The Epstein Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis or glandular fever, has the ability to establish a lifetime presence in the body. In most people, a healthy immune system keeps the virus in check. However, about 6% of people reactivate or turn to Epstein Barr for weeks, months, or years after the initial infection.

So why do some people have recurring Epstein Barr? The bottom line is how healthy your immune system is. Your immune system may be suppressed by poor eating habits, stress, smoking, or an underlying chronic disease. Your genes can also make you more susceptible to disease.

Recurrent Epstein Barr and Nutrition

How your immune system works is closely related to what you eat. A deficiency of even a single nutrient can disrupt your defenses and trigger symptoms. Numerous studies have linked weakened immunity and subsequent disease to deficiencies of vitamins A, C, E, zinc, and selenium. The other crucial nutrients for immunity are iron, vitamin D, and the B-complex vitamins. These nutrients help your body make T cells, B cells, antibodies, and other immune proteins that keep you healthy.

Epstein Barr and recurring stress

Stress is a known trigger for infections like mononucleosis. A stressful event such as a new job, divorce, the loss of someone close, moving house, important exams, money problems, or relationship problems, can suppress your immunity and allow mononucleosis to flourish.

More recently, it has been believed that recurrent mononucleosis may be due to emotional blockages and limiting ideas in our minds. According to Louise Hay, author of “You Can Cure Your Life,” mononucleosis is caused by pushing yourself beyond the limits and fear of not being good enough. It can be triggered by anger at not receiving love and attention. These emotional blocks can be addressed by talking with a counselor or healthcare professional.

Recurrent Epstein Barr and other diseases

Secondary infections such as mycoplasma, rickets, chlamydial pneumonia, or Lymes disease can suppress your immunity to the point where it is difficult to recover from mononucleosis. Other conditions such as anemia, allergy, low blood sugar, underactive thyroid, liver problems, and sarcoidosis are other conditions that can prolong the duration and severity of the disease.

Epstein Barr and recurring genes

Your genes may also play a role in Epstein Barr recurrence. Researchers from the University of NSW tested the activity of 30,000 genes in the blood of people who recovered quickly after mononucleosis or developed a long-term illness. The activity of a group of 35 genes was found to be consistent with symptoms from disease onset to recovery. Unfortunately, you can’t swap your genes, but you can boost your immune system through lifestyle modifications.

Through general lifestyle practices like a healthy diet, stress reduction, regular exercise, and taking some supplements that boost the immune system, you can strengthen your immunity and keep recurring Epstein Barr symptoms at bay. These treatments are discussed in Nature’s Amazing Mononucleosis Cures e-book by qualified naturopath Elizabeth Noble.

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