Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. The virus lies dormant in your body until something activates it. It makes its way to the surface of your skin and causes lesions, called fever blisters or cold sores. Some people who suffer from cold sores have reported outbreaks after they have taken vitamin C or eaten vitamin C rich foods. This has them questioning whether or not the vitamin C caused the outbreak.
Vitamin C works with your immune system in many different ways. Outbreaks occur when the immune system is compromised. So why would boosting your immunity cause an outbreak?
The answer is complex. A number of things can trigger cold sores to emerge. Stress and a depressed immune system are the leading causes of cold sore outbreaks. Stressful situations and anxiety can deplete the body of its vitamin C stores within seconds, leaving you vulnerable to herpes simplex reactivation.
When you take vitamin C as a supplement or eat foods rich in vitamin C, it goes to work on your T cell production. T cells are responsible for the immunity inside of your cells. T cells come in many different forms which specialize in independent functions. Cytotoxic T cells kill cells that are infected with viruses.
As T cells are maturing, they go through many different stages. If you are in the process of building your immunity, for instance, by taking vitamin C, then T cells can attack cells containing the herpes simplex virus, but may not be able to fully combat the virus as it is released. The virus travels along nerves and makes its way to the skin’s surface, where it expresses itself as a cold sore or fever blister. But, this could actually be a good sign that your immunity is beginning to return.
As T cells mature over several months, they are more capable of destroying the virus as it is released, before it can make its way back down into dormancy where it can replicate. Furthermore, vitamin C helps your immune system to keep the surviving cells containing the virus in dormancy and inhibits replication. Every time you have an outbreak, more of the virus can be destroyed. Herpes simplex virus damages nerve cells and has been linked to Alzheimer ’s disease. Keeping your immunity up will help you to get rid of as much of the virus as possible while protecting your nerve cells from future attacks.
If you have an outbreak, you should immediately talk to your doctor about vitamins and supplements. Sufferers who take vitamin C immediately can get pain relief within two hours of their first dose. Blisters will usually dry within one day and completely heal within three days if adequate amounts of vitamin C are taken.
It is important to note that certain foods can trigger outbreaks and this includes foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits. Many doctors recommend taking a highly absorbable non-acidic form of vitamin C to treat and avoid outbreaks. The best vitamin C can be found in powder form, so look for powdered vitamin C supplements before you buy vitamins.
If you have a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, lower back pain, or a low grade fever, it could be a sign that the virus is reactivating. Talk with your doctor about the proper dosage of vitamin C and start supplementing immediately to effectively combat the virus.
About the Author: Phil Le Breton, the owner at Wholesale Nutrition, has a strong interest in helping people achieve greater brain and body health with vitamins and supplements. Wholesale Nutrition has the best vitamin C powder on the market (C-Salts). Visit http://www.nutri.com to buy vitamins or buy supplements of the highest quality.