TranscriptAs you may know, we published a 4-part series about Epstein-Barr viral infection a couple of years ago. And when we published those videos, we had no idea that it would receive such a positive response. We have gotten so many questions, so many phone calls and emails — and we can see what a struggle this is for a lot of people. And here’s the thing: there’s a lot more to Epstein-Barr than you may realize. And if nothing you’ve tried is working, then I guarantee you that you’re missing something. Epstein-Barr might seem like just an infection, but there are so many layers to it. There is no magic bullet, no single antiviral, and NO — celery juice is NOT the cure. At Attune, we are in the trenches every day, treating patients in our practice, and we’re seeing some very consistent patterns with people who have reactivated Epstein-Barr. They have certain things in common. And that’s what I want to talk about today. The deeper, underlying reasons why your immune system cannot keep Epstein-Barr in check, and why none of the treatments you’ve tried have helped you yet. Now, if you haven’t already watched Dr. Biscoe’s 4-part series on Epstein- Barr, I recommend that you go back and watch those videos, because you’ll learn a lot about the basics of this virus and how we test for it in our clinic. So back to our main topic for today, and that is… why does Epstein-Barr become reactivated in the first place? Why can’t the body keep the virus in check? Remember that at least 90% of people on the planet carry the virus, but not everybody develops complications or gets a reactivation. So to answer this question we need to think about how our immune system defends us against viruses. Our major defense against viruses are T cells and natural killer cells. In my opinion, a reactivation of Epstein-Barr is opportunistic, which means it is a SYMPTOM of underlying immune suppression. Very rarely is it the single cause of your health issues. It is a PART of what is throwing your whole system out of balance. So we have to go back and ask the question: What is causing the immune suppression in the first place? Why aren’t my T-cells and other immune cells doing their job to keep things in check? Well, here’s what I can tell you: There are several causes for suppressed immune function. First, we think about nutritional deficiencies, which are very common. Also, chronic emotional stress or trauma will absolutely suppress your immune function, but the biggest factor that we see in our clinic is toxic exposures, and I want to expand on that. When I say “toxic exposures,” I’m referring to several things. One example is toxic chemicals. These are found in our air, water, soil, and even in our home. Think of pesticides and herbicides in our food, and pollution in the air. In your home, new cabinets and flooring will off-gas toxic chemicals. New furniture and memory foam mattresses will off-gas toxic chemicals, and there are dangerous chemicals in a lot of personal care and cleaning products. Heavy metals are another problem. If you have silver fillings in your teeth, you are getting exposed to mercury. If you smoke, not only does that drive inflammation by itself, but you’re also taking in a lot of cadmium, which is a toxic heavy metal. But the big elephant in the room is MOLD. If there is toxic mold in your environment, that can be the #1 thing hurting your immune system. I’m not saying that stress and other things aren’t important, but mold is such a powerful disruptor of the body, and it must be addressed. Mold is a natural part of our environment, and not every mold produces toxins that are harmful to us. BUT – in many cases, if a person’s home, office, or even car has suffered from water damage, it will allow the toxic types of mold to grow. The problem is that these mold toxins, which are called “mycotoxins” are very destructive to the body. They cause brain inflammation, they damage the gut, they cause hormone imbalance, and they really hurt the immune system. One specific type of mycotoxin that we see all the time in our patients is called Ochratoxin A. Ochratoxin A can bind to the T-helper immune cells in your body, which causes your T cells to self-destruct. And remember that T cells fight viruses! Mycophenolic acid is another mycotoxin that suppresses the immune system. In medicine, they actually use mycophenolic acid as an immunosuppressant drug for people who’ve received organ transplants. It shuts off the immune response so that the person’s body won’t reject the organ. That’s how strong of an immune suppressant mycophenolic acid is, and yet I’m seeing it in people’s bodies because of mold. And we know from scientific research that chronic exposure to toxic mold can also lead to abnormal natural killer cells. These immune cells are also important for fighting viruses like Epstein-Barr. The reason I’m telling you these things is because, at our clinic, we have yet to see a patient with a true reactivation of Epstein-Barr, who didn’t ALSO have an underlying toxic mold exposure. Either current or in the past. When we test them, we see high levels of mycotoxins show up in their urine. And we’re seeing this across the board with our EBV patients. So again, if your body is not able to keep Epstein-Barr in check, that is a sign of a suppressed — or at least very imbalanced –immune system. There’s no doubt that Epstein-Barr causes problems of its own, but what I’m telling you is that most people have something else going on. Which means you have to dig deeper to find out what’s hurting your immune system in the first place. Is there toxic mold in your home or your office? Have you been exposed to Lyme disease or other “hidden infections”? We see that a lot too. — Is there too much stress in your life? Are you eating foods that are full of toxic chemicals? What is your nutritional status? These are the types of questions we have to ask. Because if you just focus on killing the Epstein-Barr virus without building a healthy foundation, you’re going to be spinning your wheels and feeling very discouraged. Antiviral treatments won’t do much if you are also being exposed to toxins, especially mold, or if there are other disruptions to your health that need to be addressed first. This is where it can be very helpful to work with a licensed naturopathic doctor or another practitioner who is experienced with environmental medicine, because the traditional insurance model does not have the tools to help you fix this type of problem. The important thing to know is that there ARE answers. Thank you so much for spending time with me today, and as always, I hope that you found this helpful. 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______________________________________________________________________________ The naturopathic doctors (NDs) at Attune Functional Medicine proudly serve the Denver metro area including Broomfield, Boulder, Aurora, Louisville, Thornton, Lafayette, Westminster, and Erie. Telehealth is also available for long-distance care.