How Effective is Lysine for Herpes?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Steve Silver Smith, Bioreg Images, Uwimages
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2019
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As is the case with many natural remedies, the use of lysine for herpes has not been fully tested or evaluated for effectiveness. In several cases, patients who were given a daily dose of the amino acid had fewer outbreaks and those who received high doses during an outbreak recovered faster and with fewer lesions than those who did not use amino acid therapy of any kind. Other studies have been inconclusive, but there is enough evidence to suggest that lysine may be a suitable treatment and prevention option for those suffering from herpes.

Lysine is an essential amino acid, meaning it is one the human body cannot produce on its own. It must be ingested through food sources. Another amino acid, arginine, has been shown to encourage the growth of lesions in herpes outbreaks. Some studies suggest that using lysine to combat an excess of other amino acids may help to reduce the duration and severity of outbreaks, and to prevent them from recurring.

While there is no conclusive evidence as to the effectiveness of lysine for herpes, there are few side effects while taking supplements when compared to other remedies, making it a reasonable treatment option for those with sensitivities to more conventional therapies. Many patients have observed positive results in prevention on as low as a few hundred mg per day. Doses as high as 8,000 mg have been suggested for the treatment of already occurring outbreaks.


As with any medicine or supplement, the use of lysine for herpes should be discussed with a doctor or another medical professional. Getting more than one opinion may be a good idea, as some physicians are opposed to using amino acid therapies and others swear by their effectiveness. Also, eating a diet high in lysine for herpes treatment is also a good idea, as many times food sources are easier for the body to absorb and utilize.

Side effects of using lysine for herpes prevention and treatment are usually mild, if they occur at all, and may include nausea and stomach upset. Most times, lowering the dosage will help to alleviate symptoms until the body becomes adjusted to receiving higher levels of supplementation. During an outbreak when higher levels are needed, stomach upset is usually not severe enough to warrant discontinuing use of lysine supplements. If a severe reaction does occur, patients are encouraged to stop taking supplements and call their doctors.


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Post 3

I tried lysine for herpes cold sores but it did nothing. I took 500mg daily for two weeks and still got a cold sore. I don't know about others, but it doesn't work for me.

Post 2

@donasmrs-- I know people who take l-lysine for cold sores with good results. I take it for vaginal herpes and it helps, so I think the supplement can be effective for both. But the dose and the extent of use is important.

There is no cure for herpes (neither type) but keeping the immune system strong can keep the virus dormant and help prevent outbreaks. So taking l-lysine supplements regularly can help prevent genital blister outbreaks. But if you stop taking it, it will stop working, so consistency is important.

Post 1

I know that there are two types of herpes-- herpes simplex type 1 (cold sores) and herpes simplex type 2 (genital herpes).

Are lysine supplements more effective for one type of herpes or is it equally effective for both?

Does anyone here take lysine for genital herpes? What was your experience with it?

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