Living with Lyme disease can be challenging. Many people are infected with the disease and recover quickly with the proper antibiotic treatment – however, others will develop post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms that can hinder the health of the entire body, including the immune system. When the immune system in Lyme disease patients is negatively affected, it can lead to the body being less able to fight off other infections and chronic diseases. The good news is that there are ways to strengthen the Lyme disease immune system. Read on to learn more!
How does Lyme disease affect the immune system?
When the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, makes its way into the body, it causes an alert to go off. That alert sends signals to the innate immune system to let it know there is a threat within the body. In turn, this sends the rest of the immune system into action, creating and producing fighter cells and antibodies to help rid the body of the bacteria. When the immune system ramps up, inflammation occurs in the areas of the body where the bacteria has set up shop.
Recent studies have looked at how the entry of the Borrelia bacteria affects the immune system and found that it can actually alter the communication pathways between specific immune cells, known as dendritic cells and T-cells. Dendritic cells boost the immune response and mark the bacteria so T-cells can seek and destroy them. However, the Lyme bacteria hinders this signaling, leading to T-cells not knowing which cells to fight and which to leave alone.
In the end, the body may end up attacking healthy tissues and cells because the Borrelia bacteria was able to hide from detection. This mistaken identity can lead to a host of immune issues and an increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases.
What is the best immune support for Lyme disease?
There is no single thing you can do to boost your immune system when you have Lyme disease. It may take several lifestyle changes and additions to ensure that your immune system begins functioning as it should. We’ll delve into some of these options below.
How can I boost my immune system with Lyme disease?
Some of the most critical aspects of immune health are general in nature, relevant to those both with and without Lyme disease. However, some can specifically encourage better system functioning for someone with a chronic Lyme infection.
To boost your immune system while coping with Lyme disease, you can try the following:
Get quality sleep
The immune system requires good quality sleep to recharge and rejuvenate. Like any other organ or system, it cannot run at its best without proper downtime. Aside from the rest, the immune system also needs sleep because that is when it creates cytokines – substances that help to regulate the immune system so that it can fight its battles successfully.
While uncomfortable, fever is designed to help the body fight off foreign pathogens. It’s an immune response designed to shock proteins and cells awake so that they can fight the cellular battle. With Lyme disease, fevers are not always guaranteed, leading to improper immune system signaling. Hyperthermia is when someone undergoes a medically supervised induced fever so that the body can react appropriately to the bacteria.
Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG)
When the immune system becomes weakened by Lyme disease, it may not be able to create unique proteins known as antibodies. The immune system uses antibodies to fight infection and illness. Instead of living with lower levels of antibodies, people with Lyme disease and a weak immune system may undergo IVIG, which restores adequate levels of these vital proteins.
Regenerative stem cell therapy
Following other treatments to help restore the overall function of the immune system, some people with Lyme disease may opt for regenerative stem cell therapy. The treatment works by introducing more stem cells (which can transform into other cells when needed) into the body to fix damaged areas.
Lower stress levels
Stress is difficult to avoid in life, but if you have Lyme, it’s vital to do your best to ensure your stress levels are managed as well as possible. Chronic stress can create a domino effect in the body, leading to an even weaker immune system in people with Lyme disease.
What supplements help Lyme disease?
When looking at supplements, you should focus on those recommended by your doctor. So many supplements are on the market, each with its promise of better health, but some of the popular supplements for Lyme disease include:
- Thymic protein A
- Astragalus complex
- Olive leaf extract
- Medicinal mushrooms
Since these may be mass-produced and not well regulated, it can be hard to find the right supplement without speaking to someone who is literate in both holistic health and Lyme disease, so be sure to consult with a professional.
What vitamins should I take for Lyme disease?
Several vitamins and minerals are good for Lyme disease and the immune system. Some of the best include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
It should be noted that, like supplements, you should speak to your doctor before adding new vitamins to your regimen. That way, you can be sure that what you’re taking will strengthen your immune system effectively.
What fruit is good for Lyme disease?
Fruits, vegetables, and other wholefoods are great for the immune system. They should all be included in a Lyme disease diet. Foods such as oranges contain a lot of vitamin C, which can help boost your immunity if you consume them regularly.
When you’re fighting Lyme, it’s important to eat wholefoods as much as possible and avoid:
- Sugary foods
- Foods high in simple carbohydrates
- Red meat
- Fried foods
These can drive inflammation, leading to worsened immunity over time.
Living with Lyme disease and a weakened immune system isn’t easy. But if you can make the necessary changes and seek out appropriate medical therapies and Lyme disease natural treatment, you can combat poor immunity and keep other infections and chronic diseases at bay.