As Lyme disease is a multi-system inflammatory disease that can affect any and all organs in the body, and since steroids are BIG NO NO for us as they suppress the immune system and allow the infection(s) to thrive and spread, finding the holy grail of inflammation-reduction can remain elusive for those of us whose symptoms are a result of an inflammatory response run amok.
However, I am happy and excited to report that last week I started taking three powerful antioxidant supplements known for their anti-inflammatory effects, as well as other immuno-modulating and anti-bacterial/viral effects, and they are definitely helping a bit, especially with the perpetual pressure/throbbing sensation in my head! NOTE: I try never to add more than one substance at a time to my supplement regimen as I won’t be able to tell what is causing what reaction – favorable or unfavorable – and so I added the following 3 supplements one at a time, a few days apart, over the course of a week.
The first substance is Curcumin (NowFoods brand), the second is Rosmarinic Acid (Life Extension brand), and the third substance is Green Tea Extract (Life Extension brand). So, here’s a bit about each of these substances and why they can be a powerful addition to your Lyme disease treatment.
Curcumin is a naturally occurring compound derived from the Indian spice turmeric – a member of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) – and has been a popular medicinal substance in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as well as a spice used in Indian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Curcumin has been noted for its strong therapeutic as well as preventative effect on certain major human diseases due to its anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancerous effects. Although the body responds protectively to bacterial and viral infections as well as offending substances (such as pollen or air pollution), when inflammation persists, it sets the stage for the development of cancer. Now, an aberrant increase in the activity of NF-kB (nuclear transcription factor kappa beta) leads to runaway inflammation, and curcumin has actually been shown to interrupt NF-kB signaling at multiple levels, thus, exerting a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Without getting into complex molecular biology, just know that NF-kB plays a major role in most diseases and scientists are excited about curcumin’s ability to inhibit NF-kB, and thus, suppress inflammation. As much research on curcumin has been related to cancer, studies have found that curcumin also inhibits the activity of I-kB kinase, IKK, exerting an even more powerful anti-inflammation and anti-cancer effect. Curcumin has also been shown to increase cellular glutathione levels in the body.
Curcumin is yellow in color and something I have noticed is that the substances that are the basis for many anti-malarial medications – think Mepron and quinacrine – are often yellow in color and, interestingly, these antibiotics can also be powerfully anti-inflammatory. Perhaps nature is really clever in that substances that are yellow in color, having a similar wavelength/frequency, also have anti-inflammatory properties. Just a thought.
I take 1 curcumin capsule 2 x day (each capsule is 665mg).
2. Rosmarinic Acid
The second supplement I added is rosmarinic acid, which is a natural polyphenol found in large quantities in plants such as rosemary, oregano, lemon balm and sage. Rosmarinic acid is being studied for its positive effects on Alzheimer’s disease (possible Lyme as the cause), and it has a number of exciting biological activities: antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It is especially noted for its ability to help the body detoxify environmental toxins.
Rosmarinic acid and ciguatera fish poisoning
Some cases of CFS they feel are due to ciguatera fish poisoning, an illness caused by the ingestion of fish (especially tropic reef fish) that contain powerful toxins – ciguatoxins – produced by microscopic Gambierdiscus algae. Fish meal is used to feed so many animals that we later eat, that you don’t even need to be eating fish or clams to ingest these toxins. What is devastating about this illness is that it can last years, decades even a lifetime as the body is often not able to clear these toxins since they keep recirculating in the system due to enterohepatic circulation. The symptoms of ciguatera poisoning can be the same as Lyme disease or CFS.
So what does all that have to do with rosmarinic acid? Well, I was so excited when I read an article that said they have discovered recently that the antidote to this fish toxin may be rosmarinic acid!
“‘Octopus bush’ (Heliotropium foertherianum) is the traditional medicine of choice in the Pacific islands for ciguatera fish poisoning which is caused by powerful ciguatoxins produced by microscopic Gambierdiscus algae. Ingested by fish and clams, the toxins accumulate in the food chain, causing diarrhoea, vomiting and neurological symptoms in those who eat it. At least 100,000 people, mostly in the Pacific, are poisoned each year.
“Scientists from the Institute of Research for Development (IRD), collaborating with colleagues from the Louis Malarde Institute in French Polynesia and Pasteur Institute in New Caledonia, Melanesia, screened around 100 medicinal plants for their activity against ciguatoxins.
Octopus bush extracts were found to be the most promising, containing a molecule similar to rosmarinic acid — a compound known for its antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The researchers think rosmarinic acid may remove the ciguatoxins from their sites of action, as well as being an anti-inflammatory.”
3. Green Tea Extract
Like curcumin, green tea has been used medicinally for years in places such as India and China. The most potent antioxidant in green tea is the polyphenol Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) was has been shown to be many times more powerful an antioxidant than vitamin C and vitamin E. Studies have shown green tea to be helpful in heart conditions, autoimmune diseases, cancer, viral and bacterial infections, and arthritis among other things. I read a journal abstract recently showing how EGCG was even able to inhibit the growth of Babesia parasites (Babesiosis being a common and dangerous co-infection for those with Lyme disease).
I am taking LifeExtension’s Mega Green Tea Extract (decaffeinated), 1 capsule daily, typically in the morning.