Is Lyme Disease Curable? Functional Medicine Can Help!

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Is Lyme Disease Curable? Functional Medicine Can Help!

In this blog, we will look at Lyme Disease and answer the question ‘Is Lyme Disease curable?’ You will learn:

  • What Lyme Disease is
  • How Lyme Disease is very complicated
  • How Lyme Disease is usually curable and how Functional Medicine is very-well placed to address symptoms resulting from Lyme Disease

Do you know what Lyme Disease is and if it can be cured? Do you or your clients suffer from acute or chronic Lyme Disease and its symptoms? If you want to know more about this increasingly common disease and how to best optimize the health of your clients, then this blog is for you. Please read on for answers!  

Do you get stuck clinically with chronic symptoms in your patients?  Would you like to have a larger impact on improving your clients’ issues? 

The key to optimal health is an individual approach using nutrition, lifestyle and exercise. To improve your patients’ quality of life, you need to identify and address the root causes. Our functional medicine course will teach you how to do this. Look into our functional medicine school ( to have a greater impact on improving your client’s lives.

** Please note: If you want the short summary version of this article, then please click here ** 

What is Lyme Disease (LD)?

Lyme Disease is a tick-borne illness. It is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted through tick bites. It has many different symptoms and can present in many ways. 

After the initial tick bite, a person may develop an early stage Borrelia infection which is acute Lyme Disease. If not treated properly, or in some cases, despite treatment, it can worsen and develop into late stage Borrelia infection or chronic Lyme Disease. 

Doctors call Lyme Disease the ‘Great Imitator’ because it has so many potential symptoms and can imitate many other diseases. It can often go misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Even if properly diagnosed, treatment is not always effective. Because of these issues, some people suffer quite a lot from undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, untreated or improperly treated Lyme Disease. Their symptoms can simply show up as something the doctors don’t think is Lyme Disease. 

We have written extensively about Lyme Disease in our blogs. Please start here with some definitions of Lyme and continue reading through our blog for tons of information on Lyme Disease. In our clinic, we are experts at diagnosing and treating Lyme.

Is Lyme Disease Curable?

The good news is that…. Lyme Disease is usually curable.

In our medical opinion, Lyme Disease is curable. But it is a complicated disease. Please see our blog here on this topic. It is best to see a Lyme-literate doctor. We recommend that you catch it as early as possible. See a doctor as soon as you realize that you have been bitten by a tick, have a bull’s eye rash or suspect you may have been exposed to Lyme Disease after time in nature.

Lyme is curable, but complicated:

  • 63% of people today infected with Borrelia develop chronic Lyme Disease (Davidsson, 2018).
  • Many Lyme Disease patients either do not receive any antibiotic treatment or receive an insufficient amount of antibiotic treatment (Davidsson, 2018).
  • No scientific studies support the claim that 3 weeks of oral antibiotics can always cure acute or chronic Lyme Disease (Davidsson, 2018)
  • Many scientific studies show that the Borrelia bacteria can survive 3 weeks of oral antibiotics in vitro and in vivo, in mice, dogs, horses, monkeys and in humans (Davidsson, 2018). 
  • Alive Borrelia bacteria has been found in 7 out of 8 patients with chronic Lyme Disease (Davidsson, 2018)
  • The immune system by itself can never eradicate a Borrelia infection (Davidsson, 2018). 
  • The Borrelia bacteria has the most complex genomic structure among known bacteria (Davidsson, 2018). Borrelia bacteria are very genetically diversified. Different Borrelia strains have different antigens so the different Borrelia strains will produce different immune system responses in the form of antibodies in an infected person. 
  • A blood test that only tests for one specific antibody cannot detect antibodies from different Borrelia strains. A person that is infected with one type of Borrelia strain will also have different symptoms compared to a person that is infected with another strain of the Borrelia bacteria (Davidsson, 2018).
  • Borrelia strains that exist in Europe usually do not product arthritis as a symptom so it is not typically seen in European Lyme Disease patients. In the US, Lyme arthritis is more common (Davidsson, 2018). This does not mean that the lack of arthritis in a patient means they don’t have Lyme Disease (Davidsson, 2018).
  • Borrelia also has many different co-infections: Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, etc. A tick can spread approx. 237 different types of bacteria and many types of viruses (Davidsson, 2018). Chronic Lyme patients might be simultaneously infected with many different types of microbes.
  • Borrelia bacteria evades the immune system by changing morphology, meaning it can change its form and structure. The bacteria can avoid being killed by broad-spectrum antibiotics by changing morphology and by changing its outer surface proteins, which are antigens. When the bacteria can change its antigens all the time, the specific antibodies produced by the immune system to eradicate the infection become useless (Davidsson, 2018).
  • Testing for Lyme Disease is inaccurate. Not all doctors know to run the correct test and not all doctors know how to properly interpret the gold standard test, the Western Blot. 
  • Unfortunately, as one research article puts it ‘A person who suspects a Lyme Disease infection is better off tossing a coin and diagnosing themselves because the blood tests for Lyme Disease today will miss most infections.’ (Davidsson, 2018). This is because the Borrelia bacteria has, as mentioned, the ability to change its antigens by changing its morphology.
  • Studies estimate the sensitivity of the Lyme Disease test to be 44-46% (Davidsson, 2018). Sensitivity is a test’s ability to find a person with the disease as positive. A very sensitive test means that there are few false negative results and fewer cases of the disease are missed. At 44-46%, the Lyme testing is not very sensitive so we can expect false negative test results. A false negative test result says someone does not have Lyme Disease when they actually do have Lyme Disease. 
  • Severe inflammation can result from the Borrelia bacteria, co-infections and how an individual person’s body responds. This dysregulated inflammatory response from the immune system can trigger autoimmunity or an autoimmune-like reaction, as a result of Lyme Disease. This happens in the case of Lyme arthritis for example and can be difficult to resolve.
  • The Borrelia bacteria can hide behind biofilms. It can burrow deep into tissue and hide. It is then unreachable by any antimicrobials or antibiotics.
  • Misdiagnosis can often happen with Lyme. Either the testing can provide a false negative or a doctor may not be Lyme-literate and therefore not recognize the symptoms for Lyme Disease, or may interpret the Western Blot test incorrectly.

That is a lot of bad news about the challenges of treating Lyme. A Lyme-literate doctor is best positioned to address Lyme and its symptoms. Furthermore, by using a Functional Medicine approach, we can do better in addressing and resolving Lyme symptoms, even in the case of chronic Lyme.

Are You a Suffering from Chronic Illness?

Does your current health situation look like this…

  • Do you feel that you have tried many things and either nothing works, or the treatment does not hold?
  • Have you been told that there is nothing that can be done to reverse your illness and you just need to manage symptoms?
  • Does your illness impact your work, your family, your happiness and your social life?

We specialize in finding answers and solutions for complicated chronic illness when people feel like they have tried everything. If this sounds like you, book a free call with us to see if we are the right fit for your health goals. 

How does Functional Medicine Treat Lyme Disease?

We have made the point before: Lyme Disease needs to be correctly identified, diagnosed and treated early on. This is best done by a Lyme-literate doctor. In our clinic, we are Lyme-literate doctors. 

We look beyond antibiotics and look for the root causes of disease, within the individual patient. Healing Lyme Disease and its various symptoms is an on-going process. It is not based on one specific drug, supplement, herb or therapy. We employ a range of different immune-boosting, health-promoting strategies to strengthen the immune system and keep pathogens under control.

The conventional medicine treatment approach of antibiotics may help. Sometimes it doesn’t. Even so, antibiotics can be damaging to gut health and long-term pharmaceutical use always has side effects. In our clinic, we look for natural treatment approaches. We use medications too but always look to less-invasive solutions with the least side effects first. 

You can read about our approach to treating Lyme Disease here.

How do we Treat Lyme in our Clinic?

There are various things we do when treating Lyme Disease, whether it is acute or chronic:

Co-infections: We test for Lyme co-infections. Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Bartonella and others are co-infections that may be transmitted through the same tick bite. An infected tick can harbor hundreds of bacterial and/or viral pathogens. These possible infections need to be addressed for any Lyme treatment to be complete. 

Other chronic infections: Any infection linked to systemic inflammation needs to be addressed. For example, people with Herpes simplex infection or a history of outbreaks, can take medication.  Active Epstein-Barr Virus can be treated with herbs. 

Herbs: We use various herbs with Lyme Disease. Lyme is a complex microbe so working with and trying out different herbs gives the best chances of success. Japanese knotweed and Cat’s claw are both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. They help to support immune function. Andrographis, cistus and turmeric reduce inflammation. Adaptogenic herbs combat stress and regulate the HPA axis.

Supplements: It is important to cover possible nutrient deficiencies with a multi-vitamin /mineral formula. Medicinal Reishi mushrooms have beta-glucans that boost the immune system. Omega 3 reduces inflammation. Monolaurin is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal, helping to fight pathogens that cause Lyme and Lyme co-infections. 

It is important to use a biofilm buster to ensure all of the Lyme, or other, bacteria are treated and eliminated. Bacteria can burrow into tissue and hide from the antimicrobials. With something to break down the biofilm, the bacteria are exposed to the antimicrobials and can be eliminated.

Anti-inflammatory diet: Inflammation can be reduced through a better diet. We like the Paleo or the gluten-free Mediterranean diet best to decrease inflammation, pain and autoimmune-type flare-ups.

Exercise: Exercise is always beneficial but in cases of illness, it needs to be at an appropriate level. Start very slowly, ideally with supervision to make sure you don’t overdo it. Being too sedentary is actually associated with immune dysfunction and toxin build-up, which are two things that can worsen Lyme symptoms.

Stress reduction and management: It is important to maintain proper hormonal balance and regulate cortisol and keep it at healthy levels. To cope with stress and increase mindfulness, we recommend meditation, yoga, tai chi, guided mediations, apps, journaling, breathing exercises and other resources. Each person needs to find a stress management method that works best for them.

Sleep: Good sleep is critical to maintain strong immune function and general good health. Practice good sleep hygiene to make sure you get 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night.

Gut heath: Gut health is the foundation of overall health. 70-80% of immune function is based on good gut health. We check for intestinal permeability or leaky gut, infections, inflammation or impaired absorption / digestion. We often put our Lyme patients on a gut healing protocol with dietary restrictions, gut-healing nutrients, digestive enzyme support and treatment of any identified dysbiosis. We also use prebiotics and probiotics.

Address inflammation & possible autoimmunity: We address inflammation and potential autoimmune reactions. This is done via an anti-inflammatory diet, improving gut health and repairing leaky gut, reducing toxins/ stress/ anything that increases inflammation and an over-reactive immune response. We look for systemic inflammation. We can give supplement support and anti-inflammatory herbs, such as liposomal glutathione, fish oil, resveratrol, vitamins C and D, Boswellia, quercetin and omega-3 fats. 

Toxins: Reducing toxin exposure and possibly detoxing toxins help the immune system to function well. People may have toxicity from metals (mercury or lead), organic pollutants (benzene, phthalates, or organophosphate insecticides) or mold or other biotoxins. A targeted detoxification protocol using binding agents (Cholestyramine or bentonite clay), sauna, herbs, sulforaphane and avoiding seafood can help to reduce the toxic load (Toups K, 2022).

Acupuncture: Acupuncture helps control inflammation. Stimulating certain acupuncture points can control the immune responses to bacterial infections and lessen systemic inflammatory responses to bacterial infection (Akoolo L, 2022). The interaction between the nervous and immune systems affects how the body responds to acute stressors like infections. Communication between the nervous and immune systems can curb inflammatory responses to a Borrelia burgdorferi infection (Akoolo L, 2022).

Acupuncture has a lasting anti-inflammatory effect on mice (Akoolo L, 2022). Even a short 2-week acupuncture treatment decreased neutrophils in the joints and inflammatory cytokine levels throughout the body in mice, 4 weeks later (Akoolo L, 2022). This shows acupuncture’s lasting anti-inflammatory effect (Akoolo L, 2022). 

New Approaches: There is new and interesting research being done to try to find medications that can block Borrelia’s ability to vary its antigens (Davidsson, 2018). If successful, it could mean an end to chronic Lyme Disease (Davidsson, 2018).

Functional Medicine and integrative approaches can be very effective in conditions that have no clear ‘cure’. This goes for Lyme Disease and chronic Lyme as well as conditions like long Covid, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and chronic pain. FM techniques (exercise for depression, mindfulness for stress and anxiety management, an anti-inflammatory diet) can decrease the inflammation that comes with chronic conditions. These are often more effective than pharmaceuticals (Roth A, 2021). 

When people suffer from these chronic conditions with ‘no cure’ in conventional medicine, they may lose confidence in conventional medicine. They may see very little improvement despite working with different doctors. Conventional doctors often blame stress for people’s symptoms (Roth A, 2021). While stress is an important factor, this does not identify any of the root causes of illness. This is where Functional Medicine can truly help and very often completely cure people, if the patient puts in the time and dedication required to implement treatments. 

In our clinic, we are experts at identifying root causes, diagnosing conditions like Lyme Disease and helping people to address the root causes of illness and improve their health. We are Lyme-literate doctors who treat Lyme Disease and post-Lyme chronic symptoms, with both natural and pharmaceutical approaches, depending on the individual case. 


  • Lyme Disease is a complex disease. The bacteria responsible for a Lyme infection is the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. 
  • The Borrelia bacteria is genetically very complex and sophisticated. It can change shape and form. This means the immune system’s normal ways of eradicating bacteria may not work on this bacteria. This is because Borrelia can change the antigens it produces and confuse the immune system
  • In addition, Borrelia can hide behind a biofilm for protection from antimicrobial treatment.
  • In Functional Medicine, we can often better address complex diseases than conventional medicine can. 
  • In Functional Medicine, we identify the specific root causes for each individual and address them one by one. For example, we can identify gut issues, hormonal imbalance, inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, excess stress, toxic load and others. Addressing these issues individually will help to regain full health.
  • We use lifestyle habit changes, diet changes, herbs, supplements and antimicrobials to address Lyme Disease. In many cases, we can fully resolve a Lyme infection through these Functional Medicine techniques.

** Please stay tuned for our next Blog!  **

If you are a clinician wanting to learn more about treatment of Lyme Disease, please check out our clinician training programs here.

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Are You a Suffering from Chronic Illness?

Does your current health situation look like this…

  • Do you feel that you have tried many things and either nothing works, or the treatment does not hold?
  • Have you been told that there is nothing that can be done to reverse your illness and you just need to manage symptoms?
  • Does your illness impact your work, your family, your happiness and your social life?

We specialize in finding answers and solutions for complicated chronic illness when people feel like they have tried everything. If this sounds like you, book a free call with us to see if we are the right fit for your health goals. 

Dr. Miles Nichols has spoken for the following organizations:

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