Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness, caused by the pathogenic organism Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme can affects the whole body in numerous ways because it prompts an extreme inflammatory response. The excess inflammation in the body that damages healthy tissue, producing an array of symptoms. Lyme disease is often under diagnosed and the symptoms that can show up in those with a chronic Lyme infection are: aching, stiffness, arthritis type pain, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, problems with memory and mood, loss of motor coordination and intermittent fevers. The management of Lyme disease involved antibiotics. Ideally, Lyme treatment is multifaceted and not only kills the bacteria but supports the whole body, mitigating and reversing long-term damages. In the world of functional medicine glutathione is a staple in Lyme Protocols.
Glutathione and Lyme
Across the board in Lyme Disease, glutathione levels are low. This is because:
1. Glutathione gets depleted by the inflammation characteristic of Lyme
2. The bacteria that causes Lyme passively absorbs an amino acid called cysteine. Cysteine is a component of glutathione and required for the production of it. Without enough cystine, there is not enough glutathione.
3. A process called methylation is also needed in the production of glutathione. In Lyme Disease, methylation is compromised resulting in a lower amount of glutathione being made
In Lyme Disease, restoring glutathione levels is paramount not only because it gets depleted but also because glutathione is directly involved in the healing of Lyme disease.
Inflammation is a characteristic in the onset and progression of Lyme disease. Glutathione is an antioxidant, which the body uses to combat and fight inflammation.
Glutathione reduces the number of inflammatory molecules called cytokines that are produced in Lyme Disease.
Glutathione therefore impacts inflammation in two ways: it reduces already existing inflammation and it lowers the amount of the inflammation that Lyme disease produces.
Glutathione goes one step further and it repairs and regenerates tissues that were damaged through the inflammatory process.
The Liver and Lyme Die off
Glutathione is needed in both phases of liver detoxification .This is incredibly important in Lyme Disease because when the bacteria die, they produce harmful chemicals and toxins. These metabolites get neutralized and removed from the body via the detoxification pathways in the liver.
These toxins need to be rapidly cleared from the body, if they aren’t they can elicit what is known as a herxheimer reaction.
A herxheimer reaction occurs when the toxins released from the dead Lyme Bacteria stay in the body. They cause excess inflammation and produce free radicals that can make Lyme symptoms worse. Usually people experience fevers, irritability, headaches, muscle aches and chills.
Glutathione ensures the detox pathways are running smooth. It helps to excrete these toxins before they produce harmful molecules.
Glutathione is hepatoprotective- meaning it protects and rejuvenates the liver cells which is important because neutralizing these toxins is hard on the liver. The antibiotics that are used to kill Lyme also increase the burden on the liver. When the liver is under stress, like it is Lyme, glutathione is needed in extra amounts.
Improves Cellular function
The cellular protection of glutathione is not liver specific. It is used by nearly all cells to rejuvenate and fix damage.
Lyme causes excess cell damage and a subsequent decrease in cell function by attacking the mitochondria.
The mitochondria are required for healing and they need to be healthy in order for healing to occur. Since Lyme damages mitochondria, they need support in order for whole body healing to happen. Glutathione repairs mitochondria and restores cell function.
In addition, cell death occurs when there isn’t enough glutathione, making it a necessary ingredient in the biology of life.
Glutathione alone won’t eradicate Lyme Disease, however it’s a needed component of any Lyme protocol for a full recovery. As demonstrated, Lyme disease increases the need for glutathione. Without high cellular concentrations of glutathione, as is the case in chronic infections such as Lyme Disease levels become too low to support basic cell biology and disease gets perpetuated.
When it comes to supplementing glutathione, quality matters.
Lypo-Spheric®Glutathione is the industry standard, providing an intact molecule and absorption similar to an IV- while providing the body with phospholipids which on their own have cell protective properties in the fight against Lyme disease!