767. Epstein-Barr Virus and MS


Researchers are pretty certain they’ve found the cause of multiple sclerosis. MS is an autoimmune disorder and it's much more common today than it ever used to be. 

The researchers have shown that Epstein-Barr, a common type of the herpes virus, is what triggers MS. The virus essentially primes the immune system to start attacking the body’s nervous system.

The herpes virus is latent in your system, meaning it’s dormant, and it will only raise its ugly head when your immune system is not working properly. In today’s episode, Dr. Martin provides insight as to why the Epstein-Barr virus can be activated in the first place.


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Dr. Martin:  Well, good afternoon, everyone. I hope you're having a good day. Good to have you on with us. Now, there was an interesting article that came out in the last few days that I think you will find interesting and we'll try and just sort of break it down and see. Actually, Tony Jr. liked this and then sent it to me and it was interesting. It says this, that the Epstein–Barr virus, okay, and we'll talk about that in a minute, is almost certainly the cause of MS, multiple sclerosis. They think they have found the cause and they believe it is the Epstein–Barr virus. That's really, really interesting. 

Now, we have been talking for a long time about MS. It's an autoimmune disorder and it's much more common today than it used to be. Now, it's more territorial in a sense that people that were living in the Northern hemisphere, I can't remember what parallel, anything north of that were more susceptible to MS than the people living in this Southern hemisphere of North America and even Europe in that. That's why we often talked about vitamin D and MS. We'll get into that a little bit. 

Let me just talk a little bit about Epstein–Barr. Now, Epstein–Barr is the herpes virus. It's a different form of the herpes virus. It's in that family. They call it herpes virus number 4. Now, in the herpes family, you have cold sores, herpes simplex. You have herpes zoster. What is that? Well, that's shingles, okay? The chickenpox, that's a herpes virus. So kids get the chickenpox, they get the herpes virus and usually it becomes latent. Now, the word latent means that it goes to sleep. It's dormant and it will only raise its ugly head when your immune system is not working properly. 

So the idea with this, of course, it's kind of fascinating when you look at Epstein–Barr and that they're actually pretty certain that it's the actual cause of MS. Now, I heard a little bit of rumors about certain causes years ago and there was speculation what caused MS. But at the Martin Clinic, we like to unpack. When somebody says it's the cause, we even go... For example, they relate, and you see this in research a lot, you see, oh, well, inflammation is at the root of all chronic diseases. Inflammation is at the root of heart disease and cancer and diabetes and Alzheimer's. It really isn't that the root of it. It is involved, inflammation.

Tony Jr. would say this, it's not Houdini, it doesn't just show up. You need to have a cause. So we always talked about our three seeds of a disease, insulin resistance and leaky gut, and thirdly, free radical damage, oxidative damage. We believe that those are the three seeds of disease. Now, we're going to say this again because Epstein–Barr might very well be the straw that breaks the camel's back when it comes to MS. Certainly involved. It's a virus. But you have to start earlier than that, because why would that virus even become activated? It's supposed to be latent. It's supposed to be asleep. 

When your immune system, we'll do a little bit more detail on the immune system because what do I mean by that? I mean, a lot of people talk about immune system and they don't elaborate. Oh, you're in immune system. Yeah, well, you've got B cells and you've got T cell. You've got a big part of your immune system, I say 80% of it, is not really found in the blood per se. With the B cells and the T cells, it's more in your gut. That's why leaky gut is such an important factor when it comes to any kind of disease.

Any autoimmune disease starts really in the gut, leaky gut. If you have leaky gut, your immune system, autoimmune, where your body actually turns on itself is one of the big factors. So we like to look deeper. But it is fascinating that they talk about the Epstein–Barr virus. Now, let me tell you, I've had some long history with the Epstein–Barr virus. Because in the late 1980s when they were talking about chronic fatigue syndrome, a lot of doctors back then were saying it's Epstein–Barr. Very similar to Epstein–Barr is often, if not always then mononucleosis. You heard of mono, right? People get mono. Teenagers used to get mono. We called it the kissing disease.

Usually in teenagers or people in their early twenties or whatever, I mean, they get really sick. I mean, they were bedridden. A lot of them were just exhausted for months and months, if not even a year, to get over mono. You've heard of that. Well, that's what the Epstein–Barr virus, that's when it gets activated. But they're saying now that the Epstein–Barr is involved in MS. Now, MS, what happens in the brain in MS is you get four areas of plaque that is formed in the brain. This is why MS patients, you can have a little bit of a milder form, but MS can put you in a wheelchair because of the plaques in the brain that affect the central nervous system. 

I used to have patients that they could hardly walk. They needed a walker to walk. It was a degenerative type of MS. I don't know if you remember this or not, but a few years ago, they were actually doing carotid artery surgery and removing any plaque in the carotid artery to get more blood supply to the brain. Do you remember that? Anything with MS. That was pretty controversial because there wasn't really that many... There were some studies, but most of it was anecdotal. 

So anyway, so when chronic fatigue syndrome came around and I wrote a book about chronic fatigue in the... Was it the late '80s, early '90s, chronic fatigue syndrome, the curse of the modern woman, I talked about not the Epstein–Barr. The Epstein–Barr was present in about 50 to 60%, but we didn't find that unusual because the Epstein–Barr, if you test it, it can be present without any symptoms at all because it's asleep. It's supposed to be asleep. It's like a cold sore virus, herpes simplex or herpes zoster. We all have the herpes virus. So it's only when your immune system is not working these viruses will raise their ugly head and give you symptoms.

So again, we think, at least personally, when they say that Epstein virus is the cause of the disorder, I'd like to go one step back and say, "No, it's autoimmune." We really believe it's caused by leaky gut and leaky gut will cause toxins, viruses, bacteria, yeast, undigested food to come through that little wee epithelial layer, that one cell layer, the microbiome. When you don't have enough friendly bacteria, you have an overgrowth or you have what in medicine they call dysbiosis. That often is the cause of leaky gut. 

Now, I'm going to take it even a step farther than not. I mentioned this the other day when we talked about, and you can review this once the podcast comes out on the gut killers, and we talked about seven or eight gut killers. What kills your gut? When we talk about leaky gut, remember, you can have absolutely zero symptoms and have leaky gut. What I mean by that is zero digestive symptoms. Because leaky gut, remember what it is, leaky gut is literal micro poisoning of your blood because you have a gut blood barrier. 

If you have a good border guards, I often use the example, the difference between the Canadian and American border and the Mexican-American border, two different borders all together, right? The Canadian border is very secure. I mean, good luck trying to get across from Canada to the United States or the United States to Canada, okay? You think you can swim the Detroit River or get in on Lake Huron and get in and get into Canada, or vice versa, get into the United States. Well, good luck with that. Those borders are really big time patrolled. 

But the Mexican border notoriously, between Mexico and the United States, it's in the news just about every day. People are coming across that border on a daily basis. I don't know. I read the other day two or 300,000 this year already have come into the United States through the southern border, might be even more than that. But I'm trying to make you understand leaky gut, because when you have border guards, when you have enough friendly bacteria and when your microbiome is healthy, nothing is getting into your blood, guys, other than micro sized food. 

So let's say you have a piece of meat and you start digesting it in your mouth with the saliva and this and that, goes to the stomach and you have good acidity in your stomach, and then it's off into the small intestine, it's been microsized. The border guards, okay, you're food come on in. You're a bacteria, stay out. You're a yeast, stay out. We don't want you. You can't come into the blood. But if food is not digested properly and you got leaky gut where you don't have enough friendly bacteria, then you get a dysbiosis and then you get stuff that leaks through the blood gut barrier. 

Once it's into the blood, it becomes systemic. So you would need leaky gut to start first before Epstein–Barr virus would be activated and get into your brain where MS, majority of the plaques, the plaques in the brain, you got to get into the brain through the blood. Leaky gut, leaky brain. But let me bring it one more step because I... Again, coming to those gut killers, the number one thing that can tells your gut is antibiotics. Number one on the hip parade. This is the point I made back in the late '80s, early '80s. Even then, I was talking about, because when we did the survey of people that had officially diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, almost invariably, they were multiple users of antibiotics for recurring infections.

Even as kids, ear infections and throat infections, many of them didn't have their tonsils anymore. They weren't taking out your tonsils at the first shot in the 1950s when I was a little kid. But by the time they got to the 1970s, they were much more reticent to take your tonsils up. Hello? Oh, I guess your tonsils are important. Yeah. I mean, God put them there so that they can trap bacteria. They're trapdoors for bacteria. You need tonsils. But in the 1950s, they used to lure you to the hospital. 

I remember, I was the only kid because I remember one of our teachers, I think it was grade five or whatever, she said, "Put your hands up if you still got your tonsils." I put my hand up. I didn't even know what tonsils were really, but I put my hand up and I said, "I still got mine." Nobody else in the class had their tonsils. But people were take a lot of antibiotic. They didn't understand leaky gut back in the '50s and the '60s and antibiotics saved your life so they used them and they used them way too much.

But what happens when you take an antibiotic, you are suppressing your immune system. Oh, how does that happen, doc? Well, you destroy your friendly bacteria. Remember, 80% of your immune system is not in your blood. It's in your gut. This is why you get a distraction, especially with an antibiotic, and then you get a yeast, you get fungus, you get candida. It starts to raise its ugly head. You might not have any symptoms at the start. But think about that, if candida yeast gets into your bloodstream, your immune system is going to try and attack back. 

Then you add a little bit of stress. Stress, you see, again, is not the cause. Stress isn't the cause of a suppressed immune system, but it's a factor. It's a factor. When you have high cortisol and your stressed, your immune system doesn't work as well. Now, we've talked about this on many a podcasts in the past when we talked about the immune system and cancer. Cortisol, high cortisol over a period of time, especially women are very, very vulnerable to breast cancer. You know what men are vulnerable to when they're verily stressed? Heart disease. Heart disease. Because we know that cortisol over a period of time creates inflammation.

Inflammation will start damaging blood vessels and causing plaque formation. So these are factors. So when you look at leaky gut, you look at the activation of the Epstein–Barr virus. Most of us have Epstein–Barr, I guarantee it. If they tested you, you probably have Epstein–Barr. Don't worry about it. I don't worry about Epstein–Barr. I do everything I can to keep my immune system. You see guys, that's why I don't get too uptight about any virus. I don't. Oh, it's going around, doc. Yeah, I know. 

I'm more interested in me for me personally and for you to keep your immune system because you won't get MS unless it's autoimmune. Yes, it starts in leaky gut, but that virus will not be activated. It will not be activated. Let's go over them, just a few things that you can think about in terms of... This is an important study. I'm glad they did it. I'm glad they're talking about it. I'm glad that they're shedding light on MS and I like it. Like I said, I just want to bring it one step farther back. That's all. Farther back than the Epstein–Barr virus. 

Because to me, when you get MS, somebody that gets an autoimmune disorder, and I used to label chronic fatigue as an autoimmune disorder, fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder. It's when your body overreacts, your body is almost allergic to itself. That's autoimmune, guy, and that creates inflammation. That's why rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis and Crohn's, these are all autoimmune disorders. But what do you do? This is really important. So obviously, obviously, first thing, what do you do? 

Guys, that's why I'm so big on probiotics. Number one thing that a person ought to do is probiotics. I was reading a study this weekend and I probably will talk about it, just again, there's a certain bacteria, a good bacteria that they're finding in Japan, that people in Japan have. It's a friendly bacteria that Japanese have in high amounts compared to us in North America. It was interesting. The acidophiles and lactobacillus and they were showing why Japan, for example, there's very little virus. People are not as sick. The numbers are wey down compared to North America and it has to do with probiotics. 

Now, they have it. I think one of the reasons that they have it more than we do is their diet is better. They don't live on sugar over were there. We feed the yeast. We feed the bad guys in North America. We're notorious for feeding bad bacteria. We're notorious for feeding the bears, the yeast, and that causes a severe autoimmune. It might not happen overnight, but it does happen. That's why it's so important to understand that. So the very first thing, and this has to do with any virus, any virus, probiotics. People are asking me, "Doc, should I take a probiotic?" "Well, I can give you a blood test for it. "Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah, I got a blood test."

"Prick your finger. If the blood comes out red, you should be on a probiotic. If it comes out any other color, don't worry about it. You got nothing to worry about," I said that in joking the other day, and someone said, "Well, what other colors are there?" Okay. No, but seriously, guys. It's a foundational. Probiotics, absolutely. Now you know what's going to be number two on my hip parade. You know, it Viderma, vitamin D, and specifically for MS. I mean, this was known 30 years ago in MS. 

People that got MS were very low in vitamin D. This is why they talked about the Northern Parallels. You know where I live? In Sudbury, okay? See the map behind me, look for the North Pole, okay, where Santa Claus lives, and come a little bit south and you'll find Sudbury and Timmins, okay? That's where I live. Okay, with Santa Claus, just about. So in the Northern Parallel, they were much more susceptible to vitamin D, but vitamin D, you see, is so key, guys, for your immune system. 

Even today, I was talking to a few people and telling them, "Would you please get your vitamin D levels checked? Because I'm very suspicious that your low in vitamin D." Doctors, they ordinarily won't test your vitamin D because all they can think of is bones. They're not thinking of your immune system. Remember when we brought up Viderma during this whole thing and the Health Minister in Canada said, "That's fake news." Steam was coming out my ears. Vitamin D, Viderma, the importance of having a healthy immune... Look, guys, if you don't have enough vitamin D, you don't have a healthy immune system. If you got leaky gut, you don't have a healthy immune system.

Now, there's a couple others that I want you to take and I want you to eat them. Both of them are found in vitamin S, okay? You know what vitamin S is, steak. When you eat your steak, well, you get a lot of things. But you get B12, you get heme iron and that. But no, I want to talk about two things that are also in steak, zinc and you want vitamin A. Vitamin A is the invisible mask. You know how you get Epstein–Barr? Saliva. That's why it was in mono, the kissing disorder, right? So saliva.

You know how to protect your mouth, your nose and your eyes? You can't have a mask, those cloth masks that do nothing, by the way. You can't put it over your eyes, right? But vitamin A covers your eyes. Vitamin A covers your nose. Vitamin A covers your mouth with an invisible mask. You get vitamin A when you eat vitamin S and butter and cheese and eggs. Vitamin A is not found in the plant kingdom. It's found in the animal kingdom, okay? Now, you can get better keratin from the plant kingdom, but that's a precursor to vitamin A. It isn't vitamin A. Vitamin A is found only in the animal kingdom. 

Why are we seeing so much MS today? That's one of the reasons. People are drinking the Kool-Aid of not eating animal fat. They're making a huge mistake. Have I ever mentioned that to you? Probably every day. Drives me crazy, guys. You need zinc, but you don't have to take a supplement of zinc. Eat it. You need vitamin A. You don't have to take a supplement of vitamin A. Eat it. Cod liver oil is another great source of vitamin A. So you need vitamin D, you need probiotics, you need zinc and you need vitamin A.

These will keep the herpes virus, the Epstein–Barr virus asleep. It's like a bear hibernating. Let it sleep. Don't stir it up. Keep your immune system strong. Fix your leaky gut. Fix your leaky gut. Okay, guys, thanks so much for watching today. Thank you for the tremendous support. We really appreciate it. If you're not a member of the Martin Clinic Facebook group, please join our podcast. You can download them. The Doctor Is In Podcast. We're happy to have you and to join our group. We'll be back with you tomorrow, God willing. Love you.

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