Most people want a step-by-step list of instructions for optimal health. Almost 100% of my clients will say, "tell me exactly what to do and I will do it." Easier said than done, bien sur, but I surely can provide a bare bones framework for you.
Step 1: Cut down on coffee, alcohol, sugar, and processed foods.
Step 2: Implement a whole foods, healing, anti-inflammatory diet.
Step 3: Cut down on chronic cardio, take more naps, implement stress relief.
Step 4: Begin taking a targeted supplement protocol for symptomatic relief.
Step 5: Why the heck do I have to do a Step 5? Why do I still feel like crap?
This is the swan song of many an exhausted, frustrated woman. It is maddening to have implemented dietary and lifestyle changes with the expectation that you will feel much better than you are currently feeling, or have felt for years. When that relief does not come, it is tempting to think you are doing something wrong. Or worse, everyone else is doing something right. Ugh.
I'll take this moment to remind you- because we all need reminding- that this world is slowly decaying and we are all marching toward death. (Slow clap). All we are promised is suffering: not joy, not prosperity, not health. Any gift given to us by our gracious God should be humbly received. Because no matter what circumstances may lead you to believe, He truly works all for our good and His glory.
Back to the original point. Womens is at the end of their rope. Still spent, still weepy, still achy, still libido-less, still hormonal. This functional medicine crap is a crock. Why does it work for so many others?
Sub: Raw Veganism.
Sub: Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Sub: Thyroid Medication
To have attempted all of these healing modalities and to have not experienced relief from symptoms is definitely part of the recipe for crazy-makin. And I say that lovingly, for I wear these shoes too.
So we go deeper. And we look farther upstream.
What is causing the irritability and tiredness? It's PMS. Everyone has that.
What is causing the PMS or infertility? High levels of estrogen. Duh.
What actually causes higher levels of estrogen? More fatty tissue producing more estrone. Everyone knows that.
What actually causes the weight gain? Well, elevated cortisol, of course.
What actually causes the elevated cortisol? Stressed adrenals, natch.
What causes the stressed adrenals? A burrowed-deep Epstein Barr infection?
Now we are getting somewhere.
If it is a virus causing metabolic chaos, we need to attack the source. And support the body.
While starving the virus of foods that it loves, like sugar, heavy metals, pesticides, and adulterated fats is a wonderful first step, you also should be adding in supplements that will target the virus and not allow it to lyse (replicate).
1) St. John's Wort.
First, a caution: if you are on an anti-depressant, you must talk to your MD before using St. John's wort. The two medications are contra-indicated. St. John's Wort is a natural anti-depressant and will mess with your SSRIs and therefore, your brain chemistry.
If you are not on an anti-depressant, you should be able to safely add St. John's Wort in daily to begin to kill the virus. The herb has clinically demonstrated antiviral powers.
As a bonus, it is also effective at helping with symptoms of PMS and menopause.
Recommended dose: 300 mg, 3x/ day. With meals.
Another word of caution: do not stop taking St. John's Wort suddenly. Taper down your dose, 300 mg at a time every 5 days.
I like words. Since I have been studying virology, I have learned that the EBV and many other viruses replicate themselves by lysing, or releasing proteins from the infected host cell in order to find new host cells.
Lysine inhibits this process. Lysis means "a loosening". The infected cell loosens its nastiness into the body to infect more of the body. Gross.
That's not really relevant. Just cool, I thought.
Lysine is an essential (the body cannot product it) amino acid that is normally found in animal products. It is necessary for building muscle and tissue and bone.
I love you, dear vegans. But you don't get enough lysine. Eat a bit of red meat. Grass fed, sustainable, and sooo good for keeping your muscle and bones. Not a ton, just once per day. Your 50 year old self will thank me. Because you will have all of your teeth.
Lysine is needed to fight off viruses. My Beau gets cold sores and has fought them off since he was a wee babe. He has been taking lysine ever since I have known him, proving once again that he is at the forefront of every "new" nutrition and health hack I have ever learned about. Cold sores are a herpes infection. EBV is a herpes infection. Lysine fights herpes. It does this by opposing arginine, another amino acid that is found in meat sources too (turkey, pork, chicken), as well as peanuts and soy. Arginine is a player in the perpetuation of the EBV virus in the body. One of the takeaways here is that you probably need more fruits and vegetables in your diet. And lysine in supplement form.
Recommended dose: 500 mg, 3x/ day. In between meals.
3) Vitamin C.
Man, I love vitamin C. If you are reading this, you are deficient in C. I can pretty much guarantee it. Remember, humans make no Vitamin C. And stress depletes C. And infection depletes C. And if you are trying the keto or carnivore diet on a C deficiency, you should perhaps do a little more research on long term health implications.
As I enter grad school this month, I will be focusing on virology, the impact of viruses on hormones, and orthomolecular medicine. I am excited to learn more about these subjects so I can implement my knowledge clinically and help more women. Because it sucks to be sick and feel crazy.
Vitamin C is the granddaddy of orthomolecular medicine. Use it, at high doses, when you have an infection.
If you are dealing with a recurrent EBV infection, use Vitamin C every day, and to bowel tolerance. I recommend slowly sipping your C over the course of 4 hours after you get home from work. Because, bowel tolerance.
Recommended dose: Bowel tolerance. It could get crazy up in here. Vitamin C therapy has been studied in doses up to 50-200+ grams per day for infection.
That is just a starting spot. Many EBV experts recommend an entire shelves' worth of supplements to take every day. That is expensive. And frustrating. And hard on the liver. I know that in the course of my own wellness journey, I have spent an embarrassing amount of money on supplements that may or may not work. If you start with these three, you should be in a bit better shape.
Just remember: test, don't guess.
I will tell you why: after spending two years and lots of time and effort on my own health journey, I realized that there had to a be a reason why my cortisol levels were still tanked. And my adrenals were shot. And my estrogen was low. And my progesterone was low. And I was achy and exhausted all of the time. So I took my own advice and tested myself for EBV.
Low and behold. I am super EBV-y. Why? Well, I suspect my body has been fighting if off for a long time. I had recurrent severe tonsillitis and ear infections for a many years when I was young. I suspect I had a reactivation after Roman was born and I went through hormonal havoc. Last year, I finished up four years of homeschooling, went back to school myself, started a stressful business, and wife'd and mothered and churched. Like a lot of you do. And it takes a toll on the body.
Since I did not know to look for a virus as a possible root of my health concerns- heck, no one did! Not my doctors or alternative practitioners- I can't say for sure how Iong I have been fighting it off. But it is good to know that the infection is active right now, so I can take steps to urge it back into submission. #virusasskicker.
As a note, here are what the test results mean, according to Healthline:
The presence of VCA IgG antibodies indicates that an EBV infection has occurred at some time recently or in the past.
The presence of VCA IgM antibodies and the absence of antibodies to EBNA mean that the infection has occurred recently.
The presence of antibodies to EBNA means that the infection occurred in the past. Antibodies to EBNA develop six to eight weeks after the time of infection and are present for life.
This is why I urge you to test, if you are dealing with some of these same symptoms. While most of the supplements listed will not harm you, there is no reason to take them without cause (unless it is a reasonable daily dose of vitamin C, like 1-2 grams).
I am not saying that treating EBV will change your life, or make you impervious to the effects of the fall, or make your marriage better. I am saying that as a woman, you need to be available to serve your family, your workplace, and your area of ministry. And having energy is a good way to be able to do these things. So test. And treat. I am here to help if you need me.
To your anti-viral health,