Vitamin B2 For Cold Sores
05/11/2012 by Ruth Holroyd
Cold sores cause misery for many. Theyre painful, unsightly and can spread easily. They are also a very popular topic on this blog, so when one reader suggested Vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, as one way of preventing them I knew I had to share it with all my cold sore readers.
Vitamin B2 is one of the group of eight B vitamins which can help to reduce stress, a common trigger of cold sores in many people. There are different types of vitamin B including B1, B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12.
Vitamin B helps the body process and use fats and protein. B complex vitamins are necessary for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. They also help the nervous system function properly.
In addition to producing energy for the body, riboflavin also works as an antioxidant by fighting damaging particles in the body known as free radicals.
Vitamin B deficiency can cause cracks and sores around the mouth, another indication that its so great at fending off cold sores.
Effective Vitamins To Treat Cold Sores
The attack of this virus occurs in the human body when it faces some vitamin deficiency. That is why it is imperative that you eat a wholesome diet of fruits, vegetables, pulses and meat that are loaded with lots of vitamins. Also make a note of some of the best vitamins to treat cold soresand make sure you pop one of these pills every day.
The first sign of cold sores is a tingling sensation in your mouth. When you feel this sensation, make sure you consume an ample dose of vitamin C along with bioflavonoid. This will kick start the interferon production and kindle the function of white blood cells in the body. Interferons are naturally occurring antiviral agents in your body and they help you combat the virus. This vitamin also helps in improving the iron levels in the body, which in turn aids in the oxygenation of blood.
This can help you control stress and induce your immune system. Take about 1000 mg of this vitamin during the tingling sensation and increase it to 1500 mg for the next 3 days. Also fill your plate with natural source of vitamin C, such as parsley, oranges, strawberries, lemons and kiwis.
Other Cold Sore Treatment Options
While it’s uncertain whether taking an oral lysine supplement or using a cream containing lysine could provide the results you may be looking for, it’s worth noting that you have many other cold sore treatment options.
The Mayo Clinic assures that blisters do typically clear up on their own within two to four weeks, but if you are interested in a quicker recovery, your doctor might prescribe an oral medication, such as valacyclovir or acyclovir, to help speed up the healing process. At-home treatments, such as using a cold compress, applying lip balm or using an over-the-counter cold sore cream, can also help ease your discomfort.
Another way to cope with HSV-1 is to learn what triggers your outbreaks and try to avoid those triggers. Some people find that stress often leads to the formation of blisters, for example. Practicing stress reduction techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, might help you relax and avoid an outbreak.
Ultimately, the best thing to do if you’re curious about trying lysine for cold sores is talk to your doctor. They can give you advice on the benefits or drawbacks of using a supplement and can recommend other treatments to keep your cold sores under control.
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What Is A Cold Sore
Cold sores are unappealing sores that snatch the beauty of lips. A cold sore is a type of infection in which small lesions or blisters appear on or around the mouth. It is caused by virus, named herpes simplex virus . Cold sores are commonly known as fever blisters. They usually go away within 2-3 weeks. Usually, cold sores are interpreted to be same as canker sores. But, both are very different from each other. Canker sores are the result of bacterial infection and appear inside the mouth. On the other hand, cold sores surface outside the mouth and unlike canker sores, they are highly contagious.
Foods With Higher Lysine
- fish, chicken, beef and lamb
- apples, mangoes, apricots, papaya, beets
- dried beans
- nutritional yeast
This doesnt mean you have to completely avoid foods that are high in arginine. I love nuts, coconut, oats and chocolate and I still eat them. Im just mindful about the fact that they are high in arginine and make sure I balance things out by eating foods that are high in lysine as well. Its also important to remember that while fish, meats and dairy products are high in lysine, eating too much of these high protein foods can make the body too acidic, which can also cause a cold sore outbreak. As always, moderation is the key.
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Treatment Options And Foods To Help Curb Outbreaks
The war on herpes has raged for centuries. In the first century A.D., Tiberius, Emperor of Rome, actually banned kissing to combat a herpes epidemic.
What is herpes?
Although many think of herpes as a skin infection, it is actually an inflammation of the sensory nerves. In between outbreaks, the herpes DNA survives in nerve centers at the base of the brain called ganglia. During outbreaks, the DNA replicates, forming a virus. The virus passes down the nerve to the skin, where it causes lesions.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 are transmitted by contact – usually kissing or sexual contact. They tend to occur orally or genitally because our skin provides sufficient protection against transmission except where it is very thin and sensitive – like on the lips or genitals.
Our immune system is able to combat the virus, but the catch is that the virus retreats from our immune defenses and “hides”, lying dormant in the ganglia, nerves at along the spinal cord. Periodically, the virus retraces its way to the lips or genitals, and causes another outbreak.
Research Provides a Solution
Now, new research is providing successful treatment alternatives.
Studies show that the amino acid l-lysine can be effective as a dietary supplement, and when applied topically.
Lysine Supplements – the herpes preventative
In Canada, the government allows lysine to be sold as a cold sore treatment, giving further validity to the concept.
Topical Lysine – #1 Treatment option
Treatment and Prevention
Vitamin Deficiencies Might Affect Herpes
Scientific data shows that certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies can have a negative effect on your immune system. For example, deficiencies of micronutrients like zinc and selenium show a correlation with a weakened immune system in some studies.
This means that if youre deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral, theres a risk that your immune system could be weakened.
The herpes virus usually begins as an initial outbreak, which can last for several weeks. As your body launches its immune response, the virus retreats into the nerve ganglia, where it remains in a dormant state between outbreaks.
A weakened immune system makes the risk of the virus resurfacing greater, increasing your risk of experiencing an oral or genital herpes outbreak.
This makes it important to focus on maintaining a healthy immune system if you have HSV-1 or HSV-2, especially if you experience symptoms of the virus.
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Vitamin C With Bioflavenoids
Activating the white blood cells, which produce interferon, a natural anti-viral substance, is a benefit of vitamin C. When combined with bioflavenoids, the effect can be more powerful, helping the body to fight stress and fatigue and increase oxygenation, which contributes to the healing process. Foods containing vitamin C and bioflavenoids include fresh fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, strawberries and kiwi. Parsley and other dark green vegetables are also high in these compounds, as are nuts and seeds.
How To Get Rid Of Cold Sores Naturally
Did you know that 90 percent of the population gets at least one cold sore in a lifetime, and 40 percent of American adults repeatedly get cold sores? They can be painful, uncomfortable and downright unattractive, beginning as a blister and eventually forming a crust. Cold sores are commonly mistaken for canker sores, especially in children. Canker sores, however, involve only the mucous membrane, and theyre never on the outside of the mouth.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus , an infection that may cause only a single cold sore or an outbreak of several cold sores. Until a cold sore is scabbed or crusted, its extremely contagious and can even be spread to other parts of the body, including the eyes and genitals though most cold sores are nongenital.
The most common conventional treatments for cold sores are antiviral creams and oral medications, which can reduce the duration of cold sores by a few days but arent completely reliable. There are natural cold sore remedies, however, that are safe, inexpensive and effective in boosting the immune system, relieving pain and swelling, and reducing the duration and frequency of cold sores.
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How To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore
Doctors use oral and topical cold sore treatments to ease your pain, slow the growth and spread of the virus, and speed up healing.
There are three ways to use antivirals to fight cold sores, Dr. Brodell explains. One is to treat the virus at the first sign of recurrence using a course of oral or topical medication.
The second is suppressive therapy, meaning you take oral antiviral medicine every day to prevent outbreaks. Lets say youre having outbreaks once a month, every time you get a menstrual cycle or every time you feel stress, Dr. Brodell says. You can give that person a vacation from having their outbreaks with suppressive therapy. This daily oral antiviral therapy is the most effective treatment to prevent outbreaks, Dr. Barankin adds.
A third option is intermittent suppressive therapy for people who can predict their outbreaks. You might get a lip full of blisters every time you go on vacation to sunny Florida, for example. You know youre headed for trouble next time you visit, but you dont want it to ruin your getaway. The solution: Have your doctor prescribe an antiviral medicine that you can take for the week that youre away. Few doctors educate their patients about using suppressive therapy intermittently, says Dr. Brodell, despite the fact that it absolutely works, he insists.
Your doctor might also prescribe Xerese, the first medicine to combine acyclovir and hydrocortisone, an anti-inflammatory medication.
It’s A Fact: Cold Sore Outbreaks Can Occur From Exposure To Summer Sun Fight Painful Unsightly Cold Sores With These Simple Home Remedies
Uh-oh. youve been hanging out in the hot sun and now theres a red, painful blister making itself at home on your lip. Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. The virus, which is most often picked up during childhood, usually lies dormant, waiting for the body to be weakened by stress or illness and sometimes the heat of the summer sun. What can you do to relieve the pain of a cold sore?
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Got Cold Sores Ironing Out Oxidative Stress With Vitamin E
- ETH Zürich
- You’re up in the mountains, the snow is blindingly white, and the sun is blazing down from the sky: ideal skiing conditions — but any skiers carrying the herpes virus might also have to reckon with the onset of cold sores after their day out. Increased exposure to UV radiation releases free radicals in the body. These put the body under oxidative stress, which weakens the immune system. And that in turn allows the herpes virus to prosper. Scientists have now shown for the first time that higher doses of vitamin E can reduce the stress on immune cells.
You’re up in the mountains, the snow is blindingly white, and the sun is blazing down from the sky: ideal skiing conditions — but any skiers carrying the herpes virus might also have to reckon with the onset of cold sores after their day out. Increased exposure to UV radiation releases free radicals in the body. These put the body under oxidative stress, which weakens the immune system. And that in turn allows the herpes virus to prosper.
Oxidative stress has become a major topic not only is it implicated in many diseases, it may even be one of their causes. Other environmental influences besides UV radiation can also increase oxidative stress on the body, including air pollution, smoking and the consumption of alcohol, and not least infections. Again and again, the talk is of fighting these free radicals by supplementing our diet with the appropriate vitamins.
Vitamin E comes to the rescue
Natural Cold Sore Remedies That Really Work
These options are for those of us that dont want to rely on antiviral creams or oral medications for treating cold sores. These natural remedies are safe, inexpensive and effective at boosting your immune system to prevent your sores from lasting long and causing pain. My two favorite remedies are tea tree oil and peppermint oil.
Conventional Cold Sore Treatment
The most commonly prescribed medications for relieving pain and discomfort from a cold sore are acyclovir , famciclovir and valacyclovir . These antiviral drugs dont cure the virus, and they dont help once the blister appears. They have to be applied when you can feel a cold sore coming on in order to be effective.
Several studies have investigated the efficacy of oral antiviral medication in the treatment of cold sores. The medication must be taken when symptoms first appear in order to be effective. Study results vary, but most suggest that antiviral medications reduce the duration of symptoms by one or two days, especially when taken at higher doses.
When acyclovir was tested on 149 patients who took 200 milligrams five times daily for five days, it had no effect on the duration of pain or the time to recovery. However, in another study, 174 patients reported a reduction in the duration of the symptoms after taking 400 milligrams five times daily for five days.
The most frequent reported side effects of oral antiviral medications are headache and nausea, which depend on the dose and duration of treatment.
Will Lysine Help Prevent Cold Sores
Lysine is occasionally promoted as a natural remedy for cold sores. The Mayo Clinic lists it as an alternative treatment option, available as either an oral supplement or a cream, and PennState Hershey Milton S. Hershey Medical Center notes that lysine supplements may potentially help to reduce the occurrence of cold sore outbreaks, though not all experts believe it works.
One theory on why lysine is thought to help reduce cold sore outbreaks is that the amino acid may interfere with the activity of arginine, another amino acid, and block herpes replication, according to an article in Clinical Advisor.
So far, studies focusing on lysine for cold sores in humans haven’t drawn any firm conclusions. One study, published in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, revealed that lysine supplementation of less than 1 gram per day wasn’t effective at treating or preventing cold sore outbreaks, but higher doses â above 3 grams per day â seemed to have a positive effect on patients. In contrast, a Cochrane review found that lysine offered no preventative effects against cold sores.
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What Do Cold Sores Look Like
The diagnosis of cold sores is usually based on the appearance of the lesions. Usually, no laboratory test is needed because most sores that look like cold sores are cold sores. Occasionally, mouth sores known as canker sores may be mistaken for cold sores. However, canker sores occur inside the mouth whereas recurrent cold sores usually occur on the lips. If there is a question about the diagnosis, a variety of tests are available, including viral culture and polymerase chain reaction . To do these tests, a swab is rubbed over an active blister. Swabbing the blister in an attempt to culture the virus in the lab works best in the first 24-48 hours before the blister has crusted over. There is also a way to test for herpes DNA in a swab that has been rubbed on the sore. This type of testing is called a “polymerase chain reaction” or PCR for short. PCR testing is very good at detecting herpes virus, but it is not as readily available as a culture.
Blood tests for antibodies are not very useful, because finding antibodies to herpes just means that the body has been exposed to this virus at some point in the past. It does not tell if the current sore is due to herpes.
Supplement With Vitamins E And C
Vitamin E naturally soothes skin and helps repair damage and inflammation, while vitamin C can boost your white blood cell count and help your body defend itself against foreign invaders. Filling up on foods filled with these vitamins will set your body up to defeat any cold sore virus that comes your way.
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How To Prevent And Treat Cold Sores Naturally
How to prevent and treat cold sores naturally! Here Im sharing what foods to avoid, which supplements to take and which natural oils work for healing cold sores.
Cold sores. Theyre embarrassing and no one wants them, yet theyre nearly impossible to avoid.
In fact, close to 90 percent of adults have been exposed to the virus, and nearly half suffer from them repeatedly. Like many people I was exposed early in life and Ive since struggled with reoccurring outbreaks. There will be times when a whole year goes by without one but other times were I seem to get multiple outbreaks in a few months.
Because of this Ive done a ton of research trying to figure out what causes them, what I can do to reduce their recurrence, as well as, natural remedies to speed up the healing of an outbreak. Ive also tried almost every product on the market including Abreva , Herpecin, Acyclovir and Valtrex. I still have a prescription for the generic version of Valtrex, but in the past few years Ive been working to manage the virus through natural prevention rather than relying on the prescription pills.
If you struggle with cold sores I hope this post with my experience and tips is helpful.