Lysine is nature's cold sore medicine
As unpleasant as they are, cold sores are extremely common. They happen to almost all of us. You know when one is coming on by that telltale tingle on your lips. Cold sores are caused by a virus and there is no known cure. But did you know there are ways to ease your symptoms and lessen the duration of the sore? It's as simple as using an over-the-counter topical cold sore medicine containing lysine. Lysine inhibits the cold sore virus, so you'll heal much faster than with no treatment at all.
What causes cold sores?
Cold sores, which are also known as fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex 1 virus (HSV-1). It spreads easily with contact. Once you've been infected, the virus lies dormant in your system until something triggers it. Common triggers can include stress, fatigue, immune system challenges, sun exposure, hormonal changes and illness.
Over 50% of the world's population is thought to carry the virus. Because it lies dormant, most people are symptom-free the majority of the time. It doesn't show until something triggers it, and then it starts that familiar tingle that comes right before the sore erupts.
The sores usually clear up on their own within a couple of weeks without any treatment. But cold sores can be painful, unsightly and unpleasant. Most people would prefer to speed up that process.
Prescription antiviral medications are available to prevent cold sores and lessen their duration. But if you're looking for a prescription drug-free option, you should check out topical cold sore medication with lysine. The Mayo Clinic lists topical lysine as one of its suggested alternative medicines to treat HSV-1.
What is lysine?
Lysine is an essential amino acid that your body needs, but can't produce by itself. We get lysine from our diet. It's high in foods such as meat, yogurt, eggs, soybeans and cheese (particularly parmesan cheese).
Lysine is beneficial for our bodies and it plays an important role in healthy functioning. The lysine in your diet can strengthen your immune system, promote collagen growth and help your body absorb important nutrients.
But eating a diet rich with lysine is not the only way to get the amino acid's benefits. It can also be applied topically, such as in medicine for cold sores. Used this way, lysine can reduce your HSV-1 symptoms and decrease the duration of your outbreak.
How does fever blister medicine with lysine work on cold sores?
HSV-1 requires arginine, another essential amino acid, to replicate. Unlike lysine, arginine is made in our bodies. It's also found in many foods, such as nuts, meat and dairy. We need arginine to help build protein and assist our bodies with circulation.
Lysine slows the absorption of arginine into your intestines. This leaves you with enough arginine for healthy functioning, but less available for the virus to use. And less arginine means it's harder for HSV-1 to reproduce, causing your cold sores to lessen in intensity and heal more quickly.
What does the research show?
A 2005 study showed that lysine inhibited the normal replication of HSV-1 and shortened its duration. Treatment with a lysine ointment healed the sores in 40% of participants by the third day. After six days, 87% of participants experienced no cold sore symptoms. And the cream was found to be safe, with no adverse effects in any of the participants.
In another study, published in Dermatology, subjects had fewer HSV1 infections, symptoms were significantly diminished in severity and healing time was significantly reduced.
How to use topical cold sore medication with lysine
- Begin to apply topical lysine at the first signs of a cold sore eruption. This is when you first feel the tingling sensation on your lip.
- Apply it directly to the cold sore.
- Healthline recommends applying the topical cold sore medicine with lysine every two hours for 11 days for the best results.
How to prevent cold sores from happening in the first place
- Learn your triggers and try to avoid them. If sun exposure causes your cold sores to flare, remember to apply a lip balm with sunscreen when you go outside.
- Take steps to reduce your stress levels and get plenty of rest.
- Eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables to keep your immune system healthy. A strong immune system can help prevent cold sore outbreaks.
- If you're experiencing more than the occasional cold sore outbreak, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine whether your cold sores are symptoms of an underlying condition that is weakening your immune system.
Give topical lysine a try
The next time you feel that tingling sensation on your lips, don't just sit and wait for the sore to erupt. Try applying a topical ointment such as a medicine for cold sores that lists lysine as the primary ingredient. You may be pleased to find that your symptoms are less noticeable and the sore is healed before you know it.