Viral infections linked to inflammatory diseases and Autoimmunity
The EBV (Epstein-Barr virus) infects more than 90 percent of people in the United States by the age of 20. At least one in four of those infected will develop the commonly-known disease mononucleosis, or "mono," experiencing a rash, enlarged liver or spleen, head- and body aches, and extreme fatigue.
Did you know?! Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is not only related to mono. It is in the same family of virus’s as Herpes, Chicken pox and Shingles.
Recent studies indicate it may be a catalyst for at least six more diseases, most of which are autoimmune in nature. These include multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
EBV isn't the only virus associated with autoimmunity. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been linked to Sjögren's syndrome, upper respiratory viral infections and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) have been linked to multiple sclerosis (MS), and EBV has previously been linked to lupus.
Chronic viral infections can contribute to chronic inflammatory diseases
It has long been thought that viruses play a part in the development of chronic inflammatory diseases, especially autoimmunity. Check out our page on Autoimmunity.
Many healthcare practitioners report there is frequently a hidden infection that either precedes or seems to trigger an initial autoimmune attack, or subsequently appears when the immune system is weakened once autoimmunity is activated.
This creates a vicious cycle of infection and illness. Infections are opportunistic and often travel together — many autoimmune patients find they host multiple infections that are bacterial, viral, parasitic and/or fungal, driving the inflammation that leads to symptoms.
Thus the need for testing to find out which ones you may be dealing with. Check out our functional medicine testing page.
The relationship between viral infection and autoimmune disease is multifaceted, involving numerous complex processes in the body. Scientists believe that a variety of factors must usually be present for an infection to result in an autoimmune condition. This includes not only a genetic predisposition but also lifestyle and environmental factors such as:
- Poor diet
- Poor sleep habits
- Leaky gut
- Environmental toxins
- Dietary inflammatory triggers
It is often said in the functional medicine world - And I realize this may be a terrible saying, but I didn’t make it up.
“Genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger”.
In a nutshell, chronic disease develops as a result of an improper immune response to a viral infection due to other predisposing factors. The virus acts as the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Chronic viruses can prevent autoimmune remission
Remission from autoimmune symptoms is possible with proper diet and lifestyle management. Notice I said remission, not sure. However, if you already have an autoimmune condition, a chronic viral infection can prevent you from alleviating your symptoms and halting progression of the autoimmunity. In fact, a chronic virus is a deal-breaker in recovery for many patients.
Viral infections can occur years before developing autoimmunity
Viral infections usually occur well before any symptoms associated with autoimmunity develop (sometimes years), so it can be difficult to make a definitive link between a particular infection and a yet-to-be autoimmune disorder. However, if you have not been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition but have had any of these viruses in the past and have unexplained symptoms now, it's worth getting tested for autoimmunity and a chronic virus. You probable also want to check out my previous blog on Autoimmunity and leaky gut.
I’m Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, be happy!
Such a cool picture.
Anyway, onto the good stuff, and bad, and the ugly.
YOU NEED TO READ THIS, IT MAY SAVE OUR LIVES!
First, the good. Antibiotics were first discovered back in the late 1880's. When they first came out they were thought to be the miracle cure that was going to save the world from all disease. To a certain extent, they did a very good job and saved many lives. Until, that is, the diseases and bacteria got smarter, which brings us to the bad.
The BAD! Over the last 50 years, the bad of antibiotics has been getting exponentially worse. The really bad part is it's all our own fault. That's right, we may have screwed ourselves. Here's the run down on basically what's happened. Antibiotics worked so well for years that everyone wanted to take them whenever they got sick. Whether it was a little sniffle, runny nose, flu (which is viral by the way, so antibiotics don't work anyway) everyone was asking their doctors for antibiotics. Doctors were handing them out like candy, and still do. Eventually, the bacteria started to change and mutate into strains that are resistant to antibiotics.
In the last year alone these drug resistant bacteria have killed over 65,000 people. This is more than prostate cancer and breast cancer COMBINED!
The Ugly! Really ugly!
Even if you have never taken antibiotics, the odds are that you have still ingested large amounts of them. The only way to completely avoid them is to be informed and aware of what you ingest. Did you know that antibiotics are used in cows to produce more milk and in livestock to make them grow bigger so they can make more money (The antibiotics are passed to use through the milk and in the meat).
Antibiotics are even in our water (always drink reverse osmosis water). It's hard to avoid them but it can be done. The really bad part about all this is even if you do everything perfectly, other people are messing it up for us. They are the ones that are over using antibiotics for everything from ear infections (which 9 times out of 10 are viral) to tummy aches (I'm not joking!). They become the hosts for the antibiotic resistant bacteria and if someone that does everything right happens to get an infection they are up a creek without a paddle. The damage is done!
PLEASE DON'T EVER PUT UNUSED DRUGS DOWN THE TOILET OR DRAIN.
TAKE THEM TO A PHARMACY.
I could go on and on about this subject. Here is an article that I actually read on my blackberry and was amazed to see it there. Please take the time to read it. It really is in the best interest of everyone's health.
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
While there may be little pieces of the sky falling there are some people taking action and there are some things you can do to help.
This topic is getting so big (finally) and so important that our federal government and other governments of the world are taking strong actions to prevent this from getting worse.
The WHO (World Health Organization) is even involved.
There is a worldwide campaign to reduce the usage (which is mostly unnecessary) of antibiotics. They are pressuring doctors big time to actually test before prescribing antibiotics and only use them in severe cases. Even if antibiotics would help, unless it is life threatening your body WILL heal itself and get better. Give it time.
I usually recommend giving it a week and if at the end of the week you are not ANY better then get it checked out. Here is the problem with relying on doctors for the best health possible. They get paid to prescribe those antibiotics and drugs. So its kind of in their own best financial interest to prescribe more not less.
So that leaves you and me. Leave antibiotics for use as a last resort. Always ask for testing before taking antibiotics and give your body a chance to heal itself. It will make you healthier in the long run.
If you would like some recommendations on different supplements I recommend to help boost the immune system take a look at the short list below. While not all inclusive to every condition they are very helpful.
This is a great all around immune system booster.
Pure Encapsulations - Daily Immune - 120ct [Health and Beauty]
This is a good Kids option.
Gaia Kids Echinacea Goldenseal Herbal Drops, 2-Ounce Bottle
And for all you garlic lovers, you know I love it. Good for sooooo many things.
See my previous post on garlic and vampires.
Vital Nutrients - Garlic Extract 300 mg 60 caps
This is a list to just start with. If you are looking for other check out Healthwave for you supplement needs.
That's enough for now. I'm sure there will be more later.
Make informed decisions and ask for testing before taking anything. Keep your body healthy and it will take care of itself.
After all, if you don't take care of your body. Where are you going to live?
As always if you have any question you can always contact me or make an appointment. I’d be happy to help.
Dr. Craig Mortensen
The following article was in the Wall Street Journal.
Most sinus infections are caused by viruses rather than bacteria and shouldn’t be treated with antibiotics — a common practice that contributes to the development of drug-resistant “superbugs,” according to new guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
The guidelines, which also include new recommendations for treating bacterial infections, are the first issued by the society, which represents specialists in infectious disease. A panel that developed them included experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Physicians.
Nearly one in seven people are diagnosed with a sinus infection each year. These cases are the fifth most common reason doctors prescribe antibiotics. But as many as 98% of cases are caused by viruses, which aren’t affected by these drugs.
With no test to easily determine whether a sinus infection is viral or bacterial, many physicians prescribe antibiotics as a precaution. Deeds done with good intentions often do the most harm.
And, patients may ask doctors for antibiotics on the mistaken theory “that they can’t harm them and they might help,” says Thomas M. File, co-author of the guidelines and chair of the Infectious Disease Section at Northeast Ohio Medical University. But in addition to concern about drug-resistant bugs, he adds, antibiotics can have serious side effects such as diarrhea, rash and headache, and can add to the cost of health care.
Sinus infections, known as acute rhinosinusitis, are an inflammation of the nasal and sinus passages that can cause uncomfortable pressure on either side of the nose and last for weeks. Most develop during or after a cold or other upper respiratory infection, but allergens and environmental irritants may also trigger them.
If symptoms last for 10 days without improvement, or include fever of 102 degrees or higher, nasal discharge and facial pain lasting three to four days, the infection is likely bacterial and should be treated with antibiotics, the guidelines say.
Viral infections can also initially seem to improve and then get worse, with the addition of a fever, meaning a bacterial infection has likely developed.
In those cases the new guidelines call for shorter treatment time than older guidance from other groups, which called for 10 days to two weeks of antibiotic treatment for a bacterial infection. The IDSA suggests five to seven days is long enough to treat a bacterial infection without encouraging resistance in adults, though children should still get the longer course.
Because of increasing resistance to the antibiotic amoxicillin — the current standard of care — the ISDA recommends amoxicillin-clavulanate, a combination which helps to overcome resistance by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down the antibiotic.
The guidelines also recommend against other commonly used antibiotics, including azithromycin, clarithromycin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, because of growing drug resistance.
Whether the sinus infection is bacterial or viral, the ISDA says use of decongestants and antihistamines may make symptoms worse. Nasal steroids can help ease symptoms as may nasal irrigation using a sterile solution — including sprays, drops or liquid, says Dr. File, who also recommends patients take acetaminophen for sinus pain and drink plenty of fluids.
So whats an aching patient to do with a sinus infection? Our recommendations in our office always include drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of rest. Take Immune system boosting supplements and vitamins. Get adjusted by a chiropractor (which helps the sinuses and nasal passageways drain) and do some sinus rinses. In 98% of all sinus infection cases this will take care of the problem and get you back to normal faster.
Here are some of my favorite supplements for boosting the immune system and fighting infections.
Daily Immune by Pure encapsulations
M/R/S Mushroom Formula
Garlic extract (allicin yield 12,000 mcg/g) 300mg
Echinacea-Goldenseal with Olive Leaf
Do yourself a favor, save some money and get it through Healthwave - sign up in the sidebar
I guarantee you will save money. It’s routinely 10-20% cheaper than amazon!
For those of you with chronic sinus infections or who seem to always be getting sick, consider this. Taking antibiotics has shown to reduce your own bodies immunity and ability to fight off sickness and infection. So the very drugs you were taking to try to make you better are actually making you worse.
HHHMMMMM........That sounds familiar!
In Good Health,
Dr. Craig Mortensen