Foods to avoid with cold sores are key foods that contain high levels of the amino acid arginine and low quantities of lysine.
You probably have heard of arginine and lysine. These are two amino acids that are present in most foods. Arginine and lysine have a big impact on the duration and frequency of cold sores.
Here is how they work.
The herpes simplex virus is the root cause of all cold sores. A virus particle will enter a nerve cell at the surface and force it to create new virus. It will then explode the cell to release the cloned virus thus creating a huge open wound.
Arginine is a protein fraction that is essential in the production of new herpes virus. Your nerve cells have a storage area within the cell specifically for arginine.
Your cells store lysine in the same area. New virus cannot be created using lysine.
If you have a diet rich in lysine, your cells will discard some arginine to store more lysine. The herpes virus, looking to clone itself, will avoid the cells that cannot support the cloning process.
Whenever your cells have a higher lysine than arginine content, it discourages creation of new virus. This often sends the herpes virus back into a latent state. You will not get a cold sore if the cells cannot create virus.
Here are some common foods to avoid with cold sores. These foods are known to contain high levels of arginine.
—- Chocolate (ouch)
—- Tree and bush nuts
—- Flax, sesame and most other seeds
—- Shellfish including clams and oysters
—- Grains such as wheat and oats
—- Fruits such as grapes, oranges, tangerines
—- Most vegetables are neutral but avoid rutabagas, winter squash and pumpkins, broccoli, carrots and corn
Sometimes certain foods are difficult to avoid or should not be avoided. Many of the foods to avoid with cold sores are highly nutritional. They are essential for your good health. These foods could be removed from your diet for a week or so – during the actual cold sore event – without harm.
However, for optimal health, you should not avoid these foods for any length of time. Do not use avoidance of these foods as a method to prevent cold sores. To do so could weaken your immune system. This could actually cause more cold sores, rather than less.
A better solution would be to increase your lysine intake during a cold sore event. This often stops a cold sore fast. This is also a very good way to prevent future cold sores.
Here are some foods that are high in lysine and low in arginine. These foods will help balance the intake of some of the avoidance foods.
Beef, fish (especially flounder), chicken, cheese, eggs, yogurt, apples, pears, mangos, apricots, and summer squash. Your goal should be a diet that provides about twice as much lysine as arginine.
Yes, I realize following a restricted diet is difficult for most people. Dairy products may be rich in lysine but cannot be tolerated by some folks. Fact is, I have not followed these avoidance guidelines very good myself.
The best solution, for your convenience and good health, might be taking an additional lysine supplement. It generally comes in 500 mg. capsules and is available nearly anywhere vitamins are sold. Many folks take six to eight of these capsules a day during a cold sore event and one or two capsules daily to prevent cold sores.
Is it safe to take lysine in these large doses?
Yes – lysine is perfectly safe and is contained in most foods. A six-ounce serving of flounder, mentioned previously, will give you about 5000 mg. of body-ready lysine. This is the same as 10 capsules. The capsules, although not as absorbable, are just much easier for many people.
Do not give up the foods you love – especially chocolate. You can heal cold sores quickly by eating additional high lysine food or take lysine capsules. By doing this, you cancel out the bad effects of the foods to avoid with cold sores.