Lyme disease directly impacts the immune system. When an infected deer tick bites you, it transmits Lyme bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi into your bloodstream. The bacteria are also referred to as antigens. Additional examples of antigens include chemicals, pollen, heavy metals, and viruses. Co-infections may also be transmitted by the same tick that gave you the Lyme bacteria.
Antigens are substances considered harmful by the body because once they enter your bloodstream, they start to multiply. This process is what we call infection. When the body senses an antigen, white blood cells, or the immune system is triggered to seek out the foreign substance and get it out of the body. To do this, the body produces antibodies that travel through the body until it finds and destroys the antigen.
Lyme Disease Antigens
For those with Lyme disease, the antigens like to hide in the blood cells near scar tissue around joints, as well as muscles, tissues, and other spots. Lyme bacteria are excellent at hiding. They can also become inactive, making it challenging for inflammation to locate and eliminate them.
However, the inflammation doesn’t stop seeking antigens just because they go dormant or find a good place to hide. Inflammation antibodies continue searching, causing pain and swelling in your joints, muscles, and other body parts.
There is a secret weapon, though, that can help inflammation complete its job of destroying Lyme bacteria with the help of dendritic cells.
What Are Dendritic Cells?
Dendritic cells capture bacteria or antigens and present them to the immune system, producing antibodies that kill them. For Lyme disease, dendritic cells would capture the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that can be hard to locate when hiding or dormant. Then, the bacteria are presented to your immune system.
Dendritic cells are like a blinking neon arrow pointing to the bacteria. They are like whistleblowers, moles, or mafia rats, but in the best way.
When your immune system detects a threat and activates antibodies, they find the dendritic cells holding the bacteria and eliminate them from your body. Some antibodies remain in your system for future protection. They remember the bacteria, and if ever detected, they can start fighting it much sooner, protecting you from getting sick or developing a chronic illness like Lyme disease.
There is an even more powerful way, using dendritic cells, to protect you from disease. It’s with the use of vaccines.
What is a Vaccine?
Scientists create vaccines to help you develop immunity without getting sick first. It is a way to prevent disease and the spread of disease. Typically, vaccines are made from the bacteria or virus you are trying to avoid, but they are diluted enough that it doesn’t cause you to get sick.
When the vaccine enters your system, it starts making antibodies and practicing how to fight the infection. Your immunity builds and becomes more robust so that when protection is needed, it is ready. For infections related to Lyme disease, researchers have developed a dendritic cell vaccine. While it is not an actual vaccine, it does cause a similar reaction to a vaccine.
Dendritic Cell Vaccine
Leading doctors in the field of infectious diseases, like Dr. Morales at Lyme Mexico Clinic, understand the power of this new treatment for Lyme disease. Hear him discuss the dendritic cell vaccine at the International Lyme Associated Diseases Society conference.
The dendritic cell vaccine is created using cells from your blood that contains Lyme bacteria. A Lyme-literate doctor will extract dendritic cells from your bloodstream. They will be mixed with immune cell stimulants and then exposed to antigens. The mixture of antigens and dendritic cells is injected back into your body.
When taken, the vaccine travels to the lymphatic system, activates white cells, and kills bacteria. The dendritic cells are matured so they can help the immune system capture antigens such as Lyme bacteria. Then, as new cells develop, they are trained to capture antigens also. This process is repeated, making your immune system stronger and more prepared.
Other Immune System Therapies
Dendritic cell vaccine is not the only immunotherapy. Lyme-literate doctors may also prescribe one of the following to help fight Lyme disease:
- Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy (IVIG) is a procedure that strengthens the immune system by adding healthy donated plasma. The plasma is administered through an IV. If you have Lyme disease, it may become difficult for your body to make enough antibodies to fight bacteria. Receiving donated plasma can strengthen your immune system.
- Low-Dose Immunotherapy (LDI) and Low-Dose Allergen Immunotherapy (LDA) are used to train the immune system to be less sensitive to bacteria and allergens. A tiny amount of Lyme bacteria is injected into your body to slowly build up your tolerance and desensitize your immune system’s reaction to antigens.
Immune system therapies can reduce Lyme disease symptoms because your immune system no longer reacts to perceived threats. Before, your body stays in a constant state of inflammation. After, inflammation is reduced.
To further support dendritic cell vaccine therapy, your doctor can prescribe immune-building supplements, intravenous vitamin infusions, and dietary changes.
If you are ready to try dendritic cell vaccine therapy, contact a Lyme-literate doctor who is not only familiar with this procedure but who can perform the procedure in their office with the most advanced equipment.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to experts, the doctors teaching other doctors about dendritic cell vaccines. You can even contact Dr. Morales of Lyme Mexico Clinic. Although he is a leading researcher and contributor to the field of Lyme disease, he continues to work personally with people suffering from Lyme disease.
Finally, give yourself the gift of new and advanced therapies like dendritic cell vaccine therapy, even if it means traveling outside the United States. When searching for a Lyme literate specialist, seek the best, not the closest. Give them a call and inquire about costs. You may find it is affordable, allowing you to receive the treatment you deserve.