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Environmental Illness

Environmental illness refers to a state of sickness that is directly related to the exposure to toxins or substances in the environment such as mycotoxins from molds, chemicals, foods, and/or contaminated water and air.

In some patients, prolonged exposure to a toxicant(s) will cause multiple chemical sensitivities, which subsequently causes the patient to be hypersensitive to many substances in the environment, and living in the modern world becomes challenging.

Adequate nutrition, hydration, sleep and detoxification are necessary to remove the toxins in the body and restore health. Detox methods can include saunas, coffee enemas, exercise, toxin binders, hydrotherapy, and a host of other methods. Please speak with Dr. Marra about your concerns and she can help you navigate what will help you heal in a timely manner. Sweating is the most natural way to detox, so if you can exercise, that would be the best way to detox.

Detoxification – A Necessary Component to Healing

Detoxification is a natural property of the human body and includes: urination, defecation, sweating and breathing. Food and liquids that we eat and drink respectively contain many components for which the body cannot use and are therefore eliminated as waste. This is a homeostatic component of our physiology that allows “balance” to be maintained in the body. The liver, kidneys, colon and lungs are the organs responsible for carrying out detox activity in the body. However, the liver bears most of this burden in filtering blood. Nature has designed four elaborate detoxification pathways that include: sulfation, glucuronidation, acetylation and glycation. These pathways must operate with ease in order for the liver to filter contaminants in the blood such as spirochetal excrement, dead spirochetes, and known toxins such as Bb Tox 1, ammonia, and Quinolinic acid. If these toxins are not removed from the body, they accumulate causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage which augments illness and may contribute significantly to chronic infectious illness.

Dr. Richard Shoemaker in Potomac, Maryland identified several genetic markers that confer the ability to properly detoxify, and they are called HLAs (human leukocyte antigens). HLAs are cell surface antigens noted in 18% of the general human population. For the public at large, these antigens pose few problems. However, for people infected with tick-borne illness or those who have been exposed to molds, the presence of HLAs complicates the detoxification process considerably. Additionally, HLAs have also been linked to the development of autoimmune issues in patients with tick-borne disease.

The presence of heavy metals (i.e., mercury, lead, cadmium) in the body also contributes to difficulty with detoxification processes. Heavy metal exposure is widespread throughout our environment. These metals are stored in fat tissue and are utilized by tick-borne pathogens to support their “lattice” like biofilm structure. Heavy metal detoxification can be important to Lyme Disease patients and should be discussed with your physician.

Lastly, we live in a world where we simply cannot escape pesticides and carcinogenic chemicals. They are present in our food and water supply, and similar to heavy metals, they are stored in fat tissue. When undergoing a detox, these chemicals are released into the blood stream and require toxin binders such as apple pectin, silica salt, bentonite clay or charcoal to be ingested so that the toxins are NOT reabsorbed into the body. Lyme literate Doctors suspect that chemical exposure exacerbates the effects of Lyme Disease, and therefore a carefully implemented detox program is highly recommended during the healing process.

The following are suggestions to aid in the detoxification processes when undergoing treatment for Lyme Disease and co-infections.

  • Drink plenty of filtered water throughout the day (8-10 16 ounce glasses/day)
  • Consider using a far infrared sauna
  • Consider a lymphatic massage
  • Consider using hydrotherapy
  • Consider colonics
  • Consider doing coffee enemas 2-3 times per week (see recipe)
  • Consider doing a baking soda and Epsom salt bath daily
  • Consider juicing using organic vegetables and fruits at least once daily
  • Consider using Glutathione (a universal antioxidant that can be administered transdermally or intravenously)
  • Consider using Calcium Sodium EDTA (Detoxamin)
  • Consider using DMSA, DMPS or Vitamin C IV
*All of these detoxification techniques should be done ONLY after discussion with your physician as some of these are very potent and can cause a significant Herxheimer reaction.


Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections As Co-infections or Secondary Infections in Lyme Disease Patients Who Are Immunocompromised

As of 2018, recent research by Fry Laboratories in Scottsdale, Arizona, suggests that, at least in some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and arthritis, fungus may be the actual problem. This should come as no surprise because fungi, bacteria, and viruses have been coevolving on earth and in hosts for millions and millions of years. Fungi are found throughout the environment and especially in soil, air and water, and in normal healthy people, they may not pose a problem. However, in patients who are immunocompromised, fungal infections can be VERY problematic.

Candida is a well known yeast in the intestines that feeds on sugar and can become symptom causing in patients who have a poor diet of carbohydrates and sugar. BUT…this is not the only fungus that immunocomprised patients are susceptible to. There are many other fungi that are disease causing but diagnostic testing was severely lacking. Things have changed now. Fry Labs has a urine, blood, or stool DNA sequencing test that most insurance companies cover. Disease causing fungi such as:

  • Entomophthoromycota – contains pathogens of insects
  • Ascomycota – parasitize mammals and cause systemic infection
  • Basidiomycota – airborne cells that can cause pneumonia
  • Aspergillus – causes pneumonia, sinusitis and brain absesses
  • Fusarium – spreads through the bloodstream and can cause skin infections
  • Mucorales – airborne and dangerous to patients with diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar

These are simply a few of the fungal organisms that can be problematic to human health and fully recovering from Lyme Disease. But there is a test for these now and we can specifically identify them and treat them so that the total pathogen load on the immune system is reduced.

Without question fungal infections can be treated by both herbs and/or antifungal medications, but you MUST known which infection(s) you have, so that you can get on the right medication. Some natural antifungals include:

  • Capryllic Acid
  • Garlic
  • Oregano Oil
  • Neem
  • Cloves
  • Black Walnut
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut Oil
  • Ginger

Some medications that treat fungals infections include:

  • Nystatin
  • Diflucan
  • Ketoconazole
  • Sporanox
  • Iatraconzole

However, antifungal medications are typically hard on the liver and routine monthly blood tests to check for liver enzymes is a MUST. Pulsing antifungal medication is also a good idea.

Talk with Dr. Marra if you would like to be tested for fungus other than Candida through Fry Labs. You won’t be sorry that you did this test.

Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and Endotoxins

Lipopolysaccharides are large molecules composed of sugars and fats which are endotoxins found within a bacterial cell. LPS is secreted as part of the normal physiological activity of membrane vesicle trafficking , and protect the membrane from certain chemical attacks. LPS activates the hosts’ immune response by stimulating white blood cells (i.e., neutrophils, macrophages, dendritic cells) to secrete certain enzymes that deactivate them. Additionally, these WBC’s secrete proinflammatory cytokines, nitric oxide, and eicosanoids, and the resulting cellular response is the release of superoxide, a free radical that causes oxidative stress. This may function as an adaptive host strategy to manage the toxic effects of LPS.

LPS and inflammation may be the most important factors contributing to the varied clinical manifestations of infections, especially for tick-borne pathogens. Excessive release of LPS can lead to endotoxemia (septicemia) and requires immediate medical attention.

It is thought that lip oligosaccharides may cause autoimmune disease (i.e., multiple sclerosis) by a mechanism known as molecular mimicry. Many bacteria employ molecular mimicry strategies to fool the hosts’ immune system.

Scientists believe that lingering LPS long after a bacterial infection has been eradicated may cause continued host immunosuppression and persistent symptoms. It has been proposed that if LPS is not removed, illness is likely to continue.

Cellular detox using German biological medicines and herbs can helps reduce the affects of endotoxemia. Toxin binders such as apple pectin, chlorella, zeolite, charcoal and Cholestyramine may also be useful.

Perhaps one of the oldest and most effective ways to cleanse the body is to fast or eat a solely plant based diet. This may not be appropriate for all patients so it is best to discuss this with your physician.

Yeast Infection

A yeast infection (Candidiasis) is a fungal infection often caused by Candida albicans.  Various reasons that fungal infections occur include: excess sugar and carbohydrates in the diet, alcoholism, mold exposure, allergic constitution, improper replenishing of intestinal flora with probiotics (i.e.,LactobacillusSaccromyces) long term use of antibiotics, corticosteroid use, and autoimmune illness.  Symptoms associated with a yeast infection are: gas, bloating, cramps, diarrhea alternating with constipation, abdominal pain, brain fog and cognitive difficulties, fatigue, strange rashes all over the body, circular vague rashes on the abdomen under the bra area, anal itching, red raised “beefy” and itchy rashes, odorous vaginal discharge, a thick white coating on the tongue (otherwise known as “thrush”), and toenail fungal infections.  Yeast overgrowth is particularly relevant to children diagnosed with “Autism” where Lyme Disease has also been documented.

Yeast infections are frequently observed in conjunction with Lyme Disease as the result of improper antibiotic and probiotic use.  Fungal infections complicate the symptom picture of chronic illness related to tick borne infections because there is significant symptom overlap and additional pathogen burden on the immune system.

However, yeast (fungal) infections can be avoided with proper nutrition and natural therapeutic supplementation.  Pharmaceutical intervention may be required (antifungal medications) at times to prevent a full blown yeast infection but dietary modification is the MOST important factor to avoid chronic yeast infections.