Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of a tick, and the disease is prevalent across the United States and throughout the world. Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis. The disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria (spirochete) called Borrelia burgdorferi. The Lyme spirochete can cause infection of multiple organs and produce a wide range of symptoms.
It has become the number one vector-borne disease in the United States. The CDC states that while over 20,000 cases are reported annually, the actual number is likely 10 times greater. Most doctors on the frontlines of Lyme clinical care believe the actual number is more like 25 times the CDC’s reported case number. It is rare to meet a person who doesn’t know someone who has had Lyme disease or is currently suffering from the effects of this disease.
It is called the new great imitator because of its ability to look like so many other diseases and conditions. Often misdiagnosed when the classic “bull’s eye rash” is absent or when some of the unreliable blood tests are negative, Lyme is taking its toll in terms of human misery in the United States and many other countries. When Lyme is combined with other tick-borne infections, it becomes especially problematic.
Erythema migrans is the tell tale rash which occurs in about 70% to 80% of cases and starts as a small red spot that expands over a period of days or weeks, forming a circular, triangular, or oval-shaped rash. Sometimes the rash resembles a bull’s-eye because it appears as a red ring surrounding a central clear area. The rash, which can range in size from that of a dime to the entire width of a person’s back, appears between three days and a few weeks of a tick bite, usually occurring at the site of a bite. As infection spreads, several rashes can appear at different sites on the body.
Erythema migraines is often accompanied by symptoms such as fever, headache, stiff neck, body aches, and fatigue. These flu-like symptoms may resemble those of common viral infections.
After several weeks of being infected with Lyme disease, approximately 60% of those people not treated with antibiotics develop recurrent attacks of painful and swollen joints that last a few days to a few months. The arthritis can shift from one joint to another; the knee is most commonly affected and usually one or a few joints are affected at any given time. About 10% to 20% of untreated patients will go on to develop lasting arthritis. The knuckle joints of the hands are only very rarely affected.
Lyme disease can also affect the nervous system, causing symptoms such as stiff neck and severe headache (meningitis), temporary paralysis of facial muscles (Bell’s palsy), numbness, pain or weakness in the limbs, or poor coordination. More subtle changes such as memory loss, difficulty with concentration, and a change in mood or sleeping habits have also been associated with Lyme disease. People with these latter symptoms alone usually don’t have Lyme disease as their cause.
Nervous system abnormalities usually develop several weeks, months, or even years following an untreated infection. These symptoms often last for weeks or months and may recur.
Fewer than one out of 10 Lyme disease patients develops heart problems, such as an irregular, slow heartbeat, which can be signaled by dizziness or shortness of breath. These symptoms rarely last more than a few days or weeks. Such heart abnormalities generally appear several weeks after infection, and usually begin to resolve even before treatment.
Less commonly, Lyme disease can result in eye inflammation and severe fatigue, although none of these problems is likely to appear without other Lyme disease symptoms being present.
. Deer ticks require a damp, humid environment to survive and are most often found in wooded areas and wooded edges, especially in leaf litter and low ground cover. They are usually picked up on the lower leg and tend to crawl up the body looking for a place to attach and feed.
Some ticks are very small and difficult to spot, especially the nymph tick. Wearing light colored clothing whenever working or playing in tick endemic areas makes spotting ticks easier.
. You can substantially increase your level of protection against both ticks and mosquitoes by applying a DEET based or other repellent to your skin, and by pre-treating your clothing with .5% permethrin spray. A single application of permethrin to your clothing can provide up to six weeks of protection, even after repeated washings.
The single most important step in reducing your chances of contracting tick-borne illnesses is the daily tick check. Be sure to check yourself, your children and pets after spending time outdoors in tick endemic areas. Use the sensitivity of your fingertips to feel for small bumps, starting with a thorough inspection of the:
Orthomolecular Nutrition & Wellness Center uses multiple testing methods. From DNA, western blot to other labs such as Igenix.
IGeneX | Lyme Disease & Tick-Borne Disease Testing
Do antibiotics always work to treat Lyme disease?
While antibiotics and other prescription meds are certainly helpful in treating the disease and the all-to-common tick-borne co-infections that often hitchhike into your body through a tick bite. Antibiotics alone may not suffice because Lyme disease is caused by an intracellular spirochete bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. “Intracellular means that the spirochete gets into the cell and therefore is not always available to the antibiotics,” explains Isaac Eliaz, MD, coauthor of the journal report and founder of Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center in Sebastopol, California. “The cell membrane inadvertently protects the bacteria and shields it from the antibiotics. Furthermore, the bacteria can also hide dormant in the nervous system, among other places such as in biofilms, where antibiotic drugs can’t reach them.”
What are BioFilms?
A biofilm is a multicellular colony of multiple species of microorganisms and extracellular materials (materials outside of cells) that stick to one another or a surface. In some camps, biofilms are referred to as “slime,” although when viewed with a microscope, fibers are present. The growth and proliferation of disease causing pathogens depends on biofilm. Although not all bacteria form biofilm, Lyme spirochetes are shown to aggregate within them.
How do BioFilms affect Lyme Disease?
Lyme spirochetes are found to aggregate (gather) in biofilms. Until 2009, protocols focused on eradicating individual pathogens, with little attention paid to biofilms. Especially in chronic infections, newer protocols address biofilm as a colony of different organisms with a defensive barrier. This is one of the main reasons high dose antibiotics are not usually successful in treating chronic lyme. The practitioner has not addressed the removal of the biofilm before treatment.
Within the protective barrier of biofilms, pathogens aggregate and multiply, greatly increasing virulence. Enzymes and other agents are recommended in lyme disease protocols to degrade and destabilize the pathogenic biofilm “slime” organism/layer.
Orthomolecular Nutrition & Wellness uses multiple modalities to treat chronic lyme that may include IV Nutrition, Ozone, Silver and many others IVs. But the most important of them all is bringing down the Lymes defense through a Biofilm removal protocol.
To find out more about our treatment protocols please contact the clinic and set up an appointment at (727)-518-9808.
What is mold toxicity?
Mold is a common fungus that grows in places with a lot of moisture, such as roofs, pipes, and under wood and tile floors and ceilings. Different types of mold are around us all the time, but some are more dangerous than others and certain people are allergic to mold or sensitive to the naturally occurring toxins, called mycotoxins, that mold can emit. When you’re exposed to too much mold, mold that you’re sensitive to, or certain types of mold known to cause health issues, it can lead to a condition called mold toxicity.
What are the symptoms of mold toxicity?
The symptoms of mold issues can be divided into two main categories. Immune reaction to mold, which typically involves allergy-like symptoms such as sinus issues, runny nose, itchy skin and eyes, asthma, shortness of breath, and more. The second type of mold issue is a chemical and inflammatory reaction to mold driven by mycotoxins, which can initiate an inflammatory cytokine-driven response in the body. And as you might already know about chronic inflammation, this can create symptoms that are vague, broad, and very hard to pin down such as:
- Cognitive difficulties (brain fog, poor memory, anxiety)
- Pain (especially abdominal pain, but can include muscle pain similar to fibromyalgia)
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Numbness and tingling in extremities or other areas of the body
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Digestive issues (especially limited tolerance to food, persistent bloating)
- Significant fatigue that interferes with daily activities
- Changes in mood
- Excessive thirst and dehydration, bed-wetting in children
- Symptoms that resemble hormone imbalances (hair loss, rashes)
Symptoms of mycotoxin-induced illness vary and have no pattern, and they are not unique to this illness, which means they can easily be mistaken for something else.
Why are mold issues difficult to diagnose?
Conventional medicine recognizes that mold can cause allergies but does not recognize that mycotoxins emitted by some species of indoor mold can cause a problem. Doctors unfamiliar with mold and mold treatment may miss one of the main types of mold reactions—the chemical and inflammatory reaction. This is for a few reasons:
- There is no gold standard in testing for mold
- There is no standardized treatment protocol or drug for mold toxicity
- There are very limited human-based studies looking at the connection between mycotoxins and human health
- The presentation of mold issues is very different among patients.
- Not everyone exposed to mold mycotoxins will have a reaction to them.
- One of the biggest challenges with mold is that mycotoxins can cause only some people to launch an inflammatory response.
How do you test for toxic mold exposure?
Testing for mycotoxins is typically the first step and we also recommends a home inspection by a certified mold inspector. The most direct way to test for mold toxicity is a urine test that measures for metabolites of mold and mycotoxins as well as glutathione levels, which can be depleted when you’re exposed to mold.
Mold tests have some major drawbacks, including:
- False negatives and false positives are common
- They are not covered by insurance
- You can’t test all toxins — there are hundreds
- The levels found on tests don’t necessarily correlate with the severity of symptoms
What are some of the things you can do to mitigate mold illness?
Eliminate the sources of the mold from the environment but also eliminate common dietary sources of mold, including grains, coffee, and peanut butter. This will help reduce the overall mold burden on the body.
Address sinus health since molds can colonize the sinuses.
Taking steps to lower inflammation can help bring balance back to an overactive immune response. This means following an anti-inflammatory diet and committing to daily stress management habits.
Supporting the body’s ability to bind to and eliminate toxins is a key part of healing from mycotoxin exposure. Supplements can be helpful like antioxidants like glutathione and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), charcoal, and bitter greens, which all support the liver.
Please contact our office to set up an appointment with our functional medicine practitioner to put together a customized protocol for you!
Long Haul Covid
About one out of every three people who had COVID develop symptoms of long COVID, defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a group of symptoms that linger for weeks or months after a COVID-19 infection. These long COVID symptoms can cause problems in multiple organs and body systems at once. Even people who had a mild case of the virus can have persistent COVID symptoms that disrupt their daily life.
What are some of the symptoms?
One in three people with long COVID experience neurological symptoms. These symptoms can linger for weeks or months after the initial COVID-19 infection. As leaders in neurology, our experts treat cognitive problems and issues that affect the nervous system, including:
- “Brain fog” (difficulty thinking, reasoning or concentrating) after COVID-19
- Eye issues, including blurry vision or double vision
- Loss of taste and loss of smell (parosmia)
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Severe COVID-19 infections can cause long-term heart damage. But people who had mild COVID symptoms can also have recurring or chronic heart and vascular problems. These include:
- Blood clots and vein (vascular) damage
- Chest pain
- Dizziness when standing up (orthostatic hypotension)
- Fast-beating or pounding heart (heart palpitations)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
Long COVID can cause persistent problems with the lungs and oxygen levels in the body. Many people with long COVID experience lingering:
- Exhaustion after little exertion
- Hypoxia (low levels of oxygen in tissues throughout the body)
- Shortness of breath
Mental health symptoms:
A range of psychological problems can occur after a COVID-19 infection. These issues can result from the virus itself or from the stressful experience of being treated for a serious illness. They may also come with the challenges of living with long-term physical symptoms. Mental health effects of long COVID include:
- Insomnia and other sleep disturbances
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The practitioners of Orthomolecular Nutrition and Wellness are uniquely qualified to diagnose, manage and treat symptoms of long COVID. We use a full spectrum of micronutrients given by IV such as NAD+, high dose vitamin C and other modalities to help the body regulate the immune response, inflammation and heal on a cellular level. There is no need to continue to suffer. Call to set up an appointment today.