Has your doctor talked to you yet about the shingles vaccine?
If you’re over 60, chances are you’ve heard the spiel plenty. Yes, the CDC recommends everyone over 60 to get it. Yes, they say it cuts your shingles risk by about 55 percent.
But no, I don’t think you should get it. Here’s why…
I have two major problems with the shingles vaccine. First off, there are natural ways to prevent and treat the virus. (Plus, this treatment is cheap, safe, fast, and effective. I’ll tell you exactly how it works in a moment.)
Secondly, I am deeply skeptical about the vaccine’s long-term safety. In my book, all vaccinations are suspect until they’ve been monitored for decades. We just don’t know enough about the shingles vaccine. It’s only been around for a few years. Who knows about its long-term effects!
But there’s one thing I do know…
Shingles are not fun
I got them once upon a time when I worked on a cruise ship as a medical doctor. (Skip all the "paging Doctor Bricker" Love Boat jokes, please!) It was great to travel the world, but it forced me to get poor dental care at one of the more exotic ports of call. On top of that, I got the flu. Plus, since I was the only MD aboard, I still had to stay up late most nights treating my patients. Talk about a stressful situation. Well, next thing I knew, I woke up with a stabbing, painful shingles rash.
Shingles can occur in anyone who’s had the chicken pox. They are both caused by the same virus, the varicella-zoster virus. Here’s how it happens…
When you get chickenpox, the itchy spots go away, but the virus never leaves your body. It lies dormant in your nerve roots. Then, years later, the virus suddenly wakes up and you get the painful shingles rash.
Shingles can hit at any age. I was quite young. But you’re more likely to get the rash if:
- You’re over 60
- You had chickenpox before age one
- Your immune system is weakened by medications or disease
- You are under extreme stress
Usually, you first notice a burning pain around your mid-section. It can also strike your face, as mine did. Next, the tell-tale rash appears at the site of the pain. Then, the rash blisters and crusts form. The crusts usually fall off in two to three weeks.
Most conventional docs try to treat shingles with anti-viral medications. But these may only shorten the virus by a day or two. Plus, you still have the pain to deal with. For that, you’ll need some heavy-duty pain killers. Anti-inflammatory meds won’t cut it.
And neither will the vaccine.
The good news is there’s something else works even better. It significantly shortens the duration of the attack. Plus, it’s all natural.
Vitamin therapy zaps shingles
Vitamin B12 is hands down the best way to get over shingles. I’ve seen nothing else work as well or as fast. It goes directly to the nerve root to attack the zoster virus. Ask your doctor for an intra-muscular shot that contains 1 mg of B-12. Get one shot each day for a week or until the symptoms completely disappear.
In my case, I had the ship nurse give me three B12 shots over three days. By the end of the third day, the pain and rash completely disappeared. Though, I did have foggy vision for a few more weeks. (Remember, most cases of shingles last two to three weeks!)
Over the years, I treated plenty of shingles patients with B12 shots. And when my dear old dad got shingles when I was in med school, he flew out to see me so I could give him B12 shots. This method shortens the outbreak like nothing else.
But you can also take B12 to prevent to prevent shingles. Go for 500 mcg of sublingual B12 (under the tongue) each day. This will keep your nerve cells healthy and help prevent the zoster virus from ever "waking up."
One more safe option to try
You can also try lysine to shorten the duration of a shingles attack. Go for 3 grams (3,000 mg) of lysine daily until your symptoms disappear. It can also help lessen the pain and itching. You can find lysine at most grocery stores and vitamin shops.
Just don’t take lysine on a routine basis…It disrupts your body’s lysine-arginine ratio. You see, lysine competes with arginine in the body. The more lysine you take, the less arginine available to your body. And that’s not a good thing.
Arginine is an amino acid that stimulates your growth hormone. It also plays an important role in cell division, wound healing, and immune function. Plus, in supplement form, high doses of lysine may raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of gallstones.
The good news is you can treat and prevent shingles without resorting to a sketchy vaccine.
Don’t let your regular MD tell you otherwise!
Dr. Allan Spreen
Nationally acclaimed as America’s “Nutrition Physician,” Dr. Spreen has been helping people stay healthy and disease-free as a private doctor, published author, and noted researcher.
In addition to his role as a Senior Member of the prestigious Health Sciences Institute Advisory Panel in Baltimore, MD, Dr. Spreen also coaches diving at the international and Olympic levels. NorthStar Nutritionals is proud to have Dr. Spreen as our Chief Research Advisor.
Dr. Spreen also writes the Guide to Good Health.