Herpes Simplex Virus
Herpes Simplex Virus
The Herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes recurrent viral infections – Type 1 most commonly causes cold sores around the mouth, and Type 2 most commonly causes genital herpes. Both types are ubiquitous and contagious and are transmitted by the shedding of the virus from an infected person.
After the initial infection, the virus becomes latent in the nerve root and can be reactivated by minor infections, trauma, sunlight and stress.
Causes of cold sores, herpes and the HSV
- Infection with HSV virus through contact with an infectious area of the skin during reactivations of the virus
- The virus may also be transmitted during latency (especially HSV2)
- HSV1 is usually acquired orally during childhood
- HSV2 is primarily a sexually transmitted infection
- Contact with an infected person
- Childbirth from a mother infected with HSV2
Signs & Symptoms of cold sores, herpes and HSV
- Painful watery blisters (cold sores) in the skin or mucous membranes of the mouth, lips or genitals which heal with a scab typical of herpetic lesions
- Genital herpes: symptoms usually arise 4-8 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms range from asymptomatic to itching and burning of the genital area, painful blisters, painful urination, fever, headache and other flu-like symptoms.
TREATMENT STRATEGY OF COLD SORES, HERPES & HSV
- Support immune system
- Screen and remove any additional underlying infections
- Assess and balance methylation
- Avoid triggers
- Avoid high arginine-containing foods
- Increase lysine intake
- Manage stress
Diet plan for cold sores, herpes and HSV
- Support immune system: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, and low in sugar and processed foods
- Avoid arginine-containing foods: chocolate, peanuts, almonds, other nuts and seeds
- Increase lysine intake: cheese, eggs, fish, lima beans, milk, potatoes, red meat, soy, yeast
Supplements that support cold sores, herpes and HSV
- B12 – key in supporting immune function and recurrent herpes outbreaks
- Vitamin D – if indicated, increases immune support
- Vitamin C – immune support
- Zinc – immune support
- Lysine – antiviral activity due to antagonism of arginine metabolism
Herbal medicine treatment to support cold sores, herpes and HSV
- Immune stimulant: echinacea, andrographis, baptisia, cat’s claw
- Anti-viral: St John’s wort, licorice, lemon balm, goldenseal
- Adaptogens: Siberian ginseng, withania
- Topical: St John’s wort, lemon balm, licorice, goldenseal, myrrh, tea tree oil, lavender oil
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE TREATMENT OF COLD SORES, HERPES & HSV
Herpes is an annoying virus that can continue to flare up with certain individuals. Recurrent outbreaks are distressing for patients and HSV2 (genital herpes) can get in the way of a healthy sex life.
At our Advanced Functional Medicine Perth clinic we have experience with assisting patients with recurrent herpes, both HSV1 and HSV2.
Methylation, gut dysbiosis, parasites, low grade recurrent infections, key nutrient imbalances and HPA axis dysregulation are all areas that need balancing from a functional medicine approach.
What treatments have worked best for you to stop recurrent outbreaks? Have you identified other low grade infections that are contributing to your outbreaks? Please comment below to discuss the treatment methods further.