Chronic viruses linked to autoimmunity like Hashimoto’s

749 viral infections autoimmunity

The Epstein-Barr virus infects more than 90 percent of people in the United States by the age of 20. At least one in four of those infected will develop the commonly-known disease mononucleosis, or “mono,” experiencing a rash, enlarged liver or spleen, head- and body aches, and extreme fatigue.

However, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is not only related to mono. Recent studies indicate it may be a catalyst for at least six more diseases, most of which are autoimmune in nature. These include multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

EBV isn’t the only virus associated with autoimmunity. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been linked to Sjögren’s syndrome, upper respiratory viral infections and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) have been linked to multiple sclerosis (MS), and EBV has previously been linked to lupus.

Chronic viral infections can contribute to chronic inflammatory diseases such as Hashimoto’s

It has long been thought that viruses play a part in the development of chronic inflammatory diseases, especially autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Many healthcare practitioners report there is frequently a hidden infection that either precedes or seems to trigger an initial autoimmune attack, or subsequently appears when the immune system is weakened once autoimmunity is activated.

This creates a vicious cycle of infection and illness. Infections are opportunistic and often travel together — many autoimmune patients find they host multiple infections that are bacterial, viral, parasitic and/or fungal, driving the inflammation that leads to symptoms.

The relationship between viral infection and autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is multifaceted, involving numerous complex processes in the body. Scientists believe that a variety of factors must usually be present for an infection to result in an autoimmune condition. This includes not only a genetic predisposition but also lifestyle and environmental factors such as:

  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Leaky gut
  • Environmental toxins
  • Dietary triggers

In a nutshell, chronic disease such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism develops as a result of an improper immune response to a viral infection due to other predisposing factors. The virus acts as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Chronic viruses can prevent autoimmune remission

Remission from autoimmune Hashimoto’s symptoms is possible with proper diet and lifestyle management. However, if you already have an autoimmune condition, a chronic viral infection can prevent you from alleviating your symptoms and halting progression of the Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. In fact, a chronic virus is a deal-breaker in recovery for many patients.

If you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and suffer from symptoms that don’t get better after addressing inflammatory triggers through diet and lifestyle, contact my office to ask about testing for the viruses associated with your condition.

Viral infections can occur years before developing autoimmunity

Viral infections usually occur well before any symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism develop (sometimes years), so it can be difficult to make a definitive link between a particular infection and a yet-to-be autoimmune disorder. However, if you have not been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism but have had any of these viruses in the past and have unexplained hypothyroid symptoms now, it’s worth getting tested for autoimmunity and a chronic virus.

For more information on Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and chronic viral infections and how to test and treat them, please contact my office.

2 Comments. Leave new

  • I would like to know more about testing for virus. I have had an upper respiratory infection that is considered chronic. I got walking pneumonia 3 years ago and then have continued to have a chronic (often low grade) bronchial infection which is coupled/linked with asthmatic symptoms. I never had asthma before this illness occurred. The asthma symptoms are worse when the infection is flared. I have been nebulizing silver hydrofoil to manage the infection and keep it down. Does not go away though (not yet!). Had some recent bloodwork that shows possible hypothyroidism/Hashimoto’s… but also have had this infection and the coupled issues with inflammation for 3 years now– Maybe this is now causing the hypothyroidism?? I would love to lean more. Thankful I stumbled onto your site while researching how to make liposomal Vit C. Thank you 🙂

    • Functional Health News
      June 13, 2020 10:08 pm

      If you have hypothyroidism it will be next to impossible to recover from other health challenges if you cells are deprived of thyroid hormone. I would definitely follow up on the Hashimoto’s possibility and treating and managing that so your cells can function properly. That will help your immune system become more robust.


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