Viruses contracted years ago can shift our health status long after we’ve recovered, especially if the viruses have been reactivated either through environmental toxins, other pathogens, foods or stress.
I recently sat down with Bridgit Danner of the Women’s Wellness Collaborative Radio to discuss the interplay between the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and chronic illness and how our dietary choices and stress handling mechanisms affect this dynamic. We discussed how the Wildatarian diet can support our health, but it might not be the only thing we need to change.
Most of you know EBV as the primary cause of infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever), more commonly known as MONO, the “kissing disease”. The EBV virus came onto my radar through a young client who had been through years of failed medical treatments for a series of unrelated symptoms. We traced her imbalances to EBV, which can lodge itself in various tissues in the body — hiding until a trigger such as stress or another illness reactivates it. Focusing on EBV led me to look at other viruses — such as Cytomegalovirus and Varicella and to tease out the connections between viral activation and many conditions I was seeing in my practice. Researchers in my practice were able to find multiple studies linking viruses with conditions such as autoimmune thyroid disease, Type I Diabetes, MS and Fibromyalgia. Bridgit and I also discussed research explaining that viruses can thrive because of the unhealthy diet most of us are consuming — a diet which includes amyloids, which are misfolded proteins often found in commercially raised beef and chicken.
Most of us are exposed to EBV and other common viruses by the time we reach adulthood. And even though we may not exhibit active viral infections (such as the ones which can be diagnosed by a blood test in a doctor’s office), these viruses can infiltrate various tissues in our body, waiting to strike at an opportune time. A trigger for reactivation can come from a variety of things such as an illness, trauma, a major dietary change and, most importantly, from a prolonged reaction to stress — something that is so prevalent in today’s American lifestyle. Fortunately, stress is one element that most of us can learn to manage with lifestyle practices such as meditation, mindfulness, gratitude journaling, exercise and deep breathing. The best diet and the greatest supplements may not help unless stress is also addressed.
No one diet works for everyone, and no one supplement helps everyone. Work on becoming your own body’s best detective — listen to warning signs, watch for symptoms, make connections and work with open-minded practitioners willing to go as long as it takes to peel all the layers off and uncover the root causes which prevent us from living our best lives.