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Effective Low Dose Immunotherapy: Benefits, Uses, and Treatment Guide

What if there was a therapy that could greatly improve, if not resolve, the symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivity, Lyme disease, or mold illness? Imagine if this therapy was well tolerated, reproducible, highly effective, and cost-effective. Sound too good to be true? Well-read on…

Unfortunately, in just a few decades, we have seen an explosion of modern-day chronic illnesses, ranging from autoimmune disease, inflammatory gut disorders (IBS/Crohn’s disease), chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), to neurological illness (Autism, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and ALS). Many of these diseases can be traced back to a dysregulated immune system–or one that is either overactive or underactive. If the immune system is underactive, a person may become fatigued with a virus such as the Epstein-Barr virus, which creates inflammation throughout the body. If the immune system is overactive, it can inappropriately overreact to everything, from perfumes, cosmetics, and various foods to many other substances. This can lead to a complex constellation of symptoms that can be extraordinarily difficult to diagnose and treat. This scenario causes frustration not only for those who are suffering from complex chronic conditions but also for their healthcare providers, who are left with limited options for treatment.

If the immune system is determined to be overactive, often the solution is to try to suppress the immune system with things like steroids or biological medicines such as Humira. If the immune system is underactive, the focus is on stimulating the immune system with various medications like IV IG or gamma globulin. Unfortunately, these treatments are not without side effects and can be extraordinarily expensive.

It is well known that toxins and infections are often found to be the root cause of many of these conditions. However, more often than not, the treatment plan is to attempt to kill the pathogen through aggressive treatment such as antibiotics, herbal treatments, etc. This can lead to severe aggravations in the patient, detox or Herxheimer reactions, etc. The same principle applies if a toxin is involved. Trying to detox heavy metals using chelation therapy aggressively, for example, can overwhelm one’s detox pathways and severely compromise the patient’s health.

Therefore, although short-term gains may be made, attempting to rid the body or kill a target pathogen or toxin ultimately doesn’t work and could worsen things.

Part of the problem is that pathogens such as Borrelia Burgdorferi can evade the immune system and persist for long periods in the body. Borrelia has the ability to hide from the immune system by remaining in a dormant state (L form) and hide from the immune system, often in biofilms. The immune system then becomes ‘confused ‘because it has all of the alarm signals of infection but can’t actually detect the pathogen. Sometimes, this can lead to a situation where the immune system may inappropriately attack its own tissues, leading to autoimmunity. For example, certain bacterial pathogens such as Klebsiella and Proteus are known triggers of rheumatoid arthritis. Yet, the standard of treatment is steroids and biological medicines (which can only address the symptoms). Additionally, the immune system can remain overactive long after resolving the initial threat. We see cases like this in long-covid, post-Lyme syndrome, and mold illness. The result is something called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), where the body remains perpetually inflamed despite multiple interventions. Therefore, it probably comes as no surprise that one of the general reasons for chronic fatigue is immune dysfunction, secondary to chronic pathogenic activity.

So herein lies an important point: much of what we think of as chronic illness today is simply due to chronic immune system over-activation? In such a state, the body has lost tolerance to foreign invaders (pathogens) and/or foreign substances or antigens. The body loses tolerance to multiple antigens, leading to chronic inflammation and disease.

Low-dose immunotherapy (or LDI) attempts to solve this problem by presenting the immune system with extremely low levels of foreign pathogens, toxins, or allergens (otherwise known as antigens) so that the immune system can more effectively tolerate these antigens. The immune system can then better ‘modulate’ in the sense that when antigens are presented at such low levels, it will not overreact. Many think a specialized group of immune cells called ‘T Helper Cells’ creates immune tolerance.

LDI offers various mixes of antigens for specific disease states. For example, let us say that someone is suffering from environmental allergies with all of the resultant allergy symptoms (watery eyes, sneezing, etc.). An ‘ENV mix’ contains environmental allergens, such as pet dander, bugs, insects, tree pollens, weeds, grasses, molds, etc. An exact dilution of this mix has the ability to reduce–or even eliminate greatly–immune activations, symptoms, the need for allergy medicines, etc. This is similar to allergy shots but much less invasive and time-consuming. In the conventional model, one must see an allergist once or twice a week for allergy shots for weeks, if not indefinitely, until symptoms resolve. In contrast with LDI, with just a couple of drops under the tongue approximately every seven weeks, it has the same ability to reduce symptoms with much fewer side effects.

Similarly, if one is dealing with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), there are very few solutions. Avoidance of various chemicals can be problematic, as many of these chemicals are ubiquitous in the environment and hard to avoid. Steroids and similar medicines have side effects. LDI, on the other hand, offers a ‘Chemical Mix’ or ‘CHEM Mix’ containing thousands of individual chemicals. When given in the right dilution, the CHEM MIX allows the immune system to tolerate various chemicals better when exposed to them. Patients who have suffered for years with MCS receive almost immediate improvement with this mix.

There are many other beneficial LDI ‘mixes’ that we use. Probably the most common mix that we use is the FOODS LDI mix. This mix contains approximately 190 foods and has helped calm down food sensitivity reactions that are common today.  The most common mixes we use on the pathogen side are the LYME, PARASITE, and YEAST Mixes, which are very good for calming down immune reactions associated with these pathogens. We have had patients who have suffered from Lyme disease for years and tried multiple therapies (including antibiotics) and were able to resolve the majority of their symptoms with just one LYME LDI treatment.

The URI or upper respiratory mix is very effective for calming down reactions to strep bacteria and various upper respiratory viruses that cause upper respiratory tract infections, etc. The GI Mix supports those suffering from chronic gut issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. The UTI mix is very helpful for those suffering from chronic urinary tract infections, interstitial cystitis, etc.

Unfortunately, many of those who visit our clinic suffer from chronic conditions ranging from mold illness and Lyme disease to chronic gastrointestinal symptoms. Many patients also have histamine intolerance or mast cell activation syndrome and cannot tolerate supplements or medications. LDI offers an excellent treatment option for these patients because it can treat multiple conditions simultaneously without the use of supplementation or medications. Doing so calms down the immune overactivity and activation of the mast cells, which are so common.

While this sounds like great news, there are several caveats to consider:

  • Not everyone responds to LDI because not all disease states are caused by a loss of immune tolerance. For example, with mold illness, treatment with LDI might help the allergy to mold but not the toxicity of mold itself.

  • It can take quite a long time (up to many months or sometimes years) to find one’s ‘core dose’ or best dose. If the dose is too weak, there will be little to no treatment effect. If the dose is too strong, one can experience ‘a flare’ or aggravation of symptoms.

  • We have determined that LDI is more of an art than a science and takes great patience. If one has a severe loss of immune tolerance, one may need to theoretically stay on LDI for life, which can sometimes seem disconcerting and overwhelming to the patient.

  • We have had to ‘go beyond’ LDI by treating “interference fields” or various areas of weakened (or depolarized) tissue to address some of these issues. These ‘short circuits’ can create ‘immune confusion.’ Treating these interference fields can greatly reduce the need for LDI. Additionally, we use an advanced biofeedback technique called the Autonomic Response Technique (ART) to accelerate the time it takes to find the effective LDI dose.

In summary, LDI is a game changer in helping to support many chronic conditions. Working with a skilled practitioner well-versed in LDI is recommended for the best results. For more information regarding this important therapy, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Martin Van Lear, APRN, MSN, ABAAHP, FNP-C, Tree of Light Health, LLC.