Being diagnosed with Lyme disease often requires massive lifestyle changes. So the big question right now is; should you drink with Lyme disease?
Being diagnosed with Lyme disease is no walk in the park. It’s much more complicated than taking a course of antibiotics for 10 days, and often requires entire lifestyle changes for those affected. I know, because I have been fighting Lyme for the past two years. I have given up many unhealthy foods such as gluten, sugar, and legumes; excessive exercise, and even alcohol so that my body can heal from this pathogen. That’s right… I don’t drink with Lyme disease.
Now, I haven’t always been avoiding alcohol. If we’re being honest, I used to be quite fond of my glass of wine several nights a week. It’s how I would unwind from the crazy day of being the walking monkey bars for my 2 boys under 3.
But as I started noticing that my healing wasn’t happening very quickly, and even some new symptoms were showing up, I decided that I really needed to get serious. So I no longer drink with Lyme disease, and here are some reasons it might be worth considering.
Liver issues are the number one reason why it may be wise to avoid drinking alcohol while you are undergoing Lyme disease treatment. Lyme can directly affect the liver, overburdening it with filtering out toxins excreted by the pathogens in your body. The result is that the excess toxins are putting it into a weakened state.
Once in this weakened state, drinking alcohol can make it worse. The bottom line is that the body sees alcohol as poison, and when you drink it, the liver prioritizes the processing of the alcohol and everything else gets put on hold in the meantime.
If you continue to drink with Lyme disease, you could end up with liver problems that last long after the treatment for Lyme disease is completed. For me, I decided that it wasn’t worth the risk.
You may not think of an increased production of histamine as being an issue, but it is for many people. Histamine intolerance is something that affects many Lyme sufferers, and even many people who don’t have Lyme.
Histamine intolerance is when your body has too much histamine in it. Whether you’re consuming the histamine or producing the histamine doesn’t matter to your body; the problem lies in the fact that you body isn’t breaking down the existing histamine in your body enough, causing an abundance of it.
Perhaps this is something you may never have had an issue with; but now that you have Lyme, you’ve started to notice more itching, rashes, runny noses, and maybe even a lump in your throat sometimes. That’s histamine, rearing its ugly head.
Alcohol (and anything fermented) contains histamines, which adds them directly into your body. In addition, they can also stimulate the body into producing more histamine which will increase the histamine in your system, start overflowing your “histamine bucket”, and trigger a massive reaction.
This reaction can result in a trip to the ER, steroids, and multiple antihistamines. If you don’t work at correcting your histamine problem, you could end up with anaphylactic shock; so this isn’t something to mess around with.
Porphyria, or elevated porphyrin levels, is something that many people may not have heard of until you have Lyme disease. This deals directly with your body producing hemoglobin which is essential to your body fighting illness. Elevated porphyrin levels can cause serious health issues, including:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Swelling of the abdomen (abdominal distention)
- Pain in your chest, legs or back
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety or restlessness
- Breathing problems
- Muscle pain, tingling, numbness, weakness or paralysis
- Red or brown urine
Alcohol can increase the chances of this happening and can bring on worse symptoms if you already have problems with porphyria.
To Drink or Not to Drink with Lyme Disease
Now, I’m not telling you to give up alcohol if you’re struggling with Lyme or another chronic illness. I’m not your mama. I’m just laying out some valid concerns when it comes to healing your body from the inside out. We should all be aware of the risk factors that come with deciding to drink with Lyme disease.
Me, I’ve personally decided that it’s not worth it, and my health has improved greatly since I really started taking care of my body.
Have you thought about giving up alcohol while treating Lyme disease?
This post was originally written in May 2018. It was updated in February 2020.