A quick Google search for at-home HPV treatments might have you feeling hopeful that you can treat HPV by using nothing more than a few ingredients found in your kitchen. As great as it would be if that were true, it’s not possible. It’s important to remember that there is no cure for HPV. The only way to treat the virus is by ensuring your body is healthy enough to rid itself of the infection. That being said, there are steps you can take to help ensure you’re giving your immune system what it needs to be strong enough to suppress HPV.
Treating HPV: Immune System Function
Having a healthy immune system is the most effective way to help your body suppress the virus. Here are some of the ways you can take steps at home to enhance your immune system so it can be better prepared to fight an HPV infection.
Foods to Eat
- Leafy greens are no-brainers when it comes to healthy eating and feeding your body the fuel it needs. Leafy greens are a great source of vitamins and minerals—the foundation of a healthy immune system. In addition, they contain folate, which helps DNA replicate, repair, and protect against cancer. (1) They also contain loads of antioxidants that can help fight cancer, which high-risk HPV can potentially cause.
- Garlic has been found to enhance the immune system. Specifically, aged garlic extract was found in multiple studies to alter human immunity and potentially contribute to the reduction and severity of colds and cases of flu. (2) Garlic also contains antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties; that’s good news for fighting HPV which, in case you forgot, is a virus. (3) Adding more garlic into your diet will help revive your immune system, encouraging it to suppress the HPV virus.
- Medicinal mushrooms have been found to have promising results in affecting immune system activities. (4) These mushrooms contain a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that help kick the immune system into high gear. They also contain a secret ingredient: polysaccharides. Polysaccharides contain antiviral, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects, (5) and work to put the “medicinal” into medicinal mushrooms. Some of these medicinal mushrooms include chaga, turkey tail, and lion’s mane. And before you go thinking all medicinal mushrooms are inaccessible, there’s one that you can probably pick up at the grocery store on the way home: shiitake mushrooms.
Supplements to Take
- AHCC (Active hexose correlated compound), is one of the best supplements to take to treat HPV. Studies found that when participants took AHCC, they were more likely to clear or suppress HPV than participants that took a placebo. (6) And is it really that surprising that it works so well as a health-inducing agent? It’s derived from the roots of shiitake mushrooms and contains a specific group of polysaccharides found to be extremely beneficial in immune system function. (7) Want to take AHCC to boost your immune system? Check out our comparison of AHCC products on the market to help you get the most bang for your buck.
- Probiotics are a great supplement to enhance your immune system. Having a healthy gut is key to warding off diseases and keeping your immune system working properly. (8) The best types of probiotics to take are ones that have at least 1 billion colonies with live, active cultures of lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, or Saccharomyces, as these are the most studied for their benefits. (9) And while it’s true you can get probiotics from yogurt, the probiotics aren’t always live, and there aren’t always many colonies. If you do choose the yogurt route, be sure that your yogurt contains live, active cultures and that it’s not just sugar, which can be harmful to the immune system.
- Zinc plays a central role in immune function. Zinc deficiency results in a loss of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off diseases. (10) And studies found that people who took zinc supplements were found to be able to fight off colds and minor infections faster than those who took placebos. Additionally, zinc has antioxidant properties, and it plays a vital role in the health of cells. (11)
Lifestyle Changes to Make
- Get enough sleep: Good sleep is a necessity in order to recharge the body and ensure everything is working properly. When you get adequate sleep, your body produces cytokines, which can help fight against inflammation and infection. A lack of sleep, however, can cause a reduction in infection-fighting antibodies. (12)
- Exercise: Exercising is a great way to keep the immune system healthy. Exercise keeps the heart pumping, which carries oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, ensuring the proper function of cells and organs. Additionally, exercise helps manage stress, and unmanaged stress can negatively impact the immune system.
- Drink water: We need to drink water to ensure all of our body systems are working properly, so it’s no secret that being dehydrated can have a negative effect on the immune system. In fact, being dehydrated reduces the amount of lymphatic fluids that are central to a healthy immune system. (13)
Treating Symptoms: Genital Warts
When websites tout homeopathic remedies for HPV, they may be referring to home remedies to treat a symptom of HPV: genital warts. And while there may be some at-home recipes that work to reduce the size or severity of outbreaks, it should be noted that the genitals are a sensitive area, and extreme caution should be taken when applying anything to your genitals. It should also be noted that warts will often disappear on their own and that treating warts will not treat the underlying virus.
The best ways to treat genital warts are with topical creams, cryotherapy, and/or surgery. And one of the more popular creams for genital warts is Imiquimod, and it actually works by strengthening the immune system to help fight off the warts. Suffice it to say that immune system function is the cornerstone of an HPV-free life.
Can You Treat HPV at Home?
The short answer is no. There is no magic remedy that will rid your body of the HPV virus. However, there are steps you can take at home, and even some ingredients that might be in your kitchen, that will encourage your immune system to kick it into high gear and suppress the virus.
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2016.
- Aged Garlic Extract Modifies Human Immunity: Oxford Academic, The Journal of Nutrition, 2016.
- Immunomodulatory Effects of Glutathione, Garlic Derivatives, and Hydrogen Sulfide: Nutrients — Open Access Journal, 2019.
- The effects of dietary supplementation with Agaricales mushrooms and other medicinal fungi on breast cancer: Evidence-based medicine: Clinics (Sao Paulo), 2011.
- Mushroom Polysaccharides: Chemistry and Antiobesity, Antidiabetes, Anticancer, and Antibiotic Properties in Cells, Rodents, and Humans: Foods, 2016.
- From Bench to Bedside: Evaluation of AHCC Supplementation to Modulate the Host Immunity to Clear High-Risk Human Papillomavirus Infections: Frontiers in Oncology, 2019.
- A Report on Fungal (1→3)-α-d-glucans: Properties, Functions and Application: Molecules Journal, 2019.
- The Potential Role of Probiotics in Cancer Prevention and Treatment: Nutrition and Cancer Journal, 2016.
- How to Pick the Right Probiotic for You: Cleveland Clinic, 2018.
- Zinc and its role in immunity and inflammation: Science Direct, 2015.
- Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection: National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 1998.
- Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick? MayoClinic, 2018.
- Dehydration a leading cause of diseases: New Vision, 2013.