Epstein-Barr Virus

By Dr Ernst
December 3, 2022

   Ninety percent of Americans are harboring a potentially harmful virus called Epstein Barr (EBV). For many people this virus is inactive, regulated by the immune system. However, this virus can trigger exhausting, painful and chronic symptoms for some, while being easily overlooked by providers. That’s because EBV is complicated and researchers are still investigating how it interacts with human cells.

   Usually, people become infected with EBV as young children or as teenagers. In young children, the virus usually goes fairly unnoticed. In teenagers, it is usually characterized by fever and extreme fatigue better known as mononucleosis or “mono.” EBV is also known as human herpesvirus. You can have an infection once and never have another episode or you can experience reactivation of the virus and have recurrent bouts throughout your life. EBV can become a chronic infection that wreaks havoc in the system.

   After the initial infection, Epstein-Barr is normally rapidly controlled and ultimately goes dormant by the body’s robust immune system. As long as you remain healthy, your immune system is able to keep EBV dormant. If your immune system becomes significantly weakened, then it becomes a different story.

   Autoimmune conditions are caused when an overactive immune system begins attacking healthy tissue. A variety of infections, including EBV can set this off.

   EBV is most commonly known for causing mononucleosis, which has symptoms that include terrible fatigue for weeks and sometimes months. Common symptoms of initial infection include: fatigue, fever, inflamed throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, enlarged spleen, swollen liver and rash. While the initial EBV infection can range from unnoticeable to downright exhausting, the real damage is done once EBV sets up shop in the body and begins to affect immune cells and genetic expression.

   Research has linked the following autoimmune diseases to EBV: celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It has also shown an increased risk for cancer, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.

   EBV infection can be confirmed with a blood test that detects antibodies. However, since about nine out of 10 adults have these antibodies from past infection, it’s generally only when they’re elevated that indicates a reactivation of the virus. Common tests for Epstein-Barr reactivation include: VCA/IgM antibodies test or EBV Early Antigen (IgG) test.

   Triggers for the reactivation of EBV include anything that places an increased burden on the immune system, such as: unmanaged stress, a secondary or co-infection, nutrient deficiencies, leaky gut and high toxic burden.

   There’s no effective way to prevent EBV. There’s no vaccination or medication that can fight this virus before it’s in a position of power within the body. Some tests do tell us if the virus is active or if the body has an impaired ability to recognize and fight the virus.

   Because EBV interferes with proper immune function, one of the most effective ways to address this frustrating pathogen is by strengthening the body’s innate ability to fight and heal. Over time, chronic infections like EBV wear the immune system down. It is important to keep your immune system healthy. The following are some ways to keep EBV in check.

   Get a Handle on Stress: Stress is a major factor for the immune system’s ability to manage injuries and illness. It can trigger EBV to become active. Addressing stress is one of the most powerful lines of defense for treating EBV.

   Gentle Exercise: Exercising when you feel fatigued a lot can be tricky, but movement is important for both physical and mental health. Even a 20-minute walk can be good. Make sure to do something at least five days a week.

   Clean Up Your Diet: You should remove anything that is causing damage and get plentiful amounts of essential nutrients. The Standard American Diet is filled with pesticides, additives, sugar and unhealthy fats. Processed foods require a lot of attention from your system to process.

   Address Intestinal Integrity: The gut is meant to absorb digested nutrients but protect against pathogens entering the bloodstream. Healing the gut is a priority for anyone dealing with EBV.

   Take A Stand Against Toxins: We are often unknowingly inhaling, ingesting and absorbing toxins at any given moment. Our environment is now laden with pollution and poisons. Chemicals in water, food and the air lodge in the body and irritate the immune system.

   Optimize Detox Pathways: This includes supporting the liver, kidneys and colon, which may be supported by various nutritional supplements and other homeopathic drainage remedies.

   Sleep Soundly: Sleep is the body’s time for healing. If you aren’t getting good quality sleep, it’s extremely difficult for the immune system to keep up.

   Supportive Supplements: These can calm inflammation and promote healing. Herbs such as atractylon, Ashwagandha, licorice, St John’s wort, ginseng and holy basil can all provide benefits. Some others include: Omega-3, curcumin, resveratrol, vitamin D, multivitamins and probiotics.

   There are some great foods that can help. If you implement them into your diet you will get more nutrients as well as have toxins removed from your body. The following are some to consider; wild blueberries, celery juice, sprouts, asparagus, spinach, cilantro, parsley, garlic, ginger, raspberries, lettuce and papaya.

   Developments in the science surrounding Epstein-Barr virus are growing on an ongoing basis. It’s important that your provider is staying up to date. Every tip shared in this article will get you one step closer to regaining your health, but individualized therapies targeting your unique situation can mean getting better faster.

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