How Lyme Disease Affects Weight

How Lyme Disease Affects Weight

Lyme disease is a chronic and untreatable condition that is spread through ticks and other parasites. Named after the town in Connecticut in which it was first documented, this disease is reason enough to double check that you don't have any ticks, fleas or other outdoor parasites after making a trip through the forest. Lyme disease is manageable through a variety of different medicines and procedures, but the condition itself is permanent.

Unfortunately for the purposes of using it as a symptom, weight gain and weight loss are both common affects of Lyme disease. Much more common, however, is chronic and steady weight gain. Although it is not clear exactly how the disease affects these changes in your body, doctors have a general idea about the causes of weight fluctuation as a result of Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease and Weight Gain

More often than not, if Lyme disease contributes to any change whatsoever in weight, it will likely lead to a period of weight gain. Generally speaking, this occurs because the Lyme disease pathogens affect the metabolic systems in your body. As the speed of your metabolism changes, it typically takes longer and longer to process the food that you eat. This means that excess food is stored by default as fat content throughout the rest of your body. If you fail to adjust your diet accordingly, as many people do, the Lyme disease changes to your metabolism will cause your weight levels to rise.

Lyme Disease and Weight Loss

Lyme disease can also lead to weight loss in some patients. It is believed that the cause of this weight loss is generally the same as the cause of the weight gain in that it is affected by a shift in metabolism. However, the total cause of the change and why it is in different polarities for certain people is not yet fully understood. Most often, Lyme disease will contribute to a more minor loss of weight than it will contribute to an increase in total weight.

Other Considerations

Lyme disease is a manageable disease, but it's important that you know how to properly adjust your metabolism and the foods that you eat accordingly. After your diagnosis, work with your doctor to examine how your weight has changed and what you can do to stabilize yourself at a healthy weight. This may involve certain dietary changes, including incorporating specific foods that help to either speed up or slow down your metabolism. It may also involve adding to or eliminating from the total calories that you generally ingest as a natural course for your meals. Through careful planning of this type and steady maintenance of a preplanned and well thought out diet structure, you can beat the metabolic changes that may come about in your body as a result of Lyme disease and maintain a healthy weight and a normal lifestyle. Ask your doctor for more information.

  • Tiffani

    Lyme disease is a Completely treatable disease. Considering it “chronic,” is old school. I figured out I’ve had it for nearly six years. Within a year of various treatments from a Lyme literate physician, I am expected to make a full recovery.

    Without treatment Lyme continues to burrow into your tissues and nervous system, releasing nuerotoxins that eventually cripple you. If you need more info, contact me.

  • mary dyer

    I’d love to hear from you — I have just started treatment for lyme (undiagnosed for over a year), have lost weight (can’t afford to) and want to get my life back asap.
    Interested in your protocol !!!
    Thank you !!!
    ~ Mary

  • Eden

    This article is totally inaccurate and needs to be corrected. Lyme disease is TREATABLE and most are cured. Try getting your facts from appropriate sources like or

  • Nolan

    Peggy, 200 mg of Doxy is probably not enough. Some people go on high doses of IV antibiotics(along with oral antibiotics and other medication) for years before they see real improvement. People that have more success more quickly use herbs along with antibiotics, namely Cat’s Claw powder, Japanese Knotweed powder, and Eleuthero extract (at least 2:1 strength ratio). Generally at least 500mg of Doxy is needed to cross the blood-brain barrier.

  • Kat

    Guys please don’t act like there are finite answers in regards to curability; this is an ever-changing pathogen ( that’s what evolution does) and all of out bodies respond differently. 5 year progressed Lyme is not the same as Lyme that has professed for a month or even a year; because a test no longer says your positive, that is not fact. Unfortunately, for many of us, once the disease spreads through our bodies for many years, we get to points where our immune system is not even able to mount a defense and create the antibodies necessary to provide a “positive” Lyme screen. If you have permanent plaques or encephalopathy that will forever affect your memory, verbal skills, and balance, do you consider yourself cured? This illness is the furthest thing from black and white; by stating these things as if they are certainties we only strengthen the cynics (and often flat-out liars) of the medical community that want to stamp “Lyme-free” on our foreheads and then call us delusional and refer to our symptoms as psychosomatic. They don’t know and we don’t know; ignorane has to be acknowledged or arrogance and ego hinder and/or halt progression. I say this as a second year med- student specializing in infectious disease that saw the book closed far too often on topics that my superiors wanted to believe they knew all there was to know.
    When we believe we know all we stop listening.

  • Kerri Anne

    In the last ten months, without changing my diet or exercise routine whatsoever, I have gained almost forty pounds, mostly in my belly. Despite me exercising more and cutting calories, I am still gaining weight. (No, I am not pregnant – believe me, I would be relieved if I were because it would explain the belly!) I went to my physician, and she told me it was my birth control medications; therefore, I stopped taking them three weeks ago, and I’m still gaining. They checked my thyroid with blood work and claim nothing is wrong, but I don’t see how there isn’t anything wrong – what’s happening to me is not healthy! My friend who sees a lyme literate doctor has been saying for years that I have chronic lyme (because of other ailments I suffer with such as repeated sinus infections, migraines, a bartonella rash, anxiety, etc.) and I was always hesitant to believe her. Now this weight gain is the last straw for me, and she claims it is the untreated lyme. Is this possible??

  • Janina Turchin

    Lyme disease IS curable. I know this article is a few years old, and we’re still learning about Lyme every day, but I really don’t want people to think it’s untreatable. I have Lyme disease and am treating it now and my doctors have fully cured many patients. So there definitely is hope.

  • Jackie Raville Johnson

    I see this was four months ago. Are you cured? I hope so! How long did you have lyme? Everything I have read definitely states that it is curable, however, it also states that Chronic Lyme is extremely difficult to treat and only 30 – 50% (depending on the source) are cured. Most have recurring symptoms or relapses. I have probably had it for 30+ years. I was given a fibromyalgia diagnosis 22 years ago and even though I suspected lyme at one time (was scoffed out of the doctors office without a second thought), have only been diagnosed with lyme for 2 months. I am overwhelmed and trying to educate myself. Anything you can share is appreciated! Thanks!

  • Janina Turchin

    I am not cured yet, but I have already made progress with my treatment and it’s only been 5 months (before I would’ve thought 5 months was so long, but I’ve since accepted that chronic Lyme takes a long time to beat. It’s been in your body for years, it’s going to take a while to rid your body of it as well). Because I have no recollection of being bitten, I am not sure how long I have had Lyme, but my doctors suspect I have had it for quite a while and do put me in the chronic category. It’s so important to find a good Lyme literate MD. I had to switch doctors at one point bc I kept getting worse. It’s overwhelming and more difficult than I can express in words, but it will get easier. You have to find the best doc. I see Dr. Christine Green in San Francisco. She is one of the best Lyme docs in the country. A lot of docs still don’t know enough about Lyme, so find one that does. And don’t give up. Sometimes one antibiotic doesn’t work and you have to try another one, or a different dosage. You can email me if you have more questions.

  • Janina Turchin

    I can’t give you personal experience with recurring symptoms bc I’m still treating, but my doc says I will make a full recovery. And when I started treating with her I could barely walk, that’s how bad my Lyme got. So I feel your pain. Literally. It’s one of the most horrible, curable diseases. Hang in there.