Tick Talk: A Discussion on Lyme Disease
"There are things that you can do naturally to heal your hair and keep it looking healthy, vibrant, and strong."
Today’s show is all about Lyme disease. Dr. Nancy, PhD, holistic nutritionist, will share important information about the disease, including information about how it’s transmitted, signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, the difference between acute and chronic forms of Lyme disease, the surprising role that inflammation plays in the disease, and all natural ways to help manage the symptoms associated with it.
You will also learn how to avoid absorbing chemicals like DEET, the active ingredient found in tick and insect repellent, into your body by making your own all-natural tick and insect repellent — stick around, you don’t want to miss that!
- 01:20: Ticks and Lyme disease
- 06:14: Lyme Disease Facts and Figures
- 09:55: Lyme Disease Symptoms and Causes
- 14:15: How it's diagnosed
- 15:25: Treatment of Lyme Disease
- 17:25: Acute vs. Chronic Lyme Disease
- 20:57: Tips to Avoid Tick Bites
- 24:57: A word about tick repellants
- 27:53: All-natural tick and insect repellant
- 31:27: How to remove a tick
- 36:17: Natural tips to manage Lyme disease
- 38:08: Get enough rest and manage stress
- 39:27: Stay hydrated
- 40:26: Eat to Reduce Inflammation Improve Immune Function
- 42:30: Repair with Anti-inflammatory-Fighting Natural Supplements
- 44:15: Wrap-Up
Ticks and Lyme Disease
Summer is here, and for many that means the ticks have come out! In some parts of the country, it’s not uncommon to find one, two, even three ticks crawling on their clothes or in their hair after just a brief walk in the woods this time of the year.
While not every tick carries the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, the number of cases of the disease have tripled to an estimated 330,000 cases per year. While Lyme disease has moved across the country, but the majority of the cases are in 14 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Lyme Disease Facts and Figures
Let’s first talk about some facts and figures about Lyme disease, so we know what we’re dealing with:
- To infect its host, a tick typically must be attached to the skin for at least 36 - 48 hours.
- Most cases of Lyme disease occur in late spring and early summer.
- Tick-borne diseases have been reported in all 48 contiguous states and Alaska, and ticks carrying the disease have even been found in Central Park in the heart of New York City!
- The most common sign of Lyme disease, which nearly 70% of people infected develop, is a rash with a distinctive bulls-eye pattern.
There are many different types of ticks, but only Blacklegged Ticks or Deer Ticks carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. You don’t ever want to be bitten by a tick, but it’s important to know that, according to the Center for Disease Control, Lone Star Ticks, American Dog Ticks, the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick, and the Dog Tick do not transmit Lyme disease — only Deer ticks do.
Lyme Disease Symptoms and Causes
Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease that rapidly progresses. The Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, that is transmitted by the tick, can spread throughout the body and cause a series of autoimmune-like reactions. Remember, it takes 36 to 48 hours for the bacteria to be transmitted — it’s not like you get bit, and you immediately have Lyme disease.
The symptoms of Lyme disease are far-reaching and commonly affect the skin, heart, joints, and nervous system; signs and symptoms include:
- A “butterfly” shaped skin rash that appears at the site of the tick bite Many, but not all, develop a rash shaped like a bullseye that appears as a red ring around a clear area with a red center. In fact, 70% of Lyme disease patients develop this bullseye rash, so that’s really the most common, telltale sign of the disease.
- Flu-like symptoms, especially shortly after being infected. These include a fever, trouble sleeping, neck pain, fatigue, chills, sweats, and muscle aches.
- Poor sleep, chronic fatigue and lethargy.
- Digestive issues, including nausea and loss of appetite.
- Achiness and joint pains. Around 30% of Lyme patients develop symptoms of arthritis
- Long-term, many people experience mood changes, including increased depression, anxiety, and fatigue
- Cognitive changes are also a long-term symptom, and include forgetfulness, headaches, brain fog, misplacing things, and trouble concentrating.
Lyme disease is often called the great imitator, because it looks like many other health problems, including Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, MS, and Lupus.
Lyme disease is diagnosed by medical history, physical exam, and sometimes a blood test. It may take four to six weeks for your immune system to make antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi and show up in a positive blood test — that is why patients with the Lyme rash usually have a negative blood test when they first tested.
It has also been rumored that Lyme disease can be spread sexually, but the research so far says otherwise. And person cannot get infected from touching, kissing, or other contact with a person who has Lyme disease. It’s only transmitted through tick bites.
Treatment of Lyme Disease
Acute Lyme disease is typically treated with oral antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually fully recover without further issue.
A reminder: antibiotics kill the bacteria causing Lyme disease, but they also kill the good bacteria that keeps your gut working properly — this has long-term health implications for you, if you’re taking antibiotics. Some research reports that even 6 months after taking antibiotics, the gut still lacks several species of beneficial bacteria.
Make sure you really increase your probiotic intake during the time that you take antibiotics and for the month or so after you finish taking the medication. In addition to consuming probiotic-rich foods, try supplementing with a hearty soil-based probiotics that will replenish your good bacteria fast, like Smarter Gut Health.
Acute vs. Chronic Lyme Disease
Chronic Lyme disease occurs when a person who’s treated with antibiotic therapy for the disease continues to experience symptoms. The condition is also referred to as post Lyme disease syndrome or post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
Approximately 10 to 20% of people who are treated with antibiotics will have disease symptoms that persist after they complete initial treatment. These symptoms can include severe joint or muscle aches, and cognitive dysfunction and can last up to six months or longer.
Doctors don’t know why some people develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome and others don’t.
Typically, the symptoms of chronic Lyme disease syndrome resemble those that occur in the earlier stages. People with persistent symptoms often experience lingering episodes of:
- Restless sleep
- Aching joints or muscles
- Inflammation and pain or swelling in the knees, shoulders, elbows, and other large joints
- Decreased short-term memory or ability to concentrate
Like so many other chronic illnesses, inflammation tends to make the symptoms of chronic Lyme disease worse. In fact, about 15% of patients with Lyme disease develop peripheral and central nervous system involvement, often accompanied by debilitating and painful symptoms. New research released by the American Journal of Pathology indicates that inflammation plays a significant role in most of the neurologic changes associated with Lyme disease, these are all pretty horrible, including:
- Facial nerve palsy
- Neurogenic pain radiating along the back into the legs and feet
- Limb pain
- Sensory loss
- Muscle weakness
- Memory loss
- Learning disability
Tips to Avoid Tick Bites
The first defense to avoid getting bit by ticks is to know where ticks like to live. Ticks like to live in tall grass and wooded areas with a moist and humid environment. Limiting your exposure to this type of environment will also limit your tick exposure.
To avoid getting bitten, use the following tips:
- Don’t walk in high grassy areas
- Don’t sit on logs — If you sit on a log for only five minutes in a tick-infested area, you have a 30% chance of getting a tick on you.
- Wear clothing that covers the skin and has elastic on the wrist and ankles, with boots or shoes tightened at the ankles
- Tuck your pants into your socks
- Always walk in the center of trails when taking nature walks
- Shower within two hours of coming indoors
- Inspect your clothes and body, especially under the arms, around the ears, inside the belly button, back of the knees, your underwear line, and in your hair.
A Word About Tick and Insect Repellents
There are tons of insect and tick repellents on the market today — however, you should be really cautious when using them. They are loaded with chemicals and insecticides that are potentially toxic and easily absorbed into your body. The most common active ingredient in bug and tick spray is a chemical called DEET.
What’s interesting about DEET is that over 50% of it applied topically actually penetrates your skin, and 17% of it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream!
Blood concentrations of about 3 mg per liter (kg / m3) have been reported in just a few hours after DEET repellent was applied to skin. DEET is also absorbed by your gut. Additionally, the most serious concerns about DEET are its potential effects on the central nervous system, with its consistent use over time. It sounds like this stuff isn’t just killing insects — that amount in your bloodstream is probably not good over time.
So, we recommend sticking with the all-natural tick and insect repellents. You can even make your own. It’s super easy, really inexpensive to make, and really effective.
All-Natural Tick and Insect Repellent
- 20 Drops of Rose Geranium Essential Oil
- 10 Drops of Sweetgrass or Garlic Essential Oil
- 5 Drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 5 Drops of Citronella or Lemon Essential Oil
- 4oz of Rubbing Alcohol, Apple Cider Vinegar or Distilled Water
- Glass Spray Bottle
After mixing the solution, spray onto clothing, skin, and hair before going outdoors. Reapply every four hours to keep ticks at bay.
How to Remove a Tick
If you do find that a tick has bitten you, the first thing you should do is, do not freak out! Remember, it takes roughly 36 hours to be infected with Lyme disease, and most types of ticks don’t carry it — stay calm, take a deep breath, and take the following steps:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. If this does happen, remove the mouthparts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
- Don’t crush the tick between your fingers — dispose of a live tick by using one of the following methods:
- Submerging it in alcohol
- Placing it in a sealed bag/container
- Wrapping it tightly in tape
- Flushing it down the toilet
- Burning it
Natural Tips If You Get Lyme Disease
Even the best insecticides and preventative treatment can’t guarantee you aren’t going to be infected with Lyme’s disease. The CDC estimates that nearly 330,000 people are infected with Lyme disease each year!
As we discussed, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that needs to be dealt with by your immune system — meaning your best course of action in treating this disease is to ensure your immune system is healthy and functioning at a high level. Which means that you need to:
Get Enough Rest and Manage Your Stress
Stress and fatigue, whether physical, mental, or emotional, weakens your immune system, increases inflammation, and makes the symptoms associated with Lyme disease worse. It’s really, really important to give your body time to relax and heal. This means you need to sleep more — at least 8 hours per night.
It also means you need to reduce your stress levels. Make time to exercise, practice deep-breathing exercises, read, spend time outside, work on a hobby, journal, listen to music, or anything else that helps you relax and de-stress.
Your body is made up of roughly 60% water. You know how important hydration is for so many areas of your health. This is one of them. Healing requires hydration. The better hydrated we are, the easier it is for our body to repair damaged tissues; our immune system is hydration-dependent. The better hydrated we are, the better our immune systems work.
When your immune system is battling an illness like Lyme disease, it is especially important to consume adequate amounts of clean, purified or filtered water. The rule of thumb is to consume at least half your body weight in ounces per day; for example, if your weight is 120 pounds, your water consumption would be 60 ounces.
Eat to Reduce Inflammation Improve Immune Function
The best way to overcome both acute and chronic Lyme disease is by naturally boosting your immune system, lowering inflammation and managing the root causes of your symptoms. The only true way to do this is to control, limit, and prevent the inflammation that’s sapping your immune system’s time and energy. It’s important to maintain a balanced lifestyle that focuses on using natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and nutrients whenever possible. You can help you body better overcome Lyme disease once you control the inflammatory responses being triggered throughout your body. Our recommendation is that you heal with food first — eat to reduce inflammation and improve your immune function.
Helping to heal Lyme disease means you must replace harmful foods and toxins with healthy, all-natural, anti-inflammatory alternatives, this includes a diet that’s loaded with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, lean proteins like organic, grass-fed meat or legumes, including lentils and beans, organic bone broth, probiotic foods, healthy sources of fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA from sources such as wild caught salmon, avocados, coconut oil, walnuts, hemp seeds, and chia seeds.
Repair with Anti-inflammatory-Fighting Natural Supplements
The right natural foods can work wonders when it comes to reducing inflammation, strengthening your immune system, and minimizing symptoms associated with Lyme disease. But we also recommend pairing a diet of all-natural, healing foods with high quality, natural inflammation-fighting supplement, such as Smarter Cucurmin. Cucurmin is found in turmeric and is one of the most powerful free-radical fighter and immune booster found in nature. Smarter Curcumin includes AstraGin, a patented herbal complex that’s clinically shown to boost absorption of curcumin by 92%, plus ginger extract, a traditional bioenhancer that works in synergy with curcumin to enhance its effects. Thousands of studies show that turmeric and curcumin have significant benefits for joint health, heart health, brain health, digestive health, immune health, healthy aging, and more.
Today’s show was all about Lyme disease, the bacterial inflammatory disease transmitted through the bite of the Deer Tick.
Remember, not all ticks transmit Lyme, just the Deer tick — and just because you’ve been bitten by a tick doesn’t mean you have the disease. Although the disease has been confirmed in 48 out of the 50 states in the US, and 80 countries around the world, it is much more prevalent in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. So watch out if you are vacationing there this Summer.
These ticks are there, and it takes just 36 to 48 hours for the bacteria to be transmitted from a tick bite.
We shared some of the most effective ways to avoid being bitten by a tick and showed you how to remove and dispose of a tick if bitten by one. We also talked about how to avoid the potentially harmful effects of DEET-based insect sprays, by making an effective all-natural tick and insect repellent — be sure you give that a try!
Common signs of Lyme disease include the bullseye rash, flu-like symptoms, joint and muscle aches and pains, and fatigue. The disease mimics many other autoimmune diseases, like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, often making it difficult to diagnose.
Once diagnosed, most people are able to be treated with a round of powerful antibiotics. If that’s the case, remember to up your intake of probiotics using Smarter Gut Health to counter the damaging effects of the antibiotic. Increase your intake for at least a month after you stop taking the antibiotics.
However, some people experience chronic Lyme disease, which demonstrates the symptoms of the disease for months and in some cases even years after infection.
While researchers have not yet determined why this happens, we do know that inflammation plays a direct role in the condition — that’s why we want to remove inflammation from your body while also strengthening your immune system.
Our tips for minimizing the symptoms of Lyme disease and strengthening your immune system to help fight it include improving your sleep, reducing your stress levels, staying hydrated, and following a specific all-natural diet plan developed to minimize inflammation and strengthen your immune system.
We hope you found today’s show relevant, informative, and helpful! Please be sure to share this important information with your friends and family.