Tick Talk: How to Tackle Lyme Disease with Dr. Jaquel Patterson

by | Jun 12, 2024

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In this episode of the Modern Vital Podcast, Dr. Ben Reebs explores Lyme disease and tick-borne infections with Dr. Jaquel Patterson, a renowned naturopathic physician specializing in Lyme disease, autoimmune conditions, and integrative psychiatry.

Dr. Patterson shares her personal journey with Lyme disease and offers insights into effective treatments, preventive measures, and the role of antioxidants. The discussion covers restoring mitochondrial function, the significance of IgM and IgG antibodies in testing, and therapies such as herbal medicine, dietary changes, and antioxidants.

Whether you’re a patient or a healthcare provider, this episode provides valuable information on managing tick-borne illnesses.

Be sure to visit Dr. Patterson’s websites Lyme Healer Summit and Fairfield Family Health for more resources and information. Follow her on Instagram @naturopathic.physician.

Don’t miss the video version—watch it here.


If you’re looking to dive deeper into understanding the intricacies of chronic disease and its impact on your overall well-being, consider checking out Dr. Reebs’ book, “The Serpent & The Butterfly: The Seven Laws of Healing.” In this book, he discusses the laws of healing essential to resolving chronic disease and much more to help you on your journey to optimal wellness. Click here to purchase your copy.

Also, we have Modern Vital store where you can purchase our supplements and books, empowering you to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit.

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Please remember to subscribe, leave a review, and share our podcast with others who might benefit from this content. Until next time, stay informed and proactive in your pursuit of health and wellness!


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Complete Transcript of Episode 15233771

Tick Talk: How to Tackle Lyme Disease with Dr. Jaquel Patterson

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: I do find people with Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections, will get more fatigued, like faster than maybe they did before. So I always tell people kind of to do it gently, like I’ve had people that were marathon runners or even Ironman, and they’re like, “I can’t even run now, like two blocks around my neighborhood. And I used to do marathons.” And a lot of that is because we need to, again, restore the mitochondria, like you mentioned.

[Show Intro] Welcome to the Modern Vital podcast, where we delve into the dynamic interplay between environmental factors and human health. I’m your host, Dr. Ben Reebs, founder of Portland Clinic of Natural Health, guiding you through a journey that merges ancient wisdom with the latest in scientific understanding. Each week, I’ll discuss topics of interest in health, offering insights to optimize your well-being and prevent chronic disease through naturopathic and functional medicine approaches.

So on today’s episode of the Modern Vital podcast, we’re going to talk a little bit about Lyme disease and tick-borne illness. Today’s very special guest is Dr. Jaquel Patterson, a nationally recognized naturopathic physician, success coach, and bestselling author. She owns a successful multidisciplinary medical practice, Fairfield Family Health, in Connecticut. She has over 16 years of clinical experience with a focus on Lyme autoimmune disease, integrative psychiatry, and environmental medicine, and she’s also active in leadership within the profession, serving as a past president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and currently serves on the board for the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. Her clinic tagline is ‘Health Care as it should be”, which I just love. Welcome to the show, Dr. Jaquel.

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me Dr. Reebs, a big fan of yours. So really delighted to be here today on the podcast.

Dr. Ben Reebs: It’s so great to connect a little bit, so I’d love to just hear a little bit about your story. How did you end up treating so many Lyme and tick-borne illnesses?

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: Yeah. So actually almost all the areas of focus and specialty for me in my practice, including Lyme disease and autoimmune conditions, have either, you know, a personal either impacting me directly or a family member. So for me, I started working with patients with Lyme disease. And as I started, I guess, learning more about it, because we are based in Connecticut, which is a big area for Lyme disease or the northeast area, but there it is all over the country. So a lot of people think it’s just endemic to the northeast area. And so after treating patients, I was like, wait a second, these are many of the symptoms I had myself, you know, 5 to 10 years ago. When I was in naturopathic school, I had a lot of migratory pain, continual headaches, really bad fatigue, and also a lot of anxiety and hot flashes. So my, my, I was so hot to the point that I wore, I didn’t even realize I was wearing black for like the last year and a half of school. And I would, I would be drenched all the time. And so when I later tested myself, I was positive for Bisha, which is very commonly known, it’s a tickborne infection as well as Lyme disease.

But at the time I was getting worked up, just like many of the patients. Most people with Lyme disease see 7 to 9 doctors. I went to primary care doctors, I went to a rheumatologist, and I did have some positive markers, which led them to think, okay, maybe I have an autoimmune condition because my mother has lupus, my aunts have lupus. So it made sense. But then the full picture didn’t really match up. And then later to find, you know, many years later that that’s what I was struggling with at the time. I did do some herbal medicine. I did a lot of mind-body like, I just really took care of myself. And luckily for the most part, you know, symptomatic, you know, I was mostly symptom-free, but it was actually from working with people that I was like, this feels very much. And the crazy thing is we learned about it in our medical program, but there’s not really a deep dive into it to really understand how to use that by way of differential diagnosis when you’re working with when you’re really seeing a patient.

Dr. Ben Reebs: Gotcha. So then did your diagnosis kind of come later as you were working with patients and you really realized and kind of addressed it full on? Exactly.

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: And then I did like full treatment. And interestingly enough, I was I’m positive. So even though it looked like I had IgG plus I had IgG and positive meaning more recent infection, or I could have, you know, gotten bit again or reactivated, etc. So I definitely went through treatment and herbal medicine and just felt significantly better. And so the most interesting thing was the migratory pain because it plays with your head where you feel like your arm is hurting, your arm is hurting, and then like next day it’s like magic. It’s gone. But now it went to my knee. So you start feeling like in a lot of the patients say, it’s like in your head like you feel like you’re making it up, making up a story, or am I going crazy or am I going mad? So a lot of patients, often that’s one of the stories they say to me, especially if they’ve seen tons of doctors as well.

Dr. Ben Reebs: Right. So can you just show the audience a little bit about the difference between IgM and IgG?

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: Oh yeah. Of course. So IG typically IGm is more of a recent infection. So it’s typically three months or less. And then IG tends to be three months or more. However, there are some conflicting pieces of Can you be IEM to for a long period of time or could it get turned on like I saw when people had like Covid or virus where it was IG? We know that they didn’t necessarily just get exposed to it. So there are some people that keep that active, like IEM, for longer periods of time than the three months, but in general, that’s what it typically is. And the other thing is, if you do get bit by a tick, you’re not going to necessarily show with antibodies for about 4 to 6 weeks. So that’s another thing I often tell patients because they’re they want to test right away. They got bit. They might have a bull’s eye. And I always tell them like, the test is really not helpful at that time because it takes about 3 or 4 weeks before the antibodies build up for it to actually show positive in the lab test.

Dr. Ben Reebs: And you were positive for babesiosis as well as Lyme?

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: Exactly, yes.

Dr. Ben Reebs: Well, what are a couple of things like essential things? I mean, obviously been working with us for many years now. And there’s, you know, it’s I know you treat the whole person. You’re really looking for those root causes, but what are a couple of modalities or therapies that you’ve just found to be essential tools in helping people kind of kick it into dormancy, sort of resolve these symptoms, kind of clear it, so to speak?

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: Yes. And then the other thing I always work on is we do as natural doctors as prevention, like, what are you doing when you’re going outside the clothing, you know, what are all your procedures. So that’s also after because especially depending on where you live or what type of work you do, if you’re a gardener or hiker or something where you’re outside pretty frequently, there’s just a higher likelihood of exposure.

So also not only treating like, what do you do to prevent that from happening again? There are tons of actual herbs that have been so I typically will do herbal medicine. And then I also will do nutrients by way of supplementation. Typically I try to put patients on a diet that’s basically less inflammatory, like more, you know, food like avoiding obviously things that are more acidic, like coffee and alcohol and all the, the basic things, you know, looking at gluten, looking at dairy, like, what are the things that are going to make your system not work as well. So nutrition also plays a role. However, there have been several herbs that have been heavily studied. You can see them in PubMed too, that are shown to be as effective, if not more effective than, you know, some of the antibiotics that people use for Lyme disease.

Dr. Ben Reebs: So do you. I mean, I know there’s so many different variations of Lyme and obviously we’ve got mile, we’ve got moderate, we’ve got severe, and then we’ve got all these co-infections and then all of these other things like Epstein-Barr or mold or long Covid. I mean, so many things we see with typically with Lyme are often with Lyme. Do you often see patients able to resolve the issues pretty readily, or does it just depend on the person for you?

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: I think it depends. If somebody’s had it for 10 or 20 years, it’s harder because there’s just I feel I always say at that point, Lyme disease is almost acting like an autoimmune condition because there’s not a reason you’ll have somebody, a wife and a husband. The husband may have bands even higher but has no clinical symptoms. And then another person you know, their wife has been struggling with it for 20 years. So then the question is, you know, why is one person struggling for a long time and the other so what is their foundation? What is the stress level like with women? I’m looking at hormones like what are all those impacts, you know, things that are how is their immune function that’s preventing them from like actually clearing it. So I think with the approach I try not to work, especially if someone’s had it for a long time on just pure antimicrobials, because if that hasn’t worked and they’ve done antibiotics, which we see people on for years and they’ve done antimicrobials for years, and it’s not working, there’s something else.

And that’s when you have to look at things like mold, things like, you know, environmental medicine factors, things like other viruses, like some of my patients, they say they had like EBV or mono, like they might be like 25 or 30 like ten years ago. And that’s kind of where their system kind of went haywire. So I have to address that because if we don’t address that, then to me it’s harder to really help to support Lyme disease and clear it if you’re not addressing those other factors. So I think that’s why you have to definitely go to someone like you or me who’s really literate and looking at all those pieces, because sometimes it’s hard to prioritize, and I always try to be mindful of the kind of doing and doing it in buckets. So it’s also not overwhelming to somebody with, you know, a million different protocols to address a condition.

Dr. Ben Reebs: Yeah, it’s amazing how, you know, if somebody has ferritin of, say, ten or maybe has really low natural killer cells or, you know, looks like low white blood counts or whatever those things addressed a little bit, it’s amazing how the Lyme often gets a little better. He’s working with all these other factors.

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: And it’s funny that you just said ferritin, because I’ve seen that a lot with like so many of my patients, and it gets untested a lot because they just do the complete blood count, the CBC that they have low ferritin. And ferritin is actually one of the ones when there’s acute inflammation will, you know, it’ll decrease. So it’ll go up high and then it drops. And so especially I saw after people got sick there would be this lowering of it. And so you’re right like I’ve had people we just get their ferritin levels up and now they’re able to respond better. So those are just like basic core things that get like not looked at sometimes when you’re, you know, only addressing, looking at Lyme disease and only retesting that and not looking at like what else can be going on.

Dr. Ben Reebs: Yeah, absolutely. I’m curious, what role do antioxidants play? I mean, for you, I mean, you probably have your favorites, whether it’s glutathione or zinc. Yeah. Rotating through some.

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: Yeah yeah yeah yeah. So alpha lipoic acid, especially if a person has any neurocognitive because with Lyme disease you mentioned your stage one. Stage two. Stage three. So later phases people have more neurological symptoms even I’ve had people with Bell’s palsy, you know, dizziness coordination issues. And so some of those are also related to other tickborne infections like Bartonella depending on on which one they are. But one of the things with tick-borne infections is they really use up the mitochondria. And so you really need to replace anybody you’re with with a lot of antioxidant support. So CoQ10 is one I’ve had some patients where like that was they were just on. That was the thing that worked for them. It was just CoQ10 like it worked before I even had a chance to fully look at everything else with the antimicrobials. So that’s kind of interesting. B vitamins, especially because B vitamins feed the adrenal glands and the thyroid, especially things like B5, B6, b1. If there are also a lot of cognitive issues.

And also, yeah, glutathione is one of my favorites, especially because I often have patients that have some type of mold exposure. So it also helps to support any kind of environmental exposures as well. And also hormones.

Dr. Ben Reebs: So are you using NAC quite a bit to kind of build glutathione?

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s actually. What comes into some people will have taken one versus the other and they’ll often do better you know with both of them or maybe one. So that’s also an interesting thing to kind of work through. But NAC was like, I feel like after 2020 was like the hot like I feel like was everybody was on NAC for respiratory support as well. So it’s great as an antioxidant. So both of those are awesome because they’re multifaceted and how they can actually support somebody too.

Dr. Ben Reebs: And are you using some hyperbaric as well at times or referring out for that may be some hypothyroidism, it’s like until we get those things addressed, or I should say, when we get 

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: Or we refer out we don’t, but we are about to. In my new clinic, we’re getting the hyperbaric. So that’ll be in the next few months. But we also the other things that have been studied and helped is sauna far. An infrared sauna is another one. Also, the far infrared sauna has been connected with supporting cognitive function as well as cardiovascular function for about 20 minutes. Not for as long as people think, but I will. I do find people with Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. They will get more fatigued, like faster than maybe they did before. So I always tell people kind of to do it gently, like I’ve had people that were marathon runners or even Ironman, and they’re like, I can’t even run now, like two blocks around my neighborhood. And I used to do marathons and a lot of that is because we need to, again, restore the mitochondria, as you mentioned, but we also need to build people up shortly. So sometimes I’m like, okay, just get into walking. You know, there’s tons of studies that show walking every day for five miles or just as effective as, you know, our American styles, like hit intensity workout three times a week.

But really, if you’re consistently doing five miles a day, you’ll stay still as active and have just as much cardiovascular benefit. So I try to build people up shortly to and to not, you know, for people listening in to get discouraged by that, that you’re also like deconditioned, you know, so you’re not going to jump back in the same way, but also building up slowly. Because I find sometimes when people just jump in, I’ll have someone that feels, well, they used to hike all the time and they’re like, oh yeah, Doctor Patterson. I went hiked eight miles and then they had to pay for it for a week. I’m like, well, but you haven’t done eight miles, you know, in a year. So, you know, you have to like, you know, go slowly. So that’s also a piece of trying to build up and prime your symptoms, your system, and being smart in terms of getting back into some of the things that you used to be able to do before, that might have been easier.

Dr. Ben Reebs: Yeah. It’s amazing how many endurance athletes I’ve been seeing that kind of got tipped, you know, after just maybe pushing it a little too hard. Did a couple of marathons and then they got tipped into a full-blown Lyme or long Covid or something else. And then the Lyme was actually found after their body was tipped into that state. It seems to be a fairly common thing. Well you know thank you so much for joining us. Where can people find you online?

Dr. Jaquel Patterson: Yeah sure. So the my website I just did a Lyme healer summit which we’re going to plan on doing every every year, every or at least once a year, maybe twice a year. So check that out. It’s called www.lymehealhers.com So focus was inspired by having a focus on women’s and children’s needs as it pertains to Lyme disease. But I also have my practice website which is www.fairfieldfamilyhealth.com and it’s we have a multidisciplinary practice. So we have docs that all have kind of different focus areas, including one that does more neurology.

So yeah, definitely check us out there and follow me on Instagram @naturopathic.physician

Dr. Ben Reebs – Awesome. I’ll make sure to link to all of that in the show notes.

That concludes today’s episode of the Modern Vital Podcast. We’d love to hear from you. We really value your feedback and if you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to me at Ben@ModernVital.com. Also, please leave us a review if you enjoyed this episode, and we look forward to having you join us next week for another exciting episode of the Modern Vital podcast.

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About Me

Dr. Ben Reebs, ND, is an award-winning, naturopathic physician with a focus in environmental medicine, which looks at how environmental factors can cause chronic disease. He specializes in chronic infections, autoimmune disease, and digestive health.

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