By Marie Pace, DNM
The Epstein Barr Virus is one of the most controversial viruses I’ve ever studied and certainly the most misunderstood in the medical and holistic communities. We have noticed that 9 out of 10 clients with mystery illnesses (varied symptoms that don’t seem to add up to any one “medical” diagnosis) test positive for this virus!
When fatigue and chronic inflammation overtake the body, it can be a source of confusion for both the client/patient and their doctors. After ruling out major disease (heart disease, liver disease, cancer, etc.), it becomes very unclear for both the medical doctor treating and the patient suffering.
Among the many suspects causing all the above health issues is the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
Back in March 1964 The Lancet medical journal published a remarkable piece of research from three scientists called Anthony Epstein, Yvonne Barr, and Burt Achong. They had discovered the first human virus that can cause cancer, which later came to bear two of their names: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). In 1965 it was confirmed that Epstein had spotted a brand new human virus, and it was officially christened Epstein-Barr virus.
They determined through testing that 9 out of every 10 adults living in America tested positive for EBV… It was determined that every single case of glandular fever (a widespread disease; mononucleosis) was caused by an EBV infection.
Standard medical science is catching up with what we already knew in the holistic field… In a paper published in Nature Genetics in April 2018, researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital reveal that contracting the virus increases the risk of getting seven other major diseases, which together affect 8 million people in the United States alone. You’ve definitely heard of these before: systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes. The researchers identified the increased risk caused by the Epstein-Barr virus by looking at the effects of the virus on people’s DNA, using massive genomic datasets from people who have contracted the virus.
Though the major findings reported in the paper are about the virus’s involvement with the seven diseases mentioned above, the team also turned up data linking abnormalities in the body’s 1,600 transcription factors with over 200 diseases, including breast cancer.
EBV belongs to the family of herpes viruses including those that cause cold sores, genital herpes, chickenpox and shingles. Infection with EBV is virtually inescapable; in the US, 95% of all adults will be infected by age 40, and 50% of all children by age 5. Many people don’t realize they have been infected because they never feel sick. Once infected however, you harbor the virus for good. There is growing concern about the after-effects of an EBV infection; a number of chronic diseases, including some types of cancers, have been linked to this infection. EBV almost never is alone … it has companions: Mycoplasma bacteria, different strains of Strep, etc. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), also called Human herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4), as I stated above… is a virus of the herpes family (which includes Herpes simplex virus and Cytomegalovirus).
Unlike bacteria, which multiply comfortably on their own given the right environment, viruses need to insert themselves into a host’s cells in order to persevere. Once a virus has taken a human cell hostage, it continues to conquer cell after cell. This is where the virus cells also meet up with bacteria and heavy metals… the result is extreme inflammation and nerve damage.
For the most part, a healthy immune system can derail these viral interlopers so they don’t do too much damage. The virus is detected, a customized antibody is made and an all out attack is mounted by killer cells. But like other herpes viruses, EBV is quite clever and can evade an all out antibody strike.
When teenagers are exposed, about half will get mononucleosis (mono) or ‘kissing disease.” A few weeks after contact with EBV, monocytes, a certain type of white blood cell, grow unchecked, filling up in lymph tissue. Teens can be laid up for weeks, sometimes months, before the fatigue lifts and they begin to feel normal again.
Symptoms of mononucleosis include
- Extreme fatigue
- Swollen glands
- Sore throat
- Painful swallowing
- Enlarged lymph nodes in neck and under arms
- Enlarged spleen
- Enlarged liver
- Red spots on the roof of the mouth
- Eye swelling
Chronic Active EBV Infection
An active EBV illness can persist beyond the initial 6 months. The fatigue can be unrelenting and is often confused with chronic fatigue syndrome or the dreaded “Mystery Illness” diagnosis. Doctors can identify an active EBV infection because the levels of EBV antibody circulating in the blood remain very high. The chronic infection can affect the lungs, liver, bone marrow and eyes. Sadly most doctors don’t know how to read the antibody tests for EBV and assume that it’s still a “past” infection that is causing the high titers. The problem is that Doctors seldom recognize EBV as the root cause of most diseases and/or discomforts in their patients and clients. It’s a bit of a catch 22… they don’t look for it mainly because they have no idea how to address medically!
One of the most compelling findings of late is EBV’s role in the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS). People with MS have a faulty immune response that causes immune cells to mistakenly attack the protective insulation (myelin) surrounding nerve fibers. When the myelin sheath is stripped it interferes with the transmission of nerve messages throughout the body and brain causing a wide range of neurological problems depending on where the damage occurs. There are a few things that link the MS to EBV infections.
- Nearly everyone with MS tests positive for EBV
- People clear of the virus don’t get the disease
- High levels of EBV antibodies precede MS symptoms and flare-ups
- Infectious mononucleosis doubles the risk for MS
EBV infection is probably not the sole cause for this complex disease and it is likely that outside factors trigger MS. One new piece of the puzzle has recently emerged. Vitamin D, abundant in oily fish, fortified foods and manufactured by the body when the skin is exposed to the sun, might be important for the healthy immune-fighting cells. Low vitamin D may cause immune pathways to go haywire, causing misguided immune cells to see the myelin sheath as foreign. The full picture is not yet in focus but increasing the amount of vitamin D through diet or dietary supplements may protect against MS.
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome / Histamine Intolerance
If you suspect you have acquired Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (not a genetic defect) the question should be why. In addition to addressing the histamine, I believe you should also look to the root cause and treat that accordingly. The following is a partial list of known triggers for MCAD/MCAS.
We now know that the following contribute to any histamine intolerance in the human body: heavy metals, parasites, chronic viruses (such as EBV), & Yeast / Fungus.
A 2015 Polish study found the Epstein Barr Virus in the thyroid cells of 80% of people with Hashimoto’s and 62.5% of people with Graves’, while controls did not have EBV present in their thyroid cells.
Interestingly EBV can go through about 4 different stages … another “unknown” fact about this stealth disease.
Stage 1: let’s say you’re a young teenager and contract the virus through making out on the sofa with your date… the virus may have an initial dormant period and just float around in your body’s blood stream and very, very slowly replicate itself. It may not rear its ugly head until you go through a stressful time (i.e. Major break-up, finals at school, puberty, etc.).
Stage 2: At this point the virus it starting to make itself known. You may go to the local doc and be told you have “mono” (mononucleosis – the dreaded “kissing disease”). What doctors tend to miss is that every single case of this “kissing disease” is actually stage 2 of the Epstein Barr Virus and it is VERY contagious in this stage. You might feel sick for a few weeks, have fever, a sore throat, aches and pain and extreme fatigue. Your immune system is trying valiantly to fight off the invading virus. The virus moves into your liver and/or spleen and thrives on any toxin that also enters into these organs (mercury, arsenic, streptococcus bacteria, etc.).
Stage 3: At this point the virus has entered into your organs – spleen, liver, kidneys, bladder, etc. and set up housekeeping! This is when your medical doctor will probably run a few tests and tell you that the titers or antibodies do show a high level but it indicates a PAST infection.
DARN! This is where it gets controversial. Your medical doctor has been taught (because the lab reports it this way)… that certain titers of antibodies mean that the virus was in the PAST… that is simply NOT the case. The bottom line is that if you EVER had it in the past it is STILL IN YOUR BODY and hidden deep in your organs. If ANY of the titers come back positive… that is enough to show that it is STILL PRESENT in your body and creating havoc on your health.
One school of thought has stated that the EBV excretes toxic waste matter, or a viral by-product. It’s this viral by-product that can cause Lyme disease titers to show up positive even though you’ve never been bitten by a tick! This can lead to a bogus diagnosis for Lyme disease and send you down the wrong path totally. The poisons that EBV creates through it’s own “die-off” and “by- products” actually now have the ability to create a neurotoxin… another darn poison that can disrupt the nerve function and further confuse your immune system.
It’s in Stage 3 that you may start to feel your worse. You might start developing “mystery” symptoms that no doctor has any cure for. Your liver is now sluggish and not working like it should. Your body’s ability to produce proper amount of hydrochloric acid is lessened. Now you can’t digest food properly and you end up bloated or constipated. You start to develop food allergies and food sensitivities that you never had before. With all the neurotoxins unleashed you are probably going to be diagnosed with Lupus, or MS, or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Your endocrine system suffers and both your adrenal glands and thyroid glands just can’t work like they should. Your body and its glands start creating nodules and cysts and tumors in an effort to wall-off the virus.
Stage 4: One medical researcher has noted that the ultimate goal of the Epstein Barr Virus is to leave your thyroid and inflame your central nervous system. If you’re feeling “like a truck hit” you… it’s most certainly the EBV running amuck in your body. You may go from doctor to doctor in an effort to find out what in the world is making you feel so bad. No MRI, blood tests or x-ray will detect anything. What is most likely occurring is that your “nerves” are damaged from the virus and those damaged nerves are literally frayed… this attracts more viral attacks and more fraying. You end up with muscle pain, joint pains, painful tender points, tingling, numbness, back pain, migraines, fatigue, dizziness, eye floaters, insomnia, un-restful sleep, tinnitus, vertigo, esophageal spasms, sweating at night, arthritis, sadness, histamine issues, anxiety, hair loss, heart palpitations, etc. Bottom line: frayed and inflamed nerves!
CAUSES OF EBV
If you have the Epstein Barr Virus you contracted it through bodily fluids at some time in your life. Again… some people are carriers with no outward symptoms and some people just have no idea that they have it no matter how bad they feel. It activates and grows based on your lifestyle. If you eat acid foods, fatty foods, and processed foods, you are literally “feeding” the virus. If you are stressed it triggers the virus. This is why diet and lifestyle changes are necessary to healing this virus.
IS EBV CONTAGIOUS?
Not necessarily all the time. Certainly in Stages 1 and 2 it is highly contagious. In stage 3 and 4… the answer is “MAYBE”. The key point is in stages 3 and 4 or higher it might be contagious when it is woken up and actually launching an attack in the body… when it is lying dormant it is NOT contagious. There is no easy way to determine when it wakes up and starts launching a more direct infection in the body.
Epstein–Barr virus infection is spread via saliva, and has an incubation period of four to seven weeks. The length of time that an individual remains contagious is unclear, but the chances of passing the illness to someone else may be the highest during the first six weeks following infection. Some studies indicate that a person can spread the infection for many months, possibly up to a year and a half
SO WHAT DO YOU DO?
Ok… you’ve figured out through testing with a good alternative doctor that you have the Epstein Barr Virus. Now what do you do? How do you clear this out of your body? How long will it take? And most importantly… are YOU SICK ENOUGH to make the changes necessary?
Everyone is so unique … what works for one may not work for another… one might feel awesome following a correct protocol within 3 months and another might take 18 months to 2 years or more.
The key to fixing your situation lies in your diet. It has been found that certain fruits and veggies actually help your body to get rid of the Epstein Barr Virus! You should eat 3-4 of these every single day:
Blueberries, Celery, Asparagus, Bean sprouts, Cilantro, Spinach, Parsley, Garlic, Ginger, Raspberries, Lettuces, Apricots, Pomegranates, Kale, Sweet potatoes, Cucumbers.
Getting a food sensitivity/allergy test done is VITAL to ensure that you’re not activating your immune system in a negative way every single time you eat. Avoiding any and all foods that cause your immune system to activate will be necessary. This will only be temporary until the virus is gone. Food sensitivities are a RESULT of the virus doing its damage in the body. Once the virus is eradicated your food sensitivities and possibly allergies should be alleviated.
Going vegan/whole food plant based for at least 3 months will be called for. It may be a full lifestyle change but a 3- month regimen is vital. This is probably the hardest part of the plan for most clients. This is where the “rubber meets the road”, so to speak. You truly have to be SICK ENOUGH to follow this exactly. The rewards will be worth it. Your energy will increase, you’ll lose fat, you’ll think straight and your inflamed nerves will finally settle down.
Will you be completely healed in 3 months? No. This is going to take some work. We have had clients take up to 1 year total or longer to fully handle this virus with zero antibodies showing up. The main point is that by following these guidelines they have less and less flare-ups and feel amazingly better along the way.
What can you eat? Those food listed above are the MOST IMPORTANT ones to consume on a daily basis. Next… add in brown rice (organic), quinoa, potatoes (white, sweet, etc.), gluten free pasta’s, beans (all), peas, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Really enjoy your fruits and veggies… really none are off limits unless you personally test positive temporarily for an allergy to it. Enjoy almond, cashew or coconut milks that are free of toxins. Follow a WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED dietary guideline.
Avoid: all dairy, soy isolates, wheat/gluten, all animal proteins (eggs, fish, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, etc.), refined sugars, and all additives (MSG, artificial sweeteners, etc.)
We will also have the person do the following supplements (based on personalized testing to determine exactly what they need) to help kill off the virus for a minimum of 3 months up to 18+ months:
- Immune Boost (Cat’s Claw) or our liquid EB Remedy – a unique high potency blend of Cat’s Claw that helps to reduce EBV as well as streptococcus. (1capsule each meal or 1-5 drops each meal of the liquid).
- Our ARGENTYN 23, which is a silver hydrosol. (1 TBSP 2X DAILY)
- Based on correct testing of the client’s body we might also suggest the one or more of the following: zinc, B12, Licorice root, L-Lysine, Selenium, Ester C, Curcumin, L-Glutamine, etc.
- May suggest a temporary (up to 1 year) script from your medical doctor for an antiviral (like: Valtrex) of 500 – 1000mg to start based on your body’s tolerance and results. Antiviral medications: some people with chronic fatigue induced by the Epstein Barr Virus have reported a major improvement in symptoms after taking the antiviral drug Valacyclovir. When taken for at least six years, this medication has also shown the potential of eradicating the virus from our bodies. Some individuals with chronic fatigue, which is often thought to be triggered by Epstein Barr and other viruses, have reported remarkable improvement in energy levels on antiviral medications.
- Drink 4-16 ounces of fresh celery juice on an empty stomach daily to restore digestive health and balance out hydrochloric acid (do not blend with other fruits or veggies)
- If you have heavy metals eat 1/4-1⁄2 cup daily of fresh CILANTRO (sprinkle on salads, etc.) or take cilantro capsules (you can purchase on Amazon.com)
- Nebulize iodine (2-3 capsules of our MOTION supplement dissolved in water and put into a diffuser or nebulizer) 2X daily
4. BOOK: Medical Medium by Anthony Williams.
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