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Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a virus found in the saliva glands that is the direct cause of mononucleosis (better known as mono or the “kissing disease”). Many people (~90%) have the virus, although most never develop mono or any unwanted symptoms. There are a few ways that EBV relates to autoimmunity and related disorders, however. Read on to learn about these relations and how you can help keep EBV controlled and dormant in your system.

How EBV Causes Autoimmune Disorders

CD8 Reduced

CD8+ T-cells are a kind of cell that inhibits viruses.

The deficiency of these cells is a feature of many chronic autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren’s syndrome, systemic sclerosis, dermatomyositis, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, vitiligo, bullous pemphigoid, alopecia areata, idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, type 1 diabetes mellitus, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, myasthenia gravis, IgA nephropathy, membranous nephropathy, and pernicious anaemia [R].

Some scientists believe that this CD8+ T-cell deficiency underlies the development of chronic autoimmune diseases by not controlling Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection [R].

If EBV isn’t controlled, it can wreak havoc on the body. When EBV infects B cells, it can make them “autoreactive,” which means its products (antibodies) target our own tissues [R].

According to this hypothesis, autoimmunity occurs in the following steps [R]:

  1. CD8+ T-cell deficiency – This is genetic
  2. EBV infection and proliferation of EBV because of CD8+ T-cell deficiency
  3. Increased antibodies against EBV (kind of like the second line of defense)
  4. EBV infects a specific organ, and particularly B Cells in that organ. This corrupts the B cells to attack our own tissue. One theory is that since viruses and bacteria have proteins similar to our own proteins, we mistakenly attack our own proteins. This confusion by our immune system is called molecular mimicry
  5. B cells proliferate in the infected organ
  6. T cells are drawn into the organ and also attack our tissue
  7. Development of ‘structures’ in the target organ, which causes B cells to attack our tissues (dependent on Th17 cells) [R]

Important Factors That Influence CD8+ Cells

As we age, CD8+ cells go down, which is one reason why autoimmunity goes up as we age [R].

Estrogen also decreases CD8+ T cells, which explains the higher incidence of autoimmunity in females [R].

Sunlight/vitamin D is very important for CD8+ T cell production, which explains why countries that get less sunlight have a higher occurrence of autoimmunity [R].

Acute stress actually increases CD8+ T cells, but chronic stress doesn’t affect it [R, R].

However, chronic stress can cause reactivation of EBV, likely by downgrading the Th1 immune response [R].

How EBV and Viral Infections Cause Low Pregnenolone Levels

I see it often being the case that after prolonged stress, pregnenolone levels dip and synthesis of downstream hormones decline.

Pregnenolone is the mother of all hormones and is a neurosteroid. The most obvious explanation is because cortisol is ‘stealing’ or diverting pregnenolone for cortisol production and depleting it. When pregnenolone is depleted, there will be less of it to produce future cortisol production.

However, there’s another possible contributing factor.

When you’re under high stress the body releases cortisol, which decreases your immune system.

Specifically, the Th1 immune system is suppressed by chronic stress [R].

This aspect of the immune system (Th1) protects us from viral reactivation.

When this arm of the immune system is suppressed, viral infections can then reactivate – including EBV, herpes, and a host of other viruses.

When a viral infection becomes active, it “hijacks” what’s known as the “mevalonate pathway.” Viruses use this pathway to make their protective outer coats.

In response, your body makes interferon, which suppresses the mevalonate pathway, which in turn suppresses the virus. However, inhibiting this pathway leads to a reduction in the synthesis of pregnenolone and CoQ10.

Perhaps the most common virus that causes this pathway to be inhibited is Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). Over 90% of the population eventually gets this virus.

Read “Host Defense against Viral Infection Involves Interferon-Mediated Down-Regulation of Sterol Biosynthesis.”

Acute infections respond well to this, as the interferon production is helpful in the short term. But in the long term, this can lead to starving your body of CoQ10 and key hormones. This appears to be part of what happens in CFS.

I was deficient in pregnenolone, even when I lowered my stress and I never understood why. It’s possible that by me having a Th1 dominant system, I produce higher levels of interferon, which suppressed the pathway that produces pregnenolone.

Red yeast rice/statins mildly block the same pathway and can actually have a mild antiviral effect at a low dose and a strong effect at a high dose.

Supplements that increase your Th1 system will indirectly prevent EBV reactivation.

Checking Your Pregnenolone Levels

You can request that your doctor test your pregnenolone. Conventional doctors will look at high or low pregnenolone levels and not mention anything. Sometimes, a lab result may be in the reference range, but not actually be in the optimal range. Reference ranges are not the same as optimal ranges. This is why even pregnenolone in the ‘normal’ range can be unhealthy and indicate that certain processes in the body aren’t optimal. Lab Test Analyzer will let you know if your pregnenolone levels are optimal and what you can do to get them there if they aren’t.

Other Issues Caused by EBV

  • EBV increases risk for some cancers
  • EBV causes serotonin disturbances [R]
  • EBV affects methylation genes [R]
  • EBV may also cause blood-brain barrier issues [R]

Causes of EBV Reactivation

  • Emotional disturbances [R]
  • Psychological stress [R]
  • Cortisol/glucocorticoids [R]
  • Sleep deprivation – EBV DNA level increased significantly at both stress intervals [R]
  • Spaceflight [R]
  • Resistant starch/HDAC inhibitors – Helps kill the cancer cells, but induces EBV activation, but maybe only in the cancer cells [R]
  • Parthenolide – Also helps kill the cancer cells; another EBV activator, but maybe only in the cancer cells [R]

In a lot of my clients, I hear that their issues started after a highly stressful period. Reactivation of EBV could potentially play some role in the negative health effects of stress.

Top Supplements to Increase CD8+ T Cells

  • Resistant starch – The function of exhausted CD8 T cells in chronic viral infection was restored upon treatment with butyrate. This leads to higher numbers of CD8 T cells and mimics the effect of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-12 and IFN-α. This also increases CD8 T cell activation and memory [R]
  • Astragalus [R]
  • Andrographis – Increased in CD4+ (40–61%), CD8+ (23–31%), and CD56 (2–3%), with as little as 0.1μM
  • Gynostemma [R]
  • Schisandra – Prevents CD8+ decline from radiation [R]
  • NAC [R]
  • Ashwagandha [R]
  • Thymus glandular
  • Spleen glandular
  • Massage therapy [R]
  • Aldosterone (hormone)
  • ADA (enzyme) [R, R]

Natural Killer Cells, Their Activity, EBV, and Autoimmunity

Many studies have reported decreased Natural Killer (NK) cell numbers or impairment of NK cell cytotoxicity in the peripheral blood of patients with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjögren’s syndrome, systemic sclerosis, type I diabetes mellitus (T1DM), autoimmune thyroid disease (AIT), psoriasis, juvenile dermatomyositis, and systemic-onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) [R, R].

NK cells combat viral infections, release interferon gamma, kill activate T cells, and dampen the immune system in some ways. [R]

Indeed, NK cells are used to treat certain autoimmune diseases. [R]

So, low NK cells can cause autoimmunity in some ways. But it’s not so simple.

You can also interpret low natural killer cells in peripheral blood in another way. Several studies show accumulation of NK cells in affected tissues of autoimmune patients. NK cells accrue in the pancreatic tissue of type 1 diabetics, the hair follicle of patients with alopecia areata, the muscle of children with juvenile dermatomyositis, the skin lesions of psoriatic patients, and the synovium of arthritis patients. Therefore, decreased NK cells in the peripheral blood with autoimmune disorders may result from them being shunted to diseased tissue [R].

NK cells may be directly involved in these diseases through their potential to attack our own tissue, or by their interaction (stimulation) with dendritic cells, macrophages, or T lymphocytes, thereby inducing excessive inflammation [R].

But, if you look at the big picture, it seems like NK cells and their function (cytotoxicity) do more to help prevent autoimmune disease, as a whole. However, the specific autoimmune disease and the environment of the person (what the rest of their immune system is like) probably plays a large role.

Bottom line: From my reading, NK cells seem like they can prevent autoimmune disease overall, but in some ways, they can contribute to it.

Inhibiting EBV Reactivation and Suppressing the Th1 System

Supplements that increase your Th1 system will indirectly prevent EBV reactivation by increasing interferon-gamma.

This list is a group of supplements that inhibit Th1 but also prevent its reactivation. I plan on creating a list of EBV inhibitors that also increase Th1 cells.

To prevent EBV reactivation you want to take Th1 supplements instead.

Methods for suppressing the Th1 system are located here.

In a cell study, sulforaphane inhibited reactivation [R].

There are probably many others, but these were the only ones that I could find sources for.

How Viruses Infect Cells

Irregular Pregnenalone Levels?

If you have not yet tested your pregnenolone levels, I recommend that you ask your doctor to do it. If you already have your blood test results and you’re not sure what to make of them, you need to check out Lab Test Analyzer. It does all the heavy lifting for you. No need to do thousands of hours of research on what to make of your various blood tests.

People don’t realize that their blood test results contain a gold mine of information that’s waiting to be unearthed. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time or the inclination to sift through dozens of research papers.

It’s super-simple so that even if you don’t have any background in science, you will understand what your results mean and what you can do to get them in the optimal range.

Lab Test Analyzer gives you up-to-date scientific information about your lab results. In addition, you will get both lifestyle tips and natural solutions to help you optimize your health. You can also rely on our science-based Optimal Ranges to prevent potential health issues and maximize your overall well-being.

All of the content is backed by science and researched by a team of PhDs, professors, and scientists.

We’re all unique, so we deserve solutions that treat us that way.

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


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  • Susan N

    Love the info. Got another study for you.

    1. Caroline Lam

      Thank you, Susan! I’ve added it to the article. 🙂

  • Sebastian

    Not sure it’s great to increase CD8. There are numerous studies suggesting CD8 in some autoimmune conditions (eg. psoriasis) produce IL 17 and other citokines:

    1. Caroline Lam

      Hi Sebastian,
      Thank you for commenting. While you’re right, I think that part of the article is referring to low CD8 levels, which can lead to autoimmunity caused in part by the EB virus. So in that case, increasing levels would be appropriate. It’s just important to stay in an optimal range, as is the case for almost everything.

  • Sam

    Hi Joe,

    Thank you for the info, very helpful. I noticed you reduced the comments section to a small box. It makes it hard to scan/skim through the relevant comments and feedback. Could you make the comments section bigger or create a comments button at the end of your post to load all the comments.

    1. Caroline Lam

      Hi Sam!

      We are actually working on redoing the look and functionality of various pages of the site. The comments section is something we are in the process of updating. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!


  • Greg.

    Interesting site. I’ve just been informed of have ebv May 2018. 50 year old male. Also low vitamin d. I recall last summer being extremely tired but no other symptoms. Today I have head pressure sometimes, ringing in left ear that does go away once in a while, slight headache, feeling of electricity in head that does go away. Red rash, burning feeling in left shin, numbness and tingling. Energy level still high. Swollen throat glands and bit of sore throat. Actually feel better now than years ago. I drink plenty of ice water, take ibuprofen, started vit d3, vit c, vit b12, magnesium.

  • Drake

    Have been battling with this for a couple of years. Became serious about it 6 months ago and have done nothing but Whole Foods for the entirety of 6 months. It’s starting to work in my favor. I’m experimenting with supplements and have recently started a salmon oil. Can I get a yes or no on this supplement? I base everything off how much ringing is present in my ears. My CNS has improved but spikes from time to time with new supplements/food. Healing or detrimental? Okay, so fish oils… yes or no??

  • Lisa

    My daughter took high doses of monolauren which she bought from the company. She was also deficient in Vitamin D3. She felt nauseous from the die off but the monolauren put the EBV in remission. She then started to feel better. She also is taking Milk Thistle, Astragalus, vitamin D3, Host Defense immure mushrooms, probiotics and coQ10.

  • Lucille Todd

    Lysine is an amino acid that is also anti-viral. I take around 2,500 mg twice daily.

  • Karen Moore

    I’m curious why lysine was listed. Doesn’t it help?

  • A. Peterson

    I wouldn’t use spironolactone as it can severely damage your kidneys. Look into that further before ever using that drug.

  • Birgit Bye

    Sorry, my tabletablet autocorrects me all the time, again: Google scholar search : Spironolactone decreases inflammation and successfullymes treats chronic Epstein Barr

  • Birgit Bye

    Please google Epstein Barr and spiralonactone, it’s an old Anne drug that kills off chronic Epstein Bell and lowers inflammation..Google scholar

  • Kim

    I would like to know more about it thank you

  • Karen

    Great question! I have some of this in my toolkit, but haven’t used it yet. Hope Joe weighs in.

  • Danielle

    Hi. This year I lost an organ to EBV relapse. I contracted it at age 20. I’m a female now 29 years old. I somehow relapsed this year and my gallbladder became very inflamed. I lost it and now I’m having liver issues. I have also tested positive for autoimmune presence of some sort but I ask a very important question that could be plaguing others as well, can we really take autoimmune medications if we have ebv because can’t it drop the immune system and allow the ebv to proliferate even further? Feels like there aren’t many options out there for those of us with chronic infection. I have often felt hopeless this year for success of putting it back into remission.

  • Kat

    Heather, you wrote: “I went outside the “box” (as in the Mexico connection) and treated myself for hypothyroidism out of desperation and quite a small dose made a HUGE difference.” ..

    My question is: Small dose of What? I would LOVE to find something that would make a HUGE difference, after not fully living for several decades with EBV and it’s assorted maladies.

  • Neeraj Swarnkar

    Some typo( dont know how to edit above article) Its 700 grams, not 7gm above.

  • Neeraj Swarnkar

    Its very informative article. My daughter had started getting symptoms of Juvenile Dermatomyositis at the age of 2 only, i.e. after 1 month of high viral fever( 105 degree). But symptoms were only in skin and they were very mild. After one year, she got weakness in muscles, where doctor doubted something fishy. and took another six months to declare JDM( i.e. after 1.5 years of getting initial symptoms) i.e. in May 2016, where he age was 2.5 years exact. Since May,2016 she is on Omnacotril,methotraxate & IVIG( 6 doses of 2g/KG and 5 doses of 1g/kg already given). Now her muscles strength has come back. She had been taking thyroid medicine too ( since April, 2016) with dose of 25ug.Since TSH wiil mildly elevated, doctor suggested to stop medicine after our complain of no weight gain and child remaining hyperactive. Her weight has gone up by 7gm in just 1.5 months. Her ANTI TPO test was done which is high 160( normal is < 60). We believe JDM is started by viral attack, which virus we dont know. Do you have suggest for us? Definitely, we will seek advice with our doctor, before following anything.

  • Elizabeth Swope

    Lucille, where is the group that follows Anthony Williams? TIA

  • Lynn


  • Lucille Todd

    Those of us who follow Anthony William’s protocol have pretty much given up on doctors and diagnoses long ago. A diagnosis doesn’t help in many cases and Anthony says that many of those tests are outdated and inaccurate anyway. Doctors could only prescribe toxic drugs for me which did not address the root cause of the problem. There are hundred of thousands of us on Antony’s protocol of super healthy food, anti-viral herbs and avoiding foods that feed viruses. (dairy and eggs being the worst) It’s not a quick fix but does no harm and should eventually knock down the virus load and build up the immune system to the point of wellness. Frustrating, I know. I’ve been dealing with this for 35 years but feel like I’m finally making progress. All the best to you, Carrie.

    1. Aaron

      You knock drugs — which, in some cases, are life-saving — but follow a guy who claims he gets his information from spirits. Ummm, okay…

  • DebbyT

    Leah I am by no means any kind of expert. I have been very ill for 6 years ebv/possible Lyme CFS + co-infections. The main thing that got ME out of the bed I believe was ATP pills. My doctor has not done much to help me but testing ATP levels and getting supplements did help me.

  • Leo

    Great post. This line is unclear: To prevent EBV reactivation you want to take the Th1 supplements instead.

    It is followed by supplements to decrease Th1 dominance. I suppose to prevent EBV reactivation you want to increase Th1 supplements, right?

    There is similiar linguistic inclarity in posts about Th1/Th2 dominance. May want to correct those. People, especially with active infections, may hurt themselves.

    Also: I would very much appreciate clarifying how to lower th1 dominance, as one addresses active/chronic infections. People with Lyme, chronic viruses etc would benefit.

  • Travis Mitchell

    Butyrate induces the lytic cycle of EBV. If I’m correct, this would enhance the growth of the virus. It seems it would actually accelerate the pathogensis of the virus.

  • Carrie

    I’m almost 40 and was diagnosed with ebv (it had already been active at some point) I have been on again/off again depressed and anxious (which I believe is cause/effect to some health reason not due to actual depression..if that makes sense)
    I made a time line of all the crazy illnesses I have experienced since I was 18 yrs old that all seem to lead up to EBV and I pray not but potentially MS. I was supposed to be tested by nuerologist a couple years back but due to fear because of having 2 young kids I avoided it, now wishing I hadnt. I work but not full time. I find my symptoms increase to the point of extreme exhaustion right before my monthly cycle.. then I have about 5 days of wonderful energy. It also at one point made me think and I bi-polar because of my highs and lows. After making a decision to really find out what is going on with me and not going from Doctor to Doctor who have no true answers.. I am here. I have read a ton of material the last couple years.. then yesterday listened to Anthony Williams webinar shared by Medical Medium about Epstein Barr virus and it’s connection to a long list of autoimmune and diseases.
    My biggest question is how does bloodwork pull this all together and what should ones bloodwork involve testing? Many items on my bloodwork are within a normal range but always at the higher end of the range. My cholesterol was high and through change of diet/cleaner foods I was able to bring it down myself by 50points. Do you see Naturopath Doctors?
    Are you able to hold down a full time job even with flare ups? I need a f/t job but am afraid of my exhaustion is going to get in the way.
    I have a positive mind set best I can. I want to be healthy. I hate having these bouts.

  • Sofiko

    Hi! This website in particular Lectin section was a turning point in the search for my true medical condition, when I have finally turned to the right doctor. With this doctor I have realised that all many “conditions” that I was diagnosed with are just symptoms of Lyme disease. Many of these conditions are mentioned on this website. So I strongly advice everyone who somewhat finds herself or himself here go and check for Lyme. The Lyme disease causes autoimmune disorders, all sorts of digestion problems and pulls into the body co-infections. Epstein Barr Virus is one of them. People with Lyme are usually misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and so on.

  • Frederik Emil Hanfgarn

    Antiviral activity of resveratrol:

    Two last ones are on Epstein Barr. It’s all in vitro though, whether this applies to in vivo is the question.

  • Windingdown

    Don’t forget to add in some LDN do a lot of research it bounces your immune system it’s a great bonus to any treatment

    1. Windingdown

      I mean LDN sorry spellcheck was wrong moderate could please correct original post thanks

  • john seville


    Have you ever put into “remission” any of the major autoimmune diseases for your clients? Stuff like RA, Lupus, Sjogrens, Scleroderma. Also I noticed an improvement with symptoms when I recently tried the Chinese Mushroom, Coriolus Versicolor. You would think things would get worse, since there are all types of warnings about using these types of mushrooms with autoimmune,but I improved, guess making the immune system stronger may not be as bad as they make it out to be for autoimmune. Let me know about my initial question, thank you.


  • Frederik Emil Hanfgarn

    Hey Joe, what’s your thoughts on 1,3-1,6 beta glucans for EBV?

    1. john seville

      I have Sjogren’s with EBV, have used multiple Chinese Mushrooms loaded with Beta Glucans, helpful to me, see my post above yours.

  • john seville

    In order to resolve an autoimmune issue caused by EBV reactivation what do you think about using a product called ProBoost Thymic Protein A that is supposed to rebuild (?) our shrunken thymus gland and which hopefully will now produce more CD8+ cytotoxic T cells to fight the EBV and cause remission of the autoimmune disease. Does this sound like a plausilbe solution, or is it more complicated once the attack has started? Will this cause flaring of the current disease while the fight goes on? Thanks, great site, lots to learn.

    1. Jason Klinger

      You may want to buy a micropulser. Look up Sota Silver Pulser. The device uses electrical currents from a 9 volt battery and has had proven success treating blood born pathogens. Theres a study from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine. I am using it for EBV too. not sure if its working yet but i plan to get my antibodies retested. I can say with confidence that this device has helped me on a few occasions knock a cold down when i felt it coming on and i havent been sick once since using it. i travel a lot and am always around people.

    2. john seville

      Update… I tried a number of immune stimulants, ProBoost and several Chinese mushrooms, Coriolus Versicolor, Maitake, Shitake, Reishi, everyone caused lessening of my Sjgoren’s symptoms, even when I took them all at the same time, which was quite a dose. Cannot vouch for reactions for other autoimmunes other than Sjogrens, so be very careful if you decide to try, use only one and start very low dose, better safe than sorry. I have gotten burnt in the past due to my experiments 🙂

  • Jason

    Jeff I am confused by what you posted. If you need CD8 cells to fight off EBV then why would you want to suppress your TH1 system? Also if you have EBV and autoimmunity how can you treat you suppress/stimulate TH1 or TH2? Would appreciate clarification – thanks

    1. bernadette

      Confused too?? I thought Boswellia lowers interferon gamma which will cause a reactivation of EBV??

    2. Emily

      I also am confused on that also but some of those supplements do help with ebv re-activation but like you said why would you want to suppress Th1? I know it was also stated a new list that prevents reactivation and increases Th1 might be made, I would love that!

  • Lara

    Hello. I have chronic Epstein Barr and fibromyalgia. I was told to eat thymus like you stated. I ended up in the E.R. screaming in fibro pain so severely they needed to pump morphine in me that did nothing. I am not allergic to beef. Can you give me some insight why eating a thymus would do that? Incidentally the cow was grass fed. I had eaten other cuts from this same supplier without any problems.

    1. Sarah

      Hey Lara, I’m curious how you know you have chronic Epstein Barr? Are you just going by symptoms or does your blood work consistently show elevated antibodies?

      1. Lara

        Hi Sarah. Yes I have been diagnosed with chronic epstein barr. My tests show very high levels.

        1. Dawn P

          Is your IgG or your IgM elevated on you EBV TEST? my IgM is normal but IgG has gone up from 399.0 to 566.0??? Dr. Says it’s a past infection but I’m so confused?? Why does it go up if it’s not active?

          1. Sue Pa

            i think it is probably active. dr. montoya at stanford treats with antivirals even if only the IgG is elevated to the herpes viruses.

            reply icon
  • Carmen Burr

    Hi Mr. Cohen, do you believe that EBV could molecularly mimic hormones or another cell or hide in another gland or organ that is necessary in the female hormonal cycle? I am a 35 yr old woman that is active married happy and engaged with life when 1.5 yrs ago I got sick and was told I had mono and have never recovered. What sets my story apart is that I get sick like a clock with mono like symptoms (very swollen tonsils headache cough and exhaustion / bed ridden) every hormonal cycle. For the first 8 months I got sick right before my cycle started and the last 3 months right before ovulation instead. I have seen immunologists, alergy specialist, hormone expert, ears nose and throat doctor, the infectiology department at the hospital and no one understands what I have. My bouts last about 5 days and I bounce back to perfect health until the next cycle. My feeling as experiencing this first hand is that the virus is being released with my hormones. I have been offered steroids or birth control pills to cease production of hormones. I am living in northern Germany for the last 4 years and got sick here,originally from the east coast. Sun could definitely be a source. Input is very welcomed!

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Hard to say, I’d need to see your full case.

    2. Laura

      Carmen have you ever considered Lyme dz and or it’s “co-infections” at play here, especially since you mentioned living on East coast of USA? We are endemic here! Hope you find some help soon!

    3. Clira Naxos

      Hi Carmen, I had something simmilar cca 10 years ago (I was 16-18yo) – got sick right before my cycle started and maybe anoher 5 days as well. Then I was totally OK by the next period. I had quite a bad sore throat, but always got better after the period ended. Then I was on birth control pills for some years and it was much better, non-existent I would say. Then I stopped that pills and the thing returned, in much higher magnitude. Time went and 6 months ago I was diagnosed with Sjögren’s (I have some predispositions in my DNA to autoimmune and SjS especially). I believe it started 10 years ago with that sick feelings. As far as I know, on my blood test, there is past EBV and CMV infection as well.

      1. Viva

        I have Sjorgens and it will flare at end/ after cycle, gradually get better till next period and then repeats.

  • Leah

    This is the most informative website I have come across in my search for answers. I too, need to take my health problems into my own hands. I had EBV at 17. I’m 50 now. I have systemic sclerosis, ANA 1/2560, graves disease, sjorgens syndrome, high para thyroid hormones but not autoimmune, secondary addisons, adhd, and an undiagnosed muscular problem. I struggled through, raised my child, but now, 28 years of living with these health issues, I have hit a brick wall. I am finding it hard to do the smallest thing. I have decided to try pregnenolone, COQ10, and progesterone cream. I wonder if you can suggest a short term energy fix.

    1. Dawn P

    2. john seville


      With those issues if I were you I would be looking into the antibiotic protocol. There is a site called that can be a lot of help to you. Many members can guide you so you can get better, I am a member there and have used that protocol for 2 years. It is very important you stop the progression of the scelrosis. BTW, I have Sjogren’s also, very tough one.


      1. Sue Pa

        Interesting you should say that. Antibiotics helped me after decades of sickness after EBV. What I don’t understand is, why would bacteria become an issue after EBV?

  • mikey

    I copied and pasted everything in the following quotes from this page (and it is all in this page in the same order as in this copy and paste) — completly confused by this: If we suspect EBV should we try to INcrease our Th1 or try to DEcrease our Th1?

    “Inhibiting EBV Reactivation AND Also Suppressing the Th1 system

    Supplements that increase your Th1 system will indirectly prevent EBV reactivation by increasing interferon gamma.

    This list is a group of supplements that inhibit Th1 but also prevent its reactivation. I plan on creating a list of EBV inhibitors that also increase Th1 cells.

    To prevent EBV reactivation you want to take the Th1 supplements instead.”

    No idea how to summarize this. Several parts seem to contradict each other?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Th1 increasing supps=good for fighting against EBV

      But there are Th1 inhibiting supps that are directly anti-microbial for EBV…those are also good…

      1. bernadette

        And what are those supplements that are th1 inhibiting but at the same time anti-microbial??

  • Betsy

    Joe, is the second part of this quote accurate?
    ” I think that if there are environmental chemical effects, the problem is more immunostimulatory than immunosuppressive – but it’s not clear exactly what.

    I tend to view ME as an immune overactivation rather than a weakened immune system (although that could mean overactivation of one part compensating for dysfunction of another).”

    The part about overactivation of one part of the immune system compensating for dysfunction of another.

    I have a feeling it’s close but not exact, but I don’t know which word I would change.

    1. Betsy

      Joe, never mind, you don’t need to post that comment, it was not a correct representation. I reread you post again, and it explains it so well. That comment was just confusing the issue. Thanks for your easy to understand, very comprehensive posts.

  • Betsy

    Hello Joe,
    I have been trying to figure out if EBV is involved in vagus nerve causing so many problems in people with Lyme and coinfections. I think it’s more likely a virus than one of the bacteria as viruses seem to love nerves, and the neurological symptoms seem to appear later in the disease, perhaps after antibiotics or herbal treatment.

    If EBV or another virus is involved, where is it’s action? Receptor blockage, hypothalamus or pituitary infection? I feel like I can see the dots but can’t connect them.

    This is the most recent article that I’m trying to get through.

    But I was thinking that maybe you already know something that would send me in the right direction or save me a lot of time.

    Thank you,

    1. lisav20

      Betsy, I am working through pretty much same thing, in same position! We must link up! Drs I’ve seen so far look at me like ‘yeah, you’re on your own with that one’ but I am absolutely on to something. Is there a particular type of Dr. you find helpful with this particular situation??

      1. Betsy

        Lisa, no, I don’t know of any doctors that would even care to deal with this in a way that would be healing. We are pretty much on our own! It’s pathetic. But I have found a remedy that seems to deal with the issue completely so that I don’t need to find the answer to my confusion. It’s a homeopathic remedy that is listed as being for fatigue, allergies, and cancer. It’s called Taurox 6B. Love it so far, and I started taking material doses of taurine while I was waiting for the taurox to arrive. If you want to talk about it on a forum, or even just read about it without joining a forum, let me know.

        1. Kelsey

          Anthony William addresses EBV+Lyme+vagus nerve overstimulation. Check out his book (Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal) and his radio show on SoundCloud (Medical Medium).

          1. Carrie

            I JUST listened to his webinar yesterday! So very interesting!

            reply icon
  • Betsy

    Hello Joe, thank you for your website, it’s very informative.

    I would like to ask your opinion about EBV being able to evade the immune system, and if you do think that it is able to evade the immune system, does raising levels of CD 8 or NK cells help anyway?

    Also, I see that you say that resistant starch, Hi Maize, can reactivate EBV, but at the same time it’s on the list of things to increase CD 8.
    Does it have a dual function of maybe bringing EBV out of hiding and then also dealing with it?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      yes, it will help….I would take it hi-maize, don’t worry about EBV.

      1. Betsy

        Okay, thank you.

  • Joanna


  • Abdulrahman

    Hello Joe,

    Impressive article, collects a lot of information on CEBV that is scattered around and fits the pieces togetyer. Keep up the good work.

    I would like to call your atention to alternative unusual solutions to CEBV [ the major single cause of Chronic Fatigue]:

    Note: I have my own input to this thread above, its under the name; “Abdulrahman”

    Another item to mention is that there is now 100% proof that the EBV that people are fighting in CEBV, Chronic Fatigue and other major diaseases, is not the EBV that causes the garden variety Mononucleosis. In fact it is a very powerfull mutant virus that is able to damage and fight our immune systems for decades:

    Good luck,


  • kaydeewilkie

    Very interesting. I have been suspecting EBV as the driving force behind my CFS, etc… I started some anti-virals last week. Increased my vitamin C intake, started Zinc, started L-Lysine, and started Monolaurin. Also taking measures to alkalinize my ph. Taking colostrum now too. Any thoughts about my protocol?

  • Andrew

    Interesting hypothesis, but currently it has a few major holes that lack evidence:

    There is no direct evidence that there are autoreactive T-cells in autoimmune diseases. Actually, this point doesn’t really matter as autoreactive T-cells are not necessary for autoimmune disease to persist – it is the B Cells that are important.

    The key point that needs to be demonstrated is the mechanism(s) of inducement of autoreactive B-cells via EBV directed processes.

    The key point is that the way that autoimmunity is induced is directly related to the antigens and thus the form of autoimmune disease.

    Once autoimmunity is induced, merely trying to ‘inhibit th1/th2 responses’ or EBV activation isn’t going to lead to any sort of remission. Only targeting the B-Cell production of antibodies in some way will lead to remission.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      1&2) EBV could make B cells autoreactive as well, maybe bec of similarity of epitopes.

      3) I don’t disagree, but the body is more likely to self correct without the cause/underlying driver of disease. I spoke about how to inhibit EBV in this post, not cure autoimmune disease. Surely, the situation is more complex.

  • Joanna

    Came across this today.

    “Previously unknown that viral infections can trigger auto immune conditions” – looks like you already knew. Haha 🙂

    1. Joe


  • Joe

    Great share. Would explain how EBV causes Th2 dominance. I would pay attention to posts over the coming weeks before you start your experiments.

  • Jean

    Hey Joe,

    I found this on a forum:

    “Epstein-Barr virus actually has the ability to make a fake version of the human cytokine IL-10. The function of IL-10 in humans is to switch off the antiviral Th1 response, and instead switch on the antibacterial Th2 response. So this is why EBV makes this fake IL-10, because when EBV secretes IL10 it causes the human immune system to turn off its antiviral response, and this then stops EBV from being attacked by the immune system. Ref: here.

    Making fake IL-10 is a brilliant strategy on behalf of EBV, but of course for us, it means we now have immune dysfunction, caused by EBV, and this immune dysfunction may make us unable to properly attack viruses in general.

    I have long suspected that such immune evasion tactics may be at the heart of the immune dysfunction found in ME/CFS.”


    So… we should basically focus on increasing IL-10 through various strategies to keep EBV at bay? My doc said that I have fibromyalgia (She basically gave up) and put me on amytriptyline after we checked my cortisol/hormone levels, heart, liver, thyroid, vitamin levels, etc. (everything was perfect). I am still more tired than my friends who drink beer, smoke and eat at McDonalds on a daily basis. I never found Modafinil helpful. I avoid all CNS stimulants. I don’t kill myself at the gym. I don’t stress or rely on cortisol.

    I am absolutely sure that I have a serotonin deficiency too. So I am going to experiment with this and give feedback. This might be the cure I’ve been seeking all along.

    1. Heather

      I do believe you are at the perfect site to get help. I’ve come a long way with health and the advice you’ll find here is the best I have found anywhere so far. As for the “perfect” lab results, don’t trust them. You are not a number and if for instance you’re exhausted like I was for many years, numbers mean absolutely nothing. I went outside the “box” (as in the Mexico connection) and treated myself for hypothyroidism out of desperation and quite a small dose made a HUGE difference. I had “perfect” numbers for years that cause me to sleep my life away. If I can help only one person to not repeat my experience I will explode with joy. Change can be slow so be very patient.

      1. Rhonda Buchanan

        I too am suffering please whatever info you have would be helpful thank you Rhonda

  • pako

    Joe, when you eat canned cod liver, do you consume the oil also? How often do you recommend eating a tin?

  • Yimyam

    For your less intelligent readers, to summarise, are you suggesting you think EBV could be a possible root cause of your huge array of food sensitivities?

    1. Joe

      Yes, but genes also matter. More than 90% of people eventually get EBV.

  • Daniel

    He, so how would a targeted approach look like. Should I buy all of this and take it at once?

  • Erin

    You mention training yourself regarding stress. Can you elloborate? I find myself getting stressed all the time and over small things and notice neurotransmitter balancing helps. Your method is of great interest to me. Thanks.

    1. Joe

      Will blog about it in future

      1. Erin

        Great, looking forward to it.

  • Joanna


  • dawnofeverything

    Well, it basically acts as a statin:

  • Jean

    Great stuff. As always!

  • daz

    excuse my naivety on the subject…
    just need something ‘dumbed down’ on the th1/th2 thing…

    Referring to your previous post (Which Supplements and Foods Are Right For Your Type?…)
    If someone is th1 dominant (as you are), is the aim/goal;
    1. to reduce/avoid things that Raise th1
    2. & to do things that Raise th2

    & thx for the post

    1. Joe


  • Jiri

    Also can you please recommend the most potent from your list above?

    1. Joe

      Longvida curcumin – 2-4g a day

      1. john seville

        If anyone is a current or ex smoker, stay clear of tumeric/curcumin products, they have a high propensity to cause lung tumors. Check PubMed for studies indicating this, it is due to the high oxygen content of the lungs, for all other it is an excellent supplement. Here is a sample study …

  • Jiri

    Joe, what do you mean by Citrus and RSV? Any link for order?

    1. Joe

      My toolkit has everything. RSV= resveratrol.

  • dawnofeverything

    Nice post. Do you think you’ll ever do a post on depression? I have insomnia somewhat and I took arignine and l-orthinine often but for other reasons I’m not quite aware of–something to do with ammonia…Also, I think garlic may inhibit EBV reactivation and it decreases Th1 while increasing th2:

    1. Joe

      Source for garlic inhibiting EBV?

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