How does lysine help with cold sores?

Lysine and Cold Sores: How does this amazing thing work? Lysine and cold sores – these are the two things that often go together. But why Lysine of all things? And what are cold sores? Before we can understand how exactly Lysine works with cold sores, we first have to figure out what in the

Lysine and Cold Sores: How does this amazing thing work?

Lysine and cold sores – these are the two things that often go together. But why Lysine of all things? And what are cold sores? Before we can understand how exactly Lysine works with cold sores, we first have to figure out what in the world Lysine is and where do cold sores come from. Before you apply any form of Lysine onto your cold sores, find out first why and how it helps.

What is Lysine?

Lysine is an amino acid, a building block for protein. As a building block for protein, it’s often known more as an essential amino acid which appears in your DNA. Because our DNA is made from a variety of amino acids that form the chain, you can assure yourself that Lysine is not some foreign body or substance that’s about to enter your system. It’s actually already a part of your system! They’re commonly attached to the histones which allow your DNA to coil up and make a new nucleus for a new cell.

The common form of Lysine we often get is L-Lysine which plays a big part in our immune system. It strengthens the immune system which gives our bodies power to fight off infections, bacterial infections, and viruses. Not only does it help fight off viruses, but it also increases calcium absorption. And if you increase your body’s ability to absorb calcium, one has lower chances of not only getting calcium deposits in the kidney but also osteoporosis which often occurs when one has aged.

Another use for Lysine is its ability to build up proteins. As an amino acid, it’s essential in building proteins which are commonly used for building muscle. And for those going on a bodybuilder diet, Lysine is important, especially when building muscle. Muscles rely on protein to build up which gives people more power to lift certain weights. It also allows them to streamline their build that instead of building fat and too much muscle, it allows them to tone them into a nicer shape.

Lysine seems good and all but how does it affect cold sores? Before we find out, we first have to find out the nature of the cold sores.

What are Cold Sores?

Cold sores are often blister-like wounds that appear above the lip or at least near it. And these cold sores often appear when someone’s immune system is down and badly damaged. However, it doesn’t just come with a common cold or flu. It comes from a particular kind of infection known as Herpes Simplex-1 (HSV-1). Herpes Simplex-1 often comes from infected saliva which is why herpes is also seen as a common STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease).

In some countries, there are ways to cure Cold Sores with antibiotics. Though, the best way to cure cold sores is to consult a doctor about it. But if you see something weird near your lip, don’t panic! And most of all, don’t just consult Dr. Google! Before you fully confirm those are Cold Sores, you have to remember that pimples are also capable of appearing near the lip. There are times people do get pimples near their lip which causes your lips to swell and appear like fish lips. However, there’s a clear difference as to what cold sores and lip pimples are.

Differences for cold sores and lip pimples:

  • Lip pimples are often closer to the lip and are bright red
  • Lip pimples have pointed tips which is where all the pus comes out
  • Cold sores are similar to blisters in nature and have fluid inside them
  • Lip pimples are opaque and stiff whereas Cold Sores are soft and somewhat transparent due to the fluid inside
  • Cold Sores, like blisters, are flat in nature
  • Lip pimples will reveal their “heads” in time. Heads are the pointed ends where the pus comes out
  • Lip pimples cannot just be popped. Doing so will aggravate it. And adding steroidal medicine to lip pimples (as they are a bacterial infection), may cause it to get worse and most especially if one is allergic to steroidal medicine. This will cause it to develop into an abscess which means one will have to take antibiotics for it to go away

So before you panic about having cold sores and being inflicted with herpes, consult your doctor. There’s no shame in going to the doctor and it’s good that you do so that you know which medicine to use instead of self-medicating.

Now that we know what cold sores are, there’s the next question: how does Lysine treat cold sores? Seeing how cold sores are treated by Lysine goes into a more molecular level as another protein known as Arginine comes into play.

Lysine vs. Arginine: The Battle to Defeat Cold Sores

Cold Sores often get worse due to a protein known as Arginine. Arginine is also naturally produced in the body and is also one of the essential amino acids in building DNA for your cells. When one is afflicted with Herpes Simplex-1 however, the last thing one needs is to have one with too much Arginine. Arginine is an essential amino acid that helps the growth of Herpes Simplex-1!

But this is where Lysine comes into play. Lysine is antagonistic towards Arginine; meaning, Lysine can suppress the effects of Arginine. It also lowers the production of Arginine so, if there’s more Lysine, there’s less Arginine that’s causing the Herpes Simplex-1 to grow. Ergo, it can further heal your Cold Sores and prevent them from coming back for the meantime.

Lysine also has anti-viral properties which makes it a strong contender against viruses like Herpes Simplex-1.

Where do I get Lysine then?

Asides from the histones from the body, Lysine cannot be naturally produced by the body. When fighting cold sores, a person needs to eat a Lysine rich diet and can also use Lysine-based cream. Another thing the person needs to do is to avoid eating Arginine-rich foods such as Chocolate which may further aggravate the condition. Below are the foods that you need to eat for more Lysine and foods to avoid to lower Arginine.

  • Yogurt
  • Tempeh
  • Soy Milk
  • Fish (recommended: Flounder)
  • Apples
  • Mangoes
  • Apricots
  • Pears
  • Pumpkin Seeds

Source

  • Austic, R. E., & Scott, R. L. (1975). Involvement of food intake in the lysine-arginine antagonism in chicks. The Journal of nutrition, 105(9), 1122-1131.
  • Kelly, S. C., O’Connell, P. J., O’Sullivan, C. K., & Guilbault, G. G. (2000). Development of an interferent free amperometric biosensor for determination of L-lysine in food. Analytica Chimica Acta, 412(1-2), 111-119.
  • Carpenter, K. J. (1960). The estimation of the available lysine in animal-protein foods. Biochemical Journal, 77(3), 604.
  • Singh, B. B., Udani, J., Vinjamury, S. P., Der-Martirosian, C., Gandhi, S., Khorsan, R., … & Singh, V. (2005). Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes. Altern Med Rev, 10(2), 123-7.
  • Griffith, R. S., Walsh, D. E., Myrmel, K. H., Thompson, R. W., & Behforooz, A. (1987). Success of L-lysine therapy in frequently recurrent herpes simplex infection. Dermatology, 175(4), 183-190.
  • Griffith, R. S., Norins, A. L., & Kagan, C. (1978). A multicentered study of lysine therapy in herpes simplex infection. Dermatology, 156(5), 257-267.
  • Maggs, D. J., Collins, B. K., Thorne, J. G., & Nasisse, M. P. (2000). Effects of L-lysine and L-arginine on in vitro replication of feline herpesvirus type-1. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 61(12), 1474-1478.

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