The use of lysine is currently being explored by researchers as a treatment option for herpes. This article sheds some light on the same.
Lysine is an essential amino acid which produces carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping to lower cholesterol. It also helps in the formation of collagen, a substance important for bones and connective tissues including skin, tendon, and cartilage.
Since the body cannot manufacture lysine, you have to get it from food or supplements. Following foods are rich sources of this amino acid:
- Fenugreek seeds
- Milk products
Treatment of Herpes
Herpes is an infection caused by a virus known as herpes simplex virus (HSV). This infection is of two types: oral and genital. The former causes cold sores around the mouth or face, whereas the latter is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) which affects the genitals, buttocks, or anal area.
Some studies have found that lysine may have a negative effect on the replication and subsequent proliferation of the HSV. Thus, this amino acid may suppress the replication rate of the virus, and therefore prevent the symptoms from cropping up. Another amino acid arginine plays an important role in the process of virus replication. Hence, it may be concluded that arginine and lysine are antagonists in nature. Therefore, one should have a diet that is high in lysine and low in arginine to prevent cold sores or genital herpes infection.
Research is still going on regarding the actual possibility of the use of lysine to cure herpes. Although certain results seem to be contradictory, it has shown that the effectiveness of this amino acid depends on many factors, including the dosage for treating cold sores, the source from which it is obtained, the immune power of the person, etc. However, it is the dosage that is of utmost importance as far as the efficacy of lysine is concerned.
Although the consumption of certain foods help provide this amino acid, they may not be able to provide it in sufficient quantities to fight the herpes infection. Therefore, people with low immunity, or those who get recurrent bouts of the infection need to take lysine supplements to deal with the symptoms. These supplements are available in the form of pills which help fight and suppress the overall activity of the HSV.
It is always important to consult a doctor, and get the supplements type and dosage prescribed before using them. Although no major side effect of this amino acid supplement has been reported till date, people with high calcium levels in their blood are found to be susceptible to formation of gallstones and other obstructive diseases. Furthermore, an overdose may lead to severe depletion in the levels of arginine, which may disrupt the process of protein synthesis in the body.
Thus, the option of using lysine for treating herpes may seem like a very tempting option for people who are trying to prevent the recurrent outbreaks of this disease. However, it is important to first get the dose checked by a doctor before using these supplements.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.