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Larry Langdon
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Probiotics and Lyme Disease

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 will appear at the bite site within days of being bitten by an infected tick.

Borrelia burgdorferi is the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The CDC 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 NHS, 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 Lyme disease patients conducted by a Lyme Disease Charity, it was discovered that 69 percent of the participants had been suffering from Lyme disease for more than two years before the diagnosis was confirmed.

Infected people may suffer flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, lethargy, and body aches at first. Meningitis can lead to more serious symptoms such as Lyme carditis (heart palpitations), inflammatory arthritis, and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord if not treated promptly5. Nervous system difficulties, such as facial paralysis (facial palsy), memory problems, and difficulty concentrating, may occur in some situations.


Can Probiotics Be Of Assistance?

Although there is currently little study 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 both 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 has its place, and in the case of Lyme disease, this medication could be lifesaving. It's critical that people finish their antibiotic course to ensure that the bacterial infection is entirely eradicated; however, some people find it difficult to finish their antibiotic course owing to the adverse effects that frequently accompany this type of drug. Thrush, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain are all common antibiotic side effects, but some medications used to treat Lyme disease may also cause photosensitivity!

This is a really specialised area where probiotics may be able to help Lyme disease patients. Taking live cultures may lower the chance of unpleasant side effects, allowing people to finish their antibiotic treatment and reducing the possibility of antibiotic resistance. Because of the adverse effects, some people find it difficult to finish their antibiotic treatment.


Intestinal permeability and yeast overgrowth

However, while antibiotics are an important element of the treatment for Lyme disease, they can have long-term side effects. There are drawbacks of 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 downsides of this technique. Spirochetes can cause symptoms to intensify when they are destroyed and removed from the body. The medication's adverse effects. Yeast overgrowth in the gut is one of the most noticeable side effects of such longer-term antibiotic regimens. To reduce the chances of this happening, preventative actions must be implemented."

Antibiotics' function in the pathogenesis of yeast overgrowth has been studied extensively 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 Saccharomyces Boulardii. The Probiotics Database has further information on Saccharomyces boulardii studies.


Immune boosting and probiotics

Long-term symptoms, generally termed as 'Post-infectious Lyme disease,' can show and persist long after the infection has been recognised and treated in some people with Lyme disease 6. These people have joint and muscular aches, exhaustion, and other symptoms that are comparable to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Unfortunately, it's unclear why this occurs and why it only affects a portion of those who catch 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 bacteria that causes Lyme disease, which can result 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 jeopardised if our immune system is weak.

As a result, it's critical to strengthen our immune systems in order to lower 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. 70 percent of our immune cells dwell in our gut, which you're certainly well aware of as a practitioner. In principle, strengthening your patient's immune function could be a crucial area of attention when it comes to Lyme disease to assist them overcome the infection more effectively.

The gastrointestinal system is covered in a variety of friendly bacteria that all operate as a barrier against entering infections, but 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 defencins, which inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and yeasts in the gut.

By improving the integrity of the gastrointestinal system, a number of bacteria strains have been demonstrated to limit the growth of numerous infections.


Inflammation and probiotics

Inflammation may be at blame for many of the symptoms that Lyme disease patients encounter. Inflammation is one of the body's natural defences, 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 the 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 hypothesised 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 balance13.

On the Probiotics Database, you may learn more about Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®, Bifidobacteria lactis Bi-07®, and Bifidobacteria lactis Bl-04®.


Symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract and probiotics

In some cases, Lyme disease can induce gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea, and abdominal pain. These symptoms can be quite distressing for Lyme disease patients, 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 diarrhoea, bloating, and IBS-like abdominal discomfort. In a number of investigations, Saccharomyces boulardii was reported to lessen diarrhoea symptoms and even antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. Some Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria strains have also been demonstrated to be beneficial in the treatment of bloating, gas, and stomach cramp.



To summarise, while there aren't many 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 since they're sometimes overlooked.