The following guest blog is by Vanessa Colleran of True North AIP.  Vanessa is a Canadian healing herself of Lyme Disease & two diagnosed autoimmune diseases, using the Autoimmune Protocol.  She is also a certified Primal Blueprint Expert through Mark Sission of Mark's Daily Apple & is studying through the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.  You can find Vanessa here:

Lyme Maple

In my previous post, Chronic Lyme Disease and the Autoimmune Protocol – Part One, I mentioned that Lyme is a controversial disease, especially in Canada, which often leaves more questions than answers. But why is Lyme Disease, especially Chronic Lyme, so controversial in Canada? And why are so many people going undiagnosed and untreated in a country whose health care system is supposed to one of the best in the world?

Here are some of the facts:

The Tick

  • Lyme Disease was first found in 1977 Old Lyme, Connecticut when a group of parents noticed arthritis like symptoms in their children and brought this to the attention of health officials.
  • A majority of Lyme cases ended up being found in a number of eastern states in the U.S., but it wasn’t believed to be prevalent in many areas of Canada at the time (although Canada’s Public Health Agency didn’t start requiring the disease to be reported until 2009).
  • People suspecting they had Lyme Disease in Canada were told it was impossible as the ticks that carry the disease weren’t endemic to many areas. In addition, there was a growing concern among doctors over misdiagnoses of this largely unknown disease and of course, the overuse of antibiotics (Lyme’s primary recommended treatment).
  • Such things as a patients travel history weren’t regularly considered nor the possibility of the ticks themselves being able to travel and spread the disease.
  • Reforestation and suburban expansion have helped to spread the disease opening up new habitats and allowing for deer and rodents that are carrying the infected ticks to move.
  • Black legged ticks carrying the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and its common co infections such as Bartonella and/or Babesia, travel not only on the backs of deer and rodents, but also by some 3 million land birds and songbirds that migrate to Canada each year.
  • Climate change is making things worse. Canadian authorities in 2014, admitted that Lyme Disease, the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S., is indeed an ‘emerging’ threat in Canada. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also added Lyme Disease to its list of “climate change indicators” – which is meant to help the public ascertain the documented effects of climate change.

This is where we stand today: Canada’s Public Health Authority now recognizes endemic populations of ticks that could carry the disease in six provinces in Canada: British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Although Jim Wilson, president of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (Can Lyme), believes that Lyme Disease is indeed present in most of Canada.

 The Tests

  • There hasn’t been a reliable test used that directly tests for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for the causing Lyme disease.
  • What has been used as a screen in Canada, is a two tiered testing protocol (ELISA and Western Blot) the first of which has a bad track record of false negatives. This is due in part because it tests instead for someone’s immune response to the bacteria, something that might not be strong enough to register, especially in the beginning stages of the disease.
  • The ELISA test used in Canada doesn’t screen for two specific bacterial proteins, bands 31 and 34, which are two of the most reliable markers for the disease. So if you test negative on the first of this two tiered testing protocol with this ELISA test (which 50% - 75% of patients will), you aren’t allowed to proceed to get tested with the Western Blot, the second of the two tests, which can be moderately more reliable.
  • There are doctors aware of Lyme disease, that believe in its existence and that know about this flawed testing protocol. But unfortunately because of these negative test results, they can’t get permission to actually treat their patients.
  • Health Canada admitted to the low reliability of these tests and has stated so on their website:  “The currently available Lyme disease test kits have been found to have     limitations of sensitivity and specificity, particularly when used on patients with acute infection, which is usually easily treated with antibiotics. Even when the conventional two-tiered testing approach is used, the sensitivity and specificity of the combined test results can be less than optimal. In a comprehensive study of 280 serum samples from well-characterized Lyme disease patients, the sensitivity of the two-tiered approach was as low as 38% . . . ”

The Canadian Health Care system needs to admit that a negative test result does not necessarily mean you don’t have Lyme, especially when these particular tests are in use. For instance, in Virginia in 2013, legislation was enacted that any patient in the state testing negative for Lyme must be informed that a negative test result does not mean that they don’t have the disease. Also until the system in Canada starts including a patient’s history and symptoms as reliable indicators to the possibility of this disease, patients that are indeed infected with Lyme will continue to test negative and not be treated.

The Symptoms

  • The signs and symptoms can be very non-specific and found in a multitude of other conditions. Given the fact that testing is so faulty and that many doctors do not believe that Lyme is endemic in many regions, a person could be misdiagnosed with something else.
  • Conventional wisdom states that Lyme is always accompanied by the presence of a bulls eye rash. Many Lyme advocacy groups, as well as Lyme literate doctors, dispute this though, referencing evidence that a rash isn’t always present in the first stages (or any stage) of the disease. According the Can Lyme website, only 30% of Lyme patients actually report a rash and only 9% describe it as being the classic bull’s eye rash.
  • You can easily not know you’ve been bitten by a tick – less than 50% of people do. The adult black-legged ticks are about the size of a sesame seed and the nymphs are the size of a poppy seed, so they can easily go undetected.
  • The following website lists some of the symptoms you may find if you have Lyme Disease: http://canlyme.com/lyme-basics/symptoms/

Again, what isn’t emphasized by doctor's is the importance of a history, as well as symptoms that a patient may have to indicate Lyme. Following are the four areas that you should consider to determine whether you might have Lyme Disease, according to Dr. Marty Ross of Treat Lyme and Associative Diseases.

  • Your risk of transmission
  • Symptoms consistent with a diagnosis and not explained by another illness
  • Physical exam findings
  • Supportive testing

The Cases in Canada

Compare the following:

Reported Cases / Year

Canada                                                            USA

69 in 2004-2006                                                10,000 in 1991

128 in 2009                                                        27,000 in 2013

310 in 2014                                                        *300,000 in 2014

  • *The CDC realized that they had been grossly underestimating this disease and adjusted their numbers to more than 10 times their initial estimation of 30,000 - up to 300,000 in May of 2014. This doesn’t include the patients that were treated without testing because they did have the tell tale bulls eye rash, so actual numbers would be much higher.
  • At a legislative hearing in Cananda in May of 2014, an infectious disease specialist stated that this disease will affect more than 10,000 Canadians by the year 2020.
  • Though according to Jim Wilson of Can Lyme, we are most likely already at 10,000 cases annually. When you compare the numbers above, it certainly seems more than likely.

The Treatment

  • Early detection and treatment is critical and if caught early, the disease can often be treated effectively with a two-three week course of antibiotics.
  • If left untreated, Lyme Disease can progress to affect neurological and motor functions and many patients can end up with a misdiagnose (MS, Parkinson’s and ALS as some examples). It can also spread to the joints, the nervous system, and even the heart. But with Chronic Lyme there is such a long list of nonspecific symptoms that it is a very hard disease to diagnose. There also is additional controversy whether prolonged antibiotic treatment for chronic Lyme is effective or even safe.
  • The Canadian government as well as with the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) set the treatment guidelines. These guidelines currently state that Lyme Disease can be effectively treated with no more that four weeks of antibiotics, which is hotly disputed by patients and Lyme literate doctors who recognize that long term (sometimes several years worth) of antibiotics are necessary in some chronic cases.
  • If you are a Canadian doctor you run the risk of being disciplined and having your medical licenses revoked if you were to prescribe such a treatment that extends beyond the four week protocol. This ends up forcing patients seeking treatment to go south of the border at their own expense.

If you are lucky enough to live in a province like British Columbia such as myself however, naturopaths now can prescribe antibiotics and will offer you a treatment plan without the additional expense of having to travel to the United States to get it.

The Canadian Plan

  • There may be a bit of hope. Elizabeth May, a political leader has proposed a national action plan against Lyme disease this year. It has passed through the House of Commons and has been referred to the Senate. She states that Canada has been in denial for so long now about the existence of Lyme, that lawsuits are piling up and misdiagnosis is more common that not. Canadians are suffering not getting the help they need and are beginning to insist on a change to the system.

It’s people, patients like you or me, that are demanding this change. And it can’t happen soon enough.

Link to references:

  1. http://elizabethmaymp.ca/parliament/speeches/2014/03/03/national-lyme-disease-strategy-act-bill-c-442-2/
  2. http://www.macleans.ca/society/health/health-canadas-new-lyme-disease-plan-you-act-well-watch/
  3. http://www.straight.com/news/738301/lyme-disease-spreads-bewildering-debilitating-array-misery-and-afflictions
  4. http://www.straight.com/news/738356/lyme-disease-surges-north-canada-moves-out-denial
  5. http://canlyme.com/about/
  6. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp
  7. mps/alt_formats/pdf/medeff/bulletin/carnbcei_v22n4-eng.pdf

1 Comment

The following guest blog is by Vanessa Colleran of True North AIP.  Vanessa is a Canadian healing herself of Lyme Disease & two diagnosed autoimmune diseases, using the Autoimmune Protocol.  She is also a certified Primal Blueprint Expert through Mark Sission of Mark's Daily Apple & is studying through the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.  You can find Vanessa here:

Lyme Maple

I have Chronic Lyme Disease. Well, at least I think I do.

How strange to not know right? Even while I sit down to write this, it's hard for me to say those words and really believe them. There is so much doubt and uncertainty surrounding this disease it can leave you with more questions than answers. The reason for this is that that there is still so much that is unknown about Chronic Lyme and the best way to diagnose and  treat it.

I have to be completely honest here. I wish I was diagnosed with something else. Not that I wish to have any other disease (of course !) and not that I discount the agony that other people suffer with other diseases. But I do wish that I was diagnosed with something that was at the very least, extremely black-and-white. Something that wasn't so controversial, something that my western medicine doctor didn't deny even existed, something where the symptoms were clear-cut, something where the treatment was easily defined and where progress could be monitored as steady improvement, instead of the waxing and waning vagueness of Lyme Disease. But I didn't get that disease . . . I got Lyme.

I have been suffering from a fairly acute onset of autoimmune disorders (Psoriasis, Reynaud’s Syndrome) as well as a long list of other complaints (extreme fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, sinusitis, allergies….) for about nine years now. Collectively, these have all contributed to a fairly tough existence on all but the few "good" days. Prior to this, I was active and healthy and barely spent a moment in a doctor’s office. Since the onset though, I have spent the last nine years in and out of GP’s and specialist’s offices, getting CT scanned, x-rayed, ultra sounded, blood pulled time and time again . . . all with the hope to identify what it was that triggered such a dramatic decline in my health. All of these tests were not able to provide me with any answers.

Fast-forwarding to a year and a half ago, I started on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) after hitting what I guess you could call my rock bottom. It was an act of desperation to make this radical a shift in my diet, but one I was willing to commit to in the hopes that something . . . anything . . . could be improved. Little did I know that it was going to be this diet that led me down the road to getting the Lyme diagnosis to begin with.

They say after having been on a dedicated autoimmune protocol for a period of time, you should start to see some improvements in your autoimmune disease. You are going to certainly notice a difference in many of the other symptoms that you have. But if you don’t start seeing any change in the "big stuff," your specific autoimmune disease(s), then you need to dig a little deeper and see if there is something, like an infection, that could be keeping your immune system suppressed and preventing further healing. This is exactly how the journey looked for me.

After months on AIP and seeing dramatic improvements in my energy levels, sleep, etc.  . . . my "big stuff" wasn’t budging. My skin wasn’t healing. And since it was my skin that was having enough of an impact on my quality of life, I needed to keep going. So I dug a little deeper and visited a naturopath whom I knew was going to be able to test me for the most obvious culprit(s) and for her that ended up being Lyme. Had my test result come back negative, she would have still recommended treatment based on my symptoms alone, as they were so indicative of someone that was indeed battling more than autoimmunity.

So what exactly is involved with treating Lyme Disease? How can someone take a disease that is wrapped up in so much doubt and controversy, and devise a plan to help treat it? It’s to keep it simple and address the following:

  • Diet / Nutritional Supplements
  • Immune Support
  • Antibacterials
  • Detoxification

Since my focus on my health journey up until this point had been primarily centered around the diet, this was the first thing I wanted to address as I was certainly curious about the recommendations that were going to be made. And after being on the AIP for what felt like forever at the time, I certainly wasn’t interested in any more restrictions! But what I was happy to hear was the exact diet the naturopath recommended . . . was for the most part the exact diet, AIP, that I had just mastered. And when I thought about it . . . it made a lot of sense.

With Lyme Disease, you have an immune system that is working hard at keeping the bacteria and inflammation under control, but is struggling to keep up.

With Autoimmune Disease, you have an immune system that is out of control causing inflammation and declaring a war on your own body.

What is needed in both of these situations, the common thread, is nutrition. And the LAST thing you need in either one of these scenarios, but especially in a combined situation like I have, is to continue to add to the insults and make your immune system work harder. Your focus needs to be on a diet that is nutrient dense and void of anything that can:

  • continue to damage your gut and cause intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut…one of the 3 predisposing factors in any autoimmune disease)
  • or suppress your immune system or add to your bodies already inflamed condition.

In regards to diet, “Micronutrient deficiencies that arise from not eating enough nutritionally dense foods (or not digesting those foods properly) contribute to a defective immune system and hinder the body’s ability to heal. A variety of mineral and vitamin deficiencies have been very strongly correlated with autoimmune disease.” -Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Approach.

In regards to supplements, To heal and feel better requires a multi­vitamin with an essential set of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. A good multi­vitamin improves functioning of the immune system, muscles, brain and nerves, hormones, organs including the kidney and liver, detoxification, and decreases inflammation. It also protects the body from the toxic effect of prescriptive antibiotics.” -Marty Ross, MD, Treat Lyme and Associated Diseases.

So without me even realizing it, I had already taken the biggest step I could to help my body get strong enough to fight this infection or any other infection I might be dealing with, by adopting the Autoimmune Protocol. Making a shift to this elimination diet, my ND explained, is the hardest part of the treatment protocol and what she finds her patients struggle with the most, but the work is imperative. With any disease you may be trying to heal yourself from, if you don’t have your diet correct, then all the time and money spent on medications and other treatments might end up being a big, fat waste. It’s the diet, the provider of basic nourishment and building blocks for all of your body systems . . . the immune system being in the spot light here . . . that is essential for any healing to happen. Make this your starting place. Don’t get paralyzed by all the unknowns and uncertainty surrounding this disease as there is much you can do immediately to begin feeling better again.

If I were to be asked for advice from someone that may just be starting out on the long road with Lyme & AI disease, what I would do first, I would say this. For me, it’s twofold:

  • Address your diet. And be honest with yourself about this. Healing from Lyme can take on average 2 years so you’re already in this for the long haul. Healing from an autoimmune disease takes just as much of a commitment. Take the steps to ensure you can provide your body with the basic nutrition it needs to strengthen the immune system and heal. Reach out and get help if you need to. Angie Alt has a great program called SAD to AIP in SIX, where she will guide you and a community of others just like you, through this transformation in a gentle, supported way. Check out her program here: http://autoimmune-paleo.com/groupcoaching/
  • Let your symptoms and your history be your guide and trust in those. There are many problems with the testing surrounding Lyme. You can easily obtain false positives and false negatives in your tests, so don’t let the result of any one test stall you. If your symptoms and history lean towards Lyme as a possibility . . . then trust this part of your story.

A couple great places to get started:

 

3 Comments

TPAC-Final-front-cover-sm2

I've been trying really hard for a long time now to practice as much balance as I can with social media.  It sorta' has a way of taking over our lives, especially the lives of bloggers.  One way I've tried to hold the line is by limiting my social media accounts.  Another way I try to practice balance is by using a dumb phone.  That's right . . . I don't own a super cool smart phone, I own a slider from, like, probably 1999.  I know it is totally lame, but honestly all I want my phone to do is make a call (granted my phone is so old I basically have to get in a time machine to make the call, but that's beside the point).  Limiting the number of accounts I have & not owning a smart phone meant that I wasn't hanging out at the most happening spot on the internet though.  You guys know the spot I'm talking about . . . INSTAGRAM!  But I didn't care, I told folks my getting a smart phone & joining Instagram would essentially herald the End Times.

Signs of The End Times:

  • War
  • Famine
  • False Prophets
  • Angie joining Instagram

My AIP soul-sister, Mickey, of Autoimmune Paleo, came to stay with me a few weeks ago though & like a true sister, she gave it to me straight.  "Angie, you need to get real & get on Instagram."  We went to party with some local bloggers & they all ganged up on me.  Naturally, I succumbed to peer pressure like a total weakling.  Geez!  Good thing they weren't drug dealers!  I could have easily ended up a junkie on the streets in a matter of weeks thanks to their extreme pressure tactics.  LOL!

You can find me on Instagram HERE now.  My smart phone has been ordered & in the mean time I'm lugging around my Ipad & learning the ropes.  I'll admit all the pictures are alot of fun to peruse & I hope soon I'll have lots of interesting stuff for you guys to check out.  So far you can probably find me at the hashtag #noideawhatiamdoing .  Hahaha!

Giveaway

So, let's get to the point, this is a giveaway after all!!  I'd love to have you join me (& teach me!) on Instagram & I wanna' sweeten the deal.  I have a brand new, SIGNED copy of The Paleo Approach Cookbook by our favorite lady, Sarah Ballatyne (aka The Paleo Mom).  You can win it by following me on Instagram!  All you have to do to enter is follow my Instagram account:  http://instagram.com/angie.alt & leave a comment on the picture of The Paleo Approach Cookook.  One of the comments will be chosen at random & I'll announce a winner on October 12, 2014.  I'll ship anywhere in the world, so get in there Australia, NZ, & Europe (I know you guys are around!).  Can't wait to hang out with on Instagram!!

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Group Project 3

You can join 100's of other folks that have been through the SAD to AIP in SIX program.  They've transformed their lives & you can too!  CLICK THIS LINK to sign-up!

May 1st marked my two year AIP-versary!  After two years of following this lifestyle and especially recently with becoming a health coach, I've noticed that there is not a step-by-step process to take a person all the way from Standard American Diet to Autoimmune Protocol in a clear, supportive way.  This leaves a whole segment of the AI population out of the healing loop . . . the group that needs uncomplicated, easy to maintain stages of elimination combined with the encouragement they may be lacking in their personal or social circles.  I wake up at night thinking about the folks who know about AIP, but are stuck in SAD.  So, I decided to do something about it!

I’ve designed a program, "SAD to AIP in SIX," to be that step-by-step process.  If you are the person who was out there ready and willing, but lacking the right fit . . . here it is.  I hope you’ll find this method answers your need for guidance from "I'm ready" to "I'm there!"

If you would like to know what the program offers, if the program is the right fit for you, and what you'll learn over the six weeks, CLICK THIS LINK.  You'll find easy on-line set-up & start date information for the next group!

I can't wait to get started!

anigif

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do?

Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.

Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?

On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.

If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10th

Everyone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown