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Lyme Disease Overview


Dr. Martha Grout dives into prevention, diagnosis and treatment options

by Martha M. Grout, MD, MD(H)

PHX05-13-coverLyme disease is transmitted through the bite of a tick infected with a species of a spirochete known as borrelia burgdorferi. There are many species of ticks, but the species found commonly in the United States usually infects the joints, causing pain. Lyme disease may be masked in the body, because the organism hides behind biofilm, a slimy conglomeration of bacterial cells and proteins, and evades the notice of the immune system. To make a diagnosis, symptomatology is just as important as testing. If the immune system is unable to muster a response, then immunoserology tests will be negative, as if there were no infection in the first place.

A controversy exists regarding the treatment of what patients experience as chronic debilitating symptoms. Allopathic medicine calls them post-Lyme syndrome, or dismisses the idea of Lyme out of hand, often prescribing antidepressant medications in an effort to help their patients feel better. Homeopathic medicine calls these debilitating symptoms chronic Lyme disease. As a result, treatments are quite different.

Remember that foreign organisms can only thrive in an environment that is weakened. If the body is toxic because of exposure or inability to get rid of toxins, it is more susceptible to infection. If the body is magnesium-depleted, which most of us are, then it is much easier for organisms to form biofilm to hide behind.

Some patients can be treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics for a period of months or years. Those whose disease is treated successfully have not stopped with antibiotic treatment. They have eliminated chemicals and food additives-any foods to which they are sensitive. Most have eliminated gluten (wheat products) and dairy (cow’s milk products) from their diets, as well as corn (high-fructose corn syrup, genetically engineered corn), soy (genetically engineered), eggs and citrus fruits.

Many have also undergone chelation therapy to decrease the amount of inflammatory heavy metals in their system or taken intravenous nutritional treatments until their intestinal tract was finally able to absorb the needed nutrients. The point is to decrease the total toxic load, so that the body has a better chance of finding and eliminating infectious organisms like Lyme and Babesia.

Several steps need to occur for the best chance at complete healing, including excellent nutrition-working with a practitioner well trained in functional medicine, to ensure that everything eaten is healthy; nutrient supplementation-test, and supplement with GMP-certified products, so the body has the nutrients it needs to operate efficiently. Removing toxins is a must-whether they be foods, heavy metals, chemicals or toxic relationships, because they all have the same debilitating effect on the body.

Guided imagery, biophotonic therapy, heat and light therapy and chelation therapy all help eliminate these toxins, and antibiotic therapy kills the organisms so that you can get on with your life. Exercise is also proven to improve the function of the immune system. It can be as simple as going for a brisk walk three times a week. All these modalities are important for healing. Antibiotics alone are insufficient, although they are almost certainly a necessary component.

Gratitude is another essential. Infection occurs because of some significant imbalance in our lives-in food, environment or relationships. It is never too late to take steps toward correcting these imbalances. Health is a process, a journey toward the light. A homeopathic or naturopathic practitioner can help to smooth the way.

Martha M. Grout, MD, MD(H), is medical director of the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more information, call 480-240-2600 or visit