The presence of virulent, evolving, and chronically latent viruses has become a significant threat to health and homeostasis for millions of people. As we know, any significant pathogen or toxin can derail the body's neurological and immune systems, mitochondrial energy, and subsequently, its methylation capacity and gene expression. Dozens of viruses are capable of posing this threat, but in this article, I will focus primarily on EBV (Epstein Barr Virus), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), and the Herpes family of viruses.
Drs. Judy Mikovits and Frank Ruscetti were acclaimed researchers in the field of viral immunity and retroviral science. In particular, their work with CFS and its associations with the Herpes viruses and certain cancers was ground-breaking. Unfortunately, while many doctors and practitioners have climbed onto the methylation bandwagon, CFS and its associated immune disorders are largely still considered to be psychosomatic problems with little understanding around the impacts upon methylation. Dr. Robert Naviaux stated very succinctly in this Science Daily publication in March, 2013: "When cells are exposed to classical forms of danger, such as a virus or infection or toxic-environmental substances, a defense mechanism is activated. This causes changes to metabolism and gene expression, and reduces the communication between neighboring cells."
Dr's Mikovits and Ruscetti made scientific correlations between CFS and the XMRV retrovirus. In 67% of CFS patients, XMRV-like retroviruses and its telltale compromises of NKCs (natural killer cells) and T-cell rearrangements were identified. (1) A retrovirus is an RNA virus containing the enzyme reverse transcriptase. When the virus enters the cell, it uses reverse transcriptase to direct the cell to create viral DNA. This viral DNA becomes integrated into the host cell DNA. Once the DNA becomes impacted by this change in DNA transcription, the infected person is susceptible to numerous genetic mutations, including MTHFR and many other genes which control methylation. (Of note here also is the fact that once retroviruses become integrated into the DNA, they may be passed from mother to child during pregnancy.)
New research indicates that as many as 55% of people with CFS have a defective form of EBV, making it difficult for the body to recognize the virus and to produce antibodies and cell-mediated immunity against it. (2) Most doctors are of the mind that EBV is "everywhere", that virtually all of the population has been exposed and will carry antibodies to the disease but are not affected by the virus unless it is active. While this may be true in some cases, it is not a reason to dismiss the notion that defective viruses may have pathogenic consequences, approach, causing chronic inflammation and immune compromise in many people. As also emphasized by Drs. Mikovits and Ruscetti, viral latency and aberrant viral behavior can prevent detection along with chronic stimulation of many host systems. (3) Viruses can hide in tissues rather than in the blood stream, and in the process of integrating in these tissues, evade and/or silence normal T and B cell functions which would attack and purge the virus. A very close affinity for thyroid tissue has been observed with Herpes viruses, especially HHV-6A. (4) Approximately 85% of people with CFS have thyroiditis. EBV is a Herpes family virus.
In our practice, we hear some very common themes being repeated by clients coming to us in a state of frustration and lack of success working with their conditions...possibly the top 3 are:
- "My doctor says I have "MTHFR", but I feel worse since I started taking the supplements."
- "My doctor says everyone has had EBV, and it does not matter to my symptoms."
- "My doctor has been treating my thyroid but nothing is changing."
All of these statements are reflective of the lack of understanding of inter-relatedness of certain conditions and physical functions, as well as a lack of proper investigation into a person's functional biochemistry. We have cautioned against seeing "MTHFR" as the problem rather than the expression of an underlying problem, or problems. We have cautioned the same against seeing the thyroid as the root cause of one's disturbance - in fact, we refer to the thyroid as "the canary in the coal mine". And now, we wish to caution against the belief that any virus, whether Herpes family or retrovirus, is no threat to the body if it is not in active expression and also against the assumption that these viral sequences and proteins should be dismissed as agents in chronic disease. Again, any toxin or pathogen can derail the body's fine balance and ability to maintain homeostasis. The likelihood of a CFS sufferer to contract non-Hodgkins lymphoma was deemed to be 250 times higher than a typical healthy person. (5) The association of the XMRV with prostate cancer was discovered in 23% of patients with the cancer. The researching team on this discovery, led by Dr. Ila Singh of the University of Utah, reported, "The presence of virus in malignant cells invokes classical pathways for retroviral pathogenesis, i.e. inactivation of a tumor suppressor or activation of an oncogene by retroviral integration, as possible mechanisms of tumorigenesis." (6)
Only a surprisingly few genetic mutations are responsible for disease in and of themselves without influence from toxins and/or pathogens in combination with the status of the hosts' defense mechanisms - if we fail to locate the source of the stress, we also fail to correct the problem from its root cause(s). Medicine's myopic vision of the body and standardized corrections of everyone's issues in the same way is not only ineffective in many cases, it is uncomfortable and damaging in many cases as well.
Therapeutically, the challenge is to locate any and all potential disruptors, next to understand the systems most impacted in the individual's constitution, and then to begin to address them in order of priority for that individual. Of greatest importance is to stabilize the body first. Our practice at Metabolic Healing is to utilize Metabolic Typing® to begin that process. Next, the miracles of herbal antivirals can be applied, along with immune supports such as CBD (cannabinoids), Reishi oil, monolaurin, and numerous other potent and effective substances which restore/modulate the micro biome and associated immune strength of the body. (7,8) There is both hope and effective science for people who have suffered with compromised energy, immune and methylation functions, even after decades. Dedicated researchers and scientists devoted to facts and to documented effective therapies have proven this, as have functional practitioners who employ these methods.
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