Fighting Chronic Infections: How to Get Ahead of Viruses, Parasites, Fungus & Bacteria

Fighting Chronic Infections: How to Get Ahead of Viruses, Parasites, Fungus & Bacteria

Fighting Chronic Infections: How to Get Ahead of Viruses, Parasites, Fungus & Bacteria

When you hear the term “infection,” what comes to mind? 

If you’re like most people, you probably instantly think about bacteria (whether you realize it or not). For example, you cut your finger and it swells up, gets red, and maybe even discharges pus. That’s a classic case of bacterial infection.

But you can also get viral infections, fungal infections, and parasitic infections. And you can experience chronic infections that wreak havoc on your body—and you don’t even realize it.

Acute Infections vs Chronic Infections

When it comes to infections, it’s important to understand the difference between acute and chronic varieties in order to get the right treatment approach. 

Acute Infections

Acute infections come on suddenly and are typically short-term, lasting anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. They occur when bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other invaders infiltrate body tissues and start rapidly multiplying. This triggers immune cells to react strongly with inflammation and produce classic infectious disease symptoms like fever, nausea, chills, pain, sore throat, coughing, congestion, diarrhea, or vomiting. 

Examples of common acute infections include influenza, stomach bugs, colds, most sinus infections, strep throat, and basic food poisoning. It can also present like that cut finger example, flooding the injured area with pro-inflammatory signaling molecules called cytokines. Nearby white blood cells, mast cells, and other immune fighters detect the cytokines and rush to the area, activating to eliminate the infection.

With rest and supportive care, most healthy immune systems can beat back an acute infection. If particularly severe, some acute infections could benefit from targeted botanicals, herbs, and supplements, or even medications like antibiotics, antivirals, or antifungals to help the body regain control quicker and prevent serious complications. Vulnerable populations like immunocompromised and elderly people may benefit from this approach. A young healthy immune system should be able to fight off most infections with minimal to no support from prescription medications. 

Chronic Infections

Chronic infections persist over longer periods of time, often undiagnosed. They result when the immune system cannot swiftly eradicate an infectious agent, allowing it to take up residence in tissues or cells. This may occur because the invader has virulence factors that impair immunity, or because the host immune system is compromised by stress, toxins, or genetic factors. 

Chronic infections cause more generalized and seemingly disconnected and subtle symptoms like fatigue, achiness or pain, brain fog, and low grade fever that come and go over time. 

Examples of common chronic infections include Lyme disease, intestinal parasites, urinary tract infections that recur, oral thrush, and viruses like Epstein Barr, cytomegalovirus, or herpes that remain dormant in the body. Most people don’t realize bacteria, parasites, and fungus can colonize the sinuses, lungs, bladder, joints, oral cavity, and just about anywhere in the human body.   

Chronic infections can go unnoticed for years until they start to make a significant impact and generate real symptoms. 

In terms of where infections hang out—well, it’s essentially anywhere viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites can thrive!

  • Mouth and gums: Chronic infections can silently take root in your oral cavity. Conditions like periodontal disease and gingivitis can harbor harmful bacteria that contribute to overall human health issues. I always say “Your mouth is a doorway for infection into your body”.
  • Sinuses: Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, result from bacterial or fungal overgrowth. They can be chronic or acute, but if not treated properly, these kinds of infections often flare back up, causing recurring discomfort and respiratory problems.
  • Bladder: Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be indicative of chronic bladder infections. These infections are typically caused by bacterial strains like E. coli.
  • Bloodstream: Bloodstream infections, known as sepsis, can be life-threatening and may stem from a variety of pathogens, including bacteria and fungi.
  • Skin: Skin infections like cellulitis and fungal pathogens can persist and become chronic, causing discomfort and affecting your skin’s appearance—as well as its ability to protect you from various forms of infectious diseases.
  • Gut: Your gut microbiome plays a pivotal role in your overall health. Chronic gut infections can result from imbalances in your gut flora, leading to digestive issues and systemic problems.

The Ultimate Infection Protector: The Microbiome

You may believe the microbiome lives exclusively inside the digestive tract, but in actuality, it also exists in various ecosystems throughout the human body, including the skin, mouth, vagina, lungs, bladder, breast, and many other places! 

Although most of us don’t think about chronic infections as being connected to the microbiome, the gut does serve as a kind of “central processing” area. If you’re imbalanced there, you’re actually much more susceptible to all kinds of infections.

The microbiome consists of both “good” (commensal) and “bad” (pathogenic) microbes, and the balance between them plays an important role in maintaining overall health. 

How Good Microbes Can Help the Body

Commensal microbes are bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that live in or on the human body without causing disease under normal circumstances. They exist naturally as part of the microbiome in places like the gut, skin, and respiratory system without harming health. The relationship provides benefits to the microbes as well as the human host.

For example, many beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. They help break down complex carbohydrates, produce vitamins (like B vitamins and vitamin K), and ferment fiber, producing short-chain fatty acids that benefit the intestinal lining.

The positive influence of gut bacteria can contribute to a healthy immune system. They help regulate the immune response and defend against harmful human pathogens, preventing infections.

Plus, the proliferation of beneficial bacteria can help “crowd out” potentially harmful pathogens and prevent their overgrowth. 

On the skin, good bacteria can help maintain pH balance, prevent the colonization of harmful gut microbes, and promote skin health.

In the mouth, certain beneficial bacteria are essential for preventing the overgrowth of harmful bacteria that can lead to dental problems like cavities and gum disease.

Examples of commensal organisms include: 

  • Bacteria: Bacteroides, Lactobacillus, Prevotella 
  • Fungi: Saccharomyces, Candida Albicans (surprising fact, it’s helpful at low levels) 
  • Viruses: Anelloviruses have not been found to be harmful and may actually have a beneficial role in the body

Essentially, commensal microbes are friendly or neutral microorganisms that coexist as part of normal physiology. Maintaining balance amongst commensals is crucial for human health – and disruption can enable serious pathogenic and toxin issues.

How Bad Microbes Can Harm the Body

Some bacteria that are typically considered “bad” or pathogenic can cause infections when they overgrow or invade tissues. For example, Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) or Streptococcus pyogenes (Strep) can cause skin infections, respiratory infections, or more severe illnesses. But at low levels, they don’t cause any harm. 

An imbalance in the microbiome, often referred to as dysbiosis, can result from the overgrowth of harmful bacteria or the depletion of beneficial ones. This imbalance can create an environment where infections are more likely to occur because the body’s natural defenses are weakened, creating opportunities for pathogenic bacteria to flourish.

Interestingly, we can actually create new microbiome problems for ourselves in the treatment of bacterial pathogens. For example, a new study from 2022 showed (again) that the misuse or overuse of antibiotics can affect the delicate environment in the gut microbiome. This can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, which can become problematic if they overgrow and cause infections.

We’ll explore more about the biggest bacterial “baddies” here in a moment…

The Biggest Sources of Infection: Parasites, Fungus Bacteria & Viruses

If you deal with persisting issues like fatigue, achiness, chronic inflammation, or gut problems, hidden infections could be brewing behind the scenes. Unlike obvious acute illness, chronic infections create vague nagging symptoms that drag on due to immune disruption. 

The main biological troublemakers that can perpetuate these stealth infections include parasites, fungus, bacteria and viruses.

Infection Source #1: Parasites

Parasites are known energy thieves

A common misconception is that you must travel to an impoverished country to pick up a parasite. But the truth is, 1 in 4 of us have parasites… and the problem is actually on the rise! 

These are various types of parasites: liver flukes, tape worms, round worms and single cell microscopic protozoa. 

If you’ve attended any of my masterclasses (or read my emails), you’ll know that I pulled a parasite out of my sinuses when I was 12 years old—right here in America. See that bottom picture on the right? That’s a roundworm that came out of me! At age 49!

Thousands of parasite species are able to invade the body, leading to chronic infections. For instance, protozoa and worms enter through contaminated food, water, and sometimes vectors like mosquitoes. They take up residence in the human body where they release toxins, damage tissue, and spur inflammation. 

They can also travel to different areas in the body, causing confusing symptoms (for example, the desire for something sweet after a meal or grinding your teeth at night #facts). 

Parasites damage the intestinal lining, impair immune function and increase system wide inflammation. Symptoms may include digestive problems, fatigue, skin issues, wheezing, brain fog, moodiness, joint pain, nutrient deficiencies and more, all depending on location and species. 

Plus, parasites expertly evade immune detection via tricks like shedding proteins that downregulate key immune messengers, so it’s hard to know they’re there—and at times, even harder to pull them out!

How to Get Rid of Chronic Parasitic Infections

Parasites don’t often show up on standard blood or stool testing from your primary care doctor… but they do on functional medicine tests!

Solving the problem of parasites takes some deep whole-body cleansing, because these guys really like to live in hard-to-reach places like your sinuses, liver, bloodstream, bladder, and lungs. 

What I’ll tell you from experience is that parasites are one of the most surprising human pathogens to my clients. When they go through my Open–Clear–Rebuild protocol™ in our programs, many of them pass parasites and are absolutely shocked. They live in urban and suburban areas, shop at big name grocery stores, and eat out at well-known restaurants. And that’s how they got their parasites!

Here are some more tips to support your body to defending against and eliminating parasites:

  • Deworm pets to minimize cross-contamination. What do you think heartworms are?! 
  • Drink purified water especially in endemic regions or while traveling. I recommend even in developed countries. I drink distilled water every day. 
  • Practice good hygiene around food and actually look at your food before you buy or eat it. I have found round worms in my raw and cooked fish. You can see my video HERE
  • Avoid the most common sources of food-borne parasitic contamination—for example, you won’t find me eating sushi, unwashed veggies, or undercooked pork! (Yes, parasites live on produce!)
  • Optimize nutrition to keep your immune system strong.
  • Sanitize living spaces by cleaning, washing items on high heat cycles, and steam/UV treatment of surfaces (particularly important if you have had parasitic infections in your home, whether that’s humans or pets). 

Infection Source #2: Fungus 

Mold and candida overgrowth are two of the most common sources of fungal infections.

For example, aspergillus fumigatus and other Aspergillus molds cause chronic lung infections and sinusitis, especially in immunocompromised patients. Mold is one of the most sinister environmental toxins because it hides in plain sight—behind the walls in our homes, workplaces, and places we visit. Mold toxicity can cause symptoms like headaches, low energy, sleep issues, depression, and rashes, mimicking other health conditions.

Candida is a type of yeast that is naturally present in small quantities in various parts of the body, including the mouth, gut, and genital area. It’s normal for candida to be in the body. However, when it begins to overgrow, it can lead to a condition known as candidiasis. 

Because candida infections create toxins, it sparks local and systemic inflammation linked to leaky gut issues, pain, allergies, brain fog, and mood disorders.

Common candida related disorders include:

  • Oral thrush: This form of candidiasis affects the mouth and throat. It often presents as white, creamy patches on the tongue, inner cheeks, and the roof of the mouth. It can cause discomfort, a burning sensation, and difficulty swallowing.
  • Yeast infection: Also known as genital candidiasis or vaginal thrush, this type of candidiasis affects the genital area in both men and women. Symptoms may include itching, burning, redness, swelling, and abnormal discharge. In men, it can lead to balanitis, causing inflammation of the glans penis.
  • Cutaneous candidiasis: Candida can also cause infections of the skin and nails, leading to red, itchy rashes, and sometimes even nail infections. Warm, moist areas of the body, such as the armpits and groin, are particularly susceptible to this form of candidiasis.
  • Systemic candidiasis: In rare cases, candida can enter the bloodstream, causing systemic candidiasis. This can occur in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy. Systemic candidiasis can lead to severe infections throughout the body, including in vital organs like the heart, kidneys, and brain.

Getting rid of fungus can be particularly tricky. After hunkering down, adapting, and making themselves at home, they start secreting this sticky slimy substance around their colonies that forms a tough, stubborn coating. This microbial cloak is what we call a biofilm. 

Within their biofilm bunkers, fungal cells can become more resistant to medications. The biofilm barrier blocks drugs from easily penetrating down to the nucleus of the infection.

Fungi also have a sneaky shape-shifting talent – they can morph between single celled yeast and threaded multi-celled hyphae forms. This switching, combined with hiding out camouflaged in biofilms, makes fungus expert survivors able to avoid getting kicked out by disguising or altering cell surface molecular patterns that immune cells recognize. Plus, they’re able to fend off medical interventions.

Several factors can contribute to the overgrowth of Candida including:

  1. Antibiotics: The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics can disrupt the balance of bacteria and yeast in the gut, potentially allowing candida to overgrow.
  2. Tight Clothing: Wearing tight, non-breathable clothing, especially in warm and moist environments, can contribute to the development of genital candidiasis.
  1. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those during pregnancy or while taking birth control pills, can create an environment conducive to candida overgrowth.
  1. Diet: A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can promote candida growth, as yeast feeds on and uses these foods to grow and multiply..
  1. Weakened Immune System: People with lowered immune systems, such as those with HIV, diabetes, or undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, are more susceptible to candidiasis.
  1. Toxin Exposure: Fungus like candida is invited into your body to help degrade or ‘bioreduce’ harmful toxins like metals and radioactive elements. That means in order to clear the fungus, you must address the underlying root cause and also detoxify your body. Cutting sugar in this case, won’t solve the problem. 

How to Get Rid of Chronic Fungal Infections

Treatment for candidiasis from a western medicine perspective typically just involves antifungal medications, which can be administered orally, topically, or intravaginally, depending on the location and severity of the infection. 

Yet in functional medicine, we know medication isn’t enough to solve the issue for good. 

Lifestyle modifications, such as adopting a low-sugar diet, adding probiotics to your supplement intake, and practicing good hygiene, can also help prevent recurrent infections.

But for permanent elimination of fungal infections, the underlying root causes must be addressed. That includes investigating for heavy metals, radioactive elements and environmental toxicants. We know the immune system will allow annoying pathogens like fungus to thrive in your body in order to break toxic chemicals and make them less harmful to your vital organs: your brain, liver, heart, and kidneys. 

If you’re experiencing a candida overgrowth issue, one of the best things you can do for quick relief is adjust your diet to help get it under control.

Foods to avoid:

  • Sugars: Candida feeds on sugar, so starve it out by avoiding table sugar, sweeteners, and honey.
  • Fruit and fruit juices: The high sugar content in most fruit juices supplies energy for further yeast growth.
  • Dairy: Milk and yogurt contain lactose, which is a natural form of sugar.
  • Whole grains: These foods break down into simple sugars, so limit breads, cereals, pasta, and the like.
  • Alcohol: Most alcohol contains yeast, so to cut candida fuel, it’s best to stay away from happy hour for a while. 
  • Vinegars (except ACV): Vinegar making involves yeast fermentation, so you want to avoid it. Apple cider vinegar is an exception because it has antifungal properties.
  • Peanuts: This food often carries mold, which only encourages the growth of candida.
  • Coffee: Another moldy crop! Purchase mold free coffee from companies like Lifeboost

Foods to bring in:

  • Non-starchy, cooked vegetables: Veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus provide valuable nutrients that fight candida.
  • Turmeric: This spice contains curcumin which a recent study showed helps inhibit the growth of Candida albicans.
  • Cloves, thyme, and cinnamon: A 2019 study showed that clove and thyme essential oils are effective at taking down candida’s biofilm defense barrier. Cinnamon is also particularly useful at disrupting biofilm formation.
  • Lemon: Although they taste sour, lemons actually help alkalize the body once they are metabolized, making the body less hospitable to candida’s growth and proliferation.
  • Ginger: Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can help create an internal environment less conducive to candida overgrowth.
  • Garlic: This vegetable has excellent antifungal properties and is particularly effective against C. albicans.
  • Olive oil: Olive oil provides antioxidants and compounds that may encourage growth of probiotic gut bacteria, making candida less able to overgrow.
  • Coconut oil: In a 2015 study study, researchers discovered “10-fold drop in colonization in mice fed coconut oil.” This is likely because coconut oil contains high levels of caprylic acid, a medium-chain fatty acid shown to have potent antifungal properties.

Infection Source #3: Bacteria

Bacteria are probably the most common source of infections—primarily because there are so many strains that can wreak havoc!

As you now know, our microbiome is made up of commensal microbes (the good guys) and pathogenic microbes (the bad guys). Due to our modern day lifestyles and eating habits, it’s incredibly easy for the bad guys to take over. 

Bacteria have a stunning ability to alter gene expression for antimicrobial resistance, hide out intracellularly, and adopt stealth modes rendering them invisible to immune detection. 

Sneaky bacterial culprits lie behind two of the most common, and misdiagnosed, conditions out there: Lyme disease and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). 

Lyme Disease: Tick-borne Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi—which is spread through tick bites—and can lead to a wide range of chronic symptoms if the immune system doesn’t clear it up promptly. Infecting up to 1 million Americans yearly, this bacteria invades tissues including the nervous system and joints, inciting inflammation and immune dysregulation behind symptoms like pain, neurological issues, and insomnia. 

SIBO: Small intestine bacterial overgrowth refers to excessive bacteria in the small intestine. The bacteria migrates there from the large intestine and disrupts your microbiome balance, causes leaky gut, and sparks widespread inflammation. SIBO is strongly linked to digestive issues as well as autoimmunity, joint pain, skin conditions, and mental health issues. 

Now that you know just how much damage bacteria can inflict on human cells, let’s explore 6 of the most frequent ones that show up in the microbiome.

The Biggest Bacterial Baddies

Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, is a type of bacteria that can be found in the intestines of both humans and animals. While most strains of E. coli are harmless and even beneficial for the digestive system, some can cause illness and infections. 

The primary modes of transmission of pathogenic E. coli include:

  1. Undercooked ground beef: E. coli can be present in undercooked ground beef, and consuming it can lead to infection.
  2. Contaminated produce: Raw vegetables and fruits can become contaminated through contact with animal feces or contaminated water, leading to outbreaks when consumed raw.
  3. Unpasteurized dairy products: E. coli can be present in raw milk and unpasteurized dairy products.
  4. Water contamination: Drinking water that has been contaminated with human or animal waste can introduce E. coli into the body.
  5. Person-to-person contact: E. coli can also spread through fecal-oral transmission from an infected person or carrier not properly washing their hands after using the toilet and then touching surfaces, such as door handles.

The vast majority of E. coli illnesses will resolve on their own. Seeking medical care provides guidance on symptom relief and monitors for complications requiring interventions like IV fluids or surgical drainage.

Staphylococcus (Staph)

Staphylococcus, often referred to as staph, is a group of bacteria commonly found on the skin and in the mucous membranes of humans and animals. 

While many strains of Staphylococcus are harmless and part of the body’s natural intestinal microbiota, certain strains can cause infections when they enter the body or when the immune system is compromised. 

There are several ways people can become infected with staph:

  1. Contact with infected persons: Staph bacteria easily spread through skin-to-skin contact with someone carrying the bacteria, as well as openings in the skin (i.e., acne, eczema, psoriasis, burns, blisters) and shared personal items (i.e., towels, bedding, clothing).
  2. Cuts or abrasions: If someone has a cut or abrasion on their skin and it comes into contact with staph bacteria (even via contaminated surfaces), the bacteria can enter the body and cause infection.
  3. Respiratory transmission: Staph bacteria can spread through mucus droplets dispersed by coughing or sneezing from an infected person, potentially causing respiratory illness
  4. Contaminated food: Foods prepared or handled by staph carriers can lead to food poisoning outbreaks
  5. Medical procedures: Invasive medical procedures (like surgery, catheter insertion, IVs, and injections) pose infection risk if proper sterilization techniques are not followed or cared for properly

Common forms of staph infections include boils, impetigo, cellulitis, and abscesses. These infections often present with redness, warmth, pain, and pus-filled lesions.

However, staph can also show up as gastrointestinal infections, characterized by symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Staph can also cause pneumonia, depending on the strain and the patient’s overall health.

When staph bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can lead to bacteremia. In severe cases, bacteremia can progress to sepsis, a life-threatening condition.

Prescribed antibiotics, usually taken for 7-14 days, are the primary treatment for confirmed staph infections. That said, it’s critical to only be on antibiotics for as long as absolutely necessary, as an underappreciated risk of antibiotics is resistance. 

You may have heard of MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). The hallmark of MRSA is its ability to withstand treatment from common antibiotics that successfully treat other staph infections. This resistance is due to changes in its cell wall structure and antibiotic target sites within bacterial cells.

Preventing staph infections involves practicing good hygiene, particularly handwashing, and maintaining proper wound care.


Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) are bacteria that often reside harmlessly in the throat and nasal passages, but can cause infections when they invade other body parts. 

One of many microbes that can cause pneumonia as well as ear infections and meningitis, streptococcus pneumonia spurs respiratory immune responses. Inflammatory damage from pneumonia can become systemic, contributing to cardiovascular complications. 

There are a couple of main ways people get infected with pneumococcus: 

  1. Person-to-person transmission: Pneumococcus spreads via respiratory droplets or direct contact with respiratory secretions containing the bacteria, often in crowded settings and close quarters  
  2. Human carriers: Healthy carriers, especially children in schools and daycares, can transmit pneumococcus bacteria to others (particularly their parents and siblings!) through routine close interpersonal interactions

Infections can occur in the sinuses, ears, lungs (pneumonia), bloodstream (bacteremia), and the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Those over 65 and under 2, as well as immunocompromised persons, are at highest risk.   

Symptoms depend on the infection site but usually include fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain, headache, neck pain or stiffness, and rash.

Prevention centers around good hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and avoiding exposure to smoke and pollution which can weaken the delicate lining of the lungs, making you more susceptible to this kind of bacterial infection.

Clostridioides difficile (C. diff)

While many healthy adults carry C. diff bacteria without issues, it can multiply and cause illness if competing gut flora are wiped out, usually by antibiotic treatment. C. diff is particularly nasty because spores can survive for a long time, even with alcohol-based cleaners.

There are a few main ways people get infected with C. diff:  

  1. Exposure to C. diff spores: Spores from the fecal matter or contaminated surfaces and objects of an infected person are accidentally ingested or spread by unwashed hands.
  2. Antibiotic use: Most C. diff infections happen after a recent course of antibiotics, which can disrupt the normal balance of healthy gut bacteria allowing C. diff overgrowth.
  3. Healthcare settings: C. diff easily spreads between patients via shared medical equipment, bathroom facilities, and caregiver hands in hospitals and nursing homes.
  4. Poor hygiene: Infection can occur from ingesting spores picked up from contaminated surfaces by unwashed hands.

C. diff infections cause watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and fever. In severe cases, it can progress to toxic megacolon or colon rupture. Recurrent C. diff infections are also common. Preventing antibiotic resistance and proper hygiene are key.

Treating C. diff often involves stopping problematic antibiotics plus prescribing different antibiotics effective against C. diff bacteria. Fecal transplant has proven highly effective for stubborn, recurrent C. diff. 

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that causes stomach and upper gastrointestinal infections. While many healthy adults carry H. pylori bacteria without issues, some strains can cause illness and inflammation.

There are a few main ways people get infected with H. pylori:

  1. Oral transmission: Via vomit, saliva, or fecal matter from an infected person, as well as mouth-to-mouth kissing.
  2. Contaminated food and water: Consuming food or water contaminated with H. pylori bacteria, often due to poor hygiene practices, can transmit infection.
  3. Crowded conditions: Increased risk in crowded households and institutions due to increased bacteria transmission between people via oral-oral or fecal-oral routes.
  4. Travel: Travel to regions with higher H. pylori infection rates (such as developing countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia) also increases risk of transmission through contaminated food or close contact with infected people.

Infections often start in childhood from family members and can persist for life if not treated. H. pylori adapts to the stomach environment and evades immune clearance.

H. pylori infections can lead to chronic gastritis, peptic ulcers, and increased risk for stomach cancer. Symptoms include epigastric pain (upper stomach region), nausea, bloating, and unintended weight loss.

Treatment involves taking antibiotics in combination with acid reducers. Antibiotic resistance makes treatment difficult in up to 30% of cases. Preventive measures center around hygiene, sanitation, infection screening programs, and clean water access.


Salmonella are a group of intestinal bacteria that commonly cause infections transmitted via contaminated foods. There are over 2,500 identified strains of Salmonella that can infect humans.

Ways people get infected with salmonella include:

  1. Consuming contaminated foods: The most common culprits are raw or undercooked eggs, meat, poultry, dairy products, and produce contaminated with the bacteria.
  2. Animals: Exposure to reptiles, chickens, and other animals harboring salmonella through feces, environments, or food materials are the most common animal-borne transmissions.
  3. Water: This includes drinking or swimming in contaminated water with salmonella from animal or human waste.
  4. Infected persons: Salmonella spreads via the fecal-oral route. Outbreaks often occur in cafeterias, hospitals, and nursing homes where people live in close quarters, share food, and have higher traffic.

Salmonella bacterial species cause gastrointestinal conditions like enterocolitis, typhoid fever, and food poisoning outbreaks marked by diarrhea, fever, dehydration, and stomach pains.

Invasive infections which are not confined to the intestines can become serious, spreading to the bloodstream (bacteremia) and other body sites.

Treatment involves fluids/electrolytes for dehydration, antibiotics for severe systemic cases, and supportive care for most. Prevention centers around safe food handling, hand hygiene, and avoiding spreading infection.

Infection Source #4: Viruses

Viruses are masters at adapting and impairing the different innate immune pathways meant to suppress them. 

Sneaky viral pathogens like Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) hide out long-term in cells – especially when immunity falters. They emerge intermittently, causing symptoms and fueling inflammation linked to chronic low energy, autoimmunity, neurological issues, and even cancer. 

There are many ways people can pick up the different types of virus infections:

  1. Person-to-person contact: Viruses spread directly between people through contact with contaminated bodily fluids or respiratory droplets; for instance, sexually transmitted infections, influenza, or sars-cov-2 infection (COVID-19).
  2. Fecal-oral transmission: Viruses that come from infected feces entering the body through the mouth of a new host, often due to poor hygiene or sanitation conditions, which then replicate in the GI tract; examples include norovirus, hepatitis A, and polio. 
  3. Bloodborne transmission: Viruses spread via contact with infected blood or bodily fluids transmitted via needles, transfusions, or childbirth; for example, HIV and hepatitis B and C.
  4. Zoonotic transmission: Some viruses move between animals and humans like dengue virus from mosquitoes or influenza strains from birds and pigs. 
  5. Vertical transmission: Some viruses pass in the womb from mother to baby, such as Zika, CMV, and HIV.
  6. Environmental transmission: Respiratory viruses also spread indirectly via contaminated surfaces or droplet clouds in closed, crowded areas; for example, rhinoviruses and adenoviruses often get passed via high touch areas like door knobs that get transferred by touch to the eyes, mouth, and nose.

Now, let’s explore a few of these “big name” chronic viral infections in depth…

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV): Epstein-Barr is an extremely common herpesvirus, infecting 90-95% of adults. It disrupts immunity, allowing inflammation to run rampant. EBV is responsible for infectious mononucleosis, resulting in chronic fatigue syndrome in some cases. Because it’s a DNA virus, it replicates by injecting its DNA into the nucleus of host cells and using the cell’s own machinery to transcribe and replicate the viral DNA into new copies. It can reactivate after lying dormant for a long time and when it does, it can cause recurring mononucleosis, along with long-lasting fatigue, aches, brain fog, and more. EBV also thought to be a factor in lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Sjögren’s Syndrome, and other autoimmune conditions. 

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): Human immunodeficiency virus is a retrovirus that attacks the body’s immune system by targeting key immune cells called CD4 T cells. It spreads between people via bodily fluids – most often during unprotected sex, sharing of needles, childbirth, and breastfeeding. HIV slips RNA inside CD4 cells, turns it to DNA, splices that DNA to blend in with the cell’s own genome, and brainwash it into mass producing more viruses—instead of doing its usual immunity tasks. New viral particles continually replicate to infect and kill more CD4 cells, decimating CD4 counts. As CD4 cells decrease, immunity weakens, allowing other opportunistic viral and bacterial infections to come in. Without treatment, this loss of active immunity is what underlies acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), where even common illnesses become serious and life-threatening.

Influenza virus: Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus that causes flu illness, especially in the winter months. The virus spreads easily via respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing, and indirectly via contaminated surfaces. Most healthy people recover within 7-10 days but complications can be deadly. For example, Influenza A causes severe illness and is behind historical pandemic flu strains, including the 1918 “Spanish flu” pandemic. You know, the one that nearly got Edward Cullen in Twilight. *wink*

How to Get Rid of Chronic Viral Infections

Addressing chronic viral infections often requires a multi-pronged, functional medicine approach to gently support your body’s healing abilities. 

Here are some tips to support your natural immune response:

  1. Reduce stress:  Chronic stress and high cortisol are immunosuppressive. Try daily mindfulness practices, yoga, vagus nerve stimulation, or breathing exercises to induce relaxation. This supports immune function.
  2. Eat anti-inflammatory foods: Starve viruses of inflammatory fuel by doubling down on antioxidants from colorful fruits and vegetables, curcumin, and green tea. Avoid inflammatory foods like refined carbs, fried foods, and alcohol.
  3. Gentle movement: Balance activity vs rest. Our immune system needs both to perform at its best. Try light walking, stretching, and gentle yoga, which can help circulation without overtaxing your recovering system.
  4. Prioritize sleep: Ensure you get 7-9 hours of deep, natural sleep nightly for hormone regulation, mitochondria support, and clearing viruses from the brain and body restoration. Develop good sleep hygiene habits without screens before bed.
  5. Get outside daily: The outdoors supports healing on multiple levels. Connect with nature, and get exposed to fresh air, sunlight, and earth’s surface microbes.
  6. Limit screen time: Excess electronics and EMF exposure strain immunity, so minimize your exposure where possible. An easy way to do this is to create an evening winddown routine that is screen-free.

If you suspect you have a latent, chronic viral infection that’s creating problems in your life, it’s worth getting a gut test. These kinds of evaluations look at different markers than your primary care physician is generally concerned with.

Once we get the answers to what’s causing your chronic low energy and negative symptoms, we can create a customized protocol to support your immune system to minimize the impact this chronic infection source is having on your physical, mental, and emotional health.

A customized protocol can include antiviral botanicals to help suppress viral replication and activity, immune modulators to calibrate dysfunctional responses, targeted supplements to disrupt latently infected tissues, specific dietary interventions to cut off fuel to pathogens, pro-motility supplements which help speed up waste elimination flow to clear viral GI reservoirs, and additional detoxification support. 

The specifics of your protocol plan depend on the virus, areas of the body affected, and your unique needs, gene expression and lifestyle factors. But with a personalized roadmap guided by advanced testing, even complex lingering viruses can often be effectively contained, modulated, or cleared from the system entirely through comprehensive functional care when standard approaches fall short. 

Rest assured there are options — click here to take your first step with me as your guide.

How to Identify & Eliminate Chronic Infections

Chronic infections are a significant health concern, and they can manifest in surprising ways inside your body. Understanding the diverse locations and potential culprits behind chronic infections is essential for effective prevention and management.

The good news is advanced functional testing can identify these elusive chronic infections. One of the best ways to do that is via a gut microbiome test.

Often referred to as a gut microbiota analysis or gut microbiome sequencing, a microbiome test is a valuable tool that offers insights into the composition and diversity of microorganisms living in your gastrointestinal tract. These tests can reveal various aspects of your gut health, including potential chronic infections. (Interestingly, you can also get a toxin test report that shows the heavy metals that may be causing you low energy, as well as the surprising toxins increasing inflammation inside the body.

Many people would rather “stress and guess”—blindly trying various solutions and hoping symptoms resolve. But isn’t it faster (and more effective) to know for sure… and then take laser-focused action?

To take the guesswork out of feeling better, work with a functional medicine practitioner (like me!) to identify what’s causing your imbalances, create a custom plan to address the real root issue, and a game plan you can actually follow.

Functional medicine practitioners help you understand what your gut microbiome report says, as well as custom tailor the right lifestyle shifts and protocols to get you back on track.

Ready to get started?

Click here to take your first step.

Take Good Care,

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