herpes diet

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Herpes Diet: Managing Herpes Symptoms With Fall Veggies

Herpes SymptomsHerpes Diet: Managing Herpes Symptoms With Fall Veggies
By Contributing Author Stephanie

As those of us who have read Dr. Kelly’s Book Live, Love & Thrive with Herpes know, diet can have a huge affect on how our bodies experience the herpes virus.  Whether it’s the balance between lysine and arginine in our bodies, or simply eating well to support our immunity, it is important to actively support our bodies through our diet. This is a key to managing our herpes symptoms.  In this blog, I will go over some of the fall vegetables you can eat to support your body in suppressing future herpes outbreaks.  I strongly suggest referring back to Dr. Kelly’s previous blog on lysine and arginine for reference, as it explains how and why lysine is helpful in preventing outbreaks and arginine can be a trigger for outbreaks.

Root vegetables and squash are common fall vegetables that are delicious and nutritious for our bodies! Most vegetables have fairly high amounts of lysine.  Did you know that wheat and other grains contain high levels of arginine? This is why it is not uncommon for people diagnosed with herpes to go gluten free. If we can replace our grains  (which contain high levels of arginine) with vegetables high in complex carbs, our bodies will likely thank us. Of course this is a personal choice, but if you suffer from constant outbreaks, you can always test out this method to see if it helps you!

Some fall vegetables I love that are either higher in lysine than arginine or about equal in amounts of the two according to the sources I have researched are: beets, turnips, select squashes, and potatoes (white and sweet).

A great way to get the most out of these delicious fall foods is to pair them with foods we know are very high in lysine. One amazing recipe that comes to mind is roasted beets with goat cheese.  If you have never tried roasted red beets with goat cheese, I suggest you do so soon. If your recipe calls for nuts, you should omit them, since nuts are another known herpes trigger.

Another great and super easy recipe is roasted acorn squash filled with yogurt. Yogurts containing probiotics in the form of live cultures can also help boost our immunity to better manage herpes symptoms (assuming you are not dairy free).  If this is the case, there are dairy free yogurts made with coconut milk. High levels of probiotics and lysine in this meal, or dessert, make it an excellent and healthy choice for the season.  Since sugar affects the body in a way that prevents us from fighting off viruses, it is important to minimize our intake of sugar to prevent future outbreaks.  This is one of many delicious squash recipes that can easily double as a sweet dessert.

One last recipe that incorporates fall veggies with other foods containing high amounts of lysine is this Italian fagioli soup recipe.  This recipe is great for those cold and busy months and is packed with root veggies and squash.  The ground turkey is a great addition, as turkey is one meat in particular that is very high amounts in lysine.  You will even get some lysine from the parmesan cheese on top! I urge you all to take a look at some of the different recipes you can try to incorporate some of the seasonal vegetables into your diet throughout these colder months.

Keeping veggies in our diet consistently is so important for our health, regardless of living with herpes or not; but of course if we can decrease our herpes symptoms at the same time, why wouldn’t we do it?

book_LiveLove300Make sure to check out Dr. Kelly’s book to learn more about how diet and supplements can support your body as you learn to navigate your herpes symptoms!  

Herpes Treatment: Lemon Balm for Herpes

Lemon balm remedies for herpesHerpes Treatment: Lemon Balm for Herpes
By Contributing Auther: Stephanie

One of my main concerns with herpes treatment is my ability to control the virus naturally without effecting other areas of my body.  Lemon balm is used in herpes treatment as a natural home remedy to reduce the replication of the herpes virus.  Here, you will learn many of the different ways you can use lemon balm for herpes outbreak treatment and prevention, in hopes that you will find the perfect remedy for your lifestyle!

Lemon balm, scientifically known as Melissa officinalis, was shown in a 2004 study to effectively reduce the rate of of replication of both type 1 and 2 of the herpes virus (Allahverdiyev et. al 2004).  One precaution the article gives is using anything over a concentration of 100 micrograms per milliliter.  If the concentration is higher than this threshold there could be potential toxic side effects.  This being said, any lemon balm oil or supplement that you buy in the store should be safe for use, but I would suggest checking the dosage on the product just to be sure. As you can probably imagine, go organic whenever possible. While it is beneficial to discuss how this herb can potentially prevent outbreaks, help heal current outbreaks, and hinder the replication of the virus, we will also discuss some creative uses for the herb.  This herb can be used in many applications and it is my intent that each and every one of you will learn how it can benefit you, no matter what your unique situation with herpes is.

Different uses for lemon balm:

If you would like to grow the herb and use it in its most natural form, there are several ways to accomplish this.  The first, and likely most common, is to make lemon balm tea.  All you need to do is to place some herbs in hot boiling water for a few minutes (tea bag is optional), add some honey (raw is best), sip and relax. This tea also pairs well with black or mint tea. You can drink this hot or you can add ice to drink iced tea. This herb touts its ability to relax you and when you’ve sipped to your hearts content, re use the tea bag to sooth any sores by placing the bag directly on them.  If you do not want to grow the herb yourself, lemon balm tea is readily available for purchase.

Another creative and relaxing remedy is to take a lemon balm bath.  If you have the lemon balm plant you can use the leaves  in the bath by making a lemon balm leaf-filled bag and hanging it under the running water as you fill the bath.  This remedy will create a relaxing and healing environment for your herpes sores to heal. A word of caution though, do not take a bath that is too hot as very hot baths and hot tubs can trigger the herpes virus.

You can even eat fresh lemon balm leaves in a salad or with any other meal you have prepared.  Culinary nerds might want to add mint, anise, fennel or lemon verbena to mix with the lemon balm. Eating the leaves allows you to proactively begin to approach herpes treatment with more of a preventative approach.  Having lemon balm as a part of your regular diet could help to decrease the likelihood of having another outbreak.

Lemon balm salve or ointment is also available over the counter.  The salve can be applied directly to an outbreak site to help sooth and heal any bothersome sores.  This is a great option for those of us who might not have the time to get super creative with the herb.

You can also buy a lemon balm (or Melissa) supplement at your vitamin store to get the herb into your daily intake.  This is a great alternative to eating the leaves with your food, and will also act as a herpes treatment for outbreak prevention.

Lemon balm/Melissa essential oils are also available. You can use the oil in the area that you usually experience outbreaks to potentially prevent them.  You can also use the oil for its relaxing and calming properties in times of stress to help control your immune system’s response to hectic times.

These are just some of the many creative uses I have found while researching the lemon balm herb and its effect on the herpes virus.  I for one am planning to experiment with each of them to find which remedy works best for my mind and body.  I hope you all do the same, and successfully find a healing outlet in the herb!

Allahverdiyev, A., Duran, N., Ozguven, M., & Koltas, S. 2004. “Antiviral activity of the volatile oils of Melissa officinalis L. against Herpes simplex virus type-2.” Phytomedicine 11(7):657-661.


About Stephanie

Hi Everyone! My name is Stephanie.  I was diagnosed with HSV-2 in April of 2014 when I was 22 years old. Right now, almost three years later, I am a doctoral student in the sociology department at Purdue University. I recently completed my MA in sociology at the University of Northern Colorado where I explored the role of stigma in the process of disclosing a genital herpes diagnosis.  With that said, if anyone is interested in reading what I discovered in my project, I am happy to share that with you! I plan to continue advocating for our community, as well as studying the social factors that influence sexual health in order to understand how we can create a world that is easier for people diagnosed with STIs.  I really enjoy writing for the Pink Tent community and am excited to be able to share some of my experiences and thoughts about living with genital herpes with you all.

Lysine: Herpes, Chocolate, and Valentine’s Day


Lysine: Herpes, Chocolate, and Valentine’s Day

file000163648711Valentine’s Day is here and so is our desire to eat massive amounts of chocolate. Allow me to confess…. I LOVE CHOCOLATE… In fact, my favorite dessert in the whole wide world is a Flour less Chocolate Torte- (Martha Stewart’s recipe to be exact). But…I don’t like to get herpes outbreaks.

When I work with women with herpes one-on-one and in groups, they are often surprised to hear that I am able to eat chocolate, despite the fact that it is a known trigger for herpes outbreaks. Their surprise reminds me of how I felt when I discovered that one of my favorite “gurus”, Cealo, is still known to smoke a cigar from time to time. So…how I am able to eat chocolate and not get herpes outbreaks? (Before I disclose my one word secret in person, women’s eyes widen and they lean in)


When I consume large amounts of chocolate, nuts, nut butters or coffee, I take lysine. You see, the problem with the above foods is that they are high in arginine, a known trigger for herpes outbreaks. Lysine, on the other hand, is proven to counteract high levels of arginine. In fact, lysine has been shown to decrease the frequency and severity of herpes outbreaks.

In the past, if I was stressed out or if I consumed large amounts of these dietary triggers, I would get a genital outbreak within days. Now, I can use lysine as part of my defense and STILL eat my chocolate torte. Hallelujah! I often use lysine proactively when I’ve consumed too much arginine in my diet and use a dosage that would be therapeutic for an active herpes infection. Typically this would be about 3000mg per day for a few days. During an active herpes outbreak, it is therapeutic to take anywhere between 3000mg-9000mg/day for several days. Some people with herpes take lysine supplements daily, while others use them only at the onset of an outbreak.

Whether you are with a partner or not this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to let you in on my little secret. Life it too short to NOT eat chocolate.

Want to learn more about my natural remedies for herpes? Check out my newest online course for women with herpes. foundations-sidebar300x250


Live. Love. Thrive.

Dr. Kelly- Amazon Bestselling Author of Live, Love, and Thrive with Herpes: A Holistic Guide For Women P.S. Want more support? Join our FREE herpes forum for Women Supporting Women With Herpes  

What Foods Trigger a Herpes Outbreak?

What Foods Trigger Herpes Outbreaks?

One of the most universal recommendations specific to the management of herpes is to be mindful of the two amino acids arginine and lysine in your diet. Herpes outbreaks and many other chronic viruses are triggered by high amounts of arginine. Arginine feeds herpes and encourages its growth and reproduction. Lysine, on the other hand, boosts immunity and offers up protection from future outbreaks. Lysine is an antiviral that helps you heal naturally. To sum it up….
Lysine is your FRIEND
Arginine is your ENEMY
Ideally, you want to decrease the foods that are high in arginine and increase the foods that are high in lysine. The higher the ratio of lysine/ arginine, the greater its impact on keeping herpes dormant.
Should I Supplement Daily With Lysine?
Although many people use lysine supplements, I do NOT recommend them as a daily protocol for months at a time. Too much supplemental lysine will impair your immunity as much as too little lysine. I recommend using lysine at the onset of any symptoms of a herpes outbreak. This could be itching, redness, tingling etc. At the first onset of symptoms, I use 500mg-1000mg of Lysine every few hours until symptoms subside Daily lysine supplementation also poses the risk of heavy metal toxicity. Food consumption is much more natural and totally safe. It has been shown that the effects of lysine supplementation is no better than the use of garlic, a much safer alternative.
What should you do if you have frequent herpes outbreaks?
Keep it simple. Increase foods high in lysine and decrease foods high in arginine when symptoms are not present.

What foods are high in Lysine?

Most Vegetables and fruits

Dairy based products including cheese, milk and yogurt

Fish, Chicken, Lamb and Beef

Brewer’s Yeast






 What foods are high in Arginine?

All nuts and nut products

Nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter etc.) Caffeine Chocolate Seeds (except hemp and flax) Oatmeal Brown Rice Raisins Whole Wheat and White flour Carob Lentils Wheat germ

Dried beans including soybeans and tofu

Protein shakes, multivitamins and body building supplements that contain arginine

The above food recommendations are meant to point you in the right direction towards managing your outbreaks and living a vibrant, healthy life. As discussed, there are many known triggers when it comes to herpes and certain foods. Each person with herpes is unique in their body and what things trigger a herpes outbreak. For those who are sensitive to foods, I highly recommend a Paleo style diet.


Looking For Some Natural Energy Boosters?


The Best Way To Get Your Natural Energy Boost

Energy Boosting MeditationAre you feeling exhausted? In overdrive? Too much sugar and not enough sleep? I know that it is so easy to get hooked on coffee and energy drinks, especially during the rush before the holidays. That little red cup from Starbucks is so alluring when you can barely keep your eyes open. What if there were natural energy boosters you could use that would be good for you? Would that be something that would interest you?

Before I share with you my favorite remedy to pick up my energy, I want to offer you a replacement for your warm cup of coffee. Have you ever tried green tea? There is a ton of literature that points to the benefits to green tea including its antioxidant polyphenols, antiviral, and weight loss to name a few. The most important thing to note about green tea is that all is not created equal. Most conventional green tea is sprayed with pesticides and fungicides which is very toxic to the body. Be sure to drink only organic green tea! Now for my favorite natural energy booster!

Many years ago, while I was training in Qi Gong, my teacher taught me a meditation to rejuvenate the mind and increase one’s energy. While I had always used meditation to calm me down, I had never thought about a meditation to lift me up and energize me. While I would never encourage you to do this in place of getting a good night’s rest, there are times when you just need a little pick me up. Not only is Red Bull, coffee, soda and other stimulants bad for your adrenal glands, immune system and gut, they can be totally addictive. So the more you travel down that rabbit whole, the deeper you’ll go and it is hard to break such bad habits.

For those of you who suffer from herpes, these drinks can trigger an outbreak over night for all of the above are high in arginine and sugar, known culprits for triggers. So, instead of reaching for your next fix, try this simple meditation to clear your mind and improve your energy state. I have found that even 15 minutes of this natural energy boosting meditation allows me to feel like I’ve had an hour or more of deep sleep. Listen to the instructions on how to do the meditation, then do it on your own for as long as you are able.

Healthy Eating This Holiday Season- Avoiding an Outbreak



Healthy Eating This Holiday Season- Avoiding an Outbreak

Healthy Eating During The Holidays: Kale ChipsNew Years Eve might be right around the corner, but now is NOT the time to make your declarations for a new year and a new you. The trick to healthy eating and staying slim this holiday season is to enjoy things in moderation. We can talk about making major changes in your diet after the new year, but for now, enjoy the festivities and the specialty food and drinks that come with it.

As we prepare our bodies for the cold of winter, our taste buds begin to shift to sugar and spice and everything nice. Stop feeling guilty about that! This isn’t a time to count calories or walk a rigid dietary tightrope. This sort of withdraw will probably lead you down the path of binging instead. This is about nurturing yourself and allowing yourself to indulge in some the sweetness that the holidays bring. If you think about it, the reason why we crave fatty, sugary things is that our body naturally wants to stay warm and the change of foods that we eat enable us to shift with the seasons. There is a rhythm to nature and it is time that we begin to honor that rhythm.

If you truly want to honor that rhythm, you must first find your own rhythm  and pulse. This requires us to connect with the inner most parts of ourselves, creating a soul connection. Those of us who have a tough time getting our hands out of the cookie jar are often overeating because of an underlying stress that has not been resolved. The quick rush of sugar gives us an endorphin like high, but the downside of the slope will send us dozing off on the couch. Then, as our blood sugars drop below normal, we reach for a double espresso or another cookie to pull us through the day. If this is you, you need to take the time to be with your thoughts, so that you don’t just run your body into the ground and get sick. We are here for you, just raise your hand and speak up.

Here are a few healthy eating tips that can truly help you to get through the holidays without having to drop all of your favorite goodies off the list.

1. Drink at least 50% of your body weight in ounces every day. This will help to hydrate your body and to cleanse some of the toxins in your food and beverages.

2. Start your day with a cup of hot water, lemon, and honey. This will stimulate your liver to detoxify your body and will provide you with some extra vitamin C to keep your immune system up to par.

3. Eat at least one green vegetable a day. Kale, swiss chard, broccoli,and brussel sprouts are all excellent choices. Consider making some kale chips to replace your cravings for potato chips. Our three year old loves kale chips! Experiment with olive oil and coconut oil or adding cajun spices, onion powder or smoked paprika.

4. Before going to your next holiday party, be sure to eat something healthy ahead of time. This will decrease your chances of over indulging.

5. Keep a stash of healthy snacks around (carrot sticks, apple slices, seaweed) have some in your car, in your purse and at work. (If you have herpes, do not overdue it on nuts and seeds because they can lead to outbreaks)

6. Drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation: both caffeine and alcohol are high in arginine, which is a known trigger for herpes. As a preventative during the holidays, you might want to start supplementing with L-Lysine. This will help to counteract the arginine in these foods.

7. End your day with an attitude of GRATITUDE. Review all of the things that you are happy and grateful for in your life.

If you need some support, please jump in the Forum and introduce yourself. We would love to hear from you. The stress of the holiday season can trigger an outbreak, so allow us to support you and keep your stress levels to a minimum.

Live. Love. Thrive.

Dr. Kelly Amazon Best selling author of Live, Love and Thrive with Herpes: A Holistic Guide for Women    

Holiday Stress: Loving More This Holiday Season


Holiday Stress: Loving More This Holiday Season

Holiday Stress: Cookie Making A Gingerbread HouseChristmas has always been my favorite time of year. Each year it sparks an inner light that takes me back to the wonderment of Santa Claus, Christmas Carols, baking cookies and decorating the tree. I look forward to getting out the ceramic Santa Clause cookie plate I made when I was a little girl. It still has the yellowed crack in it from when we glued Santa’s hat back on. And lets not forget the homemade Christmas tree bell ornaments made from upside down wax paper cups covered in aluminum foil from when I was in Preschool. Now that Maddie is in Preschool, I can’t wait to make some ornaments with her this year.

As the outside temperatures drop, the light and warmth of the hearth draws me inward. Not everyone has a beloved “kookamonga” family, as I endearingly call them, to go home to. I am so blessed to have such a loving family I can fly home to each and every year. While on the outside, our tree might be perfectly trimmed, even we have holes in the tree that we fill up with ornaments to hide the void. No family is without its trials and tribulations or holiday stress. Whether you have a family that you are close to or not, no holiday is complete without a little bit of tension and stress. People might snap at you, your tree might fall off the roof of your car, or your bank account might be incredibly thin. And let’s not forget all the extra sugar, caffeine, alcohol and junk food that are fueling your system! Maybe this even triggered an outbreak for you. This stress can ruin a holiday if you let it! So, what is the trick to move through the holidays with ease and grace? Loving what is!

What’s that, you might ask? It is about loving whatever and whomever is in your life right now. Maybe you are all alone this holiday season. Maybe you have a crazy family member that always pushes your buttons. Maybe your health is not very good right now. Whatever it is, you can find that place of grace. Here’s the key to your peace. Ready? You might not be able to control your environment, but you can control how you react to it.

What would it look like if you responded to your environment this holiday season with gratitude and love? Whenever something or someone triggers you, take a deep breath and reconnect to your heart space. Instead of immediately reacting, ask yourself a few questions. What, in this moment are you grateful for? Is there an opportunity to connect on a deeper level? Is your knee jerk reaction to defend your position to be right? Is there a lesson to be learned? Could you respond with a greater capacity for love for yourself or another? What might your friend or family member really need in this moment? Is this something our Pink Tent forum could support you in?

When we can take a moment and pause, we can truly be in the present moment as opposed to reacting to our old past. As family and friends come together, sometimes old wounds are triggered and we act from a place in the past….an often wounded past. If you are struggling financially, do you have enough for today and if so, then only take on today. So, instead of flipping your finger off to the guy that steals your parking space, take a deep breath and consciously choose your next step. Would it be so crazy for you to wish him love and light? Maybe if you knew his holiday story, you would be more compassionate toward him.

The holiday season is truly an opportunity to expand your heart and to practice forgiveness. It is a time to count our blessings, for whatever you might be going through, it could be worse. Take the time to randomly write down all the things you are grateful for and place the list where you can see it everyday. As you begin to focus on what IS working in your life and truly loving the present for what it is, it becomes the very best present you could ever give yourself. Sending you lots of love and light, wherever you are this holiday season. I can’t wait to meet you in our women’s only forum for women supporting women with herpes.

Live. Love. Thrive.

Dr. Kelly Author of Amazon’s bestselling book, Live, Love, and Thrive with Herpes: A Holistic Guide for Women  

From Gluten Free to Paleo?

From Gluten Free to Paleo?

GrainsOctober 22, 2014….I was sitting in my doctor’s office listening to all of the things I knew he would say. The usual suspects were at hand…exhausted adrenals, low progesterone, heavy metal toxicity, sluggish thyroid and liver.

Although I had studied my hair analysis for several years, hearing it from another professional made it real for me. I started zoning out as he outlined my new “diet”. I was in a fog and all I could think about was that Paleo Cookbook I just borrowed from the library, based on my suspicion that dietary changes were coming. My doctor started listing all of my restrictions… No coffee- Not Even Decaf. No alcohol. No gluten- not even most “gluten free” treats. No dairy. No grains. No beans. No processed foods. No refined sugar. No canned foods. “No Fun“, I thought, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.

Richard spoke up first as he asked if I could “cheat” on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. My doctor rolled his eyes and raised his eyebrows. Then, he went into a whole monologue complete with graphs as to why I couldn’t “cheat” if we wanted to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy, delivery and baby. So, “should I go paleo?” I asked. And his answer was a resounding yes.

Now, let me give you some background. In the past year, I have had 3 miscarriages (BTW, miscarriages are not related to herpes) despite the fact that I have a very healthy 3 year old girl Maddie. After the third miscarriage and a challenging pregnancy and afterbirth with Maddie, I knew that it was time to get some answers. So, I took the summer off and fervently placed my energy in creating our new Foundations Course. Richard and I both agreed that come Fall we would start seeking some answers.

I had blood tests, urine tests, saliva tests, and hair tests to get an accurate measure of what was out of balance. Mind you, I feel great and eat healthy. In fact, I went Gluten Free (no wheat, barley, rye, triticale) over the summer after having read the book Wheatbelly. My mother, father and aunt had already gone gluten free. The best gift of going Gluten Free for my whole family allowed our little girl’s occasional stomach aches to go away completely. I was amazed at how easy going gluten free was for our family. Maddie’s biggest challenge was not being able to get mac n cheese at the “mac n cheese store” (AKA Whole Foods).

I was shocked to find that going Gluten Free in Boulder, CO is relatively easy if your diet is already pretty clean. We could still partake in gluten free pasta and cupcakes- two treats that Maddie loved. The only other challenge I had was when Maddie started preschool part time this Fall. Most of the snacks are filled with gluten like pretzels, graham crackers, cookies, goldfish etc. I felt guilty that my child was going to have to be different. The good news is that they make most of these things gluten free and I as able to bring Maddie her own snacks. When she was in a fire drill the other day, she said that she was a good listener and that she had a pretzel (GF) as an award and that the other kids had gluten. She made me smile.

So, it is three days before Thanksgiving and now I am taking on a Paleo diet. All weekend I was pissed off that I had to be so restrictive in my diet. I went ahead and cleaned out my refrigerator and pantry of all potential temptations. No Thanksgiving stuffing or Christmas cookies or chocolate torte for me! And what about my favorite seasonal beers? I am a foodie at heart! I couldn’t possibly imagine how I would do it. My husband agreed to do the diet with me in his commitment to expand our family. He looks at it as an opportunity for us both to be healthier than ever. Watch out for what you pray for, for I have always gotten on his case for eating more veggies and now he is more than willing to.

My yoga instructor told us in class on Saturday that “Adversity is just change that has not adapted yet”. She shared this idea after watching a Ted Talk from a paralympic sprinter Aimee Mullins. Her message sank deep into my soul and I’ve been holding onto it ever since. This diet change will be a challenge for me, but I am committed to adapting to it. Richard reminds me to focus on the foods that I CAN eat as opposed to those that I CAN’T. I am so grateful for my current level of health and my amazing family.

I GET to have the chance of turning this ship around and if that means changing my diet, then I’m all in. I can’t control the outcome, but I can participate 100%. There are many of you who are reading this after having read my recommendations in my new book, Live, Love and Thrive with Herpes. I have heard from many of you that you are challenged to clean up your diet and make changes to decrease your herpes outbreaks. I totally understand. If I can do Paleo, you can make the necessary changes you need in your diet and lifestyle.

How committed are you to healing? I know that I will do whatever it takes to heal my body to its optimal potential. I have had a headache for the past few days and I am just now starting to feel more empowered. I bought 2 Paleo cookbooks and shared with my family how restricted my diet will be over the holidays. I am so fortunate that they are on board to support me. Health and healing is a never ending journey. I am on this journey with each and every one of you here at Pink Tent. Let’s rise above our challenges and be grateful for the opportunity to do so. Happy Thanksgiving!

Live. Love. Thrive.

Dr. Kelly

P.S. If you’re looking for some great Paleo Cookbooks, check out Primal Cravings, Practical Paleo or  Make it Paleo

P.S.S. I’m off to read my new book, Grain Brain- The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar: Your Brains Silent Killers

Heavy Metal Toxicity In Fish and Seafood

Heavy Metal Toxicity In Fish and Seafood

Mercury In FishI don’t know about you, but I absolutely love my seafood. When I was a little girl and my family would go out to a nice restaurant, my two favorite things to order were shrimp cocktail and a Shirley Temple (a nonalcoholic drink of ginger ale and grenadine). While my tastes have changed on cocktails I still LOVE seafood. A black and blue tuna steak with wasabi mashed potatoes, picking crabs with my family on a hot summer night, lobster with warm butter….my mouth waters just thinking about those things.

I grew up in Wilmington, DE, so seafood was a staple for us as was heavy metal toxicity. I didn’t know it at the time, but Wilmington, DE is the chemical capital of the nation! The Dupont’s put Wilmington on the map and it is only now that I realize how much heavy metal toxicity I was exposed to as a child and young adult. I am a foodie at heart, but over the years I have had to modify some of my guilty pleasures linked to heavy metal toxicity in seafood. So, you might be asking yourself “what are the heavy metals found in fish?”

Mercury and PCB’s are the main culprits. The main problem with these heavy metals is that they wreak havoc on our immunity and our body has a challenging time eliminating them. These toxins get lodged in our bones, brain, kidneys, and liver in an attempt to hide them and protect the rest of the body from their toxic load. When your body gets overloaded with these toxins, it can totally disrupt the ability of your organs to function at an optimal rate. In addition, mercury is a neurotoxin, which means that it can destroy nerve tissue and inhibit its function. The list of symptoms associated with heavy metal toxicity is vast, ranging from autoimmune and neurological disorders to fatigue and mental fogginess. Hidden metal and chemical toxicity is found in highest concentrations in large fish like tuna (don’t forget that tuna fish salad comes from tuna), mahimahi, and swordfish.

Our oceans have become a dumping ground, and the small fish live and feed themselves from this toxic soup. The big fish then eat the small fish. The concentrations of mercury and other toxins increase as the fish get larger and larger. Therefore, the bigger the fish, the greater the toxicity. The Cove, a documentary about dolphins, explains how heavy metal toxicity from eating fish is causing neurological disorders in some Japanese children. Children are especially vulnerable to heavy metal toxicity because of their developing brain and body. I highly recommend this film if you are interested in learning more.

Mercury in FishMy suggestion to you is to begin by decreasing the seafood that is highest in mercury. One way to jog your memory is that the bigger the fish, the higher the exposure. Large fish store these toxins in their fatty tissue in high concentrations. So, a sardine is much better than a sailfish. This is the main reason why I rarely eat tuna or tuna fish any more. Below is list of seafood highest in mercury. Use this as a guideline to begin to decrease your current exposure. Some people are better able to detox these heavy metals, but we are all exposed. Even if you don’t eat fish, you are exposed through the air you breath and the water you drink. This is one of the many reasons that I have my patients cleanse their bodies through a detoxification program at least once a year. Unfortunately, our world has become much more toxic and the only way to stay healthy is to be proactive in cleansing and decreasing your exposure.

Live. Love. Thrive.

Dr. Kelly