LYME DISEASE And Sex Hormone Depletion

Book excerpt from?

NOURISH,THRIVE, HEAL:

A comprehensive and holistic approach to living with Lyme disease

Rika K. Keck

“We are designed to live with short-term stress followed by periods of recovery and rest with the help of the calming parasympathetic nervous system. Being in balance, with acute stress followed by rest, is called healthy stress adaptation. But with sustained inflammation from excessive environmental toxins, unhealthy foods, and Lyme-related infections, the body experiences insufficient rest and repair because it remains in fight-or-flight mode. This directly impacts our energy, blood sugar balance, fertility, sleep, and the ability to heal. The body is not concerned with those functions when it is in survival mode. Hormonal imbalances make Lyme symptoms worse, as they are closely connected with our nervous system, digestion, moods, and immune function.

The good news is that our body is always looking out for us; it is continually adapting or compensating to ensure our survival. In its innate wisdom, the body creates resources to fight infections, but it comes with a price. . . . For instance, when it is challenged with chronic infections, the body will resort to using building materials meant for sex hormones, such as progesterone or testosterone, for the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol. However, lower levels of DHEA, testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen, contribute to depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and increased pain and inflammation.

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When living with chronic Lyme or mold-related illnesses, the sex and steroid hormones are often out of balance, but there are many treatment options avail- able. Some individuals respond well to hormone replacement therapy; others prefer glandulars, herbals, and homeopathy to support hormonal balance that is closely interlinked with the immune system. I recommend avoiding all synthetic hormones and only choosing a bio-identical option if you opt for hormone replacement therapy.

In those with persistent Lyme, the menstruation cycle is often affected, and even the cessation of menses can occur. With lower sex hormones, the libido is diminished, which can create conflict in personal relationships. Hormonal imbalances with symptoms such as PMS, insomnia, and migraines add other dimensions to an already complex Lyme scenario. Infertility, low sperm counts, or repeated miscarriages are also a concern.

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Functional testing from specialized labs is very helpful to gain additional information about the hormonal status in your body. But it is only as good as its interpretation within the context of clinical findings, and if the appropriate action is taken by your practitioner or doctor. Testing from specialized labs can be expensive, and the financial aspect can be restrictive and prohibitive for many because these tests are often not covered by insurance companies. Integration of hormonal balance is an important factor when living with the ongoing stress of Lyme disease, yet it is often neglected.”

Rika Keck, author

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WHY YOU STAY SICK AND TIRED: chronic fatigue, environmental toxicity, obesity & genetics!

Toxicity: A Key Factor In Chronic Illness

Excessive toxicity from today?s environmental exposures, commercial foods and internal infections harm our cells. This is also known as cellular metabolic dysfunction, as the toxins enter the molecular structure of our cells. The toxins create tremendous harm, and that limits the cell?s ability to perform its daily duties!

When our cell walls become damaged and porous, the energy center in the cell, called the mitochondria, gets damaged too. Imagine this as if the software program inside the cell becomes altered and now the cell does not do the job it is designed to do. This becomes a great problem for our bodies and it will induce ongoing fatigue, sustained inflammation and mysterious pain, and lack of brainpower for daily tasks.

And what else plays a role in our ability to get rid of toxins? Methylation.
Methylation is a biochemical process that protects our DNA inside the cells, and it facilitates getting rid of toxins in every cell. What we eat , how we live, emotional trauma, vaccinations and poisonous substances we are exposed to affect this important biochemical process. For it to occur optimally, we need a select group of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin b6, B12 , zinc, magnesium and selenium. Methylation happens in every cell, but especially in the liver ? over a billion times a day. This is hard to imagine!

Life stress, pollution, lack of nature, urban lifestyles, air pollution all contribute to toxicity and inflammation.

Life stress, pollution, lack of nature, urban lifestyles, air pollution all contribute to toxicity and inflammation.

Why does this process matter regarding detoxification and our ability to become well?

Methylation creates and recycles an important anti-oxidant called glutathione (GSH). We need glutathione to help us get rid of poisons and toxins. Individuals who are diagnosed with cancer, or suffer from persistent or chronic Lyme, often have low levels of glutathione. This makes it very difficult for their bodies to get rid of infections and toxins. Both inflame the body and contribute to ongoing sickness.

Some individuals have genetic predispositions, or glitches, that affect this biochemical detox pathway. Imagine this like a car where not all pieces of a car are present, thus the car does not drive very well and is at risk of breaking down along the way. If not all nutrients are available, this biochemical process does not work very well, just like the car analogy.The body does it?s darnedest to compensate but it will not operate optimally. Environmental toxins can accumulate, have metals add another burden, and infectious endotoxins build up too. In addition, methylation affects how an individual tolerates and metabolizes medications, alcohol, antibiotics and anti-microbial herbal therapies.

Biochemical irregularities are called methylation defects, and they affect various gene markers that can be tested in your saliva or blood. Individuals with methylation challenges often have multiple health, neurological, and mental ‘unwellness’ symptoms. This is not (yet) accepted in conventional medicine or psychopharmacology.

The brain and brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, are specifically more influenced by challenges in biochemical process. The insufficient clearing of bodily toxins?including heavy metals and toxic mold exposures, pesticides, plus toxins from chronic infections such as Lyme disease or a Bartonella infection?will especially impact the brain.

The genetic mutations are called polymorphisms, and there are multiple variations. It can mean that some individuals detox too fast (overmethylate) and others too slow (undermethylate). It is important to note that individuals often present the opposite reaction to medications, supplements, and herbal applications when genetic glitches are present.

What about testing regarding methylation if I have chronic health problems?

Genetic testing can be done with a saliva test called 23andMe, which needs to be interpreted by a professional. Again, it will show information about genetic vulnerability; it will not determine genetic expression.

In conventional blood labs, large red blood cells, elevated homocysteine and CRP (C – Reactive Protein, an inflammatory marker) can indicate irregularities in the methylation pathway.
This particularly affects the B12/folate mechanism. Nutrients, i.e. activated vitamin B vitamins (especially P-5-P, methyl folate, zinc, SAMe, homocysteine, hydroxocobalamin B12, magnesium, taurine and other nutrients) come into play to support methylation challenges. Consult with a practitioner if the above discussion resonates with you as this might be a missing piece in your treatment protocol.

Methylation plays an important role with chronic Lyme, biotoxins from mold exposures and Spectrum-related disorders.Even though it plays a important role, it is a spoke in a wheel. Nutrition, lifestyle, emotional wellness, stress, infections, toxic exposures and trauma all are other spokes in the wheel that must be considered in the landscape of wellness.

Rika Keck
FDN-P, ACN, CMTA
Upcoming Author
NOURISH, HEAL, THRIVE
A comprehensive and holistic guide when living with Lyme disease