Antiviral Supplements, Interferon, HPV…and You.

(c) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

I thought about taking a look at one of the most common sexually transmitted, viral diseases in this blog posting. When it comes to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) there are a few pharmaceutically manufactured antiviral drugs out there to treat the disease, and there are also antiviral supplements one can take.

Some of those antiviral supplements include trace elements like Selenium which I’ll talk more about below. (Those antiviral supplements can be good for those that live in areas that have a deficiency of Selenium in the soil.)

Now, let’s talk about concrete reality and what the HPV virus is, what diseases it causes, and what medications and antiviral supplements might be appropriate in terms of treatment.

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are common viruses that can cause warts. There are more than 100 types of HPV. Most are harmless, but about 30 types put you at risk for cancer. These types affect the genitals and you get them through sexual contact with an infected partner. They are classified as either low-risk or high-risk. Low-risk HPV can cause genital warts. High-risk HPV can lead to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus in women. In men, it can lead to cancers of the anus and penis.

Although some people develop genital warts from HPV infection, others have no symptoms. Your health care provider can treat or remove the warts. In women, Pap smears can detect changes in the cervix that might lead to cancer.”

If you’ve seen pictures, the warts can be pretty disgusting. They can be flat, raised, or cauliflower shaped.

The good news is that there are a number of treatments both conventional as well as alternative out there that treat the diseases the HPV virus causes. The bad news is that there is no cure for the HPV virus itself.

First, I think the best treatment is prevention. The best method of prevention is abstinence. However this doesn’t just mean abstinence in terms of actual intercourse. When it comes to HPV, it means abstinence of all forms of sexual, skin-to-skin, contact. Really knowing, and being able to trust, one’s sexual partner is paramount!

The second best form of prevention is being monogamous.

For the many people that have acquired the virus, I would like to focus on just one conventional, pharmaceutical medication and then talk about one alternative herbal remedy.

One of the more traditional treatments for HPV in recent years is Interferon which is a type of antiviral medication used to treat HPV. “The Interferon alfa-2a medication is delivered as a series of injections. It is given to prevent tumor cells or viruses from growing inside your body. It does not work for all patients, however, and some patients respond to the drug better than others.” (The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.)

The thing here, as with other conventional medicines I’ve discussed in my previous blogs, is that Interferon has both multiple, potential side effects…as well as studies which suggest that it has highly controversial results in terms of its effectiveness for both antiviral therapy as well as anti-cancer (brought on by a high-risk HPV virus) treatment.

According to the Anticancer Research Journal, “Previous studies on the effectiveness of interferon (IFN) therapy in the treatment of cervical carcinoma have produced highly inconsistent results and the conclusion regarding the efficacy of IFNs has been quite controversial.” – And – “Treatment with an increasing concentration of IFN-alpha preparations did not always correlate with a stepwise inhibition of HPV replication.”

In terms of side effects, “Flu-like symptoms following each injection include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and pains, malaise) occur with all of the interferons. These symptoms vary from mild to severe and occur in up to half of all patients.” (Medicinenet.com)

Knowing the above, why would anyone prescribe it? I suppose when some doctors practice medicine, they really are practicing…and they’re using you as a guinea pig.

It’s not nice at all.

In contrast, while there is no cure for HPV, there are herbs and trace elements out there with significant antiviral properties. Taking antiviral supplements could, theoretically, help to lower the viral loads within the body. This includes HPV.

One trace element that has been shown to have an effect on a broad range of viruses is Selenium. It’s been shown that those with a nutritional deficiency in Selenium have an increased risk of viral infection. More than this, if infected, the viral infection shows an increase in virulence in those with a Selenium deficiency. (The Journal of Nutrition)

In my personal opinion, (and I’m not a doctor), I’d say that if medical experts are experimenting on us all with prescriptions that may, or may not help, it makes sense to at least provide our bodies with the nutritional elements that have natural, proven antiviral properties.

It may not cure us…but it’s got to be better than solely using medication that pharmaceutical companies and doctors can’t even prove works.

References:

U.S. National Library of Medicine, “HPV Also called: Human Papillomavirus” MedlinePlus, 13 April, 2011

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. “Interferon Alfa-2a and Alfa-2b Injection” http://www.nlm.nih.gov 23 March, 2011
Sen EMcLaughlin-Drubin MMeyers C, “Efficacy of two commercial preparations of interferon-alpha on human papillomavirus replication.” Anti-Cancer Research Journal, March – April, 2005

Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD, “Interferon” MedicineNet.com, 1996 – 2011

Beck MA, Levander OA, Handy J, “Selenium deficiency and viral infection.” The Journal of Nutrition, May 2003

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2 Comments on “Antiviral Supplements, Interferon, HPV…and You.”

  1. dkpilates says:

    Thank you Will. You have a great blog here!

  2. ken says:

    thanks for the straight forward approach.
    There must be a way to kill virus selectively…

    just an aside; HPV is also involved in the occurance of squamous cell carcinoma.
    Interestingly, there is some evidence that selenium actually increases
    the rate of growth of this cancer.
    selenium works to limit the viral proliferation but accelerates the related
    cancer. coincidence? related mechanism?


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