How does my diet impact my herpes breakouts?

Dear Dr. Amy:

I do have the herpes 1 virus, and boy does it mess with me emotionally. My nerves go hay wire. At times I can’t do anything right, and I know there is no drug at this time, but I was wondering if you could suggest a diet and vitamin supplement for me. I do believe the occurrances come some time every 2 to three months, and I know it has to do with my diet. I would also like to know what to stay away from all together, as far as food goes, hahahaha. I take good care of my self but your extra knowledge would be helpful as well. I was looking at the on-line food chat an was some what confused by it. Does it mean that high in lysine is better and low in arginine? If thats the case, it seems that I will gain 100 lbs 🙂 cause everything high in lysine is so fattening, margarines, cheeses, these things can’t be good for you in other ways. As far as vitamins are they good to take? How about herbs? It’s kind of like battling every one at once,if you know what I mean. So thats the end ….thank you for your time and hope to hear from you real, real soon.
Me, distresst

Dr. Amy’s Response:

Dear Me, distresst, 

My first recommendation is that you concentrate on reducing stress related thoughts about having herpes. Instead of worrying and asking yourself, “Why me?”, try to reassure yourself that you are not alone. Remember, it is estimated that 1 in 4 people are diagnosed with herpes. This will take practice as you have developed a habit of thinking negatively about herpes. Focus on the positive aspects of your life. Compliment yourself for taking care of yourself. This may be a good place to start as stress is known to be a factor in outbreaks due to the detrimental effects of anxiety on one’s body and mind.

Other stress reducers include incorporating aerobic exercise as well as relaxation into your daily routine. Active exercise such as running, spinning, blading, help to reduce and release tension. The addition of relaxation is often overlooked. Yoga, meditation, walks outside, listening to music are just a few ways to help refocus your mind which in turn helps to relax your body.

In regards to diet, look for foods that are high in lysine and low in arginine. This does not mean you have to gain weight. An excellent source of this combination is found in fresh, whole fruits and vegetables. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods can also be helpful-not just for herpes, but overall well-being. You may want to consult with a nutritionist for a personalized diet. Ask about the use of herbs and essential oils. Some find these to be helpful in boosting the immune system.

You may also find that talking to others about your concerns and feelings is a great stress reducer. Look for local support groups. If none are available, an individual counselor is always an option.


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