(Please note: This article first appeared on prohealth.com on January 30th, 2017)
Throughout the course of your Lyme treatment, you’ve probably heard about or tried more supplements than you can count. While it’s easy to feel like you’re potentially missing out on something that helps you heal faster, chances are, you’ve spent a lot of money on things that haven’t worked for you. Using my personal experiences, along with the input from the members of my local Lyme support group, I’ve compiled a list of seven unique supplements that we have found to be helpful in our healing journeys. Some of these supplements might be unfamiliar to you, so (as always) please consult with your doctor before adding any of these into your protocol.
1) Boswellia Extract- This extract is derived from the Boswellia serrata tree (also known as Frankincense), which grows in the dry, mountain areas of India, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. Boswellia is a powerful pain reliever that mediates several pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body, and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. In addition to its ability to reduce pain, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome expert, Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., suggests this herb may also reduce headaches due to its capacity to open constricting blood vessels. Unlike other pain relievers often give to Lyme patients, Boswellia doesn’t appear to cause stomach ulcers or gastrointestinal upset. Typically, you can purchase it in tablet, capsule or powder form. To ensure maximum potency, look for products that contain at least 65% Boswellic acids.
2) Pau d’Arco- This is an antifungal herb and may be beneficial to those dealing with yeast-related issues as a result of ongoing antibiotic treatment. Pau d’Arco is available as a tea or a capsule. However, the tea is thought to be more effective, and, when used in conjunction with other antifungals, it can be useful against Candida. Additionally, Pau d’Arco may possess some antimicrobial properties against Bartonella.
3) Boluoke Lumbrokinase- Boluoke is a purified mix of enzymes from earthworms. (Yes! You read that correctly.) This supplement seems to dissolve fibrin–a substance that shields bacteria in the body, allowing the pathogens to remain undetected by the immune system. It’s also an anti-coagulant, helping to decrease the thickness and stickiness of blood, and it breaks down biofilms. Boluoke is contraindicated in people taking blood thinners and in conditions where there may be an increased risk of bleeding.
4) Teasel Root- In her book, The Lyme Diet, Naturopathic doctor Nicola McFadzean notes that teasel root may be a good starting point for Lyme treatment because it’s gentler than some other herbal protocols and produces minimal Herxheimer reactions. “Teasel root is another herb with anti-bacterial properties with benefits also in managing inflammation and relieving pain,” she states.
5) Black Currant Oil- This oil is a natural source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a strong anti-inflammatory agent. The renowned integrative medicine physician, Andrew Weil, M.D., states that black currant oil stimulates the healthy growth of hair, skin, and nails. In his practice, he uses it for skin conditions, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and premenstrual syndrome. Weil cautions that the supplement may need to be taken six to eight weeks before any changes are seen. Furthermore, black currant oil may help to support the adrenal glands in Lyme patients who are suffering from adrenal fatigue. Potentially, the oil works by stimulating the production of the adrenal cortex hormones. However, more research is needed in this area to confirm the benefits of black currant oil for the adrenal glands.
6) Lithium Orotate- Lyme literate medical doctor Marty Ross, M.D., says, “Lithium Orotate 5mg is one of my favorite supplements. I recommend it regularly with good benefits to my patients.” It should be noted that lithium orotate is a nutritional supplement and isn’t the same prescription form that’s used in the treatment of bipolar disorder (That’s lithium carbonate). In low doses, lithium orotate offers the brain neuroprotection from toxins; improves thinking and mood, decreases anxiety, and lessens irritability. Please consult with your doctor for proper dosing instructions.
7) Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)- ALA is produced naturally by the body, but its production can decrease with age and illness. It’s an effective antioxidant that helps the cells of the body to metabolize energy. Plus, it potentiates other crucial antioxidants like vitamins C, E, and glutathione. ALA may contribute to improving fatigue and symptoms of numbness and tingling in those with Lyme disease. It’s also shown to be helpful for people with diabetic neuropathy and to maintain brain function in the aging population. Make sure to speak to your doctor before taking this supplement. In some people, it’s been known to lower blood sugar.
Although this isn’t a complete list, these are a few of the favorite supplements many Lyme patients have found to be useful tools in their healing protocols. Of course, every doctor has specific recommendations that they want each of their patients to follow, so be sure to consult with your practitioner for more individualized recommendations.
What are the supplements you’ve found essential to your recovery? I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid. (n.d.). Whole Health Chicago. Retrieved from http://wholehealthchicago.com/2009/05/11/alpha-lipoic-acid/
Black Currant Oil. (2016, August). Weil. Retrieved from http://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/herbs/black-currant-oil/
Lithium Orotate 5MG, (2015, April 3). The Treat Lyme Book. Retrieved from http://www.treatlyme.net/treat-lyme-book/lithium-orotate-5mg/
Balch, J.F., & Stengler, M. (2004). Prescription for Natural Cures. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Buhner, S. (2012) Herbal Antibiotics. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.
McFadzean, N. ( 2010). The Lyme Diet. South Lake Tahoe, CA: BioMed Publishing Group.
Teitelbaum, J. (2007). From Fatigued to Fantastic. New York, NY: The Penguin Group.