I have decades of personal experience with the best and worst foods for Herpes. With Primary Immunodeficiency, my immune system is genetically low. Even with Gamma Globulin infusions I have to watch for Herpes food triggers.
As I write and speak about in this post on foods to avoid with Herpes or Shingles, the ratio of the amino acids Arginine to Lysine is the key. Arginine feeds all Herpes viruses (including Epstein Barr, Shingles and HIV). Arginine is balanced by Lysine. Reducing high Arginine foods, handling your stress, and taking a small dose of Lysine daily can be a big help.
Best and Worst Foods for Herpes
The foods most commonly known as Herpes triggers are nuts, seeds, chocolate and coconut. Since we’re interested in the amino acids (the proteins) in the food, coconut oil is NOT an issue. Coconut cream, flour, flakes and yogurt ARE an issue. All nuts, seeds and chocolate are high in Arginine.
Surprising Trigger Foods You Missed
In a word: GRAINS. Yes, grains…
Grains are, after all, seeds. All seeds have a relatively high amount of amino acids (proteins) and are going to flunk the Arginine:Lysine Ratio test. Look at the Arginine to Lysine ratio chart in the next paragraph and notice how prominent bread, cereal, rice, corn, oats, cake and cookies are. Even without nuts or chocolate. If they include nuts, chocolate or coconut flakes, you’ve overdone it…. Almond flour? Nope. That’s nuts again.
KEY: The Arginine to Lysine Ratio
This chart shows the ratio of Arginine to Lysine in foods. The goal is to avoid or minimize high Arginine foods if they don’t also have high Lysine. Fruits and vegetables don’t have much protein so they’re not an issue. If your meal is mostly meats or fish (low in Arginine) with vegetables and fats (low in Arginine), and some yams or potato (low in Arginine) you’re good. But if you add rice, 2 whole wheat chocolate chip cookies and a handful of nuts, you’re in Herpes territory.
Best Foods for Herpes and Shingles
Fortunately, meats, seafood and dairy have abundant Lysine. Vegetables, tubers, fruits and fats are neutral. Your trouble foods are grains, nuts, seeds, chocolate, coconut meat/flour and gelatin. And, of course, living on stress, sugar and caffeine which all affect the immune system.
High Arginine in Gelatin & Bone Broth
Sad to say, most gelatin and bone broths are much higher in Arginine than Lysine. Read labels and you’ll see what I mean. The best ratios I’ve found are in Vital Proteins Marine Collagen, and Vital Proteins Chicken Bone Broth Collagen.
Herbal Anti-Viral Support
VIVI herbal compound from Systemic Formulas has been my standby for 3 decades. I sell it here by the bottle or as an Anti-Viral Multi Pack with 2 bottles of VIVI plus one Lysine. In general, Lysine (always AWAY from food) helps, as do Olive Leaf and Monolaurin at first sign of an outbreak. There are many topicals, including Ozone gel or this Melissa extract.
The Worst Trigger of All is….
Stress, of course, is the top trigger. Why? Because stress (fight, flight or fright) halts our immune system. If you’re running from the tiger (our modern stress of deadlines, delays, alarms, the news, etc.) – your immune and digestive system simply stop working. Why proceed if you’re going to shortly be tiger food? You can take control of these stressors if you’re committed to your immune system.