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Is Reactivated Epstein-Barr the Hidden Virus Making You Feel Bad?


Reviewed by Dr. Wally Taylor of Forum Health Austin

Did you know?

9 out of 10 adults carry antibodies for the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) – a whopping 95% of the population. EBV infections are very common and most likely you’ve already contracted the virus without even knowing it.


And while EBV usually remains dormant in the body, it can be reactivated causing chronic illnesses, autoimmune diseases and a host of symptoms.

What is EBV?

Epstein-Barr virus is a member of the herpes virus family and is typically contracted in early childhood or during the teenage years as mononucleosis, or mono – the infection that causes extreme fatigue, fever, inflamed throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and enlarged spleen.


And unlike other viruses eliminated by the immune system, EBV stays in the body and “hides out” in the B cells (a type of white blood cell). The virus remains largely dormant unless triggered and a reactivation of the virus can occur.

How does it become reactivated and what are the symptoms?

Reactivated Epstein-Barr virus occurs when the virus that has been dormant in the body becomes active again. This can happen due to:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Unmanaged physical and emotional chronic stress
  • Poor nutrition
  • An infection
  • Other factors that disrupt the body’s natural balance.

When reactivated, symptoms may appear such as:

  • Sore throat/tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Brain fog
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Rash

In some cases, it can also lead to more serious conditions such as:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Psoriasis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Can it be treated and how?

Functional and integrative medicine is a 360-approach to healthcare that focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of illness. When it comes to reactivated Epstein-Barr virus, Forum Health providers look at the whole person, examining your lifestyle, diet, environment, and genetics, to determine the underlying factors that may be contributing to the reactivation of the virus.

Here are some of the key components of a functional medicine approach to treating reactivated Epstein-Barr virus:

  1. Immune System Support: Since reactivated Epstein-Barr virus is often linked to a weakened immune system, we focus on supporting the immune system through diet, lifestyle changes, and targeted supplements. This may include eating a nutrient-rich diet, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and taking immune-boosting supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc.

  2. Decreasing Inflammation and Toxicity: Chronic inflammation is a common factor in many chronic illnesses, including reactivated Epstein-Barr virus. Our providers work to identify and address the sources of inflammation in the body, such as poor diet, environmental toxins, and chronic stress. This may involve making dietary changes, reducing exposure to toxins, and using targeted supplements to reduce inflammation.

  1. Gut Health Optimization: The gut plays a crucial role in immune function, and a healthy gut is essential for preventing reactivated Epstein-Barr virus. Our providers work to optimize gut health and resolve any GI dysfunction, such as Leaky Gut Syndrome, through dietary changes, probiotics, detoxes, supplements, and other interventions that support a healthy microbiome.

  1. Stress Reduction: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and contribute to the reactivation of Epstein-Barr virus. Our providers work with patients to identify sources of stress and develop strategies for managing stress, such as mindfulness practices, exercise, and other stress-reducing techniques.


  1. Addressing nutritional deficiencies – Our providers will test for any nutritional deficiencies and work to correct them through diet modification, optimizing gut health and nutraceutical supplements.


  1. Healing other infections – Our providers check for and treat any coexisting infections to decrease the load placed on the immune system.


  1. SOT Therapy – This effective and revolutionary therapy directly attacks the virus by preventing EBV from replicating in the body.

  2. Use of appropriate anti-viral medications and supplements – we now have a number of different agents that have been demonstrated to lower the absolute virus load helping to reverse symptoms. 

Reactivated Epstein-Barr virus can be a challenging condition to diagnose and treat, but a functional medicine approach can offer hope for those struggling with this condition. By addressing the root causes of the reactivation of the virus, our providers can help patients restore balance to their bodies and achieve optimal health and wellness.

Interested in getting help?

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