Lysine and Arginine are two of twenty amino acids (proteins). Proteins are building blocks for hundreds of things – muscles, neurotransmitters, blood cells, enzymes and more.
Lysine is one of Eight Essential Amino Acids, meaning we do NOT make Lysine so MUST get it in our diet. The Standard American Diet can be deficient in Lysine because it is grain-based. Is this why 40 to 60% of Americans have HSV infections?
Arginine comes in food, and we can also make it. So it is not one of the eight essential aminos.
Lysine and Arginine in Herpes Viruses
Arginine feeds all Herpes Viruses.
These include HSV 1 and 2 (cold sores on your face and those “below the waist”), Epstein Barr Virus, Shingles, Mono, Chickenpox, Cytomegalo Virus and more.
Once you contract the infection, it lives on (often dormant) but can be triggered by stress, trauma and a relative Lysine deficiency. That is, more Arginine in your Diet, than Lysine.
Any food with protein will contain some of each. The question is – what is the ratio of Arginine to Lysine in your day?
The Lysine Arginine Ratio for Herpes Sufferers
If you have new diagnosis of the viruses above, or they are frequently reactivated, the ratio of Lysine to Arginine is your #1 key to comfort!
That means…. WATCHING WHAT YOU EAT!
There are dozens of Lysine to Arginine Ratio Guides on the web. Most are confusing, long and don’t get to the point.
How to use a Lysine/Arginine Ratio Chart
Two things you’ll see on a standard chart:
- The ratio of Lysine to Arginine in a food
- The quantity of Lysine or Arginine in that food
If a food such as Spinach has more Arginine than Lysine (it does), is it off your diet?
Well, look at question #2…. You’d have to eat pounds of Spinach every day for there to be enough Arginine to be a concern. The RATIO is high in Arginine, but the AMOUNT of Arginine in Spinach is low.
On the other hand, consider Chicken.
It has many times more Lysine than Arginine, a good thing. So it’s an easy choice over pasta, beans or nuts, rich in Arginine.
The Simplified Lysine Arginine Food Chart
Foods highest in Lysine – Yay!
- All animal proteins – fish, beef, lamb, whatever
- Dairy proteins – cheese, yogurt, etc. (Dairy fats such as butter and cream do not contain protein)
Foods with fairly equal Lysine and Arginine
- Potato and other tubers
Foods with HIGH ARGININE TO AVOID
- All Grains and Flour (wheat, corn, rice, oats, flour)
- All Seeds and Nuts (Nut and seed oils are protein free. Almond Flour is HIGH in Arginine!)
- Beans and Lentils (soy beans, black beans, pea protein powder – it’s made from lentils not green peas)
- Coconut Meat and Coconut Cream (Coconut oil is OK as it has no protein, but canned Coconut Milk is out. A few coconut flakes are fine!)
- Bone Broth and Gelatin (the gelatin in a pill is OK)
Foods With NO Arginine or Lysine
- Oils and Fats
Most Protein Powders are Higher in Arginine than Lysine
This is a tricky one.
You MUST read the label of every powdered product….
Although Dairy is high in Lysine, most Whey Protein powders are high in Arginine!
Other powders such as Rice, Peas (made from Lentils not Vegetables), and Soy are high in Arginine.
Collagen Powders/Bone Broth/Gelatin are high in Arginine. Unless you happen to find one that claims not to be…. Here’s an article on this.
How Strict Does Your High Lysine Diet Have to Be?
It all depends on YOU. Are your outbreaks frequent or rare? Severe or mild?
Use the diet strictly at first to get the virus mostly controlled – then my Supplements for Herpes will work much better!
A few nuts a week may not be an issue, but not when you’re having an outbreak, or had a major stress.
This article and Podcast explain more clearly on how and when you could add some Arginine foods back to your diet.
Take a Little Lysine Daily as Insurance
As a long-term sufferer of HSV myself (I have a rare genetic immune deficiency), I take our Pure Encapsulations Lysine 500 mg. (1 a day when well) and Supreme Nutrition Whole Olive Leaf (2 daily when well). This is WHOLE Olive Leaf, not the Oleuropein Extract everyone else sells.
I also offer a custom Herpes Control Pack in my Online Store. Buy 2 of these to take for 3 months while fixing the diet. Continue these herbs as needed. (Instructions for “pulsing” your doses are included).
Help from the Paleo Diet (Primal, Biological, Ancestral)
For 36 years in my San Antonio wellness Clinic (The Diet & Health Center) I have taught Clients to reduce starchy carbs and grains and focus on Animal Proteins, Fats and Vegetables. This is a starting point to move your Chemistry in a healthier direction, where supplements can begin to work.
The Paleo, Ancestral, Biological Diet is naturally balanced in Arginine.
We evolved as Hunters, and as Gatherers. Our bodies require the foods we adapted to as Hunters. Animal proteins and fats.
Fortunately, Paleo is terrific for HSV patients. You just need to reduce the nuts, seeds, chocolate, coconut cream and bone broth. In addition to dropping the grains…
My DVD, “The Diet For Human Beings” explains why we eat this way and how it manages our sleep, blood sugar, mood and body composition so well. You can download or stream it.
This blog post and Podcast on “The Definitive Guide to Paleo” will help too.
Stress Management is KEY to Controlling Herpes
Once your Diet is low on Arginine and you have the RIGHT supplements (no miracle cures please), the missing piece is STRESS.
If you have a stressful event, increase your doses of my anti-infective products immediately before an HSV pro-dromal hits.