Try Taking The Supplement Lysine
In terms of taking supplements to prevent breakouts, I especially recommend L-lysine. This is the primary supplement for herpes, Gade says. L-lysine is an amino acid, a building block of protein. When you have an outbreak, it can be taken orally to shorten the outbreak in conjunction with an antiviral medication.
Lysine appears to be useful in reducing the number and the severity of outbreaks. The usual daily dose is between 1 and 3 milligrams.
Some studies suggest that taking lysine regularly may help prevent outbreaks of both cold sores and herpes sores. In Gades experience, patients have had no side effects using lysine. In some people, though, there have been reports of the supplement causing abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Summary Of 2 Trials Not Included In Previous Literature Reviews
Wright2 conducted a study of 28 patients with RAUs and 14 patients with herpes labialis using a 500 mg/day prophylactic dose and 4-g treatment dose, followed up by telephone interview after 6 months. All but 1 patient with herpes labialis and 1 with RAUs reported that lysine was effective. Patients were nonconcordant with prophylactic lysine, in some cases due to forgetfulness and in other cases due to believing they had been cured. Starting the treatment dose at onset of herpes labialis, prodrome was effective for only reducing the duration of lesions in 25% of patients. Two RAU patients required 1 g of lysine daily for prevention. One patient found no benefit from lysine but the other 25 patients found 500 mg/day to be 100% effective for prophylaxis.
What Do The Studies Show
Some studies have shown that taking lysine on a regular basis can reduce the duration of cold sores symptoms. One study found that 3 grams a day for a period of six months reduced the number of cold sores and shortened the healing time . Another study showed that lysine accelerated the healing process for 87% of participants, reducing the average time from 21 days to 6 days . A comparable result was reported in a 12-month double-blind, crossover study with 1 gram of lysine per day .
Experts generally agree that lysine may not prevent cold sores but may reduce recurrences or the severity of symptoms. A review published in 2017 concluded that more, longer-term studies are needed for daily doses of lysine in excess of 1.2 grams to definitively test the role of lysine in the prevention of the herpes virus .
Note that not only the absolute amount of lysine but also the ratio of lysine to arginine plays a role. Foods that have a relatively high ratio of lysine to arginine are yogurt, cheese and goats milk. Nuts, sesame seeds and snails have a high ratio of arginine to lysine .
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Get Plenty Of Sleep For Better Physical And Mental Health
Americans are notoriously sleep deprived, but if you have genital herpes, buck this unhealthy trend. Getting plenty of quality sleep affects every aspect of your life your physical and mental health, performance at school or work, and appearance.
To improve your sleep hygiene, follow some quick tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Adverse Effects And Interactions
In the last 10 years, the FDA has become concerned over the safety of AA supplements in the wake of 24 reported deaths in 1988 from eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome linked to a contaminated batch of L-tryptophan.18 In 1992, the Life Sciences Research Office did not reach a conclusion on the safety of lysine, but stated that its use for HSV suppression was not associated with adverse effects.3
Multiple animal studies suggest that large doses of oral LMH have no adverse clinical, hematologic, or pathologic side effects.3 Some studies done in rat pups have shown that lysine-rich and arginine-poor diets cause growth retardation.3 Intravenous lysine has been associated with renal toxicity and death in rats at doses greater than 4 g/kg of body weight.3
Human studies of LMH have not reported any significant toxicity. At the highest doses of 3,000 mg/d, only a few cases of dyspepsia were noted.10 However, there is one report of tubulointerstitial nephritis which could have been caused by long-term use of 3 g LMH daily.19
There are no reported adverse interactions with LMH. Animal data suggest that LMH is safe in pregnancy and lactation.3 However, there are no human safety data on LMH in pregnancy or lactation.
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What To Look For
Check the supplement facts label before buying any dietary or herbal supplements. The label provides important information about the number of active ingredients per serving. It should also include information about other ingredients in the supplement.
Look for a product that has been quality tested by an independent organization. Supplements that have been quality tested will include the logo of the testing agency on the label. Examples of quality testing agencies include:
- US Pharmacopeia
What Other Drugs Will Affect Lysine
Other drugs may interact with lysine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
Do not take lysine without medical advice if you are using any of the following medications:
calcium supplements or
gastrointestinal medicines .
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with lysine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this product guide.
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Lysine Can Help With Herpes
Q: Are cold sores and herpes the same thing? Ive got both, and finding out theres no cure really stinks. My friends say lysine can help. Is that true?
A: Cold sores and genital herpes are caused by different types of the herpes simplex virus, or HSV. Each type is quite contagious.
HSV-1 causes cold sores on the lips and mouth. Its estimated that half of the population in the United States is infected with the oral herpes virus. The majority of genital herpes, which is a sexually transmitted disease, is caused by HSV-2. The infection rate of HSV-2 in the U.S. is estimated to be at least 15 percent and as high as 20 percent. Some cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-1, as the virus can be spread from the mouth to the genitals.
Youre correct that at this time, there is no cure for either type of herpes infection. Instead, people who have frequent outbreaks seek to manage the condition. Many people infected with HSV-2 rely on antiviral medications, which can shorten or suppress outbreaks of genital herpes and also lessen symptoms when an outbreak does occur. The three main drugs are acyclovir , famciclovir , and valacyclovir . Antivirals may also be prescribed to people infected with HSV-1 who are having frequent or severe outbreaks. The over-the-counter cream Abreva, which targets oral herpes, can be useful at curbing an outbreak when used at the first sign of symptoms.
Can The Amino Acid L
Herpes is an infectious virus which is commonly passed through sexual intercourse. While there is no cure for herpes, it has come a long way in terms of treatment, so far in fact that herpes patients can even get a prescription online.
While most herpes treatments are prescribed by a doctor, there are some natural supplements thought to improve symptoms. L-Lysine is one such treatment. L-Lysine is an amino acid which helps with the construction of protein cells. In this way it helps your body build muscle tissue and transport fat for energy. Harvard Medical School writes, ‘L-lysine, or simply lysine, is an essential amino acid involved in making proteins and metabolizing carbohydrates and fatty acids. In the laboratory, it hampers the activity of arginine, an amino acid that promotes the growth of HSV. This suggests that increasing lysine intake might work against HSV infections.’ The study of L-Lysine for herpes is still being researched.
Here, we’ll discuss herpes, L-Lysine, and the possible uses L-Lysine has in treating herpes.
Herpes Causes and Symptoms
Herpes is caused through exposure from one infected person to another during a breakout. This usually occurs during sexual intercourse for genital herpes , or during kissing or sharing objects used orally for HSV-1. It is also possible to pass on herpes during childbirth if the child is born during a breakout of genital blisters.
Traditional Herpes Treatments
L-Lysine for Herpes
Other Health Benefits of L-Lysine
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If You Have The Herpes Simplex Outbreaks What Dosage Of Lysine Do You Recommend
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on April 7, 2022.
I am just starting to take l-lysine as a friend suggested it. I am two weeks into shingles, started getting two cold sores and a terrible sty on the one eyelid. I am thinking I could use this tablet more than once a day on a regular basis?
Lysine And Cold Sores And Herpes
Herpes outbreaks are typically painful and unsightly, as well as contagious. Anywhere from 60 to 90 percent of us carry herpes simplex 1, which is virtually always the culprit in cold sores or fever blisters that erupt around the mouth, probably as a result of a childhood infection.
Herpes simplex 2, is generally responsible for genital herpes, however both forms of the virus can cause eruptions on the genitals and around the mouth.
Lysine is predominantly effective in preventing recurrence of the infection, and studies have demonstrated that lysine treatment can be very beneficial to cold sore sufferers.
The most effective pattern for taking lysine to prevent cold sores is to take a maintenance dosage as a preventative and then increase this dosage if you experience an outbreak of the infection.
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Lysine Acid Interactions And Combinations
One possible lysine interaction is with arginine. Arginine and lysine share common pathways in the body. High levels of arginine may lower lysine levels in the body.
Another possible lysine interaction is with aminoglycoside antibiotics . Taken with lysine it may increase the risk of nephrotoxicity, which is a poisonous effect on the kidneys. Please consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any form of lysine supplements, if you are taking antibiotics.
Editorial Sources And Fact
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Pay Attention To What You Eat
ASHA reports that some people believe foods containing the amino acid arginine, such as legumes and whole grains, can contribute to outbreaks. A few older studies, conducted in 1981 and 1987, showed a possible connection, but ASHA states there is no clinical evidence to support these studies. However, because triggers may vary based on the individual, keep track of the foods you eat to determine if there is a connection.
What The Research Says
If you eat a balanced diet that includes red meat, fish, and dairy products, you probably consume enough lysine. Its also widely advertised as a dietary supplement. In the body, lysine knocks out another protein building block, or amino acid, called arginine. To boost the effect of lysine, avoid arginine-rich foods such as nuts and seeds.
A large review concluded that L-lysine had no reliable effect on cold sores. In a smaller study that seemed to show an effect, participants took an average of just over 900 milligrams of the supplement daily for six months. At this or even higher levels, L-lysine appears to have no toxic effects.
Whether L-lysine is likely to work on reducing the intensity or duration of shingles symptoms is a separate question.
Theres not a shred of evidence that it works, says Aaron Glatt, MD, chairman of the department of medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital and spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Its probably not dangerous, but I wouldnt tell someone to spend money on it.
If youd like to explore L-lysine as a treatment option for shingles, make an appointment with your doctor. You can discuss whether its the right treatment for you.
Possible side effects include:
- abdominal pain
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Lysine May Prevent Cold Sore Outbreaks
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Long before prescription medications became available to control herpes simplex outbreaks, which cause cold sores, lysine was considered a useful weapon to combat herpes infections. Many people still prefer the natural remedy over a newer prescription drug because of lysines safety and low cost. An amino acid, lysine is not produced in the body but can be found in high quantities in milk, soybeans, lentils and meat.
Uses: Primarily to prevent recurrences, and limit the severity, of cold sores. While the amino acid arginine, which is found in nuts and chocolate, promotes the growth of the herpes virus, lysine is thought to suppress the virus by increasing the ratio of lysine to arginine.
Dose: High doses of lysine, 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams per day, are typically taken for a short period of time to control a herpes outbreak.
Precautions: Taking high doses of lysine for long periods of time could be risky, and, thus, is not recommended. Lysine can cause mild stomach distress in some people taking high doses.
Research: The studies on lysines prevention of fever blisters have generally pointed to evidence of some benefit. Some studies also indicate lysine may help the body absorb calcium, but more research in humans is needed.
Dietary supplement makers are not required by the U.S. government to demonstrate that their products are safe or effective. Ask your health-care provider for advice on selecting a brand.
How Do I Use Lysine For Cold Sores
Lysine for cold sores is a known and effective treatment for many who suffer from open sores on the lips and genitals caused by the herpes simplex virus . L-lysine, the biologically active form, is available in pharmacies, grocery stores, or specialty vitamin retailers in capsules from 500 to 1,000 mg. Excess lysine is excreted through urine, so it does not accumulate in the body. Effective dosages range from 1,000 mg up to 3,000 mg per day during an active outbreak. Lysine should not be taken with food.
HSV is acquired through contact with carriers of the virus by the exchange of body fluids such as may occur during kissing, coughing, unprotected sex, or touching open cuts. HSV is very common. Many asymptomatic people are carriers and spread the virus unknowingly. Upon infection, people will harbor the virus for the rest of their lives. The virus will lie dormant between outbreaks, at which time the carrier will become contagious.
Lysine for cold sores has been observed to dramatically decrease the frequency of outbreaks. Outbreaks are often triggered by some form of stress. Stress can take the form of ultraviolet light, colds, or other infections, or the anxieties of daily activities. Lysine deficiency is rare, since it is found in many proteins. Vegans using grain as their sole source of protein may need to take lysine supplements.
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What Happens If You Take Too Much Lysine
Lysine is considered to be a safe, non-toxic supplement to take.
There is no upper limit, or maximum dose because the side effects of taking larger amounts are not severe. Some researchers suggest taking no more than 6 grams of lysine per day.
Experiencing any common side effects after taking oral lysine may indicate that you’ve taken too much. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice on how much lysine you should take.
Other Cold Sore Treatment Options
While it’s uncertain whether taking an oral lysine supplement or using a cream containing lysine could provide the results you may be looking for, it’s worth noting that you have many other cold sore treatment options.
The Mayo Clinic assures that blisters do typically clear up on their own within two to four weeks, but if you are interested in a quicker recovery, your doctor might prescribe an oral medication, such as valacyclovir or acyclovir, to help speed up the healing process. At-home treatments, such as using a cold compress, applying lip balm or using an over-the-counter cold sore cream, can also help ease your discomfort.
Another way to cope with HSV-1 is to learn what triggers your outbreaks and try to avoid those triggers. Some people find that stress often leads to the formation of blisters, for example. Practicing stress reduction techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, might help you relax and avoid an outbreak.
Ultimately, the best thing to do if you’re curious about trying lysine for cold sores is talk to your doctor. They can give you advice on the benefits or drawbacks of using a supplement and can recommend other treatments to keep your cold sores under control.
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When Stress Triggers A Herpes Outbreak These Complementary Therapies May Calm It Down
A healthy lifestyle and the right supplements may offer relief from genital herpes.
A healthy lifestyle and the right supplements may offer relief from genital herpes.
Anna Ivanova/Alamy Alamy
A viral infection causes genital herpes, and there is no cure for it. But if you have genital herpes, you can use complementary approaches to reduce how often you have outbreaks. Some alternative therapies can also provide relief from discomfort and pain during outbreaks that do occur.
This kind of viral outbreak , and other viruses, like a cold, is usually related to stress and your immunity, says Lucy Gade, MD, MPH, the medical director at the Center for Wellness and Integrative Medicine at Northwell Health, in Oyster Bay, New York. As a result, an alternative medicine approach to herpes treatment involves making smart lifestyle choices to foster your general wellness. In doing so, you bolster your immune systems ability to fight the two viruses that cause herpes, herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2 .
A healthy diet, appropriate sleep, finding ways to decrease stressors in your life These alone will make your herpes outbreaks less frequent, says Dr. Gade. Such healthy habits will also improve your overall well-being, lengthen your life, and boost your happiness.
But first, make sure you have an accurate diagnosis for whats causing your symptoms.