Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus and there is no cure for cold sores. Once an outbreak of herpes has occurred, the virus will lay dormant in the body until something triggers it. Although there is no cure, there are many remedies that will reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks. Cold sores have been known to be triggered during colds, fevers, during menstruation, after exposure to the sun, or for no apparent reason. Generally, it is believed that anything that compromises the immune system can trigger cold sores, such as infection, stress, cancer, or any illness.
Changes to diet are also believed to help control herpes outbreaks. Lysine and arginine are common amino acids that are found in foods. They are the two most researched nutrients that affect cold sores. Research has shown that foods high in arginine aid the growth and reproduction of cold sores, and foods high in lysine help inhibit the recurrence of cold sores.
Foods to avoid (high in arginine):
Nuts; almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts
Seafood; especially that which has a shell like shrimp and oysters
Grains such as wheat and oats
Oranges, grapes, and other fruits and berries
Rutabagas, winter squash, pumpkins, broccoli, carrots and corn
Foods to help inhibit cold sores (high in lysine):
Dairy products; cheese, yogurt, milk
Apricots and figs
Some foods are hard to avoid and it may not be feasible to change your diet. Another option that may help reduce the recurrence of cold sores is taking a daily supplement of L-Lysine. L-lysine can be purchased at any health or drugstore in 500 or 1000mg tablets. Taking a daily supplement of L-Lysine (up to 4,000mg) may greatly reduce the recurrence of cold sores.
Other tips to avoid cold sores:
Have a healthy diet with fresh and unprocessed foods
Take a multivitamin
Eat foods high in vitamin C or take a daily supplement
Stay out of the wind as much as possible
Prevent chapped lips or use chapstick frequently
Stay out of the sun or limit exposure
Wear sunscreen and chapstick with SPF
Drink alcohol in moderation
Get enough sleep and drink plenty of fluids
Avoid consumption of processed foods, soft drinks, sugar and caffeine