Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Lesson 1121 – Ketogenic Diet as Part of Lyme Disease Treatment?

By Wendythomas @wendyenthomas

This post follows the one from yesterday because it continues the discussion on Lyme Disease treatment. In the last two weeks I have been following a ketogenic diet to see if it helps with my lingering Lyme disease symptoms.

Photo credit: Paul Downey

Photo credit: Paul Downey

In doing the research for yesterday’s post I re-read my original blog post on how I felt *before* I was officially diagnosed with Lyme disease. To put it simply, I was a hurting puppy. My joints hurt, my memory was affected, I had shooting nerve pains all over the place, I felt much, much older than my age.

When I look at that post, I see how far I’ve come. These days, I’m back to playing occasional tennis, I’ve taken up hot yoga again, and on average I walk 10,000 steps as recorded by my fitbit. This past weekend, I participated in a 5K Lyme awareness walk – something that would have been impossible last year.

Oh yeah, and my memory is better. (Didn’t want to forget that one.)

And still I am bothered by some lingering symptoms. One Achilles tendon is perpetually tight, I have vague structural and joint soreness, and I still have muscle twitching and popping in my legs.

Since I’ve been on medication for Lyme disease for one year, I’m starting to think that perhaps I might have some permanent damage as a result of the infection. It certainly makes sense. I mean that little bacteria hit me pretty hard. Add that to that fact that I probably had the infection for a few years before it was even caught and permanent damage is not out of the question.

But if you are a reader of my blog, you know that I never stop searching for answers.

At the Mother Earth News Fair, I met up with a friend (whom I really trust and respect) who was telling me that after doing research, she decided to follow the Keto (Ketogenic) diet. It’s like Atkins, she said except that it’s high fat, MODERATE protein, and low carb.

Long ago, I followed the Atkins diet and all the meat, meat, meat, finally got to me. I’m not a vegetarian but enough was enough – still I listened. My friend reported that since starting the diet 2 months ago, her blood sugar and blood pressure had lowered and she had lost 20 pounds.

I found it very interesting but still had reservations, I mean actually *adding* fat to your diet?

And then I attended a nutritional workshop where the presenter also mentioned the Keto diet, but she mentioned it strictly in terms of health and well-being, saying that weight loss also occurred but the overall health benefits were why she was recommending it.

Then I started to think about my symptoms. My muscle twitching is probably nerve related. I know many, many Lyme patients who have nerve symptoms. I also know many Lyme patients that have been misdiagnosed as having MS, or even in some cases ALS. With all of those auto-immune diseases the fatty sheath of the nerve fibers (myelin) are stripped (eaten away) from the nerve creating damage.

Just what if, you actually *added* fat to your diet (instead of being on all the low-fat clean, organic diets that are often recommended for sick people) in order to give your body the building blocks it needed to begin repair that damage?
It’s not that much different from my physician recommending lots of fish oil, right?

I took a closer look at the diet (you know what they say, when the student is ready the teacher will appear) and for the last two weeks I’ve been following the guidelines. It’s not that much different from Paleo except that the Keto diet includes dairy.

Ketogenic Typical Daily Menu

What I eat in a typical day:

  • 2 eggs scrambled with onions and cheddar cheese + 3 strips of bacon + coffee and cream
  • Salad with olives, cheese, meat, peppers and whatever else veggies I find lying around + flavored (unsweetened) Seltzer water with a bit of heavy cream (yup heavy cream)
  • Meat in butter or a cheese sauce, salad, and vegetables
  • 3 large water bottles of waters

I find myself not snacking through the day (if you ate that much fat you’d be satiated too) but if I’m dying for a snack I can have another seltzer with cream, peanut butter on celery, or meat and cheese with nuts.

For the most part, the diet is gluten-free (no grains at all, including rice) and is added fat (which defies everything we’ve been taught about diet, right?) One word of caution is that if you are going to do this, make sure you have as clean fats as you can. I’ve seen one example of food to eat that includes hot dogs and while I love me a good hot dog every now and then, I wouldn’t be eating them on a daily basis.

If you are going to do this, because you eat less food (you really do) try to get the best quality of food you can afford.

Is the Keto Diet good for treating Lyme Disease nerve damage?

I can tell you that I have lost about 3 pounds (most people report much higher weigh losses the first few weeks but my goal was simply to not gain) more importantly (to me) I haven’t noticed any difference in my leg twitches but again, having had some severe nerve damage in the past due to surgery, I can attest that nerve damage takes a loooong time to repair.

So is the Keto diet good for people with Lyme disease nerve damage? Jury’s out, it’s much too soon. I can tell you that since starting the diet, my skin feels softer and I’m not snacking.

I’m just letting you know that because I’m not going to take this Lyme disease lying down that I’m trying this approach and will be reporting back what I find.

Ketogenic Diet Resources

Disclaimer – people with chronic Lyme disease and its co-infections can be very sick people. Please discuss the Keto diet or any type of dietary change with your physician before you make a change.

As always, ask questions, I’ll see if I can find the answers.


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at [email protected]

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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