A Closer Look at Promising Alternative Therapies for Lyme Disease

Persistent Lyme disease may defy conventional medical treatment in some cases—and alternative therapies as well. A combination of approaches can sometimes help treat symptoms in chronic patients, and, depending on the individual, may even clear the root infection itself.

David Manganaro, M.D., board certified in internal medicine, has been in private practice since 1992—during which time he’s studied and trained in other holistic medical techniques, selectively incorporating some into his patients’ treatments. He began working with Dr. Thomas K. Szulc at Manhattan Advanced Medicine in 2007 (see our Q&A with Szulc here), training in more energetic health evaluations and therapies. Manganaro now runs the NYC practice, where he sees a number of patients with chronic Lyme, other coinfections and autoimmunity complications, who have exhausted many other conventional and less-so treatment options without success. He shares his three-phase approach to treating Lyme here, along with his perspective on alternative therapies.

A Q&A with Dr. David Manganaro


How do you view Lyme disease?


I define Lyme in the strictest sense the same as traditional doctors do, but would add that it is a multi-system disease in which the symptoms relate not only to the infection itself, but also to the inflammation caused by the immune response and toxins released by the infections.

In my experience, chronic Lyme is usually associated with ongoing active infection, damage to multiple body systems (such as endocrine and central nervous systems), ongoing inflammation, and often autoimmune issues—with part of the immune system being “misguided,” and “attacking” the patient’s own tissues, such as the joints, thyroid, or brain.

Symptoms vary depending on coinfections and other factors, but generally fall into three major categories: energy system (fatigue), musculoskeletal system (muscle and joint aches/pains), and central nervous system (“brain fog” and memory/cognitive symptoms).


Can you explain the three stages of your approach?


The initial phase, detoxification, includes stimulating toxin release, de-stressing the autonomic nervous system, strengthening the immune system, and dealing with viruses and autoimmune issues. For example, this typically includes homeopathic intravenous, intramuscular, and other treatments developed in Germany, such as neural therapy and autoblood (injecting a person’s own venous blood into the gluteal muscle once weekly for a number of weeks to reduce autoimmunity, strengthen the immune system, and detoxify); as well as ultraviolet blood irradiation (UVBI, which is exposing venous blood to a controlled amount of ultraviolet energy in the accepted therapeutic UV bands). This produces a detoxifying effect, stimulates the immune system, helps the blood hold more oxygen, and decreases the infectious load.

The second phase includes more direct treatment of the tick-borne infections, as well as intestinal parasites. Depending on the patient, for the tick infections, this may include intravenous vitamin C followed by peroxide or other similar infusions, such as ozone, that work on the basis of oxidative stress to help kill infections. Some patients at this juncture may choose to initiate or continue more traditional antibiotic therapy.

The third phase is repair/rebuilding/regeneration where these body processes are assisted to occur more quickly and to a fuller extent. This may involve intravenous lipids, including IV phosphatidylcholine; and the antioxidant/detoxifier glutathione also given via IV. It can include glandular therapies, live cell therapy, or referral for stem cell therapy, as well.


How long does the treatment take, and what kind of results are typical?


The three phases each last about 4 to 8 weeks. Most of the patients who come to us have already tried many traditional and alternative therapies without an acceptable response. So, their infections are in a sense somewhat resistant to treatment, and/or the other issues affecting their health have not been adequately addressed.

After our IV treatments, I typically don’t see an infection in about 90-95 percent of patients down to my detection level. However, within the first six months, there is around a 20 percent infection recurrence rate requiring further treatment. In addition, even if no active infection is detected that does not guarantee a response to therapy as the body still needs to heal the damage that has occurred to its various systems, and not everyone improves regardless.

Overall, there is a minority of patients who have no appreciable improvement, and there is also a minority who have a significant improvement in a majority of their symptoms. In general, the majority of patients feel they have had a significant enough response that they refer others (and would return themselves if need be).


You also look at the emotional and spiritual aspects of your patients—how does this come into play?


It is believed that all disease both emanates from and affects the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of a person’s “being.” Addressing all of these levels can potentially produce a deeper, longer-lasting healing effect. When I evaluate a patient and their blood sample, I’m considering all these different levels, and how potential techniques might support their healing. For the emotional and spiritual aspects, this may include referring the patient to another appropriate technique or practitioner—like NET, a neuro-emotional, mind-body therapy. For other patients, I recommend cognitive therapy, or specific meditations, or breathing techniques (pranayama), and so on.


Which alternative therapies do you think are promising?


Many alternative therapies (i.e. acupuncture, cupping, infrared saunas, therapeutic massages, etc.) are supportive, or symptomatic, meaning they may help symptoms yet not eradicate the infection; or adjunctive therapies (i.e. ozone treatment, Rife treatment), meaning that they work synergistically with other treatments. That being said, there are patients where we cannot eradicate the infection (and some practitioners believe one can never completely clear the infection). Every individual is unique, so some may respond better to particular therapies, where others may not respond at all.

I do not perform biomagnetism, though it may help through alkalinizing tissues and increasing subtle energy and circulation in the body. I have seen some respond very well to CBD oil—in terms of reduction in pain, anxiety, and insomnia. Bee venom can be helpful for alleviating two or three areas of persistent joint pain. For patients with headaches and neck/back pain, I may recommend specific chiropractic-like work that aims to correct body structure and decrease stress on the body, like ABC (Advanced BioStructural Correction) or Atlas Orthogonal.

I evaluate alternative therapies for patients the same way I evaluate any other supplement or treatment I might recommend, by utilizing an energetic-based blood evaluation. One way to conceptualize this evaluation process is as if one is doing kinesiology or muscle testing, except on the blood sample—though it goes deeper than that. [More from Dr. Szulc, the creator behind this evaluation, here—plus info on biomagnetism.]


What about immunotherapy?


Immunotherapy, like LDA (low dose allergen) and LDI (low dose immunotherapy) can help with chronic infections of any type and of course with allergies. In short, this involves an injection in the skin of a very low dose of the enzyme, beta glucuronidase, and mixtures of very low doses of allergens (or antigens). The enzyme activates the allergens, and stimulates the production of T Reg cells, which can essentially turn off cells that are contributing to the inflammatory response (by mistaking the body for a foreign invader/allergen and mounting a problematic defense). For Lyme, and its coinfections, immunotherapy does not clear the infection, but it can reduce the inflammatory response to the infection, and for many, that is what contributes to a large portion of their symptoms. It is cost effective and easy to administer (it can also be done at home, orally) and especially useful for those whose infections can’t seem to be cleared.


David Manganaro, M.D., board certified in internal medicine, has been in private practice since 1992—during which time he’s studied and trained in other holistic therapies and techniques. He began working with Dr. Thomas K. Szulc at Manhattan Advanced Medicine in 2007, and now serves as Medical Director of the NYC-based practice, which specializes in Lyme treatment, among other conditions.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of goop, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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