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Tag Archive: chickenpox

Shingles Virus Linked to Heart Attacks and Strokes (How Scary is That?)


The varicella zoster virus (VZV), which causes shingles, is linked to a dangerous decrease in blood flow in the coronary arteries. (1)

Ever had chickenpox?

As you may already know, the varicella zoster virus (VZV, also known as herpes zoster), is a herpes virus that normally causes chickenpox in childhood. The virus may re-activate to cause shingles in later life, and has been linked to a condition known as acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

This condition causes a decrease “in blood flow in the coronary arteries such that part of the heart muscle is unable to function properly or dies.” (2) In one study that tested the association between VZV and ACS, “the risk of ACS was significantly higher in the herpes zoster group than in the control group.” (3)

Another study showed that the VZV may be responsible for another, similar condition. That study showed that the virus increases the risk of transient ischemic attacks (TIA), which are a dysfunction in the brain caused by a loss of blood flow, for stroke, and for myocardial infarctions (MI, also known as heart attacks) (3). “Risk factors for vascular disease were significantly increased in cases of HZ (herpes zoster) compared with controls… (and)…TIA and MI were increased in cases whose HZ occurred when they were younger than 40 years (3).”

According to study authors, the bottom line is that “…conditions that predispose to vascular disease…are significantly more common in subjects with HZ (3).”

shingles pain

These are some scary facts. Almost everyone has had chickenpox, or has received the chickenpox vaccine. This means they were exposed to the virus, even if they never developed chickenpox symptoms. In other words, they have the virus living within them in a latent (semi – sleeping) state. It can wake up later and cause shingles…but it can also cause other, more dangerous changes in the body that lead to a deadly result.

What can an individual do?

Research suggests that there are some natural ingredients, that when combined, have a devestating effect on the herpes zoster virus.

Scientifically minded individuals can read a few studies on one such formula at the website for the medical journal Pharmacology & Pharmacy.

Those who prefer a more “down to earth” discussion of study findings in everyday language can read up on the study results at the website of the Center for the Biology of Chronic Disease (CBCD) here:

– Team

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Varicella Vaccine against Chicken Pox Virus is Effective (Who Knew?)

chicken pox

A vaccine in development by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) prevents shingles in 97% of vaccinated individuals.

According to a report, “positive results have emerged from the Zoster Efficacy study, which started in August 2010 and was conducted in more than 16,000 adults aged 50 years and over. It remains ongoing in 18 countries.” (1) Results of the study showed that during the 4 years of the study, the shingles vaccine HZ/su “reduced the risk of shingles by 97.2 percent in adults aged 50 years and older compared to placebo.” (1)

Alain Brecx, vaccine development leader at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said that “this candidate vaccine may offer an important option for the prevention of shingles, a painful disease that negatively impacts peoples’ health and quality of life.” (1)

The CDC notes that the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which is a herpes virus, causes both chickenpox and shingles. “After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. For reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.” (2)

Additionally, the CDC adds that “almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, in their lifetime. There are an estimated 1 million cases of shingles each year in this country. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox may develop shingles; even children can get shingles. However the risk of shingles increases as you get older. About half of all cases occur in men and women 60 years old or older.” (2)

VZV vaccine

Although this vaccine research is very encouraging, (a vaccine that improves on the efficacy offered by Zostavax would be an important step forward) completing the development and approving a vaccine through the FDA may take time.

Until then, we encourage VZV infected individuals to consider natural antivirals that help the immune system to target the latent form of the virus.

-The Target Shingles Team


(1) – “GlaxoSmithKline reports positive data from shingles vaccine trial.” Published on December 24, 2014.

(2) – “Shingles (Herpes Zoster)” – Prevention & Treatment. Last Reviewed on May 1, 2014.

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Shingles Rates Are Going Up (And What You Can Do About It)

shingles rates

The number of individuals who end up developing shingles is increasing.

An article published on April 14, 2014 on said that all across America, Herpes Zoster rates “have increased by 39% from 1992 to 2010 among adults older than 65 years of age.” (1) This data comes from a recent CDC study, using Medicare data from 1992 to 2010.

Some scientists believe that the increase in herpes zoster is associated with the widespread vaccination of children against the varicella zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox.

However, a growing body of evidence shows that this is unlikely. Another theory says “that exposure to varicella disease may boost a person’s immunity to VZV and reduce the risk for VZV reactivation as zoster. Some studies have shown reduced risk for zoster in adults who are exposed to varicella, but other studies have not shown this effect.” (1)

Regardless of the reason for the increase, Dr. Hales, one of the authors of the article mentioned above, wrote that “we do know that many cases of zoster could be prevented by the zoster vaccine. CDC recommends that adults aged 60 years or older receive 1 dose of zoster vaccine to help prevent the disease and its potentially debilitating complications, including post-herpetic neuralgia (1).”

“Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body in a dormant (inactive) (latent) state. For reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.” (2)

herpes zoster prevention

Are there treatments that target the Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV)?

Yes there is.

Zostavax is a vaccine that may reduce the risk of developing a shingles outbreak, and decrease the long-term pain from post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). In adults vaccinated at age 60 years or older, however, protection from the vaccine decreases within the first 5 years after vaccination.

There are also antiviral drugs, such as Zovirax or Valtrex. However, these medications, when effective, only work to shorten the time of the shingles outbreak. They are ineffective against the latent VZV virus.

Gene-Eden-VIR and Novirin are natural remedies designed to help the immune system target latent herpes viruses, including the VZV. A recent clinical study tested the effect of the Novirin and Gene-Eden-VIR formula on viral infections, including an infection with herpes viruses.

VZV is a member of the herpes family of viruses.

Novirin shares the same formula as Gene-Eden-VIR. The difference between the two is that Novirin has higher quality, more expensive ingredients. The Novirin/Gene-Eden-VIR formula was tested in two post-marketing clinical studies published in September 2013 and March 2014, respectively, in the peer reviewed medical journal Pharmacy & Pharmacology. However, Novirin contains higher quality, more expensive ingredients. These ingredients were selected to fight latent viruses even more effectively than Gene-Eden-VIR.

“Because of the increase in the shingles rate, we recommend that people talk to their doctors about Novirin or Gene-Eden-VIR, the most effective natural antiviral products on the market.” – The Team

Interested individuals can view the two published studies on the Novirin and Gene-Eden-VIR formula here, and


(1) Herpes Zoster Rates Are Increasing, but Why? Published on April 14, 2014.

(2) CDC – Shingles (Herpes Zoster). Last Updated January 10, 2011.

(3) Gene-Eden-VIR Is Antiviral: Results of a Post Marketing Clinical Study. Published in September 2013.

(4) Eden-VIR Decreased Physical and Mental Fatigue in a Post Marketing Clinical Study That Followed FDA Guidelines; Results Support Microcompetition Theory. Published in March 2014.

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Can Therapy Exorcise Shingles Caused Depression?

symptoms of depression

Did you know? Symptoms of depression may be caused by viral infection.

So shingles is linked to major depression. Who knew?

According to WebMD, there is actually a laundry list of reasons for major depression including:

Abuse. Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can cause depression later in life.

Certain medications. Some drugs, such as Accutane (used to treat acne), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, can increase your risk of depression.

Conflict. Depression in someone who has the biological vulnerability to develop depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.

Death or a loss. Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, may increase the risk of depression.

Genetics. A family history of depression may increase the risk. It’s thought that depression is a complex trait that may be inherited across generations, although the genetics of psychiatric disorders are not as simple or straightforward as in purely genetic diseases such as Huntington’s chorea or cystic fibrosis.

Major events. Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring.

Other personal problems. Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can lead to depression.

Serious illnesses. Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or is a reaction to the illness.

Substance abuse. Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression.

Now science has added the virus that causes shingles to the list.

“Those with herpes zoster (HZ) had a higher incidence of developing major depression,” according to a study published on May 7, 2014 in Psychosomatic Medicine (2).”
“Previous studies have shown that herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia were associated with anxiety, depression, and insomnia (2).” This study followed patients from the year 2000 through 2010.

The same study found that “those with herpes zoster had a higher incidence of developing major depression… (and the virus was) … an independent risk factor for major depression (2).”

virus and depression

Another study reported that “in the United States, the incidence of HZ exceeds 1% per year in persons ≥60 years of age; more than a million new cases occur each year; and one-third of the population is expected to suffer HZ during their lifetime – numbers destined to increase with the increasing age of the population.” (3).

In other words, as the population ages, the number of patients with herpes zoster will increase, and the numbers of those with major depression may also increase.

WebMD notes that the pain associated with Shingles can also lead to depression. “Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is the most common complication of shingles. It lasts for at least 30 days and may continue for months or years. This pain may make it difficult for the person to eat, sleep, and do daily activities. It may also lead to depression.” (4).

“After you get chickenpox the virus remains inactive…in certain nerves in the body. Shingles occurs after the virus becomes active again in these nerves after many years. The reason the virus suddenly becomes active again is not clear. Often only one attack occurs. Shingles can develop in any age group. You are more likely to develop the condition if: you are older than 60, you had chickenpox before age 1, and your immune system is weakened by medications or disease.” (5).

“We recommend that anyone concerned about developing shingles, or depression due to the presence of the VZV, talk to their doctor about antiviral treatments against the varicella zoster virus.” – TargetShingles Team

Two natural antiviral supplements on the market today, which were shown to be effective against herpes viruses (of which VZV is a member) are Gene-Eden-VIR and Novirin.

Novirin shares the same formula as Gene-Eden-VIR. The difference between the two is that Novirin has higher quality, more expensive ingredients.

The Novirin/Gene-Eden-VIR formula was tested in two post-marketing clinical studies published in September 2013 and March 2014, respectively, in the peer reviewed medical journal Pharmacy & Pharmacology. (6)

Interested individuals can view the two published studies here, and


(1) Risk of depressive disorder among patients with herpes zoster: a nationwide population-based prospective study. Published on May 7, 2014.

(2) Varicella zoster virus-specific immune responses to a herpes zoster vaccine in elderly recipients with major depression and the impact of antidepressant medications. Published in April 2013.

(3) WebMD – Shingles Health Center. Last updated on December 18, 2012.

(4) MedlinePlus – Shingles. Last updated on June 6, 2013.

(5) Gene-Eden-VIR Is Antiviral: Results of a Post Marketing Clinical Study. Published in September 2013.

(6) Eden-VIR Decreased Physical and Mental Fatigue in a Post Marketing Clinical Study That Followed FDA Guidelines; Results Support Microcompetition Theory. Published in March 2014.

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Memory Loss or Paralysis: How Shingles Could Result in a Stroke

stroke symptoms

Did you know? A stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack,” usually happens when an artery to the brain becomes blocked or ruptures.

Most people don’t realize it, but strokes aren’t always caused by a blocked artery. No, in fact, research now shows that the cause of stroke may be traced all the way back to a virus. In the research we’ll be discussing below, the virus in question is the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which causes both chickenpox and shingles.

A study published in May 2014, in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that in general, there is “an increased stroke rate within 6 months following zoster.” (1) A more targeted review of the medical literature published in the journal Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy, on May 12, 2014, found that people with shingles in the eye had a 4.5 fold increase in the risk of stroke. (2) This is significant since “Herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) represents approximately 10 to 25 percent of all cases of herpes zoster.” (3)

Interestingly, Dr. Sinead M. Langana wrote that “The low antiviral prescribing rate needs to be improved; our data suggest that antiviral therapy may lead to a reduced stroke risk following zoster.” Dr. Langana is from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom.

stroke victims

This image is taken from an article published on Mail Online. (A U.K based online magazine.)

What does this mean?

Clearly, doctors should take into account the risk of stroke faced by shingles patients, and should take care to implement an antiviral regimen as soon as a diagnosis is made. Individuals who have experienced a shingles outbreak should educated themselves about the varicella zoster virus and what they can do to reduce their risk of stroke.

For example, did you know that VZV enters into a dormant (latent) state after the immune system defeats its initial active phase (chickenpox)?

The virus is never entirely killed off by the immune system because the virus retreats, and hides away deep in the body’s nerves. While there, it behaves as if it is asleep…or as if it is a criminal, conducting clandestine operations where the immune system police cannot detect it. While dormant (or latent) the virus never stops making proteins or replicating entirely. It merely slows down these processes to an almost undetectable level. While in this state, it bides its time, and from its location in the nerves, it can reactivate whenever the immune system declines in efficiency.

We believe that when an individual understands this, he or she will want to learn how to help the immune system target latent viruses.

Is there a way to do this?

Yes there is.

Another study, published in the peer reviewed journal Pharmacology & Pharmacy, in an advance edition on antiviral drugs, found that a product called Gene-Eden-VIR reduced symptoms associated with herpes viruses (the varicella zoster virus is a member of the herpes family). (4) Authors wrote that “individuals infected with a latent virus … reported a safe decrease in their symptoms following treatment with Gene-Eden-VIR.” (4) The study authors also wrote that, “We observed a statistically significant decrease in the severity, duration, and frequency of symptoms.” (4) In addition, this natural antiviral was recently proven to reduce mental and physical fatigue in another post-marketing clinical study that followed FDA guidelines.

But if stroke may be the end result of shingles, especially when the condition affects the eye, you may ask:

“How do shingles in the eye develop in the first place?”

The answer is that “Like many viruses, the herpes simplex 1 and varicella-zoster viruses are present in most adults. The viruses in the herpes family usually live around the nerve fibers in humans without ever causing a problem. Occasionally, the viruses will start to multiply, or they will move from one area of the body to another, and that is when herpetic disease breaks out. This often happens when the immune system of the body is weakened by some other health problem.” (See WebMD, last reviewed on May 21, 2012) (5)

People with shingles in the eye usually have very painful symptoms, which include “pain in and around only one eye, redness, rash, or sores on the eyelids and around the eyes, especially on the forehead. Sometimes the rash breaks out on the tip of the nose, (and there can be) redness of the eye, swelling and cloudiness of the cornea. (5)

“A reactivation of VZV and an outbreak of shingles can be bad enough without having to worry about the possibility of stroke. That’s why we recommend helping the immune system to target the latent varicella zoster virus.”

- The Team


(1) Sinéad M. Langana, Caroline Minassiana, Liam Smeeth, and Sara L. Thomas “Risk of Stroke Following Herpes Zoster: A Self-Controlled Case-Series Study.” Published in May 2014.

(2) Grose C1, Adams HP. Reassessing the link between herpes zoster ophthalmicus and stroke. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2014 May;12(5):527-30.

(3) Shaikh S1, Ta CN. “Evaluation and management of herpes zoster ophthalmicus.” Am Fam Physician. 2002 Nov 1;66(9):1723-30.

(4) Polansky H, Itzkovitz E. Gene-Eden-VIR Is Antiviral: Results of a Post Marketing Clinical Study. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 2013, 4, 1-8

(5) WebMD – Genital Herpes Health Center – Herpes and the Eye

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