Ask your GP what caused your Hashimoto’s disease or other autoimmune condition, and you’re likely to get a vague answer. “It’s just the body attacking itself,” they’ll say. Or, if they’re super honest, they might even tell you that “we” don’t know.
The truth is, autoimmune conditions can be caused by many different things, but infections are very high on the list. These are sometimes thought of as “stealth” infections, because you may not ever see symptoms like you would with the cold or flu, but the infection is raging through your system, overwhelming your immune system.
How infections trigger autoimmunity
Infections can trigger autoimmune problems through what’s known as molecular mimicry. Basically, it means that the microbe causing your infection — a virus or bacteria — looks like your own body tissue to your immune system. Because it’s working so hard to fight the active infection, the immune system attacks anything that “looks” like infection, including your body’s own tissues, like your thyroid gland.
One of the most common infections linked to Hashimoto’s and autoimmune thyroiditis is the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). Epstein-Barr is part of the herpes virus family and causes mononucleosis — commonly known as mono.
For most people who get EBV, the immune system fights it off, and then they develop a lifelong immunity to the virus, like with chicken pox.
But for a small percentage of the population, the virus hides in the thyroid gland, remaining active long after symptoms have subsided, and can eventually cause autoimmune problems as the immune system continues to attack, and attack, and attack.
Can treating EBV treat Hashimoto’s?
As you know, I’m a big believer that we must find and treat the underlying causes of our thyroid problems, rather than just attempting to mitigate the symptoms.
EBV is easily detected with a blood test, and if the virus is still active in your system, it means that your immune system is still actively trying to destroy it — and your thyroid.
If you do have active EBV, then a logical first step is to cure the infection to help slow down the autoimmune response. Of course, you should always work with a health professional before adding supplements to your routine, but supplements that fight EBV include vitamin C, selenium, Reishi mushroom extract, curcumin, and Zinc.
Talk to your doctor about EBV
If you have Hashimoto’s or thyroid and other autoimmune conditions, it’s worth requesting a blood test for EBV from your doctor. Only when we have all the information can we approach our healing at the root causes.
If your regular doctor is reluctant to order the test, seek out a doctor who will, or find a functional medicine practitioner. If you’d like more information about how to talk to your doctor and what tests you should be requesting, you should take my free Thyroid Healing Type Quiz — after you take the quiz, you’ll receive a personalized report based on your thyroid healing type, as well as a print outs to make diagnosis and treatment easier for your doctor.
Remember: knowledge is power! Finding the root cause of your Hashimoto’s will help you heal faster and more completely.
If you’d like more help on finding your root cause, I also provide a ton of resources on health & healing, including:
- Our totally free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Report and Coaching Sessions
- Right here on my blog, where I talk about what’s worked best for me and my clients, as well as the latest research and resources I come across. You can subscribe to get new blog posts delivered right to your email by signing up on the righthand side of the page.
- My book, Healing Hashimoto’s Naturally — part memoir, part instruction manual for how I personally healed my Hashimoto’s disease.
- My exclusive free 6 Thyroid Myths That Can Keep You From Healing workshop — with info on the comprehensive Thyroid Fix in 6 program, which walks you through, step-by-step, the exact actions you need to take to heal your thyroid and get your life back! Reduce antibodies, gain energy and feel like yourself again. We’ve seen hundreds of participants in the Thyroid Fix in 6 avoid, decrease, or even eliminate the need need for thyroid medications.
- The incredible Your Best Thyroid Life Video Bundle, in which I personally invited 27 of the world’s top health experts to share their best tips for living with and healing thyroid disease.
Jen Wittman is a Certified Holistic Health Expert, Chef, Author & Vitality Coach, who teaches women how to reverse thyroid and autoimmune conditions naturally. She’s helped hundreds of women decrease (or even eliminate) their thyroid medications and has helped others stay off thyroid medication entirely.
Through her free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Jen teaches easy and simple steps to thyroid healing that can fit into your busy day. She also provides print outs to bring to your next doctor’s appointment so you can get the support and respect you deserve.