Friday, February 25, 2005

Treating the symptoms during die-off of the bugs

Here are some important symptomatic treatments I have found for the die-off time, or herxheimer (the flare-up of symptoms that accompanies treatment of Lyme):

Relax the muscles - I use heat packs and take liquid mineral supplements to help relax the muscles. I have found that heat packs are invaluable in this condition. I got the idea to use them after reading in the Jernigan book about the heat sensitivity of Lyme bacteria. Just using a heat pack around the neck at night made a huge different in resolving the constant tension of Lyme. Muscle tension is a problem with Lyme, probably from the waste products of the bacteria and the mineral imbalances it causes. I find that getting the muscles to relax is important to healing, and the two most important treatments I have found for that are naturally balanced mineral supplements and the heat packs. The mineral supplement that is most recommended, and I like the best is ‘Concentrace’ liquid by Relaxing the muscles keeps the blood circulating better, and probably that is the reason it seems to help during herx.

Chlorella for herx. I have found that Chlorella can help take the 'edge' off of a nasty herx. Some people get a ‘healing crisis’ reaction if they take it on an empty stomach, because it overloads their system with nutrients. I don’t have that problem, I can take it on an empty stomach. However, just to be sure I would take it with food or a snack the first few times, just to get used to it. Then try an empty stomach. I alternate, sometimes with and sometimes without food, to get a variety of effects.

Recancostat. Sometimes I take Recancostat, and that helps a lot, it boosts glutathione and supports detox.

Chit-O-Power. This is a powerful detox support product, the chitooligosaccarides (sp?) mop up toxins. This product is created from the shells of crustaceans, those bottom-dwelling animals that are very good at ... you guessed it ... mopping up toxins.

Garlic. I take Kyolic Garlic tablets a few times each day. This supplies sulfur, important for detox also.

Milk Thistle. I take this to help the liver when I get liver pain, or when I am detoxing heavily.

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Monday, February 07, 2005

Emotional issues with Lyme (anxiety and panic)

Lyme appears to trigger anxiety (or depression) in many people. Probably this is due to the flood of neurotoxins. However, some people are not affected this way. Perhaps the key is wheter you have emotional or subconscoius issues contributing to the anxiety. If so, then uncovering those will be very important. In my own case, I suddenly developed a severe panic disorder within a year or so after I had the Lyme rash and joint pain. For years before that I had some low level anxiety problems, so probably the Lyme aggravated a pre-existing problem. The anxiety got much worse after Lyme and I started to experience severe and debilitating panic. Following a traditional path, I took medications, for many years, to help the condition. Only after I followed a mix of treatments for a year did I finally gain the upper hand over panic and anxiety.

First I learned to use Chamomile tea, organic is best. Also, some people use Valerian root, some use Lavender oil, and some use Kava Kava. These provide temporary symptomatic relief. They helped me. They certainly don't cure the problem though; it kept coming back until I find the cause.

Here was another symptomatic treatment, this one was critical. I learned to use a long and thin hot pack around my neck and/or shoulders. This can be as simple as a thick athletic-type sock half-filled with rice and with a knot tied in the end (or sew it shut). Or you could sew one like a scarf, with several sections for rice, that is what I use. Then put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Heat around the neck and shoulders can do wonders for anxiety/panic. You can use this literally all day long and at night too to help your body learn to relax.

Finally, to get to the causes, I used emotional processing, there are many methods. Dealing with stress and emotions is important for solving this problem.

Of course, other infections besides Lyme can cause panic and anxiety. Also, mineral imbalances can be involved, particularly problems with sodium-potassium (not eating enough natural salt can cause this) and problems with calcium (not enough). Sometimes taking calcium supplements helped me to relax. I also found signifant relief from my anxiety on the Salt/C protocol, and believe those minerals were deficit, and part of the aggravation of my anxiety.

Another approach I found effective to reduce the anxiety response was re-programming the subconscious mind to stop panicking and being anxious. Two very good approaches to this are the Sedona method ( and the Linden method ( Sedona is about learning to 'let go' and Linden uses guided imagery and self-talk. I used the Linden method extensively, for several months, and this was an important turning point for my anxiety problem. I also used binaural beat sound tracks to teach my mind and body how to relax. These can be quite effective. I used the Centerpoint sound tracks ( and also sound tracks from Mercola (

Panic and anxiety don't just happen for no reason. And Lyme isn't the only infection that can worsen panic/anxiety. Also, molds, Candida, and fungi produce neurotoxins (mycotoxins) which can cause this. And probably there are others. My conclusion is that the Lyme bacteria worsens any pre-existing imbalances in our lives. If a person has a tendency to panic, anxiety, depression, anger, paranoia, or have other undesireable emotions, the Lyme toxins will cause exacerbation of those. Thus, there are three necessary parts to the 'cure' for these symptoms. First is to knock out as much of the Lyme (or other) infection as possible, and second is to correct any pre-existing emotional imbalances, to the extent possible. The third part is to correct any nutritional or mineral deficiencies, and I believe that Salt/C helps accomplish that. I found that working on these three angles was the key to finally progressing out of panic and anxiety. I still do get some low-level stress symtpoms, such as heaviness in the chest, when I have a bad day, but now they do not progress into anxiety and panic. The link to the emotions has been largely severed.

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Saturday, February 05, 2005

Should we immunize children who have Lyme?

I think it is wise to be cautious about giving children immunizations if there is Lyme in the family. This is because immunizations challenge the immune system. If the immune system is already battling Lyme, then the immunization may cause severe worsening.

We saw something like this this right after we immunized one of our children so he could go to school. We were a bit wary, but did not at the time know we had Lyme in the family, I was very sick, and a few others were getting sick, but the cause was a mystery. So just to be safe, we requested and received an immunization without any mercury (Thimerisol-free). But that did not seem to matter. The immunization problem isn’t the mercury folks, it is the immune challenge in the presence of a chronic infection. Here is why I draw that conclusion, our son had a fever type response right after the mercury-free immunization, then went steadily downhill after that, for the several weeks before school started. We did everything natural we could to boost his immunity, but it only helped a little. Before this immunizations he was a happy child, active but able to be calm, went to bed every night by himself and was asleep, out cold, in about 10 minutes. Very mature and a active as would be expected for his age, outgoing but in control. After the final immunization he regressed emotionally. He became very hyperactive, excitable, almost impossible to calm, had trantrums and fits a lot, he couldn’t go to sleep by himself anymore. He became insecure, and anxious. He already had some symptoms of ADHD prior to the immunization, but became ‘clinical’ afterwards. Some of his infant responses returned, including the wind startle response (we were quite amazed at that).

After some research we found that this is a known risk, and some people consider this type of reversion a type of autism. We were VERY angry about this, and about all the lies we have been told about the safety of immunization. In the year and a half since then our son has emotionally has made some progress, but he is still not back to the maturity where he was before the immunizations. We are optimistic because he is progressing, but it is as if he is carrying a heavy weight now, progress is more painful and difficult.

Knowing what I know now about Lyme I am convinced that what happened was that the immunization created a ‘stress event’ that activated a latent Lyme bacteria, or other co-infections he was harboring. Then, because the infection was activated during a critical period of development for him, it had these drastic effects. Hopefully as we learn to manage Lyme he will return to his proper developmental level. This is not an isolated story, I know others who have Lyme in the family and have also had these types of immunization responses in their children. With all of the chronic infections that are appearing throughout our society, perhaps the time has come to communicate more carefully the risks posed by immunizations.

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Importance of having fun if you have CFIDS/Lyme

No doubt the neurotoxins produced by co-infections are the cause of a lot of emotional problems experienced by people with CFIDS and Lyme, because neurotoxins get into the lipids controlling the nerves, and thereby effect how the body will respond to any emotion. I’ve noticed the emotional amplifier effect on the herx symptoms as well. When I am having a bad herx response, any anxious, negative thought or stressful event seems like a catastrophe. I feel that when this happens there is a sort of ‘feed-back loop’ that causes me to over-sense, or over-perceive the painful symptom. Then if I can find a way to break that loop, usually through a distraction, it goes back down to just a dull discomfort.

I think this is why it is important to have fun. To do something enjoyable, something to look forward to, every day. Maybe not a lot, but something that doesn't require too much energy but still is fun. Something to hope for during those times of feeling lousy. I read through several Tolkien books during the first month on Salt/C (OK, I always have been a little compulsive). I could not have done that pre-Salt/C because of the concentration problems, but this time, I enjoyed it! I couldn’t read every day, but most days I could for a few hours when not herxing. Also, I felt a kind of mental and emotional renewal, something I had forgotten about, the reason I enjoyed those types of novels in High School. Of course, this won’t work for everyone, but I think the principle is sound, find something enjoyable, and have some fun as the Salt/C starts working. Having some fun should be part of any CFIDS/Lyme protocol! Fun can help break the dysfunctional mental traps the co-infections can set for us, and can help us get through the herx periods.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Getting enough protein in the Lyme diet - very important

Some personal thoughts and experiences about the Lyme diet and in particular, getting enough PROTEIN with CFIDS/Lyme... this is synthesized from a lot of different sources I have been reading, and I can find resources to back up everything here, but this is still just my opinion. I make that disclaimer because of the strong feelings this particular subject can generate in the alternative health arena. So if you don't agree, please just take it with a gram of salt :).

I have become a 'protein type' person with this chronic condition, probably because of the hypoglycemia this has given me, and have been the rounds with this issue. Although I would LOVE to be vegan, I can't survive it. Given the many mantras about veganism curing diseases, here is some 'food for thought.'

Although humans can exist on a vegan diet, we don't thrive on it. We are clearly designed as omnivores, we have only one stomach and can not process all of the nutrients from vegetables and can not eat grasses like herbivores. We also do poorly on an all-meat diet. We are in a small group of omnivores on this planet. The primary issue with lack of protein is not whether it is in your omnivore diet. There is even plenty of protein in most vegan diets. The problem is whether you can absorb it. Some of us don't absorb and/or process plant proteins well, perhaps due to digestive weakness. Animals that are vegan (such as cows for instance) have far more complex digestive processes than we do. If I had two stomachs, perhaps I could get my calcium and nutrients from grass and be a vegan too, just like a cow. But meanwhile, I need animal products.

So, if you have digestive problems with CFS/CFIDS/Lyme (such as dysbiosis and parasites in the intestines, or infected stomach or pancreas), you may not digest ANYTHING very well. So just eating protein-rich foods, vegan or omnivore, may be of little use. The issue is bioavailability. Becasue I have compromised digestion from CFIDS/Lyme, I take protease enzyme supplements, and also eat types of protein I can most readily absorb. The most absorbable forms of protein for humans are raw animal products (dairy, meat). Next is probably soaked raw legumes and nuts, then come vegetables and fruits.

So what should we eat to get enough protein? Be sure to eat animal protein sparingly, but consistently with every meal. We don't need huge servings of meat to get protein, just regular servings. Moderation rules in this issue. An organic Free-range Egg for breakfast every day is good (lightly cooked or raw if you tolerate that - I like half-cooked boiled or low-temp fried). The Egg is critical and probably most easily absorbed and most perfectly balanced food on the planet. But the yoke should be soft, not over-cooked (true for any protein, as that makes them harder to absorb). Also, eating easily-digested meats is important, which means to eat them rare or medium cooked, never well done. The best are beef liver (natural beef is best, 'Coleman' brand or from an organic/range-fed source), and other organ meats, then the softer cuts (or lean hamburger). Other great meats are the white meats, chicken (free range organic) and turkey (hard to find organic, but possible if you look). Fish is great too; sushi will be best absorbed (if you like it), and also sardines are a wonderful snack or even mini-meal (and they, like liver, are high in purines, which are critical for protein type people). However, I've found that some fish are hard to absorb, there is as much variety in fish meat as in animal meats...

Dairy deserves its own category, in my opinion. Lots of protein there, and if it is aged cheese, should be easy to absorb. Just don't over-do it, since it has high fat. But in small quantities cheese seems to be an important snack. For those worried about fats, goat cheeses are good, their fats are better bonded. Also, home-made yoghurt and kefir. Kefir is milk cultured for 24 hours with a special type of bacteria. It has no sugar. Kefir is the miracle drink, kefir alone can drastically improve your digestion of all other foods, and absorption. This is because it appears to trigger mucus production in the digestive tract and prepare the body for intake of nutrients. I take a small serving with each meal, and the different is substantial on absorption. See for their book, which contains valuable Kefir information. Also, there are good web sites on making your own.

Non-meat proteins that are helpful (but not as good as meats) include legumes (brown, white, black, red beans), peanuts (actually legumes and not nuts, they are powerful antioxidants when roasted and high in minerals), peas (high in protein, especially dried split peas) and of course, soy (get fermented or pre-digested if possible, Tempe is best and does not cause thyroid issues, NOT Tofu which causes the thyroid problems).

Other proteins are the 'powders' that can be eaten with anything, or alone. Soy protein powder (fermented is best), pea protein powder, rice protein powder, and my favorite, goat milk protein (try 'Gotein' by Garden of Life). These boost protein level quickly and are well-absorbed. Try to find the pure products (just rice protein powder, for example), not combination 'energy boost' products (they have too many undesirable ingredients).

One other VERY important issue for protein absorption is the fermentation process in your digestive system. I found that my protein ABSORPTION went way up when I started eating a Tablespoon of home-made sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) with each meal. The recipe for this is in 'The Body Ecology Diet' and you can order the culture for it from their website.
So there are many ways to increase protein, but focus on absorption. Although I like plant proteins, I have found that other than the legumes and peas, most of them don't get adequately digested to be absorbed in a person with a compromised digestive system. Maybe vegan is good for some other health issues, but if your problem is protein absorption, I believe it is very contraindicated.

Of course you need much more than protein, all those great veggies, and legumes and grains.
Some ancient grains are high in absorbable proteins. In particular Quinoa. I eat a lot of that and it really does help. Not nearly as much protein as animal products, but much more than veggies. When I have Quinoa with a meal, I need less animal protein (but still need some). Also, Amaranth is very good, and also has the distinction of being the ONLY grain that matches the amino balance of humans, it was made for us (like Quinoa, a South American grain). Quinoa is probably the best protein source among grains, and Amaranth the best amino acid source. Also, Millet, another ancient grain, is wonderful with Lyme. None of these three ancient grains contains gluten, so they are much easier to digest. I also use a lot of oats. I avoid wheat and other grains with gluten because digestion is often compromised in Lyme and CFIDS and gluten is hard to digest, it makes the villi stick together (the little hairs inside the intestines that actually absorb most of the food).

But what about vegetables in our diet? I don't know of any CFS/CFIDS/Lyme issues related to veggies - just eat lots of them. The problem is usually with the protein...

Everything I have told you about protein is based on hard experience of a digestive-compromised person. I know from my hypoglycemia-type responses whether there was enough protein in a meal. And I have found out over time that there is no replacement for the animal products. Even with legumes, I generally have to have some animal protein, there is just not enough available protein in the plant-sources. The only exception to that is soy. Soy seems to approach the level of availability of animal products, but ONLY the fermented soys (tempe/miso). But these are the 'safe' soys anyway, I would not consider other forms of soy, and also would not eat a soy protein powder that has not been fermented.

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