The blockbuster drug behind skyrocketing shingles

Shingles (Herpes zoster virus) has been around for a long time. But in recent years, we seem to hear about it more and more, thanks in part to the shingles vaccine. NFL celebrity Terry Bradshaw — who sounds like he played too much football without a helmet in these advertisements — stars in commercials promoting the vaccine.

Indeed, whenever crony capitalist medicine comes up with a new treatment — such as the shingles vaccine — you can be sure to hear much more about the disease. Even if they have to invent a disease to go with their treatment — like Low-T and restless legs.

In this case, there really is more and more shingles going around. But it turns out, a class of blockbuster drugs could be to blame, as I’ll explain in a moment.

The real pain of shingles

Shingles occurs when the common childhood infection of chicken pox reactivates in your body, after hiding in your nerves for years or even decades. It erupts on your skin’s surface in painful lesions.

Shingles is a herpes virus — all of which have this common property, in different parts of the body. Experts think that stress and a weakened immune system contribute to causing the old viral infection to re-emerge.

But here’s what you won’t hear from the crony capitalist, medical minions…

The risk of shingles is much higher in people who received the chicken pox vaccine as children compared to people who actually had this common childhood infection, and thus, developed life-long natural immunity to it.

I belong to the last generation allowed to get chicken pox as a child. Today, as more and more people reach middle age who got the vaccine as children, we are seeing the rate of shingles skyrocket.

So — the shingles epidemic is, in part, a man-made epidemic, which now conveniently has a profitable, man-made solution.

But it doesn’t stop there….

Shocking link between blockbuster drugs and shingles

I often report about the dangers of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Now we can add yet one more danger to the list.

In a 2016 study conducted in the U.K., statin therapy led to a “significant” increase in the risk of developing shingles. Plus, there was a strong dose-response effect. In other words, the higher the dose of statin taken, the higher the shingles risk.

And that isn’t even the first time researchers found a connection between statins and shingles.

In a 2014 study called “Statins and the risk of herpes zoster” published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers found that statin drugs increase the risk of developing shingles.

For this study, researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Ontario, Canada, followed 494,651 patients age 66 or older over a period of 13 years who were treated with statin drugs.

Statin users had a shingles infection rate 13 percent higher than non-statin users. There was a similar increase in risk from using statins among patients with diabetes. This finding reveals the potent immunosuppressive and immune-toxic properties of statins.

Of course, every cell in your body, including immune cells, need cholesterol. So — it doesn’t surprise me that men and women who take these statin drugs have weaker immune systems to fight off infections and viruses like shingles. What does still shock me is that so few mainstream doctors seem to talk to their patients about these risks…and, therefore, so very few patients seem to know about them.

Statins probably damage immune system too

Cardiologists speculate that statins work as “anti-inflammatory” agents. (That is, when they are observed to work, in lowering the risk of a second heart attack.) In one sense, this observation is absolutely correct, because chronic inflammation — not cholesterol — is a real risk factor for heart disease.

So — let’s consider the statin-shingles connection.

A healthy immune system responds to viruses, infection, disease, or stress by producing inflammation. But statins suppress your body’s natural inflammatory response so it can’t even produce healthy inflammation that protects you. In fact, after taking a statin, you have no healthy immune response left to produce inflammation.

This finding would also explain why people taking statins have a higher risk of getting shingles — their immune system is shot.

Of course, many other “anti-inflammatory” drugs used to treat “autoimmune” diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, work by suppressing your immune system. In fact, when you listen to commercials for these drugs, where they quickly recite all the side effects, it becomes clear they exemplify what Sir Francis Bacon identified centuries ago, “The cure is worse than the disease.”

The same is true of statins.

We already knew statins poison your metabolism. Now we know they target your immune system as well, making your more susceptible to shingles. Plus, research links lower cholesterol with higher cancer rates and higher death rates all around the world.

As if you needed another reason to avoid statins. What’s worse, cardiologists now admit they don’t have a clue about how to prevent and treat heart disease in older adults, which is the population that needs it most. I’ll tell you all about this situation in the May 2017 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to become one.

1. “Statins and the risk of herpes zoster,” Clinical Infectious Diseases 2014; 58 (3): 350-356

2. “Statin use and the risk of herpes zoster: a nested case–control study using primary care data from the U.K. Clinical Research Practice Datalink,” British Journal of Dermatology December 2016; 175(6): 1183–1194