If something flipped the switch on, we need to flip the switch off though it’s not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. In our practice, we go through the process of testing people for whatever it is that we think is a trigger, whether it’s a particular food, mold, pollen, or a chemical. 

Mast Cell
Mast Cell

Once we help identify what that trigger is, we can do various types of immunotherapy to help desensitize the body against whatever the trigger is. 

In some cases, the trigger may be more than one allergen. It’s a process based on the clinical history of the time when these triggers bother you. Is there a time of year? Is there a time of day? Are there specific environments that make you feel better or worse? The answer could be a clue as to what allergen(s) might be affecting you.



Mast cell issues occur in people that get repeated, ongoing exposure to an allergen that produces some type of histamine reaction. It can be chronic hives (what is called urticaria) or other types of skin rashes or gastrointestinal problems, because we have a lot of mast cells in our GI tract. This can be abdominal pain, heartburn or reflux or changes in your bowel patterns, like constipation or diarrhea . You can also get a lot of neurological symptoms. 

There’s evidence that some people have an excess of mast cells in their brain.Tweet this!

So, when they get mast cell activation, their symptoms are neuropsychiatric, whether it’s depression, anxiety, insomnia, schizophrenia, or any number of different problems in the brain.


When we think of an allergy, we often think of hay fever, or the person who gets the sniffles and the sneezes when they get around pollen. However, for a lot of Lyme patients, it’s not typical hay fever. It can be anywhere from top to bottom on how it affects you. These chronic persistent symptoms can be tied into some element of mast cell activation and the chemical involved is not always histamine, which is why antihistamines may help with some cases, but doesn’t always fix the problem. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of different mechanisms that can cause these symptoms to persist. 

From a medication and from a nutritional supplement standpoint, there are a lot of things we can do to intervene that might help control that allergy. Ultimately, the way to get rid of it completely is to help identify those allergens and do some sort of immunotherapy.


In our practice, we do both LDA, low dose allergy therapy, as well as SLIT therapy, which is sublingual immunotherapy. They’re very different, but the ultimate goal is trying to help identify what the allergen is, and then desensitizing you against it so that over time you become less reactive and don’t have any mast cell activation. It can take a long time sometimes to deal with it. Some cases it’s six months, in other cases it’s two years or longer. Using medication or supplements helps control the activation in the meantime. If you want to get to a point where you don’t have to keep taking things over and over, immunotherapy is the way to go.


One of my quick tips that is really inexpensive and easy is a product called Tri-Salts. It’s a combination of sodium, calcium and potassium bicarbonate. It’s very safe and very effective. I use it a lot when trying to help alter people’s pH to make them more alkaline, but it does a great job of stopping a lot of these allergic or mast cell reactions. 


They often look alike, making it difficult to distinguish. Herxheimer reactions (or Herxing), for most people, tend to fall in the heels when you’ve made an adjustment to your Lyme treatment. Mast cell activation seems to be somewhat independent of that and it can happen more randomly. The symptoms you feel physically can overlap a lot between a Herxing and mast cell activation. Many mast cell patients have more typical allergy symptoms, where the Lyme patients who are Herxing tend to feel more flu-like symptoms, so they do look a little bit different from each other.


The Difference Between CBD and THC
The Difference Between CBD and THC

CBD is cannabidiol, which is a product of the cannabis plant or the hemp plant. Politically, it is still a little bit wary, as there is CBD that’s derived from hemp and CBD that is regular cannabis and has a little bit of THC. Depending on where you live in the world, some of these products are legal, some of them are not. 

CBD, cannabidiol in particular, has a really good effect on the brain. It can help people that have anxiety, it can help with sleep, and relaxes nervousness. – Tweet this!

It’s used for various purposes with Lyme, since anxiety, sleep problems, and nervousness are a lot of common problems that people suffer from. I find CBD tolerated well by most people and the effects of it are pretty mellow. It is mostly used for insomnia and anxiety more than anything else, but there are other potential benefits. Some evidence suggests that it may also be anti-inflammatory, therefore, anyone dealing with any kind of inflammatory process in the brain may find it useful.


Typically for an adult, they should start at three to five milligrams. Research suggests you can go over a hundred milligrams, however it may be somewhat cost prohibitive at some point. If it’s in your budget and you want to try it, I think it’s very safe. You may want to work with your doctor to try and figure out what the ideal dose is for you, particularly if you’re already taking a lot of other supplements and medications. Making sure all that works well together is crucial. 



Tinnitus is chronic ringing in the ears, and several people have been posting about this. This is a common problem with Lyme disease, though it’s unclear of exactly why that happens. Knowing that Lyme can affect the brain, the nerve that goes to your ear that’s involved in hearing is the eighth cranial nerve. If that cranial nerve gets affected, it can cause inflammation and that could potentially lead to that ringing in the ears. 

When you treat Lyme disease, the tinnitus does tend to go down, which is one of the symptoms. Tweet this!

It bothers a lot of people with a constant buzzing that can be heard when there’s no other peripheral sound around you. Most people hear it at night, where it’s quiet in the bedroom and there are no other distracting noises. During the day when there’s other sounds in the background, depending on how bad the tinnitus is, it may drown it out, while other cases won’t.


The first step is to treat the Lyme. The second step is finding that allergy, which is a major cause of tinnitus as well. Once you are exposed to Lyme, your disposition to being allergic may have gone up. So, even if you don’t think of yourself necessarily as an allergic person, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be having some sort of allergic reaction that’s affecting your ear. The inner part of your ear contains semicircular canals, which are three little canals on both sides that are filled with fluid. They control balance, so hearing and balance can both be affected when this nerve is inflamed.

As that fluid level changes, the effects are balanced and, to a certain degree, affect our hearing. Any change in the inner ear can affect your balance center and your hearing. Particularly if your tinnitus is compounded with vertigo or any kind of balance problem, that would be even more suspicious of an allergy. One option is looking at different allergens and seeing if that’s part of the problem.

Related Article: Mold and Mycotoxin Exposure



Dr. Darin Ingels

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