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Shingles, Your Risk, Your Informed  Choices & Your Options
What Will You Do When Your Doctor Recommends a Shingles Vaccination?

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                                      The Nourishing Company

Volume III # 39     Copyright 2012       All Rights Reserved

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Shingles is definitely not fun, but does that mean you need to be vaccinated with one of the shingles vaccines? Here are some facts to help you decide.


Shingles is a symptom caused by a virus. Both the symptoms and the virus itself are referred to by a variety of other names: herpes zoster, VZV, Zona, Acute Posterior Ganglionitis to name a few. It is caused by the same virus that causes varicella, which is also known as chicken pox.

Chicken pox is the acute phase of the invasion of the varicella-zoster virus, and zoster, or shingles, is a reactivation of the latent phase of the virus. In other words, the chicken pox virus (also called varicella virus) can lie dormant in your body for many many years. Thus you could have had chicken pox as a child but not develop symptoms of shingles until older adulthood. In fact, although they can occur at any age, most shingles outbreaks occur after age 50.

In short, this means that if you had chicken pox as a child, the virus can still lie dormant in your body and 'bloom' when your immune system is weakened due to stress or medical treatments.


By whatever name it's called, the symptoms are the result of the virus erupting along the surface of the trunk of your body , usually along a peripheral nerve that relays sensory information from your skin back to your central nervous system and spinal cord. When the virus erupts, it causes inflamed, blister-like skin eruptions. It also causes considerable pain in the skin area supplied by the nerve and inflammatory changes in the nerve itself.

Long after the shingles outbreak has disappeared, the nerve pain (or neuralgia) can remain, despite the fact that one such outbreak usually confers immunity.

This implies that a two-phase recovery program may be required: the first to support the body in clearing the virus, and the second to assist the nerve to recover.


If you had a case of chicken pox, or if you received a chicken pox vaccination, you are at risk of developing shingles due to the possibility of the virus lying dormant in your body, waiting for your immune system to weaken sufficiently to become active again. The names of the vaccinations that put you at risk (because they contain weakened versions of the varicella virus) are Varivax, ProQuad and Varilix.


Since there are currently very few prescriptions that address viruses, the standard medical treatment often consists of relieving symptoms with cortisone (Prednisone is one such product). and pain medication. Unfortunately, cortisone products suppress the immune response, which can worsen the progression of the infection.


There are now four vaccines used for this virus. The three mentioned above, Varivax, ProQuad and Varilix, are used for children. A new vaccine is MMR-V or Zostavax is the first vaccine for shingles approved by the FDA but only for people over 60. According to Dr. Steven E. Wolverton, M.D., Zostavax is basically the same as the chicken pox vaccine but at least 14 times stronger.

It has been scientifically demonstrated to work only half the time, and it was tested only on white people over the age of 60, and was tested for only three years before receiving FDA approval.

Allan Spreen, M.D. states that he would not take such a vaccine 'for a king's ransom' because " ALL vaccinations are suspect until they've been monitored for decades (for long-term dangers), and this vaccine obviously could not fall in that category."

This vaccine as well as all the other varicella-zoster vaccines inject live virus. The new one, Zostavax, or "the shingles vaccine" addresses the delayed effects of childhood chicken pox and childhood chicken pox vaccination. Its weakened virus is meant to stimulate an immune antibody response sufficient to rout out any varicella virus lying dormant after a childhood bout with chicken pox or childhood vaccination.

As stated by its manufacturer, Merck, Zastavax contains:

live, attenuated( weakened) varicella-zoster virus,
hydrolyzed porcine gelatin,
sodium chloride,
monosodium L-glutamate,
sodium phosphate,
potassium phosphate,
potassium chloride;
residual components of MRC-5 cells including DNA and protein,
neomycin, and
bovine calf serum.

(Note: If you'd like to check about the ingredients of any particular vaccine your doctor is recommending, go to or do an internet search for the name of the vaccine along with 'ingredients in'.)


Support for Clearing the Virus


The effectiveness of the aerial part of the herb Echinacea (rather than the root) has been shown to be effective in warding off viruses, including this one. Apparently it blocks virus receptors on the surface of cells and also supports the body in killing the virus through the production and release of interferon, which can block viral RNA.


This common food has antiviral actions due to its ability to stimulate and support the immune system. It can kill viruses and can protect from invading viruses.

Pau d'Arco

This herb has demonstrated antiviral activities, including that of inhibiting the varicella virus.


This herb restores and enhances immune system activity. Used in Chinese medicine for centuries, it also has the additional advantage of supporting adrenal and cardiovascular functioning.

St. John's Wort

This herb promotes optimal immune responses, and has the additional advantage of acting to calm nerves and restore nervous system balance, thus it has the potential to reduce nerve pain associated with an outbreak.


Allan Spreen, M.D. recommends 500 mcg per day of B12 as a prevention. He used B12 shots in higher dosages for 3 days when he had an outbreak and that took care of it, he said.

Tai Chi Practice

A UCLA study demonstrated that the practice of Tai Chi by older adults doubled their immunity to shingles.

Support for Repairing the Nerves

After clearing the virus, the following are among the remedies for nerve repair:


This is a B vitamin with a somewhat sweet taste; it is the fuel nerves use to fire.

Flax Seed Oil

This is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The lining, or insulation of the nerves is made from this type of fatty acid.

Schizandra fruit

May be helpful in nerve repair and relief from neuralgia.

California Poppy

An herb specific for addressing nerve pain.

Damiana leaf

This herb is a central nervous system tonic.


This herb promotes a tranquilizing effect on the central nervous system.

St. John's Wort (see above.)

Minerals Nerves Use

Nerves use minerals to do their work and also to repair themselves. Those minerals found in kelp and alfalfa are especially effective for these functions.


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The Nourishing Company, P.O. Box 1429, Ukiah, Ca 95482, USA
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Pamela Levin is an R.N, a Teaching & Supervising Transactional Analyst and award-winning author with 500+ post graduate hours in clinical nutrition, herbology and applied kinesiology.

Pamela Levin, R.N., T.S.T.A.
December 3, 2012

Tags: herpes vaccine causes of herpes zoster shingles prevention chicken pox vaccine shingles Zostavax Varivax ProQuad varicella zoster shingles shot side effects

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Tags: herpes vaccine causes of herpes zoster shingles prevention chicken pox vaccine shingles Zostavax Varivax ProQuad varicella zoster shingles shot side effects


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