Ramp up time related to time on full protocol


Dear Stephen,
If it takes many months to “ramp up” to the full doses of the core protocol, do you still have to stay a month on the 4-4-4 dose? What if you never can get to that 4 caps 3 times a day dose? Then when can you ramp back down to the 2-2-2 or even 1-1-1 dose? If I can only get to 3-3-3, how long do I stay there?

I know you say to listen to your body and what works, but frankly that is pretty impossible for me, and perhaps for many others. There’s often no way to tell the difference between herxing and the illness itself, which complicates this a lot. It’s also very hard to tell exactly what symptoms are in fact due to lyme or co-infections, and what is due to “something else” (I also am treating for mercury toxicity, and have developed adrenal and thyroid problems, cause unknown).

I’ve read the book many times and I can’t find an answer to this. I’ve been sick for a year and a half, was on antibiotics for 2 months, but I’m committed to this herbal protocol for the duration of the illness. Only recently have I been able to manage working about 3 hours a day a couple days a week. I know you say, do the dose where you can manage the symptoms, but, then, for how long? If that level of dosage (where I can manage symptoms) never gets to the full dose, how can I know how long to continue at a particular dosage level? How do I know I’m not just “treading water,” so to speak, and will have to stay at 3-3-3 indefinitely, when toughing it out at 4-4-4 for a month could have made the difference? Please help, I am really having a hard time with this. Thanks.


Stephen’s response:
Thanks for being so clear and insistent with this question; I will see if I can help with this answer.
As with so many things lyme, I find it very hard to give any definitive answers to treatment. Everyone responds so individually (their symptom pictures are often very different as is their general health, ecology, weight, age, and so on) and that truth made it hard to write a book in which some definitive answers had to be given.
About 1/3 to 1/2 of the people using the protocol seem to have trouble getting up to the 4/4/4 (4 capsules, 3x day) dose levels. Normally this is because their body just tells them that that dose is too high. If it does not work for you when you get to the 4/4/4 level, then that means that level of dosing is too high for you. You have reached your maximum dose level at whatever dosage does work. Or another way to say it is that the dosage you are feeling okay on is the right one if, when you increase it to a higher level, you no longer feel okay. If you are able to manage symptoms, that IS the full dose for you. A lot of people have found that 3/3/3 is the RIGHT dose for them. So do that dose and consider it the HIGH dose for you.
Basically, that comfort level is the dose to stay on for at least two to four months. At this point in the regimen, pay attention to your symptoms, that is, your energy level, fatigue level, what stresses you and increases fatigue, plus everything else: skin, stomach pain, eye involvement, ear problems, arthritic pain and inflammation, and so on. Make sure you pay close attention to the symptom treatment list in the book and, if your symptom picture in particular areas does not resolve from the herbs you are using, then add specific things from the symptom treatment section of the book.
Most people resolve their lyme problems to a significant extent on this protocol if it is adjusted for their particular, individual case. If you have severe fatigue, for instance, you MUST add in eleutherococcus tincture (Herb Pharm brand) or the protocol is likely to be of little use. Once you begin feeling like you have your life back again, after four months perhaps, that is the time to begin reducing the dose. Take it down to two capsules 3x per day of just ONE herb, keep the others at 3, 3x per day and see what happens. If symptoms get worse ramp it up again.
Some people are able to stop the protocol entirely after a year, some keep taking certain parts of it as a regular regimen because some minor symptoms recur if they stop completely. Specifically they take, 1 knotweed and 1 cat’s claw 1-2x daily. These are good herbs anyway and will help overall health over a lifetime, so I feel that is a good choice. I hope this helps.
Stephen
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posted on February 27, 2009 in ramping up, The Basics
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