Why people with Lyme cannot drink alcohol


Sadly the only cocktails we should be doing are probably Myer’s Cocktails. Here’s a couple reason why lyme and alcohol don’t mix. 

1. Our Livers are Already Overtaxed

“The toxins from lyme and the chemicals from drugs and alcohol can destroy vital liver function.

Most patients with lyme ALREADY have liver damage and dysfunction, most specifically with the Cytochrome P-450 liver detoxification pathway. That makes is very hard to process out many toxins and toxic byproducts. It is this same pathway that is required to metabolize alcohol.

2. Alcohol Causes Dangerous Levels of Porphyrins

Many Lyme patients develop Porphyria.  To consume alcohol can cause a very dangerous increase in the level of porphyrins in the body. In excess, porphyrins cause symptoms identical to a herx. In extreme cases, excess porphryin loads can be fatal but, in lesser levels, they kill cells all though the body but mostly in the liver and the nervous system (including brain cells).”

Read more about Porphyria here.

3. Alcohol is Histamine Producing

Many Lyme patients have histamine intolerance. Most alcoholic beverages are fremented and are histamine producing. This will cause hives, flushing and a general sick feeling along with exaggerated hangovers.
Learn more about histamine intolerance here.
List of Food and Drinks that are Histamine Producing

4. Dr Murakami from Canada Explains:

I know all this is hard to understand so I asked Dr M in Canada why we can’t drink and this is how he summed it up: Most alcoholic drinks have sugar and wheat and ingredients that spirochetes eat. So they all come out and go into an eating frenzy. When they are active like this they put out toxins. Well these toxins make us feel “drunk” quickly. Then when the alcohol hits your blood stream, it kills the spirochetes. Thus giving off the toxins from the dying chetes. So we have a herx reaction. The reason it is so bad, our bodies are working double time trying to break down the alochol and detox the dead bacteria. This is extra bad because  alcohol crosses the blood brain barrier and our bodies are not equipped to detox the toxins in our brain.  So it pretty much explains why we get drunk so fast then have such a bad hangover the next day.

5. Because of the Meds we are on

Many Lyme patients are taking flagyl. Flagyl (Metronidazole)

Flagyl is reported to interact dangerously with another common drug: alcohol.

Drinking even a small amount of alcohol (ethanol) while taking Flagyl can make a person very sick. Flagyl and alcohol together cause severe nausea and vomiting, flushing, fast heartbeat (tachycardia), and shortness of breath. The reaction has been described as being similar to the effects of Antabuse, a drug that treats alcoholism by causing patients to become very sick when they drink.

Obviously, beverages containing alcohol should not be consumed during treatment with Flagyl, but small amounts of alcohol can be found in hidden sources as well. Some kinds of mouthwash and cold medicine contain alcohol. Small amounts may also be served at religious services. Patients should avoid all of these alcohol sources while taking Flagyl and for 48 hours following the end of treatment.

What Causes the Bad Reaction?
Because the Flagyl-alcohol reaction is said to resemble the Antabuse-alcohol reaction, researchers originally assumed that they work the same way. Ordinarily, the liver breaks down ethanol in two steps: first into acetaldehyde, then into acetic acid. Antabuse inhibits the second step, causing levels of acetaldehyde in the blood to rise. The increased blood acetaldehyde causes the acute symptoms of vomiting, flushing, etc.

More recent research has shown that Flagyl does not inhibit the breakdown of acetaldehyde, and that blood acetaldehyde does not increase when Flagyl and alcohol are combined. Therefore, some other mechanism must be at work. One set of researchers (Karamanakos et al. 2007) suggested it may be related to increased serotonin because they were able to show that Flagyl increases brain serotonin in rats. Another set of researchers (Visapää et al. 2002) noted that there are only 10 human case reports of a bad Flagyl-alcohol reaction and suggested that the problem may not be as common as previously thought. They did, however, note that it is possible that this “reaction can occur in some subgroups,” so it is still wise to avoid mixing Flagyl and alcohol.

Read more about Flagyl and Drug interactions here.

Articles and Research Regarding Alcohol and Lyme

Cannabis, Hemp Oil, Marijuana and Lyme disease

Expanded Study Confirms that Lyme Disease May Be Sexually Transmitted

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month Yard Signs



20 thoughts on “Why people with Lyme cannot drink alcohol”

  1. Many Lyme patients cannot drink alcohol because Lyme disease alters tryptophan metabolism by activating the kynurenine pathway, and some of the resulting metabolites have been shown to inhibit hepatic aldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme, causing an accumulation of toxic acetaldehyde. I suspect the activated kynurenine pathway may also contribute to sleep disturbance.

  2. I don’t have anything against alcohol drinkers, but drinking too much of it whether you have Lyme disease or not would do them no good. I also people having this kind of disease should avoid alcohol to avoid complications in their conditions.

  3. Nobody suffered candida after drinking or tingling in their appendages? Vodka is better than wine re: sugar content. I stopped drinking over 2 yrs ago…yeast is a huge prob and alcohol feeds yeast…

  4. please send me any research articles you have on effects of lymes disease on blood alcohol levels and effects. could really use some help. thanks.

  5. I’m certainly no authority on the issue other than having experienced a lot of this first hand. I was bitten by two different ticks back in the early 90’s when I was in college and out camping. Didn’t get the target or any initial symptoms so I (now, in retrospect foolishly) shrugged it off. I had been what many would consider a heavy drinker for years. All the while, however, I was physically active (yoga, swimming etc), had a sound plant based diet etc. I quit drinking in late 2011 and it was only a matter of months before Lyme symptoms crashed down on me like a ton of bricks. It took almost a year to get a diagnosis, but I am indeed infected with Lyme. Coincidence?

    1. Omg that is crazy! My lyme blew up the year I gave up drinking! How fascinating! Good thing I am drinking again.

  6. That’s what I was thinking! Like maybe my drinking all these years was actually helping keep the Lyme at bay…

  7. You stated that you had I have many more ethanol/alcohol files if you need them….I could use any and all that you could share. It is not confirmed, but I believe that I passed Lyme to my son in utero. When he drinks alcohol, he becomes extremely overly intoxicated to the point of blacking out and losing long periods of time. I’m desperate for any information that might help me get to the bottom of this. Thank you so much! Please send them to my email addy, if you don’t mind. randsdenmon09@gmail.com

  8. After re-reading this article; I get the impression that it’s actually good to drink alcohol; if you could tolerate the herx! If what Dr.M is saying is in fact correct; and the chetes are dying; wouldn’t that be a good thing? Please respond when you can! Thanks; Scoot

    1. i wish!! LOL NO but seriously I asked Dr M that questiona and he said no because a herx is already taxing your liver and all the detox organs, then when you drink alcohol, you are further taxing them. Not only are they getting rid of the lyme toxins but now they are also breaking down the alcohol. Just too much on the body.

    2. Scoot, I believe that you are correct. It makes total sense. The “bad hangovers” that people with Lyme/CFS/fibro/etc get are actually Herxes. “Decreased tolerance to alcohol and intensified hangovers” is in the literature for so many of these “chronic conditions” that are actually stealth infections. I have done a vast amount of research on this. Three things naturally kill this stuff: oxygen, heat, and alcohol. For centuries, Europeans visiting tropical countries knew about this, and thus they were always drinking gin and tonic water (quinine). Both gin and the quinine kill malaria, for instance. The US actually took real quinine off the market — gee, wonder why??? Can you say Big Pharma?

      Of course, MDs these days are so brainwashed that they would not know about any of this. All alcohol is Evil in American culture these days. Regarding what lisah posted, her statement from her doctor is assuming that one is already ON massive amounts of antibiotics. Essentially, the doc apparently said that alcohol DOES indeed kill Lyme et al, but if you are on antibiotics, having the alcohol kill the Lyme and also the antibiotics, could be too much. Gee, I wonder how just alcohol alone would work? NOT good news to Big Pharma’s ears (nor the medical industrial complex). LOL.

      I am impressed that you figured it out, Scoot! Peace, C

      1. Scoot, lisah & Creda – that is the first thing I picked up – was glaring…”alcohol kills the chetes….” Huh?

        Creda – what you are saying here all makes so much sense. Then I thought – Yea YEA – if topical “antibiotic” products (hand sanitizer, neosporin, etc) are alcohol-based and keep us healthy on the outside, then makes sense that alcohol could help us on the inside too! Obviously not in liver-failure excess (duh!).

        Cheers! (Lol)

    3. I drink wine when I am not taking tindamax. It does not make my drunk quickly, and I do not herx from it. It does, however, relax me, and that helps alleviate some of my symptoms, which I consider a good thing.

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