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Lyme Disease – Diet and Inflammation

lyme disease diet mcfadzeanWhere a patients suspects that they have a food allergy or intolerance it is important to have this verified by a qualified doctor, perhaps using an ELISA panel, before radically changing the diet. Food intolerance may arise where the immune system is compromised by an infection, or, indeed, by gastrointestinal damage caused by bacterial overgrowth and/or antibiotic or anti-inflammatory medications.

The gut wall is a first line of defence in the body and when this is compromised leaky gut syndrome can allow food particles to cross the intestinal wall and trigger an immune system reaction. Repairing the gut wall is paramount in order to address such symptoms and patients may find that an intolerance is short-lived in some cases. A food intolerance that remains unaddressed may trigger systemic inflammation which could exacerbate many of the Lyme disease symptoms, including Lyme arthritis. Symptomatic relief from inflammation using NSAIDs could simply make things worse in the long-run.

Advocating Animal Fats for Health

Patients with high consumption of meat and dairy are also thought more likely to experience considerable inflammation in the body due to the arachidonic acid content of such animal products. However, recent research suggests that the situation is a lot more complex and that arachidonic acid may not have such a direct link with inflammation. Some Lyme disease diets actually advocate such animal fat consumption however with supporters of the ‘Paleo’ diet and the Weston A. Price Foundation who claim that all chronic disease is able to be overcome by adoption of a diet rich in animal products, including fats and cholesterol, along with fermented foods, but with minimal grain consumption. There is no credible scientific evidence that shows that such a diet can ‘cure’ any chronic disease, or Lyme disease at any stage. The avoidance of processed foods and the inclusion of traditional foods which are nutrient-dense is likely to help patients fight the symptoms of Lyme disease and avoid some of the pitfalls of antibiotic treatment. Fermented foods so prized by groups such as the WAPF may be particularly helpful in restoring beneficial bacterial flora following antibiotic treatment in order to help prevent candidiasis.

An anti-inflammatory diet can be achieved however and many Lyme disease patients find it helpful to work with their physician to use this approach in managing symptoms. There are many Lyme disease books available on the subject with Dr. Ken Singleton perhaps providing the better known work in this area. A cookbook based on Singleton’s anti-inflammatory diet was written by a Lyme disease sufferer, Laura Piazza, and her mother, Gail Piazza, a cook, home economist and food stylist. “Recipes for Repair: A Lyme Disease Cookbook”, has a foreword by Singleton and has proved popular with many Lyme disease patients as it is well organized and tailored specifically to those suffering from poor concentration and the brain ‘fog’ that can be a symptom of the infection.

Avoiding Candida – Cutting out Caffeine, Carbs, and More

Cutting out caffeinated products, alcohol, stimulants, and sweeteners may also help reduce the pressures on a Lyme disease patient’s system. Taking antibiotics with a decent meal, rather than just a small snack is also important so as to reduce any possible nausea or discomfort from the drugs (unless the medication expressly states that it should be taken on an empty stomach). Probiotic supplements are also important during any antibiotic regime in order to quash any opportunistic bacterial growth in the gut. Where candida or other fungal or yeast overgrowth occurs, any sugars in the diet can be fermented in the intestines leading to symptoms of a Lyme disease yeast infection such as lethargy, abdominal and intestinal discomfort, memory and concentration problems, depression, pain, inflammation, and other issues. A low carbohydrate diet might be worthwhile in such cases, along with the elimination of most yeasts, fungi, simple sugars, and some nuts, seeds, dried fruits, honey, and many other foods that can harbor moulds or provide sustenance to the infection.

Good general advice for any patient includes eating organic produce where possible so as to minimize exposure to potentially harmful pesticides and other chemical contaminants, as well as eating seasonally and locally to maximise nutrient content. No particular set of food choices will entirely eradicate a bacterial infection like Borreliosis, but a Lyme disease diet can reduce symptom severity and facilitate a better recovery using appropriate treatments.