Arginine is a ?-amino acid, one of the most common naturally occurring amino acids found in proteins. A person who wishes to avoid consuming arginine must abstain from most forms of red and white meat, poultry, dairy, wheat products, leafy vegetables, nuts, chickpeas, soybeans and other soy products.
Arginine is considered a conditionally essential amino acid that is beneficial for its immune function support, wound healing, hormone release and ammonia-cleansing properties. A healthy body naturally produces the appropriate amount of arginine, but individuals with certain health issues may have difficulty synthesizing the acid or may have disproportionately high levels of the acid in their bodies.
In particular, individuals who suffer from the herpes virus may need to avoid food items that are high in arginine. Although animal products are rich in arginine, people suffering from herpes should take care to avoid foods high in arginine and low in lysine, such as nuts, wheat and wheat germ, oats, soy, chocolate, carob and sesame seeds. As well, they should limit their intake of refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, processed foods, white bread, pasta and soda. When taken as a supplement, arginine can cause such side effects as nausea, bloating, diarrhea and gout.