Can Viruses Contribute to the Cause of Multiple Sclerosis?


Multiple Sclerosis is a neuroinflammatory disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheaths that line the nerves connecting the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms vary by individual but can include numbness and weakness, tremors, vision problems, bladder and bowel problems, fatigue, insomnia, slurred speech, and dizziness. 

An individual’s unique biochemistry, genetics, and environmental influences affects the disease’s activity and progression and most likely the onset of the disease. It’s not 100% understood what causes multiple sclerosis to develop in an individual and there have been many theories as to why some individuals develop MS including vitamin D deficiency, environmental toxins, genetics, and a theory called molecular mimicry. It’s likely a confluence of several of these different factors that causes multiple sclerosis to start for a particular individual. 

Molecular mimicry may be an aspect of multiple sclerosis that has not been evaluated for in someone diagnosed with MS. Molecular mimicry is a mechanism in which the immune system recognizes foreign protein sequences (such as in viruses), that share similar sequences with protein structures found in the body (such as that from nerves).  In MS, the immune system gets confused when it is confronted with a virus that shares similar structures to those found in the myelin sheaths of nerves and unfortunately instead of just attacking the virus, the immune system starts to attack the nerves. Finding the root cause of disease is a hallmark of naturopathic medicine and multiple sclerosis is no different.  Naturopathic doctors have for years used anti-virals as part of their treatment plans for multiple sclerosis based on the concept of molecular mimicry even though we haven’t always had the technology and laboratory testing to say what exact viruses we are treating. However, new research is catching up to these theories and even mainstream medicine is starting to recognize the links between certain viruses and multiple sclerosis especially Epstein Barr virus. 

At Walnut Creek Naturopathic, we address all potential causes of disease and if warranted test for viruses that may be contributing to multiple sclerosis disease. We want to make sure that all aspects of a patient who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis are being addressed and treated. If Epstein Barr virus is found in an individual and it is either an active or re-activated infection, we will address it using natural anti-virals and naturopathic immune therapies such as supplements or intravenous nutritional therapy. 

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, please call our office to schedule an appointment at 925-939-0300 so that we can evaluate all aspects of your condition, find the root cause of your illness and help treat your condition naturally! 

Dr. Jamie Berner, ND