The Impact of Psychological Stress/Trauma on The Immune System’s Ability to Suppress Viruses & Autoimmunity

Epstein-Barr Virus Antibody Titers: Is Classical Immunology Wrong? How does Psychological Stress Impact The Immune System’s Ability To Suppress Viruses?


ebv blood test
This person’s EBV titers are 30x and 9x the reference range.

EBV IgM is an immunoglobulin that, if positive, means you have had an infection within the last 7 weeks.

IgG of Viral Capsid and EBNA will usually be positive for life if you’ve ever had the EBV infection. BUT, you can monitor if the virus is challenging your immune system if the IgG titers are 3-4x GREATER than the reference range. This is true even if IgM is negative.

If titers are 3-4x greater than the reference range, the virus is hanging out in the background and taxing your immune system, on top of all the other things our immune system has to deal with.

Epstein Barr Virus can influence the development of Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroid, thyroid cancer, Hodgkins lymphoma, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis and also Graves Disease.

Studies show that people who have unresolved traumatic experiences, and are not finding improvements in their autoimmune antibodies and viral titers, can go to therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy) and their antibodies will drop. Their autoimmunity goes into the silent phase. Symptoms will go away.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps us change the way we talk to ourselves, which modulates the immune system. In 1994 the Journal of Psychosomatic Research observed 76 college students and asked them to disclose a stressful or traumatic topic which they had previously discussed only minimally with others. Students did this 3 days/week for 3 weeks. They then measured the students EBV VCA IgG antibodies before and after.

Researchers found that students who had the most trouble with traumatic events/wanted to avoid the stressful topic had higher EBV IgG antibodies. 

Meaning, psychological stress affects the immune system’s ability to control latent EBV and other latent herpesviruses.

If you are someone or know someone who is sick, who has tried everything and still is not better, show them this. Maybe their key is to try therapy to resolve some trauma. 🙏



Glaser, R., & Kiecolt Glaser, J. (n.d.). Stress-Associated Immune Modulation and Its Implications for Reactivation of Latent Herpesviruses. Ohio State University Medical Center. Retrieved from

Lutgendorf, S. K., Antoni, M. H., Kumar, M., & Schneiderman, N. (1994). Changes in cognitive coping strategies predict EBV-antibody titre change following a stressor disclosure induction. Journal of Psychosomatic Research,38(1), 63-78. Retrieved from



Author: Melissa Mullin

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