Do you suffer from cold sores?

Updated: Mar 3, 2019

Many people suffer repeatedly with cold sores, which is not surprising when up to 90% of adults carry the virus[3]. 

What are Cold Sores? 

Cold sores or herpes simplex virus (HSV) is an envelope virus that is just one of the many viruses that collectively make up the herpes family. Once acquired, it lays dormant in the body nestling itself along the nerve ganglion and rearing its ugly head when the immune system is compromised[3] or when there has been prolonged exposure to sunlight[2].

Managing Symptoms

Along with enhancing healthy immune function, you can help to manage your symptoms by balancing two amino acids, lysine and arginine[3].  During an outbreak, it is important to reduce or eliminate foods that contain high levels of arginine. Arginine is found in many foods, however foods that are particularly high in this amino acid include nuts (almonds, brazil, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, peanuts), seeds (flaxseeds, sesame, sunflower) and chocolate[1].  Arginine has been shown to encourage the proliferation of HSV, where lysine assists in slowing the synthesis of the virus. Lysine can be taken in oral doses of between 1 – 3 grams per day in conjunction with a low arginine diet to assist in reducing the frequency of outbreaks[3].

References: 

  1. Kotsirilos, V., Vitetta, L., & Sali, A. (2011). A guide to evidence based integrative and complementary medicine. Australia: Elsevier.

  2. Ludema, C., Cole, S. R., Poole, C., Smith, J. S., Schoenbach, V. J., & Wilhelmus, K. R. (2014). Association between uprotected ultraviolet radiation exposure and recurrence of ocular herpes simplex virus. American Journal of Epidemiology, 179 (2), 208-215. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt241

  3. Mailoo, V. J., & Rampes, S. (2017). Lysine for herpes simplex prophylaxis: A review of the evidence. Integrative Medicine, 16 (3), 42-46. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/openview/1ac2a8c22d2040f1b192074ddc2b6ec6/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=736337

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