Ozone therapy is the most useful adjunctive, and in some cases, primary treatment for patients with lyme disease that I have found.
Rationale for ozone therapy in lyme disease
Ozone therapy plays an important role in my treatment of lyme disease. Chronic lyme is always a see-saw between an adequate immune system that holds the spirochetes at bay, and thus the patient is without symptoms, in remission, or even cured, or between an immune system that is not able to keep spirochete numbers in check, and thus patients need longer courses of antibiotics.
My approach with antibiotics ranges from protein synthesis inhibitors (tetracyclines and macrolide class, eg high dose doxycycline) to high dose cell-wall agents (amoxicillin, cefuroxime, cefixime with or without probenecid). These agents can kill enough spirochetes in chronic lyme disease treatment so that the immune system can catch up.
Ozone therapy speeds up the ability of the immune system to catch up, improves symptoms and circulation, and protects the liver.
1) Effects on the immune system
Vaccines are widely known to prevent certain diseases by inducing an immune response, and thus if a patient is exposed to the same infectious agent, then an antibody response is mounted and infection tends to be milder or not occur. It was thought previously that vaccines were only useful for prevention. After all, if a patient had the actual infection, that patient's immune system would theoretically be saturated with all the "antigen" or foreign materal from the infectious agent, and thus a maximal immune response would already be stimulated.
It turns out however, that vaccines given during an illness can be curative also. The most likely explanation is that vaccines present infectious "antigens" in a slightly different form from the natural infection. A slightly different stimulation could mount a different, possibly more effective immune response. Another possibility is that different routes of administration (eg injection into the muscle) other groups of immune tissue become active and thus immune cells can bypass blockades that might be present in the natural infection.
Ozone therapy introduces foreign lyme antigens from the blood (especially when combined with antibiotics that increases kill rate) into foreign sites such as the muscle and the fat, activating different immune sites. The immune stimulation is aided by inflammation from the blood now outside of the blood vessel, fats in the blood, and of course by the ozone.
Further, ozone is a potent oxidizing agent that changes the structure of the lyme antigens by adding an oxygen to them. This modifies the foreign lyme antigen again, allowing for a slightly different, possibly more effective immune system response.
To follow the immune system, the CD57 subset of natural killer cells of the immune system can be quantified. In lyme it is often low, with very sick patients being below 20, and average 40-60. When patients feel well, we can stop antibiotic treatment if the count is around 120.
2) Ozone therapy improves symptoms of chronic lyme disease and circulation
The brain fog, fatigue, and joint pain of chronic lyme disease often has a rapid response to ozone therapy. It is such that it can even be used when patients are having Herxheimer die off reactions with antibiotic therapy. Chronic infections typically increase inflammation in the blood, increasing the thickness and viscosity of the blood. Furthermore, lyme can form biofilm which makes circulation even worse.
Ozone therapy creates peroxides, that when reinfused intravenously helps to break down biofilm. The mild stress on red blood cells helps them to increase their glutathione, and helps them to unload oxygen to the tissues.
Most patients feel an improvement in the fatigue, brain fog, and joint pain with a course of 4-6 treatments over 2-3 weeks, though usually I give this therapy to my patients every two weeks when we start antibiotics, unless the symptoms are profound.
3) Ozone therapy protects the liver
The creation of peroxides from ozone therapy, on reinfusion intravenously, delivers a mild stress to the liver. The mild biochemical stress stimulates the liver to increase its glutathione, the main antioxidant it uses for detoxification. It has been shown to protective in cases of hepatitis. When I use high doses of antibiotics necessary in many cases of lyme disease, we need to protect the liver. While nutrients and herbs do this as well, ozone has been remarkable in making sure patients can tolerate the treatment given.