Supplement Forms/Alternate Names :

  • L-Lysine
  • Lysine Hydrochloride


Principal Proposed Uses

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.

Therapeutic Dosages

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.

Therapeutic Uses

Some small studies suggest that regular use of lysine supplements can help prevent flare-ups of cold sores and genital herpes, although other studies have not found benefit. 1-6,18,19 Lysine has also been proposed as a treatment to take at the onset of a flare-up, but at least one study failed to find it effective for this purpose. 7 Both cold sores and genital herpes are caused by a virus called herpes simplex . After you are first infected, this virus hides in certain nerve cells and reemerges under times of stress . Test tube research suggests that lysine fights this virus by blocking arginine , an amino acid the virus needs in order to replicate. 8 For this reason, lysine might be most effective when used in conjunction with a low-arginine diet. However, this widely stated claim has not been proven. (Note that if this is true, it would be essential to avoid taking arginine supplements if you have herpes.)

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