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How Infusions Can Help you Recover from Lyme Disease

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE living in the Westchester area, especially in the summer. Crisp evenings, proximity to beaches, and embracing the outdoors brings me so much joy. However, one thing I don’t love about Westchester in the spring, summer and fall are the Lyme disease-carrying-ticks that are everywhere.  The official name of the microbe that causes Lyme is Borrelia Bergdorfi.  And these annoying and harmful pests carry other infections, too, like Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia and more.  Collectively we call these Tick Borne Illnesses or TBI’s.  New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are three of the ten states where the majority of Lyme cases are reported in the United States!  The problem is that we all love the outdoors and your favorite summer activities could be putting you at risk.

Most of you probably already know this and check yourself for ticks after every evening beach walk or nature walk.  If you don’t, then this is definitely your first line of defense.  If you find a tick on your body and it has been there for at least 4 hours, and has hooked itself in your skin, remove gently with a tweezer, and call your doctor.  You can save the tick and have it tested for Lyme.  At Blum Center we believe in treating aggressively, and recommend antibiotics (or sometimes we use herbal remedies) whether or not you develop a rash.  If that tick has latched onto you, whether or not is engorged or swollen, then treating right away is your best defense against developing acute or chronic Lyme disease.  

ACUTE AND CHRONIC LYME

Acute Lyme or Tick Borne Illness (TBI) usually happens in about 2-3 weeks after the infection, but can happen sooner or later than that too.  You might have a fever, chills, headaches, muscle or joint pain.  It can feel like a flu.  It can last 5-7 days and then go away.  The tricky thing is that some people who get infected by a tick never have an acute illness!  And many people with an acute TBI don’t ever remember having a tick bite!

That’s why many people (and doctors) don’t even think about Lyme when they develop chronic symptoms like fatigue, arthritis, muscle pain or brain fog that drag on for months and months.  There can also be other symptoms like intermittent fevers and heachaches and neurological symptoms like strange sensations and/or numbness or tingling anywhere in the body.  The good news is that WE do think about Lyme in every patient with these symptoms at Blum Center and do the testing and pick up hidden Lyme or Tick infections all the time.  

The name Chronic Lyme has been given to people who have these symptoms for months and sometimes years.  Some people have Chronic Lyme and don’t know it.  And even when they start treatment with antibiotics, they continue suffering with Chronic Lyme because once it’s been in your body for a long time, it’s very hard to get rid of it, even with antibiotics.

FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE FOR LYME TREATMENT 

Treating your Lyme disease requires a very personalized approach, and our complete treatment program for Lyme disease is beyond the scope of this blog.  We use at different times, and for different people, antibiotics and herbal programs to kill the Borrelia Burgdorferi (or other TBI) microbe.  But treatment is a 1-2 punch:  the medication or herbs lower the total amount of infection in your system, and then the immune system has to clear out the rest.  You can see why a highly functioning and strong immune system is critical to treating Lyme Disease.

In addition to a strong immune system, once we start treating Lyme, there are a lot of toxins that are released and can cause you to feel very sick.  And these toxins and the Lyme itself can wreak havoc with your mitochondria, the little furnaces in your cells that make energy.  Therefore from a functional medicine perspective, whether you are currently being treated by us or other doctors, or are still recovering from Lyme Disease, you should add to your program support for the immune system, the detox system and the mitochondria.  And the most effective way to do this is with Infusions because high concentrations of the needed nutrients can go right into your blood and to your cells where they are needed.  

OUR CUSTOM INFUSION FOR LYME DISEASE

Susan Blum, MD, MPH, our founder and director and author of The Immune System Recovery Plan, developed our targeted Infusion for people with Lyme.  We call it our Mito Recovery Infusion.  The nutrients in Mito Recovery target all 3 systems that need support in people struggling to recover from Lyme or other Tick Infection:  it works deep within the cell to help rebuild the damaged mitochondria; includes NAC and glutathione for detoxification support, and zinc, selenium, vitamin C and B vitamins for your immune system.   Here are the details:

Bag #1 – Mito Recovery

B Complex contains B1, B2, B3, B5, & B6 to help the mitochondria in all your cells function better and make energy.  This, of course, includes your immune system cells.

Vitamin C– a potent antioxidant, high doses of vitamin C helps your immune system work better and protects the mitochondria from injury

Magnesium– an electrolyte that is needed to keep your nervous system and muscles functioning properly & keep your body balanced and relaxed. Can also help provide pain relief (headaches) and help with sleep. Magnesium can act as an antioxidant in mitochondria improving mitochondrial dysfunction

B12 essential for all biochemistry and body functions that involve methylation, including production of red blood cells, DNA synthesis, neurotransmitters, liver detox, and maintaining health of the nervous system.  As we age, it is harder to absorb B12 from the gut, another reason to regularly get B12 by infusion.

Zinc a mineral that boosts the immune system by decreasing the production of inflammatory cytokines, and has direct antiviral activity.

Selenium powerful antioxidant that decreases inflammatory markers & boosts the immune system by lowering oxidative stress and inflammation.

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)- Boosts the immune system, increases Glutathione (antioxidant), decreases viral replication, & reduces inflammation.  

Acetyl L-Carnitine- Boosts mitochondria function and energy production. 

 

Bag #2:  Alpha Lipoic Acid: Powerful antioxidant to help prevent oxidative-stress related damage to all your cells and mitochondria, especially the brain and nervous system

Bag #3:  Glutathione: Powerful antioxidant that decreases inflammation and clears free radicals caused by oxidative stress, especially important for immune and mitochondria  function.  Powerfully protects the Thyroid and other tissues from damage.  Can help relieve respiratory symptoms by decreasing inflammation and mucus in lungs. Crucial support for liver detoxification and clearing heavy metals.  

Injection: CoQ10: required for optimal functioning of the mitochondria which are damaged from COVID.  Also supports the immune system and decreases the release of inflammatory cytokines. Depleted levels of CoQ10 have been linked to increased susceptibility to infection

Text or call 914-652-7800 to schedule an appointment and start feeling like your old self again!  If you aren’t sure if this is right for you, schedule a FREE consultation with our Infusion Director, Michelle Levins, NP.

 

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How Conventional Medicine Gets Autoimmune Disease Wrong

Here’s a common scenario in our practice:  A patient comes in with a prior diagnosis of autoimmune disease. Sometimes it is a new diagnosis, and the patient is worried about how to proceed. Sometimes it is a longstanding illness they have lived with for much of their life. In most cases, they are looking for help where the conventional approach to autoimmunity has failed them.

There are many different types of autoimmune disease. All have in common the curious fact that the person’s immune system has become misdirected. The immune system is meant to provide protection against infection and foreign invaders to the body – like bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. When one has autoimmune activity, it means that the person’s own body is under attack.  

Falling under the umbrella of autoimmune disease is a variety of ailments, which vary widely in prevalence, symptomatology and severity. Some autoimmune diseases are very common, like Hashimoto’s thyroid disease. Others are rare, like Scleroderma. Some attack a single part of the body, like Hashimoto’s, while others, like lupus, can be more systemic, attacking multiple organ systems. Other examples of autoimmune disease are rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Grave’s disease, Type I diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, and alopecia.

The Typical Conventional Response to Autoimmune Disease

Patients routinely describe that their physician — be it primary care or specialist — has diagnosed a condition or worse, a disease. Sometimes the patient is already on prescribed medications as treatment, but other times they are not.

Invariably, what they have been told is that there is nothing to be done:

  • “We will wait and see.”  
  • “You will probably need to be on medication at some point.”
  • “Let’s continue to watch your blood testing yearly and wait and see when symptoms develop.”  

Few, if any of these doctors, offer advice on how to potentially keep the disease from progressing. Or, if already in the throes of symptomatic disease, offer suggestions how to lessen the symptoms with anything but anti-inflammatory medications, replacement hormones or immune-modulating drugs.

This is a very serious problem, and a failing of conventional medicine. It’s exactly why our practitioners chose to continue their training with the Institute for Functional Medicine.

A Functional vs Conventional Approach to Autoimmune Disease

Let’s take the case of early autoimmune thyroid disease:

With Hashimoto’s, for instance, the patient will often be told that they have autoantibodies – which means there are immune markers in the bloodstream directed not against invaders, like bacteria or viruses, but actively attacking the body’s own tissues of the thyroid or its receptors. This is the basis of autoimmune thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, which often leads to low functioning thyroid and the need to take thyroid hormone medication.  

The conventional doctor will let the patient know that these antibodies are there, and that most likely the thyroid will begin to malfunction, causing too little hormone to be released into the blood and causing the symptoms of hypothyroidism – low energy, weight gain, constipation, dry skin …  When that occurs, treatment with thyroid hormone replacement will begin.  

This leaves many people wondering – what can I do now?  Is there anything I can do to stop this from happening?  Am I going down a road I can’t switch out of?  

How can one reverse the damage – or halt the progression of the autoimmune disease ravaging the body?

The Functional Medicine Approach

We like to think of a Functional Medicine approach to treatment as two-fold:

  • Doing everything we can to improve the immune system’s ability to rebalance while…
  • Lessening the odds of the immune system continuing to rebel — and, quite possibly, beginning another attack on another system in the body — which could then lead to another autoimmune disease.

How do we do this? First, we work to support whatever system or systems in the body are under attack – replacing nutrients or hormones that are lacking due to the autoimmunity. We frequently use B-complex, D3 and multivitamin supplementation; and, of course, hormone replacement, as needed in hypothyroidism.

Then, we work to build resilience and decrease inflammation in the body by using good old detective work to find the root cause, or triggers, of the immune dysfunction, and treat that. We look at food, stress, gut health, toxin exposure and infections.

5 Steps to Decrease Inflammation & Rebalance Your Immune System

  • Practice improving your emotional and physical response to stress. Getting good sleep and exercising is imperative. Mindfulness meditation and other mind/body techniques are helpful for reducing stress hormones.
  • Experiment with your food – discover sensitivities, triggers, and intolerances. We usually recommend an allergy elimination diet – taking out gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and eggs, along with other common allergens depending on your specific medical condition- for a short time and reintroducing to see if symptoms are affected by food.
  • Support your microbiome and heal your leaky gut.  Eat healthy whole foods and lots of vegetables and fiber. Start taking a probiotic. Our go-to is Dr. Blum’s formula, created for our patients. Learn More
  • Decrease your exposure to toxins and improve your body’s ability to manage exposures. Watch out for common toxins in food (herbicides and pesticides), cleaning supplies, and even in personal care products.  We recommend looking at the Environmental Working Group and following their suggestions for cleaning up toxins in the home.
    If you are concerned about the toxin build-up in your body, you might want to consider our 21-Day Simply Detox. It’s the exact program we use with our patients at the Blum Center for Health. Learn More
  • Be assessed with functional testing for nutritional needs and to rule out any chronic or acute infectious disease processes.  We will often request stool testing for microbial balance, in depth blood testing for nutritional needs, and more extensive saliva and urine testing for hormone balance.

If you live near the New York City metro area, come see us! We would be happy to help. People travel from all over the world to work with us. Come join our family!

Keep your eyes peeled for our new LIVE course: Immune System Strong!  Slated to start late September (it will be here before you know it!) Immune System Strong will feature 4 LIVE classes with me that feature tangible next steps that you will be able to implement immediately, as well as community, accountability, group coaching and access to the answers you need on a daily basis.  Details will be available soon! Get On The First-To-Know List (even if you’re only a little bit interested), because we’ll be rewarding with an offer that won’t be available to anyone else.) I want the special reward!