Lysine, Diet, Acidophilous and Cold Sores: Natural Remedies for Herpes Simplex
Posted Sep 13 2008 11:47pm
Today I'm dealing with what I consider to be a massive, offensive and very painful cold sore on my lower lip. It is very puffy and unsightly. Ever since I was little, when I get super stressed I get what appears to be a very large fever blister or cold sore. Clearly my body is giving me a sign to slow down and pay attention to my immune system. So, I decided to take action and figure out how I can remedy the cold sore and decrease the likelihood of having another cold sore or herpes simplex outbreak. What I found was interesting and I think helpful for my readers since 9 out of 10 of you will have suffered as I do now.
What I never realized was that there were two types of cold sores: those from herpes simples type I(HSV-1) and others from Herpes simples type II (HSV-2).
What Causes Cold Sores?
These very frustrating and painful blisters are caused by the herpes virus. HSV-1 is so common that 90% of adults will have blistery cold sores appear on their lips or near their noses.
The other type of blisters are HSV-2 a sexually transmitted disease known as genital herpes.
After the first episode of the disease, the virus lies dormant in the nerves or skin around the original area until something sets the virus off into another eruption. Colds, flu, and even stress can cause you to have an outbreak of cold sores. Why you have an outbreak at one time of life and not another is not clearly understood.
Cold Sore Symptoms
* The first symptom that may appear during an outbreak of cold sores may include tingling, burning, or itching in the area around the mouth or nose. This first portion of the outbreak is known as the prodromal stage or period.
* Within a few hours to days, the area may become reddened and develop small fluid-filled blisters. Several of these small blisters may even come together and form one large blister.
I love what our friends at Alternative Medicine and Health have put together for natural remedies to treat and prevent cold sores as well as impact of diet on cold sores. I follow what they have put forth and feel that this blister is definitely going to be going away faster than normal.
There is no effective drug therapy that will cure cold sores, but the good news is that there are a number of very safe and effective natural remedies.
Two particular treatments have given my patients great relief and also act as a preventive: Lactobacillus addophilus and Lysine. In addition, zinc, used topically and as a supplement, can give immediate relief.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is the living culture that is used to make yogurt. You may have heard that yogurt can be beneficial for intestinal and digestive problems, and it's this connection that led to the discovery that acidophitus can help cold sores. A doctor using acidophilus to treat patients with severe diarrhea discovered that two of his patients suffering from cold sores found dramatic improvement in their sores as well as their diarrhea. Further research found that acidophilus capsules can not only help relieve existing cold sores but also help prevent new ones. You can buy acidophilus capsules at health food stores, but be sure that the tablets you buy contain living bacteria; they're usually kept refrigerated. Eating yogurt might be of some help, but there's no evidence that it can have the dramatic effect of the capsules.
Another aid in the relief of cold sores is the amino acid L-lysine, which is particularly effective in preventing recurrence. There is a hypothesis that lysine inhibits herpes activity, while another amino acid, arginine, promotes it. And studies have demonstrated that lysine treatment can be very beneficial to cold sore sufferers. In one study, forty-five patients who took lysine supplements were followed for two years. Forty-two of these patients had a dramatic reduction of cold sores. For most, pain disappeared overnight, and the initial sore did not spread, but the infection returned one to four weeks after stopping lysine.
The most effective pattern for taking lysine to prevent cold sores is to take a maintenance dosage as a preventive and then increase this dosage if you experience an outbreak of the infection. Be sure if you take lysine supplements that you watch your cholesterol levels, as there's some evidence that lysine may stimulate the liver to increase cholesterol production.
In addition to taking lysine as a supplement, it can be applied topically in the form of lysine cream, available in health food stores. I usually advise applying it topically twice a day, but check the directions on the label. I've been using a lysine cold stick for cold sores that has a variety of antiviral properties as well as an SPF of 21.
Since cold sores are stimulated by the imbalance of the amino acids arginine and lysine, it can also be beneficial to avoid arginine-containing foods. These foods include chocolate, peanuts and other nuts, seeds, and cereal grains.
Zinc used topically can help to heal cold sores. Zinc oxide--the stuff lifeguards used to put on their noses--won't work because it doesn't deliver the zinc. Instead, use a zinc lozenge--the kind used for sore throats--and let it dissolve on the lesions.
Both vitamin C with bioflavonoids and zinc supplements, particularly when taken in conjunction, can help cure cold sores. As with lysine, it's best to take a maintenance dosage and increase it in the event of an outbreak.