Use of Immune Stimulants to prevent viral reactivation
Most HHV-6 reactivation occurs in patients who are immunosuppressed, such as those undergoing stem cell transplantation or who have a genetic immune deficiency. In addition, some individuals may unknowingly become immunosuppressed in response to environmental or biochemical factors such as increased stress. Certain drugs and environmental toxins can activate HHV-6 virus, and several conditions involving extreme drug hypersensitivity reaction are accompanied by HHV-6 viremia (See HHV-6 & Drug Hypersensitivity.) Furthermore, once reactivated, HHV-6A and HHV-6B (as well as several other herpesviruses) can enhance this state of immunosuppression, leading to more rapid development of virus-related symptoms, persistent infection, and increased risk of reactivation and co-infection with other pathogens (See HHV-6 & Immune Suppression).
Patients with signs of viral reactivation (elevated titers or viremia) and frequent bouts of illness should ask their physicians about ruling out specific immune deficiencies. Here are some of the tests your primary care physician may order to rule out immune deficiencies:
- Total IgG with subclasses
- Lymphocyte Subset Panel (measures CD4, CD8, NK cells, etc)
- ImmuKnow or Immune Cell Function test (measures CD4 response)
- Natural Killer Cell Function
If any of these markers are abnormal, an immunologist should be consulted for a more detailed workup. For example, patients with low total IgG or a low value on one of the subclasses might be diagnosed with hypogammaglobulinemia or be treated with gammaglobulin shots or infusions to help maintain proper immune system health.
In addition, marked deficiencies in certain minerals such as zinc, magnesium and selenium are known to affect immune system functionality and limit immune response to viral infection. For this reason, the following tests are also suggested by many experts to rule out high-risk mineral deficiencies:
- RBC magnesium
There are a few prescription drugs and nutraceuticals that may help stimulate immune response. We have listed a few of these below for information purposes only. Of course, you should always consult your physician before introducing any of these compounds into your own treatment regimen.