By Andrea Bartels CNP NNCP RNT
08 Jun 2018
Sleep is good, but no amount of sleep can cure Lyme disease or the fatigue that characterizes it.
It's tick season in the northern hemisphere. Each year, thousands of people are bitten by deer ticks infected with the bacterium borrelia burgdorferi. While some recover quickly thanks to rapid, correct diagnosis and treatment, many others develop debilitating physical and mental fatigue, joint and muscle pain, cognitive impairment and heart trouble that can go on for years. This is the nightmarish face of Lyme disease.
In Lyme disease, much of the body's energy is shunted towards the immune system as it attempts to destroy the bacteria. This is a tough challenge to face on its own, and the infection and its inflammatory effects often produce symptoms that can become chronic, depleting the individual's energy for months or years following infection. That's why whatever can be done to improve cellular energy production is critical to the well-being of Lyme patients.
Caffeine is not the answer to increasing energy levels in Lyme because it doesn't provide any nutrients needed for energy production.
When you're feeling lethargic and drowsy, your go-to may be a caffeinated beverage such as coffee, tea, chocolate or a cola drink. However, caffeine provides no nutritional value to the cells. It's simply a stimulant to the nervous system. In Lyme disease and other conditions of chronic fatigue, even the best diet isn't enough because energy production throughout the body is hampered to the point that the conversion of food nutrients into energy is impaired. A far more sensible way to facilitate energy production for these fatigued individuals is through supplementation of what the cells actually use to make energy---specifically, co-enzymes.
Energy production cannot occur without the co-enzyme nutrients NADH and ubiquinone/ubiquinol (CoEnzyme Q10). NADH is a form of vitamin B-3 (niacin) that is so important to life that every cell in the human body makes it. The highest concentrations of NADH can be found in the heart, brain and muscles because these tissues demand more energy than any other body parts. Interestingly, it seems that in Lyme disease these are the tissues most compromised by the inflammation---suggesting a role for NADH in supporting energy production.
In one study involving 58 patients (30 females, 28 males) suffering from a variety of typical fatigue illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia and Gulf War illness, there was a 30.7% reduction in overall fatigue within 60 days of NADH treatment.
To support energy production, stabilized forms of supplementation must be ingested so that they are actually absorbed intact.
Until recently, the most common method for boosting NADH levels in the body was high doses of niacin (vitamin B-3) because NADH was not found to be absorbed intact when orally ingested. However, when taken in therapeutic doses niacin can lead to an unpleasant skin-prickling, flushing sensation. Using a stabilized form of NADH enables a therapeutic effect with much lower doses.
The term 'CoEnzyme Q10' is loosely used to mean either ubiquinol or ubiquinone—but these are not equal. In fact, ubiquinol is the active form of ubiquinone---making it more readily useable by the body as an antioxidant and cellular energy production-enhancer. When taken in supplement form, a stabilized form of ubiquinol is critical for effectiveness in supporting energy production.
The cleanest, most balanced diet is simply not enough to support energy production for Lyme patients. Co-Enzymes Q10 and NADH supply the necessary cellular boost.
Combining stabilized forms of NADH with CoEnzymeQ10 in an oral supplement is a logical way to boost energy levels in folks with fatigue symptoms, such as those with Lyme disease. Only then can nutrition be used to its full potential to provide the building blocks needed to help the body's immune system overcome this devastating illness.
Nicolson GL, Settineri R, Ellithorpe R. Lipid replacement therapy with a glycophospholipid formulation with NADH and CoQ10 significantly reduces fatigue in intractable chronic fatiguing illnesses and chronic Lyme disease patients. Int J Clin Med. 2012;3(3):163–170.
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