Low dose immunotherapy, (LDI), is a revolutionary treatment that has been shown to provide dramatic relief of symptoms and improvement in health for patients with a wide range of chronic illnesses, including Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Hashimoto's, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, interstitial cystitis and lupus. It is effective and originally used for chronic allergies, where the treatment is called Low Dose Allergen.
LDI works by helping the immune system restore proper balance by reducing inflammation caused by foreign invaders (LDI) or allergens (LDA). LDI brings the immune system more in balance, helping it to fight pathogens more effectively.
With a number of infections, the body's immune system is able to kill the majority of pathogens, but a small amount of pathogens are able to evade the immune system. The small amount of remaining pathogens continue to stimulate a maladaptive inflammatory response that leads to chronic illness, including chronic Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and a wide variety of autoimmune diseases.
We know that Lyme-related bacteria can be difficult to completely eliminate from the body due to the bacteria's ability to mutate and hide within the body. But even if the bacteria are almost completely destroyed by antibiotic therapy, this may not turn off the immune response that is causing most of the symptoms. In this case, chronic Lyme is more like an autoimmune disease.
Most autoimmune diseases are triggered by an initial infection. As the immune system fights the infection, it may begin to confuse the body's own proteins with proteins made by foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Even after the bacteria have been eliminated, the immune system remains activated, and an autoimmune reaction triggered by the bacteria has been launched.
LDI combines specific antigens (bacteria, toxins, or other foreign substances that induce an immune response in the body) with an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase. This enzyme attracts T cells, which are specialized white blood cells involved in the immune response and tells the T cells to pay attention to whatever antigens are included with the enzyme. Then the enzyme causes the down-regulation, or desensitization of TH2, the part of the immune system that was over-reacting to the included antigens. When the over-activated TH2 portion of the immune system is reduced, the depressed TH1 immunity is enhanced, which can effectively destroy intracellular infections.
So, for example, let's say that the patient's LDI dose included antigens to Lyme bacteria. By combining the beta-glucuronidase enzyme with Lyme antigens, the LDI diminishes the abnormally activated TH2 immune system, which is the major cause of symptoms in chronic Lyme disease, but allows the TH1 to take over and effectively attack the Lyme bacteria in the cells.
LDI can be administered by intradermal injection or by sublingual dosing. At One Agora, we utilize sublingual dosing with great success. Doses given sublingually are placed under the tongue and held for a short period of time, typically about 30 seconds. In sublingual dosing, the treatment is absorbed through the mucus membranes in the mouth.
There are a wide range of LDI antigens for numerous conditions along with a wide range of doses of LDI. After the initial dose, it is generally given once per week until an effect is seen, then it is dosed once every seven to eight weeks, though a booster dose can be given if a patient's improvement diminishes and symptoms return before the seven-week mark.
LDI has a different result in each patient. For some patients, improvement in symptoms can be immediate or seen the very next day. Results can last for a few days to several weeks.
One of the great benefits of LDI treatment is that each dose can be customized to the appropriate strength for the patient. The key to successful treatment with LDI is to find the correct dose for each patient. Some patients who are weaker or sicker will have better results on a much weaker dose than can be given for a patient who is stronger. It is better to start on a weaker dose and work your way up to the stronger dose than to start on a strong dose and have a flare-up of symptoms. It may take a number of weeks to work-up to a dose that is effective. Once that dose and particular antigen is determined, the treatment is then given every seven to eight weeks.
As patients progress through each dose, symptom relief lasts longer. Often by the 4th or 5th exposure to the LDI/LDA, patients will see significant relief from symptoms for the full seven weeks between treatments. At this point, the interval between treatments is typically stretched out - waiting until symptoms return before giving the next dose. After a period of time, patients may need injections/sublingual dosing only one or twice per year to stay in remission.
Low-dose immunotherapy has proven to be a safe and effective treatment for many chronic illnesses that previously had no effective treatment options, or which were often treated with expensive and toxic prescription medications. Some of the chronic illnesses that have seen improvement with LDI therapy include:
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