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Functional Medicine

How to treat Herpes

Herpes
In this article I will show you how we can treat Herpes with Modern Medicine. It can be quicker, safer and more effective than antiviral drugs or creams.
 
Herpes is a viral infection. Basically once you have it you will have it for life. Around 67% of all people under the age of 50 have the herpes virus in their system. It is mostly in a dormant mode in our nerve junctions. The herpes virus loves nerves. 
 
When the virus „wakes up“ it will leave the dormant stage and this will lead to a herpes outbreak.

 
The two most common forms of a herpes outbreak are labial herpes (cold sores), which is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1) and genital herpes, which is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2).
 
Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 respond to antiviral treatment like Aciclovir. Aciclovir destroys parts of the infected cells DNA synthesis and thereby renders the virus ineffective. Aciclovir works. It is especially useful in severe viral infections like a Herpes infection of the brain. Aciclovir saves lives! But systemic acyclovir treatment has side effects, too. In more than 10% of people it is possible to see either dizziness, diarrhoea, stomach pain, fever, fatigue or sensitivity to light. 
 
Aciclovir is great for life-threatening viral infections, but for “Herpes” in terms of labial herpes or genital herpes especially, there is a better treatment option.
 
 
What does the Herpes Virus eat?
 
Already in 1964 researchers looked at the nutritional requirement of the Herpes Virus. They thought : „Well, we could just starve it to death“. And what they found was astonishing. They discovered that the most important nutrient for the virus was the amino acid arginine. When they deprived the virus of arginine it was not able to reproduce as well. 
What they also discovered was that the virus was not able to reproduce at all in the presence of the amino acid lysine. 
So you must be thinking : „Well lets just eat less arginine and eat more lysine to prevent herpes outbreaks“.
I like your thinking! 
Thats almost exactly what researchers in the 1980’s evaluated. They did not reduce arginine in the diet, but they tested whether a supplementation with lysine reduced herpes outbreaks. 
Two randomised controlled trials showed that it does just that if the dose is high enough. It reduced outbreaks and it significantly reduced the healing time if there was an outbreak. 
Out of 1543 subjects who had constant struggles with herpes and who took L-Lysine 88% considered L-Lysine an effective form of treatment for herpes infection. 79% described their symptoms as severe or intolerable without L-Lysine, but when taking L-Lysine only 8% did still have severe symptoms.
 
 
I successfully suggested L-Lysine to many patients with Herpes. The mechanistic evidence is clear and makes sense, the controlled trials with high doses show great response rates, and the costs/risks of treatment are very low.
 
 
 
How do we improve our L-Lysine supply?
 
Well, we could supplement L-Lysine in acute cases. The dose has to be north of 1500mg of L-Lysine per day to have relevant effects on viral metabolism. I usually go for 2.000mg-3.000mg per day in acute cases.
 
But before you go out running to buy your L-Lysine supplements let me tell you that we forgot about L-arginine. So we know that L-arginine stimulates viral growth. So what we need is high amounts of L-Lysine and at the same time low amounts of L-arginine. 
 
 
So we have to consider foods that are at the same time high in Lysine and low in Arginine. 
 
Here is the top 5 :
 
  1. Plain Yoghurt – Lys/Arg ratio of around 2.9
  2. Cheese (hard cheeses) – Lys/Arg ratio of around 2.5
  3. Fish – Lys/Arg ratio of around 1.5
  4. Meat (Beef, Pork, Chicken) – Lys/Arg ratio of around 1.3
  5. Green Leafy Vegetables – Lys/Arg ratio of around 1.1
 
 
Here is the bottom 3 :
 
  1. ​Nuts – Lys/Arg ratio of around 0.2
  2. Oats – Lys/Arg ratio of around 0.5
  3. Wheat – Lys/Arg ratio of around 0.6
 
 
The nice added benefits of an improved Lysine/Arginine ratio in our diet is that it will decrease anxiety and some other psychological symptoms, because Lysine acts on the serotonine receptors in a modulating way. Lysine has effects on stress management. Added Lysine in our diet will reduce our stress response to stressors. We will stay cooler and more relaxed. Vice-Versa the more stressed out we are, the worse our Lysine levels are. Thats why Herpes always comes in times of stress (cold stress, disgust, emotional stress, physical stress). 
 
May the FLOW be with you!
 
 
 
Ressources : 
 
[1]
R. S. Griffith, A. L. Norins, und C. Kagan, „A Multicentered Study of Lysine Therapy in Herpes simplex Infection“, DRM, Bd. 156, Nr. 5, S. 257–267, 1978.
[2]
R. W. Tankersley, „Amino Acid Requirements of Herpes Simplex Virus in Human Cells“, J. Bacteriol., Bd. 87, Nr. 3, S. 609–613, Jan. 1964.
[3]
„Chart of Lysine vs Arginine in common foods“. .
[4]
C. A. Simon, G. D. V. Melle, und A. A. Ramelet, „Failure of Lysine in Frequently Recurrent Herpes Simplex Infection“, Arch Dermatol, Bd. 121, Nr. 2, S. 167–167, Feb. 1985.
[5]
J. J. DiGiovanna und H. Blank, „Failure of Lysine in Frequently Recurrent Herpes Simplex Infection: Treatment and Prophylaxis“, Arch Dermatol, Bd. 120, Nr. 1, S. 48–51, Jan. 1984.
[6]
K. Harlow, „L-Lysine Hydrochloride: An Alternative Prophylactic Therapy Reducing the Recurrence Rate of Herpes Labialis“, School of Physician Assistant Studies, Aug. 2015.
[7]
„‚L-Lysine Hydrochloride: An Alternative Prophylactic Therapy Reducing t‘ by Kirsten Harlow“. .
[8]
T. Fa und K. H. Lucas, „Lysine for management of herpes labialis“, American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, Bd. 58, Nr. 4, S. 298–300, Feb. 2001.
[9]
M. Smriga, S. Ghosh, Y. Mouneimne, P. L. Pellett, und N. S. Scrimshaw, „Lysine fortification reduces anxiety and lessens stress in family members in economically weak communities in Northwest Syria“, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, Bd. 101, Nr. 22, S. 8285–8288, Juni 2004.
[10]
N. Milman, J. Scheibel, und O. Jessen, „Lysine prophylaxis in recurrent herpes simplex labialis: a double-blind, controlled crossover study.“, Acta Derm Venereol, Bd. 60, Nr. 1, S. 85–87, 1980.
[11]
M. Smriga, T. Ando, M. Akutsu, Y. Furukawa, K. Miwa, und Y. Morinaga, „Oral treatment with L-lysine and L-arginine reduces anxiety and basal cortisol levels in healthy humans“, Biomed. Res., Bd. 28, Nr. 2, S. 85–90, Apr. 2007.
[12]
D. E. Walsh, R. S. Griffith, und A. Behforooz, „Subjective response to lysine in the therapy of herpes simplex“, J Antimicrob Chemother, Bd. 12, Nr. 5, S. 489–496, Nov. 1983.
[13]
R. S. Griffith, D. E. Walsh, K. H. Myrmel, R. W. Thompson, und A. Behforooz, „Success of L-Lysine Therapy in Frequently Recurrent Herpes simplex Infection“, DRM, Bd. 175, Nr. 4, S. 183–190, 1987.
[14]
M. A. McCune, H. O. Perry, S. A. Muller, und W. M. O’Fallon, „Treatment of recurrent herpes simplex infections with L-lysine monohydrochloride.“, Cutis, Bd. 34, Nr. 4, S. 366–373, Okt. 1984.
 
 
 
Gerrit Keferstein, MD

Gerrit Keferstein is a Medical Doctor specialised in Performance & Functional Medicine. He is most known for his work on the optimisation of recovery and adaptation in elite athletes.

Tags : herpesviral infectionlysineargininefood as medicineperformance docperformance medicine

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