Category Archives: Lyme Disease Treatment

How Does Lyme Disease Affect Your Hormones?

As we’ve discussed in our previous blog posts, Lyme disease can cause debilitating symptoms and affect multiple organs.

Due to its resilient nature, Borrelia burgdorferi, one of the main bacterial species that causes Lyme disease, may be difficult to eliminate from the body; this could result in a long-term persistent Lyme infection.

What is less emphasized though is Lyme’s effect on the endocrine (hormonal) system. It makes sense to question this because Lyme can infiltrate almost any area of the body.

Although people link Lyme with other organs, affected endocrine glands may also impact a patient’s well-being. Below is a brief guide to Lyme disease’s impacts on the endocrine system.

Quick Notes

  • Chronic inflammation caused by Lyme disease may interfere with your hormone balance, resulting in abnormal hormone levels.
  • Lyme disease (with an affected hepatic (liver) system) may cause difficulties in metabolizing hormones, which may result in hormonal dysfunction.
  • Magnesium is an essential mineral that’s needed for balancing our hormones. Unfortunately, Lyme disease decreases the magnesium levels in our bodies.

Lyme Disease and the Thyroid Gland

Research suggests that Lyme disease can affect the thyroid gland, leading to thyroid dysfunction, specifically Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a type of hypothyroidism in which the immune system begins to attack the thyroid gland.

Research shows that Borrelia may trigger Hashimoto’s through a process called molecular mimicry. In the case of Lyme disease, molecular mimicry occurs when the body’s immune system not only attacks Borrelia, but also the thyroid tissue that looks similar to Borrelia. Essentially, the immune system cannot distinguish between the pathogen and the healthy tissue, finally attacking both. The result is the development of hypothyroidism, further affecting the functions of the human body as a newly formed, independent syndrome. Symptoms and signs may therefore overlap, making it tough to diagnose.

Lyme Disease and the Adrenal Gland

During a persistent Lyme Infection, patients often experience chronic inflammation. The human body perceives chronic inflammatory states as stressors, leading to adrenal insufficiency (adrenal fatigue) from hormonal depletion.

Unfortunately, adrenal fatigue and Lyme may share common symptoms. An individual who suffers from both conditions might experience chronic pain due to persistent inflammation and lack of the adrenal gland’s anti-inflammatory properties. Adrenal fatigue in patients with Lyme disease is only a symptom induced by the effects of Borrelia burgdorferi on the adrenal glands.

Lyme Disease and the Reproductive Glands

The hormonal disruption from Lyme disease may affect reproductive glands, too. Testosterone, an essential hormone for both men and women, may decrease due to Lyme disease; this may cause low libido or low sex drive.

Women with Lyme disease may experience high or low levels of estrogen, which may trigger hot flashes, mood swings, brain fog, irritability, insomnia or anxiety.

In perimenopausal, menopausal, and post-menopausal women, an adrenal hormone called DHEA provides the body with about 50 percent of testosterone compared with 10 percent in men. Therefore, menopausal women with Lyme disease may have further difficulties in dealing with hormonal side effects.

Hormone Replacement Therapy and Lyme Disease

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may increase the quality of life of patients with Lyme disease. Supplementing with hormones such as progesterone, pregnenolone, and DHEA may help individuals treat bothersome symptoms and focus on their primary battle, which is Lyme disease.

Note: Individuals with adrenal fatigue or thyroid issues may notice improvement with adrenal and thyroid support nutraceuticals, adrenal hormones or thyroid hormones; these therapies support or replace the function of the gland. However, stopping such supports abruptly may result in a crash for the patient. This is why we recommend seeking the help of a healthcare practitioner who has experience treating patients with Lyme disease and hormone imbalances.

Seeking Support for Your Lyme Symptoms and Hormones

Do you think Lyme disease is affecting your hormones? If you’re interested in having your Lyme symptoms and hormones assessed, please visit a healthcare practitioner today. Currently, we are accepting new patients at Toronto Functional Medicine Centre. To know more about our clinic’s program for integrative Lyme disease treatmentclick here to book your appointment.


Benvenga S, Santarpia L, Trimarchi F, Guarneri F. Human thyroid autoantigens and proteins of Yersinia and Borrelia share amino acid sequence homology that includes binding motifs to HLA-DR molecules and T-cell receptor. Thyroid. 2006;16(3):225-236. doi:10.1089/thy.2006.16.225

Van Den Eede, Filip & Luyten, Patrick. (2009). Does hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis hypofunction in chronic fatigue syndrome reflect a ‘crash’ in the stress system?. Medical hypotheses. 72. 701-5. 10.1016/j.mehy.2008.11.044. 

Cristea, Victor & Crişan, Monica. (2004). Lyme disease with magnesium deficiency. Magnesium research : official organ of the International Society for the Development of Research on Magnesium. 16. 287-9. 

Maarij Baig, Lin Zheng, Alka Farmer, “Severe Hyperbilirubinemia: A Rare Complication of Lyme Disease”, Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine, vol. 2019, Article ID 2762389, 3 pages, 2019.

Ramesh G, Didier PJ, England JD, et al. Inflammation in the pathogenesis of lyme neuroborreliosis. Am J Pathol. 2015;185(5):1344-1360. doi:10.1016/j.ajpath.2015.01.024

Anderson, Wayne; Gitlin, Robert. 2014 Lyme, Neurotoxins, and Hormonal Factors: an interview with Nancy Faass, MSW, MPH. The Free Library (July, 1), (accessed September 19 2020)

John E. Morley, H. Mitchell Perry, III, Androgens and Women at the Menopause and Beyond, The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 58, Issue 5, May 2003, Pages M409–M416,


7 Herbs That May Help Treat Lyme Disease

treat lyme disease with herbs

Although doxycycline, a wide known antibiotic, is prescribed to treat Lyme disease, research shows that adjuvant herbal therapies (herbal treatments combined with doxycycline) may provide relief for persistent Lyme symptoms.

Moreover, herbal therapies may enhance the antimicrobial effect against Lyme disease; they may also reduce the need for patients to require long-term antibiotic treatments. 

In this article, we outline how herbal treatments may tackle the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

Understanding the Bacteria Behind Lyme Disease

Firstly, let’s understand the bacteria that spread Lyme disease. The Lyme disease-causing Borrelia bacteria are microaerophiles, meaning that they thrive in low oxygen. This group of microorganisms are tenacious, slow-growing pathogens. Out of 36 recognized species, 13 are either acknowledged or alleged to have caused Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a common tick-born disease in both Europe and North America. The bacterial microorganisms that spread Lyme disease are known as Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato; these include the species Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, the main cause of Lyme in North America. The predominant species that cause Lyme disease in Europe are Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii.

The actively growing forms of Borrelia are spirochetes, corkscrew-shaped bacteria that cause Lyme. They are motile and can survive viscous conditions, including human and animal blood; they’re even capable of entering cells. When these bacteria are exposed to unfavourable conditions, they can adopt hidden, inactive or dormant forms such as cysts or granular forms and aggregates (biofilm-like structures).

Knowing the anatomy of spirochetes has helped scientists recognize the persistence of Lyme disease. Borrelia burgdorferi is theorized to have the ability to alter and re-convert into cystic form with thick-walled structures; this may explain why Lyme may act insistently and/or pop up after staying “quiet” for so long.

Also, genomic studies show that Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato has a gene for its efflux or “pumping” mechanism, allowing the bacteria to pump out antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease. This efflux mechanism may be responsible for the bacteria’s ability to foster antibiotic resistance, though more studies are needed to prove this. These aspects all highlight the need for either new or improved treatments against the Borrelia bacteria, including herbal therapies.

The Role of Herbs in Treating Lyme Disease

Studies have shown that herbal adjuvant therapy may benefit Lyme disease treatments. In fact, one specific study considered the combination of doxycycline and herbs; it showed that herbs could enhance the action of the antibiotic agent, subsequently working synergistically against Borrelia burgdorferi, one of the main bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

During this particular study, doxycycline combined with the herb Scutellaria Baicalensis (Chinese Skullcap) attacked the latent, rounded forms of Borrelia when compared with doxycycline alone. (Baicalein is the active substance of Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis), an antioxidant and neuroprotective agent that has a calming, anti-excitatory activity due to its effect on GABA receptors.) 

Another recent in-vitro study showed the effects of herbs against growing and non-growing forms of Borrelia burgdorferi. Researchers found seven beneficial and natural agents that enhance the antimicrobial action against Borrelia. These include:

  • Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum): This antioxidant herb demonstrates anti-inflammatory, cardio protective, and neuroprotective benefits. It strongly constrains cytokine cascades triggered by bacteria. (Note: Cytokines – cell-signalling molecules that uphold cell-to-cell communications in immune reactions – encourage cells to travel to areas of trauma, inflammation and infection in the body). Resveratrol, one of the active compounds in Japanese Knotweed, has antimicrobial effects against spirochete forms of Lyme
  • Cats Claw (Unicaria tomentosa): This herb has demonstrated in-vitro effects against Borrelia. It has been proven to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, neuroprotective, and DNA-repairing properties.
  • Cryptolepis (Cryptolepis sanguinolenta): Contains antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-amoebic properties, efficiently attacking the stationary forms of Borrelia burgdorferi. (Note: the stationary phase of Borrelia is when the cells replicate slowly or not at all; they’re known as “persister cells” because of their antibiotic resistance.)
    Artemisia (Artemisia annua): Artemisinin, in its active compound, has a history of more than 2,000 years of use in the medical community. It may attack the stationary phase spirochetes of Borrelia.
  • Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata): Houttuynia helps reduce the cytokine cascade, therefore decreasing the inflammatory processes of Borrelia.
  • Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis): Baicalein is the active substance in this herb. It demonstrates antioxidant, neuroprotective, and anti-excitatory effects, enhancing the action of traditional antibiotic agents, such as doxycycline. Its anti-excitatory activity lies in its interaction with the GABA receptors.
  • Black walnut (Juglans nigra): Black walnut has antioxidant and antibacterial compounds. Green hull extract from the black walnut has been shown in vitro to be effective against Borrelia spirochetes (round bodies and biofilm structures).

Furthermore, certain blends of herbs have shown antibacterial activity against Borrelia burgdorferi. Research has shown that a one-week treatment with 1% Ghanaian quinine (Cryptolepis sanguinolenta) managed to eradicate Borrelia in vitro, preventing the bacterium from multiplying. The same potency was evident by Japanese knotweed. Both herbs were able to destroy entire micro colonies of Borrelia in vitro.

The studies above demonstrate the potential of herbs being used to treat persistent, antibiotic-resistant forms of Borrelia infections. Although further clinical trials are necessary, health care practitioners are prescribing natural and botanical agents for persistent Lyme symptoms.

Treating Your Lyme Symptoms

Currently, our clinic is inviting new and existing patients to discuss how we can help alleviate Lyme symptoms with natural considerations. We practice integrative functional medicine, a fusion of naturopathic and functional medicine as treatment for lyme disease. Our integrative Lyme disease treatment program is managed by two health practitioners who jointly offer integrative/functional health programs for their patients. Please call (416) 968-6961 to book your appointment or click here to write us a message.


Goc A, Niedzwiecki A, Rath M. Cooperation of Doxycycline with Phytochemicals and Micronutrients Against Active and Persistent Forms of Borrelia sp. Int J Biol Sci. 2016;12(9):1093-1103. Published 2016 Jul 22. doi:10.7150/ijbs.16060

Datar, Akshita & Kaur, Navroop & Patel, Seema & Luecke, David & Sapi, Eva. (2010). In Vitro Effectiveness of Samento and Banderol Herbal Extracts on the Different Morphological Forms of Borrelia Burgdorferi. Townsend Letter, the Examiner of Alternative Medicine. 

Feng Jie, Leone Jacob, Schweig Sunjya, Zhang Ying, Evaluation of Natural and Botanical Medicines for Activity Against Growing and Non-growing Forms of B. burgdorferi, Frontiers in Medicine, 2020,, DOI=10.3389/fmed.2020.00006   

Goc A, Rath M. The anti-borreliae efficacy of phytochemicals and micronutrients: an update. Therapeutic Advances in Infectious Disease. 2016;3(3-4):75-82.
Hui KM, Wang XH, Xue H. Interaction of flavones from the roots of Scutellaria baicalensis with the benzodiazepine site. Planta Med. 2000;66(1):91-93. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1243121

Newman Osafo, Kwesi Boadu Mensah, and Oduro Kofi Yeboah, Antonio Ferrer-Montiel
Phytochemical and Pharmacological Review of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta (Lindl.) Schlechter
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Jiangang Fu, Ling Dai, Zhang Lin, Hongmei Lu: Houttuynia cordata Thunb: A Review of Phytochemistry and Pharmacology and Quality Control. College of Chemistry and Chemical Chinese Medicine, Vol.4 No.3(2013), Article ID:37184,23 pages DOI:10.4236/cm.2013.43015

Feng J, Leone J, Schweig S, Zhang Y. Evaluation of Natural and Botanical Medicines for Activity Against Growing and Non-growing Forms of B. burgdorferi. Front Med (Lausanne). 2020 Feb 21;7:6. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2020.00006. PMID: 32154254; PMCID: PMC7050641.

Anna Goc , Alexandra Niedzwiecki , Matthias Rath, Cooperation of Doxycycline with Phytochemicals and Micronutrients Against Active and Persistent Forms of Borrelia sp. 2016 Jul 22;12(9):1093-103.doi: 10.7150/ijbs.16060. e Collection 2016.


A Brief Guide to Treating Lyme Disease with Disulfiram Written by Arv Buttar, NP

Treating Lyme Disease with Disulfiram

Lyme disease (LD), which is spread to humans through infected black legged tick bites, is an illness that can lead to severe symptoms if left untreated.

Disulfiram, though, has recently entered the medical world as a new therapeutic approach to treating Lyme disease. This is a potential new drug candidate against Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterial species behind Lyme disease.

In a 2016 study, disulfiram inhibited 99.8% of Borrelia burgdorferi growth in a stationary phase culture versus the untreated control. Additionally, in 2017 an uncontrolled open-label trial with three Lyme patients with ongoing neurological symptoms improved within 6 to 18 weeks of disulfiram treatments, remaining well for 6 to 23 months.

Even after routine Lyme therapy, ongoing neurologic and systemic symptoms may persist, which has been termed post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). This article will analyze disulfiram’s role in treating persistent LD.

First off, what is disulfiram?

Disulfiram is a known anti-alcoholism drug. Upon consumption of alcohol, the body breaks down the alcohol into acetaldehyde, which causes a hangover. The body oxidizes acetaldehyde into acetic acid. Disulfiram, however, stops the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase from converting acetaldehyde into acetic acid. Therefore, those who take disfuliram while drinking alcohol will have a build-up of acetaldehyde, leading to unpleasant symptoms (i.e. nausea, vomiting, sweats, flushing, headaches).

Is disulfiram effective against Lyme disease?

It is believed that disulfiram may act as an antimicrobial agent against Lyme persister cells, spirochetes (corkscrew-shaped bacteria that causes Lyme), and babesia (a small parasite that infects blood cells with an infection called babesiosis).

Research suggests that the drug might be effective against gram-positive bacteria and one of the main parasites that causes malaria, Plasmodium falciparum. The metal ions zinc and manganese are necessary for B. burgdorferi metabolism and survival in the human body. Disulfiram may inhibit their metabolism due to its high affinity for metal ions.

The effectiveness of disulfiram has not been assessed in large clinical trials, but scientists have noted that disulfiram may decrease the symptoms in some – but not in all – patients receiving it as persistent anti-LD treatment.

Are there any adverse effects to taking disulfiram?

Disulfiram is a generally safe drug. Common side effects reports include nausea, headaches and fatigue. Further adverse effects may include:

  • Convulsions
  • Encephalopathy
  • Cranial neuropathy
  • Toxic optic neuropathy
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Hypertension
  • Psychosis

How long is treatment?

The duration of the treatment is usually 3 to 6 months. Alcohol consumption is prohibited, as it could lead to disturbing symptoms. (Take note: alcohol may be found in various drinks and foods, such as sauces and vinegars.)

Can disulfiram work for anyone with Lyme disease?

Over 12,000 people have joined various Facebook groups such as “Disulfiram for Lyme Support Group” and “Disulfiram/Antabuse Lyme Success Stories,” where they share their anecdotes of using the therapy for Lyme disease.

Although, anecdotally, disulfiram has shown the improvement of symptoms in some patients being treated by a Lyme-literate doctor, more clinical trials are required. This is because we need to fully understand the long-term outcomes of this medication. A small 14-week randomized placebo-controlled pilot study of 24 patients with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is underway and is expected to be completed in late 2021.

Should you take disulfiram for your Lyme symptoms?

To find out if disulfiram is right for you, we strongly suggest speaking to your health care practitioner. At our clinic, we offer integrative functional medicine, in which our practitioners consider each individual’s biology and lifestyle for treating medical concerns.

With that, if Lyme disease is affecting your quality of life, please don’t hesitate to contact our clinic. The Toronto Functional Medicine Centre have built integrative and functional medicine programs for our patients. Our Lyme Disease: Integrative Treatment program consists of a personalized naturopathic and conventional medical approach that may help fight lyme disease or to help patients suffering from Lyme symptoms. Please call our clinic at (416) 968-6961 to schedule your appointment.


de Melo RC, Lopes R, Alves JC. A case of psychosis in disulfiram treatment for alcoholism. Case Rep Psychiatry. 2014;2014:561092. doi:10.1155/2014/561092

Feng J, Shi W, Zhang S, Sullivan D, Auwaerter PG, Zhang Y. A Drug Combination Screen Identifies Drugs Active against Amoxicillin-Induced Round Bodies of In Vitro Borrelia burgdorferi Persisters from an FDA Drug Library. Front Microbiol. 2016;7:743. Published 2016 May 23. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.00743

Hotson JR, Langston JW. Disulfiram-induced encephalopathy. Arch Neurol. 1976;33(2):141-142. doi:10.1001/archneur.1976.00500020069012

Kulkarni RR, Bairy BK. Disulfiram-Induced De Novo Convulsions without Alcohol Challenge: Case Series and Review of Literature. Indian J Psychol Med. 2015;37(3):345-348. doi:10.4103/0253-7176.162942

Liegner KB. Disulfiram (Tetraethylthiuram Disulfide) in the Treatment of Lyme Disease and Babesiosis: Report of Experience in Three Cases. Antibiotics (Basel). 2019;8(2):72. Published 2019 May 30. doi:10.3390/antibiotics8020072

Long TE. Repurposing Thiram and Disulfiram as Antibacterial Agents for Multidrug-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infections. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2017;61(9):e00898-17. Published 2017 Aug 24. doi:10.1128/AAC.00898-17

Pothineni V, Wagh D, Babar MM, Inayathullah M, Solow-Cordero D, Kim K, Samineni A, Parekh MB, Tayebi L, Rajadas J. Identification of new drug candidates against Borrelia burgdorferi using high-throughput screening. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2016;10:1307-1322

Santos T, Martins Campos A, Morais H. Sensory-motor axonal polyneuropathy involving cranial nerves: An uncommon manifestation of disulfiram toxicity. Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2017;152:12-15. doi:10.1016/j.clineuro.2016.11.005

Scheibel LW, Adler A, Trager W. Tetraethylthiuram disulfide (Antabuse) inhibits the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1979;76(10):5303-5307. doi:10.1073/pnas.76.10.5303

Sharma P, Sharma R. Toxic optic neuropathy. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2011;59(2):137-141. doi:10.4103/0301-4738.77035

Trautmann A, Gascan H, Ghozzi R. Potential Patient-Reported Toxicities With Disulfiram Treatment in Late Disseminated Lyme Disease. Front Med (Lausanne). 2020;7:133. Published 2020 Apr 20. doi:10.3389/fmed.2020.00133

Wagh D, Pothineni V, Inayathullah M, Liu S, Kim K, Rajadas J. Borreliacidal activity of Borrelia metal transporter A (BmtA) binding small molecules by manganese transport inhibition. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2015;9:805-816


Feed Your Body to Help Fight Lyme Disease: An Integrative Functional Medicine Approach

lyme disease integrative medicine treatment

Lyme disease is a multi-system bacterial infection spread to humans through infected black-legged ticks. In Canada, the number of Lyme disease cases three years ago was 2,025, a significant climb from 144 cases reported in 2009.

Lyme disease gradually loses its sensitivity to conventional antibiotic treatments; this leaves recovery from the condition to be difficult for patients. If left untreated, Lyme disease may cause:

  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Brain fog
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Chronic generalized symptoms of pain
  • Decreased hormone production such as thyroid and the adrenal glands
  • Joint pain
  • Insomnia
  • Lyme arthritis
  • Severe fatigue
  • Weak immune system

According to integrative functional medicine, nutrition can play a role in the body’s response to infections. This is why implementing an anti-inflammatory diet may be recommended for patients recovering from Lyme disease.
Removing Inflammatory Foods From Your Diet

Lyme disease has many incapacitating symptoms that may impact the body and brain, resulting in excessive inflammation. Eating foods that are likely to cause inflammation may encourage Lyme disease to have detrimental effects on the body. An anti-inflammatory diet may be essential to reinforce the body’s immunity against these changes.

Processed foods with yeast and additives are known as inflammatory foods. Foods linked to aggravating inflammation and Lyme disease also include those containing gluten, refined carbohydrates, dairy, saturated fats and sugars. If you’re recovering from Lyme disease, try removing these inflammatory foods from your diet. Swap these foods for wholesome anti-inflammatory food choices to support detoxification and help lower inflammation.

Some of the benefits of adopting an anti-inflammatory diet for Lyme disease recovery may include:

  • Reduced inflammation (caused by immune activation)
  • Immune system support
  • Support for healthy digestive function
  • Natural detoxification of the body
  • Consumption of antioxidants that quench inflammation
  • Consumption of vitamins and minerals that support a healthy immune response
  • Gut health optimization

Some patients with Lyme disease experience positive results when they start eliminating problematic foods; others may continue to have the negative symptoms of Lyme disease along with damaged digestive issues. Please note that patience is key; finding the right dietary matches for your body may take time. A diet diary may be helpful in figuring out the different kinds of foods that make you feel unwell.

Everyone’s body is unique and may require a customized diet to maintain optimal health. Thus, a food sensitivity test may help determine which foods you’re sensitive to. This will allow you to become aware of the foods that create inflammatory reactions while feeding into the symptoms of Lyme disease.

Nutritional Support For Alleviating Lyme Disease Symptoms

As we mentioned, once inflammatory foods are removed from the diet, a nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory diet may be a suitable approach. This type of diet helps reinforce the immune system and gastrointestinal health of patients with Lyme disease.

When the immune system senses an “invader”, it releases pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are immune messengers that inform the immune cells to fence off the affected area to prevent the infection from spreading.

When we have an infection like Lyme disease, the pro-inflammatory cytokines are released through the body, causing widespread inflammation to our soft tissues, including the joints, organs, and brain. Soft tissue inflammation — combined with the damage caused by the infective agent — is what causes many of the symptoms linked to Lyme disease.

With that, there are a number of foods and herbs with anti-inflammatory properties. These include:

  • Grass-fed and organic animal proteins: Animal proteins contain the full spectrum of amino acids required for healthy physiological function. These proteins also contain low fat totals, additional omega-3 fatty acids (which are healthy for the heart), plus high amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (which are thought to help lower the risks for heart disease and cancer). Grass-fed proteins also contain antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin E.
  • Wild-caught fish high in omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA): Omega-3 EFAs are plentiful in fatty fish, such as salmon and cod. Research confirms the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3s.
  • Leafy greens: Dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard) contain powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory and gut health-supporting properties.
  • Berries: These are among the highest-rated fruits in terms of antioxidants. They are especially high in the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Berries are also low in sugar.
  • Turmeric: The bioactive ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a substance that contains both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cloves: Contain eugenol, a compound that blocks the COX-2 enzyme that causes inflammation. (NSAIDS (i.e. ibuprofen, aspirin) block pain by inhibiting COX-2.)
  • Healthy fats: These include fats found in olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, wild-caught seafood and seeds, which all help maintain a healthy inflammatory balance.

There are many other foods, herbs, and spices that contain anti-inflammatory properties. Naturopathic doctors recommend organic foods when possible, which may minimize exposure to pesticides and other chemical toxins.

Additionally, you may want to try following these anti-inflammatory diet regimes:

The Ketogenic Diet
This is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that is commonly used to treat hard-to-control epilepsy. For some people with severe neurological Lyme disease though, the ketogenic approach may be beneficial.

When suffering from Lyme disease, metabolic challenges occur in the body, sometimes to the point of jeopardizing neuron resilience and cells. The ketone molecules (i.e. β-hydroxybutyrate), which are produced while consuming the Ketogenic Diet, may provide an efficient alternative source of energy and an increase in mitochondrial profiles; in turn, this helps neurons resist the ongoing metabolic stress caused by Lyme. The Ketogenic Diet has been found to curb neurological and body inflammation; therefore, this diet may also help correct underlying disturbances in Lyme disease.

The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet is an anti-inflammatory diet that removes the consumption of processed foods. This anti-inflammatory diet eliminates particular foods that may spur intestinal inflammation and food sensitivities such as eggs, coffee, dairy, nightshade veggies (i.e. peppers), and alcoholic beverages.

Chronic Lyme disease may trigger autoimmunity in some people. Those with Lyme disease and autoimmune disease may benefit from the Paleo Diet, as it’s intended to alleviate autoimmunity by removing foods that contribute to negative immune responses.

Note: The anti- inflammatory Paleo Diet may also eliminate nuts and seeds (as well as any other foods that may cause sensitivity). Although nuts and seeds provide anti-inflammatory omega-3s, they’re known to be common allergens and may trigger food sensitivities. For individuals who are sensitive to nuts and seeds, eating these foods may result in high inflammation it the gut and whole body, which is why nuts and seeds may be removed in this Diet.)

The Next Stage in Lyme Disease Recovery

In this article, we’ve explained how Lyme disease causes excessive inflammation in the body. In order to lessen the symptoms of Lyme disease, the naturopathic integrative functional medicine approach helps reduce inflammation, while minimizing the consumption of inflammatory foods. An anti-inflammatory diet regime, such as the Keto Diet or the Paleo Diet, also provides nutritional support for those suffering from Lyme disease.

Are you seeking a natural way to alleviate Lyme disease symptoms? At Toronto Functional Medicine Centre, we offer a fully integrative Lyme disease program to patients. Our practitioners have designed this program using the principles of integrative functional medicine, with focuses on applying scientifically based natural approaches on diet modifications, medicinal herbs and IV therapy; in turn, these health changes may help optimize the quality of life, treat and protect against Lyme disease. Arv Buttar, NP, holds experience in prescribing Lyme disease-based antibiotics and other therapies.

Please contact us if you have any questions about treating Lyme disease or natural health concerns. Click here to email us or call (416) 968-6961 to book your appointment.

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The Power of Paleo for Lyme Disease” by Lindsey Christensen, Aug/Sept 2018 issue, Paleo Magazine.