How to Control Herpes with a Diet

Apr 21, 2009
If you were diagnosed with herpes, you might know that this viral infection is not curable, and recurrent, which means that the symptoms of genital herpes go away and reappear after a while.
Strong immune system plays an important role in how your body manages with herpes virus. Healthy lifestyle, including regular exercises or other activities as well as proper nutrition is also essential in controlling herpes virus and reducing the number of herpes outbreaks.

Healthy diet

First step in improving your immune system is to keep to a healthy diet. Stay away from processed food, sugary food, coffee and alcohol. Also limit the amount of dairy products, fat and refined food. You should include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet and drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day.

Lysine and arginine

Several studies found that such amino acids as lysine and arginine influence the frequency and severity of herpes outbreaks. It is known that foods high in lysine help to reduce the number of herpes outbreaks, suppressing the production of arginine, an amino acid used by herpes virus for replication. Eating foods that contain high levels of lysine and low levels of arginine can help in controlling herpes outbreaks.
Foods rich in lysine are:
  • Fruits, especially apples, pears, apricots, mango, papaya and avocado
  • Vegetables, including beets, tomatoes, broccoli, celery, potatoes
  • Dairy products, such as yoghurt, cheese, ice-cream
  • Eggs
  • Fish such as salmon, swordfish, smelt, anchovy, tuna, cod, mackerel, carp and other
  • Meat such as chicken, lamb and beef
Foods rich in arginine are:
  • Nuts and seeds, peanut butter
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee and other drinks containing caffeine
  • Gelatin
  • Cereals such as oats, wheat, brown rice
  • Lentils and beans
  • Citrus fruit, like oranges, tangerine
  • Grapes
  • Berries

Vitamins and minerals


You can also take lysine supplements to prevent and reduce the frequency of herpes outbreaks. Studies showed that L-lysine supplements were effective in lowering the chances of herpes recurrence and severity and reduced the time of healing from herpes. The recommended dose of L-lysine is 500 mg to 1g per day for prevention and between 1 to 6 g of this amino acid per day during herpes outbreaks.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for herpes prevention and helps to maintain healthy immune system to resist viral infections. It also takes part in the synthesis of collagen, speeding up the healing from herpes.

Vitamin P or Bioflavonoids

Bioflavonoids, such as rutin or citrin are effective when taken together with vitamin C. These vitamins help to improve your immune system and shorten the healing time of herpes outbreaks.

Vitamin B Group

It is recommended to take group B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid for prevention of herpes. These vitamins help to reduce stress that can aggravate herpes and reduce the severity and frequency of herpes outbreaks.


Zinc is important for normal functioning of the immune system, and plays a significant role in regeneration and enhancement of cell immunity. Zinc supplements improve the resistance to herpes, weakening the virus activity and the duration of herpes outbreaks.