Morgellons disease is a controversial disease that medical professionals struggle to understand and diagnose. According to the Morgellons Research Foundation, more than 14,000 families are affected by Morgellons disease, or MD. (Source) The disease originated in the 17th century, when painful eruptions of coarse hairs on the backs of children were referred to as ‘morgellons’. In 2002, the condition reemerged, and this time it was linked with a sensation of crawling skin, originally diagnosed as being delusional parasitosis, which is the false belief that bugs are crawling in the skin.
Due to the psychiatric component of the disease, and the possibility that the skin-crawling sensation is possibly a result of an underlying psychiatric condition, doctors are hesitant to diagnose patients with MD, which in turn causes frustration, isolation and despair in the patients who feel that they are misunderstood and not believed. It is a very difficult condition to manage, and the sores on the skin can be very painful. The primary symptoms of MD are the presence of small white, red, blue or black fibres under, on or erupting from sores or unbroken skin, along with the feeling that something is crawling on or under the skin. (Source) However, additional symptoms can also include fatigue, joint pain, difficulty concentrating, depression and insomnia. These symptoms all correlate to the symptoms associated with Lyme disease, which is what first made scientists question whether it was, in fact, another tick-borne illness like Lyme disease.
Due to the similarities between the two diseases, further studies have been conducted recently, and a link has been found between Morgellons disease and the tick-borne bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is known to cause Lyme disease. While Lyme disease can be detected in people of all ages, Morgellons disease is primarily diagnosed in Caucasian females between the ages of 35 to 50 years old. Some physicians, who feel that it is best to treat underlying symptoms such as depression and anxiety, may go the route of psychiatric medications, cognitive behavioural therapy or psychotherapy. Other physicians who feel that MD is caused by an infection may treat patients with a course of antibiotics, such as they would in cases of Lyme disease. No one is certain what the best treatment is, and patients are often left feeling frustrated and alone, exacerbating the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The skin sores that erupt due to the fibres can be very painful indeed, and combined with a constant itch and irritation, can cause people to scratch relentlessly, causing even more damage. This can severely impact a person’s lifestyle and quality of life, as they are left feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed by the open sores on their body. While there are lots of ‘home remedies’ available on the internet that claim to treat MD, none of these have been proven effective, and some can be downright harmful.
There are, however, numerous foods that can help to promote skin healing, if only just to lessen the discomfort and prevent scarring from the sores. The best foods one can consume to help with skin healing are those that are high in protein. Protein is present in every cell in the body, so replenishing those cells with additional protein can help the skin to repair and replenish itself quicker and more efficiently. The body also needs Vitamins A and C to help with healing, so eating foods that are high in those vitamins are an excellent choice as well.
1. Citrus Fruits and Green-leafed Vegetables
Consuming citrus fruits is a great way to incorporate vitamin C into your diet, and fruits like oranges, lemons and limes are very high in vitamin C. The same goes for green-leafed veggies as spinach, cabbage and pak choi.
Legumes such as lentils, black beans and split peas are incredibly high in protein, and they are very versatile and easy to incorporate into your daily diet. However, not all patients (especially Lyme disease patients) tolerate leguminose plants well. Experiment in small doses to find out your individual tolerance threshold.
Nuts are very high in protein – walnuts, cashews and almonds have the highest amounts of protein. They make a healthy snack alternative, and the protein in them helps to repair skin cells.
Broccoli is incredibly high in antioxidants and also vitamin C, which can help tremendously with skin healing. Cauliflower is also very beneficial, but does not pack the same punch as broccoli.
It is very easy to incorporate eggs into your diet, as they are so versatile. While they are high in protein and skin-healing capabilities, egg yolks are high in cholesterol, so care must be taken if there is any history of heart-related conditions.
Chicken is an excellent source of protein, and it is one of the healthiest forms of meat protein available. There are countless ways to prepare chicken, and just getting some of it into your daily diet is helpful.
Drinking a glass of milk each day can add some extra protein into your diet that will in turn aid in wound healing. Due to the tolerability, fermented dairy products such as yoghurt or kefir might be preferable.
Tomatoes are very high in vitamin C, and they are easy to incorporate into your diet, either in salads, sliced up on their own, or consumed in the form of sauces or tomato juice. Histamine intolerant and sensitive people should be careful with tomatoes.
9. Dark green, leafy vegetables
Green, leafy vegetables such as kale, Romaine lettuce and Swiss chard are incredibly high in both vitamins A and C, as well as many other vitamins and minerals that are beneficial.
10. Red meats and seafood
Zinc is another mineral that is very helpful in aiding skin healing and regeneration. Consuming foods that are high in zinc, such as red meat and seafood, can be very helpful as well.
While there is currently no cure for Morgellons disease, and very little understanding about its causes, symptoms and treatments, there are small things that patients can do to help deal with the disease on a day-to-day basis. Developing a long-term, trusting relationship with a physician who is willing to look into all options can help patients to feel more positive about their situation, as they feel believed and validated. MakeWell Nutritionals, a supplier of high-quality nutritional supplements is one of the first supplier with Morgellons-specific products on the market. The MRG derm product, for example, contains a unique mixture of black cumin, centella asiatica extract and pantothenic acid to improve and quicken skin healing. Eating healthy foods like the 10 listed above as part of a general balanced diet can help to repair your skin from the inside out. Maintaining a positive attitude and outlook, practising mindfulness and meditation, and just taking care of oneself as much as possible can also help tremendously.