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Doxycycline for Lyme: Why Antibiotics Alone Aren’t Enough

Doxycycline for Lyme: Why Antibiotics Alone Aren’t Enough

Lyme Disease is a complex and challenging disease to manage. Scientists and doctors are still learning about how it works and how to best treat it. There are approximately 427,000 new cases of Lyme a year, but there are still no proper and effective protocols on how to best treat the disease. While doxycycline is often used to help combat the early stages of Lyme, it isn’t enough. You can access the best and most current treatments for Lyme at Serenity Health Care, conveniently located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Dealing With Lyme Disease

One of the reasons Lyme is so difficult to diagnose is because it mimics other illnesses. Often, patients are diagnosed with a whole host of illnesses in an attempt to explain the symptoms of what is actually Lyme. Common misdiagnoses are fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The easiest way to diagnose Lyme Disease is via a bullseye-shaped rash. However, doctors who aren’t familiar with Lyme often overlook this rash. And while this rash is a clear indicator of Lyme, it doesn’t show up on everyone who has Lyme. Practitioners may be trained to look for this rash as an indicator of Lyme, and when they don’t see it, they move on to other possible illnesses.


Lyme Disease is transmitted when a tick infected with a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi bites a human and spreads the disease. Once Lyme Disease is introduced to the human body, it can cause symptoms like fevers, chills, sweats, muscle, and joint pain, and fatigue. However, it’s important to remember that Lyme can present differently in different people. It’s a very individualized disease and is capable of affecting people in unique ways.

Because these symptoms seem flu-like, many individuals who have been newly infected with Lyme Disease write it off as simply the flu. Lyme can be treated effectively within the first weeks of infection; however, if Lyme isn’t treated within the first month, the symptoms often progress into the more serious Chronic Lyme Disease. Chronic Lyme symptoms worsen over time, and once Lyme progresses into Chronic Lyme, you can’t get rid of it.


One of the reasons Lyme is so difficult to diagnose is because there isn’t any simple test. There are a handful of tests to choose from, and it’s best to use as many tests as possible to get a full look at what is happening in the patient’s body. Rather than use the PCR, a common, but less accurate, test often used to identify Lyme, we use the Western blot test, and I spot testing.

We also use Ondamed Biofeedback testing and thermography evaluations to get a holistic view of what is happening in our patients’ bodies. Using a combination of diagnostic methods, we are able to look at how Lyme is affecting all of your body’s systems. It’s only with this knowledge that we can form a plan of action to best help you on your way back to health.

Why Doxycycline Alone Isn’t Enough

Because Lyme Disease is a result of the spreading of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, it makes sense that a common response is antibiotics. Antibiotics like doxycycline, amoxicillin, and cefuroxime axetil are some of the most commonly used antibiotic treatments for the spread of Lyme Disease.

Antibiotics can be effectively used as a prophylactic dose to reduce the risk of acquiring Lyme Disease immediately after a high-risk tick bite. However, antibiotic treatment helps such a fraction of individuals living with Lyme Disease that it doesn’t make sense for this to be the primary treatment. When it comes to treating Chronic Lyme Disease, doxycycline, and other antibiotics, just aren’t enough; and that’s because of the nature of Borrelia.

Borrelia: A Stealthy Bacteria

The bacteria Borrelia clears the blood quickly, and it uses its unique corkscrew shape to deeply penetrate the tissues of the joints, cartilage, brain, and nerves. Once it’s hidden inside these tissues, the antibiotics and immune system can’t reach it. It can even roll up into a dormant cyst and wait until the antibiotics are gone to reappear.

Slow Growing

Antibiotics are most effective on bacterium and microbes that grow rapidly and are densely concentrated in localized areas of the body. For instance, pneumonia is concentrated in the lungs, and this is part of the reason that it responds well to antibiotics. Borrelia, however, is very slow-growing and exists throughout the body in low concentrations.

Borrelia in the Microbiome

The microbiome is the congregate of all the microbes in the body, and Borrelia is great at blending in with them, becoming a part of the microbiome. Unlike other bacteria, it doesn’t want to overwhelm the human hos; it just needs enough resources to survive. This makes it very difficult to both diagnose and treat.

Antibiotics Can Disrupt the Microbiome

The frequent use of antibiotics doesn’t just kill the bad bacteria you’re trying to get rid of, but it also kills all the good bacteria that our bodies need to function properly. Killing off the good bacteria gives space for the overgrowth of pathogens that aren’t affected by the body. These pathogens can be just as dangerous as the microbes that cause Lyme Disease. Chronic use of antibiotics doesn’t do much harm to the Borrelia because it can simply crawl inside a cell to stay safe, so the antibiotics end up harming your system without actually getting the result you’re looking for.

Antibiotics Can Disrupt the Immune System

Up to 70% of our immune system functions are actually located in the gut, meaning that disruption of the microbiome can have huge effects on our immune system. When your body and immune system are already being run down by Lyme, causing even more harm to them with antibiotics is the wrong move.

Antibiotics Can Damage Mitochondria

The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell because they give us energy. Although they are now present in the cells of every higher life form, they were, at one point, a primitive bacteria, and they still have bacteria-like characteristics. Because of this, antibiotics effect and can damage mitochondria.

An Integrative Solution

Our functional medicine clinic works to find treatment options for Lyme Disease on an individual basis. We offer a Lyme Disease detox that removes the endotoxins that Borrelia releases into the body. We use Lyme Free Bio Terrain Therapy that helps define a patient’s biochemistry so that we can create a personalized treatment plan. Our IV Nutritional Therapy delivers vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids directly to the bloodstream. Lastly, we use herbal supplements to help patients get to a better state of health and treat co-infections of Lyme.

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Lyme Disease Testimonials

Dr. Andrew Chevalier, ND
"I’ve been suffering from a horrible disease for around 11 years. I’ve been neglected by doctors for about eight years, told I was crazy, that my disease is all in my head, there’s nothing they can do about it, etc. When I came to this place I was overjoyed, I’ve cried with happiness because of finding this place. This medical team is absolutely phenomenal and I would give them five stars and a 110% recommendation. This is something that is saving my life, and I know many other people that have the same experience as I do. They..."
Dr. Andrew Chevalier, ND
"Dr Chevalier and his team have created a very high quality practice over the past year. I am a very well-trained surgeon with very high standards, and have been very pleased and impressed with the quality of care this team provides consistently. Dr C has assembled a very bright and high quality team including Briana, the very bright, competent and professional practice manager, Rene a very skilled iv nurse, and Kacey and two superb phlebotomists, Amy and Summer. Dr Chevalier's focus is on interventions which strengthen the patient's own health and immune system. This approach has been invaluable for..."
Dr. Nicole Schertell, ND, CCT
"Honestly, Dr. Scherell was my last stop. After years of being passed around, I had one foot in the grave. I could barely function. Today my life is so different. After being diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2013, Dr. Schertell started treating me. She has done for me what no other doctor could do. She is very smart and I love her dedicated staff. I owe them my life."
Dr. Nicole Schertell, ND, CCT
"A lot of people say that you cannot "cure" Lyme disease, but I have been Lyme symptom free for over 7 months now. I am now focusing on healing my body and balancing hormones. Dr Shertell saved my life! "
Dr. Jennifer Smith, ND
"I had my first appointment with Dr. Jennifer Smith this week. I have been to over 100 doctors in nine years. With Dr. Smith, I loved how she didn’t make assumptions or jump to a conclusion after I handed her my list of symptoms and past blood work. She took the time to understand the history and then ordered more testing. She did some other tests and was just very compassionate and understanding. She knows people like me have been through a lot. I would highly recommend you see her even if you already have a Lyme doctor. She does..."
Jennifer Goldstock BSN, MSN, ANP-BC
"Listen up folks !!!!! I had some bad experiences through misdiagnosis and courses of treatment until I was finally recommended to Jen and her staff at synRG Integrative. The compassion, knowledge and understanding from the moment I walked through that door is something I will never forget. Lyme is a terrible, painful and debilitating disease. Jennifer and her staff (Katie and Julie are incredible passionate people) are with you every step of the way during your course of treatment. I normally don't complete reviews, but I had to in this case to recommend synRG Integrative to..."
"If you want to get better from Lyme disease with lots of co-infections, then I suggest that you see Dr. Richey! Do not waste your money elsewhere! She and her family have Lyme disease, too, and she has a vested interested in keeping up-to-date on Lyme treatments. She knows what we are going through because she has gone through the same thing. She will understand you!"
Dr. Lesley Fein, MD, MPH
"Typically, I do not leave reviews, however after my experience with Dr. Fein I feel an obligation to do so. Let me begin by stating I have seen many specialists over the years after I was misdiagnosed for 10 years and was bound to a wheelchair. When I met her I had to choose between her and Dr. Frid of NY who, at the time, was treating me. I’m glad I chose Dr. Fein. Not only is her knowledge of this disease unmatched, but she is humble, caring, and listens to your concerns, in fact there..."
Mary-Beth Charno, RN, MSN, ANP-C
"I can't speak highly enough about Mary-Beth. She was a tremendous help when I was diagnosed with Lyme this past year. Her expertise in the area of Lyme disease and co-infections is such an asset to the healthcare community as it has become so prevalent today. Additionally, Mary-Beth's background in both conventional training as well as functional medicine is invaluable as well. Her approach to treatment not only includes addressing the symptoms of the infection, but she also addresses and supports the whole person. As a result, the common side effects of the treatment were lessened and I tolerated treatment..."
Dr. Charles Crist, MD, PC
"I have been under Dr. Crist’s care now for about 6 years, and I can honestly say he saved my life. After 10 ½ months of being misdiagnosed and basically abandoned by my family doctor and the local medical community, I was feeling pretty lost and hopeless. It’s hard to describe how much hope my first appointment with Dr. Crist gave me, because I had gone through months of seeing doctors that told me anything from “Lyme Disease doesn’t exist in Kansas” to “You’re just depressed.” Dr. Crist is everything all of those doctors were not: he is kind, knowledgeable,..."
Dr. Seth Osgood, DNP, FNP-BC, EMT-P, IFMCP
"I’ve been a patient of Dr. Seth’s for the past year and my husband has been a patient for the past two years. He is incredibly knowledgeable, researched, compassionate, caring and detailed. He’s a good listener, too. Dr. Seth has helped my husband successfully gain control of his Rheumatoid arthritis without drugs and he is now in remission. I had been to countless doctors over the years trying to find a cause for my ongoing fatigue and muscle pain. Dr. Seth was the only medical professional who took the time to dig deep and tried to find a root cause...."
Rita M. Rhoads, MPH, CRNP, CNM
"I would have died if I wouldn't have gone to see Rita. I had every lyme disease symptom you could possibly imagine. After working with Rita a few years ago I can live a normal life again. If you have lyme disease or think that you might, I would highly recommend her. She literally saved my life."
Dr. Andrew Chevalier, ND
"I went to Dr Andy Chevalier on April 11th of 2018 for umbilical stem cells. I had Aplastic Anemia from Lyme, Bartonella, CMV, and EBV entering my bones. Her I am one month later able to walk, run, swim, no pain except a little left in my neck and back, no seizures or migraines, able to handle an entire day of doing things I love and want to do. I owe him my life. The only thing I wanted to do but couldn’t was take him and the entire staff home with me. Amazingly beautiful souls!!! Niki ..."
"I want to thank Dr. Richey for her expert care. She literally saved my daughter's life when no one else would take me or her seriously! I greatly appreciate her thorough attention."
Dr. Tenesha Wards, DC
"I've been sick for 20+ years. The last 10 have been spent in the bed. I've been to EVERY specialist there is in my area and Houston. They piled pills upon pills to treat my symptoms and labeled me with "fibromyalgia." I knew that was not the problem, but finally just accepted I would never get better. One day while sitting on my floor exhausted, crying, scrolling through Facebook, an ad popped up for Doctor Tenesha Wards. She described me and my life and my symptoms completely and said there was an answer. For the first time, I..."

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