This is something I am super passionate about as this ended up being the root cause of all my issues! There has been more and more information coming out about the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). Similarly to things like SIBO and Hashimotos, it is an invisible illness that many of us deal with.
I didn’t even know what EBV was until I began seeing my holistic practitioner. She had me do a blood test due to my history of having mono aka “the kissing disease”. It turns out that I had reactivated EBV along with other co-infections.
However, I want this to be a resource for you to utilize when seeing your practitioner. I am not a medical professional, I just want to share this for others who may have felt the way I did!
What is the Epstein-Barr Virus?
EBV is apart of the Herpes family. It is known as human herpesvirus 4, in which it is a very common virus. It is so common that 95% of the population has it!
What are the 4 stages of Epstein-Barr Virus?
There 4 different stages of EBV. This can influence the symptoms, how it impacts your body and your blood test results.
Stage 1: This is when you first get it and the virus is just floating around in your bloodstream. It is dormant at this time as it is multiplying. It won’t become active until it has the best environment too.
Stage 2: This is when it becomes mono as it is able to unleash the infection. This is when it is the most contagious and when you experience the most symptoms.
Stage 3: This is when the virus finds a place to nest in your body. Some of the common places are the spleen, liver, and thyroid. When you do a blood test, this is when the antibodies appear. This is when other symptoms/co-infections can occur.
Stage 4: This is when the EBV takes over your central nervous system. By taking over those other organs, it is depleting our immune system. If the organs cannot function it is easier for it to multiple. This is when chronic inflammation becomes a major concern.
Is there more than one kind of EBV?
Yes, actually. This was something I had no idea about and was super exciting to dig into! There are 6 groups of EPV. Each group has a different effect on the body from how long it is dormant to symptoms.
Group 1: This form of the virus takes anywhere from years to decades to transition from one stage to another. It is the oldest and mildest form. People don’t usually start experiencing symptoms until their 70s or 80s.
Group 2: This form moves faster from stage to stage. People in their 50s and 60s begin to experience symptoms. It usually stays in the thyroid and not all cells will go after inflamed nerves.
Group 3: EBV will begin to move faster from stage to stage, in which people in their 40s begin to feel symptoms. This is when people can experience nerve issues due to the virus going into the CNS. Symptoms usually are joint pain, fatigue, heart palpitations, tinnitus, and/or vertigo.
Group 4: Problems begin to arise in people who are in their 30s. It will be more aggressive towards the nerves causing conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and so on. Some have even experienced PTSD due to the reaction the virus has on the nervous system.
Group 5: This is the stage I was in for quite some time! You begin to experience symptoms in your 20s. This is a time when the virus can feed off emotions like stress, worry, and fear. Many of the symptoms are often overlooked due to being “young and healthy”. Be aware of misdiagnosis like Lyme disease!
Group 6: This has been deemed the worst form of EBV. This is because it becomes active in children. This would be individuals younger than 18-years-old. Symptoms can become severe due to the suppressed immune system. Common symptoms are rashes, weakness in limbs, and even nerve pain.
What are the symptoms of EBV?
A lot of the time it can be misdiagnosed as the common cold or flu. However, if you are experiencing symptoms for weeks to months it isn’t a cold/flu.
The common symptoms are:
- Lack of Appetite
- Sore Throat
- Swollen Glands
- Weakness and Sore Muscles
- Liver and/or Spleen Swelling
As you can see the symptoms are very similar to mono! Once you become infected, it takes about 4-6 weeks to even experience symptoms. Source: Here
How is EBV Transmitted?
It is often transferred via some type of bodily fluid. The most common are saliva, blood, and even semen.
A lot of people contract from making out, kissing, sharing a drink, and so on. It is a very contagious virus.
The reason it is so contagious is because it multiplies via our white blood cells especially the B cells.
How do I get tested for it?
The only way to get tested for Epstein Barr Virus is through a blood test. However, when testing for mono which is also a blood test.
But, some doctors will give a diagnosis based solely on a physical exam and medical history. Always, ask for the blood test for 100% confirmation!
The blood tests look for antibodies specifically for EBV. There are 3 antibodies they look for:
- VCA IgG: This tells the doctor that you contracted it recently or in the past.
- VCA IgM: This tells the doctor that the antibody is present without the EBV nuclear antigen or EBNA. In which it is currently active or recently was.
EBNA pretty much states that you contracted the virus and it takes about 6-8 weeks for it to develop and remain in your body. Source: Here
Can EBV cause other health concerns?
Unfortunately yes, and recent research has shown it’s the connection to several other conditions.
This can include:
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
- Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Celiac Disease
- Type 1 Diabetes
This doesn’t mean you will contract all or any of these. A lot of the time, Epstein Barr Virus remains doormat, which means it is co-existing with you.
These co-infections often occur in stages 3 and 4 due to it nesting in your liver, spleen, or thyroid.
It becomes a problem when it becomes active as it hijacks your immune system. Without any form of treatment to manage it, that allows it to grow and cause more issues. Source: Here
What is the Treatment?
Unfortunately, once you have it you have it. This is a lifelong virus, however, you can make it go dormant. This is what you want as it will reduce/eliminate your symptoms.
In Western Medicine, they usually just want you to rest, get a lot of fluid, and so on like you would with the flu. This is great manging your symptoms, but it won’t put it into remission.
These are things I have done/what other people have used to eliminate their EBV symptoms.
Supplements: Monolaurin (Lauricidin is the purest form), Wellness Trans-Factor (Immune Support), Echinacea, Lemon Balm, Zinc, Silver Hydrosol, Turmeric, and Elderberry syrup.
You don’t have to use all of these, but I 100% recommend the Lauricidin, a multi-vitamin, and a probiotic. What else is important is to eliminate/managing your other co-infections.
Food Choices: Stick to a whole foods-based diet. This includes organic vegetables, organic fruits, grass-fed/grass-finished beef, free-range eggs, raw/fermented dairy (if tolerated), antibiotic-free pork and poultry, loads of healthy fats, and you get the picture.
Some things to include in your diet is:
- Berries (a delicious way to eat them is in some overnight cauli-oats!)
- Fresh Herbs (i.e. Cilantro, Parsley)
- Coconut Oil (especially to cook with)
- Sweet Potatoes (my sweet potato hash is a delicious recipe to make!)
These are all foods that can help flush out toxins, fight infections, and boost the immune system.
Lifestyle: You will want to get a minimum of 8-hours of sleep or more. This is the time your body is able to rebuild and heal from the infection. Tuning down the exercise can take the stress off of your body as well. Stick to things like walking, yoga, body-weight movements, and so on. This is if you can tolerate them! Source: Here
I truly hope this helps you to figure out what is causing all of your symptoms. EBV is very common and is worth talking to your doctor about.
Thank youu so much for reading and I would love for you to share this with others!