According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 90% of adults have the antibodies that show they have either a current or past infection of the Epstein Barr Virus, a member of the herpes virus family.
Wow, 90% of us have been infected with this virus during our lives. So should we be worried about this Epstein Barr Virus (EBV)?
Most of us heard of a condition called Mono, short for mononucleosis, or what is often referred to as, “the kissing disease” because of the way it can transmit through saliva.
But kissing is not the only way people can get the EBV. People can get the virus from using an infected person’s toothbrush, or sharing a bite of food off of an infected person’s eating utensil. Or, you can get it from drinking from an infected person’s glass, or little ones playing with toys that have been drooled upon can come into contact with the virus!
The virus can also be transmitted through blood and semen, so people can become infected during sex, a blood transfusion or even an organ transplant.
Scientists are certain that the EBV causes mono, but people can be infected with the EB virus, be a carrier only, without getting mono, however.
Epstein Barr virus has been linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), a debilitating disorder characterized by intense fatigue – fatigue that lasts longer than 6 months – that is not improved by any amount of rest. CFS symptoms are much like mono– fatigue, sore throat, joint pain, and swollen glands in the neck and there is no definitive diagnostic test for it.
EBV is known to damage your mitochondria, the powerhouses of the body where energy, ATP is produced. That’s why fatigue is the initial and major symptom you experience when you have the virus.
The challenge with the EBV is that it is not well understood by scientists and doctors and it affects people very differently. Some people suffer greatly with fatigue and other symptoms for months, while others may not even know they are infected! And many young people who are infected show no or limited symptoms which can often appear as a cold, flu or earache.
And on top of that, once you have the EBV, it may remain dormant, quiet for a while until you have major stress in your life, like a divorce, an automobile accident or the dreaded flu. EBV is an opportunistic bug, and can become active years later, making some people contagious once more.
What are the symptoms and treatment for the Epstein Barr virus?
Visible symptoms show up more as a teen or adult…such as fatigue, brain fog, mild fever, lack of appetite, sore throat, swollen glands in the neck and armpits, soreness and weakness in the muscles and possibly an enlarged spleen.
But, also from clinical experience I found that there are other symptoms linked to this virus including depression, anxiety, bursts of anger and overwhelm, low libido, restless legs, cold temperature and wind intolerance, bladder irritation, nausea, loss of appetite, narcolepsy, and even insomnia.
Once diagnosed, what can you do to get rid of it? Antibiotics don’t work for viral infections, so please don’t use them! There aren’t any medical interventions so main stream doctors usually take care of EBV patients with palliative care consisting of:
- Getting lots of rest and sleep
- Staying well hydrated
- Treating sore throat symptoms with a throat spray or lozenges
- Taking OTC painkillers to bring down fever
Majority of people will improve in 2 to 4 weeks with these recommendations, but many are not 100% completely healed. Some people feel fatigued for months afterwards, or even on and off for years.
How disconcerting to have this bug, bug you for the rest of your life! It gets in the way of your daily life, your brain health and energy level, your studies, relationships, quality of work, and of course your overall vitality!
I have treated hundreds if not thousands of children and adults with EBV, and I believe that focusing on improving one’s immune system is the key to reducing the viral load and eliminating your fatigue and other irritating symptoms for good!
There are three basic strategies to reduce your risk of infection:
#1. Limiting exposure through hygiene includes not sharing toothbrushes, utensils and the like.
#2. Limiting exposure to people with a known active infection means no kissing or sex with someone who is infected.
#3. Strengthening your immune system, which is my # 1 choice to reducing your risk of infection or viral activation. And it’s not just about popping a daily supplement; it involves many lifestyle choices on a daily basis!
Lifestyle decisions you can make:
- Nutrition: a whole foods diet rich in super antioxidants, vital nutrients that prevent oxidation and cellular damage to your mitochondria!
- Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables
- Eat more protein to build your immune booster- more organic lean meats, poultry, and eggs… if you are a vegetarian or vegan, then you will need to supplement with essential amino acids like Super 8 Aminos
- Avoid sugar, flour and dairy products, EBV loves these foods!
- Eat healthy fats for energy, such as olive, avocado and coconut oil and organic nuts and seeds.
- Hydrate your cells with purified water!
- Eliminate trans-fats found in cookies, processed foods, margarine, etc.
- Reduce fungal foods – these are foods having mold like cheese and peanuts, as well as beer and wine … remember the tell tale sign you have been exposed to fungal contaminated food, you will feel a tickle soreness in the back of your throat after eating a salad or bag of moldy nuts!
- Get more sleep 7-9 hours daily for adults… and 9-11 hours for children!
- Be activity – a proven immunity booster, but don’t over exercise, that can backfire!
- Less stress of course- try guided meditations, within 10 minutes you can feel the tension release out of your body!
- Get rid of smoking, caffeine and alcohol (all mitochondria poison!)
- Finally get more sunlight, to increase your Vitamin D levels to build a strong robust immune system. Get your levels tested, if low I recommend you take a Vitamin D3 supplement!
Lastly, Let me give you a few of my favorite Immunity boosters and natural antiviral agents!
Probiotics: to improve your overall gastrointestinal and immune health.
Olive Leaf Extract: My #1 got to natural remedy to fight viruses, including the EBV! Research has found that olive leaf extract have both anti-viral properties as well as an immunity booster. During the winter months, when immune system is at it’s weakest, I recommend taking olive leaf every other day to keep bugs at bay!
Allicillin: Garlic extract is also a highly potent antiviral agent
SilverSol Power™ : love this product! Kills the bad guys without affecting the healthy probiotics. It is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial liquid that can destroy bacteria, viruses and fungi.
EGCg – the power of green tea; an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral/antibacterial that supports one’s immune system. Love it.
Oregano Oil: another great antiviral and antioxidant.
AND LASTLY, my all time favorite, Vitamin C: which increases the production of white blood cells needed to fight off viruses and strengthen your immunity. I take 1000 mg, 3x/day myself.
Ok, my final words about the EBV– don’t be afraid of this bug, most of us have it, including myself… so know that as long as you can keep the bug in check… by improving your lifestyle, eating healthfully and taking some immune boosters, this virus won’t have a chance to affect your life– ever!