Are you sick of getting cold sores?
Does your child suddenly erupt with 5 or 6 painful, tingly cold sores all at once?
Do they feel just as frustrated or embarrassed?
They’re not alone!
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which can hide in your spine. In times of stress or if your immune system is weakened, HSV-1 can trigger the development of a cold sore 1.
When we are emotionally or physically tired our immune systems become taxed. When we are dehydrated or fighting a bug, cold sores tend to emerge.
Lysine supplements may help prevent HSV-1 from replicating and reduce the duration of a cold sore. It’s thought that lysine blocks another amino acid called arginine, which HSV-1 needs in order to multiply 1, 2, 3.
Studies have shown L-Lysine may be a helpful supplement for preventing and addressing cold sores.
One study found that a daily supplement of 1,000mg of lysine resulted in fewer cold sores in 26 people who were prone to recurrent cold sores.
Interestingly, the study observed reduced cold sore breakouts when a person’s blood lysine measure was kept above 165 nmol/l. When blood levels dropped below this level, cold sore breakouts increased4.
Another study of 30 people found that applying a cream with lysine, herbs, vitamins
Though this study is promising, it did not state the amount of lysine or other ingredients used in the cream 1.
Furthermore, not all studies show that lysine is effective in reducing cold sore occurrence or duration. One review found insufficient evidence to recommend it for treating cold sores5.
What is Lysine?
Lysine is a foundational amino acid or a building block of protein. It’s considered an Essential amino acid because our body cannot make it — so we need to obtain it from food or, if required, a supplement.
L-Lysine is a form of lysine which the body can
What does it do?
- Viruses hate lysine. L-lysine appears to enter the liver and acts as a viral retardant that deters viruses from proliferating or growing, reducing viral loads. There, it may influence liver disorders and diseases and viral neurotoxins which inflame the nervous system and autoimmune disorders.
- L-lysine acts as an anti-inflammatory to the entire nervous system, especially the central nervous system and the vagus and phrenic nerves.
- L-lysine appears to strengthen the immune system in the liver and aids in some of the organ’s most important functions.
- L-lysine is important for normal growth and muscle turnover and used to form carnitine, a substance found in most cells of your body.
- It helps transport fats across our cells to be burned for energy.
- Studies have shown L-lysine may help reduce feelings of anxiety and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in some people. Early research indicates that it may even help improve symptoms in people with schizophrenia.
One study found that it blocked receptors involved in stress response. Researchers observed that rats given lysine had reduced rates of stress-induced loose bowel movements 6.
A one-week study in 50 healthy people noticed that supplementing with 2.64 grams of lysine and arginine lowered stress-induced anxiety and reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol 7.
Similarly, adding 4.2 grams of lysine per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of wheat flour in deprived villages in Syria helped reduce anxiety scores in males with very
After three months, consuming the lysine-enriched flour also helped reduce cortisol levels in women 8.
Lysine may also be able to help people with schizophrenia, a mental disorder that disrupts an individual’s perception of the outside world, often resulting in an inability to understand reality.
- Without enough lysine, your body may be unable to produce sufficient or appropriate hormones and immune cells.
L-lysine supports the growth and quality of hair, skin
- Lysine itself may also act as a binding agent, thereby increasing the number of new cells at a wound. It may even promote the formation of new blood vessels 12.
- L-lysine can be used to improve athletic ability.
L-lysine doesn’t just fight the Herpes Simplex virus that causes cold sores according to #1 New York Times best-selling author of Medical Medium, Life-Changing Foods, Thyroid Healing, and Liver Rescue, Anthony Williams says that L-lysine hinders and stops all herpetic family viruses.
Anthony Williams goes as far as saying:
“If you or someone you love suffers with canker sores, cold sores, other mouth and tongue sores, chronic fatigue, cancer, eczema, multiple sclerosis, migraines, colitis, autoimmune conditions, insomnia, hot flashes, thyroid problems, aches and pains, rheumatoid arthritis, weight struggles, eye floaters, tingles, numbness, dizziness, burning pain, frozen shoulder, heart palpitations, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, goiters, twitches, muscle spasms, Raynaud’s syndrome, psoriasis, sarcoidosis, diminishing vision, Parkinson’s, ALS, neuropathy, joint pain, or hundreds of others, it means you have a virus inside your body that’s causing your health problems.
In order to heal and prevent future worsening of symptoms or the onset of other illnesses and symptoms, it’s critical you know how to lower your viral load in your body. L-lysine is one of the critical supplements that can help you do this. It impairs the ability of viral cells to move and reproduce.”
At this point in time, there are not enough clinical trials or research to demonstrate that L-Lysine works effectively on all Herpes viruses.
Where can I find it?
- Steamed potatoes (without anything added)
Other food sources of lysine:
Meat: Beef, chicken, and lamb
Seafood: Mussels, prawns, and oysters
Fish: Salmon, cod, and tuna
Dairy: Milk, cheese and yogurt
Vegetables: Potatoes, peppers, and leek
Fruits: Avocado, dried apricots, and pears
Legumes: Soybeans, kidney beans, and chickpeas
Nuts and seeds: Macadamia, pumpkin seeds and cashews
If you’re dealing with a viral-related symptom or condition, you may wish to supplement with L-lysine too, not just eat foods with L-lysine.
Precautions for supplements.
Lysine supplementation is generally considered very safe but requires some precautions.
Please check you are not allergic to any of the ingredients within the supplement. If you are currently taking any medications or have a kidney or liver condition please consult your doctor before taking. Additionally, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the University of Maryland Medical Centre advises against taking lysine supplements without consulting your doctor.
Preventing a cold sore outbreak
There is no set cure for cold sores. The best suggestions are to:
- Avoid getting ill or run down.
- Pay attention to your general health and well-being
- Keep your stress levels low.
- Avoid known triggers, if possible.
Singh BB1, Udani J, Vinjamury SP, Der-Martirosian C, Gandhi S, Khorsan R, Nanjegowda D, Singh V.Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes. Altern Med Rev. 2005 Jun;10(2):123-7.
Chi CC1, Wang SH, Delamere FM, Wojnarowska F, Peters MC, Kanjirath PP.Interventions for prevention of herpes simplex
l-Lysine acts like a partial serotonin receptor 4
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Dec 23; 100(26): 15370–15375.
Oral treatment with L-lysine and L-arginine reduces anxiety and basal cortisol levels in healthy humans. Biomed Res. 2007 Apr;28(2):85-90.
Lysine fortification reduces anxiety and lessens stress in family members in economically weak communities in Northwest Syria
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jun 1; 101(22): 8285–8288.
L-lysine as an adjunct to risperidone in patients with chronic schizophrenia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial.
J Psychiatr Res. 2014 Dec;59:125-31.
L-lysine as adjunctive treatment in patients with schizophrenia: a single-blinded, randomized, cross-over pilot study. BMC Med. 2011; 9: 40.
4 Impressive Health Benefits of Lysine. Sharon O’Brien. Oct 2018.
Healing Benefits of L-Lysine