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Lysine to Arginine Balance

With any disease or health condition, especially the herpes simplex virus, a treatment approach that includes improving diet and nutrition should always be taken.

This page offers some brief herpes diet information that can change your approach to the virus and give you a greater understanding of its relationship to your food and lifestyle.


It is in the nurturing and maintenance of a healthy body that the key to controlling herpes is found. Through your understanding of health and the workings of the herpes virus you will become in control of your outbreaks and find that they are no longer dominating and dictating your life.

An appropriate diet high in lysine and low in arginine accompanied with specific vitamin supplements may be beneficial for those suffering from viral diseases, in particular the herpes virus.

Current research has shown that the amino acid, arginine, can provoke herpes and bring on an outbreak. Arginine is a form of protein known as an amino acid. This distinct amino acid is the building blocks of the herpes virus and is actually one of its direct food sources. When arginine levels are high in the body, the virus has the perfect conditions and everything it needs to be fully active in the body. This is sometimes manifested as an outbreak becoming triggered; as well as a long duration and ongoing activity of an outbreak.

It has been found that the amino acid Lysine, retards the herpes virus growth, so you should include in your diet foods high in Lysine and decrease the foods high in Arginine (an amino acid that supports the herpes virus). A very effective way of offsetting the arginine in your diet and restricting the virus strength is through the supplementation of a high dose, quality lysine. The benefit of this product is that it is a combination of lysine with bioflavanoids and zinc; which together are proven to have an extremely greater effect than that of just lysine alone.

Some examples of foods high in arginine are nuts, chocolate and caffeine. Many foods have arginine in them and besides complete restriction methods, it is far more ideal to consider the ratio of arginine to that of the amino acid lysine which is contained in the food in question. This is because if there is a higher portion of lysine in the food it will neutralize most of the effects of arginine on the virus. If a food has a low lysine/high arginine ratio it has the potential to cause the onset of an outbreak and strengthen the virus’s activity in your body. Foods that are higher in arginine than that of lysine, but only have a few milligrams of arginine in them, are usually not high enough in arginine to cause outbreaks (unless the food is taken in extreme excess) and there is no reason to avoid them totally. In these cases it is a matter of personal experimentation and observation into your reactions to the food; this will identify if it does in fact bring on an outbreak or aggravate the herpes episode further.

If you do experience frequent herpes outbreaks, it is worth trying to cut back or eliminating these foods from your diet and then see if it helps to relieve your symptoms. Generally all cases of herpes can be managed considerably well to become infrequent. If outbreaks are constant and intense in nature, this indicates that there is some variant in your life; such as diet, stress, lifestyle or health conditions, which need to be isolated and then transformed in order to get on top of the virus. There is a cause and effect to everything, and it is through self-investigation and discernment, that any person with herpes has the greatest results in outbreak reduction.

Remember, try to balance everything you eat, e.g., if you eat foods high in Arginine, balance them with L-lysine abundant foods or with Lysine/L-lysine tablets (500mg/day minimum). Lysine products can be purchased easily online or from most health food stores and pharmacies.

For a pure, naturally sourced Lysine supplement with clincially effective quantities of Lysine, Vitamin C and Zinc the Combined Lysine Formula.

Foods High in Lysine

  • beef
  • brewer’s yeast
  • cheese
  • chicken
  • dairy products
  • eggs
  • fish
  • meat
  • milk
  • potatoes
  • soybeans
  • yogurt

There are somewhat conflicting understandings about animal products and how they affect the herpes virus. Although meat and dairy are some of the highest sources of lysine; in another unassociated aspect, they are greatly acid forming, which will cause aggravation to the immune system and indirectly increase the herpes virus activity. Even though they contain immense amounts of lysine in proportion to arginine, they should not be considered ideal in the management of herpes. This is because of their pronounced acid forming properties which contradict the majority of advantages that the lysine content can offer.

With this conclusion, it is clearly ideal to go for the more alkalizing, lysine rich foods in the efforts to manage herpes. This will not only provide a diet with an adequate Lysine/Arginine ratio; but will also support and regenerate your immune system to be strong as well as efficient in preventing the virus. It is also important to consider the use of a Lysine supplement; this can provide a powerful way to dominate arginine, while also counteracting any of those favorite foods high in arginine that you don’t want to be completely without.

Foods High in Arginine

  • brown rice
  • coffee
  • chocolate
  • nuts
  • nut products
  • oatmeal
  • raisins
  • seeds
  • coconut
  • whole wheat bread

For a detailed chart outlining L-Arginine and L-lysine ratios in foods.

Vitamin C foods should be increased in your regular dietary program, but citrus fruits and juices should be avoided while the virus is active in an effort to keep the body’s acidity as balanced as possible while trying to ward off the virus.

Foods that should definitely be avoided for Herpes prevention:

  • processed foods
  • sugar
  • coffee
  • chocolate
  • cola and soda drinks
  • animal products
  • alcohol

All the above foods and beverages put stress on the immune system and should be reduced considerably if not completely eliminated from one’s diet. This is important to apply at all times but more crucially during active outbreaks.

Highly acidic foods can aggravate an active outbreak as well as cause an acid state to develop within our body, which can lead to a compromised immune system and poor health conditions.

These are foods such as:

  • meat
  • grains
  • most dairy
  • processed foods
  • sugar
  • soda drinks
  • citrus fruits
  • tomatoes
  • foods high in refined sodium
  • alcohol and other drugs

Vitamins and herbs for herpes

The herpes virus can weaken the immune system considerably, as well as become highly active when the immune system is compromised. A good vitamin/herbal program can improve the chances of preventing recurrence by boosting the body’s immune function.

Supplements of vitamins C, E, B complex and zinc chelate can be very beneficial. The idea of using a vitamin program is that it is attempting to gain a complete state of health, strengthen antiviral fighting properties as well as promote the body’s regeneration and healing mechanisms. If you are lacking in other specific nutrients, it will be important to isolate the cause of the deficiencies and then realign the body’s balance. These vitamin supplements and others can be purchased or from selected health food stores.

By now it should be clear that the immune system plays a vital role in the management and prevention of herpes. By nurturing and regenerating this delicate system you create a strong resistance to the virus and as a result, will experience less viral activity and outbreaks.

Herbal formulations have the ability to address many aspects of the immune system, depending on what is the desired outcome. With the use of herbs one can gain great results in herpes prevention and also maintain optimal health. The properties that the herbs should be chosen for are their antiviral, blood cleansing and immune stimulating/building properties. There are many available options on the market that provide these benefits. A recommend product is the Immune Support Formula.

For further information on the relationship between herpes and the diet and lifestyle please visit the articles in the Diet & Lifestyle Tips category of this blog.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Excellent article. Thanks.
    I’m communicating with a supplement formulator re: Arginine (which is effective in generating Nitric Oxide which lowers blood pressure). I have suffered from Shingles – probably facilitated by supplementing Arginine. I want a balanced Arginine + Lysine supplement. To that end I need to bring the formulator up to speed re: your statement: “Current research has shown that the amino acid, arginine, can provoke herpes and bring on an outbreak.”

    Would you please provide some citation(s) that I can forward to them substantiating that statement?
    Thank you very much for what you’re doing.
    Dr. John

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