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What is Lyme disease?

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  • What is Lyme disease?
  • What are common symptoms (acute and chronic)?
  • How is it diagnosed and why is it so often misdiagnosed?
  • How is Lyme disease treated? (I can talk about my 5 part plan as outlined in my book if we want that level of detail)
  • How important is detoxification in overcoming Lyme disease?
  • What therapies help aid in fixing our terrain and making our cells more functional?
Chronic Illness
Robby Besner PSc.D.

Hey, everybody, welcome back to another amazing episode in our Lyme series. This is the Healing from Lyme and Chronic Illness Naturally summit and today I have a super great guy, really interesting guy that has a great background and a great story to tell us, Dr. Darin Ingels. He’s a practitioner, he’s immersed in Lyme disease. He’s had his own personal trials and tribulations with Lyme which he’ll illuminate for us a little bit. And with that, I wanna turn the camera over to Dr. Darin. Welcome to the Lyme summit and I’m so happy that you’re here today to offer some wisdom and your experiences with the community at large.


Darin Ingels, N.D., FAAEM

Well, thank you so much for having me, Robby. I really appreciate it. I mean, as you mentioned, I have my own Lyme story. I’ve been a Lyme patient. I know exactly what it’s like that everyone who’s been dealing with Lyme disease. I think I probably experienced at least a large majority of symptoms that people out there have experienced themselves. So when people come in my office, they’re like, “You have no idea what it’s like to experience the X, Y, and Z.” I’m like, “Well, actually I do.” I mean, I’ve been there and I’ve done that. And really my background, I’m a naturopathic physician by training, and I did my training in Seattle and I moved to Connecticut shortly after I finished my residency to work at a practice there. And for those who aren’t aware, Lyme disease is named after Lyme, Connecticut. It’s a city in Connecticut that was about 30 minutes away from where I lived. And shortly before I was due to open my own practice, I got bit by a tick. 

And I actually am one of the few people I’ve ever seen that actually had classic Lyme disease. I had every single symptom that you read about in a medical textbook. I had the big bullseye rash. I had a headache, 105 fever, migratory joint pain, neuropathy, numbness, tingling, really the whole gamut. And so I caught it early and I started on the standard 21 days of doxycycline because at that time, that’s all I really knew about Lyme disease. And four days into my own treatment, I felt fine. I felt okay great. Lyme, no big deal. Treated the infection, got rid of it. But when I started my own business, anyone who’s ever owned their own business knows what this is like. I couldn’t afford staff, so I was doing everything myself. 

So I was seeing patients. I was scheduling people, answering phones, working our dispensary, doing my own books. And eight months into that long schedule, I started to relapse and my symptoms started to come back. So I started having back pain again, having joint pain, having neuropathy again. And I’m like okay, I recognize this. I’ve had this before. Now it’s February in Connecticut. It’s cold, there’s snow on the ground, so I’m sure this isn’t a new tick bite. I’m like okay, I’ve heard about relapses. No problem, I’ll just go back on antibiotics and that’ll take care of it. So I went back on a month of doxycycline and it did absolutely nothing. Then I went on a month of azithromycin. It did absolutely nothing. 

And then I started working with a local Lyme doctor I knew of and we started doing different mixes of antibiotics for about nine months. And over that course of nine months, I actually got progressively worse. My gut was a wreck. I was nauseous all the time. I lost about 30 pounds in that nine-month period just from really not being able to eat and digest my food. So I was fortunate to have known of a doctor in New York City named Dr. Jung. He’s a medical doctor from China but works as an acupuncturist in the city and he basically started me on a series of Chinese herbal supplements. I’ve started getting regular acupuncture and really within about a month’s time, I was 80-85% improved. 

And it was also my wake up call that I wasn’t eating well, I wasn’t sleeping well. I really wasn’t taking care of myself. So everything I’d been kind of preaching to my patients, I was ignoring. So that was my come to Jesus moment of look, you can’t get well when you kind of continue to abuse your body this way. You’ve got to get good sleep. You’ve got to feed yourself nutritionally, in addition to doing all the things to manage the Lyme itself. And once I really kind of started on that path, it really took I’ll say almost three years to get to a point where I felt like I had my energy back, I had my brain back. I felt fully functional and I can remember being so just darn fatigued that any kind of exercise or movement just seemed impossible. So I would literally, I’d plop in front of my couch in front of the TV. And while I was watching TV, I would just start stretching. 

I would just start doing minimal movement. And then I started doing laps around the house and then I started walking around my neighborhood, and eventually got to a point where my energy was good enough. I started studying martial arts and eventually eight years later got a black belt in karate. So I know that that path seems very arduous for so many Lyme patients and you feel like you’re just never gonna get there. But my own personal story is that look. It took a long time, but it took the perseverance, it took having the right attitude, the right mindset, knowing that there is the capacity to heal. 

It’s just you got to get all these obstacles out of the way. I think this is the beauty of the human body, right? Is that it is built into our DNA to heal. We are designed to do that. It’s just there’s something that’s stopping us from accomplishing that and I think we can maybe talk about this a little bit more. But if we think about Lyme or really any kind of other persistent infection, why is it some people get Lyme, they get no symptoms at all? Some people get Lyme, they get treated with 21 days of antibiotics and then they’re fine. And then there’s that other percentage that just end up with persistent chronic Lyme despite all these other treatments, what’s the difference? So I’ve learned again through my own experience and then of course I took what I learned about myself and really started applying it to my patients. 

And again, it’s really about the terrain. You really got to treat the whole person, you’ve got to get the terrain and so that’s your gut function. That’s how well you’re breathing, how well you’re sleeping. It’s everything that’s part of you, you’ve got to get that functioning well to again, to allow that natural process of healing to occur. And again, I’m making it sound more simple than it really is, but I think as a practitioner that’s part of our job is that we need to help each of you figure that path out of where’s that obstacle? What’s that thing that’s really stopping your body from functioning well? What’s that thing that stopping your cells from repairing the way they’re designed to? And if we can identify those things, again, we give you the opportunity to allow that natural process of healing to occur.


Robby Besner PSc.D.

It’s so interesting just what you’ve talked about for people that are just coming in and joining us. In your own pursuit, first off you did the classic… How long ago was this event when you first started experiencing your Lyme symptoms and you got bit by a tick and you described you’re classic? How many years ago was that?


Darin Ingels, N.D., FAAEM

Yeah, so it’s almost 20 years ago. I got bit in June of 2002 and then I had my relapse in February of 2003.


Robby Besner PSc.D.

Okay, so my point is 20 years ago, certainly in 20 years, there’s been amazing advancements in Lyme research and Lyme applications. But 20 years ago and I can relate to this because we started on our journey with our daughter close to 30 years ago. And so within that timeframe even though Lyme’s has been around for awhile, dialing in the methods and the available different integrated, functional ways that we can approach the same challenges today are very different today than it was that. So I can relate exactly to what you were going through. But dialing it back to that time, really all we knew was to do doxy or azithromycin, the various different antibiotics if you caught it early enough. And the idea that you did catch it early enough but yet you still relapsed and it still was reoccurring within your body is a different kind of concept. And the other part that I thought that was really interesting that you were say, what you said was the realistic timeframes that it takes for your body to recover. And I think that’s part of the problem. Like you say, what is the problem? Well, maybe the problem is us. 

We don’t have realistic timeframes or there’s emotional baggage or content that’s getting in the way of us healing completely. And I really wanna dive into some of this stuff with you, but I just found it really interesting because most people, maybe it’s just a Western to medicine, the classical approach that you take a medication and boom, it’s knocked out, and that’s it, and move on to your next episode of health challenges, if any. Or what is the combination, but I think having realistic goals and expectations is really part of the journey and allowing your body like you said to create that healthy healing primal platform. So it is about Lyme today, but it’s not about Lyme in the grand scheme of things. Having that primal platform of strong immune system, and strong gut, and strong microbiome, these are all parts of the components that we need to be healthy long term, not just about Lyme.


Darin Ingels, N.D., FAAEM

Yeah, well, I think what you’re saying is so important, and one of the things I find extremely frustrating and I’m sure those who are watching have probably experienced something very similar is that we start talking to other people with Lyme disease or if you just go online and start reading about other people, it’s really important that you understand that your Lyme is your Lyme and you can’t compare yourself with anybody else. It affects people so profoundly differently that what you experience may have no relation to what anyone else experiences. So we’re always comparing apples and oranges and one person, I mean, I’ll just give you an example. I had a patient come to my clinic years ago. She came to me from Arizona. She had very severe Lyme symptoms, a lot of neurological impairment. 

In my mind I’m thinking, I kind of expected this was gonna be kind of a long path of recovery. She had had Lyme for many years. She was symptomatic for many years. So we started treating her. Again, we’ve talked about diet, sleep, all the environmental lifestyle factors. I started her on a series of Chinese herbs. She came back a month later and every single symptom was 100% gone. She was 100% fully functional. And then I’ve followed her now for, it’s probably been seven or eight years. She’s never had a single relapse. She was done in 30 days, and I would say that’s the exception more than the rule. But I can’t compare her with other people that might have similar symptoms where it may take them months or even years sometimes to get to that point of recovery. 

And I can’t stand when I see people go online and start bashing other Lyme patients about well, why are you doing this? And why are you doing that? Look, as a practitioner who’s treated over 8,000 Lyme patients, I can tell you I’ve done some treatments that work beautifully for one person and do absolutely nothing for the next. And it’s incredibly frustrating as a practitioner ’cause we’re always trying to find the things that we think are gonna help you the most. The reality is is that everyone’s uniquely different. You’ve got to start factoring in your genetic disposition, your environment, all these other things we kind of alluded to, diet, lifestyle, and stress and so forth. And all that plays a role in your capacity to heal. So just be very cautious when you’re out there particularly on the internet. Unfortunately there’s some great information. 

There’s also some very I think bad information. I get so frustrated, especially with a lot of the Facebook groups. If you went on these groups, you would think no one ever gets better from Lyme. And what I realized, the people who get better, they’re not on Facebook. They’re not out blogging. They’re out living their life. They’ve kind of put that behind them, so you get this very skewed view of Lyme that no one really gets better and you’re all kind of stuck with this your whole life. And I’m here to tell you that that’s not true. I mean, most of my patients get to a point where I’ll considered them recovered. They’re functional, they’re doing much better. And we get into this interesting question that I don’t know that any of us really have the answer for is do you ever completely eradicate Lyme disease? We don’t know, we don’t have the testing methodology that measures Lyme directly in your body. We’re measuring your immune response to Lyme. 

And in reality, look. I lived in Connecticut for almost 20 years. I’m sure if I tested everybody in New England, I would probably find 70, 75% of people would have antibodies to Lyme, and yet all those people don’t have Lyme disease. Some people may have gotten bit by a tick. Their immune system did what it was supposed to do. It got rid of it before it ever became a problem and that was the end of that. So when we’re measuring the immune response, understand what we’re actually looking at. We’re just looking at have you ever had exposure? The diagnosis of Lyme disease itself is really a clinical diagnosis. Do you have the symptoms that point towards Lyme? So yes, if you happened to be lucky enough to get a CDC positive Lyme test, great. We know you’ve had exposure. 

I can tell you being a former clinical microbiologist, I used to do Lyme testing for a living before I was a doctor. False positives on a Lyme test are extremely rare. False negatives are very, very common. So if you get a positive Lyme test, pretty good idea that you’ve had exposure. Negative test doesn’t exclude the possibility of having had exposure. And if you go to the CDC’s website, they even tell you right there in black and white that Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis based on your signs and symptoms and particularly if you live in an area that’s endemic for deer ticks. That’s sort of their definition of being able to diagnose Lyme disease. And the test that was out there was never designed to be diagnostic. It was used as a surveillance tool for people that had known Lyme disease. 

So in the 40 plus years of having this test available, we’ve never refined it to a point of really trying to pinpoint who’s had Lyme exposure, who hasn’t, and at the end of the day, it’s still a clinical diagnosis. But nonetheless, if you happen to get a positive test, great. Negative test doesn’t exclude the possibility. But it’s just, well, I guess we could probably have a very long conversation about testing as a whole. But again, at the end of the day, your experience with Lyme disease, just understand that your path may be very, very different than someone else’s. So if you hear about other people going a little bit faster, a little bit slower, don’t worry about it. It’s really about focusing on you, finding the things that worked for you for your body, and ultimately that’s what helps get over the hump.


Robby Besner PSc.D.

Well, that’s so important. A couple of things you said were, you’re just hitting like the hammer right on the nail. As most people out there that are viewing, they’ve heard that Lyme mimics many other diseases and that’s a challenge within itself. But do you ever get rid of it? I took a pretty modern approach to that with our family and I said to my daughter, “Julia, you may always have Lyme disease.” That’s sort of a label. In some instances, people use that diagnosis or that label as a rock to crawl under. I don’t wanna do my homework well, because my Lyme is acting up. I don’t wanna join a family function because I’m not sociable today because my Lyme is acting up, and there’s lots of rocks to crawl under in that regard. 

What I said to to my daughter was what’s more important isn’t the diagnosis or the label. It’s really how your body is responding, similar to what you’re saying. And to me, the true definition of health and wellness is living symptom-free and living purposefully. So you may always have a little Lyme. all of us have a little Epstein-Barr, and a little streptococcus, and a little ammonia. We all have all that. That’s the microbiome, that’s the organisms that live in somewhat of a symbiotic harmony in our bodies that has been going on for God knows, since the beginning of life on this planet I wanna say. So to me, what’s more important is how we act and our attitude which is really what you’re talking about. 

Our will to live and to live in a healthy, functional manner. And so I said to my daughter, “This is our goal, symptom-free and living purposefully.” And that might mean, my daughter’s definition of that could be working three or four hours a day, not 14 hours a day. Whatever the definition of that is self-defined as the expression of how Lyme might be showing its symptoms in your particular case or the individual’s case. And so I think deflecting the absolutes of let’s kill this disease, it’s the enemy. 

It’s this and it’s that, let’s just focus on the bigger picture in a way and center back on our life, and our family, and our purpose, and our bliss. Being able to express that because I believe that’s why we are in Earth camp. That’s what I call our session right now, our experience with life on our planet and making the most of it. And so whether Lyme gets in the way, or emotional challenges get in the way, or other kinds of physical challenges get in the way, you can get through all of that and the body is amazing with its regenerative processes. So I couldn’t agree with you more on everything you said.


Darin Ingels, N.D., FAAEM

Yeah, well, I think of Lyme, even though it’s technically a bacteria, it really has more behavior like a virus in its ability to be persistent, invade cells. And like you said, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes virus, chicken pox virus, right? You can get chicken pox as a child, you can get shingles as an adult. It’s the same virus that’s been in your body for 30, 40, 50 years that never bothered you. Something happens, your immune system gets compromised. Now that virus is able to become active and you get a shingles outbreak. Almost everyone I see who gets shingles can pinpoint yeah, I’ve been under a lot of stress. There was a huge trauma in my family. Some event that kind of precipitated that and I’m like right, so the organism’s been there for years, decades, and now it’s becoming opportunistic. 

And I think Lyme to a degree is an opportunistic infection. It’s allowed to persist because something in the body just isn’t functioning the way that it really should that regulates the response to that organism. And yet we get into this very interesting pattern with microbes about is it the microbe itself that’s causing the problem? Or is it the immune response to the microbe that creates the symptom? We’ve got good evidence not just with Lyme disease, but with a lot of other microbes. I mean, strep’s kind of a classic example. You can get rheumatic heart disease, rheumatic fever. This is an autoimmune reaction to strep. And again, for most of us, strep is part of our normal flora. We don’t always get strep throat or any kind of complications from it, but it’s just kind of there. So we know from the research on Lyme in specific that we know it can cross-react with our brain. It can cross-react with our peripheral nerves. It can cross-react with our joints. 

So that immune response to the organism starts tagging other tissues in our body and that’s what creates the inflammation, and ultimately that’s kind of what creates the symptom. So if we start to talk to them about the arthritis, the brain fog, the headaches, how much of this is really our immune response to the organism? I think we think so much that the bug is getting into the tissue and it’s just in there eating it away, and that’s generally not the case at all. And we’ve got evidence with Lyme, again, postmortem people that had Lyme disease, they’ll find borrelia in the brain. But the brain tissue itself isn’t eaten up, it’s not dissolved, it’s there, and again, that may be cross reacting with our immune system. So it opens up this other whole kind of can of worms immunologically about again, how much of this is really immune dysfunction versus just even a persistent infection. And again, in reality, it may be a little bit of both. 

But the fact that we’ve got so much evidence, if you go into a PubMed which is our big medical database, type in any condition, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, multiple sclerosis, and molecular mimicry. Molecular mimicry is this immunological concept that there’s something on the molecule of that organism that is structurally very similar to something that might be in our own tissue whether it’s a muscle cell, a brain cell or so forth. So as our immune system gears up to try and fight that bug, again, it’s now cross reacting with our own tissue and depending on what part of our body is affected kind of dictates what kinds of symptoms we’re gonna experience. 

But again, we’ve got literally thousands and thousands of studies showing this relationship of various microbes, bacteria, viruses, and others, that can be triggers for a lot of these chronic autoimmune diseases. So when someone comes into my practice and they’ve been given that label of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, whatever it is, the first thing I always test for is infection. It’s like is there an underlying infectious agent that may be a trigger? Now is that the only trigger? Probably not, but if it’s part of that puzzle, again, there may be something we can do to help either treat the underlying infection or modulate the immune system in a way that it’s not so hypersensitive to this thing that might be part of your normal flora. I mean, gosh, what if you’re hypersensitive to candida or Epstein-Barr? Again, once you’ve been exposed, it’s a part of you. 

You’re never gonna get rid of it. So this idea that we’re gonna obliterate it to the point out of existence, it’s just not practical. And I think with Lyme disease, if you look at the work Monica Embers has done at Tulane University and even some of the work that Dr. Jung has done at Johns Hopkins, they’ve both shown both in vitro and in animal studies that there is a percentage of Lyme organisms that are called persister cells. From the time you get bit by the tick, they’re already resistant to treatment. It’s like you almost start off with chronic Lyme even when you really kind of have acute Lyme disease. 

So this idea that these organisms are already resistant to antibiotics, I mean, what does that tell us? So again, is it the organism itself that is causing the problem or is it the immune reaction? And if we don’t have a good way that we can completely eradicate this bug and again, I don’t think we have any evidence that we can, and I know there are some other doctors out there in the Lyme world who are very well-known who advocate that you need to keep killing the bug until it’s gone. Yet we have no way of measuring that end point ’cause we can’t measure the bug directly, so when does that happen? Does it ever really happen? I’ve seen people who’ve been on antibiotics for decades, every day. 

What is that doing to your gut microbiome? What is it doing to your mitochondria? We know that a lot of these antibiotics of course disrupt your normal microbiome and again, we’ve got tons of evidence of how important our microbiome is for our immune system and really staying healthy. And of course if we damage our mitochondria, that’s the part of the cell that creates energy and also helps facilitate cell repair. So gosh, if you’re a chronic fatigue person with Lyme and you’re on constant antibiotics, how much of that are you undermining your ability to make energy by virtue of the treatment that you’re undergoing? And if again, you’ve been on this treatment program for months or years, what’s that really doing? So this certainly isn’t any kind of bashing against antibiotics. 

They have their place. Certainly some people benefit from it. But I think with every treatment whether it’s antibiotics, herbs, any kind of active Lyme treatment, you have to draw a line in the sand and say what is our end point here? At what point do we say this is working, this isn’t working? And I see so many people that have been on the same treatment for months or even years and their improvement hasn’t really changed. So again, have we moved the needle in the right direction that we can say that this treatment’s really being beneficial? Or is it possible that we’ve now crossed that line that we’re now undermining your body’s ability to really heal and facilitate cell repair, that it just becomes this vicious cycle that we can’t quite get out of? So no matter what treatment you’re doing, I think it’s just important to understand that whatever you do, I mean, I tell my patients whatever we start with, we give it two months tops. And if we haven’t seen any improvement in two months, we move on, we’re onto the next thing. So it’s just important that you have that discussion with your practitioner about, again, you talked about what’s a realistic goal? What kind of improvement should you expect to see? But with keeping in mind that is the treatment that you’re doing, is it in some way working against you instead of working for you?


Robby Besner PSc.D.

Wow, great, great, great, great advice on many levels and I’ll tell you why. I think in my history with Julia, we’ve probably had seen 25 to 30 practitioners over 15 to 17 years and a lot of it is just what you’ve described. What’s the realistic expectation and what kind of result can you anticipate? And put actually kind of a date on a calendar for lack of anything else to use as a metric. And so oftentimes what happens is is that you get frustrated, you’ve got this chronic challenge. You feel like crap. I don’t mind saying that. You’re not thinking clearly. You’re depending on the practitioner to give you some kind of insight, yet again, you may not have a dialed in or a realistic expectation. So you get anxious. You wind up leaving that practitioner, going on to the next one. 

Two parts to that. One, you may not have given that protocol enough time for it actually to show some real results through your frustration. And secondly, what was the other side of the effect of that protocol which could have created another cascade of series of events that may not be the most helpful for you in terms primal healing? And I go back to your initial premise or at least what you came out of the gate with today which is about how resilient and how wonderful the body is in its own ability to repair. And we’ve got backups, to backups, to backups systems within our body built in, many of them we know about and many we haven’t even discovered in ways that we can help us repair and get back on track. 

But we do need to give our bodies the core things like nutrition, and oxygen, and good water supply, and things of that nature in order to give the body the tools it needs in order for us to get on track. So having realistic goals and expectations I think is part of it and then allowing your body to have its own individual interpretation of whatever that protocol will be is also important and giving yourself enough time for it to go. In the beginning for us, we were down in Florida and most of our practitioners were somewhere else in the country. So we were traveling to New York. Dr. Burrascano was one of our lead doctors and so we’d travel every six weeks to New York to visit with Dr. Burrascano. 

But really most of the time we’re spending down in Florida and that’s another aspect of this. It’s like you see your practitioner maybe less than 1% of your experience and the rest of it is within your local family doctor and or your family and yourself to support your own health journey, and it’s easy to say but not necessarily easy to do. I love how you just segued into autoimmune challenges because people don’t often understand the correlation with between a healthy immune functioning system and one that is sort of firing bullets at anything that’s moving which is the auto immune response when the body is tricked into thinking that everything is an enemy including the healthy cells within the body. 

My approach has been more functional and integrated where I just tried to build up your own body resources, your own body’s natural immune system to fight all these things off and then give your body the deficiencies that maybe the microbes or the various different other protocols may have drained. 

Some resources, some minerals, some nutritional aspects of your body. Give your body the letters of the alphabet it needs to form a word and it will bounce back. So yeah, I think that stress is a big part of it, you mentioned that, and it can happen at any time and that often will create a relapse. You could be functioning, you could be… Another one big one is mold. When you got a Lyme patient that gets in a mold environment, all of a sudden they went from functional to non-functioning and I think people listening and tuning in can relate to some of that. 

But there are workarounds for all of these things and just knowing and talking to you today, Darin, is so inspirational to me to know you’ve gone down that rabbit hole, you came out the other end. You were able to identify your own individual way and interpretation for you and created a manicured protocol that fits you and your lifestyle, and it puts you back on track. And I think that knowing that, that that can be achieved, is super important for everybody out there that’s on the other side of the discussion and they are frustrated as hell because they’ve tried everything. They’ve exhausted resources, they’re at their wits end. And knowing that you can come out of this and get on top of it is super important to know.


Darin Ingels, N.D., FAAEM

Yeah, and I think it’s also important to stress, again, there’s so much you can do on your own. You don’t have to completely rely on your healthcare provider to give you every tool you need to overcome Lyme. I mean, a lot of it is things again, is being diligent about your bedtime. Getting off electronics before you go to bed. It’s about what are you doing for yourself for self-care? What are you doing to help detoxify your body? You can get in a sauna potentially. You can exercise to your ability. There’s so many things that are low cost, no cost, available to you if you make that effort to start incorporating that as part of your daily life ritual so that you’re consistent with it, you’re consistent with your diet. When you think about food, what you put in your mouth, is it helping me or is it hurting me? And if it’s hurting me, we need to get it out of the diet. 

I mean, no mystery that living on fast food, junk food is probably not facilitating your body in the right way, so don’t do that. Again, you can get good clean organic food. I mean, my gosh, the largest retailer of organic food I think is Costco or Target. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars at Whole Foods to get good, clean, healthy food. So again, there’s so much you can do on your own again, without necessarily relying on a healthcare provider ’cause I get calls and emails from people all over the country, all over the world now. They’re in areas where they don’t necessarily have a Lyme expert, they’re looking for guidance, they’re looking for advice. 

And again, there’s just so much that you can take stock of and do yourself, and I think one of the two biggest hurdles I see in people who’ve done a lot of things and haven’t gotten better. I think the two pieces that you need to look seriously at if you’ve been trying different therapies, you’ve done antibiotics, maybe you’ve done herbs. I’m really improving a lot. You got to look at your stress. Stress is the one thing that will undermine your immune system better than anything else out there and trauma, I’m always amazed and so I’ve gotten at a point now in my practice ’cause I never really talked about it early on. It’s always kind of an uncomfortable conversation anyway, particularly for people that have had these types of traumas. 

But as I start digging deeper, it’s amazing how many people I come across that there’s often this unresolved trauma and whether it’s some sort of adverse childhood events. I mean, it may not necessarily, I think when we think of trauma, we think about these horrible things that happen and granted those do happen to some people. 


But oftentimes these traumas are not what people on the outside might even consider major events. Trauma could be something that happened when you were a child, something happened in grade school that may have been relatively minor. But as a child, the way your brain interprets that information is very different than the way you think about it now as an adult. 

And so working with someone who really knows how to walk you through that experience and kind of help you resolve some of that can make a huge, huge difference. And for people where we’ve been working for a while and we feel like we’re getting stuck, I mean, that’s always the next place to go. So again, if you’ve been one of those people that you’ve tried a lot of different therapies and really have been stuck, I think it’s important to really take a look at your stress. Are you really managing it the way you think you are? Is there other things you could do to improve that? And sometimes it means making really drastic lifestyle changes. I mean, hardcore I’ve had people who’ve had to quit their jobs. 

Their jobs are literally killing them. They’re making them so sick or they work in an environment that’s toxic and not necessarily emotionally toxic, but I have people that work in office buildings that are loaded with mold. If you are going to a moldy building every day and you have Lyme disease, it’s kind of hard to feel well because there’s so much clinical overlap of symptoms with mold. Maybe 80% of symptoms overlap with micro toxicity as it does with Lyme disease. So your Lyme might be getting better, but you’re still sick because you’re in this toxic environment. And so making those hard choices about sometimes you have to move schools or move houses. Sometimes you have to quit your job. 

Sometimes you have to do these things because that’s what your body needs to really get well, and honestly, it sucks. I mean, it can be really devastating for people and their families. But if you aren’t healing, if you’re not getting well and you know that there’s an environment you’re in that’s kind of stopping you from getting there, what benefit do you have of staying in that environment when you’re that unwell? And ultimately that may progress to something worse than what you’ve been experiencing. So it may be look, I need to step out of this environment for a while. I need to really heal, get myself well. When I’m at that point, okay, maybe we can talk about trying to go back in that at least in a certain degree. 

But I just see so many people that are unwilling to make those changes because it’s uncomfortable. And the reality is is that if you can’t make those changes, you may get stuck in this position. And these are really the people again, who tell me well, I take my herbs. I’ve been taking my antibiotics. I take my supplements and I am no better. Okay, well clearly then we’re not addressing the underlying issue. We haven’t fully fix that problem yet, so we’ve got to go deeper the. What’s that next level? And again, stress, trauma for me is the things I see the most common in those folks.


Robby Besner PSc.D.

I think, like you say, addressing emotional healing is something that’s an area of healthcare that’s way under served.


Darin Ingels, N.D., FAAEM



Robby Besner PSc.D.

And it could be as simple as you say something that got a sticking point from a childhood experience that’s resurfacing in other ways. And I think that honestly my own personal opinion is I don’t believe you can truly heal unless you address the emotional content of whatever that part of that tapestry that created that component. Now that may sound sort of funny or opaque, but I will tell you in my own journey that the fastest response I’ve ever gotten, healing response I’ve ever gotten was from emotional healing. Because if you identify the area of the part of your life where you had a trauma of sort, whether it be as a child. Like you say, you’re a little person looking up at this big world and so this small problem as an adult was a big problem when you’re a little person. But the stuckness is still the same. 

And when you find that area where you’re stuck and you relieve it, it not only fixes you but it also fixes future generations ’cause you pass on that emotion to your offspring. And I probably, and I do know this for a fact, I inherited emotional trauma from they it call your emotional DNA, but I actually inherited it from four generations before me from a relative of mine that I didn’t even know by first name. And that’s how far, and how deep, and how reaching this can be. But point well-taken and it’s all part of the context of healing. But I wanted to just center back on something else you just mentioned briefly which is about being toxic. 

And again, you can be emotionally toxic and you can be biochemically toxic, but there is certainly a relationship between the byproduct of Lyme and microbes, the microtoxins, neurotoxins, the biofilms. The dead Lyme, if you took an antibiotic and it killed Lyme, that becomes a toxin. And in my pursuit just from the infrared scope of work that we do, oftentimes even though you may have a good understanding of the underlying cause, if you can lower the toxic burden in the body you become less symptomatic and that gives both the practitioner and the patient a new breath on life, a little bit of relaxation or a little chance to step back a little bit from all the symptoms that they’ve been experiencing. 

And it gives the practitioner a little bit of time to actually dive into what the root cause might be while the patient and people out there that are listening, they’re less symptomatic, so they’re actually able to engage back into some of their normal life of what they thought was normal as it got redefined through their own journey with their experience with Lyme and various different things. And so spend a few minutes at least talking to me what you’ve seen in your practice, what you’ve seen, what you can opine and at least talk to us about detoxifying or the role that toxicity plays on your symptoms.


Darin Ingels, N.D., FAAEM

Yeah, that’s a great question. I’ve kind of come to the conclusion, I’ve heard other people say this, I think we’re right. If you look at what is associated with chronic disease across the board, it’s chronic underlying infection, chronic toxicity, and trauma. That’s it, those three things. It’s like if you can identify those three factors, you can get people well. And if you look at all across the board, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, its toxicity, its underlying infection, it’s trauma. It’s like these same things come up over and over. So when we talk about the toxicity piece, I mean, I can say with confidence 95 plus percent of my Lyme patients have poor detox pathways by various means. And if you look at the liver in particular, we have a lot of different ways that we help get rid of garbage out of our body. 

But if those pathways are compromised in any way and we know, and again, with all of our understanding of genetics, a lot of people are sort of genetically disposed to being poor detoxifiers. And again, that comes from generations. We also know that we just live honestly in a more toxic world. The average American’s exposed over 80,000 chemicals a year, less than 200 of those have ever been studied for their safety and toxicity. So we have a bunch of wild cards out there that we’re all getting exposed to, have really no idea what the cumulative effect is on our body. But we do know that when you can’t detoxify well, your disposition for anything and being able to move through it quickly is gonna be compromised. 

So if you get exposed to a chemical, if you get exposed to another toxin, you get exposed to a mycotoxin even in small amounts, they can have a very profound effect on how they affect you physically, mentally, emotionally. So part of our strategy always in dealing with Lyme disease and again, kind of coming back to healing the terrain is that we need to help improve our body’s ability to get rid of this toxic soup. And again, with the understanding that there may be some genes that we’re working against, there are still ways that we can help start to lower that body burden of the various things we’ve been exposed to. I mean, just using myself as an example. Again, prior to having Lyme disease, I mean I used to spend my summers, my father worked for an oil company. 

So I used to have spent my summers working at a tank farm in long beach literally climbing inside huge oil tanks without a respirator, scraping them and cleaning them. So benzene, toluene, petrochemicals. I had a ton of exposure to that. I used to work in a hospital lab before I was a doctor. I can remember even without gloves, we’d stick our hands in xylene and all these chemicals making slides. I had all sorts of toxic exposure prior to Lyme. Did that set the stage for me to be more prone to chronic Lyme? Probably, that was probably part of it. I can look back too, I was an ear infection kid. I was on antibiotics every month for the first five years of my life and eventually had my tonsils taken out, tubes put in. 

But you think about your gut microbiome early in life, again, how much does that set the stage? Well, we’ve now got tons of research showing that it has a huge impact on your disposition towards autoimmunity and other chronic illnesses. So we know that when the terrain again, is not functioning well, your disposition towards toxicity is gonna be much greater. So all of the strategies that are available that again, we find that people have access to and can tolerate, it may be something, again, I’m a huge fan of sauna. It’s a great way to mobilize mycotoxins, heavy metals, other types of toxic things. Dr. Stephen Genuis has done a lot of interesting research on sauna therapy and found that it again, helps mobilize a lot of stuff out of tissue ’cause a lot of things, even like mycotoxins, they’re fat-soluble molecules. 

So when they get into your body or even heavy metals like lead and mercury, once they get into tissue they’re very hard for our bodies to naturally just mobilize and get it out. So unless we do something to kind of stir up the pot so to speak to help get it out of tissue, once they get in there they may just stay there persistently for months, years. So we’ve got to do something to try and help get that out of tissue, get it out of our body whether it’s we poop it out, we pee it out, we sweat it out. We’ve got all of these different pathways that we excrete, so we have to open up all those pathways to allow again, that natural process to happen. So exercise, again, getting your body to sweat that way can be very helpful, plus just the cardiovascular benefits. 

We do things like hydrotherapy in naturopathic medicine using alternating hot and cold to help open up your blood flow. That’s another way of helping them mobilize things. Mechanical methods like massage and lymphatic drainage. We’ve got various nutrients and herbs that can help mobilize things out of tissue. We’ve got different homeopathics. I’m a huge fan of what’s called homotoxicology which is a very gentle way which I think gets down to the cellular level and again, starts getting your body to start dumping the stuff out of cells. So for every person it’s gonna be a little bit different about what you tolerate. More often than not I find a little goes a long way. 

So you just kind of have to start gently, see how the body responds. And if you feel like you’re doing well with that, we can always increase the time, the dose, whatever therapy we’re using to find that sweet spot that we can see that we’re starting to obviously get rid of things out of the tissue. And of course it’s important that we stop the influx of that coming in. So making conscious choices in your home. Are you using natural cleaning chemicals? If you keep using Windex, and 409, and all this stuff that’s toxic. Air fresheners, they don’t freshen anything. They’re literally putting formaldehyde and all these chemicals in the air that you smell, but they’re very, very toxic. So again, making choices which you have in and around your home. 

Using pesticides, herbicides on your yard. All of these things you can choose not to use because all those things bioaccumulate over time. And if you’re already a toxic person, it just doesn’t take very much to break, the straw that breaks the camel’s back. So as much as you can stop the influx is tremendously helpful. And again, if we can help with the excretion of all these different toxins, again, that makes the train much healthier. And we find this clinically, my Lyme patients feel tremendously better when we get their body burden of toxins down.


Robby Besner PSc.D.

Yeah, we use binders, a binder protocol, different binders which is basically like a sponge, like a biosimilar we call it. And we broke it into two classes like a macro sponge. Those would be like the carbon charcoal, activated charcoals, or bentonite clays. Certain foods like spirulina like the super foods have a binding effect. And basically what it is is a sponge and so through either your activity through sauna, massage, playing tennis, whatever that mobilizes the toxin, then you have the binder that’s there ready to catch it and that helps take the burden off of some of your filtering organs, and at the same time give your body the ability to expunge these toxins. So there’s one part which is the big part. That’s the toxic burden that’s being produced by all the organisms that live in some kind of harmony in your body and or disharmony when you have an imbalance, and then also the external toxins like with a big one now is glyphosate. 

It’s been around for awhile, but what we’re seeing is that it’s now not just in our food sources but it’s also in the air and the water we’re drinking. And so basically that creates leaky everything. Leaky gut, leaky brain, leaky throat, leaky heart, everything is leaking which also goes back to your discussion about autoimmune because now we have bacteria or undigested food that’s supposed to be in your GI tract that’s now in your bloodstream and your immune system thinks it’s an invader of some sort when it’s just you’re leaking. But all of it adds up. So I wished it was only one thing, but unfortunately it’s a little this and a little that and then at some point there’s a tipping point, and that’s when your body just can’t manage all of it. 

And you mentioned it earlier about all of our genetics. We all have different genetic dispositions. So some of us are stronger or weak or in other areas and generally it’s the epigenetic, the effect of our environment, that does change our genetics a little bit that also has a overall effect on us. And our discussion today isn’t about to make things more confusing for everybody out there. I think there’s a lot of big take-homes from today’s dialogue between you and I and one of them is that there is a road back. There are success stories. There’s a doctor that’s inside of us or voice that’s inside of us that we somehow manage to ignore that’s super important because that’s the one that is the true north for each of us. 

And the true north is when you try a protocol, your body will tell you whether you have a good or a bad response. You just have to be awake and alive and listen to that doctor inside of you. As good as you are and as good as I might be as a doctor or a coach, the best doctor for all of us is the one that resides inside of us. And you’ve given us so many great pearls, the autoimmune part, the idea that you can find the root cause, the effects of toxicity. These are all the emotional part of the equation that needs to be recognized and worked with in order for us to heal completely. And also the family dynamic. 

You’re not alone in your journey, but yet everybody’s in there and everybody’s feeling as inadequate as you are as being the patient because you’re not getting better, and everybody’s frustrated, and you’re exhausting time and money and watching your life pass in front of you. This was an amazing time today, Dr. Ingels. Thank you for your contribution. We only have a few minutes left. I know we’ve gone over time, but I just couldn’t stop you because you were on such a great role. So before we go, is there anything that you wanna leave the audience with? Any pearls or anything that we might not have covered that you feel is important for today’s interview?


Darin Ingels, N.D., FAAEM

Yeah, no, I just wanna say I just think it’s important that look, this is your life. And no matter where you are in the process, there’s still hope. And people say I’ve tried everything. I can promise you haven’t tried everything. Sometimes you need to find a different practitioner to work with that’s gonna give you different guidance. Sometimes again, it’s about being honest about have I really done everything I’ve been asked to do? So just be mindful of where you’re at in the process but understand that there’s still a lot of opportunity for the body to heal. Again, it’s built into our DNA, so just stay with it. If you’ve been asked to do something, stick with the program. If you find it’s not working, fine, switch. 

If you don’t have a practitioner that is working well for you, you need to have someone who’s really part of your team and on your side. I just come across so many people that are in areas where their doctors don’t believe they have chronic Lyme and it’s just a constant butting of heads. That doesn’t facilitate a healthy, healing relationship. So fortunately there’s practitioners like myself and many other around the country that work virtually. So if you need to reach out to someone outside of your local area to get that guidance, please do so because that help is available if you want it.


Robby Besner PSc.D.

Yeah, that’s a great point. So how do people get ahold of you? What’s the best way? Through your website, so you have an 800 number? Tell us how they can find you.


Darin Ingels, N.D., FAAEM

Yeah, easiest way is just to go to my website. It’s just dariningelsnd.com. D-A-R-I-N-I-N-G-E-L-S-N-D. N as in Nancy, D.com. All of my information, all the links to my social media is there. So yeah, we’d love for people to sign up. We have a regular newsletter. We have a lot of information about Lyme disease and chronic illness and we’re here to help support you in any way that we can.


Robby Besner PSc.D.

And if you didn’t hear, Dr. Darin works virtually. So you could be on the other side of the country, the other side of the world, and check in with Dr. Ingels, get his take on what’s going on. You could have your local practitioner. That’s what we did for our whole journey. We had practitioners all over the country and we would check in with them. Sometimes we would go visit. Sometimes it would be virtual. And the world we’re living in today, it’s super easy for you to find a great doctor Like Dr. Ingels, get some insight, and tweak yourself back to good health. Thank you, Dr. Ingels, for your insights. You’re amazing, and I loved your contribution and I can’t wait for people to hear you and get excited.


Darin Ingels, N.D., FAAEM

Great, thanks for having me, Robby.


Robby Besner PSc.D.

Hey, everybody, it’s Robby Besner. Thanks so much for joining us today. Please share this content with anyone that you think might benefit from it and we’re looking forward to having you with us tomorrow for another great interview.


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