Chronic viral infections can be one of the main problems in the development of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. We all suffer from viral infections at some point in our lives. Our immune system is our natural defense mechanism to eliminate viruses from our bodies.
Many viral infections remain in our bodies and become chronic. In fact, humans are estimated to carry between 8 and 12 persistent viral infections. This happens when the immune response is not enough to eliminate the virus permanently.
Chronic viral infections can have a huge impact on your health. These are linked to a number of health problems, including autoimmune diseases and even cancer. This article will discuss the symptoms of chronic viral infections and the natural solutions to beat these infections.
What are viral infections?
A virus is a small infectious agent that carries genetic material, RNA or DNA, surrounded by a layer of proteins, lipids (fats) or glycoproteins. They can only replicate within the cells of another organism, which is why they are considered parasites. Viruses can infect humans, animals, plants, and microorganisms.
There are more than 400 viruses that can cause infections in your body. When our bodies are invaded with a virus, our adaptive immune response acts to eliminate the primary infection. In the case of some viruses, the immune response is not sufficient to eradicate it and therefore it becomes chronic.
Chronic viral infections can be the result of a variety of viruses. These escape from our immune system modulating or regulating our immune response. These viruses cause persistent infections that can last a lifetime.
How do viruses spread?
A virus exists for the sole purpose of reproducing itself. When it reproduces, its offspring spread to new cells and new hosts. Viruses are transmitted from person to person and from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth.
Viruses are transmitted through:
· Direct contact with bodily fluids such as saliva, coughing, or sneezing
· Sexual contact
· Contaminated food or water
· Insects that carry them from one person to another
After the initial infection, some viruses remain present in the body. Certain triggers can provide energy for these viruses and then the inactive virus is reactivated. Viruses like HIV and the herpes simplex virus (HSV) are especially harmful because they can hide in our bodies and persist only as DNA.
How viral infections affect our health
Chronic viral infections are systemic and can last for months or years. They can cause various diseases as they compromise our immune system and alter the genetic material within the cells they have invaded.
Chronic viral infections are a major cause of inflammation and can cause many undesirable symptoms and health conditions. One of the main symptoms of chronic viral infections is fatigue.
Viruses can affect your central and peripheral nervous systems. Human herpes viruses (HHV) are common in the brains of the elderly. They are generally inactive, but can become active in response to stress or a weakened immune system.
The herpes simplex virus is known to damage the central nervous system and the limbic system in the brain. There is strong evidence that it is linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease. This can happen years or decades after the initial infection.
Many autoimmune diseases are linked to chronic viral infections, including autoimmune thyroid diseases and multiple sclerosis (MS). When suffering from autoimmune diseases, the body's immune system triggers an inflammatory response in its own tissues. The body responds as if normal tissues are infected and attacks these tissues. As a result of this, an autoimmune condition can develop.
Studies have also linked chronic viral infections to cancer. In fact, it is estimated that one in ten cancers arises from viral infections.
There are 8 types of herpes viruses that affect humans. After the initial infection, all herpes viruses remain dormant within our cells and can later reactivate. The most common viruses are EBV, CMV, HSV, and VZV.
1. Epstein Barr virus
The Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is one of the most common human viruses in the world. In the United States and developed nations, more than 90 percent of people over the age of 20 are infected with EBV. In less developed countries, 90% of people are infected by 2 years. Once infected, the virus remains in people throughout their lives.
EBV is known as human herpes virus 4 and is a member of the herpes virus family. It is transmitted from human to human through direct contact with bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, and seminal fluid.
EBV is the leading cause of mononucleosis (also called "kissing disease"). It has also been linked to various neurological complications, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and other diseases. EBV can increase the risk of developing lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes.
Common symptoms of EBV are extreme fatigue, sore throat, fever, headache, body aches, swollen tonsils, rash, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, and a swollen liver and / or spleen. After the initial appearance of symptoms, the virus establishes a latent infection in which the viral genome persists in the cells of the immune system. The infection is then periodically reactivated by triggers that fuel viruses and other pathogens in the body.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a herpes virus of the beta group that is common and can affect almost anyone. This infection can be cleared, and the virus persistently infects the salivary and mammary glands, and the kidneys. Most people are unaware that they have CMV because it rarely causes problems in healthy people.
However, for people with a weakened immune system or pregnant women, CMV is a cause for concern. If a pregnant woman develops an active CMV infection during pregnancy, she can pass the virus to her baby. It can also be spread through breast milk.
When someone is first infected with CMV, the symptoms can be similar to those of mononucleosis, which are fatigue, fever, sore throat, and muscle aches. People with weakened immune systems may experience more serious signs and symptoms that affect their eyes, lungs, liver, esophagus, stomach, intestines, and brain. Babies with CMV can also have significant signs and symptoms.
3. Herpes simplex virus
Herpes simplex viruses, commonly known as herpes, are classified into two types:
· Herpes type 1 (HSV-1) - oral herpes
· Herpes type 2 (HSV-2) - genital herpes
HSV-1 is spread through oral secretions or skin sores. It is highly infectious and can be spread by kissing or sharing toothbrushes, lip balm, water bottles, and similar objects. It is estimated that 67% of people under 50 years of age worldwide have HSV-1.
HSV-2 is spread through sexual contact, and the infected person may have sores around the genitals or rectum. About 11% of people between the ages of 15 and 49 have HSV-2
Both infections are lifelong and asymptomatic. Herpes goes through periods of inactivity, but certain factors can trigger reactivation. These factors include stress, fatigue, illness, and menstrual periods.
4. Varicella-zoster virus
The varicella-zoster virus causes chickenpox and shingles. After you have had chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus remains inactive in nervous tissue near the spinal cord and brain.
Years later, the virus can reactivate itself and travel along the nerve pathways to the skin and manifest as shingles.
Herpes zoster (also known as "shingles") is a viral infection usually accompanied by painful rashes. Shingles can appear anywhere on the body, but it occurs most often on the torso. It usually comes in the form of blisters that wrap around the body.
Pain, sometimes severe, is commonly the first symptom of shingles. Some people experience shingles pain without developing a rash. Other symptoms of shingles include burning, numbness, tingling, tenderness, and itching.
Not all people who have had chickenpox will develop shingles. Shingles is more common in older adults and people with weakened immune systems. This can cause serious complications, such as vision loss, neurological problems, skin infections, and postherpetic neuralgia.
Ways to reduce viral infections
When it comes to viruses, in many cases we will not be able to eliminate them completely, but we can significantly reduce viral load and that will have a positive impact on our energy and quality of life. Having an antiviral diet and adding specific supplements to our diet can help reduce our viral load and reduce the impact of chronic viral infections.
It is also essential to reduce stress, improve the quality of sleep and reduce your exposure to toxins. You will be able to follow a diet and take specific supplements, but if you are overwhelmed by stress, do not sleep well, or if your house is full of fungus and mold, then you will not recover.
1. Antiviral diet
Eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to improve your body's ability to heal from a viral infection. The foods you eat can help suppress or stimulate viral growth. To protect your body from susceptibility to viral infections, you must eat a diet high in lysine and low in arginine.
Lysine is an essential amino acid that plays an active role in body growth and development, collagen formation, calcium absorption, and cholesterol regulation. This is very compatible with the immune system and can help suppress the growth of a viral infection.
Arginine is an amino acid that competes with lysine for absorption. It is known to stimulate viral growth. Eating foods that are high in lysine and relatively low in arginine is important when you have a viral infection.
Foods that you should include in your diet:
Foods with an adequate ratio of lysine to arginine include:
· Salmon - Coho, wild
· Dairy - grass-fed cheeses and yogurts
· Poultry - grass-fed, organic recommended
· Beef - grass fed steaks
· Fruits that you can include in an antiviral diet are lemons, limes, avocados, and blueberries. You can also include most vegetables.
Foods to avoid:
Foods to avoid on an antiviral diet include nuts, most seeds (including sunflower, sesame, pumpkin), grains (wheat, rice, oats), caffeine, chocolate, pasteurized dairy, and sugar. The vegetables that you will want to avoid are Brussels sprouts, onions, and corn, as these foods are rich in arginine.
It is also important to avoid inflammatory foods that can weaken your immune system, such as sugar and processed foods. Consuming refined sugars can suppress the body's immune responses.
Other foods you should make to a lake are processed foods and vegetable oils, as well as meat and dairy from conventionally raised animals and farmed fish.
Fasting is a great strategy for reducing the impact of chronic viral infections. Fasting is one of the oldest and most powerful healing strategies. You can start implementing it intermittently.
Intermittent fasting is when you consume your calories in a set amount of time and fast for the rest of the day. This fasting strategy is great for reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system.
3. Supplements to fight viral infections
An inadequate intake of micronutrients at any stage of life affects various functions within the immune system, manifesting itself in a decrease in resistance to viral and bacterial infections and an increase in the severity of symptoms. If this is your case, it is advisable to take the following supplements in doses that your doctor indicates:
Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folate, Zinc, Iron, Copper and Selenium.
Given the importance of micronutrients in immunity and the fact that many people of all ages have single or multiple micronutrient deficiencies that can have detrimental immunological effects, there is a rationale for micronutrient supplementation to restore concentrations to recommended levels, especially after infection, and to support immune function and maintenance.
Remember that supplements are not a "cure" but help the body to relieve itself a little more. Following diet and lifestyle strategies, getting a good night's sleep, and staying in a toxin-free environment are also essential to get the best benefits from these supplements.
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