An anti-viral treatment might cut Alzheimer’s cases in half

Cold sores are painful, annoying and embarrassing. But they clear up within a couple of weeks, so they’re not that serious, right?


You see, cold sores are caused by Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1). I recently wrote about how several viruses in the herpesvirus family, including HSV-1, could more than double your risk of Alzheimer’s.

And now, a new study shows that there’s a causal link between HSV-1 and Alzheimer’s. In other words, there’s evidence that HSV-1 causes Alzheimer’s. It may even be responsible for 50 percent of Alzheimer’s cases.

That’s a scary thought considering how common this cold sore virus is (some estimates put it at 80 percent of the adult population). But it’s not all bad news. If Alzheimer’s is caused by a virus, that means there are new options for treatment…

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The cold sore-Alzheimer’s connection gets stronger

You may or may not know that once you get the virus that causes herpes — HSV-1 — you have it for life. It weasels its way into your brain cells and immune cells.

Now, professor Ruth Itzhaki from the University of Manchester has shown in previous studies that people who carry the Alzheimer’s gene (APOE-ε4) have more cold sores than people who don’t. And this led her to develop a theory…

Whenever the HSV-1 virus is reactivated (i.e. you get a cold sore), it does damage to those HSV-1 infected brain cells you have lurking around. Eventually, that brain cell damage gets bad enough that it causes Alzheimer’s disease. And the latest research from Taiwan proves this theory right…

They looked at data for 99.9 percent of the population of Taiwan in the National Health Insurance Research Database. This data included information about the incidence of dementia and herpes virus infection.

After examining this data, they determined that the risk for dementia is much higher in people who have herpes virus infections. And that makes perfect sense considering what Professor Itzhaki found in her own research…

You know those amyloid plaques and tangles in the brain that are the calling card of Alzheimer’s? Well, Itzhaki found that HSV-1 causes them…

“Viral DNA is located very specifically within plaques in postmortem brain tissue from Alzheimer’s sufferers. The main proteins of both plaques and tangles accumulate also in HSV1-infected cell cultures — and antiviral drugs can prevent this,” said Itzhaki.

Are HSV-1 antivirals the answer to Alzheimer’s?

The data from this Taiwanese research also showed that people who develop Alzheimer’s and have a severe HSV-1 infection can significantly improve their symptoms by taking antiviral medication. They don’t know whether antivirals would work as well for people with mild or moderate HSV-1 infections. But they think it’s worth a shot…

“Considering that over 150 publications strongly support an HSV1 role in Alzheimer’s, these Taiwan findings greatly justify the usage of antiherpes antivirals – which are safe and well-tolerated – to treat Alzheimer’s disease,” said Itzhaki.

What can you do to protect yourself in the meantime?

Pump up your intake of natural antivirals. Some of the best antivirals to battle the herpes virus include:

  • Garlic
  • Zinc
  • Witch hazel
  • Manuka honey
  • Ginger oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Oregano oil
  • Echinacea extract

Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!

Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and