Beyond the Bull’s-Eye: Unveiling Hidden Lyme Disease with Functional Medicine

Lyme disease bullseye on young mans leg
Medically Reviewed
March 26, 2024

As a clinical nutritionist, I delve deeper into assessing and addressing complex conditions. One of the more complex than Lyme disease.  

Often misdiagnosed and left untreated, this stealthy disease can wreak havoc on people’s lives. 

Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks transmit Lyme disease and is an increasingly more widespread challenge for many Americans. Reported cases have doubled since 1991, according to the EPA. While the classic “bull’s-eye” rash is a telltale sign, it occurs in 70-80% of patients with Lyme disease. Additionally, many people experience a constellation of symptoms that can mimic other conditions, making diagnosis a challenge. 

Identifying the Symptoms of Lyme Disease 

Here’s a look at some common yet non-specific symptoms that might indicate Lyme disease, even in the absence of the bull’s-eye rash: 

  • Flu-like symptoms: Fever, chills, and general achiness can be easily dismissed as a passing bug. 
  • Muscle and joint pain: Migratory aches and pains that shift location are often a hallmark of Lyme. 
  • Stiff neck: This symptom can indicate inflammation affecting the nervous system. 
  • Headaches: Chronic headaches can be a frustrating Lyme complaint. 
  • Extreme fatigue and weakness: This debilitating symptom can significantly impact your quality of life. 

Lyme Disease Testing  

Our approach is foundational in extensive diagnostic testing. Necessary tests can identify if you carry critical antibodies, so if you were left undiagnosed or suspect a recent run-in with a tick, our advanced diagnostics will be able to identify the disease.  

But identification is just half the battle. While there is no known cure for tick-borne diseases, there are effective functional medicine treatments that can provide much-needed relief to people struggling to reclaim their lives. 

Treating Lyme Disease 

The current direct treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics. That cycle of treatment can be effective in alleviating key symptoms. But for an alarming number of people, these symptoms can linger long after standard antibiotic treatment has concluded.  

In addition, many afflicted with Lyme don’t know until long after the bullseye rash has faded. Leaving them grappling with these same symptoms, which is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). 

This is where functional and integrative medicine approaches shine. We take a root-cause approach to understand why these symptoms persist and identify the origin.  

Here’s how: 

  • Digestive Health: Lyme disease can disrupt the gut microbiome, leading to inflammation and nutrient deficiencies. Functional nutrition led by a clinical nutritionist addresses gut health to support immune function and overall well-being. 
  • Immune System Imbalance: Lyme can weaken the immune system, making you susceptible to other infections and chronic conditions. Functional medicine uses targeted supplements, dietary modifications, and targeted IV micronutrient therapy to strengthen your immune defenses. 
  • Detoxification Support: The body’s natural detoxification pathways may become overwhelmed during Lyme. Integrative medicine provides tools to facilitate healthy detoxification processes. 

By addressing these underlying issues, personalized and functional medicine offers a more comprehensive approach to tackling Lyme symptoms. Whether you were recently diagnosed or struggling with lingering symptoms, partnering with a team of practitioners specializing in root-cause medicine can be the pathway to regaining your wellness.  

Remember, this is not an exhaustive list; a personalized approach is critical. If you suspect Lyme disease or have persistent symptoms after treatment, consider seeking a functional medicine practitioner who can help you find the root cause and reclaim your health. 

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment. 

Dana is a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (DCN) and a Board Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS). Her passion for health and wellness started at a very young age and grew stronger once she started working with patients professionally. Her passion for personalized nutrition and precision medicine eventually expanded to education and academia.
Dana’s clinical and research focus is on digestive health, neuroendocrine-immune health, natural hormone balancing, reproductive health, and fertility.