You may be wondering what Bartonella, a lyme co-infection, Interstitial Cystitis, and amazing coldbrew coffee have to do with one another? The answer is, well, not entirely much, at least at surface level. However, if you deal with a chronic illness or health condition, and (or) LOVE coffee, this post is for you.
B is for Bartonella
First, let’s start with the cause: Bartonella. Similar to Lyme itself, co-infections (Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, Mycoplasma, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasma, & Tularemia) can wreak havoc on any part of the body that they want. Bartonella, a gram-negative bacteria that has two cell walls (aka double the protection against anything aimed to kill it), is known to target individual’s bladder. In doing so, this bacteria causes extreme inflammation, typically leading to a condition known as Interstitial Cystitis. By Western Medicine terms, this is one of those “IBS” diagnosis. Aka they do not usually know a cause, and do not necessarily have something that will “cure” the issue. For many like myself, individuals with bladder inflammation are referred to a urologist, who then officially diagnoses them with IC. Typical “treatment” for this condition is an elimination diet of all aggravating food and beverages, a long with a lengthy list of medications one can try in hopes to ease the inflammation in the healing process. While I can not speak for all IC individuals, based off of my personal experiences, lengthy internet research on personal blogs, online threads, and medical articles, these, and other “treatment” options do not prove to be very useful. According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, 3-6% of women (a # not including men) in the U.S. struggle with IC. This may not seem like a lot, however, if you are one of these 3-8 million individuals, this is far too big of a percentage. In a nutshell, IC is otherwise known as “painful bladder syndrome,” a condition where one experiences constant bladder and pelvic pain, as well as pressure. It feels like a bladder or urinary tract infection, but sadly (yes sadly, those things are treatable), it is not. Overall, your bladder hurts, like all the time, a hurt you can never seem to get relief from.
While not everyone with Interstitial Cystitis has an underlying Bartonella infection, in the world-of-Lyme, there certainly are a great percentage of folks that do. Personally, I struggled with symptoms for almost a year before my functional medicine doctor and I pinpointed Bartonella as the cause. For this reason, the elimiation diets, medications, and all the bladder supporting herbs and supplements in the world never helped the awfulness that is IC. It was not until I started a homeopathic treatment to target the co-infection that I started seeing a reduction in my symptoms. Fast forward to the present, I am still currently on this homeopathic treatment through my functional medicine doctor. I did two full rounds, and due to my body not handling it very well (more like, at all), my doctor has decided to put me back on round one, before moving up to the higher dosage. My hope and prayer is that the longer I am on this, the less my symptoms will be present. Some days I have no pain, some it is on and off, and some it is blatantly there, for no apparent reason.
So, there it is…Bartonella and Interstitial Cystitis. But wait, what does coffee have anything to do with this? Well, as many of you on healing diets know, coffee is a no-go. For some the reason may be the caffeine, for others it may be the acidity and how it affects their gut. As someone who had to take coffee out of their diet due to neurological damage from Lyme, it was extremely exciting to be able to re-introduce it after a lengthy trial with AIP (the autoimmune protocol). However, once the IC symptoms hit, coffee (along with anything acidic in nature) was like repeatedly sticking hot, stinging needles on my abdomen. Even typical coldbrew coffees that claimed to not be acidic, still caused my bladder to flare. It was a sad day, but I found myself swearing off my beloved coffee forever. For those of you who love coffee, you know how truly hard this can be, even after the caffeine withdrawls wear off. While I knew it was, in quite a few areas, best for my health, not having my daily cup of coffee was hard. I never thought I’d be able to truly enjoy it again (aka without pain), until one day on vacation when my husband stumbled across a gem at a quaint Italian deli in Newport, CA.
Created by a man who had dealt with health issues that kept him from enjoying coffee, this coldbrew is not just ANY coldbrew, it’s alkaline. Say what?! Yep, Alkaline Coffee Company coffee is completely non-acidic. When I first tasted the coffee I did so simply to compare it to all the other coldbrew I had. It did not have an ounce of bitterness, and it was smooth, oh so smooth, like I was not even drinking coffee. After looking at the label I realized that was because it had a PH of 8 (anything less than 7 is considered acidic). Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I was skeptical at first that it was truly alkaline. However, I knew if it wasn’t, my bladder would definitely tell me. Turns out, my highly sensitive body did not flare, one bit, and I am overjoyed to say I was able to enjoy, actually ENJOY my first cup of coffee in almost a year. Not only was the coffee non-acidic, it did not do a job on my nervous system. While I felt happy and alert, I did not get jittery or spacey like most coffees make me feel. Due to such a positive response from my overly-reactive body, I reached out to the company to see if they sold their coffee outside of So.Cal. Sadly, because the business is growing so quickly (not-so-sad), they are only able to sell in the close vicinity of their production center. Despite this, I am here to say, if you live in California, or for goodness sake, even near CA, you must make getting a hold of this coffee a priority in your life. If you are like my husband and do not have a chronic health condition, your body will still happily benefit from this amazing beverage.
Disclaimer: No, I am not getting paid to write this, it just really is that great.
Psalm 103:13 “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”