Detoxing While Treating Lyme Disease

​Detoxing is an essential part of fighting Lyme Disease and achieving relief from a herx. You are exposed to toxins on a daily basis, in your food, water, the air, and even your home in the form of mold. As a patient of tick-borne disease, these toxins can serve as an additional catalyst to your symptoms and can even send you into relapse, especially during treatment. Project Lyme has developed this resource to educate you on how to detoxify your system while treating your illness.

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What Is A Herxheimer Reaction?

The Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction, known colloquially as a Herxheimer Reaction or “herx”, was discovered by dermatologists Adolf Jarisch and Karl Herxheimer in their studies of syphilis. Both syphilis and Lyme bacterium are spirochetes, meaning they have a spiral shape and can cause the same reaction in patients during treatment. The reaction occurs as an adverse response to toxins released by the bacteria being killed by antibiotics. The tips in this resource are designed to help lessen the effects of herxes as you treat your disease.

Use Detoxifying Herbs and Supplements

Toxin binders can help you to detoxify from Lyme disease, coinfections, mold illness, and more. They assist by binding to toxins and withdrawing heavy metals from your body so that your immune system can work more efficiently. It is important to note that binders can’t differentiate between substances, so don’t use them within two hours of taking any herbs, supplements, or medications in order to make sure they are absorbed properly.

There are two commonly used binders: 

  • Chlorella contains a spectrum of amino acids, iron, vitamins, and minerals. In addition to binding to toxins, it assists in healing and soothing the gut. 
  • Activated charcoal can prevent the body from absorbing toxic substances. Manufacturers then treat the charcoal to make it more porous; increasing its surface area in this way allows more substances to bind to it.

In addition, you can use detoxifying herbs and supplements. These may come in a variety of preparations, including pills, liquids, and powders. They include

  • Garlic contains a chemical called allicin that promotes the production of white blood cells, helps fight against toxins, and also has natural antiviral, antibacterial,  and antibiotic properties.  
  • Milk thistle has been used for thousands of years to support a healthy liver, the primary organ responsible for detoxification. 
  • Dandelion is known to help support liver function.
  • Glutathione is a powerful intracellular antioxidant that helps support enzymes that aid in the elimination of toxins.
  • NAC (n-acetyl cysteine) is an essential component for the formation of glutathione inside cells. NAC is an antioxidant that helps protect liver function. 
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid is protective of liver function and helps remove toxins from the body. 
  • Berberine supports liver health, healthy circulation, gut health, a balanced microbiome, and more.
  • Burbur Pinella provides antioxidant and brain/cognitive support as well as helps your body to cleanse itself.

This list is not exhaustive. To learn more about detox methods that include patient votes for effectiveness, check out this resource on detoxing by Tired of Lyme.

Sweat It Out With an Infrared Sauna 

Infrared saunas can improve circulation, decrease inflammation, and relieve pain. Infrared saunas can also help to remove heavy metals and other toxins through sweating. The removal of these toxins can help to boost your immune capabilities as well as increase endorphin production. But be careful: If you use this method in excess, it can actually be harmful to your recovery. To avoid any issues, keep the temperature tolerable, your time short, and make sure to stay hydrated. 

Flush Toxins With Specialty Drinks

While drinking water is one of the ways you may be exposed to toxins, drinking lots of it in conjunction with other liquids can actually flush toxins out of your body. Some great detoxifying drinks include:

  • Lemon water and apple cider vinegar can stimulate the production of bile, help cleanse your liver, and balance your acid-alkaline levels, which helps detoxify chemicals and metabolize drugs.
  • Herbal teas can keep you hydrated and supply you with easily-absorbed antioxidants to quell inflammation. There are many types, including:
    • Milk thistle and dandelion root teas provide liver support.
    • Peppermint and ginger teas can reduce nausea. 
    • Chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm teas help with sleep.
    • Licorice root and orange peel teas aid in combating fatigue.

Get Appropriate Exercise

While not every patient will be able to apply this step, there are times when exercise is an appropriate step for your healing. If your symptoms are stable or improving, it’s probably time to add some movement to your daily routine. Exercise improves circulation, oxygenates your tissues, and enhances the work of the lymphatic system through muscle contractions. To cut down on the risk of exacerbating your symptoms, stick to low-impact exercises. To learn more about low-impact movement options, check out the Movements for Lymies guided class.