Human herpesvirus 6 and Hashimoto’s Disease

Human herpesvirus 6 or HHV-6, is a herpes virus just like Epstein-Barr Virus, Cytomegalovirus, Chicken pox (varicella zoster), HHV-7, HHV-8 and Herpes simplex 1 and 2. There are two types of this virus including HHV-6A and HHV-6B. 100% of human beings get infected with HHV-6B by the age of three which results in fever, diarrhea and a rash called roseola. In rare cases it can cause seizures and encephalitis.

Less is known about HHV-6A which was found in a small study in 50% of adults in the study. HHV-6A is said to be the most problematic of the two types and it is the type found inside the thyroid glands of some people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Just like other herpes viruses, HHV-6 can reactivate (occurs in the thyroid gland, GI tract, brain, heart, kidneys, uterus, and lungs) later in life when the immune system is compromised resulting in a variety of conditions including:

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
Sjogren syndrome
Lupus
Rheumatoid arthritis
Sarcoidosis
Guillan-Barre
MS
Infertility
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Fibromyalgia
HIV progression to AIDS
Epilepsy
Seizures
Immune suppression
Certain types of cancer
Kidney, liver, lung disease
Heart disease
Encephalitis
Colitis
Transplant recipient issues
Bone marrow suppression
Autoimmune hepatitis

What is the link between HHV-6 and Hashimoto’s disease?

This study found that a high percentage of patients in the study with Hashimoto’s disease have active HHV-6A infections inside the thyroid gland. This increases inflammation in the thyroid gland since the immune system is concerned about Human herpesvirus 6 and due to antibodies against the thyroid gland.

Reactivation occurs in about 20-25% of the adult population with much more severe symptoms than in infants. Reactivation can create a “mono-like” illness in adults resulting in fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes, enlarge liver and spleen, or encephalitis and mental changes.

Human herpesvirus 6 seems to be more drawn to the brain and nervous system resulting mainly in problems associated with these areas of the body. HHV-6 mainly resides in the salivary glands and it is transmitted through saliva from person to person.

Why does it reactivate in some people?

For the same reasons that other herpes viruses reactivate in people including physical or emotional trauma, stress, hormone imbalances, other infections, poor diet, gut dysbiosis etc. Herpes viruses are opportunistic when your immune system is compromised so anything that stresses your immune system can cause reactivation.

What is the best way to test for Human herpesvirus 6?

Testing is tricky with this virus for a few reasons. Antibody tests can “cross-react” with other viruses such as Cytomegalovirus. It is recommended to always test for Cytomegalovirus along with HHV-6 so you can be sure your positive test is accurate and not just a cross-reaction.

IgG antibodies are positive for life but if you see a four-fold increase in these levels then this can indicate reactivation. IgM antibodies will tell you if it is a recent reactivation however these can be elevated even when the virus isn’t active. Additionally, IgM antibodies usually don’t elevate in adults who have reactivation of the virus. If testing for IgG and IgM antibodies, be sure to use IFA testing rather than ELISA.

PCR testing can find the DNA of HHV-6 in the blood to confirm it is present and reactivated. However, this does not rule out infection inside of a gland, it only rules out presence in the blood. So it may be active in a gland or body tissue, but not present in the blood. For more detailed information about all the different types of tests check out the HHV-6 Foundations chart.

All types of testing just don’t seem to cut it for chronic reactivation in adults with conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or chronic fatigue syndrome so I don’t test for HHV-6. I take into account what shows up on other viral tests such as the Epstein-Barr Virus, the complete blood count and the patient history.

How is HHV-6 treated?

Conventional medicine doesn’t mention much about treatment other than perhaps trying acyclovir which is used for genital herpes.

Alternative methods are the same for HHV-6 as they are for the other herpes viruses like Epstein-Barr Virus and CMV. Here are the compounds that can work well for all herpes viruses:

Monolaurin
Cordyceps
Reishi
Curcumin
Olive leaf extract
Artemisinin
Berberine
Vitamin C (Intravenous is very effective)
EGCG

As stated in my other articles about treating herpes viruses, simply taking one or a number of these compounds will not yield success in the long run. This is because the underlying reasons for reactivation of the virus must be corrected in order to keep the virus deactivated. This is why you should work with a functional medicine practitioner to fix all the underlying causes of reactivation so that your body can keep the virus at bay for life.

Human herpesvirus 6 and Hashimoto’s disease summary

Since testing is difficult, I don’t recommend testing for it in adults. If other tests, as noted above show that there could be chronic viral activity, then I will target the virus. The treatment for all herpes viruses is the same, so if we are treating the Epstein-Barr Virus, then we will also be targeting HHV-6 for example.

Your functional medicine practitioner will get your body back in balance so your immune system can control HHV-6 and target it if necessary. I get excellent results when we have an infection connection to Hashimoto’s disease such as HHV-6.

Epstein Barr Virus and Hashimoto’s Disease

Epstein-Barr Virus or EBV is a herpes virus (Herpes 4) that is significantly connected to Hashimoto’s disease and many other autoimmune diseases. It is the most common infection I see in my patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

 

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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Helicobacter Pylori

Discovered in 1982 in those with gastritis and ulcers, Helicobacter pylori or “H. pylori” is one of the most common infections connected to Hashimoto’s disease and also Graves’ disease for that matter. Like Yersinia enterocolitica and Epstein-Barr Virus infections, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can be triggered by H. pylori through a process called molecular mimicry which basically means that the infection looks similar to your thyroid tissue so the immune system attacks the infection and the thyroid gland.

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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Yersinia Enterocolitica Infection

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Yersinia Enterocolitica Infection

Yersinia enterocolitica is one of the most common infections I see in my patients who have Hashimoto’s disease. Let us explore some basic information about Yersinia so you can understand it better and how it relates to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

 

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Stacey Robbins Interview

Stacey Robbins Interview

In this episode of The Dr. Hedberg Show I interview Stacey Robbins!  This was a very unique interview because we didn’t focus on biochemistry, but rather how Hashimoto’s can affect your life and your relationships.

Stacey Robbins (Certified Health Coach and Certified Yoga Instructor RYT200)
is an award-winning Author, Speaker, and Integrated Wellness Coach.

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In this podcast episode I interview Dana Trentini, the founder of the well-known Hypothyroid Mom blog.  I really enjoyed our talk, in particular discussing thyroid issues with someone who is so passionate about thyroid health.

Dana Trentini created the thyroid advocacy blog Hypothyroid Mom. Dana launched her blog on October 1st, 2012, in memory of the unborn baby she lost due to hypothyroidism. She set out on a mission to learn all she could about hypothyroidism and to share her discoveries with people around the globe. Dana has since been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic.

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GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are one of the most contentious topics in the world today.  We should however, consider the following questions:  What do we really know about them? Are these concerns justified?  People are so passionate about this issue that some misguided individuals have actually rioted and vandalized crops in Oregon, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Philippines.  This mob behavior is similar to the burning of women at the stake for committing imaginary crimes like witchcraft.

Unfortunately, public opinion oftentimes has absolutely nothing to do with scientific fact.  A Gallup poll showed that 48% of respondents actually believe that foods produced using biotechnology pose a serious health hazard, compared to 36% who think that they do not.

GMO labeling is a hot issue.  Currently, laws are being passed around the country requiring labels on all GMOs with Vermont being the first state to enact such a law. Read more

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The thyroid gland, like any gland in your body, requires a number of basic nutrients to function properly. Every day your thyroid gland produces a certain amount of thyroid hormone that requires specific building blocks. If any of those building blocks are missing, your thyroid may not make enough thyroid hormone and you may suffer from common symptoms of hypothyroidism such as: Read more

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In order to get good sleep you should avoid the following stimulants:

  • Caffeine
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Teas that contain caffeine
  • Yerba Mate
  • Guarana
  • Alcohol

It is very important to stabilize your blood sugar from the time you eat dinner until you go to bed. Make sure you eat a balanced meal of protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates and fat. Bed-time snacks are OK but they must be balanced and not contain sugar or processed carbohydrates. Read more

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Restoring your health requires a consistent series of small changes that add up over time.  You can view a healthy body as a brick house with each brick representing all the choices we make on a regular basis.

Daily routines are extremely effective for building a healthy body because they establish structure and reduce stress and anxiety about our health.

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