Lately I've been seeing a ton of ads on TV for the shingles vaccine and I cringe every time I see it; here's why. According to the Harvard Health Letter, “When the FDA approved the shingles vaccine… in 2006, the agency posted a question-and-answer piece… that notes that the effectiveness of Zostavax in preventing repeat episodes of shingles “has not been demonstrated in clinical studies.” And the … package insert for the vaccine is silent on the subject of whether people should be vaccinated after they have already had shingles.” In other words, they don't know if it even works. Shingles is condition that occurs when the chicken pox virus is reactivated. Because Herpes Zoster lays dormant in nerves, when you get the shingles it usually follows a dermatome. The condition is painful and can be debilitating, so it's pretty scary when we are led to believe that taking the vaccine will prevent shingles, when in fact there is no proof it does. So what does that mean for you if you're at risk of getting shingles? Let me tell you a story. A patient just recently came into the office complaining of pain in the right hip that started two days earlier and appeared to be getting worse, plus she was complaining of a sensitivity along her right waist. She had no structural problem, but because of her symptoms, I discussed the possibility of shingles with her and asked her to let me know if things got worse. That night, she experienced, burning and itching as well as extreme nerve sensitivity in her right thigh, she said “it felt like my thigh was on fire” she also had pain in the hip and back as well as her pubic bone. The next morning she woke up with a full shingles breakout and several beginning on her inner right thigh. She called me in a panic, confirming that she did in fact have shingles. I immediately started her on a dietary and supplement protocol designed to support her immune system. She started feeling better that night and within a week was substantially improved. In addition, by the end of the second week she was fine and had no residual pain or sensitivity, AKA post herpetic neuralgia. The positive take on this unfortunate situation is that now she has her own natural immunity revved up and protecting her. Her body had eradicated the problem all by itself and based on current research, the chances of having another attack are minimal. So what would you prefer? A vaccine that may or may not work or a natural approach that does? Think about it and Stay Healthy!