Many people with chronic Lyme disease battle cognitive dysfunction that creates debilitating symptoms, such as difficulties with focus, concentration, word finding, decision-making, reasoning, and analysis, as well as short-term memory loss. The dysfunction occurs for many reasons, such as the presence of Lyme neurotoxins in the brain, which cause inflammation; the destruction of neurons and dysfunctional firing between the neurons, damage the brain and other nervous system tissue, hormone and neurotransmitter dysfunction, reduced blood flow and oxygen to the brian, nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, blood sugar imbalances and more. Most of these are caused either directly or indirectly by Lyme disease –related infections such as Borrelia, Babesia, and Bartonella, as well as by some of the other Lyme disease co-infections.
The following nutrients and nutritional supplements can be instrumental for restoring one’s cognitive function:
1) Phosphatidylcholine- This is a phospholipid that supports the function of many organs, such as the pancreas and liver and plays a major role in the transport and metabolism of fats, cell membrane synthesis, and inflammation reduction. It helps make a neurotransmitter responsible for learning, focus, and concentration.
2) 5 HTP– The body makes the neurotransmitter serotonin from the amino acid 5-HTP. Serotonin has typically been shown to enhance mood, energy, sleep, and digestion, but a lesser-known fact is that it also assists with memory and cognitive function.
3) L-tyrosine and L-DOPA-The body uses L-tyrosine and L-DOPA to make dopamine, another neurotransmitter that is used to treat low energy, depression, and cognitive dysfunction.
4) L-acetylcarnitine-The amino acid compound L-acetylcarnitine binds and activates acetylcholine receptors, so that they more readily utilize acetylcholine. L-acetylcholine has been shown to improve cognition and delay Alzheimer’s progression.
5) L-huperzine A-This compound preserves acetylcholine in the brain by preventing its breakdown. Studies have shown it to aid in memory and cognition.
6) Vinpocetine– Vinpocetine increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain and protects it against the effects of glutamate, a neurotransmitter found in excess in people with chronic Lyme disease and which damages neurons and causes symptoms such as insomnia.