Popular in the U.S. from 1940-1950, just before the discovery of antibiotics, ultraviolet (UV) light was known as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial. But once antibiotics took center stage, research into UV light therapy waned. However, as concerns about the overuse of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance rise to the forefront of healthcare, there’s a renewed interest in the benefits of UV light therapy.
During the therapy, the blood is circulated through a machine and exposed to UV rays, which kill microbes by damaging their DNA. But there’s a problem: chronic Lyme disease consists of stealth infections, which means the microbes are sprinkled throughout your tissues and cells; they don’t reside in your blood where the UV light would be most effective. Although UV light might work well for an active infection, it seems unlikely that it would do much for a chronic, low-grade infection like Lyme.
UV light therapy could increase oxidative stress on tissues in the body and may have some tissue toxicity associated with it. There are also some safety issues when you circulate blood out of the body and through a machine.
Patients often require several treatments to see benefits, which can be expensive. Because of cost and long-term safety issues, UV therapy isn’t a viable option for most people.
Dr. Bill Rawls’ Treatment Guide
Want to see more Lyme disease treatment ratings? See What Dr. Rawls has to say about popular treatments and therapies in his Lyme Disease Treatment Guide.