This is the third post in my Epstein-Barr (EBV) series. You'll learn the treatments and daily lifestyle habits I use to help manage (and recover from) reactivated Epstein-Barr.
If you missed the first two posts in this series, you may want to read them first:
- Post #1: Is It Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation?
- Post #2: How to Get Tested for Reactivated Epstein-Barr
Here in this third post, I want to share what I do to suppress—and hopefully reduce—the Epstein-Barr Virus in my system.
Epstein-Barr Natural Treatment Protocol & Diet
At first, I was hesitant to share my protocol because every person is different. However, nothing here can harm you either way. If anything, these things will probably make you healthier overall anyway. As always though, check for possible contraindications before taking anything, and discuss your plan with your healthcare provider if you have a specific medical condition.
Remember that there is no one specific prescribed protocol for healing. I’m sharing what I do below in hopes that it helps you in some way.
The goal of these natural Epstein-Barr virus treatments:
- Suppress and try to eliminate the virus from your body.
- Create an environment in your body where the virus can’t thrive.
You’ll notice that everything on this list is a natural treatment. There are no known prescribed treatments for Epstein-Barr, so my main goal has been to work with my practitioners on natural antiviral treatments that we hope will suppress the virus.
Since EBV is a member of the herpes class of viruses, some practitioners use antiviral medication (acyclovir, valacyclovir, famciclovir) off-label to try to suppress the virus. After speaking with both my naturopath and functional medicine doctor, both agreed that the possible side effects outweighed the possible treatment for this in my case, so we decided against it.
On one hand, I was willing to try anything to suppress the virus. On the other, I’m grateful they both decided against it because the side effects can create an entirely new set of issues.
Since modern medicine does not have any know treatments to fully treat EBV, the only way to know if this stuff works for you is to try it and see how you feel. We all wish there was a magic silver bullet or pill to fix us, but it doesn't exist. However, there are things you can do to feel better and take steps to regain your energy and suppress the virus.
You can request the EBV test that indicates titer numbers (my 4th test seen here) to see if the numbers have gone down, but even then, there isn’t any scientific evidence that shows that just because the numbers are more or less that the virus is gone. I've come to rely less on the lab numbers more on how I feel in daily life.
You have to experiment and see how you feel over time.
You will regain your energy. I believe in you—you can do it!
Another quick note: I buy almost everything else on Amazon, but I never buy supplements on Amazon because many of them are (unfortunately) counterfeit. Containers are emptied, filled with lesser-quality products, then resealed and sold. Those plastic sealing machines are cheap and easy to find. So, if it can be emptied and refilled, I only buy from the manufacturer or a trusted source, like the doctor’s office or a verified distributor. Even if it says “sold by” the company on Amazon, it could still be a shady third party.
And finally, I’m still on Synthroid for my low-thyroid condition and work closely with my naturopath to monitor my thyroid levels and adjust when needed. I’d love to be off of it completely, but I still need it and I’m ok with that. It’s not on the list here because it’s not a treatment for EBV, but I wanted to mention that I take it as I’ve been talking about my low thyroid issues in this series.
With that, here is my natural Epstein-Barr Virus treatment protocol:
Blood Ozone Treatments
1. Major Autohemotherapy (aka blood ozone treatments)
This treatment has the longest write-up on this post because it's by far the one treatment that has helped me feel the best.
Blood ozone treatments, called major autohemotherapy, are an immune-boosting therapy that's performed in a medical setting. It's extremely safe and effective. The cost will vary by location. I’ve seen it run anywhere between $120–$250/session, which is relatively inexpensive given the power of the treatment.
Remember, I’m not a doctor or scientist, so it’s best to do your own research and discuss this with your health practitioner. They will usually require a full exam or a referring doctor to schedule the treatment (more on that below).
During major autohemotherapy, a licensed practitioner (usually a registered nurse or doctor) uses a special medical-grade ozone machine to extract medical-grade ozone gas into a syringe or special bag. They then extract some of your blood and mix it with the ozone gas. Ozone cannot be directly injected into your bloodstream as it’s a volatile gas. However, when your blood mixes with it in a safe environment, it purifies the blood on contact and kills any viruses, bacteria, or fungi that are present.
It also hyper-oxygenates the blood because it turns free radicals into oxygen (science is fun!). In super layman’s terms, if we think back to science class, the chemical formula for the ozone molecule is O3 (three oxygen atoms), and the chemical formula for oxygen is O2 (two oxygen atoms). A free radical is an unpaired electron looking for a home. One of the three oxygen atoms in the ozone matches up with a free radical in your blood, and together they create O2 (more oxygen). This is actually a form of oxidation, which we’re generally told is only bad. However, not all oxidation is bad. Some oxidative stress can actually be healing for the body—exercise creates another form of this (and we all know exercise is good for us!).
After the blood is mixed with the ozone for a few minutes, it’s passed through a UV filter, then put back into your system. The UV filter is generally just an extra bonus add-on to kill any (potential) additional viruses or bacteria.
This hyper-oxygenated blood from major autohemotherapy has three benefits:
- The process of mixing your blood with ozone kills viruses in the mixed blood on contact, potentially decreasing the amount of the virus in your system.
- The process of major autohemotherapy creates naturally formed hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in a healthy amount in your blood (which—fun fact—H2O2 is already naturally present in your blood) and further purifies it.
- The treated blood almost acts as a natural vaccine of sorts to boost your immune system as it recirculates through your body. Scientists aren’t exactly sure how this works (and this is way above my blogger pay-grade ;)), but the fresh dose of this blood benefits your entire system as it recirculates, potentially killing more of the virus and giving tissues a fresh dose of oxygen.
The oxidation that occurs during major autohemotherapy is one of the reasons that treatments need to be spaced out, and high-doses of antioxidants (like a vitamin C IV drip) aren’t given on the same day because antioxidants combat oxidation. You still need your antioxidants, just not on the same day as major autohemotherapy. This is why it’s important that a practitioner who understands the treatment indicates the frequency of your treatment plan. I’ve had about 10 treatments over the last few years—some just a few days apart—and plan to continue with one treatment every few months for the foreseeable future.
You might be thinking, “Well, if this is so great, then why isn’t it more available?” Yeah. I feel the same way. It’s because major autohemotherapy is not indicated by the FDA in the U.S. to treat EBV, or anything for that matter, and it’s still an emerging in the U.S. It’s a very simple, effective technique that is safe when administered correctly and has been used in Europe and other parts of the world for decades. Since it doesn’t involve a drug, there is very little money in it, so it’s not approved as a medical treatment. Therefore, practitioners are very careful about how they talk about it and list it on their websites.
In the US, you will most likely only find ozone treatments at a naturopathic clinic or functional medicine clinic. These treatments have been used for decades in Europe and around the world, but since they're not pharmaceutical, most conventional medicine practitioners won't use them (for insurance reasons, and pharma lobbies), which is part of the backward way of our current healthcare system (another post for another time!). I lament this fact because again, a series of 4 to 6 treatments spaced a week apart every year or two has by far been the thing that's helped me regain my energy the most.
I started having this treatment at Sanoviv Medical Institute a few years ago, and I’ve only found one place where I live in Seattle that does it. Even then, the description is not listed on their website. I currently go to the Holistique Naturopathic Clinic in Bellevue for ozone treatments.
What’s important to note about this treatment is that it’s nearly impossible to test the exact benefits of it. In my case, I feel amazing after each treatment. It’s hard to explain, but for me, it’s like feeling super clear, high in energy, and almost a little happy-tingly in the few days after I have it done. I told my doctor that and she was intrigued because it’s obviously doing something, but she’s not exactly sure what. Since there aren’t any negative side effects when it’s done correctly and we know it can kill the virus, she recommends that I continue occasional treatments of it.
On a side note, major autohemotherapy is also used in some cancer treatment protocols, as cancer cells cannot survive in oxygenated environments.
But back to Natural EBV treatments…
Lauricidin® is the brand name for monolaurin, a derivative of the lauric found in coconut oil. Scientifically, it’s pure sn-1 monolaurin (glycerol monolaurate), a natural, plant-based medium-chain fat derived from lauric acid.
Lauricidin is a natural antiviral and helps promote a healthy gut environment, too. I love this product because it not only can help clear any virus you may pick up, but naturally benefits your gut and we all need more of that.
I take one scoop in the morning and one in the evening. It is safe and effective for long-term use. Read the directions and information on their website before taking it. I am not affiliated with this company.
Generic monolaurin capsules are not the same as the original monolaurin. According to the Lauricidin website, “The usual 300 mg capsule contains in addition to 300 mg monolaurin, a base of inosine 7.5 mg and calcium-phosphate 106 mg with inert ingredients: dicalcium-phosphate, cellulose-powder and silicon-dioxide. Lauricidin, on the other hand, is the purest monolaurin commercially attainable and is without any fillers or allergens.”
If you’re wondering if you can just eat coconut oil instead of taking Lauricidin (and expect the same results), the answer is not really. Lauricidin is a high-potency extract derived from lauric acid, and the amount of coconut oil you would need to consume to get the same benefits would be unhealthy—and almost impossible to consume.
Again, I buy almost everything else on Amazon, but I never buy supplements on Amazon because many of them are (unfortunately) counterfeit. I buy this directly from my doctor, the Lauricidin website, or the Sanoviv Store (not an affiliate link, just sharing because I use it).
3. Echinacea & Lemon Balm Antiviral Tincture
Echinacea and lemon balm are both known natural antivirals that support the immune system. I prefer the liquid tincture forms, as I already take so many supplements—but also because the dose is usually higher in tincture form.
I found a USDA organic tincture that contains both echinacea & lemon balm at Whole Foods called Virus Attack, and I take two dropper fulls twice per day.
Always dilute echinacea tinctures in one to two ounces of water because they are so strong that they can burn your tongue (yikes!). Echinacea can make your tongue feel a little numb for a bit, but that’s normal. Dilute it with more water if it’s uncomfortable. Different areas and different stores will have a—you guessed it—different variety of products, so just work with the person in charge and do some research on the company to find a good one. Echinacea is over-the-counter, but as with everything, look up potential contraindications on WebMD or another trusted platform before taking it.
Food, Lifestyle & The Epstein-Barr Diet
The rest of the things on this list are what I consider important for your overall health. When healing from any chronic condition, your overall health is of the utmost importance. It’s important to create an environment in your body where your cells can heal. When I say "diet" here, I don't mean going on a restrictive diet. Instead, I refer to diet as the way you eat. Focus on adding things in, not necessarily what you need to remove. Eat more fruits and vegetables! If you make the majority of your meals mostly fruits, veggies and other whole foods, you don't need to worry too much about what you remove.
4. Fruits & Veggies
We all know that fruits and veggies are good for us. Eat more of them!
If you’ve heard that fruit has too much sugar, I think that’s bad health advice. The natural sugars in fruit come along with fiber, hydration, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can’t be found anywhere else. Fruit comes from the earth and is naturally very healing. Much of the nutrition community is also misguided here and recommends mass quantities of protein over fruit. But what they miss is that your body will turn excess protein into glucose, which can still spike your blood sugar. Don’t fear fruit. Five to six servings of veggies and two to three servings of whole fruit per day will do wonders for your health!
5. Limited Processed Foods
Processed foods require a lot of attention from your system to process—they over-task the energy in your body, and you need your energy to heal. Processed foods ruin your gut bacteria, bog down your liver, and don’t nourish your body. Consume as few processed foods as possible.
Supplements are tricky because while they absolutely do not replace a healthy lifestyle or healthy eating habit, they can definitely fill in gaps and boost your nutrient intake.
Take extra care when choosing which brand of supplement to take. I know and love USANA and have been taking their supplements for years. Whatever you take, do your research and get to know the company. Many supplements are not standardized and are filled with rice powder (and maybe a little bit of something helpful). You get what you pay for, so only buy good ones so you’re not throwing your money away.
Along with the antivirals above, this is what I take:
Multivitamin: Start with a good multivitamin instead of taking a bunch of one-off doses of vitamin D, B vitamins, or C. If you’re going to take one thing, take a high-quality multi. You’ll get more bang for your buck, and it’s more balanced for your health. I take the Cellsentials by USANA every day (full disclosure, I’ve been an independent distributor for USANA for the last 10 years). But if I could only take one thing forever, this would be it.
Extra vitamin D: If necessary, take extra vitamin D. A simple blood test from your doctor will reveal your vitamin D levels, and this is one of the easiest deficiencies to fix with a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement. Functional medicine specialists will want your vitamin D levels to be between 50–100 nanograms/milliliter on your lab results. If it’s lower, take an extra vitamin D3 supplement. I take USANA’s 2000 IU vitamin D. I usually skip this from May to August since I’m outside more, but then I go back to taking one from September through April or so.
Probiotic: A healthy gut is necessary for a healthy immune system. I eat fermented foods as much as I can and also take a probiotic with breakfast every morning. Rotate your probiotic every month or so to mix up the kinds of good bacteria you plant in you gut. I take the USANA probiotic and one from The Garden of Life that I get at the natural foods store.
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, meaning your cells can adapt its use to your needs. The Medical Medium book mentions ashwagandha as beneficial for people with high levels of EBV, and my doctor recommended it to help prevent adrenal fatigue. I take it right before bed because it seems to make me sleepy (Zzzz :)). I take Adrenal Response by Innate. I believe you can also get this one at the Sanoviv Store (not an affiliate link, just sharing because I use it).
Others: I also take one BiOmega fish oil per day for omega-3’s, one CoEnzymeQ10 (AKA CoQ10) capsule per day for cellular energy and skin health, and a reishi mushroom immune supplement (2/day) called Proglucamue to regulate my immune system.
To order any or all of the USANA recommendations above, click here to create your own free account to get 10% off retail. You can edit your cart as needed and still get the same discount using my distributor link. Again, don't order any brand of supplements on Amazon. Only get them from authorized distributors.
Check-in with yourself often, and stay mindful of creating a healthy internal and external environment for your body to thrive.
7. Better-Quality Sleep
One of the strangest things about not feeling well is the phenomenon of feeling fatigued and tired, but not being able to sleep (the worst, amirite?!).
My natural inclination is that of a night owl, but I can wholeheartedly feel the difference in my energy and mood when I make a conscious effort to fall asleep early. I have to diligently stick to my nighttime routine in order to fall asleep, which includes finishing dinner by 6 pm (7 pm at the absolute latest)—as eating too close to bedtime tends to keep you up—1 mg of melatonin at 8 pm (I take USANA Pure Rest), a hot Epsom salt bath (unless it’s hot out), dim lights, and reading for five minutes to chill out. I have to make a conscious effort to follow this, but it makes a huge difference in my quality of sleep and quality of health when I do.
Along with that, be gentle to yourself if you’re feeling tired and need a little more sleep. Schedule a day of self-care at home instead of saying yes to every single thing on your social agenda.
8. Gentle Exercise
Exercising when you feel fatigued a lot can be tricky. Movement is important not just for your physical health, but even more so for your mental health. Even if it’s just a 20-minute walk, I make sure to get something in at least five days per week. I used to get really down on myself if every workout wasn’t all-out intense, but I’ve learned that even some gentle yoga and stretching has massive benefits. Even if you feel fatigued, try to go for a walk at the time of day when you have the most energy (work WITH your body, not against it!).
The potential for self-diagnosis via books is a tricky thing. On one hand, you have to advocate for your own health. You are the only one who lives in your body 24/7 and the only one who knows how you feel. Don’t allow “mystery symptoms” to be written off just because a test result or doctor doesn’t have an answer.
On the other hand, be mindful to not create a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you keep telling yourself that you’re sick and won’t ever heal, then guess what, you’ll stay sick and you won’t heal. Work with a practitioner to test and explore the root causes of your symptoms.
Read books and educate yourself, and stay open to healing. I spoke about my curiosity and initial hesitation towards The Medical Medium, but I find it a useful tool and recommend reading it. No person or book is the end-all-be-all, so take what you need from each book and don't feel like you have to do every little thing they say.
My first book The Health Habit, will help you design a healthy lifestyle you love—without restrictive dieting. It's filled with everything you need to know to lead a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Grab your copy here if you don't have it yet!
These four books have helped me:
- You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
- The Medical Medium by Anthony William (again, not scientifically proven, but an interesting read about what the virus can do)
If you have thyroid issues:
- Medical Medium Thyroid Healing by Anthony William
- Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause by Izabella Wentz PharmD
How to Take Action:
1. Read the 1st and 2nd posts in this series for more information.
Post #1: Is It Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation?
Post #2: How to Get Tested for Reactivated Epstein-Barr (EBV)
NEW! Post #4: Update: Healing from Reactivated Epstein-Barr
2. If you feel they will help you, get any of the natural antivirals or supplements that I listed above. Also, read The Health Habit or the other books I mentioned above if you want to learn more about natural healing.
3. Find a naturopath or functional medicine specialist in your area for specific treatment options.
4. Share your story with us in the comments below to help other people who are dealing with this. Have you tried any of these treatments? What helps you the most?
5. Stay on my email list for future updates, real food recipes, and healthy living inspiration. I share weekly-ish recipes, tips, and notes with my VIP email community. You can grab your free starter recipe ebook and get the insider VIP updates by subscribing in the box at the bottom of this post. And finally, stay positive, and be kind to yourself. Healing is rarely linear. Life and health tend to come in cycles and seasons. Keep your thoughts positive and continue working towards feeling good.