Natural HealingNatural Health

Epstein-Barr: could world’s most common virus be at the root of chronic illness?

By Sari Huhtala

Reflecting back on her childhood and teenage years, Lisa Darling can see now how recurrent strep throat and tonsillitis – to the extent she had a tonsillectomy at age three – were merely symptoms of an underlying health issue that doctors could not detect.

Into her teenage years, chronic cystic acne added another symptom into the fold, followed by chronic urinary tract infections and yeast infections throughout adulthood.

It would be nearly 40 years before the pieces of her health puzzle would start to fall into place, and it would take a health crisis for her to come to the revelation that a common virus had been attacking her body since childhood.

“Life was great,” remembers Darling, a 42-year-old elementary school teacher in Toronto and mother of two boys ages nine and five. “And then one day three years ago I woke up in the morning and I couldn’t walk a straight line. I had never experienced the fear that I did that morning. I tried to reach my husband, but I couldn’t make it back into the bedroom. I couldn’t walk a straight line. I kept walking towards the wall. I thought I was having a stroke.”

Besides debilitating vertigo, excruciating pain was shooting through her left shoulder and arm, numbness and tingling sensations travelled through her hands, feet and the left side of her body as she tried to move forward, tripping over her feet. Then the muscles on the left side of her face drooped.

“I thought I was going to die,” Darling remembers.

After six weeks of sick leave, countless visits to doctors, along with CAT Scans and an MRI, appointments with a neurologist, as well as a nose and throat specialist, and even a psychiatrist, she still had no answers.

The nose and throat specialist suggested there were displaced crystals in her ear that were causing the vertigo, and, although the recommended treatment alleviated some of the vertigo, the other symptoms did not subside, she says.

Her doctor had questioned if it was possible that it was all in her head. Not completely dismissing the possibility, Darling went to see a psychiatrist who, after assessment, determined there were no psychological imbalances that would be causing her symptoms.

“I had lots of anxiety from not knowing what was going on, and severe insomnia,” Darling recalls.

“The doctor wanted to prescribe anxiety pills, sleeping pills and antidepressants,” she recalls. “I filled the prescription for the antidepressants, but I couldn’t take them to suppress whatever it was my body was telling me.”

A year later she was still plagued by all the symptoms. They planned a family holiday to the Caribbean, but she could only sit by the pool the entire time because the symptoms, which worsened at night time, would not subside, she said.

“I could barely eat and I was constantly tripping on my feet because of the vertigo,” Darling says. “I said to my husband, ‘There’s something really wrong with me. I don’t want to be here.’”

Once home she started doing her own research over the Internet and that’s when the Medical Medium “popped up” in her news feed.

“I read the Medical Medium book and I realized he described everything I was experiencing to a T in one of his chapters,” Darling says. “He even says in the book that doctors will tell you the vertigo is because of tiny crystals in your ear.”

She filled her spare time watching health documentaries and listening to podcasts to better understand next steps. All the symptoms pointed to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) as the culprit behind her health problems, she says.

EBV is the human herpes virus 4, and it is the cause of mononucleosis, and considered the virus behind countless autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis, as well as fibromyalgia and thyroid problems. A common virus, it is estimated over 90 per cent of the population carries antibodies, meaning they were exposed to the virus at some point in their lives, usually in childhood, according to the Centre for Disease Control.

The virus lays dormant in the system, hiding undetected in the liver, spleen or other organs. It can only be detected in the bloodstream when it is viral. While dormant, it thrives off of toxins like mercury, until it detects the body is vulnerable. Typically this is as a result of hormonal change such as puberty, pregnancy, menopause, stress or emotional blows, and then becomes viral once again.

“Emotional triggers can cause an episode,” Darlings says. “My dad, right before EBV went viral, was diagnosed with lymphoma. I realized that was the emotional stir up that caused everything to stir up in my body. Seeing him suffer; that was my trigger.”

She discovered, in Anthony William’s book Medical Medium, that chronic cases of vertigo are typically caused by EBV’s neurotoxins –  the poisons the virus secretes to confuse the immune system –  inflaming the vagus nerve. Insomnia and tingling of hands and feet can also be as a result of phrenic nerves inflamed by EBV.

Futhermore, EBV’s best friend is strep, she points out.

“Vertigo is considered stage three of EBV,” Darling says. “I don’t remember stage one or two, and I never had mono, but Anthony William talks about how EBV can be misdiagnosed as strep.”

“I thought I was this healthy person with no problems, but looking back there were signs along the way,” Darling says. “I realized I had all of these signs in my life since I was a baby.

“My whole life I had suffered with cystic acne, which was really bad as a teenager. I was put on Acutane for the acne, which is one of the most dangerous drugs. In my research I realized almost everyone who had cystic acne will have had chronic strep in their childhood.

“I always had bladder infections and yeast infections. Those would come throughout my whole life and they are also strep related.”

Rounds of antibiotics throughout her youth were commonplace, she recalls.

“My liver was so overburdened from years of pharmaceuticals and what I thought was healthy food back then – and the whole time is was fuelling the EBV.”

Little did she know that the dietary choices she was making over the years, however healthy they seemed, were actually feeding the virus.

“I always made our food, rather than purchasing processed foods, and I was always conscious of reading labels, but my version of healthy was veggies, cheese, meats and dairy,” Darling says.

“I eliminated a lot of the foods that fed EBV – eggs, gluten, dairy –  and within a very short period of time I was noticing significant changes. Within no time my symptoms improved.”

Still, two years after the onset of her symptoms, she continued to have numbness and tingling in her extremities, and still didn’t feel 100 per cent well, she explains.

Her mother had been diagnosed with dementia, which piqued her curiosity about the causes of dementia. Delving deeper into research, she discovered the link between dementia and heavy metal toxicity. She had overlooked heavy metal toxicity as one of the causes of her ongoing symptoms, she says.

In October 2017 she started consuming daily heavy metal detox smoothies – one month of daily smoothies, typically at 8 a.m. then again at 10 a.m. – then she breaks for a few weeks before starting another month of smoothies. Her diet is also 75 to 80 per cent raw fruits and vegetables – with the main focus on fruits.

“When I first started doing the smoothie I would get full-blown cystic acne on my neck and chest,” Darling remembers. “When you see those things happening in your body it’s a good thing; you’re purging.

 “Detoxing, cleansing and healing the body is not something that happens overnight or over a period of a few weeks. You have to give it three months minimum, but for most people you’d be looking at a year to 18 months.”

She also juices organic celery daily. Each morning upon waking she consumes 16 ounces of fresh, pure celery juice “to balance and cleanse her system.”

William states drinking two cups of celery juice on an empty stomach helps to remove toxins from the system, while at the same time alkalizing, healing and regenerating the stomach lining.

With her husband now realizing how his own wellbeing has been transformed through the detox smoothies, he’s right there beside her, guzzling down two cups of celery juice each morning.

“My husband used to need to nap all the time,” Darling says. “I convinced him to try the Medical Medium detox, doing one or two smoothies a day, and now, six months later, he’s never napping anymore. I even have my husband doing celery juice and he won’t go a day without it now.”

Even the flare-ups of itchy patches on his skin, which was managed with cortisone cream in the past, have disappeared, she adds.

Her weekly grocery cart looks like something rolled out of a Food Matters documentary – 14 stalks of celery, 112 bananas, several pounds of frozen wild blueberries, and any other fruit she can find to pack into daily smoothies and the kid’s lunchboxes.

No doubt she has learned to shop smart by scoping out the best prices, particularly for organic bananas and celery, which she often finds best prices for at department stores, she says.

Since the family of four consumes 16 ripened bananas a day, it is small wonder she is out looking for the deals.

Concerned she has passed EBV on to her own children, Darling emphasizes healthy eating with her children now more than ever, and stresses the importance of “making fruit your best friend,” she says.

She’s convinced pure, raw fruit has the potential to help the body heal in more ways than one may realize.

“Last year had I another yeast infection and decided not to get the suppositories to treat it,” Darling says. “Instead I lived on nothing but fruit for a couple of days. It was itchy for the first day, but I haven’t had any symptoms of yeast infection since.”

Within a few months of boosting her health with the extra detox measures, all of her symptoms of vertigo, pain and numbness disappeared.

“I feel great now,” Darling says. “I sleep through the night, and have so much energy. I feel like I’m floating now. Everything’s good.”

Feeling 100 per cent doesn’t necessarily mean the virus has been eliminated though, she says.

“They found a small cyst in my cervix, which makes sense because in my last swab I had strep so I know EBV is attacking and my body is fighting it by creating cysts to protect me.”

“But since discovering all of these ways to help my body heal, it’s taken away the worry and anxiety and rekindled a sense of hope,” Darling says. “There’s a way out of it no matter what is thrown my way in terms of health, so I don’t need to worry about it because I know there will always be an answer.”

“There’s going to be times when something pulls me off track, but I now have the tools to get back on track.”

Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie

(A Medical Medium™ health protocol developed by Anthony William)

2 bananas
2 cups wild blueberries 
1 cup cilantro 
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice 
1 tsp barley grass juice powder 
1 tsp spirulina 
1 small handful of Atlantic dulse 
Water to blend if necessary 

Toss all ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth. Add more water if desired.

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