If you had Mono or Strep throat when you were a child or teen, or if you often feel low in energy with no explanation, then this post is especially for you.
Chronic Lyme Disease, Epstein Barr Virus, Mycotoxins and Biotoxins (which can be created by mold or by pathogens in the body) are rapidly becoming more and more intertwined, with many of my patients suffering greatly from all three. And most of them don’t even know they have these viruses or toxins, they just know they feel terrible all the time, fatigued no matter what they do, and are getting sick more frequently.
Where does mold fit into the picture? Well, exposure to mold and its metabolites, known as mycotoxins, are of particular concern not only due to their adverse health outcomes, but also because they significantly exacerbate and complicate other infections or viruses. It can be really frustrating trying to sort out what is causing what, and that’s why I wanted to write this post. To give you a better understanding of what is going on in your body and what you can do to heal them all, naturally.
First we need to sort through which symptoms are the ones are having the greatest impact on your health, and what the secondary effects on your body are, which we can determine through specialty lab testing.
If you’re reading this, you may have been through the gamut of doctors and may even have a diagnosis that reflects one of the many things that Lyme, EBV or Mycotoxins can mimic, but still haven’t discovered the root cause. And that’s we will discover together. Below is an example of what this process will look like:
We want to determine any nutritional imbalances that we need to correct. These labs are helpful to get a baseline and to show how to fine-tune your treatment, but they’re also important because they help us to know how your body is coping with everything that’s going on for you:
- Complete blood count
- Comprehensive metabolic panel
- Lipid panel
- B12 (MMA) & folate
- Vitamin D
- Hemoglobin A1C
- Thyroid (TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3, anti-TPO, anti-thyroglobulin)
- Reproductive hormones – estrogen, progesterone, testosterone (free and total)
- Cortisol (through a salivary panel with morning, noon, afternoon and evening collections to assess the circadian rhythm)
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
To get a little more in depth on opportunistic infections and other underlying viruses, I like to also run IgG and IgM antibodies to Chlamydia pneumonia, Mycoplasma pneumonia, Epstein-Barr virus, Cytomegalovirus, HHV-6, and Candida.
Mycotoxin illness is clearly a toxic issue. Mold spores give off toxins that are inhaled into the body and settle there. If you are one of the unlucky 25% that can’t detoxify mold properly, those toxins can stay for years, until something is done to get them out. Lyme has a strong toxic element too – any antimicrobial therapy that focuses on killing the bugs, causes them to release toxins as well, which then have to be eliminated from the body. This is what Lyme patients can identify as a Herxheimer reaction. Therefore, addressing detoxification in the body through methylation support, liver/kidney support, blood cleansers, opening up pathways of elimination (skin, lungs, kidneys, bowels) is vital. I tend to use a combination of herbal tinctures and glutathione for detoxification, as well as encouraging patients to do home-based modalities such as Epsom salts baths, infrared saunas, EDTA suppositories and coffee enemas.
Massive inflammation in the body and neuro-inflammation occur in Lyme, EBV & Mycotoxins illness. Therefore, the common thread of working to support healthy immune function while dampening inflammation in the body is essential!
Your diet can play a big role in inflammation, so avoiding gluten, dairy and other inflammatory foods, including saturated fats, and eating lean proteins (if it’s ideal for your genetic diet), healthy fats, and lots of vegetables are important. There are many herbs that help calm the inflammatory response, such as curcumin, white willow, and green tea.
It’s also important to strengthen a health immune response while minimizing the possibility of an autoimmune situation being triggered. Building a healthy immune response and enhance signaling and communication within the immune system is a big part of the healing picture!
If I see any indicators of autoimmunity (such as in Hashimotos or Rheumatoid Arthritis), I may suggest low dose naltrexone for its ability to help balance the immune response through upregulation of enkephalins (immune-mediating chemicals). Because of its ability to boost endorphins it can be helpful for pain, mood balance, sleep and energy, which are things that the majority of my patients struggle with.
I would estimate that 80% of my patients struggling with viruses and mycotoxins have fairly significant digestive issues. Both conditions can create GI symptoms. If your gut isn’t functioning well, it can hamper treatment overall. Remember, too, that the gastrointestinal tract has its own nervous system and its own immune system so it’s a vital system to have functioning well.
Anything that causes imbalance and inflammation in the gut can lead to a condition called “leaky gut”, where the junctions between the cells in the small intestine open up and allow larger-than-normal food particles into the bloodstream. The immune system reacts to these as a threat and will mount an immune response, leading to… you guessed it…inflammation. The chemicals of inflammation can travel through the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier, causing even more issues in the central nervous system.
Treating the gut is also important to be able to tolerate various treatments for Lyme, EBV, Hashimotos and Mycotoxins, so we can’t forget about the last part of treating the gut which is addressing any Candida overgrowth. Candida overgrowth is simply another way your body lets us know that your immunity is compromised.
Oxidative stress, aka free radical damage, occurs in all of us, in each and every cell, but toxins and infections are going to accelerate it. High levels of oxidative stress have been linked to a myriad of chronic health conditions. The mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells that produce ATP, or energy. Mitochondrial dysfunction also plays a big role in chronic health conditions. We can support mitochondrial repair with agents such as phosphatidylcholine, Coq10, ALA, acetyl-L-carnitine, and glutathione. Or create an IV to reduce the oxidative stress that your body is experiencing.