When you battle Lyme disease or any other complex chronic illness, it can be challenging to sort out what treatments to pursue, and when. Lyme regimens can be very costly, and it’s not always good to treat every problem in the body at once. Neil Nathan, MD, who is featured in my just-released book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies that Work, once told me that it’s vital to treat the root causes of disease, and not every effect of a disease. The root causes of illness can sometimes be difficult to sort out, but an experienced Lyme-literate doctor should be able to separate the “roots” from the “branches” and give the body what it most needs at present.
Early on in my battle with Lyme disease, I used to try to eliminate every deficiency, toxin and microbe in my body. But over the years, I’ve learned to discern better the root causes of my issues, and treat those, rather than trying to fix everything—both the causes and effects of disease. I’ve found the latter approach to be not only frustrating, laborious and a strain on the body, but also expensive. And who wants to swallow 50 pills a day, anyway?
That said, I’m not a minimalist, either. I take a more middle-of-the-road approach, which has seemed to work best for me. My regimen includes some basic vitamins and minerals, hormone support, and mold treatment remedies. I may also take other toxin binders from time to time, or treat microbial infections if and when they emerge. But I find that my body is happier with a “less is better” approach, and that there are supplements that I have taken for years and which I find that I need all the time; things like pregnenolone cream, cholesterol, Vitamin C and other things that support the hormones.
When sorting out what you need, listen to your doctor but also listen to your gut (and your body!). I have developed an innate sense about what I need. I notice that I tend to remember to take those things that my body wants, and I tend to forget to take the things that it doesn’t need but which a practitioner may have recommended to me. Certain supplements and treatments seem to noticeably improve my symptoms, while others don’t seem to do a thing. Therefore, paying attention to my symptoms in conjunction with testing provides me with valuable insights about what I need.
In addition to doing lab tests, I will sometimes muscle test myself to see what my body wants, or do a bioenergetic test using a ZYTO device. Muscle testing isn’t difficult to learn, but it can be a bit challenging to perfect, and unless you are good at it and know how to ask the right questions, it won’t tell you what your core needs are. Still, it can be helpful. In my 2014 book, BioEnergetic Tools for Wellness, Lee Cowden, MD and I outline step-by-step a couple of do-it-yourself muscle tests that are relatively easy to learn.
Some key areas to look at when you or your doctor are putting together a regimen include:
· Infections. Most people with Lyme disease have multiple bacterial, parasitic, viral and fungal infections. It’s not always wise to treat all of these at once. Most of the doctors that I interviewed for New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment treat microbial infections in a particular order, rather than taking on a “slam dunk” approach.
· Environmental Toxins. Heavy metals, mold, plastics, radiation, and other toxins can seriously compromise the body’s health, but removing them may or may not be a first priority for your body. For instance, some people with Lyme may find that they can’t get better until they lower their body’s burden of heavy metals or mold, or that they need to mitigate the electromagnetic pollution in their environment in order to stop the microbes and mold from replicating. At the same time, others may find that their body can’t handle microbial detox and toxin removal at the same time.
· Hormones. If your body isn’t producing the right hormones in the right amounts, it may be difficult for your immune system to mount an adequate response against the infections. Therefore, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and nutrients that support the hormones may be important during recovery.
· Nutrition. Lyme disease and the fact that the food supply doesn’t contain as many nutrients as it once did, causes lots of nutrient deficiencies and imbalances in the body. However, it may not be wise to try to make up for every deficiency by taking boatloads of nutritional supplements. Rather, it’s important to work with a doctor who can discern what your body most needs to function at present. A healthy diet that includes lots of non-starchy vegetables, healthy, organic animal protein, and an abundance of healthy fats such as coconut oil and butter, tends to be best for most people with Lyme disease.
· Emotional/Spiritual Strategies for Healing. This most important aspect of healing often gets neglected, because it is sometimes the most time-consuming and difficult aspect of recovery. Nonetheless, it may be just as important, if not more so, than the other aspects of healing. Mind-body healing tools such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Dynamic Neural Retraining, and meditative prayer can be incredibly beneficial for restoring the body, mind and spirit to wellness.
Finally, trust your intuition and your conscience, which are, I believe, two ways in which God speaks to us all. And if you can’t afford to buy fifty different supplements all at once to get better, take heart– not all good Lyme doctors follow this approach, anyway.
Connie Strasheim is the author, co-author or ghostwriter of 10 wellness books, including four on Lyme disease, and the just-released New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Real Healing Strategies that Work. She is also a medical copywriter and Editor of Pro Health’s Lyme disease page, as well as Editor of the Alternative Cancer Research Institute. 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: www.ConnieStrasheim.org.