Lysine hydrochloride is one of the most often used amino acids in supplement form and has several useful properties for improving health. This acid is especially good for helping the body fully absorb calcium as well as reducing the symptoms of herpes simplex infections. It can also be taken to treat common mouth, sores such as canker sores, and other infections. In most cases, lysine can be taken as part of a daily supplemental regimen or as needed to treat herpes outbreaks or infections. There are no known adverse side effects, as this amino acid is necessary for healthy body functions and is produced by the body as well.
The most well-known use for lysine hydrochloride is as an effective treatment for the herpes simplex virus. This virus manifests with painful sores of the mouth, commonly referred to as cold sores. It is believed that lysine helps control these conditions by inhibiting the strength of another amino acid, arginine, which can contribute to the appearance of cold sores. Lysine hydrochloride works to inhibit the production of the herpes simplex virus by slowing, if not eliminating, the effects of the virus. In studies it has been suggested people taking placebos experienced twice as many herpes outbreaks as those who were given lysine supplements.
Another use for lysine is in treating common canker sores of the mouth. The cause of these small, painful sores is still unknown, but the medical opinion as of the early 2000s is that they are caused by some kind of virus. This theory reflects the already known antiviral properties of the amino acid and its effects on the herpes virus.
A less well-known use for lysine hydrochloride is relieving shingle outbreaks by adversely affecting the dormant chicken pox virus that causes the condition. This virus, Herpes zoster, is similar in composition to the herpes simplex virus and creates painful sores that often appear on the trunk of the person affected, though they can appear in other areas as well. Anyone who has been affected by chicken pox in the past can have shingles, but it is more likely to affect people with lower immune defenses, such as those with diabetes or any other kind of immune system depression. Lysine is usually used in combination with antiviral medications in this situation.
In order for lysine supplements to be effective, the substance has to be taken in the correct dosage. During a herpes simplex infection or any other acute viral infection, it recommended to take 1,000 mg three times a day for the best results. Once the sores or virus has cleared up, it is a good idea to continue with the lysine treatment at 500 mg three times a day for about one week.