Crushing, chronic fatigue is easily one of the most debilitating Lyme disease symptoms experienced by many patients. It can manifest so severely that it causes serious limitations in literally every aspect of a person’s life, thereby decreasing their quality of life to a major degree. For me, it was so severe that I found it difficult to make it to the bathroom to take a detox bath, much less make healthy meals, prepare my herbal protocols, and do the plethora of other things my treatment required.
It became clear that in order to execute the necessary tasks to heal from chronic Lyme disease, I needed to find a way to effectively combat fatigue. But figuring out how to get energy with Lyme disease would be a significant challenge. Thus, I began a long and frustrating journey of experimenting with different ways to reduce fatigue, including taking stimulants like large amounts of caffeine (which quickly led to adrenal burnout) and more natural methods like herbs and supplements, which didn’t over-stimulate my nervous system or cause burnout.
Some of the things I tried, primarily pharmaceutical stimulants and caffeine, caused me to feel “wired” and catapulted me into what I refer to as the “stun-gun” state. These stimulants certainly woke me up, but all I could do was stare off because my body and brain felt as if they were buzzing. Alternatively, vitamins and supplements seemed to provide a “cleaner” type of energy, as they did not over-stimulate my central nervous system. The following is a list of the herbs and supplements that I found most beneficial:
How to Get Energy with Lyme Disease
1. Spirulina: Spirulina helps boost energy due to the fact that it is rich in protein and antioxidants and is packed with essential amino acids and minerals. In patients with Lyme disease who suffer from chronic fatigue, Candida overgrowth is often a contributing factor. Spirulina may help to eliminate Candida by promoting healthy bacterial floral growth in the gut. Spirulina is also a potent detox agent, so many find it best to start with a small dose and work their way up to larger doses depending on how their bodies react. Furthermore, if you wish to give spirulina a try, it is important to purchase organic spirulina from reputable sources, as spirulina grown in certain environments may contain heavy metals.
2. Eleutherococcus (Siberian Ginseng): Eleutherococcus, also commonly referred to as eleuthero, really helped me with fatigue and brain fog. For cases of extreme chronic fatigue, herbalist and author Stephen Harrod Buhner suggests taking doses of eleuthero that are much higher than the standard American recommended doses. I highly recommend exploring his dosing guidelines before using eleuthero for fatigue, as I can personally attest to the fact that an effective dose for chronic and severe fatigue tends to be much higher than the average recommended doses. You can delve into Stephen Harrod Buhner’s research on using this and other herbs for chronic fatigue in his book, Healing Lyme: Natural Healing of Lyme Borreliosis and the Coinfections Chlamydia and Spotted Fever Rickettsioses.
3. Rhodiola: Rhodiola is a mental and physical stimulant that can be useful for supporting the body in cases of chronic fatigue that result from long-term illness — making it a great candidate for those who suffer from chronic fatigue due to nervous exhaustion, suppressed immune function, and cognitive difficulties caused by chronic Lyme disease. Rhodiola is also known to increase the odds of recovery from chronic illness, as it is an adaptogenic stimulant that helps the body adapt and rise to the occasion when intense stress is placed on it for an extended period of time.
4. Maca: Maca supports the restoration of exhausted adrenal glands, thereby helping to combat fatigue from adrenal burnout due to intense stress placed on the body from illnesses like Lyme disease.
5. Deer Antler Extract: Deer antler is known to support energy and stamina, as well as enhance mental clarity. It does this by aiding in the production of healthy red blood cells, which then helps the body deliver more oxygen to the organs — which is essential for healthy, sustained energy. While the idea of taking deer antler extract may seem a little odd, it is easily one of the most powerful methods for combating fatigue that I have ever tried. When taking it, it gave me just the right amount of energy to meet the daily demands of my protocol, including taking all of my herbs and supplements, detoxing, gentle exercise, and meditation — minus the crash and adrenal burnout.
The above are but a few of the many herbs and supplements that people have found beneficial for quelling fatigue. There are a plethora of other natural methods, aside from herbs and supplements, that people have found helpful for boosting their energy levels, such as yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation. However, asking those who are already bed bound to get out of bed and do yoga or meditation without falling asleep is often unrealistic, and understandably so. Many have to first supplement with energy-boosting herbs and supplements in order to get to a place where they can do such things as part of their Lyme disease treatment.
In essence, the answer to taking your power back from the crushing fatigue caused by Lyme disease and related conditions is out there. Sometimes, it just takes trial and error to find the one that is perfect for your particular case. If you are suffering from crushing fatigue and feel that you have tried everything without improvements, don’t lose hope. Please remember to always consult with a healthcare professional before adding any new herbs or supplements to your protocol. It is crucial to make sure that whatever you add to your daily health regimen does not interact with any other treatments that you are currently taking.
This article was first published on ProHealth.com on May 24, 2016 and was updated on October 19, 2019.
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Shelley M. White is trained in herbalism and nutrition, and is the author of Cannabis for Lyme Disease and Related Conditions: Scientific Basis and Anecdotal Evidence for Medicinal Use. She has writes, or has written, articles for various publications, including Collective Evolution, The Mighty, SKUNK Magazine, Mind Body Green, Natural News, The Mind Unleashed, The Townsend Letter, Public Health Alert and the Examiner.
1. Buhner, Stephen H. Healing Lyme: Natural Healing of Lyme Borreliosis and the Coinfections Chlamydia and Spotted Fever Rickettsioses. Silver City, NM: Raven Press, 2015.
2. Buhner, Stephen H. Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections: Complementary and Holistic Treatments for Bartonella and Mycoplasma. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2013.