Probiotics and Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans through tick bites. A common feature is a circular rash known as “erythema migrans” which appears at the bite site within days of being bitten by an infected tick.
Borrelia burgdorferi is the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has identified another species known as Borrelia mayonii, which is closely related to Borrelia burgdorferi and is also suspected to cause Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans through tick bites.
According to the National Health Service, 2000-3000 new cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed in the UK each year, with 15% of these instances occurring while the affected persons are overseas. In some circumstances, getting a firm diagnosis of this ailment can be challenging. In a survey of 500 patients with Lyme disease conducted by a Lyme disease Charity, it was found that 69% of the participants had been suffering from Lyme disease for more than 2 years before the diagnosis was confirmed.
Infected people may suffer flu-like symptoms at first, such as fever, headache, lethargy, and body aches. If not treated promptly, meningitis can lead to more serious symptoms such as Lyme carditis (heart palpitations), inflammatory arthritis, and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Nervous system difficulties, such as facial paralysis (facial palsy), memory problems, and difficulty concentrating, may occur in some situations.
Can probiotics help?
Although there are currently few studies on the use and effects of probiotics for Lyme disease, there is growing interest in their use among sufferers. Let's consider how probiotics could benefit these people during treatment and for symptom relief.
Treatment with probiotics in addition to antibiotics. Individuals with Lyme disease are normally given a 2-week course of antibiotics, but if they have more severe symptoms, the antibiotic course could continue up to 4 weeks, and intravenous antibiotic treatment may be required in some cases.
Antibiotic treatment is in place, which could be lifesaving in Lyme disease cases. It's important that people complete their antibiotic course to completely eradicate the bacterial infection; however, some people find it difficult to complete their antibiotic course owing to the adverse effects that frequently accompany this type of drug. Thrush, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain are all common side effects of antibiotics. Moreover, some medications used to treat Lyme disease may also cause photosensitivity.
This is a really specialized area where probiotics may be able to help patients with Lyme disease. Taking live cultures may lower the chance of unpleasant side effects, allowing people to complete their antibiotic treatment and reducing the possibility of antibiotic resistance. Because of the adverse effects, some people find it difficult to complete their antibiotic treatment.
Intestinal permeability and yeast overgrowth
There are drawbacks to taking long-term antibiotic supplements for people who have chronic Lyme disease.
The "Herxheimer reaction," a detox-like reaction that might occur during the early stages of treatment, is one of the two significant adverse effects of antibiotics. Spirochetes can cause symptoms to intensify when they are destroyed and removed from the body, which is one of the medication's adverse effects. Yeast overgrowth in the gut is one of the most noticeable side effects of such long-term antibiotic regimens. To reduce the chances of this, preventative actions must be implemented.
Antibiotics' role in the pathogenesis of yeast overgrowth has been extensively studied over the years, with a number of studies finding a link between antibiotic therapy and the emergence of yeast infections such as candida.
As previously stated, antibiotic treatment can be quite beneficial; however, in addition to killing pathogenic bacteria, the medication can also wipe out some of our beneficial bacteria, potentially resulting in intestinal dysbiosis. Intestinal dysbiosis has the potential to cause intestinal permeability (leaky gut), and Candida infection can relax the tight junctions that connect epithelial cells.
The probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii has been found to prevent pathogenic bacteria like Candida yeasts from adhering to the gut wall. Other beneficial species flourish when probiotics are taken and the healthy bacteria in the gut are replenished.
Saccharomyces boulardii can be found in Optibac Probiotics. The Probiotics database can provide more information on Saccharomyces boulardii.
Immune boosting and probiotics
Long-term symptoms, generally termed as “Post-infectious Lyme disease,” can show and persist long after the infection has been recognized and treated in some people with Lyme disease. These people have joint and muscular aches, exhaustion, and other symptoms that are comparable to chronic fatigue syndrome. Unfortunately, it's unclear why this occurs and why it only affects a portion of those who have the illness; nonetheless, it's thought to be caused by tissue damage and immune system overactivity during the initial infection, rather than by recurring infections.
Ticks can contain and transmit additional bacteria, viruses, and parasites in the same bite as the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, resulting in several illnesses (co-infection). Co-infections may exacerbate symptoms and reduce the effectiveness of therapies.
Because Lyme disease is caused by a bacterial infection, the body's response is crucial. During a typical infection, our immune system responds by triggering a series of immunological responses to aid in the fight against and elimination of the invading microorganisms. Our ability to defend ourselves against these invading diseases is jeopardized if our immune system is weak.
As a result, it's critical to strengthen our immune system to reduce the chance of infection. Our gut microbiota, immune system, and neurological system all interact intimately, and the effectiveness of this interaction between our intestinal immune system and gut microbiota is thought to be a good predictor of health and disease.
Another area where probiotics can help is with digestion. Moreover, 70% of our immune cells dwell in our gut. In principle, strengthening your patient's immune function could be a crucial area of attention when it comes to Lyme disease to help them overcome the infection more effectively.
The gastrointestinal system is covered with various friendly bacteria that operate as a barrier against infections; however, some species of bacteria appear to have greater immune support capability than others. Many pathogens have been shown to be inhibited by strains like Lactobacillus paracasei, which increase the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the secretion of molecules like bacteriocins and defensins, which inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and yeasts in the gut.
By improving the integrity of the gastrointestinal system, a number of bacterial strains have been demonstrated to limit the growth of numerous infections.
Inflammation and probiotics
Inflammation may be the cause of many symptoms that patients with Lyme disease encounter. Inflammation is one of the body's natural defenses, so it's not always a bad thing; however, long-term and chronic inflammation, such as that seen in some Lyme disease cases years after diagnosis and treatment, can be harmful to the body and lead to systemic inflammation, which can lead to autoimmune conditions like arthritis.
Pathogenic microbes can be detected by microbiota, which then stimulates the immune system to mount necessary responses. Although the specific method by which the microbiota generates anti-inflammatory responses is unknown, probiotics are hypothesized to decrease inflammation by improving the integrity of the gut wall lining and displacing pathogens that may cause pro-inflammatory immune responses. Anti-inflammatory mediators are thought to be promoted by beneficial microorganisms.
Bacterial strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM, Bifidobacteria lactis Bi-07, and Bifidobacteria lactis Bl-04 have been studied to see if they can aid with immunological function, inflammation, antibiotic side effects, and gut flora balance.
The Probiotics database may help you learn more about these strains.
Symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract and probiotics
In some cases, Lyme disease can induce gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. These symptoms can be quite distressing for patients with Lyme disease, and they have been linked to the beginnings of panic attacks, melancholy, anorexia, and dementia in some cases. A number of well-studied bacterial strains have been proven to be effective in treating gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and inflammatory bowel syndrome-like abdominal discomfort. In a number of investigations, Saccharomyces boulardii was reported to reduce diarrhea symptoms and even antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Some Lactobacillius and Bifidobacterium strains have also been beneficial in the treatment of bloating, gas, and stomach cramps.
To summarize, while there isn't much research specifically concentrating on the role of probiotics in the treatment of Lyme disease, it's important to remember that there are a few ways in which probiotics could be beneficial to Lyme disease sufferers. As a result, it's important for us as practitioners to remember our clients' guts, both during therapy and recovery. Gut flora are the unsung heroes of our bodies, which are sometimes overlooked.