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Prevent herpes with L-lysine

Herpes always occurs when you least need it - e.g. just before a job interview, a first date or an important presentation. But it doesn't always have to be expensive medication or ointments. Natural remedies such as the amino acid L-lysine can also help to prevent unwanted breakouts.

Table of contents

  1. What is herpes and why does it develop?
  2. Herpes and lysine
  3. The correct intake of lysine
  4. Herpes prevention the right way

What is herpes and why does it develop?

Herpes is a widespread infectious disease caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV for short). There are two types of virus: herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1, in humans: HHV-1) and herpes simplex virus 2 (in humans: HHV-2)

HSV-1 primarily causes the typical cold sores, while HSV-2 usually causes genital herpes. In principle, however, both virus types can cause herpes on the above-mentioned parts of the body. Other diseases caused by other herpes viruses include chickenpox, shingles and mononucleosis.


Up to 80% of people in Germany are carriers of HSV-1, as it is transmitted within the family as early as infancy. HSV-1 is usually passed on through saliva contact, for example when kissing or sharing cutlery or glasses. HSV-2 is mainly transmitted during sexual intercourse in adolescence. In addition to the typical herpes blisters, symptoms of a herpes infection can also include feverish illnesses. Herpes is contagious for about a week.

Once infected with the virus, it remains in the body for life, more precisely in the nerve ganglia. If the body is weakened, the viruses can repeatedly migrate to the surface of the skin and cause the typical herpes symptoms. This process is known as reactivation. How often such reactivation occurs varies greatly. Herpes can reappear several times a year or never. Reactivation occurs when the immune system is weakened, e.g. due to disgust, stress or allergies. Therefore, the weaker the immune system, the more frequently herpes infections occur.

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: It is also possible that people carry the virus without knowing about it, as there is never an outbreak of the disease.

Herpes and lysine

L-lysine is an essential amino acid, i.e. the body cannot produce it itself. If just one amino acid is missing in the body, no protein can be produced. It is therefore extremely important to get all essential amino acids from food. As many plant-based foods are low in lysine (with the exception of pulses such as peas, lentils and soya), vegans in particular should ensure they have a sufficient intake of L-lysine.


The amino acid not only plays an important role in collagen synthesis and muscle growth, but also has a crucial function within the immune system. L-lysine has positive effects on numerous diseases, including herpes.

L-lysine and L-arginine are antagonists

Scientists have discovered that L-arginine and L-lysine have opposing effects on herpes, as both amino acids compete for the same transport system. Apparently, the herpes virus requires a high arginine content in the body in order to multiply. A high concentration of lysine inhibits this replication, as shown by various cell studies. This is because an excess of lysine causes the herpes virus to incorporate lysine and growth is halted.

  • L-arginine: multiplication of the herpes viruses
  • L-lysine: stops the growth of viruses
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     Arginine only shows negative effects in the case of herpes. Otherwise, the amino acid promotes blood circulation and thus leads to an increase in performance in sport, as important substances are transported to and from the muscle more quickly.

    In the case of herpes, the intake of lysine should either be increased or the ratio of lysine to arginine should be increased in favour of lysine.

    Lysine has a soothing effect and reduces recurring outbreaks

    Various studies show that the amino acid lysine has a positive effect on herpes. Regular lysine supplementation alleviates acute attacks and reduces the recurrence of a new infection. Griffith et al. also found in their study that lysine supplementation led to a faster recovery after a herpes infection. The dose of lysine is important in this context. A study by Mailoo and Rampes (2017) showed that supplements of less than 1 g per day appear to be ineffective for prevention and treatment.

    Griffith et al. conducted a placebo-controlled study with 52 subjects. The participants in the lysine group received 1000 mg L-lysine 3 times a day over a period of 6 months. After 6 months, it was found that this group had fewer herpes infections than the placebo group. In addition, the symptoms in the lysine group were significantly less severe and the healing time was also reduced. Regular lysine supplementation (1 g 3 times a day over six months) can therefore prevent the occurrence of a new herpes infection.

    The Thein and Hurts study with 26 volunteers who often suffer from cold sores showed that serum lysine concentrations of more than 165 μM (24 mg/mL) are necessary to reduce recurrent outbreaks. However, the exact serum concentration is not known.

    Other studies also show that a shift in the arginine-to-lysine ratio towards lysine leads to reduced replication and also inhibits the cytopathogenicity of the virus.

    Lysine capsules

    The correct intake of lysine

    At least 1000 mg of lysine per day is recommended for prophylaxis. If you have an active herpes infection, you can increase your intake to over 3000 mg per day. Our Nutri-Plus L-lysine contains 2200 mg per daily dose and is therefore ideal for both prophylaxis and treatment of herpes.

    Lysine has a similar effect to many herpes medications, but without side effects. As lysine (with a low intake of arginine) can lead to a narrowing of the blood vessels, people with circulatory disorders should discuss their intake with their doctor beforehand.

    Prevent herpes correctly

     Regular intake of L-lysine
     Sport and exercise
     Healthy eating
     Relaxation and stress avoidance
     Avoidance of allergenic substances