How To Strengthen Your Immune System If You Have Mononucleosis (Epstein Barr Virus)

Mononucleosis is a contagious infection caused by the Epstein Barr virus. Also known as Glandular Fever, the infection is most common in young adults and the typical symptoms are sore throat, fatigue and swollen lymph glands in the neck. There are no medications that cure the infection. The only treatment is rest and strengthening your immune system through a healthy diet and appropriate nutrients.

Most people recover fully from mononucleosis, although the illness can last several months and produce profound fatigue. The virus can affect the liver in some people, and lead to a type of hepatitis. This can cause mild jaundice (yellow tint to the skin and eyes). It occurs in approximately 4 percent of people who contract mononucleosis. The Epstein Barr virus can also be a trigger of chronic fatigue syndrome in some people. We have seen quite a lot of patients who are never well since contracting the infection.

How well you recover from mononucleosis depends on how healthy your immune system and liver are.

How to strengthen your immune system

  • Try to get adequate sleep and rest. Most of us lead extremely busy lives, juggling many responsibilities. Sleep is the only time your body gets a chance to fully rest and repair itself. Not getting enough sleep, or having poor quality sleep is harmful to your health in every way; particularly your immune health. If you find it difficult to unwind and relax at night, a magnesium supplement should help. Magnesium promotes the production of the neurotransmitter GABA, which has a calming effect and quietens the chatter in your mind.
  • Focus on eating lots of vegetables. Of all the diet plans and conflicting nutritional advice on the internet, nearly everyone agrees we should be eating more vegetables. Vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients that help to strengthen your immune system. Eating more vegetables also helps to displace unhealthy foods from your diet. You will absorb more nutrients from vegetables if you consume them with healthy fats – such as an olive oil dressing, or roasting vegetables in natural fat such as coconut oil or ghee. Juicing vegetables also helps to concentrate nutrients and make them more absorbable. There are many healthy juicing ideas in my book Raw Juices Can Save Your Life.
  • Minimize sugar and alcohol. Both of these substances deplete your body of nutrients and weaken your immune system. They are also addictive for some people, and can worsen depression or anxiety, which reduces a person’s ability to take good care of their health.
  • Regular exercise helps to improve the efficiency of your lymphatic system. This is your body’s natural garbage disposal system, helping to remove metabolic waste. Exercise has a calming effect and helps to reduce depression or anxiety.
  • Selenium is a mineral which is vital for the healthy function of your immune system. There is a widespread deficiency of selenium in the soils in many parts of the world including Australia, New Zealand and parts of the USA. Selenium acts on the genetic material of a virus (its RNA) which is situated in the center of the virus. The RNA of the virus is the control center of the virus and tells the virus to replicate itself; selenium can inhibit this process.  I strongly advise you to start taking a regular supplement of the organic form of selenium known as selenomethionine in a dose of 200mcg daily. One capsule of Selenomune Designer Energy capsules provides this dose.
  • Your liver is the filter and cleanser of your bloodstream. It is your most important detoxification organ. Your liver may not be great at detoxification if it isn’t in optimal health; fatty liver, hepatitis and leaky gut all compromise liver health. Taking a liver tonic like Livatone Pluscan help protect your liver from inflammation caused by the Epstein Barr virus, and may help you recover sooner.
  • The powerful benefits of vitamin C should not be underestimated. It inhibits the protein called neuraminidase, which is produced by viruses, as it’s needed for viral replication. It increases the production and killing power of immune cells such as neutrophils, macrophages and lymphocytes. Vitamin C increases the body’s production of immune fighting chemicals such as interferon and nitric oxide. It increases the immune cell production of antibodies that inactivate viruses. Vitamin C also directly inhibits viral replication.
  • Bone broth and good old fashioned chicken soup are healing to the immune system.This is largely because of the beneficial effects they have on the gastrointestinal tract. The majority of your immune system resides in your intestines and the beneficial compounds in cartilage and bones help to support immune health.
  • Probiotics are extremely valuable for supporting immune health. We each have approximately 3 pounds of microbes living in our digestive tract. The composition of these microbes has a powerful influence over the strength of your immune system and also whether you develop allergies or food intolerance. You can support your microbiome by taking a good probiotic supplement or eating fermented foods.
  • Have your blood vitamin D level checked. You may discover that you are deficient in this important nutrient. Low vitamin D makes you more prone to catching an infection and more likely that the infection will linger much longer. If you live in an area that receives very little sunshine, or you don’t spend much time outdoors, you could need more vitamin D. During winter this is a problem for many people.

Recovering from mononucleosis can be a slow process, but there are definitely ways to assist your body with healing and recovery.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.