by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN

Years ago, more years than I care to think about, I fell ill and on my recovery, found that I regularly broke out with painful and unsightly sores around my lips. This was in the days before there was much experience with this kind of problem, and I remember now with a kind of awe that my Doctor suggested taking a B Complex vitamin with orange juice, to lessen the frequency of attacks: even that long ago, he was aware of the link between Herpes Simplex and stress – or indeed, between any opportunistic virus, stress, and the immune system. However, even with the vitamins, my life continued often to be made miserable by the fact that any day in my life that was really important to me was liable to be greeted with an embarrassing lip sore!  Lysine

Then came 1979, and my discovery of research being done with an essential amino acid called Lysine. These Doctors had found out that the nasty little virus responsible for herpes and therefore cold sores, was able to replicate itself only with the help of another amino acid called Arginine; if levels of that were high, the virus could emerge victorious, but if levels of lysine were high, it would be fooled into trying to use the wrong amino acid, and would be quenched. Ever since then, when I feel the warning tickle, I take a LOT of Lysine, and the attack doesn’t happen. It also helps to avoid foods high in Arginine and low in Lysine, such as chocolate, nuts and peanuts. A study at the US Air Force School of Aerospace discovered that Lysine is one of the few aminos sacrificed in stress situations, which would also connect with the stress-related theory. 

Two other approaches to viral overload can be suggested at this point:  Enzymedica makes an enzyme product called Purify, which purportedly is able to break down the cell walls of viruses so they can be eliminated from the body ( a strategy which might also be very helpful for shingle sufferers, a different manifestation  of the herpes virus), and new research is focusing on two specific Red Marine Algae (called Gigartina and Dumontacia) which the researchers claim have the ability to “support the immune system against herpes1 and 11, shingles the virus leading to Epstein Barr and chronic fatigue system”.  If one suffers from repeated episodes of fever blisters (technical jargon) it might be productive to open other avenues of defense such as these.

Because of my problem,  I have been following with great interest the research that is both linking lysine deficiencies with various problems such as osteoporosis and heart disease, and finding the herpes virus present in conditions as diverse as MS, cancer & AIDS. At the simplest level, I said to myself that since I have a heart and bones, and have this virus, I think it would be wise to take Lysine on a daily basis – and this is what I do.

It is interesting too, that low levels of Lysine have been found in people suffering from Parkinson’s, asthma , hypothyroidism, kidney disease and depression, though at this point the exact significance of these findings is not clear, according to Drs. Braverman and Pfeiffer in their book The Healing Nutrients Within. They do say that normalizing the levels with Lysine therapy has been associated with some improvement in some patients with these conditions.

A study in Dermatalogica in 1987 found that of 52 patients receiving Lysine or a placebo, 74% of the lysine group found it effective versus 28% of the placebo group. So you don’t just have to take my word for it! If you combine it, as my doctor suggested so long ago, with a good Stress B with C vitamin, try to avoid stressful situations, and balance your diet with potatoes, chicken, beans, eggs and fish, avoiding that tempting chocolate, and going easy on the nuts, chances are your success rate will be even better than 74%.  

Topically, I have heard that essential oil of Geranium is effective, though I have never personally tried that. Also Lemon Balm, or Melissa. For those unfortunate souls who happen to be fresh out of Melissa and oil of geranium when an outbreak occurs, a simple home remedy is to cut a potato in half, and apply the juice to the sore. The high Vitamin P content helps healing.

Be a sore loser!

Ratio of L-Arginine to Lysine in foods –

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