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August 14, 2018,

By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Doctors and
Registered Nurses and other members of our Editorial Board.]

My friend, whom I will call Wendy, married a man 30 years ago.
Wendy had a bumpy engagement, punctuated by episodes of
infidelity. She even discovered that he had failed to disclose
that he herpes, long after they had become sexually active.
Now in her late fifties, Wendy is experiencing outbreaks of
herpes, a condition she thought she had long brought under
control. What causes herpes outbreaks after so many dormant
years? Does diet play a role in causing herpes outbreaks?

Herpes Is More Common Than You Think

Most of us know that there are several types of herpes virus.
Herpes simplex I causes cold sores on the mouth. Herpes
S=simplex II causes genital sores. Herpes zoster causes
chicken pox, which later in life can be reactivated by stress and
emerge as

Cytomegalovirus is a genus of viruses in the order
'Herpesvirales", in the family of viruses called "Herpesviridae".
By the time we are 40, 60% of adults in the US have antibodies
for herpes, which means they have been exposed to the virus.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), technically known as "human
herpesvirus 4", is a member of the herpes virus family also.
Over 95% of all humans on Earth have been exposed to this
form of herpes virus, according to a 2015 study from The Ohio
State University entitled "Inflammation and Reactivation of
Latent Herpesviruses in Older Adults".

Scientists believe that the herpes virus has existed for millions
of years, evolving alongside its human hosts.

Inflammation Triggers Herpes Outbreaks

The study from the Ohio State University examined the
connection between levels of inflammation in your body and
your risk for a herpes outbreak.

Inflammation is a central, indeed a necessary precondition, for
the development of many chronic diseases and conditions.
Inflammation can exist as a part of the healing process. But its
presence can also signal an imbalance in key systems in your
body such as your immune system or your nervous system.

An external injury can cause inflammation, as can your diet, or
even psychological stress such as episodes of depression. You
may think of inflammation as the body's attempt to heal
physical or psychological injuries.

But, unfortunately, too much inflammation also can trigger

Inflammation can be measured by tracking chemicals that are
released in your body when inflammation occurs. These
chemicals are proinflammatory cytokines.

The Ohio State Univerity study measured cytokine levels in
people who had one of two types of herpes virus, Epstein barr
and Cytomegalovirus. They found that "reaction of multiple
herpesviruses may drive inflammation and could contribute to
poorer health among older adults."

So, herpes can trigger inflammation. But can inflammation
trigger herpes? The answer appears to be yes.

Stress and Depression Can Trigger Herpes Outbreaks

Stress related inflammation caused by depression has been
linked to an increase in herpes outbreaks in several studies.
stress is a well-known trigger for the reemergence of
herpes zoster as shingles later in life

Depression weakens your immune function at the cellular level
and triggers herpes virus reactivation, according to a 1991
study from Ohio State University College of Medicine,
Department of Psychiatry.

Can Taking Omega 3 Help to Stave Off Herpes Outbreaks?

Omega 3 fatty acids have been linked to reduced levels of
depression in several studies.
Taking fish oil reduces episodes
of depression and self harm
, according to a 2002 study from a
2002 study from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-
Sheva, Israel

Taking 3 grams (3000 milligrams )of omega 3 fatty acids daily
reduced levels of a proinflammatory larker (tumor necrosis
factor alpha) in patients on kidney dialysis. This was the finding
of a 2012 study from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences.

The study found that not all inflammatory cytokines were
reduced by omega 3 fatty acids.

Eating more salmon and other foods such as walnuts when you
are goig through a stressful period in life is a good precaution
to take against herpes outbreaks.

Sugar Is Pro-Inflammatory and May Contribute to Herpes

Sugar and refined carbohydrates raise your blood sugar levels.
Elevated blood sugar levels cause levels of inflammation to rise.
It stands to reason, therefore, that consuming too much sugar
and refined carbohydrates could trigger herpes outbreaks.

Those with uncontrolled diabetes are at greater risk for herpes
zoster, the virus that causes shingles, according to a 2013
study from Centro de Salud de San Juan, Servicio Navarro de

For those with a history of herpes outbreaks, it behooves you
to aggressively manage blood sugar levels. Avoid excessive
consumption of desserts, sugary sodas and white bread, white
pasta or white flour in general.

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