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Herpes and Shingles

Herpes and shingles are clinically distinct diseases, with different symptoms and modes of transmission. However, they are both caused by members of the herpes virus family.

Several members of this virus family can cause disease, but this protocol will focus on herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), and varicella-zoster virus.

HSV-1 and HSV-2 cause herpes, whereas the varicella-zoster virus typically causes chickenpox in children and shingles later in life (Siakallis 2009; Odom 2012; Wolz 2012; Roizman 2001; Odom 2012).

Both herpes and shingles are very common: as many as 90% of the people in the United States have been exposed to HSV-1 (Prasad 2010), and the CDC estimates that 32% of Americans will develop shingles at some point in their lifetime (Sampathkumar 2009; Albrecht 2012a).

One of the most clinically-relevant properties of herpes virus (Herpesviridae) is their ability to establish a latent infection (Roizman 2001). This means that the virus can lay dormant in the body, becoming “reactivated” under certain conditions, and manifest symptoms long after the initial infection. This reactivation can occur as a result of local injury, or systemic factors such as emotional stress, fever, trauma, sunlight exposure, or menstrual periods. But perhaps the most prominent factor, especially in regard to shingles outbreaks among older adults, is general age-related decline in immune function, known as immunosenescence (Oxman 2009; Pfister 2008; Steiner 1995; Roizman 2001; Albrecht 2012a).

Although conventional treatments may improve symptoms and shorten the duration of herpes and shingles outbreaks, many physicians overlook the potential therapeutic role of a common over-the-counter heartburn drug called cimetidine in mitigating the impact of Herpesviridae infections (Miller 1989). Despite several published studies showing cimetidine significantly eases shingles symptoms and shortens outbreak duration, the conventional medical establishment fails to recommend this inexpensive treatment to older adults suffering from this debilitating condition. Sadly, this is probably because cimetidine has been off patent for many years and is therefore no longer financially lucrative for pharmaceutical companies, even though it has substantial potential to provide relief to patients suffering from shingles.

In this protocol you will learn about the viruses that cause herpes and shingles, and how these infections are conventionally treated. A number out natural ingredients that may help ease symptoms of herpes and shingles will also be discussed, and important lifestyle and dietary considerations that may help prevent outbreaks will be examined as well.