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Could Childhood Kissing Disease Be the Root of Your Mystery Illness?

It’s estimated that 280,000 college freshmen get mononucleosis (mono) every year, and now some researchers are wondering if this disease caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) — often referred to as the “kissing disease” — might be responsible for unexplained illnesses that pop up years after a person was infected with it, USA Today reports.

While the subject of USA Today’s article laments that there is no vaccine for mono, the real answer to ending EBV diseases, such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), may be as simple as reprogramming your gut microbiome. In a study released in the journal Microbiome, researchers at Cornell University evaluated the blood and stool of 48 people diagnosed with CFS and compared the results to those from 39 healthy people.

Using DNA sequencing, a process of determining the precise order of nucleotides in a DNA molecule, they found a distinct lack in diversity in the gut microbiome in affected individuals and inflammatory markers in the blood. Although these changes could not be clearly identified as either the cause or consequence of CFS, researchers were heartened by the presence of these markers in 83 percent of the samples, and the possibility of treatment options to reduce symptoms.

Since leaking waste products and bacteria from your gut may trigger an inflammatory response, resulting in physical symptoms and neurological changes, eliminating carbohydrates like sugars and grains, especially wheat products, and including high-fiber and fermented foods may help heal your gut and improve your symptoms. It also can help with chronic inflammation, which can affect every aspect of your health.