Many of us who suffer with the dreaded cold sore are all too familiar with the tingling sensation that warns us of the angry and reddened scab which will shortly appear around the mouth area, usually in the same spot each time.
Cold sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and can be very contagious. Once infected, the virus lies dormant within the nerve cells under the skin and can be triggered by a number of things including: stress, fatigue, hormonal changes, immune system changes and other infections.
However, there are a number of ways we can support ourselves naturally.
L-Lysine: This is an amino acid, a building block of protein. It is essential meaning it cannot be made in the human body and we must get it from protein sources in our diets like meat, fish and eggs. L-lysine is also available in an isolated supplemental form in order to help to alleviate the severity and accelerate the healing time of herpes infection.
Anti-viral: As cold sores are due to the herpes virus; we can look to nutrients with anti-viral activity to help. Garlic has been used as a traditional anti-viral home remedy for centuries. Allicin is the active compound in garlic, responsible for the anti-viral action and distinctive garlicky smell. Isolated Allicin has powerful anti-viral activity and is understood to block viral entry into host cells. It can be taken preventively at a maintenance dose or at megadoses if we feel the start of the familiar tingle. Using plenty of garlic in your cooking is also a great way to increase your intake.
Bee propolis: described as nature’s antiseptic, it is used by bees as protection from bacteria and viruses inside the beehive. Topical propolis on the affected area can help to create a protective barrier and can be found in specially formulated lip balms.
Immune support: Supporting our general immunity is a good way of preventing a cold sore from taking hold by ensuring we are ready to tackle any virus that may come our way. Immune system supporting nutrients like vitamins C and D, Zinc, Beta Glucans are all valuable nutrients to support the immune system. Liposomal or liquid vitamin C is a great addition to a supplement routine if we are under the weather. Starting off the day with the juice of 1/2 lemon in water each morning is an excellent way to get in daily, fresh vitamin C for daily prevention.
Stress management: Many of us will have seen the link between stress or feelings of being ‘run down’ and our likelihood of developing a sore. Prioritising rest and implementing stress management techniques can be small but powerful ways of supporting our overall health and preventing burn out. Try breathing techniques, gentle exercise like walking or yoga, baths, reading, whatever works to get you into a state of relaxation and support your immune system.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.