Lysine is an essential amino acid that is required by the human body. The body cannot synthesize this molecule and it must be derived from the diet. Millions of people suffering with cold sores will attest that lysine is an effective remedy for treating an outbreak of the herpes virus.
Clinical research has shown the relationship between lysine and its effect on the herpes virus is contradictory. In the 1980’s more than 200 studies about lysine and it reputed therapeutic properties on cold sores were conducted. About the only real data gathered was that lysine can reduce the frequency of fever blisters if taken in quantities in excess of 1200 mg per day, anything less did not have a significant effect on the virus. Of course studies are always groundwork for further studies and another group of researchers got different results. In a double bind study their research showed that a few patients taking 1000 mg of lysine 3 times a day experienced milder symptoms, fewer outbreaks, and shorter healing times, after an attack of herpes simplex-1, than those given a placebo.
So how is a person supposed to sift through all the controversy about the lysine/argonine/herpes connection? Can the molecular affair of lysine and argonine drive a stake through the heart of the herpes virus? Inquiring minds want to know and here are the facts.
Any virus is merely a strand of DNA with a protein hull or shell. The armor of the herpes virus is made of a protein called l-arganine. The two amino acids arganine and lysine have an affinity for each other and they bind together to create a simple protein. In theory when lysine and argainine unite, arganine is no longer available for use by the herpes virus and the loss of this amino acid inhibits its replication. There is no doubt that lysine/argonine remedies have some value. But remember there are untold trillions of arganine molecules in the body, can lysine bind with all of them? The virus can absorb both of the molecules that exist in the body so how is it possible for a few hundred milligrams of lysine to render them all impotent?
There is no sound evidence the lysine/argonine theory for the reduction of cold sores is any more valid than any other theory about the treatment of cold sores. What causes the cold sore to develop is unknown and there is no cure for them at this time. The facts are that the studies have been controversial and they have not produced conclusive evidence that the amino acid theory is valid. If a person believes lysine will help them endure a herpes cold sore outbreak it probably will. Many people have battled cold sores with over the counter products and prescription drugs and find that these remedies provide only temporary relief and do not get rid of the cold sore at it’s source. But there are other ways to combat the misery of herpes simplex-1, that are possibly even more effective. If you suffer with recurrent cold sores why not open your mind to the possibility that you may be treating the symptoms but not the cause.