Lyme disease can cause bothersome symptoms such as fatigue, headache, and trouble sleeping. These symptoms can often feel like they’re difficult to treat, but bee venom therapy (BVT) is a possible treatment to consider if you have this health condition.
Does bee venom therapy work?
It may seem wacky, but bee venom therapy works, says Tracy Brobyn, MD, a physician at the Chung Institute of Integrative Medicine in Moorestown, New Jersey. She’s been using the protocol — injecting small amounts of honeybee venom just under the skin as opposed to using live stinging bees — to treat chronic Lyme disease for 10 years. She says the results are excellent when weekly shots are given in conjunction with the institute’s herbal protocol for Lyme. “Usually within six months, patients are better; and after a year, they’re off of everything.”
The reason BVT works: A compound in the venom (melittin) breaks down the protective biofilms of the Lyme-causing bacteria, making them easier to eliminate, says Dr. Brobyn. “If you only got BVT and no other meds or treatment, your body’s natural immunity could kill off some of the bacteria.”
Research proves it! A study in the Journal of Clinical and Cellular Immunology found that 25 percent of subjects with Lyme disease who were treated with BVT three times weekly either fully recovered or were 85 to 95 percent recovered after one year, reporting increased energy and very few symptoms. Another 75 percent of the BVT patients showed significant lessening of symptoms, while those in the control group who did not receive BVT experienced worsening of Lyme symptoms.
Can everyone use BVT as a treatment?
The treatment isn’t for everyone, however. Anyone with a bee allergy isn’t a candidate, says Dr. Brobyn, who adds they always keep epinephrine in case a patient does have a reaction. People who are on beta blockers also are not good candidates since the meds block the effects of epinephrine.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.