The bacteria that causes Lyme disease protects itself from antibiotics by forming a slime-like layer called a biofilm, a new study shows.
In many cases, Lyme disease returns after a patient has completed antibiotic treatment, and this finding may help explain why that occurs, the researchers said.
University of New Haven researchers determined that Lyme disease-causing Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria produces a biofilm that makes it up to 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics than other bacteria.
They reported their findings recently in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology.
The discovery may lead to new ways to treat Lyme disease, said study author Eva Sapi, head of biology and environmental sciences at the university.
“These findings could change the way we think about Lyme disease, especially in patients where it seems to be a persistent disease, despite long-term antibiotic treatment,” she said in a news release from the Connecticut-based university.
“This recent finding could help to better understand how Borrelia can survive treatment and …will provide novel therapeutic targets for chronic Lyme disease, with the hope of eradicating Borrelia in these patients,” Sapi added.
A biofilm is a dome-like structure that surrounds the organism and protects it from our immune system as well as antibiotics, or any herbal remedy as well. The bacteria is free to reproduce inside the biofilm, eventually rupturing the dome, then spreading out only to form more biofilm enclosures.
It is interesting to ponder whether or not the biofilm has developed as a response to antibiotic therapy over a large segment of our population. However, I am unaware of any research in this area.
Borrelia is not the only bug that forms biofilms. Candida and other intestinal parasites often form these domes to protect themselves while they reproduce. There are a few nutritional products on the market designed to break down these protein-slime coatings. When used in combination with Wormwood, Oil of Oregano, Black Walnut, Oil of Anise, Garlic, and/or Andrographis can be very effective in eradicating intestinal parasites.
Lyme disease in not particularly common in S. Florida, but the number of cases is rising and I have treated a few cases. Given this new knowledge about Lyme disease, clinicians can now improve their protocols in treating Borrelia.
The Bottom Line:
Biofilms are a real road block to successful treatment of a number of infections, especially those of the digestive tract. The clinician must alternate therapies to first disrupt the biofilm, then eradicate the infection, then support healing; and finally repeat this cycle over the course of several weeks or months to successfully eliminate some of these persistent infections.
Source: February 25, 2016 National Institutes of Health