Some people claim that dietary supplements of L-lysine (a type of lysine) help treat (but not cure) cold sores (Herpes labialis).

The idea that lysine might work against herpes has some plausibility. In order to replicate, the herpes virus requires arginine, another amino acid that's common in foods and necessary to human life; lysine is thought to interfere with the absorption of arginine in the intestine. [...] We do not recommend lysine. Its effect is unproven, at best, and there are medications that work.

- Source: Berkeley Wellness

There seems to be a lot of noise on whether this works or not.

Does anyone know of any evidence-based medical papers either confirming or disproving this?

  • 1
    They don't allow original research here, so just a comment. My sister, my mom and myself all have suffered from cold sores for years, and tried many many products for them. We now all take lysine when we are worried we might be getting one and all of us think that it has greatly helped with the number of sores we get and the length of time we have those sores. Note, we only take lysine during an outbreak, or if we suspect an outbreak is imminent. – Ryan Feb 1 '16 at 19:11

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