Saturday, March 3, 2012
For those of you new to Lyme, there is an important test that some LLMD's will use to as a supportive tool for diagnosis as well as to gauge when it is safe for you to go off treatment. The test is known as the CD57.
The CD57 is generally run through either Labcorp or Igenex labs. It costs about $140. This test measures a specific subset of your natural killer cells.This particular subset (CD57) is often low in patients with chronic Lyme, although many people who have chronic Lyme will still have a normal number due to co-infections. Therefore, a low CD57 count can assure you that you have Lyme, but a high or normal CD57 does not necessarily mean that you do not have Lyme. So far, it is believed that only borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme) can lower the CD57.
I had my CD57 run when I did my Western Blot. I went through Igenex. A normal number is over 200. Anything lower than 100, most LLMD's believe signifies chronic Lyme. Under 20 is considered "severe illness." Guess what mine was? Under 20!
Generally it is believed that it takes a significant amount of time for the CD57 to lower into chronic Lyme levels. Some doctors believe between 6 months and several years. My CD57 was run about 3 months after my initial severe flu-like illness. There was no way that's when I contracted Lyme for the first time. It was likely that I had Lyme for a lot longer than I thought.
The CD57 counts are also used to help determine when it's safe for a patient's immune system to take over fighting Lyme. It can help determine when it's safe to go off treatment. Most Lyme-literate doctors like to see the number above 200 before treatment is halted.
Some believe that there are ways to raise NK cells in the body. Moringa and reishi along with other transfer factors are some of the ways people have tried. You should always consult with a doctor prior to taking any supplements. Especially if you are also on medications or herbs. I decided to not try to artificially raise my CD57. I want to make sure that when it does go up, it's from Lyme being under control, not from taking a supplement.
After attempting to treat babesia for several months, I did another CD57. It rose 2 points. Not measurable progress according to my doctor. I have a long way to go...........