What You Need to Know About the Epstein Barr Virus and Cancer

In Anticancer foods, foods for colon cancer, foods for breast cancer, Cancer, Epstein-Barr Virus, Uncategorized on January 22, 2018 at 8:38 am

 EBV infection, in many cases, can lead to cancer


Scientists have been trying for a long time to elucidate how viruses reprogram healthy cells into becoming cancer cells. Through extensive research, it has become apparent that the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is behind most cancers, especially for those who have impaired immune systems. It seems that a protein component of the virus itself promotes the development of cancer. EBV infects B cells of the immune system and can reactivate to produce viral offspring that infects nearby cells.  As a result, these cells have a greater chance of transforming into cancer cells.


                          Immune Deficiency


  Autoimmune  Epstein-Barr ⇒  Cancer 

                                   ⇓                   ⇓

            Mononucleosis         Thyroid Disease


EBV: One stealth virus that may potentially lead to cancer is Epstein-Bar virus. Along with herpes, shingles, and chicken pox, the EBV is part of the herpes virus family (HHV-4 herpes). EBV can cause mononucleosis (the “kissing disease”) but usually it doesn’t. In fact, most EVB infections aren’t noticeable, even when they are active in the body. This is why most of my clients have no idea that the virus is fueling their cancer. 

EBV — like CMV (Cytomegalovirus), HPV (Human papillomavirus), and others — is not really a virus that you ‘catch’, but rather are exposed to (more on CMV below). It is well-documented that these viruses are contributing or causative agents in cancer. Considerable research links EBV to immune deficiency, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and other autoimmune disorders as well. Consequently,  a cancer patient might be dealing with more than one EBV-related condition at the same time.

Unfortunately, over 95% of the adult population in the United States has been exposed and thus infected with this virus.  Once infected, the virus remains in the body forever.  For some, the virus remains dormant, causing no problems. For an increasing number of others, the virus becomes active, often triggered by emotional or physical stress, and actually has the ability to change healthy cells into cancer cells.

What this means to you is that each time this virus comes out of dormancy, it significantly raises one’s risk of cancer as well as the progression of the disease.

Reactivation of EBV

Emotional and physical stress are two of the biggest reasons EBV comes out of dormancy. Emotional toxins are toxic material. Further, when you’re under high stress the body releases cortisol, which decreases your immune system, so it is less able to knock down the virus. When you get chapped lips or the shivers while being over-exposed to the elements, you experience physical stress.

Environmental toxins are also involved. More and more studies link environmental factors (such as pesticides and preservatives) and viruses such as Epstein-Barr (which actually feed off environmental and emotional toxins) to the development of cancer.

What You Can Do Now

By all means, lower stress now. While we cannot eliminate stress completely, it is important to disengage from toxic people and circumstances. This means it is best to avoid stressful situations and people. Let me repeat. Get rid of stressful people in your life.

Engaging in mind-body therapies such as meditation, yoga, Tai chi, Reiki, sound therapy, and walking in nature can make a significant reduction in stress levels. Moderate, daily exercise is recommended, but no “weekend warriors’ please as excessive exercise is quite stressful to the body.

For additional information about strategies for supporting adrenal health and reducing stress(ors), the following books are worth reading: Adrenal Fatigue, by James L. Wilson, N.D., D.C., Ph.D.; The Cortisol Connection, by Shawn Talbott, Ph.D.; The End of Stress as We Know It, by Bruce McEwen; and Awakening Athena by Kenna Stephenson, MD.

Ozone therapy, which has been studied for almost 40 years, has been found to be effective against EBV. Healthy cells require oxygen for survival, but viruses live in bodies that have less oxygen. The studies show that ozone therapy increases the amount of oxygen that the body uses. By simply adding more oxygen to the body, the virus cannot survive. With an abundance of oxygen our own bodies destroy the virus. Importantly, ozone targets diseased cells only, leaving healthy cells alone. Ozone also helps our detoxification systems transform toxic substances into harmless ones. However, ozone therapy is expensive and not readily available to everyone.

parsley rootFood is Medicine.  The good news is that numerous common foods and supplements combat EBV in one way or another. Coconut, onions, artichokes, apples, bananas, avocados, thyme (and other herbs), cruciferous vegetables, arugula, parsley, iodine, olive leaf extract, and lysine are just a few.

Some foods, while not directly addressing the activation of EBV, are important as they lessen the chance of the virus initiating cancer. Citrus peels, for example, have been found to be effective against active EBV. Researchers have found that the d-limonene extracted from the peels suppresses TPA, which is the tumor promoter associated with EBV. Therefore, myrtle and lemon essential oils can also be helpful due to the d-limonene they contain. Ginger also blocks TPA as well as the expression of EVB antigens, thus blocking viral and tumor activity associated with EBV.

Turmeric is the ultimate inflammation fighter, including for inflammation in the brain that occurs as a result of EBV. It will help you to heal from the virus.

There are a plethora of natural substances that target EBV, but below I detail a few to give you an idea just how powerful they can be.  Add a few of these to your diet every day, in measurable portions to get the most benefit.  For supplements, start slow by introducing one new supplement every two or three days.

Some Foods That Target EBV: 

  • Onions are a potent antiviral and are high in sulfur, which has the ability to combat EBV. Cruciferous vegetables also contain significant sulfur. The quercetin in onions is quite powerful against EBV infection and the carcinomas it is involved with.
  • Garlic is antiviral and antibacterial which defends against EBV by killing off virus cells. Garlic also helps flush toxic viral and bacterial waste out of the body via the lymphatic system.
  • Artichokes inhibit viral growth.
  • Cilantro is fantastic for removing heavy metals. It is also antibacterial and antiviral, so it suppresses EBV.
  • Essiac tea contains certain components that are able to kill viruses and cancer cells in the blood stream.
  • Parsley is a strong pathogen-fighter and targets parasites, bacteria, and fungus.
  • Aloe Vera is antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic. Studies have shown it to be useful for targeting the pathogens connected with colon, stomach, rectal, and other cancers.
  • Flaxseed, in particular the lignans, is antiviral and antibacterial. Be sure to grind the seeds just prior to use.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar is a powerful anti-viral food.
  • Tomatoes support the immune system, inhibiting EBV. The lycopene in tomatoes is a powerful antioxidant that helps to strengthen your immune system so you can fight the virus.

Supplements That Target EBV: ((For brand recommendations, kindly speak with your doctor or visit my Shop page, thank you. For your convenience, I have added links to a few of the less common supplements here in this article–Just click on the RED links)

Common supplements such as vitamin C and D3 inhibit EBV. However, it takes more than that. Olive leaf extract is another favorite, as it is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, and appears to inhibit viral reproduction. Berberine, an antimicrobial compound, has been found to inhibit a specific gene known as EBNA1, which plays a primary role in the replication and survival of the EBV. While not inclusive, below is a list of some of my favorite EBV inhibitors:

  • Monolaurin, a lipid extract from coconut oil, has strong antiviral activity and breaks down the lipid coating of EBV so it can be starved and destroyed.
  • Licorice root is powerfully antiviral and stops viruses from procreating. It also pushes the virus out of the body creating an environment inhospitable to hosting such viruses.
  • Lysine inhibits the EBV viral load and may oppose arginine, which has been shown to promote the growth and survival of viruses.
  • Olive leaf extract is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. It is the Oleuropein in olive leaf extract that seems to prevent the virus from growing and replicating, essentially destroying the virus. Olive leaf extract is also a powerful immune booster, which helps the body to eliminate viruses.
  • Echinacea is antiviral and supports a healthy immune response to viruses
  • Colloidal silver stops the virus from replicating and starves it. It is the positively charged ions in colloidal sliver that bind to the protein structure surrounding the virus so it can’t replicate.
  • Red marine algae is a powerful antiviral and helps remove heavy metals such as mercury which feed the virus.
  • Berberine has powerful antimicrobial compounds.
  • Artemisinin shows wide spectrum activity against all the subtypes of the human herpes virus, particularly the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV).
  • Cats Claw is powerful against pathogens and viruses.
  • Lemon balm is anti-parasitic, antiviral, and antibacterial.
  • Burdock root and milk thistle support the liver so it can remove pathogens.
  • Astaxanthin, lutein, quercetin, and selenium show powerful protection against EBV activation.
  • Oregano oil is a strong antiviral and antibacterial substance that kills viruses. The compounds responsible are carvacrol and thymol. Using pure oregano oil is imperative. It should be taken sublingually or rubbed into the spine with a carrier oil.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) has been shown to inhibit NF-kB, which has been linked to various cancers. EBV is one of the viruses that trigger NF-kB.
  • NAC has also been found to be antiviral and offers significant reduction of NF-kB.
  • Vitamin D— like NAC and ALA, vitamin D inhibits NF-kB and reduces the resulting inflammation triggered by EBV. It is important to note that low vitamin D status hinders the immune system response to EBV and cancer. Further, young people with low vitamin D status and high antibody reactivity to the EBV have an increased risk of developing MS.
  • Chinese Skullcap is antiviral and protects mitochondria from viral damage.
  • Zinc has strong antiviral properties and boosts immune function so the body can seek out and destroy EBV cells. It suppresses viral growth in the body while also reducing inflammation.
  • Myrtle is also antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and contains other chemo-preventive compounds. Look for this in essential oils.

Mistletoe Extract (administered via IV) may prove to be effective against EBV, which is one of the reasons it is so effective against cancer. Look for upcoming research.

It is recommended to avoid dairy, eggs, gluten, soy, corn, and pork if you believe you are dealing with active EBV.  Beware of citric acid, which is most often made from GMO, aflatoxin-tainted corn. It is always advised to avoid processed foods, harmful oils, and conventional meat and dairy products.

Iodine, Friend or Foe?

Iodine is a disinfectant, effective at killing both viruses and bacteria. I am not speaking of first-aid iodine, commonly used as an antiseptic to clan wounds and prevent infection. But oral iodine actually applies the same germ-fighting abilities. Therefore, it is critical to ingest sufficient dietary iodine to kill off virus cells. Importantly, if you suffer from cold sores (a symptom of EBV), likely you are iodine deficient. Spirulina, leafy greens, onions, sprouts, microgreens, and parsley are all good sources of iodine. Iodine can also be taken as a supplement (more EBV inhibiting supplements listed below). If you are unable to get enough iodine via food sources, a supplement may be helpful. IodoRx,  Isodoral, and Lugol’s 2% or 5%  are some good suggestions. Zinc and Celtic sea salt are excellent co-factors to iodine as they synergistically ignite iodine, making it more available to the body.

In his book, Thyroid Healing, Anthony William explains how EBV is typically the root cause of thyroid disease.  In many cases, iodine could be quite helpful. Yet, many people have been warned not to take iodine if they have hypothyroidism or Hashimotos thyroiditis. I am not an iodine-expert, but I encourage you to read the book for a proper explanation.

For more details on EBV and its connection to cancer and autoimmune, please read my previous articles on the subject, which are listed below.

Epstein Barr Virus Connection to Breast Cancer & Autoimmune Disorders

Epstein Barr Virus: The Sneaky Human Tumor Virus  

For more information and to view my new page on Epstein-Barr please visit EBV Management.

EBV is not the only virus to be concerned with:

CMV, another common virus in the herpes family, has been found to play a major role in childhood ALL. This is evidenced by research published in Blood, a journal published by the American Society of Hematology, which found that in-utero exposure to CMV significantly raises a child’s risk of developing ALL.

CMV also has oncogenic potential for many other cancers, and has been implicated as such. While a direct causation has not been established, it is believed that CMV increases the malignancy of cancers by manipulating the host cell cycle and the immune response, thus promoting the replication and propagation of the virus. As a consequence, there is an interruption of the normal checks that block cancer growth. CMV has also been found to support angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels necessary to feed tumors. It is known to infect most organs of the human body including blood, brain, breast, colon, eye, kidney, liver, and lungs.

The problem is that between 60-80% of the adult population in the United States and almost 100% in emerging countries is infected with this virus.

Like EBV, once CMV is in a person’s body, it stays there for life and can reactivate. Most people will have no symptoms, but the infections can cause serious health problems and birth defects. Thankfully, if you are following an antiviral protocol for EBV, CMV and other viruses will be targeted as well.

The most important factor in healing from cancer is to stop making cancer, or at least control it through the known causes, such as viruses.

You may also wish to read this excellent book by Anthony William:

Medical Medium Thyroid Healing: The Truth behind Hashimoto’s, Graves’, Insomnia, Hypothyroidism, Thyroid Nodules & Epstein-Barr

As an Amazon Affiliate, we may earn a small commission for the sale of products purchased from this site. These small commissions help to pay for the maintenance of this site as well as for the time spent researching and writing on topics relevant to your optimal health, but are achieved at no additional cost to  you.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose any disease or condition. This post does not represent medical advice nor should it be considered to be medical advice or a replacement for medical advice.  I encourage you to discuss this information with your integrative oncologist, naturopathic doctor, or conventional oncologist.  The information provided is from my research and not to be taken as scientific evidence. 


~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor and certified holistic cancer strategist who helps people make better, healthier, non-toxic choices. She emphasizes the critical nature of addressing the root cause of cancer and not just its presenting symptoms (such as the tumor). Elyn specializes in understanding the role of estrogen in breast cancer and debunks the myths associated. She is a Contributing Editor for The Truth About Cancer and was creator and host of the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. Elyn is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn was the former Executive Director of the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Contact Elyn via her website. Elyn offers consults via Skype, phone or in person.

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  1. I have had fatigue for years… but at age 64, after a diagnosis of bilateral breast cancer my naturopathic oncologist did extensive bloodwork. I have active EBV and doc said it had been active for a little ng time.
    I am now 3 weeks into monolaurin, turkey tail mushrooms, D3, Omega 3-6-9, fucocin 70%, coQ10 . I just recently stopped Lomatium isolate drops which i took 4 drops twice daily x14 days as instructed.
    Fifteen years ago I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, refusing the traditional treatments for the first year after diagnosis I finally gave in and began methotrexate which didn’t help. Next Remacaid infusions w/o relief anf next weekly Enbrel injections also not helpful so i have been off of all since October 2016.
    Besides the extreme fatigue and hands that are extremely knotty ( i wear a size 10 ring and weigh 115 pounds) there is the shame.
    Shame because I’m tired and i always have SOMETHING that holds me back from doing what I want to do, joining in with enthusiasm . Of course I am holding out hope that the EBV protocol will give me back some energy.
    Im still working 3days a per in my own business but I always schedule an hour nap midday. I’m very grateful to have that flexibility.

    • Dear Mary,
      You might also consider working with an intuit or energy healer to help you get back to being you–sometimes it’s an ‘energy’ issue. Best, Elyn

  2. Brava!! wonderful information for general consumption. I am so glad you mentioned Anthony William’s books, also the Life Changing Foods is excellent . I had mono at 23 , at 37 a divorce ,5 years of schooling with 4 children, financial stressors ( haha that is living in poverty during school ) and my first symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome at 40. (spasm and pain in the parotid glands) no one knew what it was . The eye doctor said I had rosacea and that was causing my dry eyes. I considered SS but everything said there was no treatment . Fortunately there is more information out there for the more serious complication which is B Cell Lymphoma ( 44 times the risk of an average person ) so I am doing most of what you are recommending as a matter of my research over the last year. Nordic Natural Cod liver oil is high omega three and is third party tested for Mercury and PCBs . It has saved me as far as joint pain goes over the last 11 years . Unfortunately my daughter who is 32 has just recently had a positive test for SS . So I will be passing on your information to her as well. PS Black Seed is quite good in Chile . Thanks so much for your articles and blog. wishing you good health .

  3. Hi Elyn, Doing my bank statement ad realized you havent cashed the check in January. Dawn

    Sent from my iPad


    • humm, sorry about that…I will have to see what happened. There was some problem with TD where they somehow misplaced checks put in the drop box, likely that is what happened. Thank you for letting me know xoxo.

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