Kiss Your Cold Sore Goodbye
Treatment Options and Foods to Help Curb Outbreaks
The war on herpes has raged for centuries. In the first century A.D., Tiberius, Emperor of Rome, actually banned kissing to combat a herpes epidemic.
What is herpes?
Although many think of herpes as a skin infection, it is actually an inflammation of the sensory nerves. In between outbreaks, the herpes DNA survives in nerve centers at the base of the brain called ganglia. During outbreaks, the DNA replicates, forming a virus. The virus passes down the nerve to the skin, where it causes lesions.
HSV-1 (Herpes simplex 1, usually symptomatic as cold sores or fever blisters) and HSV-2 (symptomatic as genital herpes) are transmitted by contact - usually kissing or sexual contact. They tend to occur orally or genitally because our skin provides sufficient protection against transmission except where it is very thin and sensitive - like on the lips or genitals.
Our immune system is able to combat the virus, but the catch is that the virus retreats from our immune defenses and "hides", lying dormant in the ganglia, nerves at along the spinal cord. Periodically, the virus retraces its way to the lips or genitals, and causes another outbreak.
Research Provides a Solution
Now, new research is providing successful treatment alternatives.
Studies show that the amino acid l-lysine can be effective as a dietary supplement, and when applied topically.
In 1981, Christopher Kagan, M.D. discovered that if he isolated herpes viruses in a petri dish, and added the amino acid arginine, the viruses would multiply. However, when he added another amino acid, lysine, the virus's ability to multiply was inhibited. According to Kagan, Lysine blocks the bioavailability of arginine, to prevent the virus from replicating.
Lysine Supplements - the herpes preventative
Kagan's preliminary research was supported by a study published in 1984. According to researchers Thein and Hurt, oral supplementation of l-lysine raised the lysine serum levels in volunteers, and reduced the frequency of cold sore outbreaks. A double-blind placebo study conducted by Dr. Mark McCune confirmed the results.
McCune's study recommended a dose of 1284 mg. of lysine a day, but some experts suggest higher doses. The Canadian government approved lysine as a treatment for oral herpes, at a dosage level of 3 grams a day.
In Canada, the government allows lysine to be sold as a cold sore treatment, giving further validity to the concept.
Topical Lysine - #1 Treatment option
A study, published in the Alternative Medicine Review found that median healing time for cold sores was 4.0 days, when participants applied Lip Clear Lysine+, a lysine ointment, from Quantum Health. This compares to a median healing time of 10-14 days for untreated cold sores, according to Dr. Betsy Singh of SCU. .
"Lip Clear showed remarkable efficacy in shortening the duration of cold sores, compared to untreated cold sores," said Dr. Singh, co-author of the study.
"Median healing time with Lip Clear Lysine+ was quicker than it was using the leading OTC cold sore treatment, in their study, and even quicker than it was with prescription drugs," said David Shaw, Founder of Quantum Health.
Lip Clear Lysine+ lysine ointment combines lysine with 14 other natural, healing ingredients. One of these ingredients is propolis, a sticky resin that seeps from the buds of certain trees. Honey bees gather the resin in their pollen baskets and then use it to narrow the entrances of their hives, keeping intruders at bay.
Treatment and Prevention
Both cold sores and genital herpes have reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. Since the late 1970s, the number of people with genital herpes has increased by 30%. Currently, the leading OTC brand and the leading prescription drug add up to $60 million in sales per year. While the drug treatments are expensive, the clinically tested natural treatment, Lip Clear Lysine+ is only 1/3 to 1/10th the price and appears to work just as well. The centuries-old war on herpes continues. Fortunately, new, natural weapons have entered the fray. Lysine supplements and lysine creams offer inexpensive, natural alternatives to drug treatments. According to the research, they work better, too.
Eating the right foods can help you prevent outbreaks
The Canadian Government recently recognized that a diet rich in the amino acid l-lysine may help protect against oral herpes outbreaks. In fact, in Canada l-lysine supplements can now make a cold sore treatment label claim. The United States FDA has not yet followed suit. However, for those who suffer from herpes outbreaks a diet rich in l-lysine, and low in l-arginine is well worth trying. The easy method of increasing lysine intake is to take an l-lysine supplement. However, you can also examine this list of foods that are rich in lysine (recommended) and those rich in arginine (good to avoid):
The easy method of increasing lysine intake is to take an l-lysine supplement. However, you can also examine this list of foods that are rich in lysine (recommended) and those rich in arginine (good to avoid):
Eat these Foods Rich in Lysine (and low in arginine)
- Most cheese (and other dairy products)
- Apples, mangoes, apricots, pears (and many other fruits).
- Fish (especially flounder)
- Most poultry and meat
Avoid these foods rich in Arginine (and low in lysine)
- Most nuts
- Most seeds
- Many grains (including oats and wheat).
In addition, some experts recommend an alkaline diet, which consists of foods that are low in acid. Here’s a list of acidic and alkaline foods.
Eat these alkaline foods:
- Most fruits (including lemon, believe it or not).
- Peppers, asparagus and parsley
Avoid these acidic foods:
In addition, immune-boosting herbs might help. Garlic, Olive Leaf, Echinacea, Propolis and Licorice have a traditional value in boosting the immune system. In Chinese medicine, Astragalus is often prescribed for those suffering from oral herpes.
There is not a cure for herpes - but you may be able to keep the condition in check with a proper diet.