Lysine and cold sores

Lysine and cold sores

If a New Zealand summer brings you out in cold sores with the heat, you might be interested to hear about the role of Lysine, an essential amino acid, that helps to support the skin (including lips). Not only for summer, it may help to reduce cold sores in the colder months too.

Supplemental Lysine may help reduce cold sores

Some studies show that using Lysine can reduce the length of time of a cold sore infection and reduce the risk of getting more and the severity. Read below to get the details.

Lysine in food

Lysine is an amino acid, which comes from dietary protein. Protein is found in animal products such as meat and eggs, and also in legumes like lentils and even vegetables like mushrooms. The protein breaks down during digestion and the subsequent amino acids are used for building structures in the body (think bones, muscles, skin). Amino acids are also the building blocks of hormones among many other functions.

Cold sores are caused by a virus, called Herpes Simplex Virus. Unfortunately, once you pick up this virus it stays in your system permanently, and tends to pop in times of stress and when a bit run down. It is very contagious. Some people get breakouts in summer with too much sun, and others are more susceptible in winter with the cold. Whatever the situation, Lysine may be helpful for reducing the time of the cold sore infection, the severity and the chance of re-infection.

Lysine works in the body an an antagonist to another amino acid called Arginine. Arginine is actually the real culprit here, as the cold sore virus uses arginine to grow and therefore develop into cold sores. Lysine has been demonstrated to work by competing with arginine at digestion. Less arginine means less opportunity for the cold sore to develop.

Supplemental Lysine may help reduce cold sores

Solgar Lysine is a quality amino acid supplement, containing 1000mg Lysine per tablet. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, this product may assist in getting your lips healthy and happy.

Pair it with New Zealand Manuka oil in your daily lip balm (we love Sven’s Island Medi Salve), and consider some extra immune support in the cold sore season for you, such as olive leaf & elderberry. Just as Lysine may help reduce cold sores, these traditional remedies assist the body to fight viruses such as herpes simplex, the cold sore virus. We are doing a special on Solgar Lysine paired with Go Healthy Vir-Defense. Click here for details.

The role of peanut slabs

I’m a great believer that your body always tells you what it want. If you find you are all of a sudden craving a Peanut Slab, well there may be a reason. Both chocolate and peanuts are high in arginine (as are almonds). So the trick is to NOT indulge when you are feeling a bit run down, as instead of feeding your body, you might be feeding the virus. So if you are craving peanut slabs its probably time to reach for some Lysine and some immune support.


Success of L-Lysine Therapy in Frequently Recurrent Herpes simplex Infection Treatment and Prophylaxis: Griffith R.S.a · Walsh D.E.b · Myrmel K.H.b · Thompson R.W.b · Behforooz A.c

Treatment of recurrent herpes simplex infections with L-lysine monohydrochloride: McCune MA, Perry HO, Muller SA, O’Fallon WM, Cutis, 01 Oct 1984, 34(4):366-373
PMID: 6435961

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Photo credit for main image: Apostolos Vamouras, Unsplash

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