Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. The disease is most commonly attributed to bites from the black-legged tick or its larvae. Although it is more common in North America, with an estimated 339,000 cases in the United States every year, the disease is a global pandemic.
The common symptoms of Lyme disease can mimic the flu and include fever, chills, joint and muscle pain and stiffness, and a rash at the site of the tick bite. Outdoor activities heighten the risk of contracting Lyme disease, because it is more likely that a person will come in contact with an infected tick in wooded areas. There are three different stages of Lyme disease, all progressively worse than the last. Stage one is the mildest, with the bacteria being highly localised. Stage two is when the spread of the bacteria has begun throughout the body, and stage three is the final and most dangerous stage. At this point, the disease will have spread throughout the entire body.
Treatment of Lyme Disease
The stage of infection has a huge impact on how it is treated. If caught in the earliest stages, Lyme disease can typically be treated using an antibiotic course, specifically doxycycline. This can only happen when the tick bite has been found and treated within 72 hours of contact. Afterwards, a longer, more intensive antibiotics course is needed. The 10 to 12-week course of antibiotics should cure the body of the bacteria, but other complications can arise.
More severe complications arise when the disease has progressed to stage three and can include problems with the brain, nervous system and heart. Nerve damage may occur, alongside memory issues, pain and even paralysis of certain muscles in the face. Following infection with Lyme disease, the patient could fall ill with a disorder with lasting effects called post-Lyme disease syndrome (or chronic Lyme disease). Post-Lyme disease syndrome could still be present in those who had taken the appropriate antibiotics.
What are the best supplements for Lyme disease?
There are other options for treating the symptoms of Lyme disease after the course of antibiotics has been completed. Many supplements can help alleviate some of the common symptoms. Magnesium has been known to help with muscle stiffness and pain. Probiotics may also help with getting the good bacteria back into the gut following an intense round of antibiotics (which tend to rid the body of all bacteria, even the good kind).
Iron is a great supplement when battling a chronic illness such as Lyme disease. It combats low energy levels that may be caused by an iron deficiency due to the Lyme disease attacking the body’s systems. Coenzyme 10 helps to aid in the proper muscle function along with cardiovascular effects that Lyme disease sufferers could benefit from.
Does B12 help with Lyme disease?
Numbness and tingling in the limbs are both uncomfortable symptoms of Lyme disease. Taking B12 can help with this by aiding in the proper function of the nervous system. The supplement contains myelin, which acts as a coating for nerve cells; when it is at high levels in the body, the nervous system benefits greatly. Because being infected with Lyme disease can lead to certain autoimmune disorders, making sure that the body is functioning properly is crucial in the treatment of symptoms.
The vitamin B12 can also help with the brain fog that may come along with Lyme disease by creating red blood cells that increase the oxygen flow to the brain. The medicines used to treat Lyme disease can also contain protein pump inhibitors, which will make it harder for the body to absorb B12 naturally. Supplementing the diet with either B12 pills or shots will greatly decrease the chances of a Lyme disease patient becoming anaemic and B12-deficient.
What happens when B12 levels are low?
Being B12-deficient can cause a host of problems within the body. The major symptoms include dizziness, degenerating vision, chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety, and muscle weakness. Other symptoms include numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, pale skin, mobility changes, and breathlessness following normal activities. Because B12 is essential in the creation of red blood cells and oxygen flow throughout the body, being deficient can have a huge impact on how the body functions. Long-term B12 deficiency can also lead to pernicious anaemia, which will lead to the destruction of the protein that allows for B12 absorption.
Raising B12 levels fast can be hard, but not impossible. Taking the B12 supplement of at least 2.4 mcg will help but it takes take a while for the body to absorb and begin using the B12 to combat symptoms. If the deficiency is more severe, B12 shots called hydroxocobalamin will need to be taken – they tend to act a lot faster than the oral supplement. Adding foods high in B12 such as meat products, mushrooms and fortified rice, dairy and cereals can also improve B12 deficiency and will need to be consumed consistently in order to combat B12 deficiency.