Anthony William’s book, Medical Medium|Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal is terra firma in the quagmire of chronic disease. In it, he presents new information and entirely unheard of rationales behind the complexities of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and idiopathic illness of all kinds. He casts the patient-blaming aside and explains why viruses get a leg up on us, what herpetic viruses – Epstein-Barr in particular – are capable of, and how the components of our everyday diet and our toxic burden (heavy metals, pesticides, radiation etc.) ensure its proliferation. It’s a brand new equation with an appropriately diverse set of variables. It’s simple. It’s elegant. It’s complete. And as someone whose fought CFS for 19 years, I know it’s dead-on-balls accurate.
According to Anthony William, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is just one expression of the Epstein-Barr Virus, a virus responsible for a myriad of other illnesses as well; including those termed “auto-immune”. I myself recall that in the early studies into CFS, the Epstein-Barr virus was, in fact, implicated. But it was dismissed as a potential cause because something like 95% of the population carries EBV and most people were not exhibiting these horrendous and ongoing symptoms.
This explanation seems pretty reasonable, and I also dismissed it. Well, Anthony William states that there are actually over 60 varieties of the Epstein-Barr virus and can be broken into 6 different groups in terms of virulence. So if you accept this premise – just for a minute for the sake of argument – when we say that most of the population has it, we haven’t even begun to tease out which strain each one of has, or how virulent it is – objectively, that is. No one even talks about strains! We can imagine how a weak strain of EBV, presenting as a mild case of mononucleosis would give someone little more than a few weeks of fatigue and sore throat, and how a more virulent strain might result in symptoms of an “auto-immune” illness or someone becoming so sick they have to drop out of school, (as in me).
Another reason EBV was dropped as the causative agent, was because it could not be consistently isolated in the blood of sick patients, thus providing typical proof of an active infection. William says that following an acute manifestation of Mononucleosis, EBV happily makes a home in one’s liver and spleen where it avoids detection – from your immune system, and on a blood test. He states:
It’s during this stage that EBV seeks a long-term home by making a run for one or more of your major organs – typically your liver and/or spleen. EBV loves being in these organs because mercury, dioxins, and other toxins are likely to accumulate there. The virus thrives on these poisons.
He explains some of the situations that can develop:
The issues that may result from an aggressive variety of EBV nesting in your organs can include: Your liver’s sluggish performance leading to the lowering of your stomach’s hydrochloric acid and your intestinal tract starting to become toxic. This in turn can result in some food not being fully digested and instead putrefying in your intestinal tract, resulting in bloating and constipation.
I certainly had many bowel issues at the beginning of my illness. Alternating constipation and diarrhea at the start, then early satiety and low appetite, and bloating until very recently. And:
Your developing sensitivities to foods that never caused you problems before. This happens when the virus consumes a food it likes, such as cheese, and transforms it into something your body doesn’t recognize.
Ding! Ding! Ding! This is exactly what happened to me. After getting sick, I suddenly developed allergies to foods that had NEVER bothered me before. Eggs, fish, and soy now deliver asthmatic allergic reactions, and eating wheat and/or gluten leaves me either really depressed, agitated, or downright somnolent. It didn’t show up as an allergy on my skin test, so I classify it as a major sensitivity. The only allergy that I had before CFS was to dairy, which I had since infancy. Anthony William explains in the book (and numerous podcasts) that certain foods like eggs, dairy and gluten, are among those that feed the Epstein-Barr virus. And that the allergy or sensitivity we experience is the body reacting to the storm of toxic by-products released as a result of the virus having a feeding frenzy. (Check out this sound recording for Anthony William’s take on Allergies.)
But most profound of all is his explanation for why I had been so depleted and drained of energy both physically and mentally:
EBV excretes toxic waste matter, or viral by-product. This becomes increasingly significant as the virus grows more cells, and its expanding army keeps eating and excreting poisonous by-product. This waste matter is often identified as spirochetes, which can trigger false positives on tests such as Lyme titer and lead to a false diagnosis of Lyme. The second is the toxins present in the virus’ corpse when it dies: When a cell of the virus dies – which happens often, as the cells have a six-week life cycle – the corpse that is left behind is itself toxic and so further poisons your body. As with viral by-product, this problem becomes more severe as EBV’s army grows, creating fatigue. The poisons EBV creates through these two processes have the ability to generate a neurotoxin -i.e., a poison that disrupts nerve function and confuses your immune system…
The incapacitating fatigue I experienced with CFS really did feel more like being poisoned than any kind of normal fatigue; even that related to fighting an illness. And it truly was incapacitating. I didn’t feel over-tired, I felt shorted-out. Derailed. Completely fuc#ed up. CFS felt EXACTLY like what he describes – a flood of toxins and neurotoxins poisoning the body and disrupting its systems. It explains my many neurological symptoms, the most troubling being my cognitive dysfunction.
I had ongoing difficulties in reading, writing, speaking and a startling loss of short term memory. Anything that involved organizing coherent thoughts and putting words together became challenging. Everything that used to be automatic – like focusing, now required a special effort. Just keeping a train of thought was hard! I also experienced twitches, crawling sensations under my skin, startling easily, and feeling spaced out. Bad headaches progressed to migraines and shortness of breath was the new norm. I quickly lost quite a bit of weight, and later on, a lot of my hair. William offers that some of these symptoms are not just produced from the toxins excreted by the virus and the resulting neurotoxin it produces, but also by the weakened thyroid not being able to produce the right amount of hormones.
He also sheds light on the causes of secondary symptoms that often hop on board with CFS. He attributes interstitial cystitis and sinus congestion (both of which I suffered from) to Streptococcus, a bacterial co-factor of EBV. And that one cause of Depression is actually EBV-induced inflammation of the nervous system. This also makes sense to me, because when I feel pretty good I’m not bothered so much by these periphery problems, whereas when I feel unwell, all these odd issues return in force!
I’m not trying to duplicate his article or book on this blog, so check out the Goop article (or his book) for where it gets even more interesting – the four stages of EBV, how deficiencies in Zinc enable EBV to get a foothold, and how build-up of heavy metals and other toxins in the liver and spleen continue to feed the virus.
Another point that spoke directly to me was when he discussed the importance of Methyl B12. Anyone who knows me personally knows how much this vitamin turned everything around for me. It literally gave me my life back. I talk about it in length here: My Miracle Methyl B12. So when I saw Methyl B12 high on his list of Healing Herbs and Supplements to fight EBV, I thought, Ok, this guy might really know something. My own personal experience had already borne this out as crucial; and so the proof was indeed in the pudding! Methyl B12 was incredible for me, it essentially rescued me, and so it checked out. You don’t need to take Anthony William’s word on how critical B12 is – there’s loads written about it in scientific literature; how important it is, all of the body processes it supports etc., but I think what he says about it in terms of immune health is also interesting:
When you’re suffering from low hydrochloric acid, heavy metal toxicity, and/or ammonia permeability, a lot of the good bacteria throughout your gut are likely to die. This inflames the ileum, which has a number of negative consequences, such as severely weakening your immune system. It also makes your gut’s vitamin B12 production plummet or stop altogether.
For me, Methyl B12 was like a master linchpin upon which many wheels turned. When I got that B12 back in my life, so many other things became possible.
Another intriguing chapter was the one on Multiple Sclerosis, which William again attributes to EBV. It’s of personal interest to me because in the spring of 2011, I developed symptoms resembling those of MS and was sent for an MRI of my brain to rule it out. Those symptoms really scared the shit out of me and there is a separate post on it here: Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms/Neurological Issues. William states:
Most strains of EBV are mild and less aggressive, but its multiple sclerosis varieties eat away at the myelin sheath, which is what creates the distinct set of symptoms associated with this disease…something else that distinguishes MS from other forms of EBV is that it’s accompanied by a unique combination of bacteria, fungi, and heavy metals. Specifically, if you have MS, you’ll typically have the following EBV co-factors in your system: Streptococcus A and Streptococcus B, H. Pylori or at least a previous case of H. Pylori, Candida fungus, Cytomegalovirus, the heavy metals copper, mercury, and aluminum – those metals weaken the immune system’s ability to protect the body from viral nerve damage. While these cofactors help give MS its particular characteristics, at its core multiple sclerosis is just a form of EBV…
Which brings me to another major idea to come out of this book – that the term “auto-immune” is just straight up wrong. Simply False! Anthony William implicitly states over and over again that the body does NOT attack itself. It’s the Epstein-Barr virus that attacks the body. For me, the fact that Epstein-Barr is a Herpes virus shines a bright, telling light on why the so-called “auto-immune” illnesses often behave in a relapsing/remitting pattern and why over the years my CFS symptoms have waxed and waned as well. Its herpetic nature is very obvious in these two instances. I’m reminded of Marshall McCluhan’s famous quote: The medium is the message.
Considering all this new information about EBV and its modus operandi was extremely satisfying to me, but the clincher came in 2016, when by following his suggestions to combat the Shingles virus, I was able to prevent an oncoming bout of Trigeminal Neuralgia. A pain that two years prior just laughed at Hydrocodone. That really backed him up! To put an end to that level of excruciating pain was incredible. After that, I became an unabashed, enthusiastic student!
Ending my Trigeminal Neuralgia was unexpected and dramatic, but it’s the amalgamation of all these experiences that are undeniable. Everything that he said could and would happen, DID. My 19 years proved him out! The death-like fatigue, the endless array of neurological symptoms, the scrambling of my cognitive function, and my new food allergies and sensitivities all have a real rationale. Though I didn’t know why at the time, every time I cut out one of the foods that fed EBV, my health went up a notch – even him highlighting the importance of Methyl B12 and how its production can become compromised in serious illness aligns with my experience. And I am no longer bewildered by the appearance of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms when I was 31. Knowing what I know now, I can see that my illness has actually taken a very predictable course.
I’m obsessed with the Medical Medium because I finally got answers to questions I’ve had for almost half my life! I’m obsessed with the Medical Medium because I’m making progress and moving forward – all because of him. I was basically done with everything when I found this book. I had given up on trying to get totally better years ago. But this guy gave me hope, and his suggestions turned out to be real solutions. So I’m going to keep going. I’m still on this road. But now I’m on the road out.
Medical Medium | Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal goes way beyond CFS/CFIDS/ME. CFS is just what brought me to the party. There are dedicated chapters and information on other diagnosis’ too: Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lyme Disease, Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Diabetes, Hypoglycemia, Adrenal Fatigue, Migraines, Colitis, TMJ, Diabetic Neuropathy, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Vertigo, Ménière’s disease, ADD/ADHD, Autism, PTSD, Depression, PMS, and even symptoms attributed to Menopause. Check out his book for a better picture on what’s really going on in each of these instances and how to finally heal. Included are lists of food, herbs and supplements specific to each condition as well as chapters on restoring your gut health and various methods for detoxing your body. It’s essentially the practical nuts and bolts on how to get better and leave the hell behind.
The Medical Medium has his own website, blog, and an active presence on Facebook and Twitter. He also offers a free audio program called The Healing Path, (via his site) and a weekly broadcast on Hay House Radio where he delves into different illnesses, conditions and other related topics of interest. You can find most, if not all of the recorded radio shows on www.soundcloud.com.
Amazing! Can you talk more about your diet? Did you eat any meat such as chicken?
Hi Jon! Yes I did eat chicken. I still do, but now I find that the closer I can come to a vegan diet, the better I feel. I seem to be on a hyperbolic curve towards veganism. I will never get there, but I try to get as close as I can to that line! Before I got sick, I probably had meat 1- 2 times a day, (too much) now that I am mostly better, I have it in some form about 1-3 times a week. I would like to be just vegetarian, but animal products like egg and cheese/dairy cause so many problems for me, that I end up having to supplement my diet with some kind of meat- which doesn’t bother me. And too much gluten bothers me too, so that brings down my everyday food choices quite a bit. So right now it’s fruit, veggies, chicken, fish, and beef here and there. (and a little cheese, a little bread once and awhile) I think the cleaner you can get your diet, the faster you will heal, and the more stable your health will become. I eat much more fruit these days, and that helps a great deal! When I’m feeling really good, I find I don’t crave any kind of meat at all. Hope that helps, and sorry for the very late reply!