Item 5.) Treatments for Lyme disease and coinfections; connections between Lyme disease, coinfections, glutamate, collagen, and ALS

Deciding the best way to treat Lyme disease and other vector-borne illnesses can be very difficult, and it is a profoundly personal decision.

It is apparent that Dr. Martz (mentioned in the “Item 1” and “Item 3” pages), whose ALS symptoms abated after he was treated for Lyme disease, feels antibiotics saved his life and helped him get his life back – which is truly wonderful. But note that at the time of his interview in the film “Under Our Skin” he reported he was unable to discontinue the antibiotics. (This article from 1993 is still relevant: Lyme disease: the sensible pursuit of answers, by Kenneth B. Liegner, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, August 1993; Volume 31, Number 8, pages 1961-1963. See:

In the process of searching for information about the diagnosis and treatment of vector-borne infections, I recently did a variety of Google searches and looked at approximately 400 documents about infections with borrelia, bartonella, and babesia, plus some that mentioned erlichia, mycoplasma and anaplasma. These searches turned up a variety of interesting documents where patients or physicians describe the progression of treatments for Lyme disease and associated vector-borne infections.

One of my searches using Google Advanced Search was done like this:

Find web pages that have…

all these words:                         borrelia

this exact wording or phrase:     Nick Harris

Need more tools?

Results per page:                      100 results

Language:                                 English

I did another Google Advanced Search just like the above, only I substituted the word bartonella for the word borrelia.

While looking at all those documents, I learned that some people with Lyme disease were treated with antibiotics, thought they had recovered, then relapsed, then were re-treated with antibiotics, relapsed again, then were re-treated with antibiotics again, etc., and eventually their body’s ecosystem became so unhealthy that they got a massive infection with a pathogen that was resistant to the antibiotics used to treat their Lyme disease, such as Clostridium difficile, and then they died from that overgrowth infection. Other people have died, not from overgrowth of a secondary infection, but from the antibiotic treatment itself – possibly due to the toxicity of the antibiotic chemicals, or due to massive amounts of toxins that were released by dying pathogens, or perhaps a combination of both. (Death from a severe Herxheimer reaction or anaphylaxis is an outcome that can be prevented with proper antimicrobial dosing and with adequate die-off detoxification techniques, which will be discussed later in this document.) Other people, however, have reported recovering with antibiotics – sometimes after multiple courses or with extremely long dosing schedules – and not needing to repeat antibiotic treatment once they had fully recovered. This is reported most frequently by people who were diagnosed and treated soon after becoming infected. There are other anecdotes of people recovering with antibiotics, then relapsing repeatedly, and then reporting that they recovered after using an herbal medication called Samento. (See: and also see an article by James Howenstine, MD, called “Curing Lyme Disease with Samento” which includes a discussion of mycoplasma, ALS, and glutamate: Another article that is relevant to the section of the Howenstine article regarding ALS, mycoplasma and glutamate is an article called “Neurodegenerative and Neurobehavioral Diseases” by the Institute for Molecular Medicine: Related to the previous article is another article about the connection between mycoplasma infections and Lyme disease, by Scott Forsgren, which also frequently mentions ALS: I do not remember whether any of the anecdotes I read about Samento involved long-term follow-up. (It is certainly possible for people to think they have recovered after taking an herbal treatment, and then to relapse later, just as sometimes occurs with the use of prescription antibiotics. So, careful research is needed.) Various herbal treatments (other than Samento) also are reported to successfully treat Lyme disease and other vector-borne infections. I will not mention them here, but will suggest books that contain this information later in this document.

[The following information, relevant to the topic of glutamate and ALS, is repeated from the “Item 4” page:

[This clinical trial, “Northeast ALS Consortium Stage III Trial of Ceftriaxone,” is studying the effects of the antibiotic ceftriaxone on ALS patients. See: Here is part of the information from that web page about that trial: “Detailed Description:  It is known that nerve cells called motor neurons die in the brains and spinal cords of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, the cause of this cell death is unknown. Researchers think that increased levels of a chemical called ‘glutamate’ may be related to the cell death. For this reason researchers want to study drugs that decrease glutamate levels near nerves. Ceftriaxone – a semi-synthetic, third generation cephalosporin antibiotic – may increase the level of a protein that decreases glutamate levels near nerves. Studies of ceftriaxone in the laboratory suggest that it may protect motor neurons from injury. […]”

[Now note that ceftriaxone is used to treat Lyme disease. In an article about Lyme disease, images of SPECT scans are reproduced that show the state of blood flow in the patient’s brain both before and after treatment with ceftriaxone. This patient had Lyme disease that was expressed in a wide variety of symptoms, but nevertheless had been misdiagnosed as depression. After treatment with ceftriaxone, the blood flow in the patient’s brain improved dramatically. This article, by Robert C. Bransfield, MD, is titled “Lyme Disease, Comorbid Tick-Borne Diseases, and Neuropsychiatric Disorders,” and was published in Psychiatric Times, December 1, 2007, Vol. 24, No. 14, pages 59-62. See:]

An article from the July 2010 Townsend Letter journal, which was posted online at, offers a plausible explanation for why Borrelia burgdorferi infections may relapse after treatment with antibiotics. The abstract of this article says, in part, “… [R]elapse often occurs when antibiotic treatment is discontinued. One possible explanation for this is that B. burgdorferi become resistant to antibiotic treatment, by converting from their vegetative spirochete form into different round bodies and/or into biofilmlike colonies.” This article describes a series of experiments that compare the effectiveness, in vitro, of two herbal extracts (Samento and Banderol) and the antibiotic doxycycline to a control. Keep in mind that the performance of an antimicrobial product in vitro does not necessarily prove that it will perform the same way in vivo, because such experiments do not account for the molecular changes the substances undergo when they are metabolized by the body when used under actual conditions (whether given orally or intravenously). This article does, however, also mention the promising results of a clinical protocol given to over 2000 patients that included the use of Samento and Banderol. Also note that the citations at the end of this article are particularly useful. (See also another document which includes a paragraph on page 3 that comments on Samento and Banderol:

The following web page contains links to many other web pages related to Lyme disease that include topics such as: “Persistence File: 70 peer-reviewed studies showing that Lyme disease can persist or relapse despite antibiotic therapy” …; “Cystic Form of Bb: An Introduction: These abstracts shed light on how Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) is able to survive antibiotic therapy, and on a primary mechanism underlying post-treatment clinical relapses. They document the ability of Bb to change from a spirochete-form to a ‘cystic’ or coccoid form in response to adverse environmental conditions. The cystic forms can later regenerate spirochetes”…; “Cystic Form of Bb & Other Spirochetes: Advanced: *Highly Recommended*. This file juxtaposes photographs and quotations from studies dating as far back as the early 1900s to show how spirochetes can transform to and from cystic or coccoid forms. The ability of Bb and other spirochetes to exist in coccoid forms provides a cogent explanation for phenomenon such as latency, persistent infection, and seronegativity.” …; “Cystic Forms of Spirochetes: A Complete Bibliography, 1905-Present: Especially helpful for researchers. This file contains a complete bibliography of approximately 250 studies with information/observations on coccoid forms of spirochetes, dating from the early 1900s to the present. Relevant quotations from the studies are included.” … See:

Also see an article that was already mentioned in the “Item 1” page: “A Life Cycle for Borrelia spirochetes?” (also referred to by the title “Spirochete Life Cycle?”) by Alan B. MacDonald, MD:

One really great book that discusses the pros and cons of various antibiotic, herbal, and nutritional treatments, by Bryan Rosner, is called The Top 10 Lyme Disease Treatments (ISBN 10: 0-9763696-1-6; ISBN 13: 978-0-9763797-1-3; copyright 2007). This book discusses many different protocols, detoxification regimens, how to deal with Herxheimer (pathogen die-off) reactions, and much more. Rosner also has a website:

James Schaller, MD, has written many useful books about the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme Disease and other vector-borne infections, especially babesia and bartonella. Look on for his books (and look for best prices from Marketplace sellers); also see his website at to see a list of his books, many of which are available in both paperback and E-book form. Also see his free E-book downloads that are available at Of particular interest is Schaller’s free E-book, called Babesia Update 2009, which includes information about the diagnosis and treatment of borrelia and bartonella as well as babesia. I suggest that you download this free E-book, then search for the word bartonella within this document using the advanced search feature (click on the down-arrow to the right of the “Find” search box at the top of the document), and then see Schaller’s explanations about how bartonella infections can suppress the immune system and result in false-negative lab test results. Also take note of his explanation for how the presence of a babesia coinfection can make it difficult to cure a borrelia infection. Schaller advocates individualized treatment approaches that can include any of a variety of pharmaceuticals possibly combined with herbal medications. In addition to reading Schaller’s books, you may benefit from seeking his free articles on his website as well as elsewhere on the Internet to learn his opinions about the treatment of Lyme disease and other vector-borne infections. People who have extreme difficulty tolerating pharmaceuticals may find Schaller’s treatment information less useful than his information about diagnosis and the behavior of the various vector-borne pathogens in the body, but it is worth looking at his publications regardless of how you might choose to treat the illness.

People who believe (as I do) that it is in their best interest to avoid potentially toxic pharmaceutical medications may find that, when looking for information about vector-borne illnesses, it may be necessary to read information about the infections presented concurrently with treatment approaches they don’t agree with. The important thing is to get a broad understanding of what kind of problem you are trying to solve, so that you can then form your own ideas about the best way to solve it.

Here is a link to a page on Scott Forsgren’s website that has links to the diagnosis and treatment protocol web pages of a variety of clinicians and researchers who treat Lyme disease and other related vector-borne infections: See also Forsgren’s opinion about the treatment of Lyme disease, based upon his experience as a person with Lyme disease:

Here is a link to a Lyme disease blog with an interesting short article about actress Parker Posey’s choices in how to treat her Lyme disease (with the title “People with Lyme: Actress Parker Posey Talks About Her Battle with Lyme Disease”): Posey began with antibiotics and then followed up with a variety of complementary and alternative treatments.

Regardless of which type of antimicrobial approach is utilized to treat vector-borne illnesses, it is my opinion that the results will be best if a healthy diet is maintained, such as that promoted by Optimum Health Institute (, the Hippocrates Health Institute (, or the Weston A. Price Foundation ( Please note that some of the advice given by these organizations may not be appropriate for PALS. For example, they may recommend the consumption of foods that are high in glutamate and that therefore should probably be avoided by PALS, such as: kombu seaweed (the original source of monosodium glutamate, or MSG) and kelp seaweed (which according to some sources is the same thing as kombu seaweed, and according to other sources is a sea vegetable that is closely related to kombu seaweed); gelatin; and homemade bone broth. (Do Google searches and look on for books about the problems with glutamate and monosodium glutamate [MSG] to get lists of foods to avoid.)

Some health experts believe that a living foods diet which is high in raw leafy greens can alter the chemical make-up of the body’s blood and lymph such that these body fluids become less hospitable ecosystems for the reproduction and survival of pathogens. Look on for books on green smoothies, such as Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko (ISBN: 978-0-9704819-6-2; copyright 2005), Green Smoothie Revolution by Victoria Boutenko (ISBN: 978-1-55643-812-7; copyright 2009), and The Green Smoothies Diet by Robyn Openshaw (ISBN: 978-1-56975-702-4; copyright 2009). Keep in mind that many kinds of sugars can feed the growth of pathogens. Even whole fruits, such as are included in some of the recipes in the three previously mentioned books, can supply enough natural sugars to cause a systemic infection to worsen. So, try to find joy in low-fruit, high vegetable/leafy greens smoothies and savory green smoothies and raw soups.

Note that one of the most important things you can do for your health is to avoid processed foods that contain corn starch and corn syrup. After personal observation, I have come to believe that corn starch and corn syrup feed pathogens and cause them to reproduce more quickly than any other type of sugar.

People with trouble swallowing who need feeding tubes could benefit if their caregivers would give them freshly juiced green leafy vegetables, perhaps supplemented by powdered digestive enzymes mixed into the liquid. Juiced and finely blended vegetables, plus smaller quantities of blended fruits, would be far preferable to the pre-made liquid foods (typically supplied by hospitals and home health care clinics) which are made using corn syrup and other unhealthy ingredients. Seek information from the Hippocrates Health Institute and the Optimum Health Institute for more ideas about the use of “juicing,” and as sources of book titles with healthy juice recipes. Also look on for books about juicing. An article called “Juicing: Your Key to Radiant Health” on Dr. Mercola’s website ( also has some helpful advice. But note that it recommends “[c]onsider a protein powder” such as whey protein powder, which some experts on glutamate believe is high in glutamate, so that particular advice may not be ideal for PALS. (Seek the advice of a medical expert who is knowledgeable about both juicing and enteral tube feeding before making any changes to your enteral formula.)

In my opinion, repeatedly taking massive doses of IV or oral antibiotics continually for years on end is not very supportive to overall health nor is it the way to have a healthy body ecosystem, especially for someone who is in a fragile condition or who has pre-existing liver damage or a possible detoxification pathway metabolism disorder. If it is possible to gradually and gently eliminate chronic infections by altering the body’s ecosystem with diet changes and the judicious use of herbal remedies, with a focus on altering the body’s milieu instead of on directly “killing” pathogens, then that may be preferable to introducing large quantities of toxic chemicals into the body. Keep in mind that herbal medications, when they do have the indirect effect – or, more rarely, the direct effect – of killing off pathogens, also can provoke Herxheimer reactions. Also, some (but not all) herbs contain toxic substances. Therefore, whether using pharmaceutical antibiotics or herbal medications, it is important to be cautious and always to start with the lowest possible dose, and to wait to see whether there will be a Herxheimer reaction – and if the reaction occurs, to see how long it will last – before taking a second dose.

As an aside, I offer this opinion: PALS should avoid taking any drug that contains fluoride or related chemicals. For details, see:

Also note that many drugs that are not antibiotics also can be “fluorinated pharmaceuticals”:

Also see these other informative web pages about the risks related to fluoride:


Back to talking specifically about Lyme disease:

Here is an excellent book that emphasizes gently altering the body’s ecosystem and judiciously using herbal treatments and many other supportive treatments for Lyme disease. Lymphatic and immune support is emphasized, in addition to discussion of homeopathic remedies and herbs that can help to eliminate Borrelia, as well as some mention of herbs that would be specifically helpful for infections with Babesia, Bartonella, and Erlichia: 

Healing Lyme Disease Naturally: History, Analysis and Treatments by Wolf D. Storl (ISBN: 978-1-55643-873-8; copyright 2010).

In his book, Storl mentions having learned about an herb called teasel which he found very useful for the treatment of Lyme disease. Storl learned about teasel from herbalist Matthew Wood, who wrote the foreword to Storl’s book.

You can learn more about teasel in Matthew Wood’s book, The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines (ISBN-10: 1-55643-232-1; ISBN-13: 978-1-55643-232-3; copyright 1997). Wood tells anecdotes about the use of teasel (including the dosage) for a small number of patients who had Lyme disease, and describes how patients sometimes had some extremely unpleasant side-effects after taking teasel and before ultimately feeling much better. Also mentioned are a few other herbs that may be useful in the treatment of Lyme disease, and a monograph about each of those herbs mentioned is included in the book. The book also has a lot of information about herbal treatments that benefit the lymphatic system.

Practitioners who go beyond antibiotics to treat Lyme disease mention one book over and over again. This book, which describes in detail some extremely useful herbal, nutritional, homeopathic and other supportive treatments for Lyme disease and coinfections, is called Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections, by Stephen Harrod Buhner (ISBN: 0-9708696-3-0; copyright 2005). This book is extremely well-researched, and thoroughly discusses the interaction between the Lyme-disease-related pathogens and the human body before getting into the detailed protocols. Of particular interest to PALS is the discussion of how Lyme disease affects the collagenous tissues in the body, as well as discussion of neuroborreliosis and the neurotoxins produced by borrelia and the coinfections that affect the central nervous system, with information telling how to help deal with these problems. In one example, Buhner says: “Japanese knotweed and its constituents also possess strong actions in the central nervous system and brain, … Knotweed and the constituents, trans-resveratrol and resveratrol, have been found to be strongly neuroprotective through a variety of actions in numerous studies. … Resveratrol and trans-resveratrol are specific for reducing inflammation in the brain and central nervous system. … Low-level, chronic inflammation in the brain and central nervous system plays a major role in many neurodegenerative conditions. Both the herb [knotweed] and its constituents are specific for such inflammations. They have been found active for such things as: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other motor neuron diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, … The resveratrols specifically protect brain cells from assault, whether chemical or microbial in origin. The herb and its constituents, as well, stimulate microcirculation in the brain.” Detailed information about how to obtain and use these products is included. (That is the only specific mention of ALS in the book.) Buhner includes specific protocols for  “Lyme Neurotoxin/Neuroborreliosis Intervention,” “Collagenous Tissue Support,” “Muscle Twitches/Tingling/Crawling Sensation in Skin,” “Muscle Weakness and Lack of Strength,” “Candida Overgrowth,” and many others. In addition to very detailed protocols for the treatment of borrelia, he also has specific protocols for the treatment of the Lyme “coinfections” of Babesia, Ehrlichia, and Bartonella. Buhner’s book also briefly discusses Herxheimer reactions and includes suggestions on how to prevent or alleviate them.

Buhner’s book does not discuss the treatment of Mycoplasmal infections, but a really good article about Buhner, which includes updated information, does briefly mention some suggestions. See: for the article by Scott Forsgren, titled “From a Source of Profound Insight Comes Hope” and look toward the end of the article on page 10 for the Mycoplasma treatment suggestions. Note also that the article paraphrases Buhner’s suggestion that the herb teasel may be more useful for people who were infected with Lyme disease in “Wisconsin and Minnesota” but may be less “effective in terms of clearing the disease in people with Lyme disease on the East Coast.” Buhner discusses that geographic idiosyncrasy in somewhat more detail in his book.

A transcribed interview with Buhner (from November 30, 2006) on his website gives the reader a feel for how he developed his book on Lyme disease:

See other “Lyme Updates” on Buhner’s website:

See this Q&A session with Buhner conducted by Julie Genser called “A Conversation with Stephen Buhner” – — especially so you can see his answer to her second question, which includes this statement: “ […] the reason that lyme produced so many different kinds of symptoms was because of damage to collagen structures in the body. Where the damage occurred was what created the symptoms. […]”


Could there be a connection between Lyme disease and its effects on collagen structures and some of the symptoms of ALS? To explore this possibility, use the Advanced Search function on Google and also on Google Scholar like this:

Find web pages that have…

all these words:                         collagen

this exact wording or phrase:     amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Need more tools?

Results per page:                      100 results

Language:                                 English

Here are more web pages that include updates on Stephen Harrod Buhner’s Lyme disease protocols:

Here is where you can obtain a set of two audio CDs of a workshop presentation by Stephen Harrod Buhner called “Healing Lyme”:

The “Blog” section of Scott Forsgren’s website includes a “Lyme Tea” recipe contributed by Dr. Jeff Wulfman: (If that doesn’t take you directly there, search the Blog section of that website for: “Lyme Tea” Made Easy .)

Another extremely useful book includes information from 13 practitioners who treat Lyme disease and the many “coinfections” using a wide variety of protocols and tools. This book, by Connie Strasheim, is called Insights into Lyme Disease Treatment: 13 Lyme-Literate Health Care Practitioners Share Their Healing Strategies (ISBN-13: 978-0-9825138-0-4; copyright 2009). The cover also says: “With Bonus Articles from Dietrich Klinghardt, M.D., Ph.D. and James Schaller, M.D., M.A.R.” More information about the book can be found at and on the author’s blog at Note that the sample chapter on the link only reflects the approach of that individual practitioner; this chapter does not reflect the contents of the entire book. Each of the 13 practitioners has a chapter devoted to their treatment of Lyme disease. None of the doctors outlines a specific protocol, however. Rather, each one discusses the many options that they consider and their overall philosophy of Lyme disease treatment. A huge variety of treatment methodologies are discussed throughout the book, including such diverse approaches as antibiotics, herbal medications, nutritional supplements, diet, light therapies, energy therapies, homeopathy, homotoxicology, isopathy, oxygen therapies, and many others. So many options are discussed throughout the book as a whole that it would be easy to become overwhelmed. It may be best to skim the whole book first, and then to look at one chapter at a time; if any particular doctor’s approach does not appeal to you, skip that and go on until you find something that feels right to you. This book mentions ALS in a few places, but only to suggest that sometimes people with ALS also have Lyme disease, or to suggest that Lyme disease should be considered as a differential diagnosis when someone has been diagnosed with ALS (because, the implication is, sometimes people diagnosed with ALS actually have Lyme disease instead of ALS). One practitioner in the book says what may be considered a discouraging statement about ALS, but practical and optimistic PALS should not let that discourage them from finding a huge amount of useful information in this well-constructed book. There is such a broad variety of practical suggestions in the book that it would be helpful for PALS even if they do not have Lyme disease or any of the coinfections.

Naturopath Dr. Nicola McFadzean, who is one of the 13 doctors featured in Insights into Lyme Disease Treatment: 13 Lyme-Literate Health Care Practitioners Share Their Healing Strategies, wrote her own book called The Lyme Diet: Nutritional Strategies for Healing from Lyme Disease (ISBN: 978-0-9819784-9-9; copyright 2010) which contains many helpful suggestions that go beyond helpful diet advice. Mentioned are a wide variety of complementary and alternative treatments, including brief discussions of detoxification techniques, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and “bio-energetic devices”. More information about the book can be found at

Many other good books about Lyme disease can be found on It can also be very useful to read the book reviews on for any of the books mentioned, because some of the reviews are by alternative practitioners who identify themselves. Then, you can Google the names of those people and learn more about what treatments they have found to be effective.

A great list of books about Lyme disease, with descriptions, can be found at:

Also look at the website of Dietrich Klinghardt: Dr. Klinghardt was shown in the movie “Under Our Skin” because one of the patients featured in the movie became a patient of Dr. Klinghardt.

Other useful treatment information can be found on Dr. Garry Gordon’s “Recommended Protocols” web page. Of particular usefulness are the links to the following protocols:  “Protocol for Chronic Infections,” “Protocol for Acute Infections,” “Protocol for Immune Imbalances,” and “Immune Support Program.” See: .

Also see:


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