I have a theory that I have been formulating for months about Lyme and it’s persistent nature. For the most part, the characteristics of chronic Lyme symptomatology has been attributed to the spirochete’s “cyst” (or round body, used interchangeably in this post) form- the form in which the spirochete literally curls up into a ball after being exposed to an uncomfortable environment, whether due to things like pulses of antibiotics or chemotherapy drugs and other unknown conditions that the bug finds unfavorable. In that cyst form, Lyme is able to percolate, undamaged by the treatments the host is given. It sits and waits until the coast is clear, until conditions are favorable for it to unfold and go on with it’s lifecycle.
Think of it in terms of proper attire on a cold, rainy beach. One will not don their bathing suit until conditions are pleasant and there is no longer a threat of contracting a cold, stuffy nose, or a shivering wet experience. We will hang out in the beach house until the storm passes. When the sun comes out and the rain ceases, we will gladly shed our outer beach wear and enjoy the warm rays and cool waters. Lyme cysts are thought to act accordingly. When, conditions clear, they unfold to resume activity.
Lyme is also thought to replicate in that stage, so they unfold out of the cyst form having replicated tremendously and infect other areas creating worsening symptoms. Long-term antibiotics are theorized to provoke some spirochetes into round bodies. While antibiotics may reduce a bacterial load at some level, there seems to be a threshold with which antibiotics are no longer effective and may actually create an environment that promotes the shifting into round body form. This is a most undesirable effect, especially if the number of round bodies end up outnumbering the number of spirochetes that are killed.
One of the frustrating aspects of treatment has been the difficulty in reaching these seemingly impenetrable fortresses that shield the round bodies from eradication and stop the perpetuation of chronic and debilitating symptoms. A patient must sometimes “wait” for these cyst forms to open in order to treat that batch of Lyme, similar to peeling back the layers of an onion. Not only that, but the Lyme life cycle is long, anywhere from 2-3 weeks to 6 months. Long term treatment is essential to catching each batch of Lyme as it appears.
But here’s the other part of that theory. It’s being bounced around in Lyme circles that the chronic nature of this illness is also due to “biofilms” of Lyme. Note that this is not an actual “form” of Lyme, but seems to be colonies of spirochete that hide under an impenetrable film, until they break open, for whatever reason, causing an increase in bacterial load. Biofilms have been theorized to be the culprit of many persistent/chronic infections, including sinus infection and pneumonia (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12174708). Using antibiotics to eradicate the inital onset of a sinus infection, colonies of biofilms may be forming, hidden, unreachable by the antibiotics. As a result, relief is achieved temporarily, but harboring within a biofilm, the infection remains, achieving infection once again after the biofilm has broken open and released bacteria, virus, etc. that has been replicating.
Why does this matter? Because I believe that this is one of the mode de operandi of Lyme and one of the reasons why a simple course of antibiotics will rarely wipe out an entire Lyme infection. They are already forming happy little colonies protected against whatever you throw their way. Even Rife machines are thought to reach only the spirochete.
Enter: The new Townsend Study (read full text here: http://www.townsendletter.com/July2010/sapi0710.html) testing the efficacy of Banderol/Samento tinctures on each of the Lyme forms (just as a review, they are currently: Cyst/Round Body Form, Spirochete, Biofilmlike colonies). Included in the study were big beautiful pictures of Lyme forming massive colonies in petri dishes surrounded by a sort of film. The outcome? Samento alone seemed to reduce the spirochete’s ability to form biofilms effeciently, resulting in “smaller and less organized” colonies. However Samento increased (albeit not as profound an increase as from the doxycyline doses) the number of round body forms. Banderol alone seemed to not reduce the colonies, but killed most of the cells within the colonies. With both tinctures, “no sign of any colony formation was observed, but …found evidence of a few individual nonmotile but green spirochetes and round bodies.” This is good news. Quite incredible actually. Up until now, the typical treatment protocol has been 3-6 weeks of doxy and if you’re lucky enough to get to a LLMD, you might get long-term antibiotics. But, again, the doxy was found to significantly increase the roundbody forms, even though it killed a tremendous amount of spirochete.
And this has been the whole reason why I’ve never gone on antibiotics for Lyme: because while it would initially greatly reduce my symptoms, the long-term damage from having body-wide round bodies waiting to open up is a very alarming thought to me. Furthermore, it’s still unclear under what conditions biofilms form, but it’s very clear that antibiotics cannot reach them. At least not the antibiotics we have available now. And let me just tell you something, this organic hippie-chick, granola eatin’, sandal wearin’ mama may be generally-anti- antibiotic, but if there was a study out there that showed an antibiotic that could reach all forms of Lyme, I would be shoving pills down my throat like there was no tomorrow. I would not *even* be worried about the typical side effects of antibiotics (candida/yeast, digestive issues, etc.) because with all that I know now, fixing those side effects would be a walk in the park compared to my present debilitating symptoms and toxicity of Lyme. Just had to add that for my own sake.
This study is very promising. As a matter of fact, I’ve ordered both tinctures and will begin this protocol once they have arrived. I’m very nervous about the herxing and pain I am about to suffer, it truly is frustrating the cycle of killing Lyme, but, I’m hoping with the other items within my already established protocol, I will be more efficient in killing the Lyme than before.