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Over the Counter Supplement Can Prevent Cold Sores

March 31, 2024

By Terri Russell

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s estimated more than 95% of us have been exposed to the virus called Herpes Simplex. That’s the virus that causes cold sores.

Even though there’s been exposure, that doesn’t mean all of us will be prone to cold sores.

Amy is not one of them. She says in the worst times she’d have a breakout once a month.

“Same place every time,” says Amy. “My lower lip, at my lip line.”

In college Amy says her physician suggested taking lysine to help prevent a cold sore breakout.

What was even better, if she took it with the first signs of a cold sore, she might not get a breakout at all.

“Sometimes that is enough,” she says. “It doesn’t even fully erupt.”

Amy says at times she’s had to use a prescription anti-viral. But the lysine seems to keep the cold sores at bay.

Lysine is an amino acid. Found in food, it is also readily available as a supplement in many stores. Doctors don’t know why it works on certain patients, much like they don’t know why certain patients experience outbreaks after exposure to the virus and others don’t.

“The dose on that is three grams a day,” says Dr. Cindy Lamerson MD, with the Nevada Center for Dermatology. “Which is a pretty hefty dose. If you have your 500 milligrams of l-lysine you have to take six tablets every day. An individual would have to track how common are my cold sores and then they would get an idea of when you start the lysine. Oh, I haven’t had one in three or four months. And then you can track it over a period of time.”

Dr. Lamerson suggests talking to your doctor before taking higher doses of lysine for cold sores.

That’s because lysine can cause gallstones. Those with liver or kidney disease should also avoid this treatment.

View the article on KOLO News 8

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