Is the Epstein Barr virus what’s behind your fatigue?
Note from Dr B.
April 9, 2018
Note From Dr. B
April 23, 2018

Is the Epstein Barr virus what’s behind your fatigue?

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), otherwise known as Mononucleosis, is a common virus of the “Human Herpes” family of viruses – #4, to be precise. Let’s dive into whether EBV might be playing a role in your fatigue, and what you can do about it today.

Chronic Fatigue? Consider EBV

Contracting EBV can lead to a collection of significant symptoms, one of which includes significant fatigue. This sort of fatigue typically lasts between 2 – 12 weeks, and individuals can be contagious even weeks after symptoms resolve.

Some cases of EBV have even been linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) while other patients claim that they have never gotten back to feeling the same after experiencing an acute EBV infection.

Key Insight: EBV has both an acute phase and a chronic, dormant phase. Due to the fact that viruses remain in our bodies after initial exposure, there is a likelihood of recurrence or reactivation of symptoms at a later date.

EBV: Symptoms

Common symptoms of EBV infection range in severity and can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Swollen throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Swollen liver

Case Study: EBV

There are two cases that I have come across recently that I want to share with you. Though different at first, both share the underlying concern of significant fatigue.

The first case was a young male who visited the clinic for his annual physical. After discussing his case, I gathered that he was an overall very healthy young man with no momentous concerns outside of feeling more fatigued than normal.

After discussing with him further, this case of fatigue was affecting his school work, his involvement on his swim team, and his relationship with his friends. I suggested that we run some standard blood work, as well as a panel, in order to investigate exposure to viral infections (in particular EBV).

Bottom Line: His results came back positive for acute exposure and we immediately began treatment to address the underlying culprit of his fatigue.

Another case that is similar in diagnosis, but very different in presentation, involved a recent visit with a long-term patient who presented with concerns of:

  • Depressed mood
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of motivation

She was concerned that her previously diagnosed Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, or her possible hormonal imbalance was to blame for her symptoms.

We reviewed her diet, activity regimen, sleep/wake pattern, digestive regularity – all of which seemed to be consistent with her past. She denied knowledge of any viral infection in her past.

Ultimately, we decided to complete blood work to evaluate thyroid and hormonal values as well as a viral panel to investigate exposure to EBV. Upon receiving her labs, her thyroid values were within optimal range, her hormones were stable and we confirmed that she was positive for past exposure to EBV and a chronic infection.

Bottom Line: Certain markers in her results were also very elevated indicating that she may be having a reactivation of the virus. We discussed that these positive viral markers may be contributing to her fatigue and decided to begin treatment immediately.

EBV: Treatment

When it typically comes to 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. The typical recommendations involve:

  • Hydration
  • Rest
  • Limiting physical activity

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 supports.

The cases we discussed above began their treatments immediately, in order to appropriately address this EBV exposure. Though immediate intervention is not necessary to address and overcome this infection, it allows for the resolve of symptoms in short order.

Vitamin C to the Rescue?

One treatment that we offer often in the clinic includes high-dose vitamin C therapy. 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.

Key Insight: By mouth, we can only tolerate so much vitamin C (often not exceeding 10 grams) until we reach bowel tolerance. Therefore it is challenging to take in the amounts you need to treat EBV.

Nutrient IVs can allow for higher doses of Vitamin C to be administered along with other antiviral herbs that can serve as a powerful tool in helping overcome this infection.

Both patients we mentioned before completed a series of high-dose vitamin C IVs, along with some immune support, and found themselves feeling significantly better over the course of 4 weeks. All in all, it led to an overall improvement in energy, mood, brain clarity and overall productivity.

Bottom Line: Utilizing nutrient IV therapy was a powerful immune support that allows the body to overcome both the acute exposure or recurrence of this viral infection.

EBV & Vitamin C

I encourage any of you that have or know of someone in your life that feels chronically fatigued to consider EBV as a potential culprit. Finding the root cause of the problem is powerful knowledge, and can play an essential role in progressing towards true wellness.

The EBV IV is a specialty formulation created by your IH doctors, containing vitamin C and other important antiviral herbs and nutrients to help you overcome either an acute, chronic or reactivation of EBV. Please contact the office for more information.

Here’s to more knowledge along your journey to wellness.

Dr. B

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