Lyme Disease And Neurotoxins – Is Cholestyramine The Answer?

Field of a positive and a negative point charg...
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It is felt that some strains of Borellia give off neurotoxins and that there may be more than one type of neurotoxin given off.  This may account for why some people are sicker than others and why, perhaps, some with Lyme disease do not respond much to antiobiotics.  What happens with neurotoxins, such as with Ciguetera poisoning, is that the poisons keep recirculating through your body due to what is called enterohepatic circulation where your body is not fully able to excrete these neurotoxins.  It has been suggested by a Dr. Richie Shoemaker that those with Lyme disease and other illnesses where neurotoxins are implicated should take Questran (the name brand of cholestyramine) which is a cholesterol lowering drug.  The theory behind this is that the strong positive charge of the cholestyramine will bind to the negative charge of the neurotoxin (or cholesterol as this is what the medication is commonly used for) and thus promote their excretion by preventing the enterohepatic circulation. 

Having read much on this, I contacted my LLMD (Lyme Literate Doctor) and asked if I could try some Questran.  He said he would gladly fill a script, however, he tried it with 100 of his patients and not one of them received any benefit from it, only adverse things such as bloating and constipation as it is very fatty.  I also spoke with some other Lyme sufferers who said they too did not receive any benefit.  As well, it can be a real pain to take as it can also interfere with antibiotics and supplements and so needs to be taken with food a few hours apart from anything else.  Therefore, although Dr. Shoemaker is promoting this as a possible cure-all for the symptoms of Lyme, I am skeptical.

One idea that is far less risky is to try using Oat Bran (this will not work with regular oats) as it contains the polysaccharide Betaglucan – a soluble part of dietary fiber – that interrupts the enterohepatic circulation, absorbing bile acid and carrying it safely out of the body – neurotoxins included.  Those with Lyme and other illnesses often avoid eating anything with gluten (a good idea as celiac tests are often only about 50-60% reliable), as do those with Celiac disease, so the problem with oats or oat bran is that they are often contaminated with wheat because oats are typically grown on land used to grow wheat as well, and/or packaged in facilities that package wheat products.  BUT, I did find a company in Canada called Only Oats that guarantees their oats to be gluten-free from rigid testing and they do not grow the oats on fields used for wheat as well, and products are packaged in a wheat-free facility.  The best part, they sell oat bran!  Now, the shipping to the US can be pricey – looks to be a flat $20.  I ordered their 5 lb 8 oz. bag of gluten-free oat bran and will give it a try.  Try to take the oat bran apart from your medications or supplements as, if it works, it may bind to and help excrete the antibiotics or whatever else you are are taking besides, hopefully, the neurotoxins.  Lastly, I had a doctor once tell me that he had patients take oat bran to help with removing mercury from their body when they had mercury poisoning, so maybe there is something to this!

Only Oats is the place to buy the gluten-free oat bran.

Good luck!


5 comments for “Lyme Disease And Neurotoxins – Is Cholestyramine The Answer?

  1. Linda
    December 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    “The theory behind this is that the strong positive charge of the cholestyramine will bind to the negative charge of the neurotoxin” I’m not certain this is correct, I think it is just the opposite. I swear I’m not being picky. I’m confused and this is an important point for many reasons especially for those of us searching many alternatives like binding the neurotoxins. Please, please check this out and email me back. Thank you!

    • Danielle
      December 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm

      Hi Linda, no worries…definitely important. I believe it is as I said, that the cholestyramine has a positive charge and the neurotoxins negative…here is an excerpt I found on, but there are many others you can see by doing a Google search.

      In the Allergy Research Group newsletter, “Focus”, dated August 2002, I found the following excerpt:

      “Additionally, binding therapy with the cholesterol-lowering drug Cholestyramine is an option in treating some of these patients. This drug has a complimentary positive charge to the generally negative charge of the neurotoxin and as the neurotoxin-bile complex passes the Sphincter of Oddi where bile is released from the gallbladder, it binds neurotoxins linked to bile, which can then not be reabsorbed. Prolonged use of Cholestyramine has proven to be disappointing in patient out-comes whereby the infection is of a chronic nature. Cycling of Cholestyramine has been utilized (5 days on, 10 days off) or an early AM single dose for several months.

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  3. long term lyme
    March 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Cholestyramine helped me a lot. I had lyme disease for 30 years and I’ve tried everything! I took it in tandem with laxative-type supplements like castor oil or triphala. I am always bloated so I didn’t care much about that. The toxins lyme produces are vile, and cholestyramine helps get rid of them. Shoemaker has an online vision test that is supposed to reveal whether you have the toxin or not. Then you can take the test again after being on cholestyramine for a period of time, and see if the results change. I recommend doing this.
    Good luck to all.

  4. catherine ritlaw
    February 14, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    I have used cholestyramine or cholestipol for 14 years for my chronic Lyme. If I skip a day, I get worse. They work.

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