Most people battling chronic Lyme disease think of the illness as an infection caused by a bacterium known commonly as Borrelia Burgdorferi, generally transmitted via the bite of an infected tick. What many don't recognize, however, is that recovery from chronic Lyme disease requires recognition that the disease is truly a much more complex illness. Recovery often challenges one to consider more than just infection as the single causative agent involved in the disease process. It is through looking beyond the infectious component of Lyme disease and understanding the equally important aspects of damaging heavy metals and other toxic insults that a more full and lasting recovery may be realized.
Garry F. Gordon MD, DO, MD (H) co-founded the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) and serves as the President of Gordon Research Institute. Dr. Gordon graciously spent a couple of hours with me sharing his views on chronic Lyme disease and those factors that are important in recovering from chronic illness.
Dr. Gordon acknowledges Lyme disease as a serious infection which can lead to a wide-variety of health challenges. He does not, however, hyperfocus on the specific tick-borne pathogens which cause the disease. He instead believes that a multitude of infections are prevalent in anyone with chronic ill health. In addition to these numerous infections, our state of health is closely tied to our total body burden of endogenous and exogenous toxins. When looking at why illness is present, it is important to look at a number of factors including genetics, chronic infections, and total body burden of heavy metals and other toxins.
Peering into one's genetic makeup can be quite helpful when establishing the proper course of action and considering what factors may have contributed to one's state of health. The more precisely a practitioner can understand the genetic contributors, the more accurately a treatment protocol can be outlined to fit a person's unique needs. As an example, a specific gene mutation can suggest an inability of the body to remove toxic heavy metals. Thus, even tests performed to determine whether or not one is heavy metal toxic can be incorrect if the metals are not being released due to this specific genetic profile.
Where many doctors may miss a heavy metal toxicity issue in these patients, a practitioner incorporating a genetic review into their diagnostic workup is much better equipped to evaluate the potential impact of toxic metals on the overall state of health.
To further illustrate the importance of genetics, Dr.Gordon treated a number of workers in a lead factory. One worker that logically should have had the highest concentration of lead in his body due to his direct contact with lead on a daily basis in fact had lower levels of lead than secretaries in remote portions of the building, even though their direct exposures were far less. The body's ability to manage these exposures is largely tied to genetics.
Turning to chronic infection as a contributor to illness, the average person on the planet today has a high total body burden of pathogens. Previously unrecognized as a widespread concern, these pathogens contribute to numerous health challenges. For example, Chlamydia pneumoniae has been implicated as a contributor to heart disease. CMV, Mycoplasma, HHV6, Borrelia, SV-40, Candida and many other pathogens are nearly universally present. Dr. Gordon suggests that the use of long-term antibiotics as a treatment for Chlamydia or Borrelia often results in treatment failure as the organisms are never entirely eliminated and will only return upon cessation of treatment.
The number of microbes within us outweighs the total number of cells in our body by a factor of 10 and over half of each bowel movement is microbial content. These organisms depend on us for their survival and as a result, do not want to see us experience our own demise. The focus then becomes how to keep these organisms from becoming pathological and to move towards a more symbiotic relationship between us and them.
Beyond the damage that these infections themselves create, they signal the body to create fibrin which protects the organisms from the reach of many therapeutic interventions by thickening the blood and providing the pathogens with a place to hide. Thickened blood reduces the body's ability to get nutrients into and toxins out of various tissues within the body.
In addition to the impacts of genetics and chronic infections, heavy metals and other toxins also have deleterious effects on our health. In October 2006, David Ewing Duncan published an article in National Geographic called "The Pollution Within". David is a science writer who participated in an experiment to see just how many chemicals and pollutants could be isolated from his own body. A battery of tests was performed which would have cost the average person over $15,000 dollars. Levels of 320 different chemicals were evaluated. David tested positive for 165 of the 320 chemicals. For someone that identified as being "well", the results were startling. The tests revealed lead, mercury, pesticides such as DDT, dioxins (which are linked to cancer), phthalates (found in vinyl, plastics, cosmetics, and personal care products), PFAs (found in non-stick pans), PCBs, PBDEs (flame retardants commonly used in airplanes and children's pajamas), and numerous other toxic substances. It is this toxic burden which in part leads to the suppression of immune function and helps to create an environment where chronic infections flourish.
Sadly, one of the last things that most doctors consider when evaluating a chronic illness is the impact of these toxic insults to our health. The more toxic we become, the more the pathogens take over. Fortunately for us, the reverse is also true. The more we can do to reduce our toxic load, the more capable our bodies will be in managing chronic infections which are universally present in today's society.
Those living on our planet today have a higher level of lead in our bodies than is in our best interest for enjoying optimal health and reaching maximum lifespan. In fact, one study conducted by Clare Patterson at CalTech looked at the bones of dead bodies from 400 years ago and found that the average person today has 1000 times the level of lead than those that lived just 400 years ago. In China where coal is burned as a primary energy source, mercury is released into the atmosphere and impacts the health of people around the world. There is no escape from today's toxic world. We have poisoned our own nest. Exposure is unavoidable. Our challenge then becomes removing more of these damaging toxins from our bodies at a rate faster than we are exposed to them on a daily basis.
When looking at options for reducing heavy metal burden, some doctors rely on IV chelation. However, this may not always be the best long-term solution for the patient. A person can undergo intense IV chelation for months only to find metals such as lead reappear after the treatment is stopped. Given the fact that we are constantly exposed to toxic metals in our environment, the ideal chelation program is one that will address these exposures on an on-going basis. Chelation of heavy metals is a therapy that most people would benefit from incorporating for life. Though there is no debate over whether or not IV chelation is more effective than an oral chelation program in the short-term, it is unlikely that most people would continue to receive IV chelation on a regular basis for life. This opens the door to options which can be more readily incorporated into our daily health maintenance programs.
Dr. Gordon suggested that if we consider the analogy of cleaning a car, we can simonize occasionally but are unlikely to do so on a frequent basis throughout the lifetime of the car. As a result, there is still a need for a frequent, albeit simpler, washing in order to keep layers of accumulated dirt and debris from building up. IV chelation and oral chelation are much the same story. Oral chelation allows us to get continued, daily benefits from our heavy metal removal program which further enables us to attain optimal health. Now that we understand that illness is related to the total body burden of pathogens and toxins, we turn our attention to some of the potential solutions offered by Dr. Gordon.
As a consultant to Longevity Plus, Dr. Gordon has designed and formulated a number of products that help to address both the high level of chronic infections that are universally present in us today as well as products to support the removal of heavy metals and other toxins from our bodies. Dr. Gordon has formulated products to help reduce the level of chronic infections lurking within us. Immuni-T2G™ contains allicin-rich garlic, transfer factors, grape-fruit seed extract, and a combination of immune-supporting mushroom extracts. Immuni-T3™ contains olive leaf, oil of oregano, and andrographis in addition to transfer factors and powerful mushroom extracts. Dr. Gordon often combines these products with Samento to create a powerful weapon in the management of persistent infections.
Dr Gordon has had extensive and highly favorable experiences with oral Carnivora® (a specially processed extract of Venus flytrap) liquid and capsules for his cancer and Lyme patients. Carnivora® appears to work through the immune system and acts as an antimicrobial and virucidal, with unparalleled safety. Like many other herbs, there seems to be virtually no downside to its prolonged use in numerous conditions including many malignancies and most infections. Many patients report that they have found special liquid extracts of Carnivora® to be the missing link for overcoming their cancer or chronic infections.
Dr. Gordon believes that a high level of vitamin C intake is critical in helping the body to eradicate stubborn infections. Bio En'R-G'y C™ is the product that Dr. Gordon formulated which is much better tolerated than other forms of vitamin C which can often cause GI disturbances even at low levels. Thehigher the dose of vitamin C that the patient can tolerate, the more likely they will be able to defend themselves against these lingering infections. Dr. Gordon recommends 1 gram per 10 pounds of body weight with a minimum of 4 grams per day. Two teaspoons of Bio En'R-G'y C™ provides 8 grams and is often used twice daily.
One of the more recent options endorsed by Dr.Gordon for lowering our body burden of infection is Advanced Cellular Silver. Available under the name ACS 200™, this new silver product has been shown to be non-toxic and has been lethal to any fungi, bacteria, virus, or protozoa tested. More information on ACS 200 is available through Results RNA®.
Another important aspect of controlling infections is considering the previously mentioned hypercoaguable state which results in a thickening of blood and a reduction in the efficacy of many interventions intended to eradicate infection. Dr. Gordon utilizes Wobenzym®, Nattokinase, Boluoke® and Essential DailyDefense™ to address this aspect of chronic illness. Essential Daily Defense™ is a comprehensive detoxification formula which contains a red algae known to have a heparin-like effect and is capable addressing hypercoagulation.
In more difficult infections, Dr.Gordon supports the use of ultraviolet blood irradia-tion, oxidative therapies such as ozone, hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT) and hydrogen peroxide therapy. Infact, Dr. Gordon has found that high levels of vitamin C administered via IV dramatically increase intracellular levels of hydrogen peroxide. In order to deal with our total body burden of pathogens, we need more oxygen.
Addressing these chronic infections is an important component of an essential heavy metal detoxification program. Pathogens bind to and tightly hold heavy metals. If we simultaneously address chronic infections, attempts to remove heavy metals from the body will be far more successful. The reverse is also true. As we kill infection, these dying organisms release heavy metals into our bodies. An overall worsening of one's health may be encountered when infections are eradicated without an appropriate program in place to handle any released metals. Fortunately, this is where Dr. Gordon has put the pieces of the puzzle together for us in an overall program that ensures that there is a focus on both reduction of chronic infections and removal of heavy metals and other toxins in the body. Attempts to do one without the other may be met with discouraging results.
One of the simplest things that we can do to support our body's ability to detoxify is to sweat. Using a far-infrared (FIR) sauna or going to a steam room can have profound benefits and helps the body to remove mercury and other toxins. These benefits can be further realized by supporting removal of metals from the skin through the use of a metal chelating agent called EDTA used in a hot bath. Adding hydrogen peroxide and Epsom salts to a hot bath can provide additional benefits.
Next on the list for supporting detoxification would be to increase fiber intake, garlic, vitamin C, and to incorporate oral EDTA. These are convenient options that can be performed over our entire lifetime to combat the level of toxins that we are all exposed to on a daily basis. One method that Dr. Gordon uses is to incorporate these into his daily routine through what he calls his Power Drink. The Power Drink consists of fiber, vitamin C, a green drink, probiotics and supports detoxification, digestion, and immunity. Fiber should be in our intestines at all times to protect us from the numerous mutagens and carcinogens commonly found in the bowel stream.
Garlic is a powerhouse nutrient both in terms of ability to reduce pathogens and in supporting detoxification. In one experiment, red food dye was given to rats until they developed cancer and died. The experiment was repeated with the only difference being the introduction of garlic. The garlic alone provided total protection. One of the primary heavy metal chelators used by Dr. Gordon is EDTA, or ethyl-ene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid. EDTA is a powerful chelator of lead and other heavy metals. Though not fully absorbed when taken orally, Dr. Gordon has proven that oral EDTA is a powerful weapon in winning the battle against heavy metal toxicity. Over 500 references supporting the use of oral EDTA can be found on the Gordon Research website.
The combination of fiber, vitamin C, and oral EDTA is a powerful combination in supporting the body's detoxification ability. Another side benefit of EDTA is its positive effect on the cardiovascular system. One of Dr.Gordon's goals is to never receive a call where a patient has had a heart attack or stroke. To date, this goal has been realized. Dr. Gordon has found that 70-80% of heart attacks result from blood clots, not from plaque.
EDTA is also anti-viral and a potent antioxidant. The combination of EDTA with the polysaccharide red algae known as Carageenan is a powerful weapon against hypercoagulation. Dr. Gordon has formulated a product called Essential Daily Defense™ (EDD) that serves as a cornerstone weapon in his detoxification arsenal. EDD contains the heavy metal chelator EDTA which has a high affinity for lead, the iron and aluminum chelator malic acid, the mercury chelator organic high-allicin garlic, the heparin-like red algae Carageenan and other synergistic ingredients.
Due to the fact that EDTA is an indiscriminate chelator, meaning that it removes essential minerals from the body in addition to harmful toxins, any program incorporating EDTA should also consider the additional need for essential minerals. Dr.Gordon meets this need by incorporating his Beyond Any Multiple (BAM) product. In fact, Dr. Gordon has made creating a powerful detoxification program quite simple by combining his years of research and clinical experience into a product called Beyond Chelation Improved™ (BCI). BCI is a combination of Beyond Any Multiple™(BAM), Essential Daily Defense™ (EDD), and essential fatty acids derived from primrose and omega-3 marine lipids. He further includes a capsule which contains phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidyl serine, and gingko biloba which he indicates was added to support high functioning, reduce the chances of Alzheimers, and protect the macula and neurons in the brain as we age.
BCI provides pre-filled packets which contain three BAM, three EDD, 2 essential fatty acid softgels, and the Phosphatidyl/ginko capsule. The recommended dosage is one packet twice daily.
For more aggressive detox, additional capsules of EDD can be added up to one capsule for every ten pounds of body weight. EDTA is also available as a powder that can be mixed in water or juice or used in a bath. EDTA has a high affinity for binding with lead but is not regarded as a strong chelator of mercury. For this reason, Dr. Gordon created HeavyDetox™ (HD). HD contains succinic acid (DMSA), which has a high affinity for mercury, as well as number of other synergistic ingredients. HD is generally used for shorter periods of heavier detox where as EDD can be used on a continuous basis.
In summary, though chronic Lyme disease is a significant and challenging illness, those impacted by it can win the battle once they realize that Lyme disease is not Lyme alone but rather a combination of factors that must be synergistically addressed in order to regain optimal health and wellness. None of us will realize our maximum useful lifespan unless we work continuously to keep our total body burden of pathogens and toxins as close to zero as possible. Our bodies want to recover. When we use appropriate agents for controlling infections and reducing our toxic burden, the body generally responds with improved function and we enjoy a much improved state of health and well-being. Here's to your health...
About the Author
Scott Forsgren (Author) is a health writer, advocate, and coach. He is the editor and founder of BetterHealthGuy.com where he shares his now 17 year journey through the world of Lyme disease and the myriad of factors that it often entails. He has been fortunate to have written for publications such as the Public Health Alert, Explore!, Bolen Report, and Townsend Letter. More information on his work is available at http://www.BetterHealthGuy.com.
About the Author
Garry F. Gordon, MD, DO, MD (H) is a co-founder of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), Founder and President of the International College of Advanced Longevity (ICALM), Board Member of International Oxidative Medicine Association (IOMA), and an advisor to the American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology (ABCMT).
Dr. Gordon is an internationally recognized expert in the field of oral and IV chelation as an adjunct therapy for all diseases. Dr. Gordon is also President of Gordon Research Institute and a full-time consultant for Longevity Plus, a nutritional supplement company where he designs supplements used by alternative health practitioners around the world.
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A do-it-yourself Lyme treatment developed by Dr. Lee Cowden, MD