Manchester University found that the herpes simplex virus behind cold sores could be a major cause of the protein plaques that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s (reported by the BBC).
According to Professor Ruth Itzhaki who led the research team, HSV-1 (Herpes simplex 1) that infects more than 80 percent of Americans and causes cold sores around the mouth, is found in the brains of up to 70% of people with Alzheimer’s.
There is a gene, called ApoE-4, known to be a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The question is to know whether herpes in concert with ApoE-4 increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The research also show that people who are frequently troubled by cold sores are more likely to have the gene that makes them more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists still have to establish a direct link between the virus and the disease. Even if more research is needed, this research offers hopes. First, if this correlation is revealed, it would mean that if people could be immunised against the herpes virus, they would also be less prone to Alzheimer’s disease. Secondly, cold sores treatments would help prevent Alzheimer’s.
While it is still a struggle to get rid of cold sores, there are medications and cold sores remedies that can be useful in their treatment and management of this skin condition.
For instance, certain types of foods can help heal cold sores: foods rich in L-Lysine, such as Fish , shrimp, lima beans, poultry, mung beans sprouts. On the contrary, foods rich in L-Arginine should be avoided, such as nuts, sesame, lentils, peas, sunflower seeds, oats, corn, barley, buckwheat, chocolate, and coconut.
If there is a viral link between herpes and Alzheimer’s, does it mean that this kind of diet would also help prevent Alzheimer’s? What about supplements like vitamin C, probiotics, or zinc, or herbal remedies like Echinacea, Goldenseal, lemon balm which help minimize outbreaks?
Worth keeping an eye on this research…