Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness caused when an infected tick bites a person or animal and spreads the disease into the bloodstream. The symptoms of Lyme disease are usually non-specific and vary from case to case, and by severity of the spread of the disease throughout the body.
If it is caught early, Lyme causes infected persons to experience flu-like symptoms such as a fever, chills, headaches, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated to spread to different areas of the body, however, more serious complications can occur. For severe cases, symptoms present in the form of facial paralysis, severe headaches/migraines, neurological problems (brain fog, memory loss, brain and spinal cord inflammation, mental confusion), Lyme carditis (heart palpitations and abnormal heartbeat), and arthritis.
Lyme disease can also lead to a chronic illness called Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), which can cause sleep problems, fatigue, cognitive issues and muscle and joint problems that can last for years following treatment.
Can Lyme cause immune deficiency?
Although Lyme disease isn’t categorised as an autoimmune disease, it does attack the body’s systems in a way that can lead to a lessened immune response and risk of developing an autoimmune disorder. The damage that Lyme disease can do to the body, especially if treated late, can be long-lasting or permanent. The attack on the nervous system, and muscle tissue and joints can cause a patient to develop certain problems later in life such as arthritis or Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
What is methylation?
The process of methylation is one of the sole biochemical processes responsible for how the body functions. It happens when one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms form together to attach themselves to other molecules in the body. This process then controls almost everything in the body including stress response, neurological function, immune response, energy levels and inflammation levels.
It also includes the process of demethylation, which acts as the removal of the methyl group from the molecules. These two biochemical reactions in the body work together to turn on certain responses and then turn them off at optimal times to make sure everything in the body is running smoothly. When the body is in short supply of these methyl groups or they aren’t working as they’re supposed to, the body processes start to break down, making a person vulnerable to a plethora of health issues such as autoimmune diseases, mental health issues and chronic pain.
The MTHFR gene mutation
The MTHFR gene (Methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase) is used in the body to convert folate into the useable 5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid (5-MTHF). This enzyme aids in the body’s repair of DNA on a cellular level, which helps the body’s natural methylation function. Over half of the population is known to have the MTHFR gene mutation, which disrupts the body’s ability to create and use 5-MTHF.
When this happens, the immune response is lower to infections and bacteria because the methylation process is disturbed. It also lowers the body’s ability to fight infection and help antibiotics rid the body of bacteria and infections. Low levels of 5-MTHF have also been linked to leukaemia, and certain other cancers. There are supplements that can help aid in the production of 5-MTHF so that the body stays at its most optimal level, and some studies have even suggested that the synthetic version of 5-MTHF can even reverse precancerous cell production.
When these gene mutations occur and the methylation process is disrupted, it can also lead to a build-up of heavy metal toxicity and other free radicals infiltrating the body and wreaking havoc at a cellular level.
Lifestyle factors that play into methylation disruption
A modern lifestyle can contribute heavily to the disruption in methylation. Exposure to certain chemicals, such as heavy metals and air pollutants, is unavoidable. The build-up of these things in the body is what causes methylation to cease operation, thus disturbing how the body functions overall.
Heavy metals can be found in almost everything. Eating a diet rich in fish, for example, can lead to high levels of mercury in the body. Painting a home can cause high levels of lead, and working at a factory or warehouse with heavy metal production can all lead to high levels of heavy metals in the body. Heavy metals are also in water and even some herbal medicines that are designed to help the body run properly.
The role of the MTHFR gene mutation in patients with chronic Lyme disease
People who suffer from chronic Lyme disease and have the MTHFR gene mutation are especially at risk, because both Lyme disease and the MTHFR gene mutation can cause the immune response to lessen, negatively impacting the methylation process. When the process is disrupted, it leads to even more problems throughout the body.
It will also affect the way Lyme disease patients are treated. Due to the risk factors against methylation in Lyme disease sufferers with the MTHFR gene mutation, the antibiotics used to treat the disease will be less effective and will have to fight harder to rid the body of the infection.
What is chelation therapy?
A good option for those suffering from both Lyme disease and the MTHFR gene mutation is chelation therapy. This therapy is usually introduced into the system intravenously, and acts as a binder to the heavy metals and other toxins that disrupt methylation.
After attaching to the toxins throughout the body, the chemical used then travels throughout the bloodstream and gets expelled through urine. This process is highly regarded as safe and effective because it seeks out the bad toxins and leaves the rest to do their job.
*This article is based around the expertise of BCA’s new doctor, Dr. Hollenhorst, who specialises in pain management and heavy metal detoxification. If you have any questions regarding how heavy metal detoxification and chelation therapy could help patients with Lyme disease, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org*