Lyme coinfections

Lyme Solutions – Part 6 – Co-infections


Video Transcript

Deerwomon introduces the show, D’Coda opens the database to Lyme Disease.

D’Coda: One of the issues with Lyme disease is that for a lot of people it just doesn’t seem to go away. It becomes chronic. We can move down (the screen) to this topic, Chronic Lyme Disease, click on it to open it up and we can start unwrapping this. What you’re looking at here is the main topic, Chronic Lyme Disease, and some of the associations that are important for understanding this.

Chronic Lyme in Herbal Database
Herbal Database Screenshot showing the section on Chronic Lyme Disease

One of the reasons I’ve connected Multiple Sclerosis to Chronic Lyme Disease (and there are other conditions I could link up to it) is MS has been strongly associated to Chronic Lyme. In other words, it might not be MS at all, it might be Chronic Lyme. We’ve got Lyme neuroborreliosis, we’re not going to get into that this time. Its’ like a stage 4 Lyme where its severely impacted the nervous system. But here we’re going to look at Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease, Lyme MSIDS.

3:58 – D’Coda lifts the information panel up for viewing (in Database version 1) information about Chronic Lyme. Links for more information are shown as well as text (some of which is shown below).

definitions of chronic lyme


Located in info panel under Chronic Lyme

You’ll see there’s no firm definition everybody agrees on. Some doctors say you don’t have it for a good year after contracting Lyme. Other doctors say if you don’t get rid of it pretty quickly, it’s moved into a chronic state. (D’Coda scrolls through to show different definitions)

There can be a stage where its and active infection. It can be driven by an auto-inflammatory process. If its active, then antibiotic treatment is indicated.

It could also be a stage involving auto-immunity. (In testing) Look for activity bands in 31 and 34, less so in 41, this is in a test like Western Blot where different numbered bands show different types of antibody reactions. We already know (previous videos) Lyme has a severe effect on the immune system.

There could be permanent damage, if so, rehabilitation needs to be looked at. Surgery is risky because healing can be impaired. People with active Lyme are prone to developing adhesions and scars.

6:22 – Viral Infections in Chronic Lyme (coming up) D’Coda clicks on the topic of Lyme MSIDS.

What is now understood is that when Lyme persists, more often its because of co-infections. It’s mixed in with a wide variety of parasites, viruses, other bacteria. We’ll break that down. There are different infections in different parts of the body, one reason its so hard to treat.

Dr. Horowitz is one of our leading Lyme experts and he describes the role of co-infections;

  • Co-infections may increase the severity of symptoms in Chronic Lyme Disease/MSIDS, in part through suppressing the immune system.
  • These agents create inflammation through various pathways (IL-1, IL-6, TNF-a, NO and its metabolites). This inflammation creates free radicals and oxidative stress which damages cell membranes, mitochondria and nerve cells.
  • Some of the most important co-infections & pathogens that must be addressed in the MSIDS patient are Ehrlichiosis/Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, other parasites, Bartonella, Mycoplasma, Rickettsia, Chlamydia, viruses and Candida

7:30 – Differential Diagnosis – This is a key step in diagnosing this. (From the info panel we see the following..)

Differential Diagnosis: When to suspect co-infections with these organisms (Horowitz):

  1. Lyme Disease: fatigue, headache, arthralgias, cognitive difficulties. Clue – migratory arthralgias, symptoms tend to come and go, including intermittent paresthesias. Women flare before-during-after menstrual cycle.
  2. Babesia: malarial like illness: fever, chills, day sweats, night sweats, unexplained cough, shortness of breath. Symptoms persist despite Lyme treatment. Severity of illness – co-infected patients are the most severely ill. (JAMA 1996 Krause Patients co-infected with Lyme Disease and Babesiosis had evidence for increased severity and duration of illness)

How are you supposed to sort out what organism is causing symptoms? For Lyme disease itself, if you just have Lyme, it’s called Lyme Borreliosis.

9:16 – Deerwomon: D’Coda, right there, because I’ve recently been treating for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and I was also diagnosed with Ehrlichia. I’m a candidate because I have an unexplained cough right now. And I have shortness of breath. That’s what I’m dealing with now. I am treating myself now for potential Lyme.

D’Coda: That’s a good idea, especially since you’re using something we covered in a previous show to help your bacteriophages.

  1. Ehrlichia: High fevers, low white blood counts and platelet counts, elevated liver functions.
  2. Bartonella: ongoing symptoms despite prior courses of antibiotics (fatigue, headache, resistant arthritis) especially, resistant encephalopathy and cognitive difficulties, new onset of seizure disorder or history of seizure disorder. Opthamological manifestations: visuall loss, neuro retinitis; Significant lymphadenopathy. ? GI symptoms.
  3. Mycoplasma / Chlamydia / Viruses: ? Underlying role with resistant symptoms
  4. Candida / Yeast Syndrome: hx BCP & prolonged AB’s, unresponsive to AB tx or worsening of symptoms with abdominal bloating, thrush, vaginitis.

12:33 – D’Coda moves on to open the topic for Lyme Co-Infections.

herbal database view of various Lyme coinfections

Let’s look at Viral Infections in Chronic Lyme:

viral infections associated with Lyme disease

All of these different viruses have been implicated in Chronic Lyme Disease. Normally your immune system may be able to eradicate a virus. Lyme and some of the other co-infections depress the immune system allowing these viruses to take over. These are the most common viral co-infections.

Antivirals that have been used successfully include (Valtrex, Famvir, acyclovir, ganciclovir..)

Here’s a Complementary Alternative Treatment:

13:24 – Transfer factors (colostrum) mushroom derivatives that increase NK cells and T cells (1-3 and 3-6 glucans), Another scientifically proven compound is Olive leaf extract and its active component oleuropein. This was found by researchers at Upohn labs to be virucidal against many viruses including herpes, influenza A, coxsackie and others.

13:53 – Deerwomon: I have a question there, does Cordyceps fit into this since it’s a medicinal mushroom?

D’Coda: Yes, all of the medicinal mushrooms can be very helpful with this because they support your immune system.

14:21 – D’Coda opens the info panel on Lyme Co-Infections to read about Steven Buhner’s protocol.

Here’s a quote from Buhner on these co-infections:

“About 60 percent of people who are infected with Lyme can be helped by antibiotics. Five to ten percent are not. Thirty to thirty-five percent appear to be helped initially but relapse. Added to that are the very large group of people who are never properly diagnosed with lyme. About half of those heal naturally over time, the others do not. 

In consequence there is a large group of people that develop chronic Lyme. In that population, about half will respond to a fairly simple herbal protocol, the others will not. Herbs are much more elegant medicinal agents than pharmaceuticals in that they contain hundred to thousands of complex compounds that work together synergistically when confronted by disease organisms.

The plants have been here much longer than people and they have developed extremely sophisticated responses to infections. when we take them internally, those responses are medicines for us. The very nature of stealth pathogens and their wide impacts on the body make herbs a very useful approach.

In essence, successful treatment of Lyme infections needs to address: immune status, inflammation dynamics that are breaking down cellular tissues in the body (cytokine cascades), specific symptoms, and the long-term damage, especially in the nervous system, that lyme causes. Pharmaceuticals are useless for most of those. Each of those problems can often be addressed with one or two plants due to the complexity of compounds in the plants. “

16:58 – D’Coda: That’s the way to get started. When you look at all this it can be overwhelming. As we start to plug in plant medicine, we simplify our lives a great deal.

D’Coda encourages viewers to pause the video to read further (info panel in database)

D’Coda: Because its so common to have co-infections, near the beginning of your treatment for Lyme its important to be treating those at the same time. If you don’t, when Lyme becomes chronic its more difficult to treat.

Two of the big ones are Bartonella and Babesia (read those sections in the database).

17:58 – Deerwomon: I think one of the most important things I’ve learned in doing this research, is the co-infections. I know we’re not going to get into my case right now but the symptoms I’m having are going back to some childhood illnesses related to asthma and I think when my immune system got so challenged, it’s kicked up those old, old, symptoms. Symptoms I haven’t had in years. You do get a little distracted because you think “Oh, I had this bout before.” What’s getting my attention is there’s these other infections going on.

19:16 – Babesiosis is a pretty common co-infection.

herbs for babesiosis

This is an organism similar to a malarial parasite. (D’Coda opens the information panel, some of which is shown below)

info on babesia

20:02 – There are also atypical clinical presentations of Babesiosis, (see video or database)…one of them being atypical cough, shortness of breath without any malarial signs or symptoms in a chronic lyme patient. Does that ring a bell?

Deerwomon; Yes, it does, and you know what’s running through my mind? I’ve traveled to Central America and even though I took the malaria vaccine, I spent several months in very mosquito-ridden areas. And I’m just starting to wonder about that!

D’Coda: (scrolling down) Here’s a listing of various drugs that are used, and notice Neem listed there. Horowitz uses Neem leaf as part of his standard drug treatment.

babesia treatment

21:10 – Understanding that it’s so close to malaria, we have wonderful herbs for malaria that are shown to help Babesia (D’Coda shows the screen for anti-malaria herbs. A-Bab is a specific herbal formula for Babesiosis.

21:31 – Babesia Testing – (the database switches to this topic) If someone is going to lay out the bucks to be tested for it, check this section out. These are recommendations for what kind of testing is most likely to pick it up. As with Lyme, one of the problems with this is there are over 100 different species of Babesia and the tests are designed to pick up only a few of them. That’s why it’s recommended you take a Babesia Panel. Here’s a look at what’s in that panel. If you have a good doctor who is willing to do the work and a way to pay for it, these are the tests you want to have done. (Scrolling down) Here are problems with testing and treating.

Problems with Babesia Testing and Treatment

  • The genus Babesia comprises > 100 species of tick-transmitted protozoal pathogens known as piroplasms. Most zoonotic cases in the US are due to B. microti, B. duncani/WA-1 and divergens. (B.caballi, B. equi, B. canis,Cytauxzoon felis) but in Europe, Bab divergens and EU-1 are more common.
  • Patients co-infected w/Lyme and Babesia show evidence for higher severity and duration of illness. (Krause, P.J. JAMA, June 5, 1996: Vol 275, No.21 Concurrent LD and Babesiosis, evidence for increased Severity and Duration of Illness)
  • Babesia parasites can persist after short term and long-term treatment in co-infected LD patients. (Krause, P.J. et al. Persistent parasitemia After Acute Babesiosis. NEJM 19. Horowitz, R. Chronic Persistent Babesiosis after C+Q.N+Z. Abstract 12th Int Conference on Lyme Borreliosis, April 1999 NYC)
  • There is now emergence of treatment resistant babesiosis: Emergence of Resistance to Azithromycin-Atovaquone in Immunocompromised Patients with Babesia microti Wormser, Krause, et al. Clin Infect Dis. 2010 Jan 4.

Due to the diversity of protozoal pathogens, patients may present with malarial type symptoms but the standard antibody testing for one species may be falsely negative due to the diversity of Babesial parasites. These Babesia parasites are in the blood supply so there’s a transfusion risk, there’s a transfusion risk for Lyme as well.

babesia big view

Being that this is a concept map, everything directly related to the topic (Babesiosis) is important to know something about. So, Fever is one of the major signs; Night Sweats, Restless Leg Syndrome is too.

It can sometimes cause something called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, also see “Unexplained fever, chills, sweats, flushing”. Let’s go back to the Co-infections and take another look.

24:08 – Here we’ve got Bartonella, another common co-infection.

bartonella bartonellosis in database

(The information panel is opened for reading) This can be passed along from a mother to the fetus. This is a type of bacterial infection. We see (in the info panel) what types of cells it targets and diseases it causes such as Bartonella Endocarditis (a heart infection), granulomatous inflammatory diseases, chronic intravascular infection, vasoproliferative tumors (tumors in the eye).

It can cause radiculitis, that’s a nerve pain radiating along the nerve.

25:38 – Deerwomon: Let me get the spelling on that radiculitis, that’s kind of interesting because we’ve done an episode on chronic pain and neurological pain so that just caught my attention as something to investigate.

There can be a rash. This is what the Bartonella rash looks like (as with Lyme, this rash doesn’t always appear).

bartonella rash examples

26:25 – D’Coda scrolls down to show the conventional medical treatment and Buhner’s recommendations. If you have active herpes, chicken pox or shingles, don’t use the L-arginine (otherwise its recommended). I try to get all the precautions in the database, that’s why its important to read everything. And to understand that we’re providing protocols. Specific protocols are used to avoid or minimize things like the Herx reaction.

26:47 – Bartonella Testing – (Screenshare shows details) It’s not an easy thing to test for. The best test is an amplified version of a PCR called ePCR by Galaxy Diagnostics (link in the database). Here’s how much it costs, and you’ll probably have to pay for it yourself. Its not as bad as some.

27:13 – Deerwomon:  What you’re presenting too is a reminder that you have to stay on the trail of this research. You have to examine every particular response that you’re having in your body.

27:34 – Here we have another formula from Byron White called A-BART, specifically for Bartonella. We see Hawthorne Berry, Japanese Knotweed (also for Lyme). If you’re taking Japanese Knotweed for Lyme, find out which other conditions it could be treating at the same time.

28:08 – Borrelia miyamotoi disease (BMD) This is a type of Borrelia spirochete, the Borrelia miyamotoi is causing some different issues in the body. Something called Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, it’s new. It may have been around for a long time but we’re just now recognizing how infectious it is and what it does. (D’Coda opens the info panel in the database to read). There’s no reliable blood test, so patients may present with Lyme-like symptoms and standard testing may be negative.

Its suspected that this new form of Lyme is probably going to surpass Borrelia burgdorferi Lyme in 10-15 years. It can explain resistant symptoms in patients. California is where its really taking off. We’re now having to look at this as one of the frequent co-infections. Until recently, this wasn’t looked for or understood at all.

29:15 – (Screenshare shows information on testing and persistence) There’s a new test that’s being developed.

29:25 – Candida – especially if you’re taking antibiotics. There’s so much herbs can do for treating Candida. Click on the heading “Herbs for Candida”. In each of those headings you can read how the herb helps treat candida.

Also click on the heading “Agents to Treat Candida”, these are plant phytochemicals (many available as supplements). If, for example, you want to know where to get beta-glucans, clicking on it shows you right away which foods or herbs supply them. And then you can drill down, for example, to Beta-1,3-glucans, which we spoke about earlier as being important for the immune system and here are some of the mushrooms they’re found in.

beta glucans and candida

30:37 – Let’s go back up and skim through these co-infections. Chlamydia, Ehrlichiosis (a common co-infection)

ehrlichiosis in herbal database

31:04 – Ehrichiosis ewingii is a bit different of a form of Ehrlichiosis. (D’Coda shows how to use the database to learn more about the organisms that cause these diseases) D’Coda opens the info panel to reveal more about Ehrlichiosis.

Licorice and ginger support doxycycline by supporting the white blood cells. Doxy is one of the antibiotics that does particularly well with Ehrlichia. It does better with Ehrlichia than it does with Lyme. You’ll recall from another show that milk thistle is needed to protect your liver from Doxy.

Deerwomon: We can add that ABX, which my homeopathic doctor from Kansas City recommended when I was on the Doxy. When I was on the Doxy for about 2-3 days, I felt nauseous and then I started the ABX and it immediately eliminated the nausea and I felt the balance in my body. I felt like I was able to integrate it better.

33:16 – Powassan Virus – It can be very dangerous. What it does is create Powassan Encephalitis.

33:47 – Q Fever – Have you ever heard of that? Horowitz says he’s found a lot of it in his Lyme patients. Its another disease called a “great imitator” just like Lyme. It can cause chronic hepatitis, pneumonia or a pneumanitis, a relapsing fever, endocarditis. One of the major differentials to look for is a Lyme patient with a heart murmur, check them for Q fever. Only 50% of those who have it show clinical illness. This can be way in the background eating away at the heart muscle.

If its acute there will be high fevers (104-105), chills & sweats, myalgias, severe headaches, malaise, abdominal pains with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hepatitis, pneumonia, non-productive cough, confusion with meningo encephalitis, peripheral neuropathy, GBS, myelitis, weight loss.

Deerwomon: What’s a non-productive cough?

D’Coda: That means you’re coughing but there’s no mucus coming up, nothing is coming up.

35:19 Testing – (Screenshare shows what kind of testing to do and the antibiotic treatments)

I’ve done a lot of research on this to find out what kinds of natural treatments have been shown through studies to work. A lot of them are things we would take anyway. Japanese Knotweed shows up again. Olive leaf extract, garlic, echinacea, we keep seeing Common Wireweed too. Vitamin C is a big player in all of these co-infections because its needed by the immune system and it helps to heal tissue. We do have answers. Even if you didn’t know for sure you had Q Fever, there are a lot of safe agents you could be using.

Q fever in herbal database

36:41 – Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – Rhodiola, Japanese Knotweed and Eleuthero are good for this.

36:53 – Tularemia – This one I thought was really weird to be associated with Lyme. I always learned you get it from rabbits.

(As D’Coda scrolls through Tularemia Deerwomon exclaims WHOOA, when the photo of it appears, “Looks like an open wound!”

tularemia wound

It makes sense if a tick bites a rabbit and then bites you. (D’Coda scrolls through symptoms, testing, treatment)

37:29 – Typhus – Even typhus can be one of the co-infections.

So with chronic Lyme we start looking at all of these co-infections. To learn more about this subscribe to the Ultimate Herbal Database.

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