A recently published study showed significant improvement in symptoms and immune function in a small group of people diagnosed and being treated for Lyme disease. This is groundbreaking since very few studies are conducted on natural treatments for Lyme disease and the symptoms of the disease can be debilitating.
Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete, Borrelia Burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi) and tick-borne illness is rapidly increasing world-wide with over 400,000 new cases reported yearly in the US. As many as 50% of those treated with a standard protocol of antibiotics report persistent or recurrent symptoms six months after the end of treatment. Herbal remedies can be very effective treatment due to their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immune-boosting properties. However, very few studies exist on the specific action of herbal remedies against B. Burgdorferi.
The Complexity of Lyme Disease
To get a better understanding of the spirochete and how it affects the human body, a group of researchers deciphered its genome. They thought the project would only take days, but instead it took them years due to its complexity. The Borrelia spirochete is composed of one chromosome, however that chromosome is shredded, meaning it is made up of 20 or more plasmids—small circular strands of DNA.
Correlating the samples to patient outcomes, they found that the most severe cases were associated with a surface protein coded by patterns of plasmids that occur only in certain strains of Borrelia. Some strains move more easily from the initial site of infection into the bloodstream and to the brain, heart, and joints. The researchers concluded that there is a “microbial genetic basis to post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome”—the devastating, persistent symptoms that afflict some patients.
Due to this complexity, it is sometimes important to use more than one strategy for treating Lyme disease. Intravenous Vitamin C has the capacity to generate enough intracellular peroxide that give it both cytotoxic and immune stimulating effects. It has been shown to be effective in treating cancer and infections, including when infections lead to sepsis. The researchers decided to test the effects of intravenous Vitamin C and the results were very intriguing.
Testing a Natural Treatment for Lyme Disease
This was a small study size of only six participants. All participants had levels of glucose–6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity within normal range and five fasting blood draws. Each participant had not used antibiotics to treat Lyme disease and were required not to make any changes to their herbal and supplement protocol during the 14-week study. They all were administered 27 IV Vitamin C treatments lasting 150-170 minutes each. None of the participants were pregnant or had kidney or liver disease.
Symptoms and immune system parameters were monitored before and after the study period. Symptoms were tracked using the Promise-29 and the Horowitz-Lyme-MSID questionnaire. The immune system monitoring included the Lyme disease immunoblot test, T-cell based Elispot, and CD 57+ Lymphocytes.
Results of Intravenous Vitamin C for Lyme Disease Symptoms
The results of intravenous Vitamin C showed that on average the participants CD57+ cell count increased by 37.9% and the percentage of CD57+ Lymphocytes increased by 51.8%. In a three-month follow up, the increase continued an additional 12% and 4%, respectively. CD57+ Lymphocytes are a subset of our natural killer cells. They can be elevated in chronic viral infections and reduced with chronic Lyme disease. It is believed that B. burgdorferi spirochetes either depletes them or depletes them to reduce their bacteria-killing effects. There was also an average of 40% increase in the white blood cell count of the patients.
In terms of symptom relief, there was a 25% average improvement in scores using the Horowitz-Lyme-MSID questionnaire. Results of the Promise 29 questionnaire showed decreases in anxiety, fatigue, depression, and pain. The T-cell levels stayed negative showing no progression of the disease and there was no change in the immunoblot results—showing patients retained antibodies to B. burgdorferi.
IV Vitamin C: a Future Natural Treatment for Lyme Disease?
Although this was a small study it showed the potential of high dose IV Vitamin C as a viable treatment for those suffering from Lyme disease. Hopefully, more studies will be done focused on novel ways to treat Lyme disease and tick-borne illness. Since Vitamin C is not patentable, studies have been small and this one was privately funded.
Dr. Clark has been treating Lyme disease and tick-borne illness since 2007 and has been incorporating the use of high dose IV Vitamin C in her practice for more than ten years.
Call NatureMed to schedule a visit and see if IV Vitamin C would a good addition to your Lyme disease treatment.