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Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks. One of the challenges in treating Lyme disease is the ability of Borrelia burgdorferi to form biofilms. Biofilms are communities of bacteria that are encased in a protective matrix and attached to a surface. They are highly resistant to antimicrobial agents and can evade the immune system, making them difficult to eliminate. Therefore, effective biofilm treatment may require the use of biofilm-disrupting agents to break down the protective matrix and expose the bacteria to antimicrobial agents.

What Are Biofilms?

Biofilms are communities of microorganisms that are encased in a protective matrix and attached to a surface. They can form on a wide variety of surfaces, including living tissue, medical devices, and industrial equipment. Biofilms are highly resistant to antimicrobial agents and can evade the immune system, making them difficult to eliminate. A biofilm matrix comprises extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), which consist of sugars, proteins, and other biopolymers.

The EPS provides structural support to the biofilm and helps the microorganisms resist environmental stresses, such as changes in pH and temperature. Biofilms can have detrimental effects in various settings, including healthcare, where they can cause infections, and in industrial settings, where they can cause corrosion and fouling of equipment.

What Are Examples of Biofilms?

Biofilms can form almost anywhere, here are some of the most common occurrences:

In the Mouth

The mouth is full of bacteria which are constantly being flushed or brushed out. If you don’t have healthy oral hygiene, some bacteria will mix with the food particles left behind. After mixing, the bacteria stick to the surface of your teeth and create biofilms. The bacteria, or plaque, on teeth protected by biofilms cause rot and decay, leading to cavities, gingivitis, bad breath, and sometimes extensive dental work.

On Rocks in Waterways

In rivers, creeks, ponds, and other waterways around the globe are algae and fungi, or biofilms, living on rocks, protecting toxins. It’s the slimy green or brown stuff that you can slip on, and that feels gross when it squishes through your toes. Underneath the biofilms are contaminants that researchers study to ensure safety for the public and the environment.

You may think biofilms on rocks do not affect you, but they can. For example, insects consume biofilms. Fish eat the contaminated insects. Humans catch and eat contaminated fish.

In the Body

The body consists of millions of microbes; some are needed to maintain good health, while others make you sick. Harmful microbes build biofilms for protection. The National Institute of Health reports that forming biofilms in the body causes between 65% and 80% of diseases.

Here are some common examples:

  • Bacterial endocarditis (inner surface of the heart)
  • Otitis media (ear infection)
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Cystic fibrosis (lung infections)
  • Infectious kidney stones
  • Streptococcal infections (osteomyelitis, impetigo, pharyngitis, tonsilitis, etc.)
  • Gastrointestinal diseases (h. Pylori)
  • Chronic wounds
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases (Lyme disease)

How Does Biofilm Treatment Impact Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is transmitted from a deer tick infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Ticks do not bite you. Instead, they create a hole in your skin that helps get their head into your bloodstream, where they feed on your blood. At the same time, they are transmitting Lyme bacteria into your bloodstream. Once in your fluid-filled bloodstream, Lyme bacteria attach to the walls and lining of blood cells and begin creating and growing biofilms and then dispersing to other areas of the body to do the same.

Biofilms protect Lyme bacteria in the following ways:

  • Hides bacteria from the body’s immune system
  • Uses efflux pumps to flush away antibiotics
  • Hides bacteria from herbal treatments
  • Causes relapse when treatments stop
  • It makes them stronger by communicating with other biofilm germs
  • Produces tails on some bacteria to promote rapid spreading
  • It contains different types of bacteria that promote growth even when Lyme bacteria is eliminated
  • It becomes stronger when they detect antibiotics and other treatments

Biofilm Treatment Methods?

There are several treatment methods for Lyme that have been known to alleviate symptoms. Treatment for biofilms protecting Lyme bacteria goes well beyond a round or two of antibiotics your general practitioner may prescribe. Treatment must begin with a Lyme-literate doctor, a specialist in infectious diseases, and advanced therapies.

Most Lyme-literate doctors create a biofilm eradication protocol to ensure the best results. Because there is no one-size-fits-all protocol, yours will be developed after extensive testing, including analyzing your blood through a microscope, lab work, and a comprehensive symptom review.

Depending on your assessment, one or more of the following may be used:

  • Starving biofilms of minerals like calcium and magnesium are necessary for biofilm survival. Some doctors allow minimal amounts of calcium and magnesium rather than starvation if results show a mineral reduction.
  • Blocking their ability to replicate can be done using anthracycline derivatives and antimicrobials.
  • Using chelation agents to bind to biofilms and flush them from the bloodstream. Chelation means “to grab or bind” and is often used to eliminate heavy metals and minerals from the body. Doctors inject a chelating chemical intravenously. That chemical enters your bloodstream immediately, binds to biofilms, and takes them out of your system.
  • Using enzymes to break up protein and sugar matrixes. Enzymes may include lipase, cellulase, protease, natto kinase, beta gluconate, etc.
  • Alternating herbal remedies to prevent biofilms’ binding, growing, and dispersing activities. Some herbs may even kill biofilms. Examples include curcumin, cinnamon, oregano, cranberry, berberine, rosemary, peppermint, N-acetylcysteine, activated charcoal, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, etc. Your Lyme-literate doctor must create a personal protocol to ensure you receive the appropriate combinations and the correct amount at the right times to avoid adverse reactions.

Implementing Biofilm Treatment?

If you are reading this, you have already taken the first step. You are learning what you can about Lyme disease and how it may affect you. The next step is to contact a Lyme-literate doctor right away. The sooner you contact a specialist, the sooner you can start a treatment protocol.

Make your health a priority so you can enjoy the long, healthy, happy life you deserve.

Biofilm Treatment and Its Impact on Lyme Disease - Lyme Mexico

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