An internal approach that could make a world of difference.

If you have been researching treatment approaches to combat the herpes and cold sore virus then you are bound to discover useful information about the amino acid Lysine.

Lysine is a natural supplement that, if taken at a high enough dose, works to restrict the herpes virus’ food — without posing any serious health risks or side effects.

What is Lysine?

Lysine is an amino acid that you obtain naturally through your diet. It is one of the amino acids that can only be acquired through your diet (or by taking a Lysine supplement).

Taken in adequate dosages, this amino acid has been scientifically proven to “slow down” and retard the growth of the herpes virus, as well as inhibit viral replication.  Viral replication is when the virus grows and multiplies in larger numbers.

Studies have shown that supplements of Lysine can reduce the frequency and intensity of herpes and cold sore outbreaks.

The outcome is likely to be improved if a supplement is taken that contains Lysine along with other nutrients that are indicated for herpes, such as Vitamin C, Bioflavonoids and Zinc, which have been proven in Clinical Trials to improve healing time and reduce the frequency of episodes.

These nutrients work cohesively together and along with Lysine can help to suppress outbreaks and strengthen the skin. Tip, don’t pass on the Bioflavonoids because they work in synergy with the other nutrients, making them more effectively utilized by the body. Bioflavonoids have also been demonstrated to help stop an outbreak before it starts.

How does Lysine work?

There are two amino acids that have been found to significantly influence herpes (the virus that causes cold sores and genital herpes), these are Lysine and Arginine.

Lysine can be a valuable weapon in reducing outbreaks and in healing the infection quickly, whereas Arginine can provoke outbreaks and is required by the herpes simplex virus to replicate and cause symptoms. Learn more about this relationship in the Blog Article Herpes Diet Questions and Answers.

Tissue culture studies show that Lysine works by repressing the metabolism of Arginine, an amino acid that is essential for the herpes virus to replicate and become active.

For more information about the safety of taking Lysine supplements please read the article Is Lysine Safe? which addresses some commonly asked questions.

What foods contain Lysine?

Lysine is one of eight essential amino acids. It is a building block of protein that the body cannot synthesize from other sources and therefore must be obtained from our diet.

A healthy diet high in Lysine and low in Arginine can be helpful in reducing herpes and cold sore outbreaks. Taking an additional Lysine supplement can help to ensure the correct balance in the body,

This could include eating healthy amounts of foods rich in Lysine such as vegetables, fish, chicken, cheese, milk, brewer’s yeast and beans and avoiding foods such as nuts, chocolate, whole and white wheat, oats and gelatin, which are high in Arginine.

What to look for in a Lysine supplement

Combined Lysine Formula
Try Combined Lysine Formula for an all-in-one supplement

This Lysine Supplement:

  • is manufactured in a GMP certified laboratory
  • contains no nasty ingredients
  • is made from naturally sourced Lysine
  • includes Chelated Zinc, Bioflavonoids and Vitamin C
  • comes in a convenient 625mg dose
  • provides discounts on repeat orders

When deciding on which brand of Lysine to take it is preferable to choose one that is manufactured from pure Lysine derived from a food source rather than a synthetic or cultured lysine and if possible, one that also contains other beneficial nutrients such as Zinc, Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids.

These compounds work in synergy with each other (in other words they work better in the body when taken together) and will also save you money in the long run if purchased in one combined tablet.

Vitamin C and Zinc help the skin to repair, regenerate and heal more efficiently and Bioflavonoids improve the absorption of Vitamin C.  These supplements can help reduce outbreaks.

Vitamin C and Zinc both have wound healing properties and Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen (a fiber that connects and strengthens connective tissue, such as the skin).  Bioflavonoids are a natural antioxidant, free radical destroyer and immune booster.

Three ingredients to look out for


Gelatin is high in the amino acid Arginine and should be avoided due to its potential to trigger herpes outbreaks. In fact, the whole point of taking Lysine in a supplement is to reduce the levels of Arginine in the body. So taking a Lysine supplement which contains Gelatin is not recommended.

Dicalcium phosphate

An ingredient commonly found in supplements is Dicalcium phosphate.  This compound can affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, particularly Zinc.[2][3]  This could potentially affect your body’s ability to utilize these and other nutrients so try and avoid this ingredient in multi-vitamins and Lysine supplements.

Magnesium stearate

Magnesium stearate is normally derived from beef.  We prefer not to recommend supplements which contain animal products or are tested on animals.

Buying lots of supplements every month can really add up

Try to find a supplement that contains a broad range of everything you need in one tablet. This is more convenient and will save you wads of money in the long run.

A blended formula can also give you better results because certain nutrients, such as Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids, work better when taken together. Synergy is the science of how things work together.

Lysine Dose Information

The recommended daily dose for Lysine (for prevention of an outbreak) is 1250mg per day. This is the amount of Lysine required to affect the Herpes virus in Clinical Studies.

The dose should be increased to 1875mg per day when an outbreak is coming on and until the outbreak is cleared (this is equivalent to 3 x standard 625 mg tablets), or as high as 2500mg if it is helpful.

Ideally look for a Lysine supplement in 625mg tablets so that you don’t have to worry about halving tablets or taking too much on a daily basis.

According to the FDA, the Maximum Recommended Therapeutic Dose (MRTD) for Lysine is 100 mg per kg of body weight per day (mg/kg-bw/day).[1] For example, if you weigh 60kg than the maximum dose could equate to 6000mg per day.

However, we would NOT recommend taking a dose any higher than 3000mg per day (during active symptoms only) as this should be ample enough Lysine to affect the Arginine balance and halt the virus’ activity.

There was one incident where a 44 year old woman who had been taking 3000 mg of lysine per day for 5 years developed Franconi’s syndrome, which manifested as tubulo-intersistial nephritis. This is rare and was of course more than double the recommended dose taken over an extended period of time, however, it is important to be noted. As with any supplement, excessive amounts are not advisable.

It is also to be noted that when Lysine was taken in extremely high doses of 10g (10,000mg) or more per day, some people reported experiencing abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

If taken at a sensible dose side-effects from Lysine are very rare, because it is an amino acid that is obtained naturally through our diet. It is important to always follow the recommended dose, as indicated on the label of the supplement you are taking.


1. “Maximum Recommended Therapeutic Dose (MRTD) Database” FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (2004-2006)
2. Accessed 6th November, 2008 “Why no DCP? ” Biological Immunity Research Institute.
3. Wood, R.J., Zheng, J.J. “High dietary calcium intakes reduce zinc absorption and balance in humans.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1997) Vol 65: 1803-1809