Case Study: Overcoming Shingles

Miranda is a 72 year old lady who came to see me for help with shingles. She was in a great deal of discomfort with itching, tingling and a stabbing type pain along the left side of her torso. Miranda wanted to know how to strengthen her immune system to overcome the infection.

Shingles are small, fluid-filled blisters similar to chickenpox. An outbreak of shingles happens when there is a reactivation of the same varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox. The virus lies dormant in the nervous system of the body for several decades and can be reactivated later in life. Chickenpox is an illness that can occur in childhood, whereas most cases of shingles occur in people over the age of 60.

Stress, nutrient deficiencies and infections are the most common triggers for a shingles outbreak. In Miranda’s case I discovered some nutrient deficiencies, plus a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer in her husband was a major trigger for her because of the stress it caused. Miranda’s sister had developed post-herpetic neuralgia following a bout of shingles and Miranda was desperate to avoid a similar fate. Post-herpetic neuralgia is a very painful nerve condition that sometimes follows shingles infections.

I arranged a blood test for Miranda and as suspected, she was low in vitamin D. Her blood level was only 25 ng/mL, and for optimal immune health should be between 70 and 80 ng/mL. I gave her a vitamin D supplement to top up her level. Miranda had low-normal levels of iron and vitamin B12 in her blood. This usually indicates poor digestion and absorption for someone who isn’t a vegetarian. I gave Miranda a Digestive Enzymes supplement and a Betaine Hydrochloride supplement to help support her digestion. She did say she always felt bloated and gassy after meals, and these supplements should put a stop to that.

Miranda had been busy attending to her ill husband’s needs, and consequently wasn’t putting much time and attention into caring for herself. She wasn’t eating properly and wasn’t eating enough vegetables. I emphasized the importance of including fresh vegetables in at least 2 of her meals each day. I also gave her a vitamin C supplement to help strengthen her immune system.

Selenium is one of the most important minerals to help strengthen the immune system, and it is particularly important for fighting viral infections. People who don’t get enough selenium in their diet are more likely to come down with frequent infections, and it takes them much longer to recover from infections. This is because it is much easier for viruses to replicate inside your body if there is an inadequate selenium level inside your cells. Basically viruses can have a party in your body if there isn’t enough selenium to stop them. I often refer to selenium as the “viral birth control pill” because of its ability to inhibit viral replication.

People who don’t get enough selenium in their body are more likely to suffer with fatigue and swollen glands, as their body struggles to overcome infections. Unfortunately it is very difficult to obtain sufficient selenium through your diet, as very few foods are a rich source of this important mineral. Brazil nuts and seafood contain some selenium. I gave Miranda a selenium supplement to help raise her level of this mineral quickly.

The stress Miranda was experiencing had greatly reduced her ability to sleep. She had trouble falling asleep and would toss and turn throughout the night. Magnesium is wonderful for helping to improve sleep quality and promote a more deep and restful sleep. Melatonin is excellent for helping you to fall asleep if that’s where you struggle. Miranda also used an antihistamine when the itching got really bad, and it did give her good relief.

It took Miranda just over three weeks to recover from the shingles. She is still taking her supplements and eating well, as she needs to keep her immune system strong while dealing with the stress of looking after her husband.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.