What is Epstein Barr and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ?
Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) also called the Human Herpes Virus 4 — is a variant of the mononucleosis virus, which 95 percent of the US population is exposed to. Any of the herpes family viruses might be dormant for a long time. The doctor can diagnose the presence of Epstein Bar with a blood test.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a very debilitating. The virus enters the lymph nodes and attacks the lymphocytes. It takes several weeks after exposure to experience severe symptoms. This debilitating disorder causes unexplainable tiredness or lack of energy.
Symptoms can vary widely and the extent of the exhaustion may change from individual to individual. Most symptoms fall into three categories: neurological, physical and emotional. Most common in this multi-syndrome disorder (and they vary considerably over time), are fatigue, impairment in concentration and short-term memory, musculoskeletal pain and weakness and sleep health-issues. Other symptoms (which occur as well with EBV) include sore throat, mild fever, chills, headache, joint pain, digestive troubles, depression, visual disturbances, forgetfulness, confusion and anxiety.
What Is the Cause?
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If a dormant virus becomes active it is mostly because the infected person has an impaired immune system. The EBV sufferer might have burned the candle from both ends and is overworked and overstressed. If the EBV goes on longer than four to six months, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be present.
CFS is a very complex disorder of the immune system and the brain. Some lab findings have shown that CFS sufferers have overactive or oversensitive immune systems with histories of allergies. No one cause has been pinpointed but it is believed that multiple stressors, a traumatic emotional event, stress and/or depressive episodes may contribute to the disorder. Additionally, nutritional deficiencies and environmental exposures (chemical toxicity) may be a factor in CFS development as they are in EBV and with other viral infections. Some researchers feel that there is a connection between chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
H. Pylori Connection?
A study from 2011 in the Brazilian Journal of Infectious Disease found that there was a trend for higher Epstein-Bar virus DNA load in H. pylori positive individuals suggesting a role of H. pylori modulating the conversation of EBV to it’s lytic phase.
There is no simple test to see if you have CFS. Proper diagnosis depends on a comprehensive evaluation by qualified health professionals. Many other conditions can mimic CFS and vice versa.
Diet and Lifestyle
Nutritional and Alternative healing approach to CFS and EBV
A short summary of a long list would be the following steps:
1. Your body believes every word you say
Mental focus on energy and positive thoughts should be the first step. Only allow positive thoughts to feed your mind. Believe that you have lots of energy; your cells will listen to you. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is sometimes prescribed to help with CFS and develop behaviors and strategies to help alleviate symptoms.
It is very important to have a clean, organic diet that helps your intestinal flora thrive which in turn increases nutrient absorption and immunity. If Candida is suspected, then this could be a contributing factor to fatigue. Focus on lots of fresh vegetables, limit fruit to 1 piece per day, consume fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut, yogurt and kefir, choose wild fish, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, tempeh, nuts, seeds, brown rice, and eliminate stimulants such as alcohol, coffee, sugar, processed foods and all refined carbohydrates. Eat by the clock and focus on keeping your blood sugar level by having a balanced meal or snack every 3-4 hours.
3. Nutritional supplements
It is important to support bodily functions such as the immune system, digestion, liver and brain, and to enhance one’s energy and ability to cope with stress, anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Supplementation has to be introduced very gradually and after consulting with your nutritionist.
4. Create a toxin-free home
Change over to chemical-free household and personal care products to avoid environmental triggering factors.
5. Proper breathing, posture and bodywork
Breathe deeply and hold your body in a posture that is reflective of high energy. Learn strength and conditioning exercises.
It is essential to pace yourself and never to overdo it. Go easy at first and slowly you will be able to do more. Yoga can be very beneficial.
A detailed review of literature suggests a number of nutritional deficiencies due to the illness process of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. These include: vitamin C, B-complex, magnesium, sodium, zinc, L-tryptophan, L-carnitine, CoQ10, and essential fatty acids. These deficiencies contribute to clinical manifestations of the disorder, as well as the healing process.
Supplementation has to be introduced very gradually and the order has to be determined according to the specific needs of the CFS and EBV sufferer. Here is the program we have used with great success.
Vitamin A is one of the most effective ways to keep the virus under control. Some literature shows that Epstein barr often occurs as a prerequisite to multiple sclerosis (MS). There is strong correlation to low vitamin D levels and cases of MS, and chronically low levels of vitamin D and immunity could explain this connection. Get your levels tested for dosage. They should be between 35 and 50 ng/ml. Cod liver oil must be raw, tested for heavy metals, and not refined with added synthetic vitamin A.
To assist the liver to detoxify.
Crucial for proper energy levels, stress reduction and brain function.
CFS patients show immune dysfunction, including low NK cell activity and the high viral count of Epstein Barr. Coriolus produced a 35% increase in NK cell activity in patients with CFS at a dose of 1.5-3g/day.
1. Dr. Annemarie Ballin. (Personal Communication, April 2011).
2. Holmoy, T. Vitamin D status modulates the immune response to Epstein Barr virus: Synergistic effect of risk factors in multiple sclerosis. Med Hypotheses.2008;70(1):66-9. Epub 2007 Jun 14.
3. Warbach, Melvyn R. MD. Nutritional Strategies for Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Altern Med Rev 2000;5(2):93-108)