It may be an unsettling thought, but 95 percent of Americans have a sneaky virus that in best cases lies dormant and doesn’t cause much of a problem…but in others, well, it’s quite a different story and can spell disease and death.
I’m talking about Epstein-Barr virus.
Here’s what you need to know about this sly virus that may be affecting you more than you realize.
Epstein-Barr—a herpes family member
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was first discovered in 1964 when Sir Michael Anthony Epstein and Ms. Yvonne Barr found it in a lymphoma cell line.
EBV is part of the herpesvirus family—specifically, human herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4). It is the virus that causes mononucleosis (aka “mono”).
Here are the other herpes family members and the issues they can cause:
- Herpes simplex type I (HSV-1)— oral herpes
- Herpes simplex type II (HSV-2)—genital herpes
- Varicella-zoster virus (HHV-3)—chickenpox and shingles
- Cytomegalovirus (HHV-5)—may cause disease in almost every organ of the body including pneumonia, hepatitis, encephalitis, colitis, uveitis, retinitis and neuropathy
- Herpesvirus type 6 (HHV-6)—typically causes roseola (a very common illness marked by a high fever and a rash) in children
- Herpesvirus type 7 (HHV-7)—may also cause roseola
- Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (HHV-8)—associated with cancers and lymphoma; rates are low in the US
You talking to me?
As I mentioned above, Epstein-Barr is quite prevalent, affecting up to 95 percent of people in most developed countries before the age of 20.
It can be sneaky, because while it can cause symptoms like extreme fatigue, weakness and fever, most people who have it don’t even know it because it is lying dormant. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t spread it to others.
Plus EBV is closely associated with autoimmune diseases including:
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)--including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Celiac disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
Don’t poke the bear
Most people are not even aware they have EBV and are just symptom-free carriers. And when it does “make an appearance” as mono, once you recover after a few weeks the EBV “bear” typically goes back into hibernation.
Unless something pokes it into action.
Reactivation of EBV may be seen in people going through major, stressful life changes such as the death of a loved one, a relocation, job loss or menopause. It can also happen during other times of chronic stress or emotional upset.
When EBV is triggered back into action, symptoms can include persistent fatigue, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and flu-like symptoms. It can even cause depression.
To diagnose EBV, your doctor can do an Epstein-Barr Virus Panel to include: Viral capsid antigen (VCA)-IgM, VCA-IgG, D early antigen (EA-D) and Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA).
Engage the power of your immune system!
The typical treatments for EBV (steroids and anti-viral medications) are not really “treatments” at all because they just aim for symptomatic relief, while coming with a long list of side effects to boot.
Your most reliable protection against Epstein-Barr virus is to rely on what Nature gave you—a strong functioning immune system!
Here are ways you can engage the power of your immune system to help prevent contracting EBV, or to help keep it at bay if you’ve got it:
Eat immune-supportive foods
Have a healthy diet including plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, carrots and sweet potatoes, dark blue and black berries, nuts and seeds and good quality proteins such as organic chicken, beef and eggs.
At the same time, avoid refined carbs and sugars, as these feed harmful yeasts and microbes in your gut which in turn can weaken your immune system functioning.
Supplement with the top immune-supportive superstars
When it comes to immune support, nothing beats vitamin D and probiotics!
Vitamin D helps to tame inflammatory immune actions such as those seen with autoimmune disease. Since it’s a very common deficiency, daily supplementation with a top-notch product like Optimum DK Formula with FruiteX-B® can help ensure your body maintains health supportive levels of this crucial nutrient.
And a multi-strain, full-spectrum probiotic formula like Super Shield is your gold in terms of immune support! Seventy percent of your immune system resides in your beneficial gut bacteria, so having a healthy population of friendly flora is vital to a healthy immune system!
Many acupuncturists can help your body achieve a “detox” and get on the road to healing from the effects of Epstein-Barr. If you have known EBV, I highly suggest you seek out a skilled acupuncturist in your area.
There is a reason that acupuncture has been around for centuries, and its benefits to your body are almost limitless.
Get enough sleep
Lacking sleep can literally obliterate your immune system function. Studies have shown that just ONE poor night’s sleep can reduce immune functioning by up to 30 percent!
So listen up, you Night Owls—it’s time to start hitting the hay earlier. Late night reruns, Netflix and Facebook will have to survive into the wee hours without you.
Prevent the spread of infection
Here are some simple yet effective ways to help prevent the spread of EBV:
- Do not kiss or have intercourse with someone who you know is infected for at least 4 weeks.
- Avoid sharing items that can cause you to come into contact with saliva from someone who is infected, such as eating utensils, toothbrush or toothpaste, lipstick or lip balm, or beverages.
- Always wash your hands after using public restrooms.
- Bathe or shower after working out at a gym or fitness facility.
See how a strong functioning immune system and smart prevention measures can help your fight against EBV, as well as support total optimal health!
To your health,