I guess I need to re-frame “Does Lyme make you fat?”   to “Can Lyme make you fat?  For me the answer is yes.  Lyme has a big impact on weight loss and gain depending on what is going on in your body.

Weight Loss from Lyme

Some people lose weight with Lyme disease. At my sickest I dropped a surprising amount of weight. Lyme and medications can interfere with digestion.  I lost weight because I could not assimilate my food.  I ate a lot of high quality whole food, pooped it all out and was starved for nutrients.  So I got really thin, my nails broke and my hair fell out. I remember being shocked by how much I was eating without any weight gain.

Fortunately, I had some weight to loose at the time, so my loss did not endanger me.   I met some mighty skinny  folks during my time at the IV clinic some of them were fighting cancer but most were fighting Lyme. In their case low body weight, inability to assimilate nutrients and failure to thrive were significant health issues.

Does Lyme make you fat? – The Other Side of the Coin

Does Lyme make you fat eat plantsIt can.  Now I have to be very conscious of what I eat.  My digestion is healing, but my hormones are all awry. Adrenal Fatigue has slowed my metabolism way down. I gain weight on a moderate plant heavy diet and it is very difficult to lose.

When you look at the ways people gain weight, it is clear that Lyme disease can push a number of buttons that promote weight gain.  So maybe you gain weight with Lyme disease and go from normal to moderately overweight, or overweight to obese.

Factors That Contribute To Weight Gain

Over Eating

What is too much food?  Eating more than your body can metabolize daily over the course of time. Over eating is a relative term and it is easy to over eat in a world where food is in your face 24/7.  Lyme is filled with stress, anxiety and depression all which can drive people to eat to self soothe.

Poor Quality Sleep

So many people with Lyme disease suffer from chronic lack of sleep and sleep disruption.  They can’t get to sleep or wake multiple times a night, so that even when they get 8 hours it is more like 6.  Data supports lack of sleep as a contributing factor in obesity, women who get less than 6 hours per night and men who get less than 5 hours are more likely to overeat and choose their food based on taste over nutrition. Here are some ideas to promote healthy rest.

Lack of Activity

Physical Activity helps balance the effect of extra calories.  A regular exercise program can be difficult to sustain given the fatigue, ache and pains of Lyme disease.  It is important to try to stay active to help maintain a healthy weight and strong mobile joints.


Toxic build up is a known consequence of Lyme disease.  Toxins and metals in particular are often sequestered in fat tissue, when the body can’t detoxify and eliminate them.  The body holds onto fat to protect itself from the release of toxins into the blood stream.  Take action to reduce the toxins in your body.

Hormone Imbalances.

Hormone imbalances can be another side effect of Lyme disease. Thyroid hormones, over production of cortisol lack of sex hormones.  Hormones drive how hungry you feel, how much food it takes to feel full, how you process sugar and lots of other details that can pack on the pounds.

Drug Interactions

A number of pharmaceuticals can promote weight gain.  Antibiotics and some antidepressant and anxiety medicines among them.   Sometimes weight gain is a necessary trade of on the road to recovery. But Talk to your doctor about this when you are given new prescriptions so you know what to expect and how to best counter any side effects of new medicines.

No question about it Lyme can subtract or add to the numbers you read on the scale.  Lyme can help make you fat or thin. This understanding empowers us to take the steps necessary to support a healthy body and a healthy weight.

The information provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical care, treatment or advice. All the material here is for information purposes only. Always share strategy and work with your health care team.


Does Lyme Make You Fat?

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