Healthy Living Column

Eva advises on how to manage the herpes virus (cold sores)

www.evahillnutrition.com

Eva Hill Hamilton

Reporter:

Eva Hill Hamilton

Email:

news@leinsterleader.ie

herpes

There is no 'cure' for herpes/cold sores; the only solution is preventative, dietary changes and lifestyle modifications.

WHEN your system is run down by stress or illness, your unwelcome tenant might also pop up its head.
The herpes virus, once contracted will never leave your system, just hide in the ganglions of your nervous system, waiting for the right conditions to show up as cold sores, shingles – even recurrent meningitis; that is inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding your brain and spinal cord.


The herpes virus is a contagious virus that can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact. Some people may never have a breakout but might be silent carriers. An estimated 69% of people under age 50 are carriers. Anyone can be infected at any age, women and those with a weakened immune system are more likely so.

Blistering sores are common sight of outbreaks – but not necessary at every time. Itching, burning and flu-like symptoms might be the only complaints. As for any viral infections, currently there is no cure for herpes. Antiviral medications can help people infected with the virus reduce the risk of transmitting it to others. The medications also help to lower the intensity and frequency of outbreaks.

Long term, the only solution is prevention of outbreaks, which should include lifestyle modifications and dietary changes. Stress and being run down are common triggers, so you need to learn stress relieving techniques and prioritise self-care. Avoid overwork – or manage your time better and don’t over-exercise. Make sure to get to bed early and turn off screens at least two hours beforehand. When you sleep your immune system can repair your body and fight infections.

The dietary solution is a bit tricky – especially if you are vegan. A healthy plant-based diet is rich in an amino acid called Arginine, which is great for the cardiovascular system, but it also feeds the herpes virus.

Grains like wheat, oats, rice and nuts, seeds, beans contain a high ratio of this amino acid. Pork and chocolate have the same issue. Arginine must be way out-balanced by Lysine – another amino acid, which suppresses the virus.

If you eat a very varied diet you have a better chance of getting it right. You cannot go wrong by filling up on vegetables and herbs first and foremost – these will reduce inflammation and feed your good gut bacteria, which in turn strengthen your immune system.

Choose more lysine-rich foods, such as fish, eggs, high-protein dairy products as quark, halloumi cheese, Greek yoghurt and plain whey protein powder.

You could also take L-lysine supplement daily, along with Zinc, Selenium, cod liver oil and probiotics. Your immune system need these nutrients to make natural killer cells which fights viruses and damaged cells. If you deal with a lot of stress, call upon some adaptogen herbs to help you cope better and relieve your immune system.

One of the best herbs for this is Astragalus – the great immune and energy booster. As always, check for contraindications and find the root of your weakened immunity!

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