Jun 23 2009

Chronic Mono – Is Your Thyroid Making You Tired?

Published by at 4:59 am under Natural treatments

If you are recovering from chronic mono,  it can be easy to put your tiredness down to post-viral fatigue. However it is important that you rule out other causes like an underactive thyroid which may be contributing to your condition.

What is your thyroid gland?

Your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the front of your neck. It is responsible for maintaining your metabolic activity – the rate at which your body burns calories.

Blood tests will show up serious problems with thyroid function but they are often not sensitive enough to pick up the milder, more common cases of hypothyroidism. This is why some patients with chronic mono are told by their doctors that everything “appears normal” – when it fact glands like the thyroid and adrenals may be compromised.
Do you have hypothyroidism?

Consider the short checklist below.

Do you experience on a regular basis:


•Cold hands and feet

•Dry skin, hair and brittle nails

•Thinning hair – particularly the outer third of the eyebrows

•Easy weight gain

•Swollen or droopy eyelids

•Puffy face

•Swelling of the neck

•A tight or ‘thick’ sensation in the throat

•Infrequent bowel motions or constipation

•Muscle aches

•PMT, excess or lack of menstruation, or infertility

If you answered yes to three or more of the above symptoms then you may have hypothyroidism that is contributing to your chronic mono symptoms.

How to help treat hypothyroidism

The natural treatment for hypothyroidism, like that for chronic mono, is based on proper diet, nutritional supplements and gentle body therapies.

Your thyroid benefits from foods high in iodine and the amino acid tyrosine. These nutrients make up the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Iodine is found naturally in seafoods like sea salt, kelp, and fish. Tyrosine is found in many low fat protein foods. It can also be taken in a supplement form at about 500 mg, twice a day on an empty stomach.

Key nutrients in the activation of thyroid hormones are zinc, copper, selenium and vitamins B2 and B3. These should all be supplemented in your diet if you have hypothyroidism. Foods which are particularly useful for hypothyroidism are sea foods, low fat protein sources, egg yolks, parsley and apricots. The essential fatty acids found in linseed oil, deep sea fish and evening primrose oil are useful in maintaining cell integrity and fluidity. These essential fats have also been shown in research trials to improve recurrent fatigue like that found in chronic mono.

Certain foods like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach and turnips, block iodine utilization and should be avoided in excess. Fluoride and chloride from sources like tap water, toothpaste and chlorinated pools, need to be minimized since they block iodine receptors in the thyroid. Sulfur drugs, antihistamines and lithium may also interfere with the gland’s function.

Your liver plays an important role in the conversion of thyroid hormones to their active state. Often chronic mono paients have liver congestion and sluggishness, so the importance of detoxification cannot be emphasized enough.

Your adrenal glands or stress glands also influence thyroid function. These glands are often depleted in cases of chronic mono. It is vital to deal with stress to overcome any hormonal disorder.

In Eastern medicine, the thyroid is in the throat chakra or energy centre of the body. This area is hindered by strong emotional states particularly fear of self – expression and frustration. You may need to work on this to get the results you are after.

Finally exercise and sunshine can both help to improve hypothyroidism. Make sure your upper back and neck areas are in good shape since spinal problems (from C3 to T2) may affect thyroid function. A good chiropractor can help with any back problems. If you have been unable to exercise because of your chronic mono, then the key is to start slowly and gradually build up over time.

If you have chronic mono and suspect that you have hypothyroidism, then please discuss it with a good health professional. For further information on the natural treatments for chronic mono including how to improve the health of your thyroid gland, please refer to the e-book “Nature’s Amazing Mononucleosis Cures” by qualified naturopath Elizabeth Noble.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Chronic Mono – Is Your Thyroid Making You Tired?”

  1. carol osborne says:

    when my daughter was in 7th – 8th grade she had mono. Stayed out of school for the normal 6-week period of time. Then they declared her well again and life returned to somewhat normal. She is now 34-years-old and has recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. This diagnosis since the birth of her 2nd child about 5 months ago.

    In my opinion she never completely snapped back to her old self from the mono episode. She wasn’t as enthusiastic, motivated, or lively as before. I just couldn’t put my finger on it so to speak but things were just a bit different.

    Could mono and hypothyroidism be somehow related? Could she have had mono all this time?

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Carol,

    Thanks for your post. The Epstein Barr virus that causes mono is a latent virus that can recur after the initial infection. It is possible that your daughter has experienced the side effects of mono (of which fatigue is particularly common) since childhood.

    Many thyroid patients report having had mono, or recurrent Epstein Barr virus, prior to being diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Epstein Barr virus has been linked to the development of autoimmune disease like autoimmune hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome, however the mechanism of how this works remains unclear.

    I would recommend that your daughter, in conjunction with her doctor, starts on a natural program of a healthy diet, stress reduction, nutritional supplementation, liver cleansing and graded exercise as outlined above.

    Best wishes

  3. Holly says:

    I stumbled across your website after typing in some of my symptoms and am very intrigued as to whether I have this virus. It has been pointed out to me previously, but I ignored it as my doctor said there was nothing wrong.

    About 3 years ago, I came down with a very nasty virus including tonsiliitis. This lasted about 5 weeks. For the next year, I had frequent bouts of sore throats and was repeatedly told I had tonsillitis. These sore throats were accomopanied with extreme fatigue which made me not able to work. The anti bios never seemed to do much good. My sore throats and tiredness would come and go, but it was very dehabilitating as my social life shrank as I couldn’t cope with being too active. I was referred to the hospital for some tests on my throat. I was advised that my 3rd set of tonsils were inflammed which produced lots of mucus. FOr the last 3 years, it feels like I am constantly on a plane as my ears always pop swallowing or yawning or just in general.

    The hospital advised that it should all die down in 6 months and treatment alsways had its complications.

    Now reading the symptoms above, I am wondering whether I have this. I have had cold hands and feet for a while- and this is to the extremes, my lips have sometimes turned a tinge of blue. I thought it was to do with my circulation. I have also had muscle pains- in thighs and tops of shoulders mainly. Again, just thought not much of it as can live with it. But thinking about it, I have only had these things for the last couple of years. PMT is also true however I have been diagnosed with Polycystic ovaries.

    I am now 29 and really need to find an answer to this and would appreciate any advice you may have. I am reluctant to go to the doctors as I dont feel I am getting anywhere

    Thank you

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Holly,

    Thanks for your comment. The Epstein Barr virus that causes mono is a latent virus. Once you have had the virus it can recur when you are run down or under stress.

    Your symptoms of muscle aches, fatigue and poor circulation are common in cases of chronic Epstein Barr. Your doctor should be able to run Epstein Barr antibody tests that tell you if you have had Epstein Barr and if you are in an active phase. If your tests come back negative then you may have low immunity from another virus or bacteria. You may also have another condition like anaemia, allergy, low blood sugar, underactive thyroid, liver problems, sarcoidosis etc that can mimic Epstein Barr.

    I would recommend you start on some natural therapies to boost your immunity and repair your adrenal glands which sound like they may be rundown. Nutrients like vitamin C, zinc, the B complex, fish oils and magnesium are a good starting point. A high protein, low carb diet, gentle
    exercise, liver cleansing, stress management and plenty of rest should also be part of your plan.

    I hope this information helps. Please let me know how you go.


  5. Alice Thompson says:

    I am so glad I stumbled across this, I have been having practically all
    the symptoms you mentioned since having the EB virus two years ago, but the doctors just turn me away and say there’s nothing wrong.
    (I have also been diagnoesd with PCOS since, wich makes me think it’s all connected)
    I too have had blood tests which say that my thyroid function is normal, but
    was reluctant to take any hormone replacement tablets that you often see in health magazines. Do youthink it is possible for my thyroid to regain it’s health and work properly again?
    I shalll give this a try!
    Many Thanks

  6. admin says:

    Hi Alice,
    Thanks for your post. Sorry to hear you have been unwell for so long. Epstein Barr can affect the hormonal health of the body leading to depleted adrenals, a sluggish thyroid and problems like PCOS. Even though your thyroid blood test looks “normal”, the thyroid can still be sub-optimal. I would look at taking some thyroid nutrients and herbs, following a low carb diet, reducing your stress and doing some regular exercise. The help of a naturopath or holistic doctor will improve your recovery.
    Best wishes

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