Epstein-Barr and the potential risk of cancer

Is this hidden infection playing havoc on your health and potentially putting you at risk of cancer?

In my office, many sick and debilitated patients come to see me because they’re desperate to feel better after conventional doctors have told them that their blood tests were ‘normal’… and that their symptoms are all in their heads.

But that’s just because those doctors haven’t found the right root cause of their patients’ illnesses.

To be honest, these doctors probably haven’t looked very hard. In my experience, a very common root cause of many medical concerns is a hidden infection.

One of the most prolific and insidious infections is the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or the ‘mono’ virus. I have found it in a large percentage of my patients who have persistent, complicated and severe medical issues.

This virus (sometimes also referred to as the ‘human herpesvirus 4’ because it is part of the herpes virus family) is so common and its potential to cause harm, disease, illness and even cancer is so great that knowing whether you are infected with it or not is absolutely pivotal in the health and well-being of everyone in the world.

However, contrary to what conventional doctors may tell you, you CAN keep this elusive and mysterious virus from erupting into a full-blown infection and wrecking your health.

And all it takes is some lifestyle changes and natural remedies to support your immune system!

Are you one of the lucky 5%?

Epstein-Barr or mononucleosis is most famously spread through kissing (hence the moniker ‘the kissing disease’), but you can also contract it through other forms of salivary transmission, such as sharing cups, toothbrushes, and utensils.

It can also be spread through other types of contact with bodily fluids, like blood and semen.

As a result, this virus is relatively omnipresent. Over 95 per cent of my patients aged 35 to 40 years old have antibodies showing exposure to EBV. Half of all children that enter my surgery appear to have been exposed by the time they’re five years old.

If they develop symptoms at all (and some don’t), they can be mistaken for something else, like the common cold as it usually shows up with symptoms like fatigue, fever and a sore throat… the only symptoms that are different than the common cold are swollen lymph nodes in the back of the neck and/or a swollen spleen.

Unfortunately, the screening tool that primary care doctors and urgent care centres use, called the ‘mono spot’ test, is unreliable at best. Although it’s quick, it has a high false negative rate.

This is where conventional and integrative medical doctors differ. Integrative medical doctors commonly order the multi-antibody panel for Epstein-Barr virus.

The test that frequently indicates an accurate positive result is called the EBV Early Antigen IgG Antibody, which is indicative of the virus actively replicating in the body. I see this antibody being present at least once every day in my medical practice. It correlates very well with people who have more fatigue than they want to have and those with severe medical issues.

This antibody is seen in active EBV infection, chronic active, and reactivated EBV.

Worse the 2nd time around

Mono can be a big nuisance in your younger years, but that’s just the beginning. The Epstein-Barr virus actually does most of its damage LATER in life, when it gets reactivated and emerges from its hiding place. This virus is very much like shingles (the reactivation of the chicken pox virus, varicella).

Most of us get chicken pox when we’re younger. For most of our adult lives, our immune systems keep that virus ‘in its place’ until stress causes it to come out of hiding. That’s when it comes to the skin in the form of shingles.

The Epstein-Barr virus is very similar and thus, this opportunistic virus comes out of hiding and can reactivate when the immune system is challenged. And yet, doctors frequently miss that it is present because there’s no clear sign of it.

Whereas shingles can announce itself with an amazingly painful rash, a reactivated Epstein-Barr virus may present itself simply by making you more tired than usual. In response, you might drink more coffee or try to get more sleep, but the fatigue lingers.

If you see a conventional doctor for this fatigue, he probably won’t order an Epstein-Barr virus antibody test from the word go. Instead, he may even mistake your symptoms for depression. The problem is that if this virus is left unchecked and allowed to stay ‘activated’, it can wear your body down even more and create some serious medical issues. For instance, Epstein-Barr has been implicated in chronic fatigue syndrome, and there is compelling evidence that it is linked to other serious diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. In fact, Epstein-Barr is linked to so many diseases and symptoms that I can’t even list them all here!

A breakthrough discovery

But the scariest part is that EBV can fester enough to cause cancer!

Yes… I said CANCER!

In fact, back in the 1960s EBV was the first virus to be linked to the root cause of any cancer.

The Epstein-Barr virus was discovered in 1965 by Anthony Epstein, due to the discovery of viral particles in tumour cells biopsied from African children with an aggressive form of cancer called Burkitt lymphoma. Since then, the Epstein-Barr virus has been shown to be the root cause of other cancers, having been implicated in about 145,000 deaths per year, throughout the world.

It is a known medical fact that Epstein-Barr virus is the root cause of at least FOUR types of cancer, including the commonly-diagnosed Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well nasopharyngeal (head and neck) and gastric (stomach) carcinomas.6

This was truly a ground-breaking finding by Epstein, because this realisation that cancer can be caused by an infection has led the medical community to discover OTHER viruses that can
cause cancer.

Since then, there have been more and more cancers being linked to viruses, such as hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV. The most common and discussed is the equally ubiquitous human papilloma virus (HPV), which is a known cause of mouth and throat cancer, as well as of cervical cancer.

What conventional medicine gets wrong

There can be no doubt that these viruses are perplexing and confusing to the conventional medical community. That’s probably why mainstream doctors don’t routinely screen patients for Epstein-Barr virus, even after a patient has been diagnosed with either form of lymphoma, gastric or nasopharyngeal cancer.

In fact, most of the data about gastric cancer or nasopharyngeal cancer has come from Asia.

Even if patients do get screened, conventional medical wisdom says that it is too late to treat the virus and thus, as you might expect, most of the time the oncologists go straight to chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.

The problem is this: Those treatments weaken the immune system, which allows this insidious virus to thrive… that’s to say IF the patient survives those damaging and invasive cancer treatments. The conventional medical world doesn’t understand how to investigate, treat, and strengthen the immune system of the human body… nor do they believe that they stop a virus like the Epstein-Barr virus in its tracks!

The main stumbling block for the conventional medical world is that ALL of the treatments that work to improve and augment the immune system as well as slow this virus down are not prescription medications.

For some reason, my colleagues in conventional medicine refuse to acknowledge that weaknesses in the immune system are the root causes of MANY diseases and symptoms – and that the treatment of the immune system is the ounce of prevention that is worth a pound of cure.

These weaknesses can range from stress at work, to poor sleep, to vitamin deficiencies, as well as gastrointestinal problems and digestive dysfunction. My favourite treatments for the insidious Epstein-Barr virus and for supporting the immune system in general are garlic, vitamin C, transfer factor, colostrum (like Enteragam, as I shared with you in the June 2016 issue of Nutrition and Healing UK) and olive leaf extract.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing

Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.

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