Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Herpes - Another troublesome virus

Published:Tuesday | November 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM

VIRUSES ARE special germs that are much smaller than bacteria and need living hosts like people, animals or plants in which to survive and multiply. When a virus enters your body, it invades some cells and takes over the cell machinery, training it to produce more viruses to infect more cells. Viral infections are many and include chickenpox, HIV, herpes, influenza, chikungunya, Ebola, warts, and the common cold. One particular group, the herpes family of viruses, causes several different problems, some painful like shingles, others depressing and chronic like genital herpes.

Herpes basics

Herpes virus infection is a worldwide pandemic with up to 10 per cent of the United States population having genital herpes while the number that has oral herpes (night fever) is much higher. It is estimated that 99 per cent of adult humans have dormant herpes viruses in their bodies.

The herpes virus is almost always transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, both sexual or non-sexual. Even without obvious lesions on the skin, some individuals continue to shed the herpes virus and can still infect others. Kissing is the common mode of transmission of oral herpes. The disorder features periodic outbreaks of painful or itching blisters and sores around the mouth, face and genital regions, sometimes accompanied by fever and other symptoms of infection. Shingles is another manifestation of herpes.

Herpes viruses have a special affinity for the human nervous system. Once the virus successfully evades the immune system, it retreats along nerve fibres to nerve cells near the brain or spinal cord, where it lies dormant. Sometimes, the virus will remain in this state indefinitely, causing no apparent harm. Often however, it is awakened periodically by changes in body chemistry due to stress, poor diet, illness, inadequate sleep, a weakened immune system, menstruation, overexposure to sunlight, sexual activity or other causes.

The virus then travels down the nerve fibres, back to the same area where it first appeared, causing another episode of sores and blisters. Normally, the immune system detects viruses and destroys them and the infected cells. Scientists call herpes a lipid-enveloped virus because of its fatty outer coat or shell that makes it difficult for the immune system to destroy the herpes virus. To the immune system, this virus looks more like a fat droplet than an infectious germ.

Most doctors consider herpes incurable because there is no drug that effectively destroys the virus. The current antiviral drugs only to limit the multiplication of the virus with varying degrees of success. Modern medicine has tended to label chronic viral infections like herpes, Ebola and HIV 'incurable'.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have announced the development of a drug that identifies virus-infected cells and kill those cells to abort the infection. The costs and possible side effects of such a drug are yet unknown.

Treating herpes naturally

General Measures: Follow the basic rules of good health, which include proper nutrition, adequate rest, regular exercise, and avoidance of too much stress. Excessive use of stimulant drugs or alcohol can wreak havoc on your resistance to viruses.

Fortify the immune system: A strong and healthy immune system is our main defence against any kind of disease. Many people come in contact with herpes but never contract it because of their efficient immune systems. Nutrients can have a direct stimulatory effect on the immune system. These include the antioxidants - the ACES: Vitamin A (10-25,000 IU per day), vitamin C (discussed later), vitamin E (100-400 IU per day) and Selenium (200-400 mcg daily). An optimal blood level of vitamin D is also immune-stimulating, but to achieve this may require regular sunbathing along with vitamin D3 supplements daily. Vitamin B12 is another important nutrient with anti-herpes properties. The herbs schizandra, rosemary, echinacea, goldenseal, cat's claw and garlic are also useful.

Balance your Hormones: Hormones influence herpetic breakouts, and women often experience attacks around the time of their periods. An underactive thyroid as well as adrenal deficiency seems more common in people with chronic herpes than in the general population. Correcting these hormonal disturbances is important in successfully dealing with the infection.

Clean up other infections: Other types of infections can worsen the herpes problem by creating an inflammatory environment in the body. An effective anti-herpes programme therefore includes treating all other infections including infected gums, teeth, skin and nails.

Specific anti-herpes agents:

Vitamin C is very helpful against acute viral infections like the flu. However, when it is taken consistently for a year or more, it helps to build an immune system that can effectively combat stubborn infections like herpes. Results are best if 5,000 mg or more is taken daily in divided doses. Simply dissolve two teaspoons of powdered vitamin C in a quart of fresh fruit juice, and sip this mixture throughout the day. Mix fresh vitamin C daily, and keep it a cool dark place whenever possible. Vitamin C can be even more powerfully administered by a trained physician in an intravenous drip for the treatment of viral infections like herpes. Mega dosages of vitamin D3, is another useful antiviral tool. The amino acid lysine in daily gram doses also suppress herpes flare-ups

BHT (Butylated HydroxyToluene) is a synthetic food preservative that is widely used in breakfast cereals, baked goods, potato chips, peanut butter and other foods. It is non-toxic with many outstanding properties including the destruction of the herpes virus. BHT inactivates the herpes virus by disrupting its lipid shell, leaving it vulnerable to attack by the immune system. BHT is also effective against other viruses and is available in capsule form.

Ozone or trivalent oxygen is a powerful antiviral agent and medical ozone is widely used in Europe in the treatment of viral infections like herpes..

Perhaps herpes infections are not so incurable after all!

You may email Dr. Vendryes at tonyvendryes@gmail.com or listen to An Ounce of Prevention on POWER106FM on Fridays at 8:15 p.m. Visit his website at www.tonyvendryes.com to obtain his new book 'An Ounce of Prevention Mainly for Men and the Ladies Who Care for Them'.