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Rheumatoid Arthritis and Autoimmunity

Treatment with Oral L-Lysine Showing Some Unusually Beneficial Results


David W. Gregg, Ph.D.
188 Calle La Montana
Moraga, CA 94556
Phone/Fax (925) 284-5434

Send e-mail to David Gregg at dwgregg@krysalis.net


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This paper is for information only. It represents the observations, views and opinions of the author, but is not a recommendation for treatment. Anyone reading it should consult his/her physician before considering treatment.


Rhematoid Arthritis (January 2004)

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) affects mainly the joints of the hands and feet, although it can extend to other tissues. Of all the forms of arthritis, RA is most likely to lead to crippling disabilities. It is the most common "autoimmune" disease, affecting three times more women than men. It is characterized by inflammation and destruction of cartilage in the joints, often causing deformities in the fingers. Despite continued research, the cause of RA is unknown. Some researchers believe that an infectious microbe (mycoplasma or virus) is the cause and others believe it is simply the immune system has started to recognize the normal cells as foreign and attacks them ("Microbiology, Principles and Explorations" 5th Edition, by Jacquelyn G. Black, 2002, pg. 495.) In either case, it is recognized that the inflammatory immune response causes the bulk of the damage. In general, the drugs that treat the disease are anti-inflammatories. Since an inflammation response is an immune response, such anti-inflammatories can be viewed as immune suppressants. Some of my friends with the disease have told me that some of the drugs are reasonably effective at keeping their RA in control. However, there are others where the drugs have failed to control the disease. My view is that they may be helpful for many, but are limited in effectiveness because they do not address the root, viral cause.

I have long believed that most if not all autoimmune diseases, where the immune system attacks and damages normal cells, have an infectious agent as the root cause. The immune system is attacking the infectious agent with its usual inflammatory response, which is not very specific to the infectious agent. In doing so, it also damages surrounding normal cells as collateral damage. From the statements from the book referenced above, it appears that I am not alone in this suspicion. The big question is: What is the infectious agent?

For a long time I have been suspicious that it might be a herpes virus. As discussed in the above referenced book, there are a wide variety of herpes viruses that can be responsible for a number of different health issues. I won't attempt to list them here. In general, herpes viruses have the characteristic of infecting nerve cells. Once in the cell, they create a "provirus" that takes up permanent residence in the body of the nerve cell, where the immune system will not attack it. It then serves as a template to produce active viruses. It can be dormant for long periods of time and when triggered, by an unknown cause, it will start to produce active viruses. These viruses will move along the axons of the nerve cells and exit at the terminal synaptic contacts. At this exit point the viruses can damage cells, creating the well recognized lesion which is called a "Cole sore" or fever blister" in the case of herpes simplex. The damage can be due to the virus or due to the inflammation response. In other types of herpes infections the herpes damage can be internal and not visible on the skin. Six variations of the herpes virus have been identified so far and that is certainly not the end. The infection usually cycles from dormant to active and back to dormant again.

Upon a closer look, it can be seen how this mechanism of virus production and dispersal serves to protect the source, provirus, in the body of the nerve cell. The immune system's inflammation response will attack the active viruses that are exiting at the synaptic contacts, which are spatially removed from the nerve body. Thus the nerve body, which is the host for the source provirus, is protected from the immune system's inflammation response. Since nerve cells have a long life, a herpes infection does also, essentially the life of the person.
If this is a cause of RA, then there must be infected nerve cells that have axons with terminal synaptic contacts in the joints where the inflammation is observed.

Historically, the common treatment for a herpes virus is the amino acid L-lysine. It appears that the mechanism of the lysine is to encourage the provirus to become dormant again stopping the production of more viruses. There are also drugs designed specifically to attack the herpes virus, which appear to be effective. If it is the cause, I reasoned that L-lysine as well as the drugs targeting the herpes virus should be effective in treating RA.
At this point in my thinking, I was reading the journal: The Scientist, Nov. 17, 2003, V. 17, No 22, pg.8. The article is titled "Natural Is Not Necessarily Better". It is primarily focused on breast milk sometimes transmitting viruses to the infant. As part of the discussion it also states that "A study conducted on patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed that the prevalence of HTLV-1 Tax positivity is at least three times higher in such patients than in healthy individuals." It also concludes that the virus was acquired transplacentally or by breast milk. HTLV-1 is a retrovirus discussed in the above referenced book on pg. 262. Could this be the cause of RA and not the herpes virus? Because it is a retrovirus, it is similar to the HIV virus responsible for AIDS. If that is the case, lysine and herpes drugs may be ineffective. There is no clear evidence that they are effective for retroviruses. Retroviruses are very different than herpes viruses. They are RNA viruses while herpes viruses are DNA viruses so one would not expect them to respond the same to the same treatments.

I then happened to read the book: "The Virus Within, A Coming Epidemic" by Nicholas Regush, 2000. This book mainly addresses HIV and AIDS. As part of this, it was found that, in the case of AIDS, there appeared to always be a co-infection with the herpes virus, Human Herpes Virus No. 6 (HHV-6). The evidence also indicated that HHV-6, not HIV, was the primary cause of cell damage and thus death. It occurred to me that if there was a HTLV-1 infection in RA, similar to HIV, there might also be a herpes co-infection. Similar to HIV, the herpes virus might be the primary cause of cell damage. If this was the case, then herpes treatments might be effective in treating RA.

Some time afterwards I got involved with Bill McLaughlin with ongoing discussions in a mutual area of interest, how nutritional approaches could be effective in helping with many illnesses. Our primary focus was cancer. In one of our discussions he happened to mention that his wife had a serious case of Rheumatoid Arthritis that drugs were not controlling. I then proceeded to tell him my thoughts about the disease, which concluded that Lysine might be very helpful. I also told him that I thought this had never been tried before. If his wife tried it she would probably be the first one to attempt to treat RA with L-lysine. He discussed this with his wife and they decided to explore that possibility. He asked what the right dosage might be and I told him I did not know. He should probably start with whatever was on the bottle, obtained at his health food store. That was two grams/day.

I did not hear from him again for a couple of months. He told me that he did not want to tell me anything until after he was certain of the results. That was because the results were dramatically favorable. After describing them to me on the phone, I asked him to send me an email describing them in detail so I could post them on my web page. They had the possibility of helping many others. He agreed and here it is:

Email from Bill McLaughlin

From: "Bill McLaughlin"<wam22@cox.net>, Date: Wed Dec 31. 2003, To: <dwgregg@krysalis.net>
Subject: Bill & Linda McL

Dave,

An update on my 69 year-old wife's rheumatism we spoke about in August 03. At that time, her fingers were painful, knuckles enlarged and fingers starting to gnarl. Had to have her rings re-sized from an 8 to a 9 1/2 to go over her knuckles. Also had to jam toothpicks in the door latches in the house so she could open the doors without twisting the knobs.

You suggested L-Lysine might help her. We purchased a bottle from the Vitamin Shoppe (300 capsules, 500 mg/ea. for about $12.00). Taking 4 per day, two in the am and two in pm, they last about 2 1/2 months, which comes to a little more than $4.00 per month. WHAT A BLESSING !

In about three weeks to a month, things went back to normal. No more pain, got the rings back to a size 8 (they kept falling off) and removed the toothpicks from the door latches. We ran out of the capsules and she didn't take them for two weeks. The pain started to return and knuckles started to enlarge. Four days after resuming the Lysine capsules, everything is fine again.


After seeing so many doctors that never helped at all except offering pain medication this is truly a welcome discovery.

Warmest regards

Bill and Lydia McL

In my phone conversations with Bill, he mentioned some other points:

His wife was also taking a broad range of vitamins, including two grams of vitamin C per day, which she continued. She discontinued taking any medications prescribed for her RA early in the process reverting to taking only the L-lysine, which has been profoundly effective up to this writing without any reduction in potency.
He also said that the bio-marker that was being used to follow the progression of her RA did not change. I wondered why. Clearly the most important bio-marker is the inflammation, which changed dramatically. Possibly the bio-marker was measuring something associated with a HTLV-1 virus, still present but not contributing to the inflammation. If this was the case, the lysine would not affect that virus and the bio-marker would not change. The significance of this is unknown. Possibly, in time, the biomarker and its cause will gradually diminish.

Diet: Herpes is suppressed by Lysine and aggravated by Arginine. I would suggest that a person visit my lysine page. There is a link to a table that gives a list of foods and gives their relative concentrations of lysine and arginine. This will provide a starting guide as to which foods to eat and which to avoid.

Comment: I realize these are very early results but they are so strikingly beneficial with no negative side effects I thought they needed to be reported as soon as possible. So may people are suffering from this horrible disease it would be immoral not to. If others choose to try it I hope they will email me the results. I personally have confidence that we are not looking at a unique case. It may not work for all with RA but it would be very surprising if it didn't work for a significant fraction. The results are just too rapid, absolute and sustained to believe they are not valid. The approach was also predicted in advance based on a virus theory that I believe has considerable technical merit. It is based on supportable science, which gives the results even more credibility. It is not the result of extensive testing of may possibilities. It is the only RA treatment I have predicted and it worked profoundly well the first time it was tried. Lets hope it continues to do so.

This also identifies at least one root cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis, which, according to the book referenced above, has not been done before.

Emails from Mike McGuire

From: "Mike McGuire" <mikendeb@astound.net>
Date: November 30, 2006 12:07:28 PM PST
To: "David W. Gregg, Ph.D." <krysalis@krysalis.net>
Subject: rheumatoid arthritis

Dear Mr. Gregg,
 
Your research on L-lysene and rheumatoid arthritis has just about performed a miracle in my life, what else can I call it?
 
I was diagnosed about a year ago with rheumatoid arthritis in my hands.  I was already taking 200 mg of Celebrex a day, and my doctor didn't want to increase that, so told me to supplement it with acetaminofen.  Other than suggestions to take it easy and apply heat as needed, he had no more to say.
 
Thank God I read the information on your website.  I started a daily regimen of 2gr of L-lysene.  As you suggest, every few days I increased the amount till I am now at 6 gr a day and almost sympton free.  Before I couldn't peel a half dozen potatoes without inducing excrutiating pain and stiffness.  I then couldn't hold a fork to eat dinner, and it took 24 hours for my hands to recover enough to get any more work done.  I'd awake in the morning, my hands aching and so stiff I couldn't close my fist to grab the bedcovers-- I'd have to use my hands and arms like a seal's flippers to do it.
 
The first few days at 2 gr a day, I did'nt get complete instant relief, but I did have enough improvement to realize that there is something to the information you posted.  So, as I said, I gradually increased the amount.  Now, I'd say my pain and stiffness are 95% reduced!  In the morning now, there is so little pain and stiffness that just washing my hands in warm water clears it up!  When I am working with my hands, I can work for hours-- half a day, often-- before I need to give my hands a rest.  Washing in warm water and eating lunch is enough.  Hoping to see if I can be 100% symptom free, I just added another gr to my daily regimen, and will write back if I get even more relief.
 
My doctor looked up L-lysene in a reference he has, and said it didn't interfere with anything I'm taking and there were no side affects.
 
This is practically a miracle!  I can work all day again.  And I sleep all night-- the pain doesn't wake me up any more.  I am so grateful that I not only want you to know so that you keep up your research, but I want people visiting your website to know my story and hope it encourages them to seek the relief that I have found.  So please feel free to post all or any part of what I have written you, or pass on my email address.  I could elaborate on what I've said for anyone who writes me.  I'd feel priveledged to be a part of this work in any small way.
 
Mike McGuire
mikendeb@astound.net

----- Original Message -----
From: david gregg
To: Mike McGuire
Sent: Saturday, December 02, 2006 7:34 PM
Subject: Re: rheumatoid arthritis

Mike,
Thanks. I have one question, are you still taking Celebrex or acetaminofen? If so, what dose? If you are still taking them, have you tried lowering the dose? The first person to try it said she got full benefit without taking any other medications.
David

From: "Mike McGuire" <mikendeb@astound.net>
Date: December 3, 2006 9:47:40 PM PST
To: "david gregg" <krysalis@krysalis.net>
Subject: Re: rheumatoid arthritis

Dear David,
 
I have stopped taking the Celebrex altogether and only take acetaminofen occassionaly for other pains.  It's been so long, I can't even remember when I last took it for my hands.
 
I really need to tell you about another success I've had from the research you posted on your website.  This has had even more far-reaching affects than the relief of my rheumatoid arthritis.
 
I read your information on chronic fatigue and tried the ideas about dissolving vitamin B12 in DMSO and applying it to the skin.  This one thing alone has had as much affect on overcoming my fatigue as anything my doctor or the specialists provided. 
 
About a year and a half ago I started falling asleep at stop lights.  I realized too that I had been driving the kids around with the windows down even if they were cold and the radio volume up so that I'd keep awake.  This was scary and I told my doctor.  He didn't seem to like the term "chronic fatigue syndrome" but sent me for tests.  He rule out narcolepsy but found that I have sleep apnoea and hadn't had a single good night's sleep in a long time, probably years.  This thing had crept up on me and I didn't realize there was anything wrong till I was falling asleep at the stop lights.  He also found that my worsening asthma was sapping my energy.  So we addressed the asthma more vigorously.  I then got a CPAP (constant pressure air pump) machine that delivers compressed air to a mask I wear while I sleep, thereby increasing the oxygen and letting me fall into deep restful REM sleep.  The improvement was such an incredible change that it was easy for me to see that I had had a serious condition that had come on gradually over a period of years.
 
That was summer of 2005.  This summer (2006) I discovered your website, and, spurred on by the success I found with the L-lysene for my arthritis, I began the B12 regimen for chronic fatigue.  Another incredible difference!  Every bit as much of an incredible change as I had found with the CPAP machine.  I actually started cleaning the garage that showed a decade of neglect, the garage that was the embarassment of the neighborhood!   When I had been in the depth of my fatigue, the very thought of cleaning the long neglected garage was simply ovehwelming.  As a matter of fact, just getting the kids to and from school and keeping them fed, doing the dishes, and occassionally washing some clothes was all I could manage.  I was exhausted all the time.  In the afternoon, I could easily fall asleep and sleep through picking up the kids.  Oddly enough, I'd sit up late at night.  I think now that I was resisting the idea of tossing and turning all night long only to drag myself out in the morning even more tired than the night before.  Then, as I said, I got a CPAP machine and finally started getting some good sleep.  I go to bed earlier and look forward to a good night's sleep. 
 
When I tried the B12, however, it made just as much difference, and I have returned to the world of the living.
 
Now I start in on a chore and don't even think it might be overwhelming.  I am no longer afraid I'll only get halfway done and be so exhausted I'll have to drag myself through the rest by sheer will alone and in a mental fog.  Instead I look forward to how much I might get done, and how quickly I can get it done.  I wake up in the morning now looking forward to what I can accomplish during the day.
 
More recently we found I've got Epstein Barr.  Why I wasn't tested initially for it I don't know.  However, I'm in the first stages of recovery, so there is nothing more my doctor can do for that (?!!).  What I'm wondering is could the B12 regimen have anything to do with starting up my recovery?  I've been taking the B12 since July, and wasn't tested for Epstein Barr till about the first of November, about ninety days later.  At the same time they also found I had already begun to recover from it.
 
I told my doctor about the B12 and how much better I felt, and asked if I had had a significant deficit.  He said he'd add it to the order for my next blood test.  Again, why wasn't this done when I first complained of fatigue?  And won't testing after I've begun supplementing it  show a normal level?  I suppose I could go off the supplement for a month or so to get accurate test results, but I don't want to go back to that low level of activity and foggy thinking, even for proof, if that's what I'd get.
 
Now here's the best news-- we bought our first house!  The market's right and all that, but I know if I were still feeling the way I was before the B12, it would have been too overwhelming an idea.  The thought alone of all that paper work would have put me off it, let alone the gargantuan task of moving (especially after a decade of neglected closets and the garage, which I had just started cleaning).  We not only did it, but I did most of the work myself!  This would have been impossible without the vitamin B12.  Your work has not only shown me how I might overcome my rheumatoid arthritis but my chronic fatigue as well.  I can work a full day again.  And my family is in our first home of our own!  Your work has changed their lives, too.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!
 
Very sincerely,
Mike McGuire
 
P.S.  If any of your readers would want me to elaborate, they are free to contact me at mikendeb@astound.net.

 

Autoimmunity (April, 2008)
A Proposed Common Cause and Treatment

Autoimmunity is defined as misdirected immune responses where the immune system attacks the body itself.  The attack can be specific to a particular part of the body with each being named as a different disease.  To date, more than eighty separate diseases have been named and identified as being autoimmune.  It appears that in every case the effects of the disease can be defined and identified as being caused by the immune system but the root cause (trigger) of the “disease” is said to be unknown.  The common treatment is to employ drugs that suppress the immune system with all their potential negative consequences.
     
      The successful treatment of the autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, presented above, is a radical deviation from all other autoimmune disease investigations.  It started with the careful postulation of a novel root cause never reported before.   This lead to the identification of its best possible treatment.  The treatment is unique in that it is not based on suppressing the immune system.  It is based on selectively arresting the activity of the trigger, avoiding the negative side effects of immune suppressing drugs. 
      It is a radically new approach, not only for treating rheumatoid arthritis but also has the potential of being expanded to many, if not most other autoimmune diseases. 
         The success with the first two people, discusses above, might seem unimportant because of the small sample.  However, it is very significant because:
         1. It is based on a well thought out theory.
         2. The two people to test it on themselves represent 100% of the people to try it.
         3. They tested it by taking the treatment, relatively large doses of lysine (6-8g/day), years apart from each other and both recovered in the same amount of time, about two months of taking it.

          Lysine is the widely recognized treatment for herpes.  Experience has shown it is effective for arresting a range of herpes viruses, possibly all of them.  Various mechanisms have been postulated/studied, all of which conclude that it works by inhibiting the production of the virus in contrast to enhancing the immune system.  One mechanism concludes that lysine disrupts arginine’s contribution to the production of a protein that is essential for the virus to form its capsid. The capsid is the protective protein coat that surrounds the viral genetic material, which could be DNA or RNA.  It is DNA for the herpes virus.  The genetic material surrounded by the capsid constitutes an intact virus.  The prevention of the formation of the capsid prevents the formation an intact virus that can propagate.  Thus, arginine and lysine perform opposing functions concerning he herpes virus.  Arginine stimulates the production of the virus and lysine inhibits it by blocking the role of arginine. 
         I believe the mechanism is somewhat different and can best be put in the context of the latest understanding of the relationship between DNA, messenger RNA and micromessenger RNA.  It was formerly believed that DNA was a template for making RNA which was a template for making proteins.  More recently it has been discovered that the vast area of what thought to be “junk” DNA with no function actually served as templates for the production of RNA’s that didn’t transcribe to proteins, but rather directly controlled the transcription activity of the DNA.  Thus, it instructs a DNA virus to make the new DNA needed for a new virus.  These RNA’s were named messenger RNA’s.  Even more recently was the discovery of a large group of much smaller RNA molecules. They had a very different function.   They could bond to the larger messenger RNA molecules and control their activity, such as turning them off.  These molecules have been named micromessenger RNA molecules.  If we move to the relationship between herpes, arginine and lysine.  I believe that arginine promotes the production of the messenger RNA that causes the production of new viruses.  Lysine promotes the production of the micromessenger RNA’s that attach to the messenger RNA’s and deactivates them.
         Both the proposed capsid and RNA mechanisms indicate a successful lysine treatment would be concentration dependent.  Low doses have little effect.  You have to reach a treatment dose that is sufficiently high to block the arginine-based reactions that promote the production of more viruses.  Experience indicates that of 1-2g/day of lysine seems to have little benefit.  Treatment levels seem to be reached at about 6-8g/day.  However, each person has to discover the right dose for himself.   It is safe to explore because there is little possibility of a significant negative reaction due to an overdose.  However, everyone is different so one should always start low and build up carefully watching for the unexpected negative reaction.  I have taken 8g/day for over a month without noticing any negative reaction.  Long term, continuous use, several months at a time, may not be a good idea because it introduces an imbalance in amino acids in the diet.  An unexpected negative reaction may occur.
         Both lysine and arginine are amino acids present to different extent in most proteins.  Thus, when you eat almost anything they are in your diet, which can be an important factor.  When treating with lysine you want to eat foods low in arginine and high in lysine.  The included table gives a list of foods and the ratio of lysine to arginine in them.  This table can help to guide you in selecting your diet.

         4. Both individuals stopped taking the lysine shortly after recovering from their RA and were symptom free for many months.
         5. When the symptoms returned they would take the lysine again the symptoms would quickly go away again as totally as they did initially.  There was no reduction in the potency of the treatment and no need to increase the dose.  If anything, the require dose would be less because they would catch it right away.
         6. The first person to try it has kept herself free of her rheumatoid arthritis for at least five years with the periods of remission, needing no lysine, lasting up to a year. 

          Does this treatment approach apply more broadly to additional autoimmune diseases?

         These results don’t just validate the theory and identify a profound treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, they also indicate a direction that could lead to treatment of many additional autoimmune diseases. In order to explore this possibility we have to thoroughly understand the path taken.  Lets start at the beginning.
         Many years ago I happened to read an article that stated that Rheumatoid Arthritis is characterized by a degeneration of the surface of the bone.  It is also characterized as an autoimmune disease where, for unknown reasons, the immune system attacks normal cells.  For the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis the immune system was selectively attacking the surface of the bone.  Why?
         I have always believed that the immune system doesn’t just attack normal cells without a clear reason, which should be understandable once it has been identified.  What could it be for Rheumatoid Arthritis?  I wondered if I could identify it.  It almost immediately came to me that the herpes simplex virus causes lesions in the mouth.  Such lesions are the degeneration of tissue.  I had heard a theory that the viruses are formed in infected nerve cells. They are then transported along the axons, and exit at the synaptic contacts.  The immune system attacks the virus exiting the nerve cells at the synaptic contacts with a standard inflammation attack.  This damages normal cells while it is attacking the virus.  The lesion thus formed is at the synaptic contact, which can be quite removed from the infected nerve body.  Thus, the synaptic contact and cells (tissue) around it are destroyed, but the infected nerve body survives unharmed by the immune attack.
         For herpes simplex the synaptic contacts are at the points where the lesions occur.  It has been noticed that when the lesions reoccur with another outbreak, they always occur at the same place.  That is because the source of the virus, the nerve body, was not damaged by the immune attack.
         Could it be that in the case of rheumatoid arthritis the set of nerve cells infected had their synaptic contacts at the surface of the bone?  If so, the inflammation attack on the virus would take place there, degenerating the bone surface.  Since the infected nerve body would survive unharmed the process could repeat itself indefinitely.  It wouldn’t necessarily be continuous.  It could be, but it could also turn on and off like herpes simplex.   In the case of shingles, it could turn off for years and suddenly cycle on and off again. I also knew that lysine was effective for treating herpes simplex and possibly other versions of herpes. 
         If my model was correct, one should be able to treat rheumatoid arthritis by arresting the herpes virus with lysine.  I was confident my model was correct but didn’t know anyone with rheumatoid arthritis.  A year later I was having a discussion with a person interested in my cancer web page when he mentioned that his wife had a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis.  I told him that I was confident that lysine would arrest it and why. 
         They chose to try it and the rest is history with the testimonials presented above. 
         Now the question is: Does this approach lead to successful treatment for other diseases characterized as autoimmune?  The investigation has to start with taking a close look at the very unique mechanism involved for rheumatoid arthritis. 
         The herpes virus has a number of very special characteristics, all of which have to be present or the virus would not be able to repeatedly trigger the immune attack at a specific location and thus the ongoing inflammation damage.  Could the difference between many of the autoimmune diseases be just different discrete sets of nerve systems being infected, with synaptic contacts at different organs?  Nerve systems are connected to every organ in the body making every organ vulnerable to such an attack.  The strange selectivity of the herpes virus, infecting one set of nerve cells and not others would cause the attack to be organ specific.  Each organ attacked could earn a different autoimmune disease name even though they all would have a common cause.  Could there be another virus that could also satisfy these conditions.  I don’t know of any.  Thus this could be the common cause of a large number of diseases classified as autoimmune and the same treatment could be effective for all of them. 

Special, required conditions met by the herpes virus:

         1. The virus selectively infects highly specialized sets of nerve cells and installs a viral template, a provirus, that cycles between active and inactive.  When it is active it produces more viruses.
         2. The virus programs the nerve cell so that the immune system does not see the provirus or newly produced viruses while they are still in the nerve cell.  This protects the nerve cell from an immune attack.
         3. When the provirus is active, producing viruses, the viruses are transported along the axon(s) of the nerve cell exiting the synaptic contacts, which are connected to tissue or other nerve cells.
         4. The viruses escape at the synaptic contacts and at this point the immune system sees the virus for the first time and attacks with a standard inflammation attack.
         5. Inflammation attacks are relatively indiscriminant and have the characteristic of damaging (attacking) normal cells while attempting to eliminate the invading pathogen (herpes virus).  The collateral damage to the normal cells can be quite severe caused by the immune system attacking normal cells.  However, it is collateral damage due to the intensity of the attack on the pathogen.  It is not an attack purposely directed at the normal cells.  Is this the root cause of most autoimmune diseases?
         6. In order to sustain the immune attack and thus qualify as an autoimmune disease, it is essential that there be a mechanism that specially separates the immune attack from the primary source of the virus.  Otherwise the attack will destroy the source of the virus and arrest the disease itself.
That is the only way for repeated attacks to occur.  For nerve cells, the axons can be long enough so that the inflammation attack at the synaptic contacts is sufficiently removed from the nerve body so the infected nerve body survives the attack with only a damaged synaptic contact.  The infected nerve cell thus survives with the capability to repair itself and initiate another cycle of producing active viruses.  This separation of the point of immune attack from the source of the viruses is an essential feature for the survival of virus infection.  That is why you never get rid of the infection.  It just cycles on and off.
         7. Only nerve cells have axons that could transport the newly produced viruses away from the cell body source, out of reach from the inflammation attack on the virus. 
         8. The herpes virus must be highly selective as to which set of nerve cells get infected.  There may have been versions of the herpes virus that were not so selective.  In such cases the infection would spread to all nerve systems and would be rapidly fatal to the host, eliminating the virus with the host.  Thus, natural selection has given us the more selective surviving versions of the virus. 
         9. Every organ in the body has nerve connections.  Thus the selective nature of the herpes virus could selectively infect any of individual nerve system reaching any organ inducing what appears to be an autoimmune attack on that organ.  The attack on each organ would receive a different name as if it was a different autoimmune disease.  This mechanism would explain the 80+ identified autoimmune diseases. 
         Is there any other virus that can meet all these essential properties?  If there is, I don’t know what it is.         If not, it seriously strengthens the case that treatment of the herpes virus with lysine should be the first treatment tested for every autoimmune disease.  It has no risk associated with it.  It is widely available, has high promise, low cost and no known negative side effects.  And, the quickest, least expensive and safest way to test its applicability is to use it and observe the results.

         Lysine also has the special feature of being an essential amino acid.  This means it is not manufactured by our body.  If it was, herpes infections would not present a problem to us.  It has to be obtained from food.  All foods have lysine as a component amino acid in their proteins.  For many people this relatively small amount of lysine may be sufficient to inhibit a herpes infection and may explain long periods of remission.    Changing diets may be the reason for the start and stop of the attacks.  However, for those suffering from an active herpes attack, it is not sufficient.  Thus the treatment will always require an aggressive use of lysine during the treatment phase.  The 1-2g/day commonly on the label of the bottle is unlikely to be sufficient.  The 6-8g/day found to be essential  by one person with rheumatoid arthritis might be used as a guide, but each person has to discover the dose and time of use that is right for him/her.

         Comments on Some Specific Autoimmune diseases:
I would like to suggest how the herpes infection might be connected to some specific diseases, some identified as autoimmune and some not:

Osteoarthritis also has an inflammation cause and thus is as suspect as rheumatoid arthritis of being triggered by the herpes virus.

Heart Failure:  Linus Pauling claimed that the combination of lysine and vitamin C would protect against heart attack but he did not explain why.  The combination makes sense because the lysine protects against the herpes virus and vitamin C protects against a broad range of others, such as cold viruses.  Thus, the combination would protect against a broader range than either alone. 
When considering the heart specifically and the theory presented above, it is entirely possible for the herpes virus to infect the nerve cells connected to the heart muscle triggering inflammatory lesions there with serious results.  This has not been specifically identified as an autoimmune disease, but it would fit the package.

Cancer:  Viruses are well known to a cause of a variety of cancers.  The viruses enter cells and harness the cell’s chemistry to produce more viruses.  This disruption of the cell’s chemistry can fragment their chromosomes, sometimes leading to cancer cells.  In the case of an autoimmune disease, there will be a repeated herpes attack at the same location.  Due to this, one would expect a relatively high correlation of cancer with such diseases.  A search of the internet produced:

1. A paper published by the University of Florida Shands Cancer Center States, “According to study published in the Journal of the National cancer Institute, the risk of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (a subtype of non-Hodgkins lymphoma) is elevated among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren syndrome, systemic lupus, erythematosis, or celiac disease.  Some of these conditions were also linked with marginal zone lymphoma, lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma, and T-cell lymphoma.”
2. In a paper titled “Autoimmune Diseases and Cancer Co-Morbidity in the U.S. Elderly 1979 to 2001” by Hai Huang, et al. Duke University, Center for Demographic Studies, February 28, 2006.   Briefly, this paper concludes that there is a high rate of death in the elderly where cancer and an autoimmune disease are both present and either has been named as the final cause of death.

Like autoimmunity, the wide prevalence of herpes infections in different organs is consistent with the many types of cancer, each named by the organ of initiation.  It does hint of a common root cause.

Multiple Sclerosis is characterized by the formation of lesions in the brain.  In this case the infected nerves are in the brain and the synaptic contacts are between nerve cells.  Thus when the inflammation attack would take place it would cause lesions in the brain.  A friend told me that his daughter had MS and was being treated with acyclovir, a drug designed to treat herpes.  The results were positive.

Shingles has been identified as being caused by the herpes virus.  A shingles attack is characterized by an eruption of serious pain in specific tissue areas with the specific area changing from person to person.  In this case the synaptic contacts of the infected nerves are in the tissue where the pain is.  Thus, when the attacks repeat, the pain is always in the same place.  I know one person who had such frequent shingles attacks that she could not travel. When she started taking a lysine-vitamin C powder they went away completely and she could travel again. 

Fibromyalgia is characterized as having muscular pain in specific locations of the body with no known cause.  It has a lot in common with Shingles.  I predict that it has the same cause as Shingles with the herpes infected nerves having their synaptic contacts at the pain locations.  The herpes induced inflammation happens there and thus the pain.  I have been in contact with woman who had fibomyalgia for many years.  Pain medications helped for brief periods but then ceased to b effective in a few weeks.  Upon learning about my theory concerning herpes and lysine, she started to take the lysine.  Her pain ceased in a few days and she has been pain free for several weeks now. 

Autism:  As I have suggested on my autism web page, I believe that a combination of viruses play a role in causing autism.  The role of the herpes virus is to do brain damage.  I talked to one mother of an autistic boy who told me that a doctor at Harvard Medical Center had detected lesions in her son’s brain. 
Other infected nerves could be connected to the duodenum disrupting the digestive system.  In particular lesions there could play a role in disrupting the capability of the duodenum cells to make secretin.  This disruption is common in autistic children. 

Psoriasis, Systemic Lupus, Scleroderma, Systemic Scleroderma, Graves Disease, Diabetes Mellitus Type 1, Pernicious Anemia, Glomerulonephritis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, etc. are all examples of degenerative diseases with the characteristic inflammation associated with  autoimmune diseases “with no known cause”.  None have been evaluated for response to treatment with lysine.  The only way to discover if the analysis presented here would apply is to treat with lysine and observe the results.  It is extremely inexpensive and safe.  The inflammation associated with many of these diseases can cause some serious tissue damage.  It may take many months of treatment to reverse the damage.

Lysine Alternatives:  There are a number of proposed alternatives to lysine for treating herpes presented on the internet.  I don’t know how they compare with lysine and are commonly suggested as a supplement to lysine rather than a replacement.
         Seaweed: I am particularly interested in the claims about Red Marine Algae for treating herpes.  Put in context, I have found articles that report that almost all versions of viruses that infect humans can be found in ocean water.  Seaweed survives quite well in this environment. Thus, all versions of seaweed, including Red Marine Algae, must have developed defenses against them.  Could seaweed provide a broad-range anti-viral treatment/defense?  Seaweed is commonly viewed as an exceptionally healthy food.  Most think it is because of it’s vitamin and mineral content.  Could it’s unusual health benefits be primarily due to its generally unrecognized broad-range anti-viral effects?  For these reasons I would consider adding any type of seaweed to the diet as a supplement to the lysine to be a good idea.  It is a safe experiment. 

Where does this lead?

If you are looking for well-funded studies that evaluate this approach to treating any autoimmune disease, it won’t happen.  The treatment is widely available with no prescription needed.  It is extremely inexpensive.  Studies evaluating the use of lysine to treat any one autoimmune disease would be very expensive and to evaluate the application to a broad range of autoimmune diseases would be even more expensive.  It would be impossible to obtain a patent for the treatment and impossible to recover the costs of the studies.  The only answer I can see for spreading the information and evaluating the true possibilities is for individuals with the problems testing it on themselves and letting others know the results.  The internet becomes the key communication tool.  It can take many paths and I would encourage every interested person to use their own creativity to find a way.  

Email From India

From:          mangal_sushil_kumar@yahoo.com
Subject:       RA and L Lysine
Date:            September 17, 2008 12:54:57 PM PDT
To:             dwgregg@krysalis.net

Dear Dr David W. Gregg
I am reporting from India for the benefit of patient suffering from RA.  My wife aged 65 hands were stiff and she could not lift a spoon.  I consulted many doctors but they informed me there is no treatment for RA. I started the search on internet and came across your site by mere chance.  I studied all the cases on your site and found lot of similarity.  I suggested to my wife to try L-Lysine.
I started the search for L-Lysine from many chemist but they were quite ignorant about it.  I again went to a chemist and make him read the copy of your article on the website. He was then able to give me B complex with L-Lysine.  It was in the form of liquid not tablets.  I took two bottles and my wife started using it daily for a couple of days.  After third day she was able to move her fingers and after one week she could hold the spoon. She continued with L-Lysine for one more week and her hands could hold knife and cut fruits though with some effort. She continued it further and after a month the strength in her hands has come back to almost normal. She can now wash clothes and do all other works. She has now reduced her dose to once a day and RA did not appear.
First of I am thankful for your article but I think it needs more awareness to other person suffering from RA. I keep on telling my experience to other patients.  If you permit I would like to publish these findings of yours in newspapers so that it helps many.

with best wish
SK Mangal


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David W. Gregg, Ph.D.
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