- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
How Do I Reduce Herpes Breakouts?
Sealed With A Kiss
Kissing isn’t usually considered to be a dangerous activity unless it is with someone else’s partner, but it is possible to develop the herpes simplex-1 virus through mouth to mouth contact.
Oral herpes can also be contracted by sharing personal items such as toothbrushes and face towels with someone who already has the virus.
HSV-1 typically starts with flu-like symptoms and possibly fever and tingling in the affected area and then blisters start to appear that are red and white in colour and finally, when the blisters or sores start to heal, a crusty scab of a yellowish hue starts to form.
It is thought that as much as 80 per cent of the population may be infected with herpes simplex-1 virus, but in some people, it never materialises into the tell-tale cold sores that are synonymous with the condition. Even if there are no cold sores, an infected person can pass the virus on via saliva and first infections can frequently be transmitted through a loving kiss from a parent or relative to a new baby.
The herpes simplex-1 virus is quite clever in the way it hides away from the body’s immune defences by attaching itself to a nerve cell.
The virus will remain with the infected individual for the rest of their lives and can be reactivated at any time. Different people trigger off different reactivation signals and the virus could remain dormant in the body for quite some time.
However, when herpes simplex-1 virus does decide to surface, a sufferer will want the outbreak to be over as soon as possible. They will also want to have as few outbreaks as possible.
Reducing Herpes Breakouts
If you are prone to herpes simplex-1 virus outbreaks you may wish to take some simple steps to reduce the risk of an outbreak. You should eat a healthy diet including lots of fruit and vegetables and try not to get too run down. Research has been carried out in order to understand how two types of amino acid, Lysine and Arginine, affect the development of herpes simplex-1 virus outbreaks.
Lysine and herpes simplex-1 virus have been studied extensively and it has been concluded that Lysine, or L-lysine as it is commonly known as, is clinically effective in preventing outbreaks of the herpes virus. L-lysine actually has the ability to kill viruses, but does not completely eradicate herpes simplex-1 virus and outbreaks will reoccur. In tests involving patients suffering with herpes simplex-1 virus carried out by researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine, participants either took a 1000mg L-lysine Monohydrochloride tablet three times a day, or a placebo, over a six month period. The group that took the Lysine had 2.4 fewer outbreaks than the control group. The results also showed that in addition to fewer outbreaks, the group who took the Lysine suffered milder symptoms and the time it took for the blisters to heal was reduced. This study helped to strengthen the findings of an early research study conducted in 1980 using just a third of the dose of lysine and only over a twelve week period. Participants were then studied for a further twelve weeks whilst taking a placebo. The 1980 study showed that after twelve weeks there was no effect on the recurrence of the sores, but participants had fewer outbreaks whilst taking the Lysine than they did whilst taking the placebo.
The success of this research into the properties of Lysine which relieve herpes simplex-1 virus symptoms and outbreaks led to scientists testing a cream composed of L-lysine, zinc and some herbs in 2005 on thirty volunteer herpes sufferers. The study revealed that, after three days, forty per cent of the group found that all herpes simplex-1 virus symptoms had completely disappeared. After seven days of using the L-lysine, zinc and herb cream, eighty six per cent of the study group found that the symptoms had cleared up completely. In fact, after one week there were only two members of the study group who had not experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms. Furthermore, the study revealed that none of the study group had experienced any ill effects from using the L-lysine, zinc and herb cream.
Although Lysine is available as a supplement, it can also be found in many foods. Lean meat is a particularly good source and Lysine can be found in
· Lean Beef, especially grass fed and lean pork
· Poultry: chicken and turkey
· Dairy products including parmesan cheese and eggs
· Fish: sardines, cod and other various cold water fish
· Raw nuts
· Fenugreek seeds
· Nutritional yeast
Although the studies mentioned earlier noted no actual ill effects from taking L-lysine in supplementary form, high daily doses have been linked with kidney failure in one patient. Supplements can be beneficial and amounts of 3000 to 9000mg taken a day and spread over three doses are said to be beneficial during an outbreak and 1000 mg per day is recommended to prevent further outbreaks.
Arginine and herpes have had mixed reviews over the years, with some studies showing that Arginine is effective in the treatment of herpes simplex-1 virus, whilst others said that it actually made the condition worse.
Arginine is a naturally occurring amino acid and is commonly known as L-arginine. The human body makes its own supply, but additional quantities can be obtained through the diet.
The controversy surrounding the effectiveness of L-arginine in the treatment of herpes simplex-1 virus stems from conflicting results from past studies. Scientists studying the growth of tumour cells found that tumour cells containing the herpes simplex-1 virus actually grew whilst others didn’t and concluded that arginine was a contributory factor. The scientists developed their argument that arginine deficiency might be a cause of herpes simplex-1 developing, after they found that the virus stopped growing when the L-arginine was increased.
In 1978, studies were conducted using a mix of L-arginine and L-lysine and results showed that with a higher L-lysine to L-arginine ratio in the mix, the herpes simplex-1 virus was suppressed. However, when the L-arginine to L-lysine ratio was higher, the herpes simplex-1 virus actually grew and regenerated. Therefore, scientists concluded that L-arginine should be dropped and that sufferers of herpes simplex-1 virus should stick to just L-lysine to treat the condition. A department of the University of California confirmed the connection between L-arginine and the spread of the herpes simplex-1 virus in a 1995 study.
A Japanese clinical study in 2009 believed that L-arginine could actually kill the herpes simplex-1 virus, but found that it was time critical and, depending how soon L-arginine was administered after an outbreak, effective in suppressing the outbreaks, causing fewer blisters and removing sores completely. To be as effective as that, L-arginine needed to be administered within six hours of an outbreak. It was found that the addition of L-arginine after eight hours of an outbreak occurring had little or no effect at all.
What’s The Verdict?
Herpes simplex-1 virus outbreaks cause blisters that eventually crust over when they begin to heal and can be quite painful and psychologically upsetting. The virus is highly contagious and is passed on through physical contact, especially whilst the sores are not crusted over. The herpes simplex-1 virus can also be transmitted via saliva.
It is estimated that 80 per cent of the population is infected with this virus, but a smaller percentage actually suffers from outbreaks. The herpes simplex-1 virus cleverly hides from the body’s immune system by merging with nerve cells and reawakens at various intervals, such as emotionally or physically stressful times.
It is quite common in young adults and children and never leaves the body throughout a person’s lifetime. Generally speaking, recurrence of outbreaks tends to occur mostly in the first year following infection and then tend to be less frequent. As mentioned earlier, outbreaks can be brought on my emotional or physical stress, but other factors such as being run down, taking immune system suppressant drugs, or skin damage through sunburn can trigger an outbreak.
Currently there is no cure, or way of removing the herpes simplex-1 virus from the body and so treatment is targeted at reducing the severity of the primary infection and lowering the frequency of recurrent outbreaks and also reducing their severity.
A healthy diet which includes good lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish, and fresh vegetables will allow the body to naturally replenish its supplies of L-lysine and L-arginine, but these can also be taken as a supplement to combat the symptoms of the herpes simplex-1 virus.
Studies have shown that the addition of L-lysine and L-arginine can control the symptoms of herpes simplex-1 virus when the L-lysine ratio is higher. This treatment is effective in the reduction of herpes simplex-1 virus outbreaks and can also assist in the reduction of symptoms when an outbreak does occur.