Lyme disease can be a devastating diagnosis. As with any chronic illness, having Lyme disease can mean struggling with a variety of bothersome (and sometimes debilitating) symptoms. On top of having to rearrange your life around your condition, you also might find that it’s difficult to find a proper diagnosis, since many doctors are still not very knowledgeable about Lyme disease. In some cases, you might even experience minimisation or a dismissive attitude from health professionals who are ignorant about the condition. All of these aspects (along with the typical continual stressors of work, family, etc.) would be difficult for anyone to cope with. But not everyone realises that there can also be significant psychological effects of Lyme disease.
The condition itself is contracted when a person is bitten by a tick that is a Lyme carrier. Physical symptoms of Lyme disease can include a red, bullseye rash, joint and muscle pain, extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms and more. Some people do note neurological symptoms of Lyme disease as well (such as confusion, cognitive difficulties, memory problems etc.). One family medicine doctor, Kristin Reihman (author of the book Life After Lyme), notes that a sudden onset of psychiatric symptoms can be related to an autoimmune response that occurs when antibodies are created to try fight Lyme and other co-infections, but end up going after healthy brain tissue. Although some changes in mood and sleep can correlate with the stress of dealing with a chronic illness, there is also evidence that tick-borne infections can cause a host of psychological issues. Read on to get more familiar with possible psychological symptoms of Lyme disease.
Depression is more than just a general feeling of sadness for many people. Symptoms can include:
- Feelings of hopelessness or emptiness
- Outbursts of anger or irritability
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities that used to be enjoyable
- Sleep disturbances (either not enough or too much sleep)
- Tiredness and lack of energy
- Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Slowed thinking or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt (self-blame)
Individuals suffering from depression can also have frequent or recurrent thoughts of suicide and death (which can include suicide attempts). There are people who report that feelings of depression that surface after contracting Lyme disease are much more severe than typical bouts with the condition. Feeling hopeless can be even more pronounced if a person is also struggling with their physical Lyme disease symptoms, too.
General anxiety can manifest in a number of different ways, including panic attacks, feeling nervous or tense, having trouble concentrating, and difficulty sleeping. Severe anxiety also commonly shows up in physical sensations, such as an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, trembling, feeling weak or tired, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Along with these feelings and sensations, some Lyme disease patients report their anxiety to be almost like convulsions. These involuntary movements can look like tremors, twitches or even seizures. While someone with Lyme disease can develop anxiety because of intense worry about their physical health, the disease itself might also be contributing to the appearance of these symptoms.
Lyme disease can also create sleep difficulties for people. Insomnia can appear as difficulty falling asleep, waking up often during the night and having trouble falling back asleep, waking up too early in the morning, and feeling tired upon waking. Primary insomnia means that you’re having problems with sleep that aren’t directly related to any other health condition. If you have Lyme disease, you run the risk of developing secondary insomnia, which means your sleep problems stem from another condition (like Lyme). Another issue arises because a common symptom of Lyme disease is extreme fatigue, so you might find yourself taking more naps during the day. This can then lead to disturbed sleep patterns, which can upset your night-time routine and cause even more sleep problems.
Changes in personality
Because a Lyme infection can affect your brain, you might experience some changes to your personality. You might find yourself feeling more irritable or frustrated and less able to cope with normal, everyday situations. One Lyme co-infection called Bartonella can cause people to have problems with impulse control and to sometimes experience intrusive thoughts. There are also instances of people having ‘rage attacks’, where their anger gets out of control. These outbursts might tend to come out of nowhere (which is a good indication that the infection is causing the upset, not a personality defect).
It can be extremely challenging for Lyme disease patients to maintain healthy eating habits during a time when their body is battling an infection. Many people struggle with appetite (either struggling to eat or overeating) and can experience significant weight loss or gain. Because other mental illnesses (such as depression) can cause issues with appetite, it’s common for patients with mood disturbances to have issues around eating. These issues can become severe enough that people develop eating disorders. Additionally, because Lyme patients might have food sensitivities, they can experience a great deal of anxiety around food (which can lead to restricting food intake and the development of an eating disorder).
Perhaps the scariest of all psychological symptoms of Lyme disease is psychosis. This can include having delusions and/or hallucinations, and becoming disconnected from reality. Some researchers believe that this is found in Lyme disease patients because of inflammation in the brain and the cranial nerve. It’s possible to also experience depersonalisation, where you feel detached from your own body and thoughts (which can be particularly disturbing). It’s also possible to have auditory hallucinations due to inflammation of the nerves around the ear.
For all these psychological symptoms of Lyme disease, your best option is to seek help from a mental health professional (such as a therapist or psychologist) as soon as possible. They can provide proper coping skills or ‘talk therapy’ to help minimise or alleviate bothersome psychological symptoms. If recommended by a psychiatrist, you also have the option of going on medications (such as antidepressants, sleep meds or anti-anxiety pills) to help improve your condition. Although it can be extremely scary to deal with these emotional issues, there is help available. It is possible to find a supportive therapist who can work with you to become better equipped to handle your Lyme disease symptoms and the complications that can arise in your life with this diagnosis.
Originating from ancient Eygypt, the pitch black seeds collected from the Nigella Sativa flower have been used in holistic medicine throughout the centuries. The main active ingredient in black cumin is Thymoquinone, a powerful antioxidant that can increase cell activity and naturally boost the immune system.
Try our Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Black Cumin recipe for a warming and restorative bowl of immune-boosting goodness!
500g Hokkaido Pumpkin
1 Small Onion
2 Medium Sweet Potatoes
100ml Single Cream
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Small Handful Fresh Dill (Keep Some For Decoration)
1 Tablespoon Black Cumin Seeds
4 Teaspoons Black Cumin Seed Oil
Wash and dice the pumpkin and sweet potato. Chop the carrot, onion and celery then fry with a splash of olive oil in a pan. Add in the pumpkin and sweet potato. Add salt and pepper to taste and fill the pan with water. Bring to the boil and let simmer on a low heat until soft. Transfer the soup into a mixer, add cream and dill then puree. If the soup is not liquid enough, add more water or vegetable stock until the desired consistency is reached. Stir in the black cumin seeds.
Transfer soup into bowls and decorate with a little fresh dill and black cumin seed oil (edible flowers, fresh herbs and creme fraiche are also nice additions here). Serve warn with a few slices of toasted full grain bread and enjoy!
The Lyme disease symptoms you’ve probably heard about are the most noticeable, physical ones (the bull’s eye rash, joint pain etc.), but there are actually a number of symptoms that are not as obvious. Because Lyme disease can be tricky to diagnose, it’s crucial that you pay attention to some of the more subtle signs that you’ve got Lyme disease. Check out our list below of eight things to check for when monitoring your health.
Lyme disease has aroused much more awareness in recent years as the research surrounding it has increased. But it was actually first discovered back in the 1970s in a town called Lyme, Connecticut. Scientists began studying the link between tick bites and symptoms of an infection they named Lyme. Ticks have shown to be potential carriers for this harmful bacteria. The symptoms after a tick bite that transmits Lyme can include, but are not limited to: the bull’s eye rash mentioned above, joint and muscle pain, flu-like symptoms (including headaches, fever, malaise etc.), and extreme fatigue. These symptoms can show up immediately or for as long as up to three months after the tick bite occurs. They’re also not the same for every person – some people may not develop a bull’s eye rash or other symptoms like joint pain. Acute Lyme disease typically gets better with a course of antibiotics under medical supervision. However, there are people who develop chronic Lyme disease if they don’t respond to antibiotics or if they didn’t receive a Lyme diagnosis right away. In fact, Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed because it can masquerade as other disorders, including chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, fibromyalgia and arthritis. In order to avoid developing chronic Lyme disease, it's recommended that you immediately see a doctor for treatment if you think you might have been bitten by a tick.
Because it’s essential to avoid a misdiagnosis and to receive proper treatment right away, there are some more subtle signs that you’ve got Lyme disease that you should take note of and then report to your doctor.
You have symptoms that disappear and reappear.
With most conditions, your symptoms stay virtually the same until you get better. However, with Lyme disease, symptoms can come and go with ‘flare-ups’ every couple of weeks. You might notice joint pain or extreme fatigue that shows up every two to four weeks. This can be confusing for you if you’re monitoring your symptoms; if your symptoms sometimes disappear, you might question whether you’re truly sick. But please note: just because your symptoms aren’t there all the time, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have Lyme disease.
Your pain doesn’t stay in one place.
Lyme disease patients also frequently note migratory pain (or pain that moves from one body part to another). For example, your right knee might feel sore or achy, and then the next week your left knee might hurt instead. This is typical of Lyme disease. You also might notice that the actual sensation of pain differs, from a sore ache to a shooting pain the next day.
You’re way more tired than usual.
With Lyme disease, you could start to experience a tired feeling that’s more serious than any normal fatigue. You might notice that no amount of sleep can help with the low energy you’re feeling (even naps or more hours of sleep at night don’t do the trick). Lyme disease patients also commonly report that they have insomnia issues (such as having trouble falling asleep, waking up during the night, or waking up earlier than intended in the morning). If you find that the constant fatigue you feel is overwhelming, it could be a sign you’ve contracted Lyme.
You start having problems with your immune system.
Feel like you’re getting sick all the time? Lyme disease can wreak havoc on your immune system. While anyone with a chronic condition has an increased risk of getting sick, Lyme patients can also have immune systems that are hyperactive. So you might notice that you have an increased intolerance to changes in your environment (like smells or chemicals). Some people also have worsened side effects or allergic reactions to medications or certain foods.
You’re experiencing emotional problems.
There are a lot of reasons why you might experience issues with your mental health if you have Lyme. First, dealing with any health problems can lead to depression and anxiety. But Lyme can also cause inflammation of your brain, which might leave you with more sadness, anxiety, anger or irritability. If you start to find that you’re experiencing significant mood swings or markedly different changes in your personality or behaviour, it’s possible that Lyme is at play.
You notice cognitive problems.
Because of the above-mentioned inflammation in the brain, Lyme disease can also cause cognitive issues and memory problems. If you suddenly find it extremely difficult to concentrate, or feel like you can’t remember short-term things, you might want to get evaluated for a possible Lyme diagnosis.
You’ve been diagnosed with another condition that doesn’t totally fit your symptoms.
Lyme disease is so often misdiagnosed that it’s certainly possible you’ve ended up with a different diagnosis – one that doesn’t quite fit your health issues. If your doctor diagnosed you with something because they couldn’t determine the root cause of your symptoms, it’s still possible that you have Lyme. It’s important to follow your gut with this. If you don’t think your initial diagnosis is accurate, ask your doctor about ruling out Lyme disease, or consult with another medical professional who will take your concerns seriously until you end up with the appropriate diagnosis.
Your symptoms change when you take antibiotics.
One of the huge indicators that you’ve got Lyme is if your symptoms respond to courses of antibiotics. If you have flare-ups on antibiotics, this could be what’s known as a Herxheimer reaction. When the Lyme bacteria is killed, it releases toxins that can be inflammatory to the body (leading to more pronounced symptoms). However, because Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics, you might also find over time that your symptoms have improved. So, either way, changes in your symptoms with antibiotics can be a marker for whether you have Lyme disease.
If you’re wondering ‘Have I got Lyme disease?’, pay attention to the clues your body might be giving you. Try keeping a journal of your daily symptoms so you can keep track of what you’re experiencing, and so you have a better chance of noticing patterns or changes. Then be sure to communicate with your doctor about what you’ve noticed. Advocate for a proper Lyme disease diagnosis if you think you’ve been bitten by a tick or if you have many of the above symptoms.
We don’t often compare our contemporary food to that of previous generations. Why would we? A carrot is a carrot, whether it’s 2019 or 1969, right? Logic would suggest so, but the facts tell a different story. Eating healthily has become something of a concern for newer generations, much more so than it might have been for previous ones. Ironically, it is actually more difficult to accomplish these days than it used to be, even though the selection of nutritious food on offer has increased. Why has this trend emerged? How does food compare to previous generations? And if it is indeed worse, how can we ensure we’re getting the most nutrition out of our diets?
First of all, the bad news. It is an unfortunate truth that food grown in previous decades was more nutritious than food is now. The main culprit of this concerning phenomenon is soil depletion. The earth only has a certain amount of resources, and modern agricultural farming methods ensure that we use up these resources faster than the soil can replenish them. The ultimate result is a gradual decline of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in soil-grown produce. Each successive generation of produce becomes a little less healthy for you than the one before. A landmark study conducted in 2004 confirmed this fact, as researchers analysed U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999. They found what they described as ‘reliable declines’ in the amount of calcium, iron, vitamin B2, protein, phosphorus and vitamin C over the 50-year period.
This isn’t great news for us humans, as our immune systems rely on good nutrition. We rely on our immune response to protect us from all manner of viruses, bacteria and toxins; when it fails, we get sick. The most obvious example of this is the common cold. The influenza virus enters our bodies, and we suffer its effects until the immune system figures out how to fight it. Immunity is a remarkable adaptation in our bodies, and can ‘remember’ viruses and bacteria it has previously dealt with. If the same pathogen invades again, the immune system can eradicate it quickly and effectively, with us being none the wiser. Our immune response is working for us all the time, but it requires the right nutrition to be effective. As 70% to 80% of our immune cells reside in our gastrointestinal tract, the foundation for a healthy immune system is laid in the gut – which is, of course, directly linked to nutrition.
We need a variety of nutrients to keep our immune system in tip-top shape, and should be looking to incorporate them as part of a balanced diet. Carrot, sweet potato and spinach are fantastic sources of vitamin A, which help keep the membranes in our nose and throat healthy. Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of antibodies and is a reliable antioxidant; it can be found in pineapples, mangos, kiwi and citrus fruits. Iron deficiency is a chronic problem among the general population. We get iron from foods like red meat and leafy greens, and without it our immune function can be suppressed. Another class of important nutrients that may help to regulate our immune response is omega 3 fatty acids, which we procure from nuts, fish, plant oils and seeds.
Many people rely on dietary supplements to receive their recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals. However, if the trend in soil depletion continues, we may see supplements become the norm for the general population. There are ways to slow down this process; one example would be using agricultural methods that alternate fields between growing seasons. But the demands of modern supply will likely dominate, meaning the depletion will continue. If supplements become more prominent, they are likely to flood the market, and as with any product, quality will vary wildly. Not all supplements are created equal – indeed, some may prove completely unfit for purpose, depending on their bioavailability.
Bioavailability describes how a particular food or supplement is absorbed into the body, and how beneficial it is after said absorption. Therefore, the more bioavailable a substance is, the more beneficial it will be to the body as a whole. Many supplements are created synthetically, which means their bioavailability is very low, or even non-existent. When it comes to the highest-performing supplements, organic and natural is most definitely the way to go. You can easily tell which supplements are organic; if they list a food instead of an actual vitamin on their label, they are all-natural. Synthetic supplements will list the particular vitamin or mineral wholesale (i.e. ‘vitamin C’ or ‘iron’, which means they have been created, not derived from produce.
Make Well produces an all-natural line-up of supplements that are utilised by doctors and patients around the world. They support the treatment of chronic diseases like Lyme by bolstering the immune system and aiding in the repression of inflammation. While these supplements are aimed at patients battling chronic disease, they might also prove invaluable as the soil depletion crisis continues to take hold. Unless we cut down our use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers and get smart about our agricultural methods, supplements could very well have a significant place in our collective future.
Lyme disease treatment can be a long and difficult road. Only a few Lyme specialists exist in the world, which goes some way toward explaining why instances of misdiagnosis surrounding the disorder are so high. Lyme disease is known as ‘the Great Imitator’, because its symptoms are nonspecific and have a tendency to mimic other chronic disorders. However, it is the lack of education surrounding Lyme that is as much to blame as any inherent traits in the disease itself. Even with a successful diagnosis, treatment can be a long and hard road. There is no sure-fire strategy as the disease affects each individual differently. You’re fighting a multi-pronged battle – especially when it comes to the chronic form of the disorder. Nutrition is one way of fighting back against debilitating symptoms, with certain foods aiding in treatment. So can garlic help treat Lyme disease?
Chronic Lyme can’t be treated solely with antibiotics. That approach only works in the acute stages of the disease, in the weeks following the offending tick bite. At this time, the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria operates much like any other pathogen, and the body responds accordingly. Fever, headache, chills, fatigue and generalised pain are all common, and often they’re not even that severe. This is part of Lyme’s insidious nature; unless the tick bite is noticed, or the distinctive bullseye rash is visible at the sight of the bite, many people will write off the acute symptoms as merely a bout of flu. This allows the disease to recede and re-emerge at a later date in the chronic form.
Chronic Lyme adds inflammation symptoms into the mix, which are due to a malfunctioning immune system. The Borrelia bacteria still remains, but it may only be trace amounts; either way, it is enough to trigger the immune response, which aggressively overcompensates. Some of the most prominent and oft-reported symptoms of chronic Lyme, namely joint and muscle pain and constant fatigue, can be ascribed to this haywire immune reaction. Though it was discovered in 1975 in North-eastern America, chronic Lyme disease has yet to be fully legitimised by most official bodies. This compounds the difficulty in treating the disease effectively.
Antibiotics won’t have any effect whatsoever on an immune response. To curtail all the symptoms of Lyme, both infection and inflammation symptoms have to be tackled simultaneously. Nutrition can play a vital part in this treatment path, and different foods can perform an important role in curtailing inflammation-based issues. Garlic and Lyme disease treatment wouldn’t be the first combination most people consider, but garlic is a particularly beneficial food. It carries a long list of advantages for us, whether we’re sick or not. These include immune function boost, blood pressure reduction, improved cholesterol levels and antioxidant provision, among other things.
A recent study demonstrated that garlic oil in particular could be an effective combater of Lyme. The oil could be useful in alleviating Lyme symptoms that persist despite antibiotic treatment attempts – in other words, garlic oil might very well be useful in chronic Lyme treatment. In the tests, garlic oil, among four other essential oils, successfully eradicated all stationary Lyme bacteria in their culture dishes within the week, with no additional bacteria growing back within 21 days. But just how effective essential oils like garlic can be in combating Lyme disease, we simply don’t know. These tests, published late last year, represent the first step in a significant amount of research that still needs to be conducted. Like much of our limited knowledge surrounding Lyme disease, it remains the tip of the iceberg.
Make Well has long been a proponent of nutrition-based Lyme disease treatment. Their all-natural supplement products are designed to support the treatment of chronic diseases like Lyme. Three of their products in particular utilise garlic in two different forms. The first two, TBB plus and MRG plus, are specifically intended for tick-borne and parasitic diseases. Garlic is an essential ingredient in these supplements. The key ingredient of garlic, the sulfur compound allicin, is used for its antibacterial effect, especially within the digestive system. The foundation of a strong immune system is found within the gut; if something is off with your immune response, something is almost definitely out of balance in your stomach. In addition, recent studies have confirmed the cancer-inhibiting properties of allicin.
The third product is DTC plus; again, it is directed at Lyme patients with the intention of supporting detoxification. This supplement utilises wild garlic as an ingredient. The leaves of this plant contain high vitamin, mineral and trace element content. Wild garlic is also rich in alliin, which combines with the enzyme alliinase to produce allicin – the beneficial properties of which are covered above. But that’s not all! Thanks to its high vitamin C levels and sulfur and chlorophyll content, wild garlic can also play a supportive role in the detoxification of the body, particularly in respect to toxins and carcinogenic substances. All in all, garlic can play an important role in the battle against chronic Lyme; and the best part is, it’s 100% natural.
What we put into our bodies defines how we feel, function and even think. But relatively few of us are conscious of the effects of the food we eat, or how diet affects our lifestyle. We all know that eating healthy is optimum, and not all of us manage that on a day-to-day basis, of course. However, if we understood the importance of nutrition on our overall health, we might start paying a little more attention. This is even more critical if we’re in ill health, or suffering from a chronic condition; our diet can either support or hinder our recovery. One of the most important concepts when it comes to nutrition is bioavailability. But what is bioavailability? And how does it relate to both regular food and dietary supplements?
When we consume both food and drink, the nutrients contained within are released upon digestion. They are absorbed into the bloodstream, while the less useful parts of the intake are processed as waste. The nutrients run through the blood, which transports them to the organs and tissues where they can be of most use. However, not all nutrients are created equal, nor indeed absorbed equally. Bioavailability is the term used to describe the absorption and utilisation of a particular nutrient. In other words, different nutrients have a varying bioavailability. Understanding these differences can optimise nutrition and help nutritionists and doctors in providing superior dietary advice to patients.
There are a number of factors that contribute to a particular nutrient’s bioavailability. Although the term itself is pretty broad, its application can be quite intricate and may vary wildly from one source to another. Bioavailability is governed by both internal and external factors; in other words, the nutrient will have inherent properties (through its physicochemical dietary matrix) that will affect the value, but digestive enzymes in the intestine will also play a role. Other broader factors like gender, age, nutrient status and overall condition also have a stake in proceedings, and altogether, these elements will determine the specific bioavailability of a particular nutrient when eaten by a particular person. Broadly, though, it’s possible to evaluate the bioavailability of a food source on a standalone basis.
So, what about supplements? Is bioavailability important when it comes to supplements? Undoubtedly the answer is yes. How to pick the best dietary supplements should be totally governed by how bioavailable they are. If they have a very low bioavailability, they will do nothing for your body, regardless of what they might claim. You may have heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ before. This is a bit of a misnomer. More specifically, the phrase should be ‘you are what you absorb from what you eat’ (though of course this doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!). Manufacturers can improve on the bioavailability of a particular supplement in a number of ways, but they can also ignore it or deplete it completely. Take vitamins and minerals as an example. In dietary supplements and food additives, the majority of vitamins are produced synthetically. What matters most is how the vitamin or mineral may be presented. For instance, in what chemical form (active or inactive), or the chemical complex in which it is contained (organic complexes such as citrate, aspartate or chloride or inorganic complexes such as carbonate or oxide). In most cases, minerals bound in organic complexes may be absorbed more efficiently.
To get the most out of your supplements, you should always look for the option with the highest quality and lowest amount of unnecessary additives such as colourants, parting agents or emulsifiers. Look at the form the supplement comes in and choose wholefood over synthetic. Also remember that supplements are intended to be just that. They supplement a healthy diet, and should not be eaten in place of one. Never try to replace your diet with supplements. This is especially true if you’re suffering from chronic illness and have been recommended to see a nutritionist. Supplements can help support chronic disease treatment in many cases. Make Well produces a line-up of all-natural products that are utilised with medical professionals to support treatment of chronic disorders such as Lyme disease. Supplements can be particularly useful when battling chronic Lyme, as they aim to reduce inflammation, a prominent long-term Lyme symptom.
It’s also worth noting that dietary supplements might be set to play a bigger part in everyone’s lives in the future. Recent studies have shown that soil depletion is affecting the overall nutrition level of our produce, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Basically, this means we are depleting the soil’s natural resources faster than it can replenish them. Availing of a full nutritional intake might soon require supplements, whether you suffer from chronic disease or not. Either way, appreciating the bioavailability of both foods and supplements can be an important step to a healthier lifestyle, and ultimately a more fulfilling existence.
Living with either a sudden illness or a chronic condition can create a great deal of upheaval in a person’s life. While struggling with painful or bothersome symptoms, individuals are still expected to maintain their everyday lives and take care of their responsibilities, often while simultaneously receiving treatment for their condition. Because of this struggle to balance all of life’s tasks and troubles, a patient’s environment can significantly affect their overall wellness. That’s why much consideration should be given to the importance of environment on Lyme disease treatment – a stressful, unsupportive environment can make recovery that much harder.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by bacteria transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected tick. The disease was first studied in Lyme, Connecticut in the U.S. in the 1970s when children and adults in the town started showing a variety of similar symptoms (including skin rashes, headaches and chronic fatigue). Further research by a scientist named Willy Burgdorfer in 1981 revealed the connection between ticks and these types of symptoms. This bacterium, called a spirochete, was named Borrelia burgdorferi. Since then, more research has been conducted around the globe in order to study how Lyme disease is contracted and how it should be treated.
Common initial symptoms of Lyme disease include a red, bullseye rash (at the site of the bite), joint and muscle pain, headaches, flu-like symptoms (sometimes with a fever), chronic fatigue, and changes in mood and sleep. When the infection progresses, additional, often more serious symptoms can appear, such as other rashes, heart issues, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and cognitive problems. The most accepted Lyme disease treatment is antibiotics. Patients are usually given doxycycline for 10 days to three weeks or amoxicillin and cefuroxime for two to three weeks. In most cases, this clears up symptoms; some patients need additional courses of antibiotics by mouth or intravenously (especially if their Lyme disease has been left untreated for a longer period of time). Because the symptoms of Lyme disease often look like other medical conditions (such as arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, etc.), patients are often misdiagnosed. Delayed treatment because of these misdiagnoses can be harmful (both physically and emotionally) to a Lyme disease patient.
You might be wondering, ‘Can environment affect Lyme disease?’. The answer is absolutely yes. Anyone who needs strength and positivity to overcome challenging symptoms needs an environment that provides them with peace and comfort. Home or work environments that offer negative energy and ask too much of the individual (who already has a limited supply of energy) will only make recovery that much more prolonged and difficult.
What is the effect of stress on Lyme disease?
Stress (whether it’s coming from friends and family, work, other commitments, etc.) can make anyone’s life harder. It takes a great deal of energy and stamina to cope with stressful situations. Dealing with stress can cause a whole host of problems with your physical health, including negatively affecting the vascular, digestive, endocrine and central nervous systems. Stress can also affect the immune system, causing people to become sick more often (which can be even more of a nightmare for someone with a chronic condition like Lyme disease).
Along with the physical toll stress can take on a person, feeling anxious or overwhelmed can also cause plenty of emotional upheaval. This can manifest in a number of ways, including appetite changes (either eating too little or too much), problems with sleep (difficulty falling or staying asleep), muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, panic attacks and more. Dealing with these behavioural changes, along with the many Lyme disease symptoms, can result in more distress and overwhelm.
What is the effect of depression on Lyme disease?
Depression and Lyme disease can often feel like the chicken or the egg debate. Does Lyme disease cause depression because of chemical changes in the brain? Or do symptoms of depression develop because of the disheartening nature of the condition? Whichever is ultimately true, many Lyme disease patients experience depression in the form of feelings of sadness or hopelessness, lower energy levels, problems focusing, changes in weight or appetite, and possible suicidal thoughts or attempts. Depression can end up exacerbating symptoms (especially aching muscles, digestive issues, brain fog, etc.) and in the end, reduce the efficacy of Lyme disease treatment. Living in an environment with unsupportive people or being surrounded by negativity or stress can greatly worsen feelings of hopelessness and despair.
How to create a stress-free environment
Once you understand the importance of environment on Lyme disease treatment, the good news is that creating a healthy environment can then help a Lyme patient on their journey to recovery. Here are some things to try to create a positive environment.
- Encourage the patient to get help. Patients who feel supported in their quest to get help from professionals (like a therapist) will feel buoyed by the care that’s being offered to them. When individuals are discouraged or shamed for reaching out for help, they’re less likely to get the appropriate treatment they need for their physical and emotional symptoms and will feel less supported (and more lonely) overall.
- Schedule time for relaxation. Lyme disease patients need to ensure they’re making time for rest and relaxation. Creating a scheduled time (hopefully every day) for quiet activities (taking a nap, meditating, doing yoga, etc.) will help them carve out time for self-care.
- Establish boundaries and set limits. A stress-free environment is one in which the patient can say no when they aren’t feeling up to doing something and can confidently ask for what they need. Setting up boundaries or limits to what they can accomplish can help lower stress levels and make them feel calmer and more in control.
- Finding support. If the patient can’t create a supportive environment at home for some reason, they should make it a priority to find one somewhere else. This can be in the form of a support group (ideally specifically for Lyme disease patients) where the person can share their struggles and get support from people who know what they’re going through.
Living in an environment filled with stress and negativity will only slow down recovery from Lyme disease. By creating a space that’s filled with support, individuals can more effectively take care of their physical and emotional health without facing overwhelm or despair. Living in a healthy, happy environment can result in an easier healing journey for the patient (and for their loved ones as well).
A Brief History of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease has only been known for a relatively short time. The first ever case was recorded in 1975 in the United States in Lyme, Connecticut. Lyme is a bacterial infection spread through the bites of some ticks. The bacterium causing it is called Borrelia burgdorferi.
Lyme disease is a multisystemic illness: it has a long and diverse list of possible symptoms, and it can affect several tissues and organs. Its most distinctive sign is a bull’s eye-shaped rash that usually develops at the site of the tick bite within days or weeks. However, the rash is only seen in about 70–80% of patients.
How To Treat Lyme Disease
Early diagnosis is crucial. The sooner Lyme disease is diagnosed, the better the treatment outcome. However, the first symptoms are flu-like and often very mild in people with healthy immune systems. Therefore, the infection can be very difficult to recognise and diagnose in the absence of a rash.
In its initial stages, Lyme disease can usually be quickly and effectively treated with a course of oral antibiotics. If it remains undiagnosed for a long time, more severe symptoms may develop several months or even years later, such as arthritis, neurological disorders, heart disease and meningitis (inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain).
Symptoms affecting the nervous system include facial paralysis, memory impairment, difficulty concentrating, and pain or numbness in the limbs. Severe headaches and visual disturbances also tend to occur if the illness is allowed to progress. Some patients also experience depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Since the symptoms of Lyme disease can mimic other conditions, it’s often misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other psychiatric conditions.
There are some laboratory tests available to check for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi in the blood. However, the results are often inaccurate in the early stages of infection, and false negative results are extremely common. Therefore, doctors normally diagnose Lyme disease by taking multiple factors into account, such as any physical signs, symptoms and the patient’s history of tick bites.
The Difference Between Acute and Chronic Lyme Disease
When Lyme-causing bacteria first enter the body through the infecting tick bite, the immune system recognises them as harmful and starts fighting them. People with strong immune function may not notice any symptoms at this stage.
If the illness isn’t diagnosed and treated early on, the bacteria can live inside the patient’s cells for a long time without causing any serious symptoms. They can travel to many different tissues and organs in the body while remaining unnoticed.
However, symptoms do eventually surface in most cases. When the immune system weakens due to another medical condition, stress or environmental factors, the bacteria can proliferate unhindered. This is when chronic Lyme disease occurs as a result of a widespread infection.
Once the immune system has been disrupted, it will continue to dysfunction as the bacteria flourish. Severe symptoms begin to develop during this chronic phase, which may even last a lifetime.
The Health Benefits of Colostrum
If you've heard of colostrum before, you might be wondering, exactly what is colostrum? And is colostrum vegan? Well, the answer to the latter is no – bovine colostrum is a milky fluid secreted by cows during the first few days after giving birth, before regular milk appears. Its purpose is to promote growth and establish a robust immune system in the newborn. It’s rich in important proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antibodies. The concentration of antibodies in bovine colostrum is up to 100 times higher than in normal cow's milk.
Human mothers also produce colostrum shortly after giving birth. Not only is it essential for the development of babies, but it has also been found to have significant health benefits during adulthood.
Due to its very similar chemical composition to human colostrum, bovine colostrum has been the subject of extensive research, which has found that it contains certain nutrients absent from any other dairy products. These findings have established colostrum as a popular dietary supplement.
Can Colostrum Treat Lyme Disease?
The vast majority of medical professionals agree that antibiotic therapy is the only effective treatment for Lyme disease. Colostrum shouldn’t be considered as a substitute for antibiotics, but it may be used as a form of complementary therapy while taking the prescribed drugs.
Colostrum can help boost the body’s natural defences and support the effects of the antibiotics. As a result, pathogens maybe destroyed more quickly and efficiently. Once the infection has cleared up, colostrum may also help reduce any remaining inflammation and bring the immune system back to its natural balance.
There’s some evidence that dietary supplements containing bovine colostrum may also have some other benefits that can contribute to the recovery process of Lyme patients. These include reducing allergies by curbing an overactive immune system, improving intestinal hyperpermeability (leaky gut), and boosting muscle strength and stamina by aiding the natural repair mechanisms of damaged muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves.
However, despite evidence of the health benefits of colostrum, it is still subject to intense research. Studies and clinical trials related to humans still need to be performed to evaluate its beneficial impact. So far, information available on positive effects is only available from single patients and individual cases rather than scientific studies.
Finding a tick on your body or in your house is never a pleasant experience. Unfortunately, the risks of being exposed to ticks are a lot more concerning than simple unpleasantness. Ticks carry a range of diseases that they can transfer to their hosts after a successful bite. Prime among these debilitating disorders is Lyme disease, a condition that, with an estimated 300,000 new cases a year, is getting close to being classified as a pandemic. So even though they’re tiny, ticks can present massive problems for people, especially if they make it indoors. However, ticks don’t make a point of seeking out interiors of houses; they’re outdoor creatures that thrive in woodlands and grass. So how long can a tick live in a house?
The first thing most people worry about with any insect is the possibility of an infestation. Cockroaches and bedbugs have a habit of infesting homes, and once they do, most people require professional help in order to eliminate them. So can a house become infested with ticks? Well, the good news is that, although it depends on the type of tick and what stage of life it’s at, the short answer to this is no. There is very little chance that a tick will make its home indoors. But what can happen, due to bad timing, is a pregnant female tick being brought indoors by a person or a pet. When the tick drops off, she will likely lay her eggs inside the house, which can mean a cluster of hundreds of larvae. This can also happen if two ticks mate indoors. However, this is a rare case; most often, ticks that are brought indoors will simply crawl around in the hope of finding their next host.
Ticks are primarily outdoor creatures. They are not insects; they are arachnids, from the same family as spiders. They rely on blood meals to survive, and need to regularly find hosts, although the time they can go between meals varies with each species. Contrary to what many people believe, ticks cannot run, fly, jump or hop. They also don’t live in trees, or fall out of them. When they search for a host, they take up a position known as questing, which sees them cling to the very edge of a piece of grass or bark with their front legs stretched out. This easily allows them to attach themselves to any passing mammal. They usually quest at about knee-height. Then, when they successfully make contact with a human host, they can crawl further up the body to find the perfect site to bite.
All ticks are brought indoors by hosts. When they’ve completed feeding, ticks will drop off the host and take some time to recover from the feed. This is where they can become loose in the house. Usually a pet is the primary source of tick infiltration, as cats and dogs are likely to pick them up while roaming outdoors. On the off chance that ticks do lay eggs in your house, they should be easily visible to the naked eye. As ticks aren’t comfortable in an indoor environment, they won’t look to hide away or burrow in anywhere. If you’re worried about a tick infestation, look around skirting boards and the edges of rugs for evidence of eggs. If indeed you do have a tick problem, these shouldn’t be hard to spot. You can then vacuum up any loose ticks, or call experts in if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.
The best way to prevent any chance of a tick infestation is to check yourself and your pets thoroughly when you come back from a walk in the woods. Ticks are tiny insects, but they are easily visible to the naked eye. When they feed, they balloon up in size and turn a milky white colour. By checking for any potential stragglers before you come back inside, you seriously minimise the risk of ticks invading your home. If you’re worried about ticks on clothing, the recommended best practice is to tumble-dry your clothes on a high heat setting for at least ten minutes. If the clothes are damp, you may need to take a little more time. Cold and medium temperature water will not sufficiently eradicate ticks, nor will simply washing clothes. Drying on high heat has been proven to be 100% effective, and is an easy way to give yourself peace of mind if you’ve been out walking in grassy or woodland areas.
Ticks pose a very real threat to people, despite their size. Lyme disease can be one of the most debilitating conditions a person can suffer from, and it always starts from one tiny tick bite. The disease progresses if it’s not caught early, potentially resulting in life-changing issues further down the line. Chronic Lyme is very difficult to treat and requires a delicate balance of antibiotics and nutritional approaches. Companies like Make Well are committed to producing ranges of all-natural supplements designed to help support the treatment of chronic conditions such as Lyme disease, which very few doctors are literate in. However, all Lyme-centric issues can be avoided by prevention, and prevention starts with being aware of the dangers that ticks pose, both inside and outside the house.
Is Seafood Nutritious?: The Health Benefits of Fish and Seafood
If you’re wondering ‘Is seafood nutritious?’, the answer is yes! A balanced diet is a prerequisite of a healthy lifestyle, and according to many experts, a balanced diet isn’t complete without fish and seafood.
Most nutritionists recommend eating fish or seafood at least twice a week. There are various reasons why you should include some kind of seafood in your diet:
- Low fat content: On average, seafood contains only 2% fat. Therefore, it’s ideal for people with diabetes and heart problems, as well as for athletes. Fish in particular, however, especially fatty fish like salmon or mackerel, is significantly higher in fat. Nevertheless, fish is rich in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids that are an important part of a Lyme disease treatment diet.
- Low cholesterol: Although the human body needs some cholesterol to function properly, high levels of it can be very dangerous. Consuming too much food containing a lot of saturated fats can significantly increase cholesterol levels. Seafood is very low in saturated fats, and it can help decrease your risk of heart disease by 13%.
- High in nutrients: Seafood contains a high percentage of essential vitamins, protein and minerals.
- A source of omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fats that are necessary for overall health, but especially for heart health. Seafood is considered the best natural source of omega-3, as the biological active forms EPA and DHA are abundant.
What’s the Most Nutritious Seafood?
So, is seafood safe to eat? This depends on the type. Seafood is, in general, one of the healthiest foods. However, certain types contain more nutrients than others:
- Tuna (especially albacore): Tuna is an oily fish with a high omega-3 content. The albacore or longfin tuna weighing less than 20lbs is the healthiest choice, because it has a lower mercury and higher omega-3 content.
- Salmon: Salmon is another type of oily fish. It has the highest omega-3 content when wild-caught in Alaska.
- Oysters: Farmed oysters are one of the healthiest kinds of seafood. A 3.5 oz portion of oysters contains over 672 mg of omega-3.
- Sardines: This tiny fish has more omega-3 than tuna, salmon and oysters, at 1480 mg per 3.5 oz.
The Effects of Seafood Production, Farming and Fishing on the Environment
According to a 2015 study published by the Institute for Coastal Marine Environment (IAMC), seafood farming can adversely impact the environment. The exact nature and extent of the environmental impact depends largely on the species farmed, the location of the farm and the intensity of production.
One of the main negative effects of seafood farming on marine life is water eutrophication, which is the presence of excessive amounts of nutrients in the water. This happens as the result of an increased number of fish in an area. It causes algae and other plants to grow densely and quickly, which may lead to oxygen depletion and boost the spreading of some diseases. This phenomenon poses a serious threat to the ecosystem.
Thankfully, in recent years substantial progress has been made in maintaining sustainability and protecting the environment. According to IAMC, the environmental impact of seafood farming can be reduced to nearly zero within the next decade.
Farmed Fish vs. Free Fish
Farmed fish are reared in controlled bodies of water, which are referred to as farms. Instead of searching for food in the wild, these fish are completely dependent on humans and can’t survive without being fed. Therefore, wild fish are considered stronger and genetically superior to farmed fish.
Just like other farm animals, farmed fish couldn’t survive in the wild. Also, due to water eutrophication, farmed fish often have diseases that aren’t present in natural marine environments. Introducing farmed fish to the wild would also introduce potentially dangerous diseases to the ecosystem.
Another aspect that must be considered is the husbandry conditions. In non-organic farming, many fish are fed with inappropriate food such as soy pellets, which keeps them from developing their natural amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. Furthermore, due to the high number of fish per square metre, the application of antibiotics and growth hormones is common.
Responsible and Sustainable Sourcing of Seafood
The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995) sets out the following principles for the responsible and sustainable sourcing of seafood:
- Traceability: Illegal, unreported and unregulated seafood must be avoided at all times. All seafood on the market must be tracked from its point of origin all the way to the point of sale. Details that must be recorded include capture method, geographical area, farm name, packaging and transportation.
- Transparency: Risk assessment communication to the supply chain is necessary. All legal documents need to be ready to be revised by any party involved in the process at any time.
- Risk Assessment: All parties involved are legally required to carry out their own audits and risk assessment.
- Improvement: Due to the negative impact fisheries have had on the environment, it’s now illegal to source seafood from high-risk areas.
How To Source Sustainable Seafood
If you want to know how to source safe fish and sustainable seafood, there are a few guidelines you should take into account.
- Choose the right species: The Marine Conservation Society regularly updates its list of fish that should be avoided and fish that are safe to eat. For example, if you like cod, make sure it comes from the north-east Arctic or eastern Baltic!
- Buy local and seasonal fish: Buying from sources near you not only helps support your local fishermen, but it also leads to a smaller carbon footprint. And it’s usually cheaper, too!
- Make sure it’s line-caught: Poor labelling can make finding line-caught fish quite difficult. Staff members should be able to assist you, but if they can't tell you exactly how the fish was caught, it’s best to leave it. Try to avoid bigeye and bluefin tuna, and look for line or poll caught albacore or skipjack tuna instead.
- Check the label: Over 5,000 different fish products across the world are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). For instance, most supermarkets stock MSC-certified Norwegian cod and Pacific cod.
- Eat organic: Organic farmed salmon and trout are good alternatives to wild-caught. They also cause significantly less pollution than other farmed fish. Fish such as tilapia or carp are even better choices.
- Choose SRA-certified restaurants: The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) assists its members in sourcing ingredients ethically. Pick restaurants in their database when eating out!
Final tip: To gain more insight into labelling and production methods, it may be helpful to download a shopping guide that enables you to scan labels and check them for sustainability, traceability and quality aspects, right there in the store!