• L-Lysine, Lysine Hydrochloride
Lysine is an essential amino acid, one that you need to get from food. Some evidence suggests that supplemental lysine may be able to help prevent herpes infections (cold sores and genital herpes).
Most people need about 1 g of lysine per day. The requirement may be greater for athletes and people recovering from major injuries, especially burns. The richest sources of lysine are animal proteins such as meat and poultry, but it is also found in dairy products, eggs, and beans.
A typical therapeutic dosage of lysine for herpes infections is 1 g three times daily. You can take this as a regular part of your diet in hopes of preventing herpes flare-ups, or, perhaps, at the first sign of an attack. Although the evidence isn't strong, there may be some advantage to restricting your intake of foods that contain a lot of arginine, such as chocolate, peanuts, other nuts and seeds, and, to a lesser extent, wheat.
Some small studies suggest that regular use of lysine supplements can help prevent flareups of cold sores and genital herpes, although other studies have not found benefit. 1-6
Both cold sores and genital herpes are caused by a virus called
After you are first infected, this virus hides in certain nerve cells and reemerges under times of
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Lysine?
When taken in sufficient doses, it appears that regular use of lysine supplements might be able to reduce the number and intensity of herpes flare-ups. 9
Another double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study on 41 subjects also found improvements in the frequency of attacks.
Other studies, including one that followed 65 individuals, found no benefit, but they used lower dosages of lysine.
Although some are promising, none of these studies are large enough to give conclusive answers. At this point, more evidence is needed to determine whether lysine is effective for preventing herpes simplex.
Many people use lysine in a different way—they take it at the onset of a herpes attack. However, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating this method found no benefit.
Although lysine is an essential part of the diet, the safety of concentrated lysine supplements has not been well studied. In animal studies, high dosages have caused gallstones and elevated cholesterol levels, 15,16
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.