25 Feb Herpes and Peanut Butter
It may be hard to believe, but eating a simple food like peanut butter can cause a herpes outbreak! Whether you experience HSV1 that causes cold sores, HSV2 that causes genital herpes, or herpes zoster (better known as shingles) you need to know what foods to avoid so that you can reduce your risk of outbreaks, or lessen them.
We heard reports of people saying they thought outbreaks might be triggered by peanut butter, and after researching the issue we found there is a scientific reason this can happen.
It has been discovered that foods high in an amino acid called arginine can trigger herpes outbreaks or prevent an outbreak from resolving. The arginine actually “feeds” the herpes virus and allows it to reproduce.
The reason peanut butter is an offender is the high arginine content in peanuts. Peanuts, like other nuts, are very rich in arginine.
Foods besides peanut butter that are high in arginine include chocolate, drinks that contain arginine, protein shakes and oats. Some multiple vitamins or muscle building formulas also contain arginine.
Arginine naturally occurs in the human body, so you can’t avoid it totally, but reducing your intake of arginine can help avoid outbreaks, and if you are having an outbreak it is even more important to avoid arginine.
It is essential to be aware of the arginine content in the foods you eat, so that you can limit the arginine in your food and drinks as much as possible. You can search online to see the arginine content in food, so that you can adjust your diet to eating foods low in arginine.
This doesn’t mean you can never eat foods with arginine in them, but if you are aware that a food you commonly eat (like peanut butter!) has a high arginine content, keep your portions small and don’t eat it every day.