For the purposes of this case study we’ll refer to the patient anonymously as Jane. We’ll explore what symptoms she arrived with and how we were able to support her with using a functional medicine treatment approach.
How Our Functional Medicine Treatment & Nutrition Clinic Helped Jane Overcome a Range of Unusual Symptoms
Jane arrived at the London Clinic of Nutrition feeling, in her words, as though ‘as though she was falling apart’. She felt like the route’s that she’d tried so far weren’t able to make sense of what was happening to her body. Which is understandable given that as a female in her mid 30s the symptoms that Jane was experiencing were not usual.
During her initial consultation Jane spoke of her concerns which included;
- Carbohydrate intolerance and suspected Candida overgrowth,
- Coeliac Disease,
- Previous Malaria infection and tick bites,
- Back pain,
- Digestive issues,
- Head pressure,
- Sensitivity to smells,
- Poor temperature regulation,
- Pain at the bottom of the feet and also migrating muscle pain.
She was also suffering from extreme fatigue and brain fog. In fact, she used to drink in excess of 1 litre of filter coffee (4 mugs!) in the morning to try and get some energy and focus!
Showing Signs of Lyme Disease
With her vast experience of supporting people through nutritional therapy and functional medicine, one of our lead practitioners Daisy suspected what Jane was experiencing as a result of an undiagnosed case of Lyme Disease.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease can be radically different at an acute infection stage and also at chronic stage, and that is one of the reasons for common misdiagnosis. At acute stage Lyme Disease can have flu-like symptoms with muscle pain, headaches, light sensitivity and tiredness and at chronic stage the bacterial infection can have over 40 symptoms such as migrating muscle and joint pain, insomnia, brain fog, anxiety, fatigue and others. Many clients do not remember being bitten by a tick or having the signature bull’s eye rash (which only appears in 20% of cases).
Jane had a number of these symptoms appear over the year adding to the long list she presented with at our first consultation, but also remembered finding a tick attached to her on two occasions – but she pulled it off both times and did not think much of it. Like most people, she knew she only needed to worry if a rash appeared in the place of the bite.
Why is Lyme Disease Commonly Undiagnosed?
Despite research* suggesting that there are about 132,000 new Lyme Diseases cases in the UK every year, the bacterial infection, which can have over 40 symptoms at chronic stage is often mis – or under- diagnosed. This is further compounded by the fact that testing for Lyme Disease, especially the Elisa and Western Blot tests offered on the NHS, are not very reliable and often can have false negative results.
Fortunately, here at the London Clinic of Nutrition, Europe’s biggest functional medicine clinic, we have been dealing with Lyme Disease for over a decade and could recognise some of the hallmark symptoms of Lyme Disease.
Can Lyme Disease cause severe fatigue and brain fog?
One of the main symptoms Jane experienced and something often seen with Lyme Disease is persistent fatigue and brain fog. It is one of the hallmark symptoms of chronic Lyme Disease and people with it are often mis-diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
There are numerous ways that Lyme Disease can cause brain fog and fatigue – one of the main ones is that it affects cells in the body called the Mitochondria, which have many roles, but also help us produce energy. The bacteria is very smart in disabling these particular cells as they are also known to ‘power up’ parts of the immune system, which deals with bacterial infections.
Borrelia, the bacteria behind Lyme Disease, is also known to penetrate the brain and severely affect the nervous system, which can cause significant inflammation and trigger symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, muscle twitching and weakness.
Lyme Disease and Mould Exposure
It was not until a few years later when Jane was exposed to some mould and dampness during a trip to India and later in her rented accommodation in London that she noticed she was getting very tired, even first thing in the morning. No amount of sleep or numerous cups of coffee could relieve the fatigue she was experiencing every day.
Other strange symptoms seemed to appear around that time – constant and urgent urination, persistent urinary tract infections, low and panicked mood without obvious reasons and her thick long hair started falling out. The list of seemingly unrelated symptoms was getting quite long now and although she sought medical help at that point, the Dr did not have any explanations or diagnosis for her.
Later, when discussing trying to put together her ‘health jigsaw’ as part of our first consultation, which covered a comprehensive medical history and health timeline, we discussed that Lyme Disease can often be a latent or a dormant infection for a while and only become active when another toxin or infection comes along.
Mould exposure, which can often trigger what is called ‘mycotoxin illness’, can often reactivate dormant Lyme Disease as it has a dampening effect on the arm of the immune system, which deals with bacterial infections.
Providing reliable testing for Lyme Disease
Generally, testing for Lyme Disease can be very unreliable as it will depend on how long the infection has gone on for, the type of Borrelia Lyme Disease Bacteria (and there are over 30 types) and whether the immune system is functioning properly.From the health history of the client weI already knew she had autoimmunity (Coeliac Disease), so likely to yield false negative test results on antibody based tests for Lyme Disease.
Fortunately, at the clinic we offer a variety of Lyme Disease tests, one of them being microscopy dark blood analysis based tests, which does not rely on the immune system function. This particular test also allows us to check for up to 5 of the most common Lyme Disease co-infections such as Bartonella, Babesia and Mycoplasma – some of these such as Bartonella can be quite hard to detect.
Summary of tests that we carried out:
- Dual Dur Lyme Disease and Co infections
- Mycotoxin Test – to check for mould metabolites
- Comprehensive stool test – to check gut health and whether she was still having leaky gut despite herself attempting a gluten free diet
- Iron Panel – often people with Coeliac Disease are low in nutrients such as Iron and B12
- Advanced thyroid panel – the thyroid is very sensitive to Lyme Disease and also toxins such as Mycotoxins and this test also included the B12 levels marker
Our proposed Functional Medicine Treatment For Lyme Disease
The mycotoxin test came back with significant levels of several types of mycotoxins. Commonly, most Lyme Disease clients have some level of mycotoxin illness and this has to be detoxified, sometimes before any Lyme Disease protocol, to free up the immune system and help it regain function.
We initially started with a 3 month mycotoxin detox and gut protocol and upon retesting Jane the levels of Mycotoxins had significantly reduced and we were then able to introduce some of the herbs for Lyme Disease.
Brain re-training programmes
Dynamic Neuronal Retraining Programme were a key part of the early protocol as the client felt constant anxiety and that she was in a ‘fight or flight’ state all the time. Our programmes helped her mood, but also supported in building resilience and tolerance to some of the supplements.
Gluten Free diet excluding Gluten Cross Reactive Foods
The client already knew she was Coeliac and was attempting to exclude some gluten containing foods, but was not fully compliant. We removed all gluten containing foods as well as Gluten Cross Reactive foods such as Oats, Yeasts, Millett and her sensitivities and gut symptoms substantially reduced.
Gut health protocol
Our gut tests showed several types of pathogenic bacteria and inflammation markers, which we worked on through further dietary changes and also supplements. The client also had a significant Candida overgrowth, which we slowly cleared up together with the mycotoxins.
When dealing with Lyme Disease it is crucial to optimise gut health and this is where 80% of the immune system ‘lives’ and compromised gut health leads to impaired immunity.
Different supplements to help detox such as binders, liver and lymph support were recommended alongside supplements such as a high dose of Vitamin D and Glutathione, which helps modulate the immune system were introduced.
After the 3 months on this foundation protocol and whilst clearing mycotoxins the client was able to start tolerating some of the herbs for Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease and Co-infections treatment
Once we have completed the foundational protocol and lowered levels of mycotoxins we started on some of the herbs for Lyme Disease and later on for Bartonella, one of the co-infections, which she also came back positive for.
Symptom Progress after 10 months
Because of the complexity of the multiple issues Jane was dealing with there was quite a lot of fluctuation in symptoms at the beginning, but thanks to our functional medicine treatment for Lyme Disease and the individual and patient centred approach we take, the client felt brain fog, tiredness and sleep were some of the first symptoms to improve, followed by gut and digestion related symptoms.
As a result Jane gave a recent testimonial covering her journey so far:
‘I have been treated by Daisy for about 10 months now. Initially, I came desperate feeling I was falling apart and no one was able to help me make sense of what was going on in my body. Daisy’s professional approach, her attunement and her passion for holistic treatment helped me to get on the path of recovery. She was instrumental in discovering that my body was suffering from Lyme disease and other co-infections, candida, celiac disease, limbic system impairment and a high level of toxicity in my body. Since then, it has been a slow process of peeling an onion to heal my body in its roots. There is still a long way to go for my body to get back to its full health. But what I already have which I lost for a very long time is hope that I will regain my full health again.’
Contact us for support with your health concerns
We’ve supported over 20,000 patients with natural and nutrition based functional medicine treatment. So if any of this sounds familiar or you have health concerns that you’d like to get to the route cause of then please don’t hesitate to get in touch and book your free discovery call today.
*Estimates for Lyme borreliosis infections based on models using sentinel canine and human seroprevalence data Michael J. Cook a, * , Basant K. Puri