Lyme disease is caused by a special species of bacteria – spirochetes (Latin Spirocheta). The type of spirochete that causes Lyme disease belongs to the genus Borrelia. Borreliosis in humans is most often caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia afzalii and Borrelia garinii. There is more and more information about other species that can cause infections among humans, such as Borrelia lonestari, Borrelia valaisiana, Borrelia andersonii, Borrelia japan, Borrelia lusitanie, Borrelia turdae, Borrelia tanukii, Borrelia spielman and Borrelia bassettii.
Lyme disease spirochetes are of a spiral shape, and their structure does not resemble any other bacteria tested so far. This is one of the largest spirochete, its dimensions are 0.25 x 50 microns. The Borrelia bacteria are also extremely mobile. Due to its own drive, built from a set of internal interlocked flagella running along the entire length of bacteria, it moves well in both blood and tissues. This way, in just a few days they can wander through the whole body and penetrate deeper tissues, where antibiotics do not reach. Lyme disease can penetrate into all tissues, joints, liver, spleen, eyes, bladder, capillaries, nerve cells, etc. Within ten days of infection, Borrelia crosses the blood-brain barrier, which is not even possible with white blood cells.The Borrelia bacteria have a triple cell wall that allows it to maintain a spiral shape. It differs from other species in that it has a gelatinous shell on the surface made of proteoglycans that surrounds the entire bacteria. This additional casing is called the mucous casing or the S-casing. The mucus protects bacterial cells against the immune system’s T lymphocytes. Antibodies and phagocytes do not recognize them as a foreign body – an antigen. In normal gram-negative bacteria, these surface proteins are encoded only in three genes, whereas with Borrelia bacteria there are 150 genes present. These genes enable them to continuously and quickly change their recognition features, antigens, constantly and very quickly and make the spirochetes adapt to various environmental conditions, such as pH fluctuations, temperature differences or the internal environment of various organisms they occupy. Lyme disease spirochetes due to the complex life cycle and survival strategies acquired in the course of evolution, cause many difficulties not only diagnostic, but most of all difficulties in treatment.
Where does the difficulty in treating Lyme disease come from?
1.Borrelia bacteria can take on a variety of shapes that are not recognized by the immune system.
In addition to the normal spiral shape, Borrelia bacteria can discard cell walls and take on a spherical shape if their surrounding is contaminated with antibiotics. The spherical form, called the L form, is not recognized by cells of the immune system. In this way, spirochetes lose their distinctive features, i.e. they do not have antigens, which could make them recognizable. Furthermore, they are able to encyst within one minute and transform into a cyst. In the form of cysts, they can survive adverse environmental conditions. Encysted spirochetes, without metabolism and division, can last for at least ten months. Returning to the previous, mobile state begins in less than an hour and can take up to six weeks.
2.Borrelia bacteria create blisters, called blebs.
These spirochetes duplicate special genes and place them in the cell wall, after which this section of the wall undergoes exocytosis and is sent deep into the human body. This puts the immune system under attack and distracts it.
3.Borrelia bacteria have high affinity with collagen structures.
The basic source of food for bacteria are the collagen structures of tissues. Feeding on these tissues damages collagen structures, which in turn contributes to the occurrence of symptoms from the affected organ or system. If the bacteria feed on the tissue in the joints, they cause damage to the joints and degeneration. If bacteria attack the heart, they will contribute to heart disease. If they damage the tissue of the nervous system, neurological symptoms may appear, etc. This explains why one disease can lead to symptoms coming from different organs and systems. That is why it is so important to protect and regenerate collagen structures because only this action will protect our body against damage caused by infection with the Borrelia bacteria. Every symptom accompanying the disease has basis in the primary damage to the collagen structures of a given organ or system. If we realize this, it will be easier to understand how to deal with annoying symptoms. If you protect the collagen structures, the symptoms will discontinue.
4.Borrelia spirochetes create colonies in the form of biofilm.
In adverse conditions, Borrelia bacteria are able to form aggregates and colonies in the form of the so-called biofilm in order to protect against antibiotics or the immune system. It is a form of bacterial resistance to unfavorable environmental conditions. Biofilm are aggregates of microorganisms that serve to protect these pathogens from adverse environmental conditions. Microorganisms in the biofilm structure are immersed in an exopolymeric substance (EPS) that maintains the biofilm structure. Biofilms are covered with a protective layer consisting of a mixture of extracellular polymeric substances secreted by cells formed in the biological membrane. Biofilm adheres to human tissue where tissue damage and inflammation occur. Within the biofilm, bacteria can communicate with each other, multiply, transfer acquired antibiotic resistance, carry out vital processes such as metabolism, protein synthesis and DNA repair. Other types of organisms may also be found within the biofilm. The main factor enabling bacteria to form biofilms is the “quorum sensing” reaction. The phenomenon of quorum sensing is the way in which microorganisms communicate with each other using special molecules of chemical compounds called auto-inductors. Separation of these molecules promotes the formation of biofilms. The ability to create a biofilm is one of the main strategies of Borrelia bacteria used for long-term, chronic infections.
Breaking down a biofilm is important, but it should not be broken aggressively. Aggressive disruption of the biofilm can cause a rapid release of bacteria, fragments of bacteria and fragments of biofilms to the body, sometimes in large quantities. This can cause a significant increase in symptoms. These particles can also move in the body and root in a different part of the body and cause the emergence of new health problems.
Therefore, Borrelia’s biofilms should be broken slowly, gradually leading to its elimination. There are many herbs and supplements that effectively, but in a gentle way break down the biofilm created by Lyme spirochete and inhibit the phenomenon of quorum sensing. This will help avoid the risk of too rapid release of biofilm fragments into the body.
The most effective plants that allow a safe, gradual breakdown of the biofilm are:
- Andrographis paniculata
- Japanese knotweed (lat. Polygenum cuspidatum)
- Rhodila spp.,
- Chinese skullcap (lat. Scutellaria baicalensis)
- N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)
5. Borrellia bacteria induce a cytokine cascade in the body.
Cytokines are small molecules of cell signaling released by the immune system and glial cells of the nervous system that are important in the intercellular response. They are usually one of the first substances that occur as a result of tissue damage, their secretion can be caused directly by a damaging agent, e.g. a pathogen or also induced by substances derived from disintegrating cells. A cytokine cascade is then triggered, as a given cytokine may in turn affect the production and activity of a whole range of other cytokines. Cytokinin has a strong effect on the body. During the course of infection Borrelia spirochetes induce a complex reaction of the cytokine cascade. As the Borrelia spirochete begins to damage the collagen structures, many of these structural elements are released in a free form in the body, which stimulates the secretion of cytokines. Some of these decomposition products, like fragments of broken spirochetes, trigger an autoimmune response, during which the body begins to attack its own tissues. Lyme disease spirochetes therefore use the host’s immune response for their own purposes. In this way, they stimulate the emergence of inflammation and the breakdown of specific tissues in order to obtain nutrients for themselves (the Borrelia bacteria cannot produce nutrients on their own, which is why it will get all substances necessary for survival). In short, the bacterium initiates a cytokine cascade that leads to tissue breakdown, which is the source of many symptoms in patients with Lyme disease.
6.Borrelia bacteria reproduce extremely slowly.
Unlike most other bacteria that divide once every 20 minutes, Borrelia bacteria reproduce extremely slowly – once every 12-14 hours. As a result, they are less susceptible to antibiotics, as most antibiotics act on forming cell walls during the division phase and multiplication. In addition, in unfavorable environmental conditions, they can survive a long period of rest, without dividing. Bacteria that divide every 20 minutes can be controlled with antibiotics within a week or two, so to get the same effect with Borrelia, you would have to take antibiotics every day for one and a half year.
7.Borrelia bacteria damage immune cells.
Borrelia spirochetes have the ability to adhere to the cells of the body, as well as to B lymphocyte immune cells using enzymes to create a hole in their cell walls, destroy the cell nucleus, and then use the cell coat as a “mask”. In this way, bacteria manage to avoid recognition by cells of the immune system. Furthermore, Borrelia spirochetes also attack immune cells, T cells and NK cells (Natural Killer cells).
8. Borrelia bacteria have the ability to change the structure of genes and surface proteins in order to avoid an attack by the immune system.
Borrelia bacteria can very quickly and frequently change the structure of the cell membrane. When the immune system recognizes an infection, it starts producing antibodies against the spirochetes. Borrelia bacteria begin to change their characters to avoid an immune response, e.g. in response to an immune attack, the OspC surface protein expression decreases even 446 times.Lyme disease spirochetes also change molecules on their surface in such a way that they resemble the host’s own molecules, masking them from the cells of the immune system. If, nevertheless, the body recognizes them as antigens, then the immune response turns not only against the bacteria, but also against tissues of the host organism. This effect is caused by autoimmune diseases in which immune cells attack the body’s own cells, including cartilage, bones or myelin sheaths. Bacterial genes enable them to change their recognition features constantly and very quickly, e.g. fluctuations in pH, temperature differences or internal environment of various organisms that they inhabit.
9.Borrelia bacteria have specific DNA placement.
Lyme disease bacteria are different from other bacteria, also in terms of their DNA system. Most bacteria have clear chromosomes floating in the cytoplasm. The genetic material of Borrelia is located completely differently – it is arranged along the inner wall of the cell membrane. This means that science does not yet have a clue as to how Borrelia spirochetes manage their genetic material during the division. The bacterial DNA is homogeneously glued inside the inner membrane like a nylon stocking. The Borrelia bacterial cell also contains 21 plasmids – small oval creatures equipped with their own genes and having the ability to transmit bacteria information about the host’s immune system and genes that give the bacteria antibiotic resistance. No other bacterium contains such a large number of plasmids.
10.Lyme disease spirochetes have high chemotactic sensitivity.
Lyme disease spirochetes have the ability to quickly remove antibiotic toxins from their bodies.
11. Borrelia bacteria weaken detoxification capabilities of the human body.
12.Lyme disease spirochetes do not need a lot of oxygen to live.
Lyme disease spirochetes may hide from cells of the immune system in cartilage, nerve fibers, endothelial lining of blood vessels and other poorly vascularized, oxygen-poor tissues.