Lysine and Cold Sores

Lysine is an essential amino acid and is a basic component of all protein. It is required for the development of bone growth in children, aids in calcium absorbtion in the body, and helps maintian nitrogen balance and lean body mass. Lysine is also needed to produce antibodies, hormones, enzymes, collagen formation and repair damaged tissue. It is believed by some that lysine can be effective for the treatment of viral infections such as cold sores and herpes outbreaks.

Some research suggests that lysine supplements can shorten the duration of cold sores, but the findings have been inconclusive and no consensus has been established one way or the other to support this finding. However, there have been several anecdotal reports of cold sore sufferers having some success with lysine.

The dosage that is required to treat lesions varies from person to person, but in general an effective dose is roughly 12 mg per kilogram of body weight per day, taken on an empty stomache between meals. A typical dose to maintain remission from outbreaks is approximately 500 mg. daily taken on an empty stomach between meals. Lysine can be take by mouth or applied by cream to the skin.

Because of the inconclusive findings and possible side effects, it is not recommended to take lysine for more than one year. Side effects can include diarrhea and stomache pain. Because not enough is known about the effects of lysine during pregnancy and breast feeding, pregnant woman are encouraged to avoid taking lysine. There has been one report of kidney disease lined with lysine.

There is no evidence that lysine is effective for the treatment of cold sores and not much is known about the overall effects of the drug. Successful use of lysine varies from person to person, with some people noting noticable effects while others see no effects at all. Some individuals have had success in combining lysine with other treatments. Due to the relative ambiguity in the research findings, taking lysine for cold sores is probably not worthwhile.