Prevent and Treat Cold Sores with L-Lysine

Cold sores are something many of us have struggled with. Their cause is a virus called herpes simplex 1 which almost 90% of American adults have been exposed to. About 62% of adults are infected with HSV-1 but not all get cold sores. In many, the virus lies dormant forever but in others, certain environmental situations provoke an outbreak. In this article I will show how L-Lysine has been proven to prevent outbreaks and make existing ones less intense. This is a remedy that has pretty much freed me from cold sores and the ones that do come are extremely minor. 

L-Lysine is an amino acid found in many protein sources such as beans, cheese, milk and animal proteins. It is an essential amino acid, meaning our bodies do not produce it, so it must be taken in with food or supplements. Unfortunately, after cooking the proteins, some of L-Lysine’s bioavailability is lost. Supplementing with amino acid, if needed, is a much easier way to ensure proper intake in comparison to relying on dietary sources.

When taken regularly in 1-3 gram dosages, L-Lysine has been shown to significantly diminish symptoms and also significantly decrease healing time of cold sores.(1) We all know that once an outbreak happens, it sometimes takes quite a few embarrassing days for a cold sore to completely go away. When you supplement with this amino acid, you really see a difference in the severity; often only you can notice that there is something even there.

As far as total outbreak prevention, L-Lysine has been proven to suppress recurring infections. It does this by altering your amino acid ratio of lysine to arginine. Too much arginine and outbreaks are frequent. Supplement the lysine to even out the ratio and outbreaks disappear. L-Lysine “suppresses viral replication”(2). There is a chemical process that allows outbreaks to happen and lysine can prevent it from happening. This easily occurs without any pharmaceutical intervention because your body can already regulate the lysine-arginine ratio with a little supplementation.

There is a dosage requirement for taking L-Lysine. Significant benefits are produced at one or more grams per day but no effect was observed at 600 mg supplementation.(3) This is important because people will often take less than what is needed because they do not know the effective dose. One to two grams per day of L-Lysine is a safe bet to obtain good results and not take too much. There has not been any reported toxicity with L-Lysine even at high doses given to Parkinsons disease patients.

This simple remedy is unfortunately not known by everyone who suffers from cold sores.  If someone has become very frustrated with this condition, a visit to the doctor often gets them a script for pharmaceutical drugs, which do significantly help, but not without possible side effects. L-Lysine should be suggested instead because, as science has proven, it can be just as effective as pharmaceuticals. By attacking the exact mechanism that enables cold sores, this amino acid will make you forget you even have the virus. L-Lysine has also shown to have other health benefits like increasing absorption of calcium, lowering glucose and improving anxiety. I usually supplement 2 grams daily, but more if I do happen to have a very rare outbreak. This winter season when the weather is cold and dry, your lips are much more susceptible to cold sores, so stock up on L-Lysine!

  1. Success of L-Lysine Therapy in Frequently Recurrent Herpes simplex Infection” Griffith R.S.a · Walsh D.E.b · Myrmel K.H.b · Thompson R.W.b · Behforooz A.c
  2. “A Multicentered Study of Lysine Therapy in Herpes simplex Infection” Griffith R.S. Norins A.L. Kagan C.
  3. Treatment of recurrent herpes simplex infections with L-lysine monohydrochlorideMcCune MA, Perry HO, Muller SA, O’Fallon WM Cutis