By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
July 25, 2018
- Are amyloid plaques really the driving factor behind Alzheimer’s?
- Herpes virus is abundant in Alzheimer brains
- Balancing amino acids to silence herpes
You’ve probably seen the latest news headlines confirming the link between the herpes virus and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This isn’t a new finding, by any means. I alerted you to this unusual connection back in April of 2012.
But until now it hasn’t been widely accepted.
That’s because many medical professionals are still holding onto an outdated theory called the “amyloid hypothesis”. According to this hypothesis, the build up of amyloid plaques in the brain is the driving factor behind Alzheimer’s disease.
However, when Alzheimer’s patients are given experimental drugs to rid them of these plaques, a strange thing happens. While the drugs achieve their goal of reducing plaques, the progression of the disease becomes worse, not better.
For years scientists have been scratching their heads over this dilemma. But given the recent breakthroughs linking herpes and other viral infections to Alzheimer’s disease, it actually makes a great deal of sense.
You see, it turns that it is much more likely amyloid plaques are part of your body’s natural immune response against infection. In other words, these plaques are actually trying to protect the brain from an infectious agent – such as a bacteria or virus.
This is why killing off the plaque can worsen the condition instead of improving it.
Herpes Virus is Abundant in Alzheimer’s Brains
I don’t want to bore you with science. But I think it is very important that you understand what happened in the latest study linking the herpes virus to Alzheimer’s disease.
The scientists conducted postmortem examinations on the brains of 600 people with and without Alzheimer’s disease. And what they discovered turns the amyloid hypothesis on its head.
The researchers found that DNA from the herpes virus was more abundant in the brains of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than those without. In particular, the abundance of HHV-6A and HHV-7 were both strongly associated with worse dementia scores.
Now, these two forms of herpes are extremely common. They infect about 90% of children in the form of a mild disease called roseola. But once the infection is cleared up, the virus doesn’t go away. Rather, it goes dormant… staying in your body for your entire lifetime. And it can be reactivated at any time.
So in most cases the question isn’t whether you have herpes antibodies in your system… it’s a question of how active they are.
The more active they are, and the more ability they have to replicate, the more chance they have of spreading into your brain and starting the process that results in Alzheimer’s disease.
The idea, then, is to keep any latent herpes genes in their dormant state throughout your lifetime.
Balance these Two Amino Acids to Silence Herpes
Eating a healthy, plant-based diet (like a modified Mediterranean diet) supports a healthy immune response and reduces inflammation that can activate the herpes virus. A good exercise program also supports your immune system and ability to fight off inflammation.
But there are also two amino acids that are crucial when it comes to silencing (or activating) the herpes virus.
The first, L-lysine works to prevent activation and replication of herpes. The other one, L-arginine works just the opposite. It tends to stimulate the virus.
But this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to cut arginine out of your diet and load up on lysine. That’s because your body needs arginine to build protein, heal wounds, remove toxic waste from your body and support arterial health.
So more than anything, it’s a matter of balance.
Simply put, all you need to do is ensure that your lysine intake is higher than your arginine intake. And it’s not nearly as complicated as you might think it sounds.
There are many foods that contain both nutrients, but with a ratio favoring lysine. These include…
- Fruits like papaya, mango, apricot, apple, pear, fig, avocado and pineapple.
- Tomatoes, turnips, celery, summer squash and green beans also have a good lysine/arginine ratio. Greens, such as spinach, kale, turnip greens and endive have about equal amounts of lysine and arginine.
- Most fish, including salmon, mackerel and sardines.
- Poultry and, to a slightly lower extent, beef.
Some foods that favor arginine include nuts, seeds, mushrooms, wheat products, coconut, green onions, cucumbers and oatmeal.
But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid these foods. They have health benefits of their own. As long as you get enough lysine to displace the arginine (they compete for the same space in your body) you can avoid reactivating the virus. I recommend supplementing with 1500 mg of lysine daily.
While the herpes virus may play a significant role in the genesis of Alzheimer’s disease, we have to remember that “it’s never one thing” when it comes to chronic degenerative disease. Other lifestyle causes have been implicated; chronically elevated blood sugar, advanced glycation end products, chronic inflammation and lack of restorative sleep are some of the stressors we deal with in maintaining a healthy brain. The good news is that each one of these is preventable or controllable. But those are issues for another day.
Cell Press. “More evidence for controversial theory that herpesviruses play role in Alzheimer’s disease.” ScienceDaily. June 2018.
Readhead B, et al. Multiscale Analysis of Independent Alzheimer’s Cohorts Finds Disruption of Molecular, Genetic, and Clinical Networks by Human Herpesvirus. Neuron, 2018.