Whether you are a seasoned Lyme disease patient or a newly-diagnosed novice, one imperative element of Lyme from both a biological perspective as well as treatment modalities is understanding what bio-film is and why eliminating them from your system can contribute to your overall health and treatment improvement.
What are Biofilms?
In the most simplistic terms, a biofilm is a substance that binds around a healthy or non-healthy cell. According to Dr. David Jockers DNM, DC, MS, this is because biofilm-producing microorganisms are now estimated to be involved with 80% of all GI infections in humans (see study). A biofilm is formed of what are called extracellular polymers that act like a glue and create a physical barrier around colonizing bacteria, fungus, parasites, etc. For Lyme patients, it’s the perfect recipe for undesirable cultivation of Lyme disease. When biofilms are left to proliferate in the body, the immune system no longer recognizes a biofilm-infiltrated cell as a foreign invader, and thereby will NOT call upon the immune system to make antibodies to fight the foreign Lyme cell. The biofilm acts a protective agent to a Lyme-ravaged cell, halts TH1 and Th2 immune system modulation, which helps the body not only fight off, but rid itself of an infection.
So picture a perfectly healthy body, introduce Lyme and then biofilm production and this is part of the reason Lyme can begin to set up shop in the places it enjoys so much, such as the reproductive system, digestive tract, brain, heart, and lungs. Interestingly, we also see this phenomenon with other illnesses such as COVID, AIDS, cancer, etc.
So what can you eat or take to kill biofilm production in the body?
Organic turmeric: Touted as a natural anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric has some incredible health-promoting properties. Likewise, a 2014 study review acknowledged curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) as an effective anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-parasitic. On top of the anti-pathogen benefits, curcumin has also been deemed significantly effective at disrupting biofilm (see study).
But what you probably didn’t know is that by itself, curcumin is not easily absorbed or metabolized by our bodies. In fact, we can only metabolize about 10% of any portion of curcumin at a time.
What you can do, however, is take adjuvants or substances that increase the bioavailability (ability for your body to better metabolize) of the turmeric. By adding coconut oil and/or black pepper oil (bioperine) to your turmeric, you increase the bioavailability of your turmeric by 2,000%! Black pepper slows your body’s liver from filtering out the curcumin, and when you introduce coconut oil (which is a fat) it facilitates curcumin absorption into the bloodstream via your lymphatic system.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Big in nutrition news today, you’ve probably seen information about apple cider vinegar being great for everything from weight loss to balancing pH. It’s also a great biofilm disruptor. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has been shown to kill unwanted bacteria while also cutting through mature biofilms in chronic infections (see study).
Oil of Oregano: Oregano is not just an herb that makes your grandmother’s sauce taste incredible. Like turmeric, it also has amazing anti-microbial properties, with some studies suggesting it as just as effective as antibiotics in some cases. Additionally, oil of oregano is also on the biofilm buster list. In terms of pathogen eradication, carvacrol (the active ingredient in oregano) has been shown to inhibit antibiotic-resistant bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. Additionally, it has been shown that this powerful compound inhibits the release of harmful toxins from pathogens, including biofilms. Oil of oregano is one of the most powerful anti-microbial agents that is used to help reduce bacterial, yeast and parasitic overgrowths and support overall digestive and immune health (see study).
Garlic: Another incredible antimicrobial agent, garlic is an oldie but a goodie when it comes to fighting off bad bacteria, fungus, yeast, parasites, etc. It’s also fantastic at boosting immunity and for detoxification purposes. Biofilm formation is thought to rely on a bacterial communication process called “quorum sensing.” Quorum sensing is how bacteria communicate, evaluate their surroundings, and decide the perfect moment to spread (see study). For bacteria, this is an important survival mechanism. For humans, this can be a huge problem. When the immune system becomes weak, opportunities arise for these kinds of infections to spread rapidly. Luckily, allicin (the active ingredient in garlic) has been shown to disrupt this communication process and biofilm growth (see study).
Cistus tea: Cistus Incanus has been proven to be a powerful biofilm-breaker while restoring a healthy microbial balance in the human body. Drinking Cistus tea, or even using it as a mouth rinse, has been shown to decrease adherence of bacteria in the mouth and ultimately breaking down biofilms (see study).
Stevia extract: In a very popular study in 2015 conducted by Dr. Eva Sapi at the University of New Haven (see study), Sapi showed that whole-leaf stevia extract in alcohol suspension (known as Stevia A in the study and manufactured by Nutramedix) was much more effective at killing all forms of the borrelia bacteria (longform, persisters/cysts and biofilm) than other forms of stevia (Now®, Sweet leaf®, and Truvia®) in vitro. Stevia leaf is a natural product that has been used for at least 400 years as a food product, principally as a sweetener or other flavoring agent.
Serrapeptase: Serrapeptase is an enzyme extracted from silkworms and has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory enzyme for pain and swelling reduction. It is reported to have biofilm-busting action and is best for inflammation and pain associated with oral/facial surgeries, sinus infections, arthritis, or chronic airway diseases (see study).
Nattokinase: Nattokinase is an enzyme extracted from traditional Japanese fermented soybeans and has been shown to have effective biofilm-busting capabilities. It also looks very promising as an oral enzyme in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases (see study).
Lumbrokinase (Boluoke): Lumbrokinase (also known as boluoke) is a complex enzyme extracted from earthworms. It can also be referred to as earthworm powder enzymes (EPE) or earthworm fibrinolytic enzymes (e-PPA). Earthworms have been used in traditional Eastern medicine for thousands of years in countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and others. It is one of the stronger, natural biofilm-busters and anti-coagulants available (see study).
The above material is provided for informational purposes only. The material is not nor should be considered a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
About the author: Christie Korth has been very passionate about health and wellness since healing herself from a crippling case of Crohn’s disease through diet and lifestyle changes. She is the CEO of Happy & Healthy Wellness, Inc. and the award-winning author of “The IBD Healing Plan and Recipe Book.” She has also has been treating late-stage Lyme disease for several years and is writing a book about her experiences.