamotoi Transmission Is Over 90% in Carrier Ticks

Vertical transmission rates of Borrelia miyamotoi in Ixodes scapularis collected from white-tailed deer

Abstract

Borrelia miyamotoi is a relapsing fever spirochete transmitted by ticks in the Ixodes ricinus complex. In the eastern United States, B. miyamotoi is transmitted by I. scapularis, which also vectors several other pathogens including B. burgdorferi sensu stricto. In contrast to Lyme borreliae, B. miyamotoi can be transmitted vertically from infected female ticks to their progeny. Therefore, in addition to nymphs and adults, larvae can vector B. miyamotoi to wildlife and human hosts.

Two widely varying filial infection prevalence (FIP) estimates – 6% and 73% – have been reported previously from two vertically infected larval clutches; to our knowledge, no other estimates of FIP or transovarial transmission (TOT) rates for B. miyamotoi have been described in the literature. Thus, we investigated TOT and FIP of larval clutches derived from engorged females collected from hunter-harvested white-tailed deer in 2015 (n = 664) and 2016 (n = 599) from Maine, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

After engorged females oviposited in the lab, they (n = 492) were tested for B. miyamotoi infection by PCR. Subsequently, from each clutch produced by an infected female, larval pools, as well as 100 individual eggs or larvae, were tested. The TOT rate of the 11 infected females was 90.9% (95% CI; 57.1-99.5%) and the mean FIP of the resulting larval clutches was 84.4% (95% CI; 68.1-100%). Even though the overall observed vertical transmission rate (the product of TOT and FIP; 76.7%, 95% CI; 44.6-93.3%) was high, additional horizontal transmission may be required for enzootic maintenance of B. miyamotoi based on the results of a previously published deterministic model.

Further investigation of TOT and FIP variability and the underlying mechanisms, both in nature and the laboratory, will be needed to resolve this question. Meanwhile, studies quantifying the acarological risk of Borrelia miyamotoi disease need to consider not only nymphs and adults, but larval I. scapularis as well.

Source: By Han S1, Lubelczyk C2, Hickling GJ3, Belperron AA4, Bockenstedt LK5, Tsao JI6. Vertical transmission rates of Borrelia miyamotoi in Ixodes scapularis collected from white-tailed deer. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2019 Feb 26. pii: S1877-959X(18)30088-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2019.02.014. [Epub ahead of print]

Only A Minority of Children Diagnosed with Lyme Disease Recall a Tick Bite

Editor’s Note: This study highlights the fact that most people with Lyme disease do not recall a tick bite or bulls-eye rash; therefore, better diagnostic tools are needed to diagnose Lyme disease, especially since, in the later stages of illness, most Western Blot, Elisa and other blood tests come out negative, due to the body’s inability to mount an antibody response to them, the absence of the pathogen in the blood, and the fact that tests have not yet been developed for all strains of Borrelia that infect humans and cause disease.

 A minority of children diagnosed with Lyme disease recall a preceding tick bite

Abstract

Of 1770 children undergoing emergency department evaluation for Lyme disease, 362 (20.5%) children had Lyme disease. Of those with an available tick bite history, only a minority of those with Lyme disease had a recognized tick bite (60/325; 18.5%, 95% confidence interval 14.6-23.0%). Lack of a tick bite history does not reliably exclude Lyme disease.

Source: By Nigrovic LE1, Neville DN2, Balamuth F3, Bennett JE4, Levas MN5, Garro AC6; A minority of children diagnosed with Lyme disease recall a preceding tick bite. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2019 Feb 26. pii: S1877-959X(18)30496-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2019.02.015. [Epub ahead of print] for Pedi Lyme Net.

TOUCHED BY LYME: Equal sequencing for West Coast ticks?

Reprinted from LymeDisease.org with the kind permission of Dorothy Kupcha Leland. To read the original article, click here. 

Ixodes scapularis is the kind of tick that carries Lyme disease (and other nasties) throughout much of the United States.

However, its cousin, Ixodes pacificus, carries Lyme and co-infections in California and other parts of the west.

Scientists sequenced the genome of I. scapularis some years ago. That process produced lots of useful information for researchers.

Guess what? The genome for I. pacificus has never been sequenced. In fact, very little is known about this particular critter.

Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, would like to change that.

Turns out that a company called Pacific Biosciences, based in California’s Silicon Valley, has developed sophisticated techniques for analyzing genomes.

And PacBio is holding a contest, with the prize being free genomic sequencing for the winning entry.

The team from UCSF has made it to final six. And now the public can vote on their “favorite plant or animal project” to be sequenced.

(Clarification: Ixodes pacificus is in no way my favorite ANIMAL. Far from it. But this is definitely my favorite PROJECT. An important distinction.)

Watch what the scientists have to say about it. (And who knew tick researchers could make a funny video?)