Shingles - Nutrition & Healing

Nutrition & Healing

The sooner 'shingles' are treated, the better the results are likely to be. Whether you take "regular" drug therapy, nutritional and natural treatment, or some combination of the two, see your doctor or doctors as soon as you can, if you suspect a 'shingles' eruption. But even if shingles aren't promptly treated, or if they are but pain persists, there are a few things to try to reduce or eliminate pain.

Occasionally, shingles infects the eye; for that location, nutritional treatment is uniquely effective, even after weeks to months. Lastly, there's another aspect of 'shingles', rarely recognized, that's very important to health both present and future. But first, back to acute 'shingles', also called herpes zoster.

"Mainstream" medical treatment for shingles depends almost exclusively on the prescription drug 'acyclovir'. According to regular medical authorities, it works best if started within 48 hours of the onset of herpes zoster.

Nutritional treatment works best when started as soon as possible, too. In acute 'shingles', a combination of vitamins B12, B1, vitamin C, and adenosine monophosphate, a naturally-occurring metabolite are given in a daily series of injections, and very frequently will bring the episode to a rapid end. Since the amino acid lysine slows the reproduction of herpes viruses, I also recommend at least 3000 milligrams of lysine four times daily, taken in between meals, along with an equivalent amount of vitamin C. Obviously, lysine and vitamin C can be started on your own, but intravenous injections require assistance from a doctor skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural therapies. If you need a referral to a doctor near you, you might contact the American College of Advancement in Medicine. I'll give you the telephone number at the end of this brief.

Once the acute phase of 'shingles' is past, if pain persists, there's one remedy recommended by both "regular" and nutritionally-oriented health care professionals. It's a topical ointment containing capsaicin, a component of cayenne pepper, available in varying strengths both over the counter and on prescription. When rubbed in regularly, it can reduce chronic pain from shingles in a majority of cases.

Another topical treatment I recommend in both acute and chronic 'shingles' includes equal parts of zinc oxide, vitamin E, and aloe vera, diluted in DMSO, and rubbed into the painful areas. DMSO, also called di-methyl sulfoxide, is available on prescription, and sometimes in a gel form in natural food stores. Since DMSO carries them all right into the tissues to help relieve the pain and inflammation, it's wisest to make sure there are no artificial chemical ingredients in any of them.

Oral vitamin E can also relieve chronic 'shingles' pain in many cases. A minimum of 1200 units daily are required for several months; I usually recommend 2000 units daily.

When 'shingles' infects the eye, I use an eyedrop made up of the sodium ascorbate form of vitamin C, 125 milligrams per cc., and water-soluble vitamin A, 2500 I.U. per cc., adjusted to a pH of slightly more than 7. The vitamins C and A come from sterile solutions ordinarily used intravenously. Obviously, you'll need a doctor or pharmacist to make this up for you, but it's worth the effort, as it's been uniformly successful in clearing up shingles in the eye.

Whenever we take individual nutrient supplements, its wisest to take a good general multiple vitamin and mineral supplement also.

Lastly, all of the people I've worked with who have shingles or who have had them in the past have another associated problem, a stomach that makes little or no hydrochloric acid and pepsin. Without this normal function of the stomach, food doesn't digest properly, and the flow of nutrients into the body is impaired. There's no way any of us can stay as healthy as possible if our stomachs aren't working. Sometimes there are symptoms of stomach malfunction, but often testing is required to uncover the problem. Once your acute episode of 'shingles' is under control, you might want to call 800-241-7517 to find a skilled and knowledgeable health care professional near you who can carefully and precisely test and treat this condition. You'll be healthier in the future if you do ... and restoring more normal nutrient flow into your body may help persistent pain from shingles in the long run. For further related information about this condition, you might want to read the brief on Heartburn and Indigestion.

Because of differences in age, sex, metabolism, or potential allergy, these diet and supplement therapies may not be suitable for you. Consult a health care professional skilled in nutritional and natural therapies. To locate one near you, you might call the American College of Advancement in Medicine at 800-532-3688 or the American Association of Naturopathic physicians at 206-323-7610.

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