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

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 Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

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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Filed under Life Lessons, Lyme Disease, Personal

10 responses to “Lesson 1121 – Ketogenic Diet as part of Lyme Disease Treatment?

  1. Pingback: “I’ll cure this for you.” – Kate Cures Lyme Disease and Lyme Disease Symptoms with immunics | Herpes Survival Kit

  2. Pingback: And the Best Diet for Lyme Disease is... | It's Not Just Lyme

  3. Lauren

    Is there an update on how this has been working for you? My mom has Lyme and is struggling with some lingering side effects. Thanks!

  4. Debbie

    I am so glad i found your blog, i am in the same position as you in that i am just trying this diet for lyme disease, i have tried everything else and i am not taking it lying down. have been suffering nerve damage for a long time now. would love to actually speak w/you. is that possible? Debbie

    • al

      I realize this is an old post and you may not see this. Not sure who is treating you and how, but will offer some thoughts on nerve issues and Lyme (I have had Lyme for 9 years). Something that I have found that really helps with the nerve issues is Vit B12 (methyl cobalamin) injections given weekly (along with glutathione). I also use a vit B6 complex (orally) daily. This combination has greatly reduced my neuropathy. If you have had any digestive issues with Lyme you might find fat to be difficult to digest. My diet is a Paleo diet, mainly lean meat and veggies, with some low glycemic carbs (brown rice). This diet sure does trim the weight ( not what I need). These are only suggestions for discussion with your health care provider.
      Be well.


      • I have head to toe small fiber neuropathy and also large fiber neuropathy in my peroneal nerve. Do not supplement B6 because it can cause neuropathy.

  5. Rob

    I was curious if part of your Lyme treatment involved fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, etc). A lot of the symptoms being described (achilles tendon issues and joints popping, among others) are experienced by people who have been”floxed” and are suffering from Fluoroquinolone toxicity syndrome.

    • Wendy Thomas

      That’s an excellent observation. I actually had a friend who, after taking Levaquin ended up with joint and muscle damage.

      No my symptoms were there *before* I started treatment and the meds I took were Doxy and Cef ( in very high doses.)


      On Fri, Oct 30, 2015 at 4:22 PM, Lessons Learned from the Flock wrote:


      • Robyn

        Those are among the worst drugs you could take. They can cause Neuropathy. In fact there are 6 Antibiotics you should never take. I hear a lot of people saying they get very sick from taking Doxy. I
        heard that mixing essential oils, herbs and Erythromycin . Thoughts? Thank you

  6. Havalah

    I’m taking Doxy for two weeks- at first onset stage 1, one and a half weeks after the bite. That’s too short to cause the damage you mentioned isnt it?

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