Lyme Detoxification 101: The Basics

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Lyme Detoxification 101 Image by Marty Ross MD

Detoxification in Lyme Disease

There are basic steps that everyone with Lyme disease should take to remove toxins. Toxins come from Lyme germs, yeast and bacteria in the intestines, food and air, and chemical reactions in our cells. Herbal and prescription anbtiotics and other medications can have toxic effects too.

When the immune system sees toxins it makes inflammation chemicals called cytokines. Cytokines cause fatigue, immune system dysfunction, hormone problems, body pain, thinking dysfunction, and many other problems. This article describes the fundamental steps to take for detoxification. For most these are the only detoxification steps that are necessary. In certain situations where these fundamental steps are not enough then one could consider using coffee enemas, saunas or hot baths (see Far Infrared Sauna Detox: More Than Sweat), or toxin binders like cholestyramine, chorella, or fractionated pectin (see Mold and Lyme Toxin Illness).

Don't put toxins in

Start with your diet. Eat organic foods. These do not contain harmful poisons. Also use green cleaning supplies. The fumes and gasses of toxic cleaning supplies get absorbed into the blood stream through the lungs. For specific diets see Nutrition section on this website.

It's about the liver and intestines 

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 can be reabsorbed 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.

Marty Ross MD Discusses Detoxification Basics

This recording is a Lyme Byte from our webinar Conversations with Marty Ross MD recorded 05/28/2014 when Dr. Ross practiced in Seattle, Washington.

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  • 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 you should also 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.

Liver Detoxification

Liver detoxification requires adequate micronutrients and glutathione the master detoxification agent found in all of our cells.

  • The building blocks. Proper nutrition alone is not enough to provide the essential nutrients necessary to support the organs responsible for detox. A well balanced multi­vitamin with mixed amino acids taken daily is the foundation of detoxification. Active glutathione is made in cells with Alpha Lipoic Acid and N­-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). Glutathione is a very powerful antioxidant generated in all cells and used in the liver to detox fat soluble toxins. Unfortunately, most forms of oral glutathione are poorly absorbed. However there are newer sources designed for improved absorption which microscopically wrap the glutathione in fats called phospholipids. This type is called liposomal glutathione. Stronger ways to increase cellular glutathione levels are through nebulizers which create a mist that a person breaths in or intravenous administration. Another way is to give alpha lipoic acid and/or NAC. For more information see Glutathione: The Great Fixer.
  • MTHFR and Methylation. If a person has a MTHFR genetic defect they are unable to produce adequate levels of glutathione. (See our video article: MTHFR and Detoxification.) MTHFR is an enzyme that converts inactive folate into the active form called 5-­methyltetrahydrofolate (5-­MTHF). 5-­MTHF and methylcobalamin (a methylated form of vitamin B12) are used in a process called methylation. Methylation is required to produce glutathione. A MTHFR dna mutation analysis blood test shows if a person has this problem. Another clue is having sensitivities to many different prescriptions or supplements.

Supplements Dosages

Support liver detox with a good multivitamin, increase glutathione using liposomal glutathione or if not tolerated then N-Acetyl Cysteine and Alpha Lipoic Acid. Take 5-MTHF and Methylcobalmin if you also have an MTHFR detoxification defect.

  • Multivitamin. Use a vitamin that has numerous amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, and various vitamin Bs including b12 and folate Take one scoop daily. I prefer powder multivitamins by Integrative Therapeutics or Thorne.
  • Liposomal Glutathione 500mg 1 to 2 times a day.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid 350mg 1 pill 2 times a day.
  • N­-Acetyl Cysteine 500mg 1 pill 3 times a day.
  • 5-MTHF 400mg and Methylcobalamin 400mg Combination 1 to 3 pills 1 time a day. Start at 1 pill and increase every 7 days as tolerated up to 3 pills. Go slowly because opening up blocked detoxification with this supplement could cause more fatigue, body pain, and cognitive dysfunction.
  • 5-­MTHF. 5-­MTHF 1 mg or 5­-MTHF 5 mg 1 pill daily. Add the 1 mg dose after your are stable on the 5-MTHF/Methylcobalamin Combination. Only add the 5mg dose if advised by your physician.


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.

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