Herpes Zinc

Note
Alternative treatments/therapies should not replace your healthcare provider-led therapy/treatments. Patients should consult their healthcare providers before taking any herbs or supplements because they may interact with treatment.

Good scientific evidence

Zinc

Proper nutrition, including vitamins and minerals, has been reported to help in decreasing recurrent herpes simplex virus infections. Lesser quality studies have been conducted to assess the effects of zinc (topical or taken by mouth) in herpes type 1 or type 2. A small study found that oral zinc sulphate appeared to reduce both the number of episodes and the time to recovery of herpes labialis. Several of these studies used combination treatments or permitted the continued use of other medications, so the exact role of zinc in those studies is unclear. However, the positive results obtained in most trials suggest that zinc may represent a safe and effective alternative or adjunct treatment for herpes type 1 and 2, and should encourage further research into the topic using well-designed studies.

Zinc is generally considered safe when taken at the recommended dosages. Avoid zinc chloride since studies have not been done on its safety or effectiveness. Avoid with kidney disease. Use cautiously if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Selected References
American Academy of Family Physicians. http://search.aafp.org. Accessed April 4, 2009.
American Social Health Association. www.ashastd.org. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Femiano F, Gombos F, Scully C. Recurrent herpes labialis: a pilot study of the efficacy of zinc therapy. J Oral Pathol Med. 2005;34(7):423-5.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. www3.niaid.nih.gov. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. www.naturalstandard.com. Copyright © 2009. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Singh BB, Udani J, Vinjamury SP, et al. Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes. Altern Med Rev. 2005;10(2):123-7.
Sun Y, Yang J. Experimental study of the effect of Astragalus membranaceus against herpes simplex virus type 1. Di Yi Jun Yi Da Xue Xue Bao. 2004;24(1):57-8.
Thomas SL, Wheeler JG, Hall AJ. Micronutrient intake and the risk of herpes zoster: a case-control study. Int J Epidemiol. 2006;35(2):307-14.
World Health Organization. www.who.int. Accessed April 4, 2009.
VZV Research Foundation. www.vzvfoundation.org. Accessed April 4, 2009.