Epstein Barr and Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease
Can something so simple and innocent as kissing put you at risk for Hashimoto’s? Can a past history of a very common viral infection serve as a potential trigger for your autoimmune disease? The following case report provides a discussion of some simple lab testing, a powerful therapy and some great results.
Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is a common virus of the Human Herpes family of viruses – Human Herpes Virus 4 to be precise. Contracting Epstein Barr can not only lead to a collection of significant symptoms acutely but can also serve as a trigger for autoimmune disease. One additional note, this infection does not only have an acute phase – because viruses remain in our bodies after exposure, there is a likelihood of recurrence or reactivation of both symptoms and offense to your immune system.
A case that comes to mind is of a patient, I will refer to her as Sharon. Sharon was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroid disease and through the course of working toward improving her overall symptom picture we decided to investigate exposure to viral infections, in particular Epstein Barr.
Upwards of 95% of the American population have positive antibodies to the Epstein Barr virus indicating that at some point if their life, they were exposed to the virus. This is because the viral infection is very contagious and can be spread from sharing a drinking glass, an eating utensil or even kissing – hence the nickname “the kissing disease”.
Symptoms of the Epstein Barr virus range in severity for individuals and can include:
Swollen throat and/or swollen lymph nodes
Not only can symptoms persist for 2-12 weeks, but individuals can be contagious weeks after symptoms resolve.
Sharon, my patient mentioned above, was referred to Integrative Health by her co-worker whom also had Hashimoto’s Thyroid disease and had success in determining the underlying cause of her disease. Sharon and I began work on improving her diet, gut support and stress management as well as finding an appropriate thyroid medication dose. Through these changes, we were able to optimize her functional lab values (TSH, fT3, fT4) though her antibodies remained elevated.
Sharon also had persistent concerns with significant fatigue, muscle stiffness, brain fog, lack of motivation and weight gain. Many cases of EBV have concerns with low energy, lack of drive, mental clarity and even weight gain. Some cases of EBV have even been linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Because of this, I asked Sharon if she had ever had infectious Mononucleosis or Epstein Barr in the past. She could not recall and we decided to complete lab testing to verify. Upon receipt of her lab results, we confirmed that she indeed was positive for past exposure to EBV and a chronic infection. Her levels of certain markers were also very elevated indicating that she may be having a reactivation of the virus.
Commonly with viral infections individuals are told to use the “wait and see” method because it is only with time that our bodies will rebound and recover. Hydration, rest and limiting physical activity are typical recommendations. Some antiviral medications have been used off-label conventionally to treat EBV. Other supplements including antiviral herbs, vitamin D and vitamin C can serve as oral immune support. Vitamin C itself is very effective at treating EBV –though how much you need and how much you can tolerate can serve as an obstacle with oral dosing. By mouth we can only tolerate so much Vitamin C until we reach bowel tolerance and therefore it is challenging to take in the amounts you need to treat this virus. This is where Nutrient IVs with higher doses of Vitamin C and other antiviral herbs can be a powerful tool in helping overcome this infection.
Sharon completed a series of IVs along with some immune support and found herself feeling significantly better over the course of 4 weeks. Her brain fog lifted and she was feeling much more engaged with her family. She stated that her performance at work improved to the point that her manager commented on her productivity. Her muscle stiffness resolved and she was sleeping great. She reported having the energy to “do her day without taking naps”. Last detail that we determined a few months down the road – Sharon’s Thyroperoxidase (TPO) Antibody levels had come down from the 1000’s to the 200’s, a marked improvement.
Utilizing Nutrient IV therapy was a powerful immune support that allowed for Sharon’s body to overcome the recent recurrence of this viral infection and calm her autoimmune response. I encourage any of you that have or know of someone in your life that has an autoimmune disease or feels chronically fatigued, foggy, stiff and stuck to consider this virus as a potential culprit. This is a rock that is not often looked under and with this knowledge, you can transform your life.
To address this major factor in autoimmunity and overall health and wellness, the IH Team has recently revealed a new Nutrient IV to our menu.
The EBV IV is a specialty formulation created by your IH Docs containing Vitamin C and other antiviral herbs and nutrients to help you overcome either an acute, chronic or reactivation of Epstein Barr.
Here’s to knowledge along your journey to wellness,