Listen to this episode here:
Or read the transcript below.
Note: This is an almost word-for-word transcript of the podcast audio and thus might contain some typos.
Happy Spurling - Regular Font
Kayla Lanier - Bold Font
Hey guys, today we're going to be talking about underlying infections. Things like mono, Epstein Barr virus, you know when you just feel really tired and you just can't pinpoint why. Well maybe we can help you out with that today.
So mom, we were talking earlier and you said that you had noticed some things coming up lately with your clients such as mono and Epstein Barr virus.
Yeah, it's really been, probably in the last year or so that I started to see some changes in CBC lab numbers, which was actually indicating that people had underlying viral issues going on.
And it isn't so much that you would do a full on monospot test or blood work for, but it's definitely showing that people are dealing with chronic viruses that have been reactivated. Truly since Covid.
Oh wow. So like would that factor in with like long covid symptoms?
Yeah, exactly. There's not a lot of research on it right now, but I think we'll see that coming out. Often people come in post covid and they say they just feel like they can't recover their energy that they're really tired. They'll have some good days and some bad days, but overall it's kind of this lingering fatigue that really isn't explained by the other labs and we're doing like, you know, ferritin levels and iron levels and vitamin levels and still finding that, well, those are actually in target range, but they still have that issue of just chronic fatigue.
And I think what COVID did because it was new to our bodies to have to deal with, the immune system had to really work hard to get it brought back down to a manageable level. And in the process, that activated viruses or allowed viruses to reactivate that people have honestly been exposed to since childhood.
And Epstein Barr virus is really something that I have seen on the increase in the office a lot in the last six months. And when I say a lot, I'm talking about looking at a CBC and seeing markers for Epstein Barr in people that are over 50 years old. And also people that are in their 20s and their 30s and so it's kind of across all age groups that it seems like it's been reactivated as a problem. So it isn't that you could definitely always send everyone for a monotest because you have to have an acute infection for that to show up. And monotests are historically inaccurate because they throw false negatives a lot.
Typically when you get a positive on a monotest, you 100 percent know you have mono at that time. But they can show negative results when you actually do have an acute viral infection. But the ones that I'm dealing with... Are actually the ones that are those low grade infections that cause this chronic issue of tiredness and even related to heart arrhythmias because mono can Epstein Barr virus particularly can cause heart palpitations if it's kicked up so it's interesting to kind of follow that out on labs and really see that people are needing to get that viral load down because it's a real problem.
Oh, wow. So heart arrhythmia, heart palpitations, which we would sometimes just chalk up to being a stressful day or too much coffee or, you know, maybe overexercising or not exercising enough, just simple things. So this being an infection that your body can deal with for a long time, which would make you think, well, you don't have to really freak out about it because You know, it's just, it's an infection.
Your body's fighting it. It's going to take care of it, which reminds me I did take my blood work a few months ago, and I was fighting mono at the time, and I'm still fighting mono. So it stays in your system.
It does and I mean Epstein Barr is a virus that we're all exposed to during childhood 99 plus percent of the population has experienced Epstein Barr virus even if you never had diagnosed mono and maybe you didn't have the classic symptoms of a sore throat or flu like symptoms or fatigue.
You may have had those things and then thought it was just a cold or the flu, but it actually probably was the Epstein Barr virus. Some people's immune systems dealt with it without any symptoms, noticeably, but you then have that nucleus of virus in your body that never goes away. Viruses are kind of unique in that we can suppress them and get them back down to a normal level in the body that the immune system doesn't have to deal with.
But you don't really ever completely get rid of a viral load. And that's where, when COVID happened and the immune system had to Literally, it's an attack that it had never seen. It was an unprecedented virus that the human body came into contact with. It really opened up the potential for these other dormant viruses to become a problem.
And a lot of that I feel like is missed. And I have a lot of clients right now actually have someone in her late fifties that was diagnosed with active mono. just a few months ago. And she's still dealing with that because the repercussions of it reactivating into an acute infection are pretty substantial with the fatigue, especially when you're older.
And honestly, that's not something we ever really saw in older people. We tended to see mono in people 18 to 26 or 30, which is where we would kind of see it like college age, kind of getting into that with the actual mono. But now it's seems to not have any kind of discrepancy about age that it once did and I think it has a lot to do with what we would call long COVID because in practice over the last couple of years, I've seen that people who have long COVID symptoms, even their hair thinning inability to ever feel like they have energy, the fatigue that kind of comes and goes. When I look at their CBCs, they actually have an underlying viral load.
And if you can get that taken care of with some antivirals, then you're actually able to help them feel a lot better. And it's not that the immune system can't deal with Epstein Barr virus. It's more that If the immune system's really busy trying to keep a virus at bay, then there's other things that kind of slip through.
So it's not that our bodies can't handle it because we are miraculously made, but it causes the immune system to work harder than it needs to. And that's some of why we have such a lack of energy and the fatigue that's kind of ongoing. Mono can actually go to our heart area so it can infiltrate the heart, and so the body basically will stop it at the pericardium, which is a sac around the heart. It's kind of the first line of defense for the heart against viruses and bacteria. And then there's the myocardium, which is another barrier. And so if you have mono and it's undiagnosed and you continue to push through like we do, and you think, Oh, I'm just lazy. I'm tired.
I've I can do this and at that stage mono will eventually stop you if it's an acute infection you just literally can't keep going like that but when you push through it can actually have some pretty severe ramifications. You have to really take care of yourself because that's heart inflammation and you have to make sure that you allow your body to rest while it's healing from the acute phase.
And mono itself in the acute virus can actually last anywhere from 2 to 6 months. And the actual symptoms may only last as far as sore throat and those kind of things, about 4 to 6 weeks. The duration and then sore throat may only be five days of that or something, but the whole actual acute phase is about two to four weeks.
But a lot of people don't get the sore throat when it reactivates. They actually just get fatigue that doesn't go away. And the heart inflammation is what can cause a heart arrhythmia. And so it's just some things to kind of look at and say, am I dealing with a low grade viral issue? And Epstein Barr is connected to 81 percent of Hashimoto's.
Which you and I were talking about autoimmune thyroid disease before we got on the podcast. And the numbers for that correlation of Epstein Barr virus, maybe you were diagnosed with full-blown mono, maybe you weren't. And the virus, the Epstein Barr virus can actually weaken the immune system so that you get autoimmune conditions.
Graves disease is like 61 percent of people who have Graves disease actually have very high Epstein Barr virus antibodies. And so it's kind of interesting when you start following Epstein Barr and all the connections that it has to other illnesses, especially autoimmune. It's pretty staggering, really, and you think, wow, how many of us are actually walking around with a really high viral load that we could actually take care of if we knew it was there?
Right. So how? Like, what are some natural ways to take care of mono?
One thing is if you go to the doctor and you are diagnosed with active mono, so mononucleosis, they're going to tell you to rest, possibly take ibuprofen for the aches and the pains if you're having those symptoms. And they don't really have anything else that they do for it.
That's because it's a virus, and so they want the body to actually try to take care of it on its own, and that's a very healthy pattern. But often, if your body has a reactivated virus, it's struggling to take care of it on its own. So coming in with an herbal that's an antiviral can make a huge difference for people, and I've seen this when our own family and also with clients that using oregano oil capsules, a very high dose. So it has to be a clinical dose to work, but taking those, you would for four weeks is an antiviral antibiotic. Oregano oil is also antifungal and antiparasitical. So it's just a great broad spectrum herbal that can really suppress that virus and get it back down to a manageable load so that you're not having monocytes developed in your bloodstream, which is actually taxing the immune system.
I typically recommend doing a higher dose of oregano oil capsules, like two a day for four weeks. And then I like to accompany that with echinacea and elderberry to boost the immune system and to help the whole system be primed so that it can deal with the virus too.
And then of course the oregano oil is going to really kill the virus itself as far as broad spectrum of the viral component and get it back down to a good level. But there's some other antivirals like olive leaf extract is really good. And sometimes we look at CBCs and get a baseline level. And if we see that that's really what's going on, then we'll do four weeks of this.
This is not meant to treat or diagnose, of course, on a podcast, but we actually will treat with that and follow up with a lab in four weeks and see what the CBC is showing then, and then actually do an olive leaf extract or one of the other antivirals, there are several, and do a second run. You don't want to take oregano oil capsules for a prolonged period of time because they are wonderful, but you don't want viruses to become resistant to, to anything that you're using, so you don't use it long term. Echinacea is like that too, that's why it's like a four week regimen. You just get in there, you shrug the immune system, suppress the viral load, and then just stop taking those, and give the body a break, so that if you ever need to do it again, There's no resistant strains there.
Elderberry is more of something you can do all the time to keep the immune system up. I like a tincture with that, so an elderberry tincture, especially in the winter months, just to keep your immune system in better shape than it's going to be with everything that it faces.
One thing that you can do as far as a take away is to get a CBC with a differential and when you ask for those labs, you want it to have the differentials and that means that it's going to have a different breakdown of your blood cell counts. And that's where you can find those hidden viral loads. Again, you have to have a certain criteria for mono to actually be diagnosed on a blood test. But you can find in the CBC if you've got these underlying viral loads, you can go and do follow up with an Epstein Barr virus profile, which is three numbers and one of them will be an antibodies that stays high for your whole life if you've had Epstein Barr. So we know that number's going to be there, but in that profile, there are two other labs that will actually indicate if you're actually in a staging of an Epstein Barr uprise. So that can tell you kind of where you are from that.
And there are much more accurate than a mono spot test in itself.
Okay, so we'll rule out whether or not you're fighting mono Like for example an 11 is where you you're truly diagnosed with mono, right?
Yeah You're actually looking at a mono site to level on your blood test That's exactly right is if it's above 11 percent That's a good time to just go and say I need to get a mono test done to see what my levels because that's Indicating an acute issue.
That's where it's most dangerous.
Yeah, and it also helps you know why you feel so terrible and that you just need rest and some antivirals and things to help. But the two numbers to watch are your neutrophils and your lymphocytes. That ratio should be 2 to 1. I'm not going to go into all of that because...
Looking into blood labs can be a longer time than we have to do that. But what you're looking for is neutrophils and lymphocytes with monocytes. And if those numbers aren't even, so let's say neutrophils and lymphocytes aren't 60/30, Then you want to look at, okay, one of those numbers is going to be off and based on that, kind of tells us if you're dealing with an underlying bacterial issue or an underlying viral issue. And the monocytes often will be below 11, which means they're not going to flag a monotest.But if they're over seven, they indicate between six to nine is going to indicate that you have a pretty high viral load and you need to get that back down.
So it's really good to look at that. The good thing about oregano oil and doing something like that a couple times a year, it's just a good cleaning house of viral things. So anyone can do that, of course, with their doctor's approval. You can... Take an oregano oil capsule and just kind of do that, almost like you would do an anti parasitical, just a good clean up, and oregano oil does cover all the bases, which is really a good thing, and there's not any downside to doing that for most people, as long as you don't have any contraindications for it.
So there's generally no side effects to oregano other than...
Yes, some people, I, I recommend taking, if you're really taking a clinical dose, you need it with a full meal because it's, it's pretty potent and it's going to open in the stomach. So you want to make sure that you have that covered and followed with a really good sized meal, not like a snack.
But of course, I can't say whether it would bother someone individually or not. Generally, oregano oil is good. kind of a go to for a much safer antiviral approach, and it's really good for respiratory issues that are lingering as well. So oregano oil can be used in a lot of different ways.
Look at those labs, you know, if you don't know what to do with them, that's a good time to say, hey, help me figure these things out and we can talk over labs and, and just let you know what these numbers mean so that you can make a decision if that's something going on.
And I have noticed that. People who have autoimmune issues, whether it is Hashimoto's, or Graves disease, or maybe fibromyalgia, or lupus, these things are often very common to see underlying viral issues like Epstein Barr because they're heavily connected to that virus. And so, getting the viral load down can actually help someone be non-symptomatic, which is pretty amazing.
And when people are dealing with autoimmune diseases that can't really be diagnosed by their doctor, You want to know what your viral loads are, because that can be the hidden thing that's making someone feel so bad. I will say, these are not numbers you're gonna see flagged on a reference range. When you look at a CBC...
You're gonna often be well within range and you could still have a viral load. It's about looking at them through a functional medicine lens and actually looking through it knowing what the optimal numbers are and then being able to say, well, what does this actually mean? And blood work is amazing for that.
A CBC can tell so many stories. And eosinophils, when they're above a certain level, can indicate if you're having a parasite load or if you're dealing with food allergies. Monocytes dealing with viral loads, especially Epstein Barr. So there's a lot in there that is kind of fun to look at and just rule out.
And I know when we looked at your labs, it's like, oh, wow, look at that. That's going on. And then inevitably I hear clients say, yeah, that's exactly right. That's about the time. And if you really listen and you think about, did you have a time where you felt like maybe you would have had mono? Which is very similar in symptoms to COVID and just say, could that have actually started something, either a COVID virus you've had in the last year or earlier, or mono that was diagnosed, and you feel horrible.
Yeah, it's worth it, guys, to just go get some blood work done. I mean, I'm glad I did. At least I know what I can do now.
Yeah, and being able to present that to someone who actually can say, well, this is what that means, and there's something we can do about it.
That's important. Don't go and try and Google anything, because it will just either scare you to death, or you'll think you're doing well, and you're really not.
And a lot of things with labs, it just takes looking at them a lot to get familiar and if you just start plugging numbers in on Google, you're probably not going to get the greatest information. Maybe you'll hit it lucky and have some, but I have just saw so much the need lately and you and I talked about this to just let people know that. Hey, mono is still around. It didn't go away when we were kids. It's just how it manifests itself is very different. And hypothyroidism has a great connection to Epstein Barr virus and how well people do with their thyroid treatment can be if you're dealing with a viral load, again, that thyroid is the canary in the coal mine. It's like something's wrong. And so you can kind of trace a lot of things. I'm not saying your bunions are because you have Epstein Barr virus. I don't want to hang the hat on that for everything, but I think we're missing key hidden things that really are not as hard to find as we think they are.
You just have to know where to look.
Right. You need a trained eye, like mom, to look at your labs.
There's a plug for making an appointment. But, if not, there's a lot you can do on your own through research. But, ask for a CBC with differential when you get your blood labs. And if you're not feeling good, and you're like, I wonder, get those labs done and then.
Make an appointment to get somebody to go over with you. That somebody would be me, preferably, but anybody that has a functional medicine lens. So cool to look at labs. I really geek out on them because in practice, looking at labs and going, Oh my gosh, you have all these symptoms and you have this and look there. You have viral load that is showing up in those blood labs and seeing it day after day after day gets me excited because we can do something about that.
You know, we have to be easier on ourselves because we went through a lot with COVID and we were introduced to a lot and we got sick a lot. And I think now's the time to just...
Assess the damage.
Yeah. And the last thing I'll say on that with COVID is one thing we know about is people having myocarditis. Yeah, that's what I mentioned with the COVID vaccine and also with COVID. And what's interesting about that is knowing that viruses can attack the myocardium of the heart. It isn't that rare to think that Epstein Barr virus as a virus can actually cause that.
And when you actually look up the research in PubMed, there's a huge connection to mono and pericardiitis and myocarditis. And we saw the same thing with COVID. But could it be that COVID actually weakened our immune system to the point that it allowed other viruses like Epstein Barr to actually permeate areas that normally wouldn't be causing myocarditis and pericarditis. So we want to hang everything on COVID. And I think we have to give it some credit for the chaos that it caused. But sometimes it's just that that's actually gone, but we're still dealing with these old viruses that got to get their stuff going on again, you know?
Right. You know, and nobody wants to live constantly exhausted. You know, you can do it for a while, but I know I'm tired of it.
Yes, exactly. So some food for thought is that symptoms are not enemies to be destroyed, but sacred messengers who encourage us to take better care of ourselves.