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
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.
I have lived with herpes for over 15 years and believe me, I have learned a few things about the causes of my herpes outbreaks. Like many, I had to learn the hard way of what triggered my outbreaks. While many people are triggered by a high arginine content in their food, heat, friction, sunlight, or their menses, my number one cause of herpes outbreaks was emotional stress. Stress is by far the number one cause of herpes outbreaks! So, if you don’t have your stress levels under control, herpes will rear it’s ugly head.
Most people in America have absolutely no idea how stressed they really are until their health fails. I can remember sitting in the office of my chiropractor as I attempted to tell her that my life wasn’t very stressful. She looked at me and smiled as she carefully reflected the stressful events that had occurred in the past several years of my life. She reminded me of how I went to medical school and graduated at the top of my class, relocated to a town where I didn’t know anyone, started my own Wellness Center in a town filled to capacity with other healers and doctors, how I got married and had a very challenging pregnancy, wrote a book, started a non-profit, had 3 miscarriages and an emergency appendectomy in a short period of time. I could go on, but there is no need to.
My whole point is that sometimes we are totally unaware of how stressed out our bodies are. Especially if you are a positive, optimistic person like I am. I was shocked to hear her tell ME what my body, mind and soul had been through. So, what might your herpes outbreak be telling you? You are STRESSED! Maybe you don’t get enough sleep, you have a poor diet, your a workaholic, or your finances and relationships are stressing you out. Frequent herpes outbreaks are a great reminder that you might be more stressed than you realize.
The first step in managing stress is to acknowledge it. It is from this point that you can actually then do something about it. I want you to think about the past year of your life and what you have been through. Be inquisitive, but also very compassionate and loving towards yourself as you review this time in your life. This will give you a feel for what it is like for the herpes virus to be living in your body. When your stressed, herpes thrives! Think back over the past year and determine what major changes or life events have occurred. Here’s some areas to consider:
Health: changes in diet, sleep, exercise, illness, hospitalizations, changes in recreation Work: new job, longer hours, unemployment, transfer, promotion, demotion, troubles with coworkers or boss
Home and Family: new home, loss of loved one, pregnancy, miscarriage, new baby, marriage, divorce, problems with family member, illness in family
Personal or Social: change in personal habits, change in social activities, new relationship, an accident, change in religion, major personal acheivment
Financial: major purchase, loss of property, investment or credit difficulties, increased or decreased income While some of these changes are positive, it might come as a surprise that they can also be stressful.
Once you acknowledge what you have been through, you can begin to integrate the emotions associated with these changes in a positive manner. Spending time in meditation DAILY is extremely powerful. Even 5 minutes a day can alter your mood, relax your body and help your body to dissipate stress. There is not a single person that doesn’t have 5 minutes a day to meditate. You can’t afford NOT to! Journalling is also an excellent tool to help us to process and integrate our emotions. Whether you have frequent herpes outbreaks or not, take the time to be still each and every day. Your body will thank you in the long run.