~Herpes and Shingles, Part 3 - Life Extension Foundation Recommendations

Life Extension Foundation Recommendations

Once herpes is contracted (the primary infection), the infected person (host) will carry the virus for life. The goal of herpes management is to support a healthy immune system with nutrients that have been shown to reduce the severity and possibly even frequency of reactivation episodes. In addition, patients with herpes should avoid excessive consumption of foods that are rich in L-arginine, such as chocolate and nuts. This will enhance the effectiveness of L-lysine by altering the balance in favor of L-lysine.

The Life Extension Foundation offers specially compounded nutrient mixes, such as Life Extension Mix, which supply everything you need to support healthy immune function. Alternatively, you may choose to take individual supplements to help treat herpes and improve immune function. As always, it’s best to launch a program of dietary supplementation under the supervision of a qualified physician. The Life Extension Foundation suggests:

  • Life Extension Mix Tabs or Life Extension Powder—Follow label directions.

  • Life Extension Herbal Mix with Stevia-—Follow label directions.

  • Cimetidine (Tagamet®)—200 mg three times daily and 400 mg at bedtime (800 mg at bedtime if you cannot take cimetidine throughout the day)

  • Vitamin A—20,000 international units (IU) daily during outbreaks; 2500 to 5000 IU for maintenance

  • Beta-carotene—25,000 IU daily for 7 to 10 days during outbreaks

  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)—5 to 10 grams (g) of esterified or buffered vitamin C during outbreaks

  • Vitamin E—400 IU of alpha-tocopherol or 359 mg of mixed tocopherols including gamma, delta, alpha, and beta tocopherols

  • Zinc—30 mg daily

  • Lactoferrin—300 to 900 mg daily during an outbreak; 300 mg daily for maintenance

  • Selenium—200 micrograms (mcg) daily

  • L-lysine—700 to 1400 mg daily to suppress outbreaks

  • Propolis—500 to 2000 mg daily during outbreaks

  • Thymus extract—2 capsules daily of Thymic Immune Factors

  • Garlic extract—1200 mg of Kyolic garlic twice daily during outbreaks; 1000 mg for maintenance

  • DHEA—100 to 200 mg daily if an outbreak appears imminent and during outbreaks until lesions disappear (blood testing is recommended after DHEA therapy to ensure adequate levels)

Herpes and Shingles Safety Caveats

An aggressive program of dietary supplementation should not be launched without the supervision of a qualified physician. Several of the nutrients suggested in this protocol may have adverse effects. These include:


* Do not take beta-carotene if you smoke. Daily intake of 20 milligrams or more has been associated with a higher incidence of lung cancer in smokers.

* Taking 30 milligrams or more daily for prolonged periods can cause carotenoderma, a yellowish skin discoloration (carotenoderma can be distinguished from jaundice because the whites of the eyes are not discolored in carotenoderma).


* Do not take DHEA if you could be pregnant, are breastfeeding, or could have prostate, breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer.

* DHEA can cause androgenic effects in woman such as acne, deepening of the voice, facial hair growth and hair loss.


* Garlic has blood-thinning, anticlotting properties.

* Discontinue using garlic before any surgical procedure.

* Garlic can cause headache, muscle pain, fatigue, vertigo, watery eyes, asthma, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea.

* Ingesting large amounts of garlic can cause bad breath and body odor.


* Do not take L-lysine if you have hyperlysinuria or the rare genetic disorder hyperlysinemia.

* Consult your doctor before taking L-lysine if you have kidney failure or liver failure.


* High doses of selenium (1000 micrograms or more daily) for prolonged periods may cause adverse reactions.

* High doses of selenium taken for prolonged periods may cause chronic selenium poisoning. Symptoms include loss of hair and nails or brittle hair and nails.

* Selenium can cause rash, breath that smells like garlic, fatigue, irritability, and nausea and vomiting.

Vitamin A

* Do not take vitamin A if you have hypervitaminosis A.

* Do not take vitamin A if you take retinoids or retinoid analogues (such as acitretin, all-trans-retinoic acid, bexarotene, etretinate, and isotretinoin). Vitamin A can add to the toxicity of these drugs.

* Do not take large amounts of vitamin A. Taking large amounts of vitamin A may cause acute or chronic toxicity. Early signs and symptoms of chronic toxicity include dry, rough skin; cracked lips; sparse, coarse hair; and loss of hair from the eyebrows. Later signs and symptoms of toxicity include irritability, headache, pseudotumor cerebri (benign intracranial hypertension), elevated serum liver enzymes, reversible noncirrhotic portal high blood pressure, fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver, and death from liver failure.

Vitamin C

* Do not take vitamin C if you have a history of kidney stones or of kidney insufficiency (defined as having a serum creatine level greater than 2 milligrams per deciliter and/or a creatinine clearance less than 30 milliliters per minute.

* Consult your doctor before taking large amounts of vitamin C if you have hemochromatosis, thalassemia, sideroblastic anemia, sickle cell anemia, or erythrocyte glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. You can experience iron overload if you have one of these conditions and use large amounts of vitamin C.

Vitamin E

* Consult your doctor before taking vitamin E if you take warfarin (Coumadin).

* Consult your doctor before taking high doses of vitamin E if you have a vitamin K deficiency or a history of liver failure.

* Consult your doctor before taking vitamin E if you have a history of any bleeding disorder such as peptic ulcers, hemorrhagic stroke, or hemophilia.

* Discontinue using vitamin E 1 month before any surgical procedure.


* High doses of zinc (above 30 milligrams daily) can cause adverse reactions.

* Zinc can cause a metallic taste, headache, drowsiness, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea.

* High doses of zinc can lead to copper deficiency and hypochromic microcytic anemia secondary to zinc-induced copper deficiency.

* High doses of zinc may suppress the immune system.

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