Low Dose Immunotherapy (LDI)
Low Dose Immunotherapy (LDI) was developed by Ty Vincent, MD as a method of treating chronic infections such as Lyme disease and its co infections. The method has been further expanded to address a variety of other infections (e.g. yeast, EBV, mold, etc.) and autoimmune conditions (e.g. myelin basic protein for patients with multiple sclerosis). LDI is based on Low Dose Allergen (LDA) therapy, which was developed in the 1960’s by Leonard McEwen MD. Generally speaking, LDA is used to treat allergies/sensitivities to foods, environmental triggers and chemicals - LDI is an expansion on this.
Low Dose immunotherapy is understood to work by inducing the production of T regulator cells (Tregs). Tregs are immunomodulatory – they increase elements of the immune system which are under-functioning and decrease elements that are over-functioning. Let us use Lyme disease as an example of why this is important. In Lyme, patients typically have two problems: a) an inability to control the bacteria (“can’t kill well enough”) and b) they have inflammation (like pain, brain fog, neurological symptoms, etc.)
This is, in part, due to the fact that the Lyme bacteria can live inside human cells. Consequently, this promotes “a)” (it’s harder to kill infection inside of a cell) and “b) (the immune system ineffectively attacks the cells containing the bacteria – like muscles and nerves – and they become damaged and inflamed) By working to reverse this LDI can improve bacteria destruction and reduce or eliminate pain, neurological symptoms, fatigue, etc.
How are Tregs generated?
LDI is a mixture of antigens (“body parts”) of the dead microorganisms in question. For example, the Lyme and co infection formula has 75 species in total of Borrelia, Babesia, Ehrlichia, and Bartonella. These antigens are combined with an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, which is a “lymphokine” agent. Lymphokines bring more immune system cells to the area where the antigens are administered thus creating more Tregs (which is what we want). The formula is very dilute – at least 1000 times more dilute than an allergy shot. Since the microbes are dead, LDI cannot produce or increase an infection in anyone.
How are treatments performed?
Treatments are administered either as an intradermal injection (into the skin) or as drops under the tongue. The method that is best for a given patient is determined during the office visit.
The key to LDI is finding the right concentration of the antigens for the individual patient. If the dose is too low, nothing happens. Too high, the patient feels worse. Just right and the patient feels better. As such we start with a very low dose with most patients and gradually increase the dose until a beneficial effect is seen. During this initial “find the right dose” phase, treatments are given every ten days. Once the correct dose is found, treatments become less and less frequent as improvements last longer and longer.
For more information on how LDI works and some Lyme disease case studies, please watch the following video: