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Chronic Lyme disease is a complicated disorder that affects many facets of the body. Unfortunately, there is no quick treatment for the disease; successful recovery depends on a number of varying factors. Prime amongst those is the detection and accurate diagnosis of the disorder. Because chronic Lyme disease resides in a grey area of medicinal legitimacy, the misdiagnosis rates are estimated to be high. It is often confused with other chronic conditions such as MS and fibromyalgia. However, even once it is diagnosed correctly, numerous factors can hinder recovery. One of those factors is heavy metal toxicity.
Heavy metals and Lyme disease have a complicated relationship. In this article, we’ll get to the bottom of how heavy metal detoxification can aid in the treatment of Lyme patients.
What is Lyme Disease?
First let’s define what we’re talking about. Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which is passed to humans by certain species of ticks. It comes in two forms: acute and chronic. Acute Lyme involves flu-like symptoms, and onsets soon after the initial tick bite. It is easily treated with antibiotics – if it is caught in time. If it isn’t, the disease can mutate to its chronic form, which has far more severe long-term implications.
Symptoms vary wildly from patient to patient, and treatment must address both the infection symptoms and those caused by inflammation, the body’s own immune response.
What is Heavy Metal Toxicity?
Toxic heavy metals are heavy metals that become poisonous inside the body when they are not metabolised or disposed of. Over time, these metals will accumulate in the organs and tissues, causing a number of symptoms.
While there is some debate over what exactly constitutes a heavy metal, there are a number of principle elements that scientists have classified based on atomic weight. They include arsenic, copper, lead, iron, mercury and zinc. Obviously, not all of these metals are bad for you. The body requires minimal amounts of metals like iron and copper to keep healthy.
The symptoms of heavy metal toxicity can vary, but generally include fatigue, headaches, aches in your joints or muscles, altered mental health states, impaired cognitive function, and constipation.
Heavy Metals and Lyme Disease
So what exactly is the relationship between heavy metals and Lyme disease? And how might a detoxification help? Essentially, heavy metal intoxication is a major impediment to recovering from chronic Lyme disease. You might notice that many of the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning are the same as the generalised Lyme symptoms. The two sets of similar symptoms amplify each other, creating a negative feedback loop within the body. Furthermore, heavy metals can interfere with chronic Lyme treatments – for example, by interfering with antibiotic treatment.
On a deeper level, heavy metals can affect the body’s immune system. Regulation of the immune response is a critical factor in chronic Lyme treatment, and any element that hinders it can have severe repercussions. A build-up of heavy metals can, for example, interrupt enzymatic processes, thus hindering the immune system in its ability to fight off infections and resolve them naturally, or impair other biochemical reactions in the body that are enzyme-driven.
How Do You Treat Heavy Metal Toxicity?
None of this is good news, of course, especially for people already battling a chronic disease like Lyme. The answer may be a heavy metal detoxification, with the aim of eliminating these trace elements from your body. But how is this achieved?
The most effective way is through lifestyle and diet changes. The goal of the detox is to flush out the heavy metals by consuming certain ingredients and reducing or eliminating others. The results should improve your immune response, organ functions and general wellbeing, as well as making your Lyme treatment more effective.
A substance that binds to a heavy metal is called a chelator, and the process that transports the toxic waste out of the body is known as chelation. There are many ingredients that you can introduce to your diet to start this process immediately. They include leafy green vegetables, seaweed, lemon, blueberries, coconut oil or anything rich in vitamin C; these are all natural detoxifiers. Many spices are also good for heavy metal cleansing, such as ginger, basil, parsley and turmeric. Foods rich in fibre may also help to decrease heavy metal toxicity, as well as foods containing sulphur, such as garlic and broccoli, according to a relatively recent review from 2013.
If you’re worried about heavy metal poisoning, talk to your primary care provider about starting a detox as soon as possible. It’s likely you’ll notice the effects very quickly.