Doxycycline for Lyme: Why Antibiotics Alone Aren’t Enough
Lyme Disease is a complex and challenging disease to manage. Scientists and doctors are still learning about how it works and how to best treat it. There are approximately 427,000 new cases of Lyme a year, but there are still no proper and effective protocols on how to best treat the disease. While doxycycline is often used to help combat the early stages of Lyme, it isn’t enough. You can access the best and most current treatments for Lyme at Serenity Health Care, conveniently located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Dealing With Lyme Disease
One of the reasons Lyme is so difficult to diagnose is because it mimics other illnesses. Often, patients are diagnosed with a whole host of illnesses in an attempt to explain the symptoms of what is actually Lyme. Common misdiagnoses are fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The easiest way to diagnose Lyme Disease is via a bullseye-shaped rash. However, doctors who aren’t familiar with Lyme often overlook this rash. And while this rash is a clear indicator of Lyme, it doesn’t show up on everyone who has Lyme. Practitioners may be trained to look for this rash as an indicator of Lyme, and when they don’t see it, they move on to other possible illnesses.
Lyme Disease is transmitted when a tick infected with a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi bites a human and spreads the disease. Once Lyme Disease is introduced to the human body, it can cause symptoms like fevers, chills, sweats, muscle, and joint pain, and fatigue. However, it’s important to remember that Lyme can present differently in different people. It’s a very individualized disease and is capable of affecting people in unique ways.
Because these symptoms seem flu-like, many individuals who have been newly infected with Lyme Disease write it off as simply the flu. Lyme can be treated effectively within the first weeks of infection; however, if Lyme isn’t treated within the first month, the symptoms often progress into the more serious Chronic Lyme Disease. Chronic Lyme symptoms worsen over time, and once Lyme progresses into Chronic Lyme, you can’t get rid of it.
One of the reasons Lyme is so difficult to diagnose is because there isn’t any simple test. There are a handful of tests to choose from, and it’s best to use as many tests as possible to get a full look at what is happening in the patient’s body. Rather than use the PCR, a common, but less accurate, test often used to identify Lyme, we use the Western blot test, and I spot testing.
We also use Ondamed Biofeedback testing and thermography evaluations to get a holistic view of what is happening in our patients’ bodies. Using a combination of diagnostic methods, we are able to look at how Lyme is affecting all of your body’s systems. It’s only with this knowledge that we can form a plan of action to best help you on your way back to health.
Why Doxycycline Alone Isn’t Enough
Because Lyme Disease is a result of the spreading of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, it makes sense that a common response is antibiotics. Antibiotics like doxycycline, amoxicillin, and cefuroxime axetil are some of the most commonly used antibiotic treatments for the spread of Lyme Disease.
Antibiotics can be effectively used as a prophylactic dose to reduce the risk of acquiring Lyme Disease immediately after a high-risk tick bite. However, antibiotic treatment helps such a fraction of individuals living with Lyme Disease that it doesn’t make sense for this to be the primary treatment. When it comes to treating Chronic Lyme Disease, doxycycline, and other antibiotics, just aren’t enough; and that’s because of the nature of Borrelia.
Borrelia: A Stealthy Bacteria
The bacteria Borrelia clears the blood quickly, and it uses its unique corkscrew shape to deeply penetrate the tissues of the joints, cartilage, brain, and nerves. Once it’s hidden inside these tissues, the antibiotics and immune system can’t reach it. It can even roll up into a dormant cyst and wait until the antibiotics are gone to reappear.
Antibiotics are most effective on bacterium and microbes that grow rapidly and are densely concentrated in localized areas of the body. For instance, pneumonia is concentrated in the lungs, and this is part of the reason that it responds well to antibiotics. Borrelia, however, is very slow-growing and exists throughout the body in low concentrations.
Borrelia in the Microbiome
The microbiome is the congregate of all the microbes in the body, and Borrelia is great at blending in with them, becoming a part of the microbiome. Unlike other bacteria, it doesn’t want to overwhelm the human hos; it just needs enough resources to survive. This makes it very difficult to both diagnose and treat.
Antibiotics Can Disrupt the Microbiome
The frequent use of antibiotics doesn’t just kill the bad bacteria you’re trying to get rid of, but it also kills all the good bacteria that our bodies need to function properly. Killing off the good bacteria gives space for the overgrowth of pathogens that aren’t affected by the body. These pathogens can be just as dangerous as the microbes that cause Lyme Disease. Chronic use of antibiotics doesn’t do much harm to the Borrelia because it can simply crawl inside a cell to stay safe, so the antibiotics end up harming your system without actually getting the result you’re looking for.
Antibiotics Can Disrupt the Immune System
Up to 70% of our immune system functions are actually located in the gut, meaning that disruption of the microbiome can have huge effects on our immune system. When your body and immune system are already being run down by Lyme, causing even more harm to them with antibiotics is the wrong move.
Antibiotics Can Damage Mitochondria
The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell because they give us energy. Although they are now present in the cells of every higher life form, they were, at one point, a primitive bacteria, and they still have bacteria-like characteristics. Because of this, antibiotics effect and can damage mitochondria.
An Integrative Solution
Our functional medicine clinic works to find treatment options for Lyme Disease on an individual basis. We offer a Lyme Disease detox that removes the endotoxins that Borrelia releases into the body. We use Lyme Free Bio Terrain Therapy that helps define a patient’s biochemistry so that we can create a personalized treatment plan. Our IV Nutritional Therapy delivers vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids directly to the bloodstream. Lastly, we use herbal supplements to help patients get to a better state of health and treat co-infections of Lyme.