The Basic Lyme Detox Steps

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Lyme Detoxification 101 Image by Marty Ross MD

Updated: 6/13/22

How to Detoxify in Lyme Disease

In this video and written article, I describe basic steps a person can take to detoxify in Lyme disease. The basic steps include:

  • eating organic foods to avoid toxins
  • living in a mold free environment to prevent absorption of mold toxins
  • avoiding toxic chemicals in your home
  • supporting liver detoxification with glutathione
  • promoting regular bowel movements to eliminate toxins
  • drinking plenty of water to support kidney detox and to promote regular bowel movements
  • sweating through sauna or exercise as tolerated
  • binding toxins in the intestines with binders if needed

Marty Ross MD Discusses Detox in Lyme Disease 

 
 
 
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A Word About Feeling Toxic

Often people report they "feel toxic" in Lyme treatments.  A major cause of feeling toxic is due to excessive cytokines the immune system makes as it tries to control Lyme infection.

A good way to deal with "feeling toxic" is to lower cytokines and work to remove the toxins triggering the cytokines. Read more about how to lower cytokines in Control Cytokines: A Guide to Fix Lyme Symptoms & The Immune System. Two basic steps that support lowering cytokines are to take liposomal curcumin and to use liposomal glutathione.

The Basic Steps to Lyme Detox

Keep Toxins Out

Start with your diet - eat organic foods. These do not contain harmful poisons. For specific diets I recommend see The Best Brain, Inflammation, Pain, Energy, and Detox Diet Ever and Elimination Diet to Find Problem Foods.

Avoid toxins in your environment. This includes mold toxins. Also use green cleaning supplies. The fumes and gasses of toxic cleaning supplies get absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs.

Support Toxin Removal by The Liver, Intestines, and Kidneys

From the blood, toxins are cleaned out of the body by the liver. The liver transforms toxins from fat-based forms to water-based forms by tagging them with water-based chemical groups. In the intestines the tagged toxins are then moved out of our bodies through the stools. However, if a person does not have regular bowel movements, bacteria in the intestines can remove the water-based tag. If this happens, the now fat-based toxins move into the blood. Fiber in the diet and water intake promote regular bowel movements. In addition, fiber can bind the fat-based toxins so that they do not get reabsorbed.

Some use coffee enemas for detox. The tannins in coffee irritate the intestine lining causing bowel movments. There is a very small effect of coffee promoting more toxin release by the liver - but this is quite small. Because they have similar effects promoting bowel movements, I find using fiber and water in the diet is easier than coffee enemas.

Fiber & Water Support Detox

Water. It is important to drink 1/2 of your ideal body weight in ounces daily (ie: a 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces of water a day). This helps to flush the kidneys and promotes regular bowel movements.

Fiber. To bind toxins in the intestines and to promote regular bowel movements have 3 or more servings a day of fiber. Foods rich in fiber are beans, legumes, and whole grains. Apples are also a good source. To determine how much to have in a serving, I advise that a clenched fist is roughly equal to two serving sizes.

Support Liver Detoxification

Liver detoxification requires glutathione. Glutathione is a very powerful antioxidant generated in all cells and used in the liver to detox fat soluble toxins. Faced with toxin excess, the liver can exhaust its glutathione supplies. Most forms of oral glutathione are poorly absorbed. However there are sources designed for improved absorption which microscopically wrap the glutathione in fats called phospholipids. This type is called liposomal glutathione. For more information see Glutathione: The Great Fixer.

In my practice, I find that glutathione is more effective at promoting detox than other products like Nutramedix Burbur and Pinella. I do not recommend these supplements, but go with glutathione instead. 

Sweat to Remove Toxins

Sweating through exercise, hot baths, or using infrared saunas can help remove toxins. When you heat up and sweat, toxins move to the liver and some move to your sweat. About 80 percent are cleared by the liver and about 20 percent are removed in the sweat. For more information about saunas and hot baths see Far Infrared Sauna Detox: More Than Sweat.

Use Binders to Remove Toxins

At times it helps to bind toxins in the intestines so they cannot get absorbed into the bloodstream using binders. Binders include bentonite or zeolite clay, activated charcoal, silica, humic acid and fulvic acid. Some companies make products which contain a number of these binders together in one pill.

Probiotics and Detox

Healthy bacteria that line the intestines remove toxins. In Lyme disease it is common to have unhealthy bacteria in the intestines due to herbal or prescription antibiotics and the stress of the illness. Rebuilding the healthy lining with high quality probiotics can help with detox. For more information about probiotics see Probiotics in Lyme Treatment.

Dosages For Supplements in This Article

Glutathione

Liposomal Glutathione 400 to 500 mg 1 to 2 times a day. An example of liposomal glutathione shown to raise cell levels of glutathione is Tri-Fortify by Researched Nutritionals. (3)*

Curcumin

Liposomal Curcumin 500 mg 1 or 2 pills 3 times a day. An example of liposomal curcumin is Meriva 500 SF by Thorne.

Probiotic to Support Healthy Intestinal Function and Detox*

Multi-biome by Researched Nutritionals 1 to 2 pills 1 time a day. This product is a soil-based spore-forming probiotic that includes strains of Bacillus scientifically proven to support intestinal health. It also includes human strains of probiotics too. This product does not require refrigeration.

Binders to Support Detox*

GI Detox + by Biobotanical Research or MycoPul by Researched Nutritionals 1 to 2 pills 1 time a day. Do not take any medicines or supplements beginning 30 min before taking these binders through 2 hours after taking these binders. The reason for this is binders will bind your supplements and prescription medicines too. You can eat any time, but the best time to have a small amount of food or a meal is 30 minutes after taking the binder.

Disclaimer

The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References

View Citations

  1. Pizzorno, J. The Toxin Solution: How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water, Food, and Products We Use Are Destroying Our Health--AND WHAT WE CAN DO TO FIX IT. New York, NY: HarperCollins; 2017.
  2. Pizzorno J. Glutathione! Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal. 2014;13(1):8-12.
  3. Sinha R, Sinha L, Calcagnotto A, Trushin N, Haley JS, Schell TD, Richie Jr JP. Oral supplementation with liposomal glutathione elevates body stores of glutathione and markers of immune function. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2018;72:105–111.
  4. Lynch, B. Dirty genes. New York, NY: HarperOne; 2018.
  5. Ballatori N, Krance SM, Notenboom S, Shi S, Tieu K, Hammond CL. Glutathione dysregulation and the etiology and progression of human diseases. Biol. Chem. 2009;390:191–214. doi:10.1515/BC.2009.033.
  6. Gulcubuk A, et al. Effects of curcumin on proinflammatory cytokines and tissue injury in the early and late phases of experimental acute pancreatitis.. Pancreatology. 13(4):347-354.
  7. Lee DW, Gardner R, Porter DL, et al. Current concepts in the diagnosis and management of cytokine release syndrome. Blood. 2014;124(2):188-195. doi:10.1182/blood-2014-05-552729.
  8. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. Curcumin. Micronutrient Information Center; Phytochemicals website. lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/curcumin Accessed August 18, 2018.
  9. Lu SC. Glutathione synthesis. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2013;1830:3143-3153
  10. Pall M. Approaches to curing chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, gulf war syndrom, and possibley many others. Townsend Letter. 2010 (Feb/March) www.townsendletter.com/FebMarch2010/cureNO0210.html Accessed August 19, 2018
  11. Peacock BN, Gherezghiher TB, Hilario JD. et al. New insights into Lyme disease. Redox Biol. 2015;5:66–70. doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2015.03.002.
  12. Shachar I, Karin N. The dual roles of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in the regulation of autoimmune diseases and their clinical implications. J Leukoc Biol. 2013;93(1):51–61. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0612293.
  13. Zhao F, Gong Y, Hu Y, Lu, M, Wang J, Dong J, Qiu F. Curcumin and its major metabolites inhibit the inflammatory response induced by lipopolysaccharide: Translocation of nuclear factor-κB as potential target. Molecular Medicine Reports. 2015;11:3087-3093. doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2014.3079
  14. Markowiak P, Śliżewska K. Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Human Health. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):1021. Published 2017 Sep 15. doi:10.3390/nu9091021
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About the Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice. 

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) and The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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