Dr. Mielke’s interest in Lyme disease started when she first heard of a possible connection between Lyme and autism several years ago. She began testing more of her patients for Lyme, and sure enough, many of the patients and their parents showed up positive for Lyme. Even some of her family members who used to live on the East coast tested positive for Lyme. Dr. Mielke began studying this issue, reading books and articles on Lyme, and attended an ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) conference, eventually becoming an expert in diagnosing this difficult disease.
The nuances and complexity of this disease in many ways reminded her of autism, including the lack of awareness and the conflicts in medical opinion. Many of the services offered at the Optimal Health Spectrums clinic are also desperately needed by Lyme patients, and Dr. Mielke vowed to work closely with the local LLD’s (Lyme Literate Doctors) from ILADS to help them.
At Developmental Spectrums we do not prescribe the aggressive multiple-antibiotic protocols that some chronic and acute Lyme patients need. We refer patients to the appropriate ILADS physician for that, while working closely with those doctors, making sure that the Lyme patients have all of the additional therapies that they need for an optimal treatment outcome. However, not all patients can tolerate or want that kind of treatment. We treat Lyme using mostly an herbal approach. This treatment style is gentler and more natural, and is safer and less toxic to the gut than using the harsh antibiotics. Herbs are also more broad spectrum than antibiotics, and have anti-bacterial as well as anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties, which makes them ideal for Lyme patients who almost always have multiple infections at the same time. There is no single Lyme treatment approach that is right for every patient, and treatment must be individualized according to what is effective for that person, and according to what each person can tolerate.
Lyme is often a chronic inflammatory infection, and anything that impairs the immune system or increases inflammation will make recovery more difficult. For example:
Gastrointestinal Dysfunction – A large percentage of the immune system is housed in the GI tract. Many patients have GI imbalances in their healthy flora (good bacteria), yeast overgrowth, and even parasitic infections. The long term antibiotic and herbal treatment regimens often required for Lyme can make these problems worse. Lyme patients should have their GI tract closely monitored through proper stool testing every few months for optimal GI health. If the beneficial GI flora are too low, the GI tract cannot function properly, and digestion and absorption of food can become impaired. A leaky gut can ensue, leading to chronic inflammatory food intolerances. This also needs to be monitored through IgG food sensitivity testing approximately every six months while under antibiotic treatment. Probiotic supplementation is essential, but levels of the beneficial bacteria in the stool must be tested. One cannot assume that just because they are taking a probiotic that the levels in the GI tract are adequate. Some patients may even benefit from digestive enzyme supplementation. Maintaining proper gastrointestinal health during Lyme therapy can make a big difference in how a patient feels and functions during their treatment.
Diet and Nutrition – The Standard American Diet is S.A.D., and when a patient is battling a chronic illness such as Lyme, it is essential that they have optimal nutrition to keep their immune system in peak fighting form. Many patients assume that just because they are eating a relatively balanced diet that they are getting adequate nutrition. Often, this is not the case. The only way to be sure is to do medical tests of nutrient levels. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential lipids, and even fiber must be present in adequate amounts for patients to function well, and many patients are low in one or more of these essential nutrients without even knowing it. In many cases, IV nutrients, such as IV minerals, Vitamins, Phosphatidyl Choline, and Glutathione are necessary and very helpful to Lyme patients. At Developmental Spectrums we can make dietary recommendations and do the tests that will show each patient exactly what they need to be supplementing to optimize their nutrition, and therefore their health and treatment outcome.
Detoxification – Sadly, we live in a toxic world. Most adults and even children are toxic, and don’t know it. Toxins come from many sources, including pollution in our air, food, and water. There are contaminants such as aluminum and mercury in vaccines, mercury in silver amalgam fillings and seafood, lead in toys, paint, and many other products, toxins from plastics in water bottles, pesticides in non-organic food, etc. All toxins are dangerous to our health, many can be carcinogenic in the long run, and all of them weaken our immune system. Detoxification is an essential part of any successful Lyme treatment protocol. If a Lyme patient is toxic, they will not respond as well as they should to the antibiotic and/or herbal treatment protocols, and may not recover as fully. Detoxification treatments are specific for the types of toxins that the patient has been exposed to. It is essential to test each patient to find out what kinds of toxins are stored in their body, eliminate any ongoing exposure, and then to design a detox protocol that is specific to their needs. Dr. Mielke has years of experience in helping patients to detoxify and lead healthier lives.
Toxins can be divided into two major categories, heavy metals and chemicals.
- Heavy Metal Detoxification– Chelation therapy is the most effective treatment for heavy metal toxicity. There are specific medications that are called chelators. They have a strong binding affinity for metals, and will attach to metals and help the body excrete them through urine and stool. Think of chelators as being like magnets – they are attracted to metals. Chelators can be taken by mouth or as a suppository, but the most effective way by far is intravenous, or IV. IV chelation is very effective at removing the major metal toxins, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum, antimony, arsenic, and many more. It is essential to monitor mineral status during chelation, as minerals are required for metal detox, and chelators will bind to some minerals themselves. Chelation to remove toxic metals from your body can be a very important step to your overall health and recovery from Lyme.
- Chemical Detoxification– There are no chelators for chemical toxins, however there are effective ways to aid in excreting them from our bodies. Enhancing the liver’s natural detoxification pathways through proper supplements helps. IV glutathione, nutrient and lipid therapy is very helpful. And FAR-Infrared Sauna therapy is very important for excreting chemical and metal toxins through sweat. FAR-IR Sauna protocols help in two ways. Chemical and metal detox helps the immune system, and Lyme bugs seem to hate heat. Sauna therapy seems to “kick them out of hiding” so that the immune system and Lyme therapies can kill them more effectively. FAR-IR sauna is more easily tolerated than regular high heat saunas, and is better at stimulating the sweat glands and lymphatic system than regular saunas. Many FAR-IR sauna protocols are even safe for small children. We can recommend a good FAR-IR sauna for patients to purchase and use in their own homes, and design a protocol that is both safe and effective and well-tolerated, and a helpful adjunct to your overall Lyme treatment protocol.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)– Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an important addition to many Lyme treatment protocols. HBOT allows the patient to breathe higher concentrations of oxygen in a pressurized chamber, which oxygenates tissues at a much higher level that you can achieve even if breathing 100% oxygen at room pressure. HBOT has known anti-inflammatory properties, and any chronic infection – including Lyme – causes tissue inflammation. This inflammation can lead to hypoxia, or low oxygenation of tissues. In the brain, this contributes to many of the cognitive side-effects that Lyme patients experience. HBOT corrects this hypoxia, and can lead to major improvement in the cognitive and physical symptoms seen in Lyme patients. At high pressures, HBOT can even kill Lyme organisms, but many patients do not tolerate the high pressures required to do that. Lower pressures such as 1.3 ATA, provided at Optimal Health Spectrums, are well tolerated and often potentiate Lyme treatment response. Lyme organisms seem to hate oxygen as well. When they encapsulate themselves, they are partially protecting themselves from oxygen in the tissues. HBOT also seems to “kick them out of hiding,” as many patients can show a Herxheimer or “die-off” reaction even to mild hyperbaric therapy. HBOT has also been shown to enhance immunity. Overall, HBOT can be an important addition to Lyme treatment protocols, and can enhance the effectiveness of treatment and decrease the pain and disability that often accompanies Lyme disease.
A comprehensive treatment protocol should attack Lyme from every possible angle to enhance the chances of success. The best outcomes will happen if a patient is getting the optimal antibiotic and/or herbal treatment protocols from a Lyme-Literate Doctor (LLD) from ILADS, and is also optimizing their overall health by utilizing proper diet and nutrition, protecting their gastrointestinal health, and also using HBOT and FAR-IR Sauna therapy and heavy metal chelation provided at Developmental Spectrums. Let us work together to enhance your Lyme treatment outcome.