Last Modified on Dec 20, 2014
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is part of the herpes family of viruses and a very common infection. In many cases infection causes no symptoms, but in late youth the infection can cause infectious mononucleosis (aka mono or "the kissing disease"). Later in life, EBV infection seems related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The virus is further associated with two forms of lymphoma and with multiple sclerosis.
Most people have in fact been infected by Epstein-Barr but developed antibodies that protect them from disease development. For those that develop symptoms from Epstein-Barr later in life the exposure simply did not occur in childhood. Exposure later in life may not result in symptoms, but for some it can create life-threatening or otherwise impactful health conditions.
Home Remedies: If the Epstein-Barr virus has created Chronic Fatigue symptoms, some have tried Essiac Tea, colloidal silver, and olive leaf extract to kill off the virus. Natural anti-inflammatory treatments should also be considered for those with active infection by the Epstein-Barr virus.
I recently read that people who suffer from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia benefit remarkably from cortisol treatments (75 per cent showed significant improvement, and 62 per cent reported substantial improvement). This is because they have adrenal dysfunction, meaning their adrenal glands, which produce sex hormones and cortisol, don't work effectively. I suspect this is due to viral damage. Cortisol is that stress hormone...you get a shot of it in fight or flight situations for a quick burst of energy, decreased pain sensitivity, etc. Proper levels are important for proper glucose metabolism, regulation of blood pressure, insulin release for blood sugar maintanence, immune function and inflammatory response. Maybe this is why when you exercise it makes it worse because your cortisol levels should increase with aerobic exercise to help deal with the wear and tear. The bulk of cortisol release happens when we sleep, which would also explain why you might not wake up feeling refreshed. If you read up on cortisol, you'll see that if you don't have enough, you just don't have access to energy to burn.
I would definitely try the cortisol therapy, but perhaps there is a more natural way to stimulate the adrenal glands. Research has found that the nutrient Phosphatidylserine (PS) helps balance both high and low levels of cortisol. Usually our brains manufacture sufficient levels of PS, but if there is a deficiency of folic acid and vitamin B12, or of essential fatty acids, the brain may not be able to make sufficient PS levels. So get lots of fish, ridiculous amounts of dark green vegetables, and even rice and soy (or lecithin, I imagine). You can find PS supplements...they used to make them from cow's brains, but now they make a soy lecithin-derived one. (Phew!) At the very least, this nutrient would help with brain fog.
(My interest in chronic fatigue stems from having the Epstein Barr virus. I couldn't shake the fatigue for years and years. I did find getting fish oil and a teaspoon of chlorella everyday finally produced some results, which I would recommend to absolutely everyone!)
Replied by Susan
10/08/2009Posted by Emmy (Laguna Woods, CA) on 11/01/2008
Hi how come you don't have a section on Epstein Barr Virus? I would really like to know what people have been doing for it. Thanks!
EC: Thanks for the suggestion, Emily. New page has just been created for EPV!Replied by Joyce