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Cold Sores: Is Arginine Causing Your Frequent Outbreaks?

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If suffer from cold sores, you might do all you can to keep your breakouts to a minimum. But if breakouts occur on your face anyway, you might have a problem with arginine. Foods that contain the amino acid arginine may cause the herpes virus to act up. Here are things to know about arginine and how you can see if it's the cause of your skin condition.

What's Arginine?

Herpes virus type 1 (HSV-1) causes cold sores. HSV-1 can hibernate in the nerves of your body until something activates it, such as stress and illness. However, eating foods high in arginine may potentially cause problems with the herpes virus.

Arginine, or L-arginine, is an important amino acid improves your blood circulation, helps your kidneys flush out toxins, and assists in healing your body's wounds. But consuming foods high in L-arginine may cause cold sores in some people by causing the virus to replicate, or make more of itself. The replication of your virus may make it last longer or become worse.

You can take steps to solve your outbreak problem with the right tips.

How Do You Keep Your Outbreaks at Bay?

One of the things you might want to do is cut back on foods high in arginine for a week or so to see if your breakouts stop. The list of foods include:

  • nuts
  • avocados
  • kiwi fruit
  • grapes
  • watermelon

Meat proteins like turkey breast and pork loin also contain high amounts of arginine. If you need a more detailed list of arginine-rich foods, consult with a nutritionist. Keep a diary of how many times you experience an outbreak. If your outbreaks slow down or stop, arginine may be the trigger. But if your breakouts continue, contact a dermatologist for help. 

A dermatologist can offer different treatment options for your cold sores, including antiviral medications and ointments. For severe breakouts, a skin specialist may prescribe injections to help alleviate your discomfort. 

Be sure to keep track of your outbreaks by recording when they occur. If your cold sores spread to other areas of the skin, such as your fingers or nose, inform a skin specialist right away. You may need a stronger prescription. 

Also, wash your hands thoroughly before, during, and after outbreaks. You can spread HSV-1 to other people, even when you don't have sores present. 

To learn more about skin conditions like cold sores, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist, like Heibel Dermatology, today.