Prevent Cold Sores
Cold sore occurrence is highly dependent on the state of our immune system. The question is how can we maintain our immune system so that we don’t get cold sores or other infections?
Well, theoretically people can achieve a strong immune system by doing daily exercise and eating the right foods in balanced amounts. The problem is that healthy foods are generally expensive and not all that tasty, and good tasting foods are usually bad for our bodies but less expensive than health foods. For example, eating too many dairy foods, including milk, cheese, butter and cream, are not good for our health. Dairy foods contain a lot of fat, and eating them will cause excess fats in our body, especially if we do not get enough physical exercise. Long term, excess fats will lead to many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. These chronic diseases will reduce our immune systems capacity to fight free radicals and viruses that may enter our bodies.
Dairy food is just an example of common foods that we eat every day. Don’t forget other junk foods in our daily menu such as soft drinks and potato chips. These foods contain a lot of sugar or salt inside and they can have a bad affect on our bodies. On the contrary, most people will hesitate to eat healthy foods every day. Many don’t like to eat vegetables, especially green vegetables such as broccoli which have great antioxidant properties that may enhance our immune system.
Unbalanced diets will cause our immune system to function at a lower capacity. Weak immune system will make us vulnerable to infections, especially viral infections such as cold sores. Like we said before, there are no medications that can cure cold sores completely. The virus will stay in our body as long as we live. So our immune system is our only hope in dealing with this disease and other viral infections.
So is there an easy way to boost our immune systems?
Yes, there is. The easiest way for us to keep our immune system strong is by consuming supplements. Consuming the right supplements will greatly increase our immune system and keep away most diseases, not just limited to cold sores and herpes, but also other disease such as influenza, diarrhea and fever. These supplements may consist of herb extracts, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Remember, our immune system is very complex and consists of multiple parts. Every infection from a virus or bacteria that comes into our body will be dealt with by different parts of our immune system. Scientists around the world still have not figured out the exact mechanism of the human immune system. Consuming supplements that can enhance our immune system is indeed a good thing, but it does not guarantee us to be free from infections like flu and cold sores.
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A has many benefits for our body, especially for our eyes health. It also serves as anti oxidant agent and immune system stimulator. Consuming adequate vitamin A daily will help stregthen our immune system which protects us from cold sores. The best form of vitamin A is beta carotene, which will be converted to vitamin A in our body, specifically in the liver. Carrots are extremely rich in beta carotene. You can also find vitamin A in fish liver oils and green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and asparagus.
- Vitamin B
Vitamin B does not increase our immune system, but it is still useful for us in dealing with cold sores by indirectly reducing stress. As we discussed before, stress is a common factor that triggers cold sore outbreaks. Adequate vitamin B will benefit our nervous system and hormonal balancing, leading to reduced stress. Remember, it can only help to reduce stress INDIRECTLY, so use it as a complement to other drugs for stress therapy.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a potent antioxidant and immune booster. Consuming vitamin C daily will keep your immune system strong, effectively keeping cold sores away from our body. If you feel your immune system is weakened, then taking vitamin C can be helpful. But be careful, high doseages of vitamin C can trigger stomach irritation, causing nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. To avoid this, we can either consume low doses of vitamin C (no more than 200mg per consumption) or take the ester C form. Ester C polyascorbate is the safest form of vitamin C because it is naturally bonded with certain minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. It is much more absorbable by our body than usual vitamin C, and it does not cause stomach irritation. Vitamin C is found in vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes, broccoli, currants, grapefruit, papayas and berries. Citrus fruits such orange and lime are rich in vitamin C.
- Vitamin E
In addition of numerous benefits such as promoting healing and skin nourishment, Vitamin E also increases our immune systems by working synergistically with vitamin C. This means vitamin E and vitamin C will have greater effect if they are consumed together. They will greatly improve our immune system and prevent cold sore outbreaks. When consuming vitamin E supplements, always try to choose the natural form. It is called Beta Tocopherol. Natural forms of vitamin E will be absorbed by our body much more efficiently. Vitamin E can be found in whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, and sweet potatoes.
Bioflavonoid also acts synergistically with vitamin C by enhancing the vitamin C absorption. It also has anti bacterial and anti viral properties. When taken with vitamin C, bioflavonoid can significantly reduce cold sore symptoms. Some supplements contain bioflavonoid and vitamin C together in one tablet, so aim to buy these when you feel the “tingle” of a cold sore outbreak. Natural sources of bioflavonoid are buckwheat, black currants, lemons, oranges and apricots.
In addition to these vitamins above, consuming herb supplements can also benefits us. Supplements such as Lysine , Zinc, Resveratrol, Reishi Mushroom, Propolis, Lemon Balm, and Echinacea have beneficial effects that can help us to prevent cold sores.