How hidden or stealth infections may be the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
When we look at some of the more common causes of Adrenal Fatigue we often think of prolonged stress, Sex Hormone Imbalances, dysglycemia, and finally inflammation as being the primary culprits.
However what if you have addressed these with your holistic physician and you continue to struggle with extreme lethargy, focus, concentrations, and muscle fatigue.
My best recommendation is to start looking at some of the other potential Adrenal stressors and that would include chronic infection. A common cause behind adrenal insufficiency often missed, is that of a chronic infection or stealth infection. Among the most common infections seen with adrenal fatigue syndrome are Epstein-Barr, Lyme, Candida and molds and these are ones that require testing.
As much as 95 percent of the general population may be infected by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) which belongs to the herpes family. In its acute infectious state it can be caught from bodily secretions including saliva and genital fluids.
This stealth virus uses DNA methylation to protect itself from the immune system and it stays in the resting memory B cells. Since these B cells change with the immune system, providing concealment to the pathogen, the EBV virus can easily proliferate undetected.
Symptoms of EBV
Among the symptoms of this virus are:
- Mild fever
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Fatigue that can last from between a week to a month
- Spleen enlargement
Testing For EBV
Healthcare providers can test for antibodies to the following EBV-associated antigens:
- Viral capsid antigen (VCA)
- Anti-VCA IgM appears early in EBV infection and usually disappears within 4 to 6 weeks.
- Anti-VCA IgG appears in the acute phase of EBV infection, peaks at 2 to 4 weeks after onset, declines slightly then persists for the rest of a person’s life.
Interpretation of EBV Antibody Tests
EBV antibody tests are not usually needed to diagnose infectious mononucleosis. However, specific antibody tests may be needed to identify the cause of illness in people who do not have a typical case of infectious mononucleosis or have other illnesses that can be caused by EBV infection.
Symptoms of infectious mononucleosis generally resolve within 4-8 weeks but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is feeling energetic and full of spunk in 8 weeks. Many people will suffer a lifetime because of EB and other co-infections and in some cases this infection can further stress out the adrenal glands making Fatigue and brain fog unbearable.
The interpretation of EBV antibody tests requires familiarity with these tests as well as a good health history and background in the patients information.
Interpretation of EBV antibody tests and diagnosis of EBV infection is summarized as follows:
- Susceptibility to infection People are considered susceptible to EBV infection if they do not have antibodies to the VCA.
- Primary (new or recent) infection People are considered to have a primary EBV infection if they have anti-VCA IgM but do not have antibody to EBNA. Other results that strongly suggest a primary infection are a high or rising level of anti-VCA IgG and no antibody to EBNA after at least 4 weeks of illness. Resolution of the illness may occur before the diagnostic antibody levels appear. In rare cases, people with active EBV infections may not have detectable EBV-specific antibodies.
- Past infection The presence of antibodies to both VCA and EBNA suggests past infection (from several months to years earlier). Since over 90% of adults have been infected with EBV, most adults will show antibodies to EBV from infection years earlier. High or elevated antibody levels may be present for years and are not diagnostic of recent infection.
Testing paired acute- and convalescent-phase serum samples is not useful to distinguish between recent and past EBV infections. In most cases, the antibody response occurs rapidly during primary EBV infection.
The clinical findings of infectious mononucleosis occur in conjunction with the appearance of IgG and IgM anti-VCA antibodies. However, the antibody pattern is not stable before symptoms appear.
Bed rest and reduced physical activity may also be recommended. Once this virus enters the body it never leaves, staying in a dormant state unless something activates it.
That is why this stealth infection has been linked with CFS, which is also a disease of the immune system. The EBV virus can become active when the immune system is compromised and this virus does not allow the immune system to recover. Adrenal fatigue syndrome and CFS are similar and when there is no other reason for chronic and long lasting fatigue, EBV may be a strong causative factor.
A vector borne disease, spread by ticks, spiders, mosquitos and other insects. Lyme disease is often caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi.
While most people only get alarmed when they see a bull’s eye rash found at the bite sight, You shouldn’t take the “lack” of a bulls eye rash lightly. If you suffer with chronic fatigue, brain fog, neurological problems, I recommend you get a comprehensive workup that will look at many potential co-infections.
What is Borrlia burgdorferi? Borrelia is a coil like bacteria (spirochete) and can move easily and embed itself in the muscles and tendons. It is also a stealth infection which means that it changes into a cell wall deficient form and so is difficult to detect.
Once the bacteria enters the body, if you are lucky, there is localized infection in the form of a rash after an incubation period of a few weeks.
Lab testing for this is only about 50 percent accurate. It may look like the bull’s eye at the rash site or it may not, but either way needs to be treated.
Symptoms and Treatment of Lyme disease
Some of the symptoms of Lyme disease are:
- Rashes anywhere on the body
- Muscle pain
- Joint ache
- Short term memory loss
- Cognitive problems
- Shooting pain
- Numbness in the extremities
- Anxiety or panic attacks
If the disease is not treated, symptoms and health problems can intensify, particularly if the pathogens have entered the brain or nervous system. This is Neurological and sadly many neurologists don’t recognize this yet.
Conventionally Lyme disease is treated with a four week course of antibiotics. However, antibiotic treatment may not eradicate the bacteria completely – often some bacteria typically escape and continue to affect the patient via the stealth infection pathway.
As fatigue, brain fog lingers and pain lingers on, the patient may be wrongly diagnosed with fibromyalgia or other problems and not treated correctly since Lyme disease may escape diagnosis since it is a stealth infection.
Candida is virtually an omnipresent pathogen – yeast that changes into fungus when the conditions are right. More women than men are affected. While these infections are treatable, Candida often exists as a stealth infection.
Under certain circumstances, Candida can exists in the intestines, where it can be kept in check by a healthy immune system. As part of the gut bacteria, it can proliferate and cause problems due to antibiotic overuse, hormonal imbalance, physical or emotional stress, a diet high in sugar and starch, high alcohol intake or even excessive use of progesterone cream. Additionally the yeast can extend hyphae into the gut, produce alcohol and acetaldehyde from digested sugar and cause further problems. In some time, the alcohol produced will need extra energy and nutrients, thus having to provide extra energy and also increase the levels of toxins. In turn this manifests as fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, weakness and even difficulty concentrating.
When the person has an incipient Candida infection, he or she is more prone to allergies as well. Acetaldehyde is the reason for symptoms similar to that of a hangover, and with Candida the body is continuously producing something that causes these symptoms. When the body is in a state of stress and producing toxins, it is not a healthy state to be in.
Candida can be a difficult infection to get rid of because of the many causes behind its overgrowth and a lack of dietary compliance on behalf of the patient. Often made worse with standard medications and a diet high in sugar, alcohol, grains it is best to work with a holistic chiropractic physician. A holistic chiropractic physician will be able to zero in on the symptoms, rule out other causes and check the gut via a stool sample, and then be able to diagnose and offer treatment.
Whatever the stealth infection, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome needs a complete and comprehensive workup in the hands of a competent natural holistic physician.
Testing That should be considered If you suffer with Adrenal Fatigue or Chronic Infection.
- Functional Stool Testing that evaluates the Micro flora in the gut, and inflammation
- Pathogens in blood and stool samples.
- Chemical stressors, physical stressors and inflammation that play a contributory role in adrenal fatigue syndrome.
- Food intolerances, allergies and sensitivities as certain foods may not be immunologically incompatible with your body and aggravate inflammation and stress.
- Investigating intestinal permeability in the gut that checks proteins that are part of the structural integrity of the intestinal tract.
- Nutritional deficiencies causes by improper diet
- Heavy Metals- can be a common culprit if you notice problems with Brain Fog, Depression, Anxiety, Migraines, or any other neurological symptom.
Adrenal fatigue syndrome has complex causes including chemical, environmental and heavy metal toxins. While a simple salivary cortisol may show if the adrenal glands are affected, this test cannot pinpoint the reasons behind the adrenal fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome.
You need a knowledgeable holistic health practitioner who can best guide and treat you and avoid all forms of self treatment.
Dealing with stealth infections and adrenal fatigue syndrome
With the increasing use and abuse of antibiotics and even stronger antibiotics on the rise, the future to immune system problems will need to focus on prevention. We need to re-evaluate our approach to infections. Rather than dropping atomic bombs (antibiotics) on the immune system our focus should be redirected on optimizing the immune system.
It is only a clever physician who knows what to look for and how to put these pieces together. In such cases, recovery is slow partly because the infection has been in the body a long time.
Find a holistic physician who will support the body before tackeling the infectious pathogens. The best approach is to strengthen the body’s immune system with natural compounds, probiotics, vitamins, digestive enzymes and various immunity boosters along with herbal antibiotics. Various methods of detoxification along with adrenal support will help the patient on the path to recovery and good health.
Our Personal Adrenal Fatigue Recovery Program Is A Great Place To Start
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