Reprinted from www.Ascent2health.com with the kind permission of Lindsay Christensen. To read the original article, click here.
After years of struggling with Lyme disease in my late teens and early twenties, to say that my immune and digestive systems were a mess would be an understatement. Years of taking antibiotics and other natural antimicrobials for Lyme disease had left my health in such a state of disarray that my immune system and gut were reacting to nearly every chemical and food I came across. At the beginning of my healing journey, I had relied quite heavily on supplements; however, my newfound sensitivities forced me to reconsider my approach to treating Lyme and rebuilding my immune system and gut health. This experience led me to discover some powerful “superfoods” that altered the course of my healing process and have done wonders for rebalancing my immune and digestive systems. These foods have a rich history of use by our ancestors for preventing and treating illness and building vitality. In this article, I outline the five medicinal foods I have used to restore my immune and gut health and ultimately eliminate my Lyme disease symptoms.
I have previously written about the numerous health benefits of colostrum in my article Colostrum: An Ancestral Superfood for Modern Times, but I wanted to feature colostrum again in this article because it has been so instrumental in my recovery process.
Colostrum is the first milk secreted by mammals shortly after they give birth to their offspring. The purpose of colostrum is to promote growth and establish a strong immune system in newborn babies. Bovine colostrum, which closely mirrors human colostrum in nutrient composition and is available as a supplement, is a superfood that is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and immune-boosting proteins that offer broad-spectrum protection against pathogens and strengthen the integrity of the gut. Rather than being an antibacterial specific to Lyme disease, colostrum has potent immune-boosting properties that help correct a key underlying cause of Lyme disease, a weak immune system. It also is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial that targets pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Lactoferrin, one of the proteins in bovine colostrum, kills pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi, including H. pylori, E. coli, HIV, human cytomegalovirus, herpes virus, influenza virus, and Candida albicans. (References in original article).
Even though I am intolerant of bovine dairy, my experience with bovine colostrum has been amazing. Chronic fatigue was one of my primary Lyme symptoms, and colostrum has done wonders in improving my energy. Colostrum has also helped reduce my sensitivities to certain foods, which were worsened by antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease. I think it is important to mention that I did experience significant “die-off” symptoms the first two weeks of taking colostrum, but after this initial phase, I have experienced nothing but positive effects. This is one “superfood” that I would recommend adding to your Lyme-healing protocol. The only brand I recommend is Sovereign Laboratories liposomal colostrum because it has significantly enhanced absorption compared to other colostrum products.
Cod Liver Oil
I believe that cod liver oil is a hugely overlooked superfood. For centuries, it has been a part of the diet of Northern Europeans, who used it to prevent illness and promote vitality. We now know that cod liver oil is rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce intestinal inflammation; this may be beneficial for those struggling with gastrointestinal issues, including gut infections and post-antibiotic GI effects. Vitamins A and D are crucial for maintaining the integrity of the intestinal barrier and promote a strong immune system. Personally, I have a history of vitamin A and D deficiencies, so taking cod liver oil to correct these deficiencies has been key for improving my gut and immune health. Supplementing with Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil has raised my vitamin D level, has increased my energy, and is helping to resolve some stubborn gut infections that I have been struggling with for years. I highly recommend taking cod liver oil as a general immune booster and anti-inflammatory.
Bone broth and gelatin (sourced from grass-fed cattle, of course) have done wonders for restoring the health of my digestive tract post-antibiotics. Bone broth, which contains gelatin, is a staple of traditional diets around the globe. In addition to being flavorful and easy-to-digest, bone broth contains healing compounds that repair leaky gut, reduce intestinal inflammation, and improve immunity. Glycine, one of the amino acids found in bone broth and gelatin, has anti-inflammatory effects on the gut. Bone marrow that separates from bones into broth contains alkylglycerols, which are vital for the production of white blood cells, the cells of the immune system that protect the body against infectious disease. I recommend either making bone broth at home, supplementing with gelatin, or trying bone broth protein powder, which is a very convenient and economical way to get the full-spectrum benefits of bone broth.
Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein Powder, Vanilla Flavor, 20 Servings Size – Non-GMO, Gut-Friendly, Paleo-Friendly
Approximately 70-80% of your body’s immune tissue is in your gut, and the microbes living in your gut play a crucial role in establishing and maintaining immunity. Fermented foods and beverages, which have been staples of traditional diets since the beginning of human civilization, contain beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy gastrointestinal tract and a strong immune system. They deliver high numbers of beneficial microorganisms to the GI tract in a form that survives passage through the digestive tract, unlike many probiotic supplements.
There are many fermented foods to choose from, including kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha. When selecting fermented foods and beverages, I recommend choosing organic products that are available in the refrigerated section of the grocery store; these contain live probiotics. Jarred sauerkraut in the condiments section of the grocery store has been pasteurized, which kills beneficial microorganisms.
The use of green tea leaves originated in China more than 3,000 years ago; today, we know that this ancestral superfood has many healing properties. Personally, green tea has helped me greatly in my recovery from Lyme disease. Green tea has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and vascular health-promoting properties, and I credit it with helping to reduce my gut inflammation and even improve blood circulation throughout my body (note: I used to experience severe blood circulation problems in the form of CCSVI, which was related to Lyme disease. You can read more about this in my article My Experience with Cavitation Surgery in Switzerland. According to herbalist and author Stephen Harrod Buhner, the catechins in green tea have antimicrobial activity against mycoplasmas, which are frequent coinfections in Lyme patients. It also has anti-inflammatory effects specific to the central nervous system (CNS), which is frequently affected by Lyme disease.
Green tea is now a staple in my diet. I recommend drinking organic green tea from a reputable tea-purveyor, as non-organic brands may be adulterated with other undesirable ingredients.
Ancestral nutrition is a powerful strategy for recovering from Lyme
Taking an ancestral approach to nutrition has helped me more in my healing journey than any pharmaceutical or supplement; this is why I am so passionate about the healing power of food! If you are struggling with Lyme disease and are interested in learning more about how ancestral nutrition and lifestyle strategies can help you recover, consider booking a health coaching appointment with me! You can contact me to book a session on the Health Coaching page of my website.
Lindsay Christensen is a health writer and researcher with her B.S. in Biomedical Science and an Emphasis in Nutrition. She is currently pursuing her M.S. in Human Nutrition, with the intention of becoming a Clinical Nutritionist. Lindsay’s passion for natural health and wellness has been driven by her own experience in recovering from a serious chronic illness. She blogs about chronic illness recovery and her nature-inspired approach to nutrition and healthy living on her website, Ascent to Health: https://www.ascent2health.com/. In her free time, she can be found outdoors rock climbing and hiking, enjoying the beauty and healing power of nature."